So the next chapter should be out today or tomorrow, but I wanna do something a bit different for chapter 14. Could you guys answer thos poll?
Edit: replaced the link. Old one had a 404 error
 
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Part The Thirteenth
The rise of Hispayna y Secilia worried the Italian powers. Sandwiched between France, Austria, and this new power that commanded almost all the Mediterranean, it was clear to the peasants and nobles alike that their days were numbered. The wealthy of Venice still had designs on the north of the peninsula, and many felt that with France uninterested in more Italian land and while Austria was recovering from their defeat in the Atlantic War, not only was now the perfect time to strike, but the only way to make sure the Serene Republic could survive. The next most powerful state, that of the Papacy, was similarly concerned; the Reformation spreading across northern Europe and Hispayna in the Mediterranean meant that the clerical power of the Church could no longer ensure greater wealth that could be used for the defense of the central Italian state, leaving the Pope feeling very boxed in- especially with the Venetian exclave on the eastern flank. Naples was half of a Kingdom and would be unable to resist, and they knew it. They attempted to gain an alliance in Venice, with limited success. Florence had become a minor player since the Renaissance had spread beyond Italian shores, and was more interested in statues than anything, but the Republic- practically a Medici Monarchy by now, but there were still occasionally other families able to wrest control for a term or two- was still preparing a naval buildup assisted by France and Louis VIII’s wealth.

Venice took their chance in July of 1606 and sent a contingent of mercenaries and professional soldiers alike to expand their holdings in Latinum. The Pope tried to summon a Holy League to stop them, but France was uninterested and the Emperor was too busy dealing with Protestantism. Otto V, an old man by now, did however threaten war with Venice if the republic attempted to take anything beyond the Adriatic shores. The other Italian states like Ferrara or Florence did send some monetary support to the Papal States, but were afraid of getting involved, lest Venice’s nominal ally in France come bearing down upon the city-states and their territory. The war was brief as the Papal States had been overspending as part of the counter-reformation and difficulties adjusting the budget to the lessened income as the schism broadened, and the Serene Republic had effectively locked the Pope out of the Adriatic. The whole conflict had emerged when the two powerful Italian states had gotten into a dispute of the superiority of the clergy- the prior Serene Doge had tried some priests as common criminals, leading to a Papal Indirect that had forced Marcantonio Memmo’s hand. The Treaty of Urbino was humiliating for the Papacy, losing much of their Adriatic lands- though they were financially compensated- and forced to accept all Venetian laws limiting the power of the Church.
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Serene Doge Marcantio Memmo of Venice

The Treaty of Urbino came as a shock to much of Catholic Europe. While many had realized that the Papacy no longer had any pretense to being a Great Power of Europe as the Reformation weakened the Church’s power, few had expected such a poor showing for what had been the most powerful institution to that point. Few figures of the day made surviving comments, although Henry I of Hispayna Y Secilia supposedly commented that the rapid decline of the Papacy might “Allow something more than a hollow power in Italy.” While the Papal States were still powerful within the context of the Italian Peninsula, it was clear that Venice would require more consideration than the Papacy after 1606.

Tragedy struck House Hapsburg in January 1607. Emperor Otto V had been giving more and more of his duties to his son and presumed successor, Karl. This naturally led to the man spending much of his time training and drilling Austrian armies. Late in the morning of the 3rd, a misfired musket ball hit the Prince in his shoulder. The wound soon grew infected, and Karl was dead from his wound by the 30th after three grueling weeks of fighting. The Emperor was devastated as any father would be. Otto V was also concerned for Austria and the Empire as a whole, as there were now two candidates who could take the Archduchy; Otto’s nephew Leopold, sired by his brother Albert, or his grandson Maximilian. While traditionally, such things would go to Maximilian as Otto’s direct descendant, the Emperor was very concerned about the boy’s capacity to rule, as he was still fairly young at only eleven. There were also rumors about the boy’s father as Karl had never been close to his wife. Were any of these rumors true, and the boy had not been Karl’s son, then not only was he not Otto’s grandson, but he also would not even be a Hapsburg, and raising him to the Austrian throne would end the House’s three-century reign over Austria. However, Albert was not without fault either; the young man was zealous to a point even Otto considered dangerous, and while he was highly educated in the classics and theology, he had not been educated to rule.

Woes were not unique to Austria. King Arthur II’s centralization and perceived power grabs had incensed his nobility. Arthur seemingly ignored their concerns and continued to strengthen royal power across both Kingdoms. In June, the King petitioned both Parliaments to unite into one. This proved the final straw for the Lords of both realms- the Scottish did not want any more autonomy lost than they had already endured, and the English were worried that such a thing would greatly strengthen the King at the expense of this hypothetical Parliament. The nobles rallied their troops under William Balfour and Thomas Wentworth, and many of the Scottish declared the Anglo-Scottish personal union defunct, each raising separate claimants- the Scottish raised James Moray, a descendant of James IV, and the English fought for Arthur’s second cousin William, son of the second head of REI. However, the English lords did not recognize Moray as the rightful King of Scotland, and the rebellions fought each other just as much as the Crown. The war would go down in history as The Union War

Over the next year, the three armies faced off in the north of the British Isles. However, the three rarely met in particularly quick succession, let alone all at once. One of the few exceptions was the Battle of Hull, easily one of the worst of the entire war, seeing over three thousand dead once all sides had counted their dead. The rebellions lacked the necessary staying power to handle the losses, and King Arthur was able to petition the loyalists in his parliament to raise additional taxes that allowed the hiring of mercenaries to aid in the conflict. By July of 1608, many of the leaders had been captured or killed. King Arthur II stood triumphant,

The price for an end to the war and the release of any captured nobles was simple- accept the Union Act that would unite the parliaments and government of England and Scotland into one Kingdom, or have their lands seized. This worked, and soon King Arthur II had united his Kingdoms into one, and he began styling himself King Arthur I of the Kingdom of Britain. However, the Pope refused to officiate the new title, seeing it as a usurpation of the two titles that had originated it. While this changed little, it did mean that despite his integration of Scotland, King Arthur legally remained only King Arthur II/I of England-Scotland.

Louis VIII was rather unnerved by the news that England and Scotland had been officially united. While they were in personal union, there had been the chance- perhaps a small one but one that had remained- of the two parliaments conflicting and thus neutering the power of a united British realm. The French King looked toward his allies- the Dutch Republic, Venice, and Denmark-Norway. He needed to strengthen them, especially the two on the North Sea. Venice had secured themselves a truly powerful position in Italy but it would be long before the Serene Republic could grow beyond the eastern Mediterranean. No, Paris would need to look north. Thankfully, it would not be long until France had that chance.
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King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway
The Nordkonge

The Kalmar War broke out in 1611, over an attempt by the Swedish King to cut through northern Norway and avoid paying the Sound Dues that Denmark collected from the Danish straits. Louis VIII, knowing that Britain had a keen interest in consolidating power in the North Sea, recognized that they would likely support Sweden during the conflict. The King sent Christian IV money for soldiers from abroad and some of his own soldiers. The war would carry on for a few years before Denmark was able to capture Stockholm in 1613, which combined with victories in Gottenborg, leading to the Peace of Oslo, wherein Sweden would cede much of her southwest and pay large reparations. From then on, Sweden would be an eastern power, if that.

Christian IV learned much from the war. He knew full well that much of the reason for his victory was the French support, but he would not be made subservient to the King in Paris. He had studied the mercenaries and the French contingent well, and their generals. And while his forces had generally done better than Sweden’s, he knew that Sweden’s professionalization of the army could do great things for them. Using the prestige and money the war had granted him, he began to take a page out of Sweden and Hispayna’s books, using his status as the head of the Church to take census through them, and gain proper soldiers and sailors from there. He had to make heavy concessions to the Norwegian nobility of his realm, but the process did quickly yield results in strengthening the power of Denmark-Norway.

Shortly after the Kalmar War, Christian IV began being known as Nordkonge- Northern King. While he was not the only King in the northernmost reaches of Europe, he was undoubtedly one of the most powerful on the continent. Who could challenge him? Russia, with her nonexistent navy? Sweden, whose recent defeat Christian IV pushed far and wide and exaggerated in great detail? The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth would be a worthy contender were it not for its Nobility dominating it and its Kings being willing to sell Poland out for their homelands. The only states who could compete with Denmark’s control over northern Europe were France and Britain, and Denmark-Norway was allied with France. Christian IV had propelled Denmark-Norway to being a true Great Power of Europe, with a fleet to match.
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A Ship of the Line commissioned by King Christian IV

Of course, a fleet and prestige were not all one needed to be a Great Power. Well, perhaps for Britain it might be. But Christian knew that the Danish would quickly be surpassed if they did not grow their population- especially in Norway, but Christian IV was the Danish King first and foremost, who happened to be King of Norway. He had a few options- first of all, and the obvious as they were already doing it in the colonies, would be to invite Protestant settlers into Jutland to farm, provided they assimilated into Danish culture. Second would be agricultural reforms, which while possible, might be harder for the nobles to stomach if they felt it impeded their ability to rule their estates. Here, however, his French consort Isabella came to his rescue. The Campechians had been trading with the Inca like any other European power, and the Andeans had a crop that the Queen thought might be able to help the King- the potato. If the Inca were to be believed, it grew in almost any environment and was incredibly nutritious. They had been growing in popularity in France for a while, and they could be useful for the Nordkonge, no?

Over the next few years, vast amounts of potatoes- and people to grow them- would be imported into Denmark. Amusingly, many peasants were actually rather disgusted by the potatoes that were being thrust upon them to grow, leading to thinner harvest as the spike in population consumed the necessary food with a limited excess. However, this didn’t last. This period was part of a deep cold spell that dominated Europe in the early seventeenth-century, informally called the Little Ice Age. While that winter was not entirely inhospitable to the newly Danish populations, it was evident that those who had grown potatoes were vital, as the peasants who had grown them had a far easier time doing so than the ones who didn’t. Culture and taste, like all things, gave way to survival.
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A painting of a family growing potatoes for sustenance
All the major colonizers were growing their holds, and their growth was only getting faster. Caroline was expanding and connecting her cities with some of the most well-maintained roads of the day- maintained by colonial slaves as it was, it still gave the colonies an early sense of unity and easy trade within each other. Campechian settlements and ports were beginning to dot the center of the New World from north to south. Even the British, from their territories in the northeast of the continent, were seeing a growth in population in the colonies as people fled the Union War. Portuguese territory in Brazil was growing quickly through a mixture of native assimilation and marriage as well as immigration from the Mediterranean world. The Danes, however, were among the fastest-growing population as well as around the border. They still allowed immigration to the colonies from all over Europe, even if much of it was now being focused on bringing people to the actual crown lands of Denmark. However, they, like the English to the south of them, were absolutely monstrous to the natives in the area. The area was relentlessly depopulated by the Swedes and Germans. Those originally from Denmark were not as aggressive in their expansion, attempting to integrate Christianized tribes like the Frenchmen of Caroline, but this certainly did not engender many sincere conversions from chiefs who felt it was a carrot and stick ultimatum. This situation spoke greatly of the administrative differences within the colonial realms

Where France kept their colonies on a tight leash, this was not a universal policy. For the British, the autonomy varied- those that had been started by the English colonists were generally left alone to self govern, so long as they respected the authority of the Inquisition and raised taxes when Parliament required increased revenue; in contrast, formerly Scottish territories were run more similar to feudal fiefs, as they had been founded by a combination of trade-seeking merchants and Scottish Lords wanting to clear the highlands for their sheep businesses. The Portuguese on the other hand, were nearly entirely apathetic to the Brazilian colony, seeing it as little more than a captive market for slaves and a source for wood. The Danish for their part were rather firm with the colony considering how libertarian they were with the settlement. Only those Lutheran or Calvinist were allowed to be citizens, though any non-catholic could emigrate to the colony. Similarly, the territory had little actual home rule, as Denmark made all legislative decisions. Officially this included the expansion that the colony kept attempting, but in truth, Denmark lacked the ability to leave a standing garrison in the territory to keep it in check.

Empires always had growing pains
Not the biggest fan of this one, but it opens some threads I've been wanting to explore. So tell me what you guys think, and don’t forget the strawpoll please- it’s currently a tie between cultural analysis and a normal chapter
 
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I loved this chapter. it's a bit sad that Scotland disappeared, but still, that Denmark-Norway resurgence right there was gold, while concerning Italy, I don't really know what was taken by Venice, but pretty sure they just took the Pentapolis. thus, if they didn't took it, I think Bologna would try to get their freedom as a Duchy or a Republic, mainly to fight better against Modena, their main rival.
 
I loved this chapter. it's a bit sad that Scotland disappeared, but still, that Denmark-Norway resurgence right there was gold, while concerning Italy, I don't really know what was taken by Venice, but pretty sure they just took the Pentapolis. thus, if they didn't took it, I think Bologna would try to get their freedom as a Duchy or a Republic, mainly to fight better against Modena, their main rival.
Also to answer what the venetians took, basically the northeastern most parts of the Papal States- basically all they had left of the adriatic in part 11. I think much of the pentapolis was actually already in theor hands, though I might be misjudging
 
Good update, the papacy lost even more of its highground, the colonies are expanding and Denmark-Norway is rising to the sun, a good update about the general state of things in Europe, if possible could there be a chapter on the middle east or Africa or Asia? It would be awesome!
Anyways, excellent chapter and keep up the good work!
 
Good update, the papacy lost even more of its highground, the colonies are expanding and Denmark-Norway is rising to the sun, a good update about the general state of things in Europe, if possible could there be a chapter on the middle east or Africa or Asia? It would be awesome!
Anyways, excellent chapter and keep up the good work!
I'm going by what the straw poll will say when I wake up on Tuesday, which is currently on Alt. Culture stuff, but i can do that for ch. 15
 
Part The Fourteenth (ATL Cultural Development)
The early 1600s were a time of great cultural development throughout Europe. There was a rise in literacy and the beginnings of common education in many Protestant states. In an effort to quell the reformation, many Catholic Kings and Queens made sure to sponsor truly great artwork and plays. Originally used primarily for propaganda, these artistic endeavors did still have their own merit as cultural phenomenons. Many of Europe’s greatest works and writers came from this period.

One of the most famous writers from the period was Martin Wentworth. A commoner born in Kent, he still had many privileges. He was educated to be a clergyman and thus knew Latin, something that not only greatly increased his literacy but enabled him to access the old stories from the days of the Roman Empire and the days immediately following its collapse in the west, even if he did not actually become a Man of the Cloth. Fitting this background, many of his early works were plays based on Christian history- mostly centered around Paul, or the Crusades to the Holy Land. These plays were rather successful, but there was something about them he found unfulfilling.

In 1608, King Arthur II/I needed to legitimize his forceful unification of the British Isles into the single crown. He did several things to meet this goal. Firstly, he argued that England’s history as the Roman province Britannia elevated it above the Scottish and Irish, as a successor to the Empire of days gone by. But more than that, he connected his line to that of King Arthur, the legendary King whose realm dominated Britain as the first real kingdom to rise in post-Roman Britain. To strengthen this link, he argued that King William I was a descendant of King Arthur, as a distant member of King Alfred The Great of Wessex’s bloodline. King Alfred, in Arthur’s arguments, was both a descendant of King Arthur and Camelot was in fact located in what had been Wessex. Today, many of these claims are disputed or outright dismissed, and regarded simply as a King needing to legitimize his reforms. At the time, however, this claimed ancestry did bolster support.

Hearing these ideas pushed by the King, Wentworth had an idea in regards to his new piece. Instead of a story about the Second Crusade and the English contribution, he instead crafted a tale about King Arthur’s Camelot. This play, known simply as ‘Camelot,’ detailed the departure of Rome from British shores and Camelot’s rise. The kingdom had supposedly started small around a castle now known as Cadbury, but then as Camaslet, due to association with creeks and swamps that had dried up in the time since. According to the play, Camaslet had been able to repulse the Germanic invasions through daring warrior turned King, Uther Pendragon. While this conflicted with Historia Regum Britanniae, then a leading source for the history of the British Isles, many believe that Martin Wentworth was in fact loosely basing the epic on King Alfred of Wessex, not conventional Arthurian stories. It is often pointed out that Wentworth himself did not claim the story was historical, and that later monarchs (Strangely, not Arthur II/I) were the ones to push the story as fact. Regardless, the story actually took place after Uther’s death, and the woes of his son, Arthur. In the story, Arthur is not painted as a warlord, or a conqueror- though he does not shy away from conflict when it comes to his realm, as a Saxon assault led by Tor the Heathen demonstrates. Arthur’s main conflict is actually what to do with his father’s conquested territories. Throughout the story, Arthur is pushed by his ecclesiastical guide Bishop Augustine to love the heretics and heathens as misguided souls that he should convert, but not force the issue; however, his barons and other Peers of the realm encourage a relentless drive to assimilate those of the realm who refused to abandon the pagan ways. That Bishop Augustine was painted as in the moral right created a situation that reminded many educated commoners of the Church’s role in uniting Britain and Noble’s opposition to it. The play comes to a head when Tor’s attack fails, and Arthur of Camelot declares that all pagans must leave or face death within a year. Early on this pleases the nobility, but when they begin to see a drop off in population that leaves their farms barren and them without peasants to tax, the extreme measure is denounced by all but the most zealous (and minor) Lords and Ladies. While of course there were a great many jokes- Tor himself was a caricature of even the most vile of pagans and the nobles were comically inept and cruel- it was still rather dramatic. The themes of balanced leadership and trusting their spiritual leaders were not lost upon the British people, many of whom felt spurned by traditional nobility and their attempts to depose the King.

While he did not use it for internal propaganda, the play was noticed by the Tudor King. King Arthur hired Martin Wentworth to write a few plays glorifying the Tudor dynasty and his right to rule all Britain. Wentworth was naturally ecstatic to write for the King of Britain himself and agreed immediately. The plays themselves were simple, if not exaggerated, stories about the history of England and Scotland- from the Norman Conquest half a millennium prior, to the conflicts of the Hundred Year’s War, or in the case of Scotland their resistance against the might of the Roman Empire and the fights against the vikings (notably, the conflicts between England and Scotland were highly downplayed). These historical pieces were less successful than Camelot, but they made history accessible to the poor of Britain in a way not seen in many other powers. The King found a great use for Wentworth, and the writer’s contract was renewed, with a few plays funded by His Majesty that could be whatever Martin saw fit to write, so long as there were still a few to bolster the Crown.

One of the plays that Mortimer could do whatever he wished with was ‘The Beasts of London,’ what many would describe as one of the first horror stories; however, this play was written in a way that limited its ability to be performed, needing things only Martin Wentworth had access to. As part of his patronage, King Arthur had funded the creation of a large theater in London, The Great Stage. The Great Stage was designed so that the room was lit by candlelight via numerous candelabras that were only accessible to stagehands via hidden hallways entered through backstage, the light controlled further with the use of mirrors. This meant that Wentworth had a special command of light in his plays, allowing a unique tone and style to his craft that more modern observers might compare to film. Similarly, bands were often just off to the side playing relevant music. During special performances such as religious plays that were still occasionally put on, or whenever the King came to witness his commissioned pieces, an extra band was often found to truly encapsulate the whole stage. While all these pieces would be replicated and even expanded on throughout the 17th century, it was truly undisputed that the Great Stage of Martin Wentworth was home to some of the greatest innovations in the art of theater since the Ancient Greeks.

The Beasts of London featured a city rife with demons in human form. These demons were undead humanoids who subsisted off the souls of the righteous. They lingered throughout the city, grabbing any innocent misfortune enough to cross their path. The control of the lighting in the theater allowed Wentworth to craft a truly staggering experience. He would shroud the stage in darkness to keep the audience in suspense and truly frighten them during an attack, a technique that came to be known as Wentworthian Lighting. During many performances, he even had actors dressed as the beasts sneak into the audience and only be revealed during an attack by shining a light upon them. The story itself was actually rather simplistic, with several merchants and minor nobility attempting to stop the monsters and nearly failing before the Pope manages to save them by purging the monsters. But The Beasts of London was still one of the most famous plays to come from this period.

Throughout Martin Wentworth’s employment with the King, the pair grew rather close for their contrasting ranks. The King would often read over Wentworth’s manuscripts before they were distributed to the actors, as King Arthur II/I, while a cunning politician, was a very honest man in his personal life. The King had even been known to visit the Great Stage and meet with the actors- on one occasion even bringing a non-landed cousin of his for the writer to cast as Henry Tudor, the leader of the REI. On other occasions, he would invite Wentworth and his troupe the Kingsmen to the castle for a feast. Many wonder if this was a true friendship, or if the pair simply had an unusually close working relationship given their ranks due to how much time Wentworth needed to spend with the King in order to properly please his patron.

What is known, however, is how their relationship-whatever its nature- ended. In 1631, Martin Wentworth died of an infected wound in his shoulder at the age of forty-one. The Great Stage briefly passed back to King Arthur, but the King of Britain gave it back to the troupe- they had used it for years and were under his employ anyway. He elevated a minor playwright who had helped Wentworth often, Jonathan Norfolk, and continued to sponsor them but a British King would not return to the Great Stage until decades later. It was clear to many that for King Arthur, the magic was gone, and the lights would never again really be Wentworthian.
Sorry that this one is so short (only 1.6K words) but I'm not the best with cultural history- part of why I wanted to write this was to broaden my horizons with my understanding of history and writing. I think I did fairly well, and I think I got about as much mileage out of this chapter as I could. Lemme know if you guys wanna see more of this stuff, and what you think of these ideas.
 
I think this is awesome! It's a good deviation from the usual talks of war or poltics and dwelves into a aspect that reflects the needs and fears of it's time, so I think it's excellent that you're adressing and making these cultural chapters and I hope you make more of them focused on other arts and also science. Anyways, great chapter!
 
I think this is awesome! It's a good deviation from the usual talks of war or poltics and dwelves into a aspect that reflects the needs and fears of it's time, so I think it's excellent that you're adressing and making these cultural chapters and I hope you make more of them focused on other arts and also science. Anyways, great chapter!
Thanks, man. And not to worry, I've got ideas for more stuff like this (maybe every 3 chapters or 5, depending on your guys' thoughts on the matter.) Next up will probably be that bit on Africa you were asking about
 
Thanks, man. And not to worry, I've got ideas for more stuff like this (maybe every 3 chapters or 5, depending on your guys' thoughts on the matter.) Next up will probably be that bit on Africa you were asking about
Ohhhh, I'm looking very forward to that and to see how the butterflies have affected the continent.
 
Part The Fifteenth
Portugal, as one of the first European realms to begin exploration, had an advantage in creating spheres of influence in Africa. From the small fortifications in the west, to the domains further south- Angola and Mozambique. They used this position to vitalize the slave trade used to turn a profit from the colonies in Brazil. However, these territories were in a near-constant power struggle with the Kingdom of Kongo. The Kongolese elite had actually adopted Catholicism due to interactions with the Portuguese traders and missionaries, however, this did not prevent the Portuguese from mistreating the African power. The attempts made by the Kongo to garner aid from other Catholic powers, including the Papacy, were rendered moot by the Portuguese state. Even the French, perhaps the biggest rival to the Portuguese at sea, were unable to offer much aid and unwilling to do what they could.

Tensions had erupted into a Portuguese-Kongo war by 1622. The war was short, brutal, and ultimately a victory for Kongo. However, before the ink was dry on the treaty, M’banza-Kongo and Luanda were already scheming against each other again. There was a brief interlude throughout 1623, border raids notwithstanding. However, in 1624, the Kongolese King Pedro II, an old man by now, carried out an attack into Angola with the support of the Dutch republic and her navy. Pedro wanted the Portuguese out of Angola, and while the Kongo-Dutch invasion would not quite accomplish this, it did weaken their position. Kongo claimed Luanda and some areas to the north, and the Dutch were able to gain trading rights in Angola and within the Kongo state proper.

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A depiction of the Kongolese troops from the 1622
Kongo-Portuguese war

Across the continent, Africa played host to multiple powers jockeying for influence, despite the limited ability of these outsiders to take direct control- motivated by politics and the need to keep the slave trade operating. The recently crowned Ottoman Sultan Selim II was propping up north African states to use against Hispayna and Portugal, their two greatest rivals in the local waters. Portuguese backed Ethiopia was a constant thorn in the side of the Turkish empire. After a conflict between the Moroccan Saadi dynasty and the Songhai Empire had bankrupted the Maghrebi kingdom, France’s new king Louis XIV sent a large gift- like the Ottomans, France had a strong incentive to keep Portugal’s foes strong so as to tie down Lisbon. The Denianke dynasty that controlled the mouth of the Senegal river was more easily able to keep the foreigners at bay, but even they were not immune to the pressures of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

By the late 1620s and 1630s, the issues with the slave trade were becoming apparent. Whilst in the beginning, the sale of slaves had been mutually beneficial, with the merchants of various African states handing over defeated enemies to the Europeans in exchange for weapons and fine goods, things had changed. Kidnappings were increasingly common, from commoners to merchants, to at least one prince. Attempts to appeal to the Kings of Europe were largely futile, as they placed the economies of their colonial holdings over the concerns of some distant African realms. This was causing grave social unrest within the African kingdoms of Kongo, the Sahel region between the Sahara and the rainforests and savanna of central Africa, or around the Swahili Coast. But many of the elites had been greatly enriched by the trade, and more still worried if they could actually win a proper war with the Europeans. While Kongo had been able to contest Portuguese Angola, the educated within the area knew full well that Luanda and the territory surrounding it were not the full extent of Portugal’s power.

Throughout this period, other European powers tried their hands at getting involved in sub-Saharan Africa. Among the few early successes was the Dutch Republic, when a wealthy merchant, John Visser, was able to buy Fort Jesus from pirates occupying it in 1631. It had been captured from the Portuguese and Visser had arrived on a return trip from the East Indies a few weeks before the leader, Dom Jeronimo, had left to become a pirate. By the time the Portuguese relief force had arrived, the Dutch had dug in and hired native mercenaries. While the Portuguese won the ensuing battle, it was not the decisive victory that they needed, and a siege began. One that was ultimately moot, as the Stadtholder of Holland managed to convince King Pedro II to sell the island and accompanying fort- after all, the Portuguese still had territory in the region, and the Dutch needed an outpost in Africa to better supply their budding territory in the East Indies.

Once the Fort Jesus Crisis was resolved, the Dutch set about organizing the territory. Firstly, they created the Nederlandse Oost-Afrikaanse Compagnie, or Dutch East-Africa Company, and placed Visser in charge. Secondly, the fort was renamed from Fort Jesus to Fort Holland-Mombassa, to separate it from the Portuguese history. The Dutch invited a fair number of natives to the island fort, and took others, so as to supplement the island’s population and increase farming output. Another key priority for Visser was to increase naval fortifications so that other colonizers wouldn’t be able to take the base in a repeat of how the Dutchman himself came about it.

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Fort Holland-Mombassa, the beginnings of the NOAC
The French similarly attempted to take territory. They, along with powers like Britain, Denmark, Hispayna and Brandenburg (though both of the latter were only really interested in the slave trade, and not in actual colonization), had established some coastal exclaves in the western portion of Africa. A French force, numbering a few hundred, attempted to use this to take territory on the mouth of the Senegal river from the Deniake. However, relatively poor logistics, lack of knowledge of the terrain, and racism that had started truly worming its way into western society by now all led to them underestimating the Deniake and their armies. Thus the contingent was a complete failure. There would be other attempts, mostly by private individuals, but it would be a very long time before France controlled much of Africa.

British actions in Africa were limited, even compared to the other European powers. Where other states tried to breach inland to grow their power, Britain was relatively content with the ports and trade deals with the native realms. The slave trade was proving very lucrative, why rock the boat? Gihonia and the various islands in the Caribbean that the Europeans had been claiming were turning a high profit. However, the slave labor utilized on the plantations was horrendous, and Gihonia was among the most brutal, with a devastating turnover rate both on the passage across the seas and in the territory. Well over fifteen percent of all slaves from Africa were sent to British South America, for reference, only about seven percent were taken to Caroline.

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A depiction of how slaves were punished during this period

Gihonia was actually in some trouble around this period. Tensions with Portuguese Brazil were nothing new, but the benign neglect both Britain and Portugal employed left the colonies relatively free to expand, and Brazil made no secret of wanting to take the mouth of the Gihonian River. Border skirmishes were frequent, even full campaigns on multiple occasions. However, Gihonia was able to exert control in the river and to their west in a way that made them very difficult to dislodge. Further expansion was controversial- governor Walter Cook believed that their base of power was along the river, and expansion away from that might hurt more than it could help, but many of the colonial elite were very interested in it. In the end, however, Cook signed off on the project, if only so that the french couldn’t establish anything and leave the British territory truly boxed in by hostile colonies.

While the French had been expanding south, they were still nowhere near capable of, or interested in, interfering with British settlement in South America. They were expanding their territory in central America and around the Gulf of Canpechia. Modo Gallico had become a major part of the Canpechian Colony, and settlement to the south of the actual Canpechian Peninsula was going well. The region known as Cuahtlia- derived from a Mayan phrase meaning ‘many trees,’ was the main focus of such things. As was tradition when a settlement was properly established, King Louis XIV created a Duchy of Cuahtlia and gave the title to the brother of the Governor, Charles Breton.

By now, much of the Mexica valley had been assimilated into Canpechia. This was achieved by means ranging from Christianization and the territory being given to bishops working for the Canpechian governor, (this was only ever a town or two, however) to direct uprisings against being French tributaries, or simply purchasing it. The result of this territorial acquisition was evident to even the most passive observers; while the French crown preached tolerance and equality to all Catholics in their colonial holdings, it was obvious that the natives were becoming second class citizens in their ancestral homes. The conquests created a rather harsh class divide that disproportionately affected the natives. Merchants and priests often did what they could, but they remained strained by the feudal structure of the colony that necessitated a largely uneducated, agrarian class. This was also present with the white settlers, but by sheer numbers, the native peoples were subjected to these issues more. This is not to say that none ever rose above this, but undeniably hundreds of thousands of supposedly free people were barred from what social mobility was there for their skin. Free black people were similarly disadvantaged.

There were attempts at relief and reform, however. The Duke of Canpechia, the western shore of the peninsula, was a man named Louis Palice-Canpechia who was a descendant of the man who had led the first excursion. He used this prestige and his wealth to lift up the poor, and especially the Maya, sponsoring churches to educate them, and having the few commanders he kept employed educate the men and boys in warfare so that they could become part of the militias, which was something at least. He attempted to get his fellow nobility to sponsor such things, arguing that educated farmers would be more capable in both agriculture and construction, things that everyone could see would be beneficial in taming this brave new world. Unfortunately, they saw educated masses as a waste at best and a threat to their power at worst. There were native elites such as bishops and merchants who helped their people as well, but many simply did not have the resources or were established groups who did not have a vested interest in improving the lives of the commoners.

One of the biggest exceptions to this would be the Coyol family. They got their start when Ahuatzi Coyol helped the French put down a rebellion against the missionaries in the area, for which the man was rewarded generously for his valor and bravery after he had taken the lead when his commander was killed. Using this money, he invested in some merchant ships that would take part in the slave trade, and instead of enriching himself on the profits, he used most of this wealth to help the natives of Canpechia and other poor groups. Coyol is controversial in modern times, but he was instrumental in keeping the class hierarchy that had always existed in France from becoming a truly insidious racially charged one. His sons were both far less competent than he in financial management and the slave trade, but both attempted to follow in his footsteps and give back to the community.

King Arthur II/I died childless in November of 1631, and in his will designated his nephew Alexander as heir. Alexander was a little older than twenty when he came to power as King Alexander I of Britain. Shortly after he ascended, he married Anne of Austria, one of Emperor Maximilian II’s sisters. Emperor Otto V had died in 1617, and the Empire had gone to young Maximilian as he came into his own as a daring man and respectable Emperor. Alexander and Anne had known each other since childhood, and the marriage was rather passionate for the time period. By August 1632, the pair already had their first daughter, Jane. King Alexander, wary of the rising power of the Munster-FitzGeralds in Ireland, arranged a marriage between Jane and the younger son of the current Duke. The Dukes of Munster had utilized Arthur’s faith in them well and had invested in their territory with remarkable successes. Their capital Cashel had quickly become a crossroads of Irish trade. While it was no rival to London or Edinburgh, it was starting to match Cork or Dublin quickly. Part of this was the population boom that erupted in Ireland with the introduction of the potato, but a much more dubious part was the result of the Duke’s insistence on population transfers in order to secure his power base.

The humiliating tensions with the Dutch and the Kongo were problematic for Portugal. While still a great power, this period was clearly a rough spot for Lisbon. They needed to save face. They already had the territory of Malacca and could use that as a launchpad deeper into Asia. They had always wanted to dominate trade in this region, but their conquests had actually been rather disruptive to the flow of trade in the area, as they weren’t quick enough to fully centralize the area around Malacca. Over the next few years, King John IV ordered that the fleet establish tributary relations with the Indonesian powers- at the very least, keep them away from the Dutch.
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Some Portuguese vessels of the time and a map of Portuguese Malacca
While the competition between the Dutch Republic and Portugal was new, the rising European influence in Asia was not. The French had rented, bought, and conquered a fair number of cities doting the western coast of India, and had built a few others, and had a few allies such as the Bijapur. Portugal still had their trading posts throughout the entirety of Asia, and had an extensive trade league and anti-piracy force throughout the entire world. Ayutthaya, a Thai kingdom, enjoyed extensive trading relations with the Europeans for weapons and goods, especially the Portuguese and British. In contrast, the courts of the Dai Viet state to their east were filled more with Dano-Norwegian merchants. Even the Russian Tsardom, removed from the oceans that allowed western Europe access to the world, were able to take chunks of northern Asia, now known as Siberia. Many nations established ports and settlements in the Magellan Islands, an archipelago off of Indonesia, with the most notable being the British in the north with New Jersey, named for the channel island, and the Portuguese in the south with Cebu. Both the Portuguese and the Dutch had been able to weasel their way into the more insular Japan, but it seemed that the Portuguese were perpetually on thin ice with the Daimyo, Shogun, and especially the Emperor. Presumably due to their propensity for missionary work, which naturally would not bode well with someone who claimed descent from gods.

Not even mighty China was without European powers. The Portuguese had leased the territory of Macau in 1557, and the city was becoming a prime trading post. The French had tried to pry their way in as well, but thus far the Celestial Empire had been resilient against their attempts. However, they were able to trade with the Ming dynasty in precious silver- the Inca actually had far more of the metal than Canpechia, but the Andean empire had a very small fleet, limiting their influence in the emergent silver trade. Other Europeans attempted to get into the trade with goods ranging from tobacco to muskets but were less successful. The British managed to get a trade deal by offering China all the sugar and tobacco from their colonies in the British Magellan Islands, but this effectively blocked other European powers from trading any reasonable agricultural products to China. Due to these economic concerns, the growing European empires watched the peasant uprisings and raids from Manchuria with keen interest and concern; a new government could be just what they needed to secure better deals, perhaps even territory in China proper- or it could be hostile to foreigners and rip up any treaties presented to them.
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A depiction of the plantation labor utilized in the Magellan Islands
Excessive cruelty was deemed necessary and utilized to meet demand and trade with China
In December 1636, a Manchu band called the Qing invaded Korea. Sensing an opportunity, some French vessels there to protect trade from piracy offered to help, in exchange for trading rights and the ability to send missionaries. Not seeing an alternative, the Korean government accepted, and the French quickly did what they could. Being a naval force, they were not able to fully stop the invaders, but their ships' bombardments were powerful enough to severely disrupt the invaders, and the men who could be spared to fight on the ground fought bravely, though the actual results of the battles varied. After two months of fighting, longer than the Qing had expected or wanted, a deal was offered- Joeson would be free everywhere south from the Taedong river that let out into the Yellow Sea, to the far side of Korea; the North would become the tributary of Pyeong'an, with a Qing king. Emperor Injo of Korea was furious, but almost all aid- be it Korean, French, or Ming- said that this would be the best deal to secure Joeson’s true independence, and the Emperor was uncomfortably aware that the invasion only came to this point because he did not listen to his advisors, and so acquiesced. The Peace of the Taedong River was signed in march 1637.

The French court was pleased to hear of the adventure, as it won them a respectable ally in the region, and grew their trading rights. The Empire of Joseon, however, saw the whole episode as one of failure. After the invasions by the Japanese and the prior attack from the Jin dynasty of Manchus, the peninsular kingdom had wanted to retreat into isolation, similarly to what the Japanese had done. The Qing invasion, and severance of their Kingdom, had proven that would be untenable. But to allow foreigners like the French in would likely be dangerous. The emperor was willing to honor the obligations of their deal with the French but fervently believed that these decades of issues would resolve themselves in time. His son and heir, Crown Prince Sohyeon attempted to pressure his father to modernize, but the Emperor refused. Tensions bubbled beneath the surface with the two men, until eventually, Injo banished the Prince and his family. The Prince eventually found himself in France, after some time in China. In Paris he was exposed to western sciences and philosophies, eventually converting to Catholicism. King Louis XIV offered to restore the exiled Prince to his rightful throne numerous times, but Sohyeon refused them all. His son, Gyeongseon, was much more interested in the matter, but the boy was young and the French court would not raise a child to the throne of such a factional country.
Well this is a long one- Three thousand, one hundred seventy-four words covering all parts of the globe other than Oceania but I mean and plenty of time. Let me know what you guys think, please!
 
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