History of Rechburg
Pre Role playing History of Rechburg
The Beginnings of the Herzogtum of Rechburg
The Margraftum of Rechburg was located in the North Western corner of Europia, in an area commonly known as the Heath Lands. It was in its beginnings a small principality within the Holy Hapburgian Empire. Created out of Imperial lands in 1423 by the Holy Hapburgian Emperor, the Margraftum of Rechburg was given to be ruled by one of the young Imperial favourites Margraf Christian Manfred.
A strong ruler and loyal to the Emperor, Margraf Christian slowly built Rechburg from its small and often unstable Barony to the point that after many decades under his rule the Margraftum developed into a strong supporter of the Holy Empire; only to break away from the Empire during the religious wars (1450- 1471).
Beginnings (1450 - 1618)
The Baron Christian Manfred of Rechburg was elevated in 1423 to that of Margraftum. Hans Keppler well known and respected historian and the Barons official biographer records that Baron Christian Manfred had been a loyal supporter and knight of the Holy Emperor for many years following his elevation, but when the Emperor took some of the Barons lands for one of his own sons, to create the Bishopric of Ulrichstein the Baron ceased being the staunch loyalist for the Emperor. Keppler claims that from the point of the creation of the Bishopric of Ulrichstein it was simply a matter of time before the breach became formal.
A series of religious wars were to break out in Europia during the early 15th century. Advocates of the new Christian philosophy the “Protestants” were originally centred in the Duchy of Pomonia. The Catholic church via the Holy Emperor began to put pressure on the ruler of Pomonia Duke Alexander to squash this new faction which seemed to threaten the stability and power of the Catholic church. However rather than destroying the new religion Duke Alexander embraced it, even creating a new University in Wittenberg to teach and study the dictates of Protestantism. In 1458 the Holy Emperor sent a large military force into Pomonia to destroy and crush the Protestant church, one of the Imperial leaders to join the Holy Emperor was Baron Christian Manfred of Rechburg.
However within months of joining the Emperor in his new “crusade” the Baron recognized this was the opportunity he sought to make his breach with the Imperial Empire and he withdrew his support and then joined Duke Alexander in supporting the new faction. The Breach came when Imperial “Inquisitors” massacred several Protestant priests by burning in a large field of chamomile, one of the Priests was the son in law of Baron Manfred, the war that followed went down in history as the Chamomile wars.
Following the Barons example Duke Dieter Schwerin of the Duchy of Flensburg also broke away from the Imperial fold and allied with the Protestant cause. With what had started out as destroying a small religious faction now spread to a full blown war of northern Europia, it was to continue for several decades until the Peace treaty of Bernburg in 1471.
The result of these religious wars was that the Imperial hold over northern and Central Europia was unequivocally broken and the eventual rise of the Princes of Europia was to begin.
The initial protagonists in the war were the Prince of Pomonia, the Duke of Flensburg, and the Baron of Rechburg, later other northern leaders were to join the cause, the King of Hollandaise and the Elector of Danemark who later in the war changed once again sides once again back to supporting the Holy Emperor.
After being severely wounded in the battle of Dampier, the Baron returned home a disillunisioned man. He realised that battles and massacres were never likely to change the hearts and minds of the faithful regardless of which faith they followed.
Though the Knights of Rechburg continued fighting under Count Languet Baron Manfred returned home and was to spend his last years mediating a peace between the Catholics and the protestant leaders, ultimately he was successful in 1470 in finally arranging peace talks and in 1471 the Treaty of Bernburg was signed. For his efforts at mediation the Baron was elevated to Margraf of Rechburg and his lands obviously becoming the Margraftum of Rechburg.
Margraftum Christian Manfred of Rechburg was to die in 1478, leaving the Margraftum to his son Margraf Peter I of Rechburg.
Peter I was 28 years old, he was considered a conservative and kindly ruler, his 30 years of reign were without a doubt one of the high points for the developments of the arts and culture in the history of Rechburg. His rule was one of the most enduring and stable reigns in Rechburg history.
Margraf Peter I died in 1508, he in turn was succeeded by his son Margraf Peter II who was 21 years old on his succession.
During a visit to Pomonia in 1510 Peter II was introduced to the new professor of religion Martin Wrede of the University of Wittenberg, He was greatly impressed by the Protestant academic, so much so Peter sent his son Michael to attend the university of Wittenberg where he became a firm Protestant supporter.
In 1538 Margraf Peter II died, during his reign Margraf Peter II was responsible for the building of canals and the establishment of many of the irrigation schemes in Rechburg. However his greatest achievements will undoubtedly be the development of trade and commerce under his rule.
Apart from his interest in agriculture Peter II was equally determined that the Margraftum of Rechburg would become a large and successful trading nation. He personally financed several of the expeditions to find new territories, sadly not all of them overly successful. Trade with the Balik nations (The Kingdoms on the north coasts of the Balik Sea) became important to Rechburg, particularly in Baltic Pine and ore, in return Rechburg began exporting its produce and industrial products into the Balik region notably to the Kingdom of Swabia. The trade was becoming very successful and in many cases the Rechburg traders were able to secure certain monopolies, as a result this new expansion of the Rechburg trading enterprises the entire Magraftum's economy expanded rapidly.
To complement his trading ships as well as securing Rechburg trade, Peter II had also created the first Rechburg navy. The need for a navy became paramount when Rechburg began trading with Gurania; the Iberian navy (At that time the only other power trading with Gurania) attempted to intercept the Rechburg trading ships in an attempt to maintain their monopoly of trade with resource rich region Gurania.
Peter II was succeeded by his son Michael in 1538. Margraf Michael of Rechburg was to follow in his father’s footsteps; Margraf Michael openly encouraged the Protestant religion both within his own territory as well as throughout Europia. This course of action particularly of “exporting” Protestantism to Catholic dominated Europia was to bring Rechburg into conflict with many Imperial houses, not the least being the Duchy of Danemark which had gone back to being a Imperial supporter and the Duchy of Bergatonia which had always been a fanatical supporter of the Catholic faith.
In 1583 Margraf Michael died and he was succeeded by his son Constantine I. It was Constantine I that was to become the first real martial ruler of Rechburg, very much in the footsteps of his great-great grandfather Margraftum Christian Manfred of Rechburg.
Constantine instituted the first real permanent Rechburg Army, even by the early 17th century having a small standing army of several regiments.
The Northern War (1618-1648)
In the 17th century the Kingdom of Danemark (now having been raised in the Imperial ranks for returning to the Catholic fold by a grateful Emperor )using the benefits of their strategic position in owning the straits into the Balik sea introduced oppressive trade duties, these tariffs were imposed on shipping passing through the straits seriously impeding the Swadish trade with the Northern Sea.
The heavy fees equally frustrated both the Margraf of Rechburg and Brittania, both of whom were starting to see real benefits of their trade with the Balik states in particular the Kingdom of Swadia. As a result of the ever increasing trade the Margraftum of Rechburg joined an alliance with the Kingdom of Swadia. It was during this period that the King of Danemark with support and influence from the Hapburgian Empire finally decided that with Swadia heavily involved in a war with the Tsarist Empire it could begin to exert its influence over the north Europia States. The King Christian of Danemark made ever increasing demands that Rechburg withdraw from the alliance with the Kingdom of Swadia which it considered a direct threat upon itself.
The King of Danemark also began to attempt to exert some authority over the neutral city of Eggsburg. The neutrality of Eggsburg was vital for the commercial relations for many principalities in northern Europia, however with a hostile Danemark controlling the entrance to the Balik Straits and now they had designs on the other main trading route through northern Europia – the city of Eggsburg.
By May 1643 Danemark’s heavy-handed proceedings convinced the Swadian council of state to declare war on the Kingdom of Danemark, they also ordered General Tortoenstein to break off his victorious campaigns against the Tsarist Empire and to turn against Danemark.
In a lightening march through Pomonia General Tortoenstein struck back against the Danemarkian Army that was pushing the Pomonian army back eastwards, his army exhausted after its 600-mile march arrived to face the Danemarkians at Oise in Central Flensburg.
It was at this time that Margraf Constantine I of Rechburg declared war on the Kingdom of Danemark. This declaration only came after continued Danemarkian harassment of Rechburg trade on the Elbe combined interference in Rechburg internal affairs. The final straw came in 1618 when a Rechburg convoy of 3 unarmed trading ships travelling from Gurania and in the Northern Sea were attacked by ships of the Danemark Navy, all the ships and most of the crews were lost.
The Kingdoms of Brittania and Swadia were so concerned over the brazen Danemark naval attacks that they assured Margraf Constantine I that should he go to war against the Kingdom of Danemark Rechburg would receive military support from both nations.
Meanwhile the Swadish General Tortoenstein drove his army against the Danemark Army occupying Flensburg territory; the Swadian and Danemark forces fought a major though inconclusive battle at Oise. Meanwhile at the same time as the Battle of Oise was being fought a Rechburg/Swadian Fleet gained a victory over the Danemark Navy in the Northern Sea. This Naval Battle was instrumental in breaking the Damemarkian dominance over the Northern Sea and to a lesser extent the Balik Sea.
All these gains seemed threatened however, when the Danemarkian General Galla recalled from retirement gathered a strong fresh army to march against Tortoenstein who was in Boisenburg trying to rest his exhausted army as well as gathering reinforcements. Initially the larger Danemarkian Army led by General Galla defeated Tortoenstein who withdrew back towards Boisenburg. The Rechburg Army lead by Constantine himself joined the Swadian Army at the Battle of Boisenburg; the Rechburg attack came at a vital time and place by attacking the Danemarkian Army in the rear thereby ensuring its total destruction during the battle of Boisenburg.
In the peace of Eggsburg (25th August 1645) Swadia’s access to Western Europe was secured and the Margraf of Rechburg was rewarded by very favourable trade agreements with both Brittania and Swadia, the Margraf Constantine I was granted the title of Herzog Constantine, Rechburg now becoming the Herzogtum von Rechburg.
International treaties ensured the continuation of the Herzogtum von Rechburg and its heredity line of rulers.
From 1645 until the turn of the century Europia itself was relatively peaceful, however internationally the Major powers became embroiled in Colonial wars, these small scale wars though outside the scope of this saga were in later years to involve the smaller realms of Europia.
OFF MAP DOMINANT NATIONS
Kingdom of Franconia
(Some elements of the Hapburgian Empire are on map:
Kingdom of Vandahalla
Off map and belonging to the Hapburgian Empire is the Hungorian Kingdom, which is in the south east of the Map.
In the beginning of the 17th century the western world was controlled by five large Empires, these Empires started geographically quite close to each other. They each generally expanded outwards with a general tendency to colonise those areas yet to be explored and exploited. This outward expansion helped prevent too many wars in the area where the Empires were close to each other; the one area where all Empires bordered each other was on the continent of Europia. Wars did occur occasionally between Empires on Europia, but they had a tendency to stagnate until victory was achieved elsewhere in one of the colonies.
Gurania was a mineral rich continent in the southern Hemisphere, it was tropical and generally the people were a mixture of Europians who had mainly be driven from their lands because of the religious wars, there were also a warlike race of Indians though they were few in number.
Initially the Iberian Empire began to colonise Gurania, but with the discovery of so many and abundant riches such as Gold, diamonds, cotton and silks it was inevitable that it would draw the other powers to it as well. The Colonisation of Gurania started peacefully enough, the only wars tended to be between settlers and natives, however in in 1671 Emperor Carlos of the Iberian Empire laid claim to all of Gurania and backed his claim by transferring thousands of troops to the continent.
In response the settlements occuppied non Iberians formed their own Militia's and sent pleas of assistance to the various Europian Powers, thus the colonial struggle for Guriania was started.
The Gurania war was fought in the later stages of the 17th century (1672- 1680). The war involved the Brittanic Empire, the Franconia Empire and the Iberian Empire. The Wars in Gurania lasted 8 years and all three Empires suffered huge losses of men not the least through disease, eventually the peace treaty of Concordia was concluded in which Gurania split into three regions, each was governed by one of the Empires.
Though the Gurania wars were an isolated conflict in a relatively peaceful century, it was to lay the seeds for the later wars of Europia. The reason for this was all 3 empires expended huge amounts of money and resources in fighting the war, a war which almost bankrupted all three but in particular the Franconian Empire.
The peace treaty of Gurania was unsatisfactory to all the major powers, as none had enough control over the resources to recover the financial loss in fighting for them, but worse; the greed of the Imperial leaders had shaken the foundations of their home Empires.
Following the Gurania war the Franconian Empire was financially destitute and was further severely affected by the droughts of 1680-1683. The results were The Franconian Government raised heavy taxes to recover the losses of the war. The addition of a severe drought lasting several years and a plague outburst that ravaged the entire continen meant Franconia sank into a great depression. The deaths of many thousands of Franconian people due to starvation during the droughts and plague drove many Peasants to revolt, the worst region affected was in the Valois Province, it took King Louis Xth a year to put that rebellion down, once again it was at great loss in manpower.
Then in 1686 the Franconian nobles suffering heavily under the heavy taxes finally decided to revolt against King Louis Xth. By far the worst revolts were in the Northern provinces. This time two of the strongest Franconian Noble families, the Medicis family whose lands were in the northern regions of Franconia in the province of Neider. The other family was the Caussin family based in Bergatonia a province in northern Franconia and east of Neider.
These two families rose up in revolt in 1686 and the Northern Franconian revolt was fought for 18 months, unfortunately for King Louis Xth’s Government the Nobles revolt was the straw that broke the camels back. Their country was still recovering from the previous decades of wars, revolts and starvation, the Franconian Royal army suffered several defeats by the rebels and the Government was already in dire financial crisis so the King was finally forced to a very unpalatable peace, one in which gave birth to the Duchy of Neider and the Duchy of Bergatonia.
The Franconian Empire was not the only Empire to suffer severely in the later parts of the 17th Century. The Britannic Empire also one of combatants in the Guranian war was equally badly affected by the severe loss of people in the same droughts that ravaged all of Europia. Britannia was a smaller nation than Franconia with a much smaller population base; it was however agriculturally more advanced so the droughts had a less severe effect on its people than those in Franconia.
Britannia was also on a considerably stronger financial footing (as a result of recoinage and the introduction of the Bank of Brittania as well as the introduction of National Debt) so was able to survive the economic disasters of the 1680’s a little better than Franconia, particularly because they were able to import vital food from their colonies. Where Britannia suffered most severely was in the huge loss of manpower thanks to the Gurania wars in which the army suffered 65% losses.
The opposition parties in Brittania were largely successful in forcing the Brittanic Government to reach a hasty conclusion to the Gurania war. Not long after the conclusion of that war the same plague that ravaged the Europian continent struck Brittania and many thousands of people lost their lives.
Whilst Brittania survived economically better than Franconia, it suffered severly with the loss of so many people in particular a generation of young men that should have been in the fields or in the military.
The Royal Brittanic navy survived the loss of personal, but only at the expense of the army. Many of the battalions and regiments were paid off, while many of the rank and file were impressed into the navy to replace losses. It was estimated by 1690 the Brittanic Army was half the size of a decade earlier. It was not uncommon to see the farms of Brittania being worked by the elderly and very young simply because of the deaths of so many young men.
The Brittanic Government was forced to demobilise much of the army so as to return men back to industry and agriculture. The government had decided it was more important to protect maritime trade than to maintain a larger standing army, besides Prime Minister Lunsdon argued they could hire mercenaries from their continental ally Rechburg easier than trying to maintain a large army.
With such a small military the Brittanic Government spent the last decades of the 17th century doing all they could to prevent becoming involved in any wars; initially this seemed a particularly difficult task when the Franconian Revolt occurred. Both the rebels of Bergonia and Neider approached the Brittanic Government for help, on all occasions their pleas were refused. Despite a policy of non-involvement by the Britannic Government the Franconian court consistently accused Britannia of supplying the Rebels with arms and finance. Accusations which were later proved unfounded. This tense situation almost escalated into a new Brittanic/Franconian war when the Britannic merchant ship “Mary” was seized in international waters by the Franconian navy. It was later discovered that Franconia had had been duped by deliberate false intelligence from Iberia that the “Mary” was carrying Britannic arms to the rebels, but when this was found to be untrue the Franconian Government was forced to release the ship. This meant that there was a very strong under-lying tension in the Britannic- Franconian diplomatic relations leading into the new 18th century, it also meant a further loss of prestige for the Franconian throne.
There were further tensions in the Northern Sea when the Kingdom of Danemark raised tariffs for maritime trade through the Danemark Straits to the Kingdoms that bordered the Balik sea, Kingdoms that traded heavily with Brittania; in particular the Kingdom of Swadia.
The Iberian Empire was the third combatant in the Guranian wars, off the three Empires involved in Gurania the Iberians came out of the conflict in a much stronger situation than the other two. The Iberian Empire did suffer through the same droughts as the other two and financially they were badly affected, however the droughts were less severe in the southern regions of Europia where the base of the Iberian Empire lay.
The Iberians in fact were very quick to take advantage of civil unrest in Franconia; they became secretly involved in the Northern Franconian revolt when they supplied arms to the Bergonian rebels. It was the Iberian spy master Ferdinand Cordoba who master minded the incident that almost drove Franconia and Brittania to war.
The Iberian Government was to become very involved in the establishment of the two new Duchies Bergatonia and Neider, they had a greater success in ensuring indirect influence over the Bergotonian Government then they did of the Neider Government.
Following the Franconian revolt the Duchy of Neider drew back closer to the Franconian influence while the Duchy of Bergonia almost became an Iberian puppet. The Iberians then set their eyes on the northern neighbour of Bergonia, the Herzogtum von Rechburg.
In respect to Rechburg however the Iberian Government was very wary of the Rechburg’s ally Brittania, thus they prepared to play the long game in undermining the relationship between these two countries.
Hapburgia had been involved in decades of war with the Tsarist Empire; by 1690 both Empires were exhausted by constant wars as well as the plague which had originated within the Tsarist Empire.
In 1690 the Treaty of Solana ensured that both Empires could draw back from war and try to recover. The war had lasted 20 years and had not gone well for the Hapburgian Empire, so the peace offer from the Tsarists was an opportune moment to draw breath from continuous conflict.
It also offered opportunities elsewhere, the Emperor had discovered Imperial intrigue as a means of diplomacy. This meant it was not necessary to become actively involved in large wars to gain dominance on Europia, a goal that had been the catchword for all Hapburgian Emperors. By using the subtle method of intrigue, the Hapburgians hoped to gain much at he expense of little.
Emperor Charles I had seen how severely weakened Europia had been ravaged by drought and plague and while his own country may be war weary as well he could still take advantage of Europia’s weakened state. Within the framework of the Imperial Hapburgian Empire he had available two client Realms. The first ruled by the very ambitious King Joachim Friedrich of the Kingdom of Vandahalla who owed the throne of Vandahalla to the Emperor’s favour. There was also Prince Eugene of the Grand Duchy of Wartenburg who was his son in law, both would willingly act on his behalf in the hope of extending the size of their respective realms. There were other realms he could use if necessary, as part of the Imperial and ecclesiastical fold he could call upon the Bishoprics of Eifentol and Ulrichstein, but these were less reliable and very weak, but none the less they were valuable pawns in Imperial ambitions.
The Tsarist Empire was just as war weary as Hapburgia, the wars of 1670-1690 had been advantageous to the Empire but they had come at a huge financial cost, Tsar Gregor had realised that he needed time to pause and recover. Especially troublesome to him were the Asiatic Hordes that were once again threatening to invade his eastern borders, the treaty of Solana gave him time to recover and prepare to face the Hordes once again or if need be to continue the wars for Solana against the Hapburgian Empire.