NB. Thread discussion can be found here.
ONE: The Emperor, the Child Bride, and the Silver Mine
Our initial point of divergence deals with Rudolph von Habsburg’s wife – Gertrude of Hohenberg – losing a baby to a miscarriage in the early 1250s. In our world, this baby would have been Matilda of Habsburg. Not only does this plunge Gertrude into a bought of postnatal depression which thoroughly butterflies her subsequent offspring but, come 1273, Rudolph is left with no bargaining chips with which to ply Louis II, Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Upper Bavaria, or Albert III, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg.
So, in TTL, when the election for the German throne takes place, not only does Albert fail to proselytise on Rudolph’s behalf, but Louis actually comes out as somewhat reluctantly supporting the claim of Otakar II, King of Bohemia. When an assassin is captured by Louis’ men, opponents seize the opportunity to discredit Rudolph by accusing him of funding an attempt on Louis’ life. Although Rudolph denies being behind the attempt, these unsubstantiated accusations prove sufficient to tarnish his reputation and narrowly tip the election in Otakar’s favour.
Otakar is crowned as King of Germany in early 1274. Despite this, Rudolph refuses to recognise Otakar’s kingship on the grounds that the claim of Alfonso X (1221-84), King of Castile, had never formally been renounced.
- With Rudolph von Habsburg accused of having attempted to fix the imperial elections, Otakar II of Bohemia is narrowly elected as German King.
- Otakar II is formally crowned King of Germany in the city of Aachen.
- Pope Gregory X opens the Second Council of Lyons in France.
- Rudolph von Habsburg declares war on the supposedly ‘illegitimate’ German King, Otakar II of Bohemia.
- Year of the Four Popes - Gregory X, Innocent V, and Adrian V die in rapid succession. Pope John XXI is elected as Adrian’s successor.
- King Otakar II of Germany defeats Rudolph von Habsburg and his forces at the Battle of Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen.
Rudolph is subsequently imprisoned in Vyšehrad Castle, Prague, where he eventually dies in 1282.
- Ladislaus IV of Hungary successfully crushes internal dissent, re-establishing royal control over the kingdom of Hungary.
Unwilling to support Rudolph von Habsburg in his attempts to unseat Otakar II, in this world, Ladislaus is able to concentrate his attentions on domestic problems.
- A confederation of German merchants form the Hanseatic Company to facilitate trade.
- Otakar II is invested with the title of Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XXI.
- Rudolph von Habsburg, imprisoned in Prague, dies from a fever.
- Death of Michael VIII Palaiologos. He is suceeded by his son, who takes the Byzantine throne as Emperor Andronicus II.
- After the death of Irmgard, control of the Duchy of Limburg passes to her uncle, Adolf of Berg. Despite protestations from Reinoud I of Geulders - Irmgard's husband - King [Otakar II] formally recognises Adolf's claim. His claim recognised, Adolf promptly sells the territory to John I of Brabant.
With Adolf's claim being formally recognised, in this world there will be no Battle of Worringen in 1288. As such, Henry VI of Luxemburg and his brother both survive, whilst the city of Cologne remains under the control of the archbishop.
- Following the imprisonment of a number of Sicilian revolutionaries by the French occupation, a popular protest in the city of Palmero decends into violence, kick-starting the events of 'the Palmero Uprising'.
Over the next eighteen months, with papal support, the people of Sicily will struggle to successfully eject their ruler, the Angevin Charles I. Pope John XXI excommunicates him following an attempted reconquest of the island, he flees to Naples where he attempts to consolidate his forces, but Charles is eventually captured by Italian mercenaries in late 1285 and imprisoned in Rome. Sicily becomes a nominal vassal of the papacy, whilst the crown of Naples is bestowed on James, younger brother of Alfonso III of Aragon.
- The Italian city-state of Genoa defeats its rival Pisa in the Battle of Meloria, ending Pisa's marine power and hastening the city's decline in power.
- Ladislaus IV of Hungary sucessfully repels an invasion of his kingdom by the Golden Hoarde.
- Archbishop Jakub Świnka orders all priests subject to his bishopry in Poland to deliver sermons in Polish rather than German, thus unifying the Polish Catholic Church and fostering a sense of national identity.
- Alexander III, King of Scots, perishes in a riding accident, leaving the 3-year-old Margaret of Scotland as heir to throne of Scotland.
- King Philip IV of France imposes the 'gabelle': a hugely unpopular tax on salt in the form of a state monopoly.
- King Alfonso III of Aragon conquers the island of Minorca from the Moors.
- The first Treaty of Birgham is signed by the Guardians of Scotland and Edward I of England.
The treaty stipulates that Margaret, heir to the kingdom of Scotland, should be sent to Scotland before 1 November 1290, and that any agreement on her future marriage would be deferred until such a time.
- The 6-year-old Margaret of Scotland arrives in Scotland, having travelled across the North Sea from Norway.
In this world, Pope John XXI granted a Papal Bull that gave dispensation for the marriage of Margaret and Prince Edward outright, with no need for assent from the Guardians of Scotland. This allows negotiates to proceed at a greater speed, and Margaret crosses the North Sea sooner, narrowly avoiding the disaster that befell her in our world.
- Following negotiations, the second Treaty of Birgham is signed by the Guardians of Scotland.
This treaty allows the marriage of Margaret of Scotland to the Prince of Wales, on the condition that Scotland is to remain "separate and divided from England according to its rightful boundaries, free in itself and without subjection", and that control of Scotland should rest with a Regency Council until Margaret reaches the age of majority.
- James II becomes King of Aragon following the death of his father, Alfonso III.
- Upon the death of Pope John XXI, the conclave of cardinals elect Cardinal Matteo Orsini, a native of Rome, as his successor. He takes the papacy as Pope Lucius IV.
- Philip III of France agrees to give the hand of his daughter, Blanche Capet, to Edward I, in exchange for a cessation of hostilities between the two countries, and a renunciation of English claims to Gascony and Aquitaine. A not insignificant dowry on Philip's part helps to seal the deal.
- With aid from Novgorodian forces, the natives of Karelia sucessfully repel the Swedish incursion of Torkel Knutsson and his troops in the short-lived Third Swedish Crusade.
Subsequently, the rulers of Karelia conclude a treaty with Novgorod in which the Karelian territories are recognised as an independent vassal of the Republic of Novgorod, and are to be defended from future attacks by Novgorodian forces.
- England and Portugal enter into the first iteration of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.
- The death of Kublai Khan allows the four khanates of the Mongol Empire to seperate, each embracing formal independence.
- Death of Otakar II from old age. He is suceeded as King of Bohemia by his son, Wenceslas II, whilst *Louis IV, Duke of Upper Bavaria replaces him as the elected King of Germany.
- Upon the death of Albert II, Saxe-Lauenberg is reunited with Saxe-Wittenberg under the rule of Erich I, Duke of Saxony.
- Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Margaret of Scotland.
- Prince Wenceslas of Bohemia marries Marguerite of France.
In this world, Edward I's first choice of bride was available, leaving Marguerite unmarried. The Premysids are on the up, and Philip IV knows a good opportunity when he sees one...
- Prospecters discover large silver deposits at Kutná Hora in Bohemia.
Wenceslaus II subsequently took control of the industry by making the extraction and refinment of silver a royal monopoly. Kutná Hora was one of the richest European silver strikes ever: between 1300 and 1340, the mine may have produced as much as 20 tons of silver a year. We might see this as an opportunity for the invention of highly experimental mining technology, such as the steam-pump. Also worth noting is the fact that mirrors which need superior reflelectivity for visible light are made with silver as the reflecting material in a process called silvering. This gives us a prime opportunity to make Bohemia a centre of optical telegraphy technologies...
- Upon the death of John of Holland, the Gerulfingian dynasty becomes extinct. The County of Holland becomes a part of a personal union with the County of Hainaut.