Friday, December 14, 2012

Hapburgian - Wartenburg Looms.

Kingdom of Hapburgia

For King Ferdinand the winter months had passed in extreme trying times. Hapburgia had lost the Bishopric of Ulrichstein in the war with Rechburg; the Duchy of Wartenburg had  rebelled and was now self styled as the Kingdom of Wartenburg. Within his own Kingdom there were increasing signs of discontent even of rebellion forming, as is usual with most rebellions they were fueld by fear or as a result of Papist propaganda.
The greatest schism of public opinion had occurred when the King took a Protestant wife as Queen, from that moment on acting on the secret dictates of the Iberian Pope many catholic clergymen preached the theme that their King was under the influence of a heretic witch, rebellion began to smolder in the hills and towns of Hapburgia.
As early spring brought warmth and growth to his Kingdom, it sent a chill down Ferdinand’s spine. He realised it was time he put aside the comforts of having a new wife and deal with ever deteriorating  situation in his Kingdom. The first steps undertaken were simply he was forced to deploy a third of his army within his own Kingdom just to quell any signs of rebellion. These units he placed under the command of Archduke Eugene, his younger brother. It was a gamble as his brother had already proved himself as an intriguer, but it was a chance he was forced to take, and it was a chance for Eugene to prove his loyalty.
Queen Caroline suggested that they take a small progress tour of the realm, so she could meet her new people and hopefully allay many of their fears; it was a suggestion fraught with many dangers as there were bound to be many extremists and agitators amongst the rebellious mobs. Initially fearful for his wife’s safety he refused to contemplate such a risky idea, eventually however she persisted and he gave way and they toured much of the Kingdom.
The tour was a great success, Caroline was tonic to many people in Hapburgia, it had been many years since there had been a Hapburgian Queen and many of the nobles fell under the charismatic spell of their new Queen.
Other changes also occurred, for the first time in hundreds of years Protestant churches began to appear in some of the towns and villages, at first the congregations would be small, but it was a sign of new religious tolerance, for others the fanatical minority no doubt it would  lead to the hardening of religious  intolerance.
Ferdinand enacted new laws and introduced new farming systems called the enclosure system which made land far more productive, selective animal breeding schemes would see the animal size and health improve. These were small starts and only time would show how effective they would become, but they were positive signs for his people. Trade was vastly improved with the new allies in Rechburg, Pomonia and Flensburg, products unseen for many years were once again readily available in the markets and village stalls.
Though these changes were sudden, they were effective in that the Kingdom passed from a low point of almost open rebellion in the winter to a growing acceptance of new changes and perhaps a more optimistic view point in its future.

Regardless of what Ferdinand was doing always in the back of his mind was the coming war with Wartenburg.
He had heard that King Juan of the Franconian Empire had openly come out in support of King Konstantin of Wartenburg, maybe even to the point of sending troops.
As Ferdinand stood in his office pondering the maps and orders of battle for his invasion of the rebellious province he knew he was about to cast the dice that could possibly blow Europia apart. If the reports were true and Franconia had come out in support of the Konstantin in Wartenburg, then Empires would be clashing, the first time in hundreds of years.
He heard a rustling behind him, his wife had quietly entered his office, he turned and took her hand, leading her to the window, they stood silently together just looking out on the gardens.

Charlotte knew Ferdinand was deeply troubled, there was little she could do to alleviate his worries, other than be there to support him. She glanced back at the maps on the table, knowing it was time that he settled the Wartenburg issue.
She hooked her arm through his and drew him closer, together they just stood, watching, waiting.

Slowly she let his arm go and stood before him, she did a twirl before him, all the while smiling, Ferdinand looked at her, he knew she was either teasing him yet again or showing off, sadly he was missing the point into regard which one is was.

“What is it, surely you not trying to woo me already, good god we have only been up a few hours?”

She never spoke just did a few more twirls and then went to him putting her arms around his neck.

He looked into her eyes, he had learnt that was a bad thing to do when one was trying to stay strong around her;
“What is my darling?”
She laughed and then said
“We are having a baby.”
Ferdinand stood transfixed to the spot, perhaps a more precise description would have been that he was frozen to the spot.
“What, how, I mean already.”
“Yes my darling already, the benefits of a woman having such a virile husband, is that these things happen sweetheart” she said as she planted a kiss on his lips.

She then gaily danced out of the room, Ferdinand still had not moved, he was looking at the door that she had just passed through, thinking to himself, good god if it’s not wars its babies.

A few days later Ferdinand left Hapburgia at the head of his army, the journey ahead was going to be difficult and he knew it would likely be months before he returned, the parting had not been easy but both he and Caroline knew it had to be done.

King Ferdinand lead five divisions of troops (3 Infantry and 2 Cavalry) through the mountain passes that separated Hapburgia from the Kingdom of Wartenburg, the first reports were the Wartenburg army was actually being led by his brother-in-law King Konstantin, it appeared the Wartenburgers were racing to concentrate at the border town of Hister, the same town Ferdinand’s army was moving on.

Kingdom of Wartenburg

For King Konstantin the winter had been an equally trying time. He had made the decision to declare his provinces’ rebellion from the Hapburgian Empire for as much personal safety as well as the prestige of finally becoming King.
The real difficulty had been negotiating support from Franconia, because he knew with Franconian support he had a chance, without it there was almost no chance his reign would be a long one. As it turned out King Juan I was readily agreeable to supporting him, on certain conditions and generally they meant the Kingdom of Wartenburg would become a client state, but in the world of big Empires and smaller realms sometimes just surviving as a smaller realm was enough; at least for now.

King Konstantin knew that the Hapburgian King (his brother-in-law) was having other possible rebellion troubles, he hoped, nay; prayed that they would increase and expand keeping the Hapburgians busy long enough for the Franconian Army to arrive in Wartenburg.
Sadly it didn’t happen, the rebellious crowds soon disappeared and the country settled down, so Konstantin then knew that in the spring the Hapburgian King would come to reclaim his province and Konstantin’s head.

The first signs of the Hapburgian move came when spies he had placed in the border mountain passes reported the Hapburgian army was concentrating on Konich, the reports indicated that it would only be a matter of weeks before they marched.
For Konstantin, the issue was fall back and wait, either for the Hapburgians or the Franconians, or to march and meet the Hapburgian as the emerged out of the mountain passes near Hister.

In the end he decided on a combination of both, he would meet the Hapburgians at Hister, bloody them and hopefully delay them a little, then he would retreat back to meet his new allies he knew were already crossing his western borders. The main danger for the Wartenburg King was that in engaging the Hapburgians early he would be out numbered two to one, that disadvantage however could be offset if he could reach the border mountain passes before the Hapburgians moved; there the numerical odds would not matter too much.

The focal point for his concentration was the town of Hister, unfortunately for King Konstantin the Hapburgians marched several weeks earlier than he expected and they too were heading for Hister, a meeting Engagement battle is sure to follow.


  1. Erm... Enclosures. That would have been a way for Ferdinand to ingratiate himself with the landed classes perhaps, buy not the bulk of the population. The problem with enclosures - the central plank, if you like of the Agricultural Revolution - is that it involved the wholesale theft of the Commons. Historically the leaders in this process were England and Hungary (the latter tending to specialise in wines). In both cases food and/or wine production was no doubt placed in the long run upon a more efficient and productive footing, but that was scant consolation for the huge numbers bereft of any kind of income from the land, even their very homes and villages being seized and enclosed...

    A lot of people believe that the Age of Revolutions that brought the Ancien Regime to an end led to the triumph of modern capitalism over the old feudal system. No. The feudal order had largely disappeared by 1789: only the vestiges remained. The revolutions I would be inclined to categorise as power struggles between Old wealth and New wealth - the usual sort of thing when new enterprises attempt to compete with well established ones.

    Now if, along with enclosures, Ferdinand attempted some kind of land reform that included peasants as potential landowners, he might get more popular traction. It would be a considerable juggling act, though. So far as I know, no monarch ever came close to achieving any such thing.

    I know I'm being picky, and sound like a Luddite. Actually, I have no quarrel with innovative social progress in principle. The problem I have is the lack of principle accompanying such projects. There is and was no excuse whatever for the suffering that gets visited upon the victims of social change.

  2. Hi Arch Duke

    In respect to the social situation the enclosure system is as you say to the benefit of the wealthy but from an agricultural system it paid huge systems and crop yield progressed significantly and for the first time allowed animals to be feed over winter by growing "beets" etc. Prior to this most animals were slaughtered and the meat salted because there was no significant way of feeding animals over the winter. Essentially the "farrow" system was an ideal summer method, but a disaster from a annual agricultural system.

    The fact that the animal breeding also was introduced at this time saw a huge increase in strong and healthy farm stock. It was a time of a agricultural revolution in some respects.

    There is no denying however the social aspects favoured the landed gentry, I prefer to think of my Ferdinand as a "Fred the Great" in that he was a innovator in improved systems but he was not a great social reformer when it came to the class system.

  3. Well, he's well on the way to getting the bourgeoisie on board, no question (it may well be your Ferdinand is more cognate to George III of England - Farmer George as he was - I guess affectionately - known). Frederick got away with it I think because Prussia came fairly late to the Ag Rev, with the Indust Rev coming close upon its heels in that country. In England and Hungary the AG Rev was well begun even in Tudor times. There was at least one 'peasant' revolt in the north of England in 1607, and you will recall that closely following upon the Great Rebellion in the 1640s in Great Britain, there were a number of small revolts involving the Levellers and the Diggers and the like. I think it was then was penned the couplet:
    'When Adam delved and Eve span,
    who then was the gentleman?'
    I like Ferdinand. He could at least abolish serfdom... :-/