Henry IXth (The Great.), 1594 - 1662
by Dave Holmes
Long recognised as one of the greatest monarchs the united kingdoms of England and Scotland has produced this was a man seemingly destined from birth to be one of the great movers and shakers of history.
Born in Scotland (19th February 1594) at Stirling castle, the son of James VI of Scotland and Anne of Denmark. He was christened at midsummer and it is said that the central event in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written shortly after, is based on the royal baptismal party.
His father had high expectations of his eldest and in 1598 wrote the "Basilikon Doron" (Royal Gift) Giving guidelines as to how a successful monarch should rule his subjects.
(1594) Henry Stuart born, immediately given titles Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Lord of the Isles, confirming him in the highest of Scottish titles.
(1603) Elizabeth 1st dies and James VI becomes James 1st of England. James confirms Henry as Duke of Cornwall.
(1605) Gunpowder plot.
(1610) Henry confirmed as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. Bringing the titles together of every male monarch who has subsequently held the throne of Britain. During this time Henry also befriended Sir Walter Raleigh as well as establishing a correspondence with Henry VI of France and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Though when his father suggested a French marriage, he answered that he was 'resolved that two religions should not lie in his bed’.
(1611) King James Bible published.
(1612POD) In November Henry decides to take an unseasonable swim in the Thames, subsequently contracts typhoid and was only saved by the intervention of his friend Sir Walter who despite being in the Tower of London procured some Quinine to break the fever. (OTL Henry dies and Charles became the successor)
(1612 – 1625) During this time Henry added to his increasing popularity by living a fairly austere protestant lifestyle (as opposed to the decadence of the Jacobean court) championing such causes as naval reform and reconstruction, and with an eye to the future,
Colonisation especially of Virginia, as well as encouraging various "troublemaking" protestant sects to set up their own colonies in the new world. He also interceded with his Father to stay the execution of his friend and mentor Sir Walter Raleigh. It was during this time that Henry was betrothed in Marriage to Maria Elisabet of Sweden daughter of Charles IX and his second wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp. The marriage was ostensibly a happy one, though rumours abounded of internal strife between the young couple. Though an initial Friendship with Henry IV of France’s son Louis XIII had been established, this relationship became strained over the years as the influence of Louis mother and her protégé Cardinal Richeleiu dominated Louis life. Henry also became famous for chivalry and his patronage of artists, architects, and men of letters seemed to promise that the reign would be potential golden age for Britain. His friendship with various members of Parliament (Despite James having dissolved it) and his preparedness to listen to reason even if it went against his views frequently brought him into strife with his father. It is thought that at this time that Henry’s later reforms of Parliament and taxation were formulated by his discussions and friendship with William Cavendish, John Byron and the lawyer John Bradshaw, though his knowledge of Robert Cecil’s "Great contract" undoubtedly played a part.
(1618) Henry and Maria’s first child a son James Alexander born.
(1619) Charles married to Elisabeth von Nassau-Siegen.
(1621) Henry and Maria’s second child, a son Robert William born.
(1624) Charles wife dies in childbirth as does the child a daughter.
(1625) Saw the death of James 1st of England, a man who started off in great popularity with the English but who’s actions over the years (His most cherished ambition – the union of England and Scotland – was thwarted by Parliament, who objected to James's wish to rename the joint realm 'Britain'. To Parliament, a new name meant a new kingdom in which James would be free to set himself up as an absolute emperor. In contrast, Parliament would be a mere provincial assembly.
James's reaction was to try to enact the Union symbolically, using his own powers under the royal prerogative. By proclamation he assumed the title 'king of Great Britain'. He then announced a new union currency, royal coat of arms and flag.
Not content with symbols, he also practiced a union by stealth by filling his bedchamber, the inner circle of his court, almost exclusively with Scots. James took a more than fatherly interest in Scots lads with well-turned legs and firm buttocks, but recruiting them also suited him politically.
James had inherited a substantial debt from Elizabeth. He also had a large family to maintain and wanted to spend money on his favourites and pleasures. The crown's 'ordinary income' from land and custom duties was hopelessly inadequate, and there was no choice but to ask Parliament for more money. But Parliament saw no reason why tax payers' money should end up in the pockets of Scots favourites.)
Upon his accession, in 1625 Henry was crowned despite Parliaments objections as King of Britain. However one of his first acts as King was to assemble Parliament to sort out the Royal finances and despite his inclination towards the divine right of Kings Henry accepted a modified version of the Great Contract allowing his household an income of £250,000 per annum. In return Henry gave up his feudal privileges and despite the occasional bouts of acrimony a working relationship (of sorts) was established. Indeed Parliament saw the need to strengthen the Kingdom both militarily and financially and with the support of the King looked for means to increase commerce and trade in order to pay for naval and military reconstruction.
At this time Henry also dismissed all of James 1st’s favourites from the court including George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham a man whom he distrusted greatly and whom he had prevented inveigling his dying father into declaring war on Spain. Removing several of his titles in the process. Henry appointed the capable John Pym to represent him in France in negotiations with Cardinal Richelieu over concerns with the Huguenot Protestants currently in revolt at La Rochelle in France. This Pym managed successfully, despite his disdain for Catholicism allowing an earlier Huguenot exodus to England and Ireland with a corresponding transfer of dissidents in return. The resulting gain to the English and Irish economies further boosted Henry’s attempts to revitalize Britain. Henry also appointed Thomas Wentworth, as his president of the Council of the North after dismissing Emmanuel Scrope, Earl of Sunderland from his position for suspected Catholic sympathies. Henry although like his father being tolerant of other faiths was determined always to have control over the organizations that controlled them. Henry was also able to recruit Ernst Von Mansfeldt to advise him on military affairs. This after Maria had persuaded him not to get involved in funding a Danish attempt to seize the Palatinate.
(1626) Henry appoints his brother Charles to represent the "King" at the Scottish Parliament. This was meant to free Charles from his entanglements with extreme Protestant groups and isolate him from various influences within the royal court. All this led to was Charles coming under the influence of James’ old cabal including Buckingham who resented their loss of influence (and wealth) within the "British" court.
(1627) Henry and Maria’s third child, a daughter Christina Elizabeth born. The labour was difficult and the subsequent fever left Maria barren and prone to bouts of weakness though she still remained her husbands enduring love. It was at this time that Henry horrified at the actions of the doctors actively started to seek out "Men of knowledge, science and the arts" It was his desire to see his kingdom as a shining beacon of light and progress.
(1628) By now Henry had consolidated his position as Monarch in England, though still struggling to sort out the nations finances to his satisfaction (and advantage) In order to increase his influence, Henry proposed to Parliament a review of the Magna Carta with a view to "expanding the influence of the realm in its dealings with all good men." Henry’s main thoughts at the time according to his chronicler were towards increasing the size of Parliament by including new boroughs as well as denuding Parliament of its rotten ones (and increasing his influence by patronage). He immediately faced opposition in the form of Robert Devereaux 3rd Earl of Essex, a man who had been married to Frances Howard, countess of Suffolk, in 1606, but was divorced by James I so that she could marry his favourite. A man who hated the Stuarts with a passion. Devereaux’s first act was to gather up like minded men in an attempt to limit the Kings power and to tie him to Parliaments tail by causing Henry to dissolve Parliament as his father had and forment dissent within the country. By constant thwarting of debate by means of gerrymandering and prevarication all Devereaux managed to do was isolate himself and his followers from the moderates within Parliament who wanted reform. Henry himself spent little time debating, being a man of action he was currently using his new wealth to support and finance endeavours abroad as well as having the keels laid of a new generation of warships. Preferring to leave debate in the hands of his confidants William Cavendish, John Byron and the lawyer John Bradshaw. At length though Parliament produced a set of proposals to which the King felt himself able to give assent too.
The main proposals were:
No taxes to be levied without consent of Parliament
No subject to be imprisoned without cause (this reaffirmed the right of habeas corpus)
Enfranchisement of all men having a value in property of over £1000.
Constituency reform in that all voting boroughs shall have an equal number of voters.
Parliament to be increased to represent the new enfranchises.
At this time Parliament agreed to properly finance the King in order to expand the Navy, in return the King would give up his right to the Sea Tax, Knights tax and various other means monarchs had used to obtain additional income without recourse to Parliament.
Parliament also allowed Henry the tonnage and poundage (customs) income to be allocated towards the navy.
(1629) With a guaranteed income from the state to meet the needs of his modest court and economic growth within the country Henry’s mind was turned to what he saw as the greatest threat to the internal peace of the realm, religion. Though a devout protestant believer himself, Henry had become alarmed over the years at the treatment of other fine men who had other beliefs, indeed he was aware of the possibilities of this treatment driving them into the arms of those extremists who wanted a Catholic takeover.
Yet the Protestants had very good reason to fear foreign Catholic powers and their influence.
In the 1550’s Bloody Mary had burned nearly 300 Protestants.
The Spanish Inquisition was still a force to be reckoned with abroad. 1560, The Spanish Duke of Alva had massacred Protestant civilians in the Netherlands.
1573, The St Bartholemew Massacre in Paris where Catholics had murdered 5000 Protestants in cold blood.
1558, There was the Spanish Armada and Elizabeth herself had dealt with several Catholic plots against her.
There was still the Catholic churches threat to recover all the land stolen from them by Henry 8th.
Indeed his own father had been the subject of the Gunpowder plot. So the fears were very real.
Henry called a conclave of religious leders to discuss the issues involved hoping for a solution as he himself resolved to make Britain so tough a nut to crack that foreign adventurism would be looked at as an act of desperation by the Catholic superstates of France or Spain.
(1630)The conclave held in York was currently stalemated, often resulting in brawls between various factions and churchmen, that no-one had died was more the result of Henry’s royal guards searching the attendees for edged weapons than any act of God. Many of the Puritan representatives had threatened to boycott the conclave when they were made aware of the need to include some Roman Catholic laymen. Only a personal appeal by the King and Queen brought them unwillingly to the debate.
The first of the new naval craft built by Henry took to sea, looked upon as the most heavily armed ship of its type in the world its duties were to patrol the English channel to deal with various pirates and slavers operating in the area. Others were near completion and would be used to extend British influence both around the islands and in the new world.
(1631) The "Great Conclave" finally yielded results, though they were not to anyone’s great satisfaction they produced a compromise most could live with. The most controversial was the call for a "Freedom of Religion" whereby no man could be forced to worship in a manner he found not to his taste. This would essentially mean that Roman Catholicism would be tolerated again (Though not loved) The Puritan influence within Anglicanism was salved by moves to unite with Lutheranism (The puritans being essentially patriarchal never the less had a great admiration for Henry’s Queen and her "Simple piety") There was recognition too for such groups as the Quakers and other dissident religious organisations. The downside from Henry’s point of view was that the conclave concluded that he could no longer be the head of Gods church in England. This meant in essence that he was being asked to hand over to the church various religious properties he still held in trust as its head. The downside from Parliaments view was the conclave asking them to remove the laws requiring mandatory attendance at an Anglican church. Not that removing a law was difficult, but because of the rancorous debate that followed on the "probable decline in moral standards." The one thing all agreed upon was the conclaves statement that "All men must come to God, though it is to the weakness of man that God has provided many paths in His church. Yet all good men must be subject to the laws of this land and its King seeking not to undermine that which is good and proper." And so it was decided, church and state must separate. As later historians put it, "It was not easy and it was not immediate and were it not for Henry’s decision to allow free transport to the new world for those who could not live in peace together then the circumstances which followed would have been so much worse."
Britain’s fleet at this time had now increased to 60 ships of the line, 10 of which were the new type based on the "Sovereign of the Seas" with a further 15 under construction.
At this time Henry and Parliament also made major investments in the New World, expanding the colonies and building two new shipyards and ship repair facilities. At this time also the colonists came into conflict with those of New France and New Holland a low key war of raid and counter raid commenced with both sides picking off each others outposts and shipping. The British colonists however had the advantage of numbers and infrastructure as their King and Parliament had been encouraging growth and industry in their lands since before he became King.
(1632) France however had other plans for dealing with Britain and its upstart people. Henry’s spies in the French court had gotten wind of plans to invade Ireland. Though this was a ruse to take Henry’s eye off what was about to happen in Scotland. It did mean that the British navy was out in strength around the Irish coast when the real plan was sprung.
Charles his brother under the influence of various Scottish and English nobles, fearful of losing their influence and power was crowned King of Scotland in Stirling. Bankrolled by France and promised French troops in support many (Though not a majority) in Scotland rallied to his side seeking independence. To add to Henry’s woes, the Devereaux uprising began with Essex and Kentish militias seeking to free the counties of pernicious foreign influences (Huguenots) forced on them by the King.
The British Civil war has begun.
(1632) Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex and now rebel against the crown was a seasoned military commander and Parliamentarian, having served 3 times abroad in the Bohemian rebellion and war of the Palatinate (OTL 30 years war). His distaste for the House of Stuart stemming from losing his wife, Frances Howard, countess of Suffolk, in 1606, in divorce by James I so that she could marry his favourite, had hardened into hatred over what he saw as the betrayal of the Palatinate by the refusal of Henry to support any foreign adventures during the time of national rebuilding. Gathering together various disgruntled and ambitious nobles, many who were facing financial ruin due to the inflation of James 1st’s reign by having fixed rents on their land tenants along with poor investments abroad. Taking advantage of a poorly organised local rebellion in Essex and Kent against the Huguenots, Devereaux gathered an army with the intent of marching on London and restoring England’s rightful place in the world. Many historians have argued over the years just what Devereaux’s intentions actually were, was he a republican or just a usurper no one, not even Devereaux seemed to know for sure. Many of the nobles and their personal retinues fighting for Devereaux seemed to have their own agenda, though all seemed to agree this "Merchant" King must go. The Rebellion in Scotland seemed perfect for them to get what they wanted and divide up the spoils after. Unfortunately for them Charles in Scotland’s seeming indecision after taking the Scottish crown (He was in fact waiting for French reinforcements) left them first to face Henry.
Henry however had his own problems, the calling out of the various militias to face Charles and Devereaux was not going well. Though having many loyal supporters, there were also many who had decided to sit on the fence, deciding that a problem in Scotland was not their problem. So it took several months for Henry to assemble a force of 10,000 men to face Devereaux and his 8,000 in Essex.
Henry’s chronicler noted the Kings reactions to the march to face Devereaux. "His majesty is not amused by the damage to his kingdom that the militias perform. Theft, arson, rape, and murder seem to follow in the wake of the armies billeting on the roads to find the rebels. The noble commanders seem to have no control over their men. Indeed many seem not to know where their men are."
Devereaux led the King a merry dance with his army never engaging until finally some weeks after the Kings army set off, a tired, cold, hungry and increasingly rebellious army faced up to Devereaux’s rested and ready army.
The battle of Braintree (September 1632) was a victory for the Royal forces, however to Henry as recorded by his chronicler it was at best a draw, with fortuitous circumstances at the end. Both sides faced each other on each side of a small valley with mixed musketeer and pikemen regiments to the fore, cavalry on the wings and heavy cannon to the rear. At 11:am the Royal army advanced to engage the centre of the rebels only to find their advance studded by caltrops causing their squares to break formation. Devereax having more heavy cavalry swung around them to outflank the foot soldiers only to face Henry’s artillery and cavalry reserve, a general melee ensued. During which Henry attempted to extricate his mixed musket and pikemen. It was at this stage that Devereax’s cavalry broke through to engage the Royal party itself. Henry was only saved by a small troop of volunteer cavalry from Huntingdon led by a small landowner named Oliver Cromwell throwing themselves into the fray and allowing Henry’s men to seek safety within the regiments of foot. Seeing the disarray his army was facing Henry determined to go down fighting. Removing his lower armour (quite a feat in itself) he moved his Royal guard to the front of the regiment, had his royal banner unfurled and sounded the advance. To the astonishment of Devereaux the entire front line of Henry’s army followed their king into the face of a torrent of artillery and musket, not marching but advancing at a run. Seeing the royal banner and the maddened Royals bearing down upon them the rebels despite seemingly looking like winning the day broke and fled. Devereaux himself was carried off the field by his personal guard cursing and struggling and eventually ended up joining the Army of Charles in Scotland having set sail from Ipswich. Many of the rebel officers were cut down by their own men as they made vain attempts to rally them. Others though abandoned their men and fled north to join Charles, some making it, but many caught and hung by loyalist sheriffs as they tried to avoid Henry’s men’s wrath.
The aftermath was quite as bad as Henry thought; He’d lost over 3000 men with more sure to die from their wounds. Henry himself had lost the tip of an ear though he had no recollection how. The rebels however had dissolved, losing somewhere in the region of 2500 men though the majority having scattered back to wherever they came from and weren’t to be a threat again, though the area suffered from brigandage for a number of years after.
Henry’s further thoughts on the matter are well known. His next move was to request Parliament to finance a standing army, with a properly organised commissary to stand in defence of the realm. He also offered royal commissions to one John Mc Gregor to sort out the Kings Highways to a standard fit to march an army over. Mc Gregor had approached the King years before with such a proposal using a cut stone base with crushed gravel for road surfacing graded to a constant size of chippings (Similar to Roman roads). This the king had put on the back burner for years, simply not having the means to finance it. This Parliament agreed to finance using the seized holdings of the "Traitors" along with captured prisoners to actually do the work. Although Henry was never able to march to war over such a road, within 10 years the travel times in Britain had been cut by 2/3rds.
Henry also commissioned a survey of Britains coastal defenses with the long term view of keeping the Islands secure. Other measures taken were the building of "Manned light-towers" to guide shipping into the harbours of the realm safe from rocks and shoals. A request to Jeremiah Horrocks to see if any improvements on spyglasses could be made. William Harvey was also asked to see to the setting up of an army corp of surgeons. Many great scientists were also moving to Britains universities attracted by Henry’s support of the sciences, including Johann Baptista van Helmont, William Oughtred, Hans Janssen; and his son, Zacharias. Who brought with them their first crude microscope.
Further honours went to Oliver Cromwell, knighted on the field of battle and given the title of Earl of Essex for saving the Kings life. He and the King became fast friends, Henry liking the mans practical turn of mind. Allowed him, Sir Thomas Fairfax and Ernst Von Mansfeld to build and standardise the "New British Army." It was Cromwell who solved the age old problem of pikemen sawing off the last 2 foot of pike to make carrying it easier by introducing a socketed pike that could be split in half for transport. It was Mansfeld who oversaw the introduction of a socket bayonet to fix onto the New Armies flintlocks giving them defense as well as the ability to reload and fire. Both Musketeers and pikemen were given a steel helmet as well as a steel frontplate. No backplate was supplied, the reasoning being that this army would never retreat.
The army consisted of a total of 22,500 men, broken down in the following way:
The pay was set at eight pence a day for infantry, and two shillings a day for cavalry. Those in the cavalry had to provide their own horse. Promotion was now done strictly on military prowess, and no longer on a family or monetary basis. Henry was commander in chief, Fairfax and Mansfeld his generals, with Cromwell his Quartermaster General a task he seemed born for.
Further developments this year were Henry removing Thomas Wentworth from his position as Lord-President of the Council of the North and sending him to Ireland as lord-lieutenant with the instruction to keep them under control. Wentworth had evolved the policy known as "Thorough" by which he managed the Northern nobles for the administration of the State before the period of The British civil war. Wentworth systematically applied this policy in Ireland. He dominated the main power groups by clever manipulation of the Irish Parliament and by securing firm control of the army in Ireland. Schemes were introduced to develop trade and industry of every kind: financial reforms to increase Ireland's revenue were enforced; the piracy that was rife around the Irish coast was suppressed. The interests of the Crown and the British Parliament were his priority, at the expense of all private interest and many indeed thought Wentworth's methods were ruthless and despotic. He alienated the predominantly Catholic "Old English" aristocracy in Ireland by promoting the interests of the new wave of Protestant English and Scottish settlers. The policy of driving the native Irish population from their lands was continued and extended under Wentworth's administration and under instruction from Henry none were allowed to the New World but were permitted to "escape" to France.
In the port of Calais 70 French merchantmen escorted by 25 ships of the line set sail for Dunbar carrying 3000 hardened troops, a siege train and a war chest of £200,000. Caught out of position, elements of the British fleet could only play catch up as the French steadily made their way north towards Charles.
(1632) The weather and winds favoured the French fleet and in September they lay off the coast of Scotland and began disembarking men, arms and money. Within days the Rebel forces had made contact and moved to link up with their French allies. For all Charles figured prominently in the campaign to free Scotland, he was not a particularly happy man. The terms of French aid included a marriage to a French princess and separate command of the French forces to a French commander. Spending a few weeks to sort out various command differences the rebel army split, one set (15,000) south for Edinburgh with Charles, the other smaller (12,000) set out for Glasgow under the command of the Duke of Argyll. The idea being to secure both cities and then link up through the midland valley of the Forth and Clyde. On reaching Edinburgh, Charles had his first major setback in that the gates were shut in his face and the wall manned with the city militia. The Scottish rump Parliament having decided that Charles was no "King o’ theirs". Discussions with his commanders ensued and a siege was initiated. The French siege train was brought up and defensive lines were dug to protect the army, whilst off the Forth the French men of war gathered to close off any seaborne aid. After 2 weeks of relentless shelling a breach in the Flodden Wall was made and enlarged. At dawn on October 2nd an assault was made on the city. Despite the valiant efforts of the defenders the maddened Highlanders seized the walls and poured into the city killing raping and looting. Whole swaths of the Old town were burnt to the ground, including the Parliament building. It is estimated almost 9000 people died in the siege and ensuing atrocities out of a population of around 25,000, driving a permanent wedge between relations of the Lowland and Highland Scots. Only the Castle on its promontory still held, though its commander was forced to surrender 5 days later when hope of relief was dashed by the retreat of the Earl of Newcastle’s relieving army who were outnumbered by the rebels almost 2 to 1.
The Argyll led army had better luck when Glasgow opened its gates to prevent a siege and possible atrocity. Leaving a garrison behind, Argyll marched east to join with Charles who was moving to lay siege to Berwick.
(1633) The siege of Berwick was lifted after winter set in and Charles army retreated to the Midland valley to billet and winter in (relative) comfort. Over the border in England there was panic in many towns who feared the Scots were just over the horizon as well as frantic repairing of town and city walls, even as far south as Stamford. Questions in Parliament were raised as to the competency of the Earl of Newcastle, though much of the debate was stifled by Francis Pym who declared that any member who wished to led an army north against a much greater foe was more than welcome to the command. This was the cause of one of the few rifts with Parliament Henry had, as he was under the impression it was "his" army.
Good news came with the news that Admiral Hamilton had finally driven off the French fleet from the coast of England; the survivors had fled north to safety at Edinburgh, the British fleet losing 2 ships to the French’s 7. Hamilton docked at Newcastle to a hero’s welcome for all he was a Scot; he was a loyal Scot as the mob hailed him. News also came from the Caribbean that the French colony sharing the Isle of St Kitts had surrendered to Britain’s North American flotilla. Admiral Wood had installed a British governor and had sent the French governor and his staff packing on the remaining French merchantman. The flotilla had then set out to interdict any French shipping it could find and had surprised the French Man of war Couronne, capturing her and two escorts. As they lay becalmed just off the coast of OTL Maine.
(1633) Was also the year known as the great Spanish swindle, in which Spain lost one of her prize Caribbean possessions and ended up in a European war with France. Later historians were able to put together the pieces of the actual events, though the machinations of the parties involved were very obscure at the time. During 1628 a British privateer (on detached duty from the North American flotilla) patrolling the Caribbean ran across a Danish man of war. This unusual event was noted by the Captain and further investigation soon uncovered a series of discrete Danish colonies in the Virgin Islands. (Ostensibly claimed by Spain, though of little consequence as Spain still claimed the entire Caribbean.) The Danes had been quietly shipping their colonists up to Iceland, using it as a staging post and then moving them south, thus avoiding notice in the English Channel. It was the Dutch Netherlands who made the initial approaches to Denmark and Britain. They were desperate to relieve the siege of their homelands and had approached France in the hopes of intervention and the French seeking to end Spanish dominance of Europe had agreed, for a price, 40 million ducats, an amount that would have bankrupted Holland. However the staatholders had come up with a means to overcome this, if only Denmark and Britain would agree. It was known the Spaniards used Puerto Rico as a staging post for transporting silver and gold from their overseas colonies en-route to Spain. The Dutch had previously attempted to seize the Island back in 1625 under General Boudewijn Hendrick and now thought to try again. The first moves were the transportation of a Danish regiment and siege train to Britain (It was assumed they were mercenaries to fight the Scots) Disembarking in Dover, they were marched overland to Bristol ostensibly to be re-embarked on transports to liberate Glasgow. The Danes however were embarked on British colonial transports (Expansion in the New world had given Britain a lot of expertise in transporting large numbers of people to the Americas) to join an Anglo Dutch fleet off the coast of Puerto Rico. The Plan was simple, to seize the Island including the fort of San Felipe del Morro by means of landing at Santurce, crossing the San Antonio bridge (from an area known today as Condado) into the islet of San Juan. Whilst the Dutch fleet with British aid blockaded the harbour keeping the treasure fleet from sailing out. This was accomplished and the Dutch with the help of Danish and British "mercenaries" were able to seize the Jewel in Spain’s Caribbean crown. The Spanish governor and troops were rounded up by Dutch regulars and were kept unaware of a British or Danish presence and sent back to Spain on the slowest galleon that could be found. The British then withdrew also, having no desire to be involved in a war with Spain. The Dutch then "sold" Puerto Rico to the Danes for 40 million Ducats, minus the booty in the treasure fleet captured at anchor. And withdrew themselves. Though they did keep their fleet in the area to prevent any Spanish vessels getting too close to notice the change of ownership. Three days after the Dutch deposited 40 million Ducats with the Fuggers Bank in Augsburg, French troops moved in to seize the Palatinate isolating the Northern Spanish army from Italy. Henry’s chroniclers parsed it perfectly. The Dutch wanted to be free, the Danes had the money, We had the transport. We got New Amsterdam and New Haarlem, Denmark got Puerto Rico by legal sale and the Dutch got their chance at freedom. Indeed, when Spain finally got round to sending back an invasion fleet to retake Puerto Rico, they found a Danish flag and fleet waiting for them. The situation in Europe being bad enough for Spain at the moment, the Spanish commander not wishing to bring Denmark into the European war, decided to withdraw back to Spain.
(1633) Having wintered in and around Edinburgh, Charles army forged south again in the Spring of that year meeting little opposition. Deciding to bypass Berwick (a very tough nut to crack) the rebels moved south to take Newcastle meeting and defeating the Earl of Newcastle’s army just outside of Morpeth. Outnumbered and Outgunned the Earl felt obliged to at least try and draw the sting from the rebel army. The worst failings of pre-war militia training came to the fore in the ensuing battle with the experienced French troops in the centre cutting to pieces the British squares who though they tried were simply outclassed by the discipline showed by the rebel army. The resulting rout from the field caused the most casualties as the British were overtaken by both rebel cavalry and lightly armed Highlander swordsmen. The rebel army took light casualties of only 354 men, whilst the earl of Newcastle’s army of 12,000 lost over 8,000 in the ensuing battle and rout, the rest dispersing to flee to their homes. The Earl of Newcastle was captured too and having refused to swear fealty to Charles was executed on the spot. 2 days later the City of Newcastle was captured, its citizens fearful of another "Edinburgh" had they not opened their gates and surrendered. At this time Charles sent diplomats to negotiate with Henry, promising to withdraw should Henry recognise Scotland as a separate Kingdom again and Charles as its King. Henry’s reply is unknown, the negotiators apparently taking one look at his face fled in fear of their lives.
The New British Army (NBA) at this stage had been drilling and practicing with new tactics and disciplines. Unlike most European armies at this stage Henry from his correspondence with Gustav Adolphus had decided to opt for having 2 musketeers to 1 pikeman (it was usually the other way round) and forming his men in line as opposed to in block giving a much larger firing front. This along with Mansfeld’s new fangled bayonets gave Henry hope that this inexperienced army could hold its own against Charles’ veterans. Shortly after dismissing Charles’ attempt at diplomacy, the New British Army headed north to its first engagement.
Charles, having heard of Henry’s refusal to talk and the news that Henry’s army was on the move took counsel with his advisors, left a small garrison to hold Newcastle and headed south to what he hoped might be his destiny as King of Britain as well as Scotland.
The two armies met at the small village of Shipton just North of York, Henry having pushed his army hard to avoid the City of York falling to Charles. The rebel army numbered some 25,000 men with the New British Army standing at about 20,000.
The Battle of Shipton was the first engagement of the fledgling New British Army and wasn’t an auspicious start. Deploying into their line before the ranks of the rebel army many were overcome with nerves at the sight of the disciplined blocks of men facing them and the seeming fragility of their own line. Battle commenced at 10 and the rebels advance on the NBA centre taking casualties from the musketeers at about 300 yards, The Duke of Argyll sent his cavalry to probe at the right wings of the NBA gaining some success as the inexperienced NBA cavalry gave ground being pushed away from the centre opening a gap between the foot and the cavalry in which a massed charge by a Highlander regiment was able to exploit. With a breach in his battle line already opened Henry ordered the foot regiment to wheel in place something that had only been practiced on the parade grounds with limited success and on the field of battle a complete disaster. The regiment broke, however the delay allowed Henry time to bring his cavalry reserve down on the now isolated highlanders routing them from the field. Elsewhere success in the centre as the longer line of Henry’s musketeers took a deadly toll on the French regulars. On the NBA left though an advance had been stalled by broken ground and a series of hedges and ditches and so the regiments were unable to support each other. Here the rebels were able to catch and attack Henry’s foot regiments piecemeal causing a great many casualties. Only the bringing forward of the Dragoon regiment prevented a rout by finally enabling the NBA left to withdraw. Faced with both wings of his army badly mauled Henry withdrew the army backwards one foot at a time always keeping them facing the menacing Rebel advance. The bayonet wall keeping the Rebel cavalry and Highlander irregulars at bay whilst the second rank were able to reload.
The armies finally parted company shortly before dusk of a very long day. It was declared a rebel victory, though at no stage an overwhelming one as Henry’s army was able to retreat back under the walls of York with its covering cannon fire. NBA casualties stood at 5000 dead with the rebels losing 4500. However most casualties were in the French regulars who it is estimated lost almost 1100 men to the NBA line. The next day Charles and his commanders were more than eager to resume the battle; however the commanding general of the French said non! His forces had been badly mauled and without their support this rebel army would lose. After much bitter argument and recrimination the rebel army withdrew north, back to Newcastle.
(1633) The rebel retreat came as some surprise to the loyalists, though their
morale had not been shattered and the belief was strong that they had just been
unlucky the day before and were relishing a chance to have another go. Still it
did give Fairfax and Von Mansfeld a chance to bring up reserves and new recruits
to replenish the ranks of the army. Though Henry’s every instinct told him to
pursue the rebels, wiser heads prevailed the NBA (now being called by some the
Bluecoats) needed to re-organise and Cromwell’s supply train was still some two
days behind them so hard had Henry pushed his army forward.
(1642) Britain’s negotiations with Spain were successfully concluded, a Small British fleet, left London for Cadiz, carrying the Spanish delegation and £5 million in British gold. Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel felt hope for Spain, peace and reform would soon see her take her place as a leader in Europe again, though he planned to advise King Philip to stay well out of Henry or Britain’s way in the future.
Upon hearing of famine in Japan, Henry despatched several merchantmen with authority to buy grain and sell it to the Japanese. With them travelled a British delegation whose purpose was to seek out ways and means of increasing trade and understanding between two great island kingdoms.
At this time Henry ordered the building of a new class of warship, one designed for long distance travel and exploration. These ships were to be well armed yet self sufficient in onboard supplies with the purpose of protecting Britain’s growing merchant fleet in distant waters.
The main debating houses of British Parliament building were finally complete, though work continued on the various offices of state that surrounded the site. Looking from above like a giant figure of eight, the two chambers were large enough to seat both houses and room to spare. Outside the entrances were situated the flags of the Realm all at equal height and a tradition started of rotating each flag to signify no country was above another. Three flags were currently flying Scotland, England and Wales, it was noted at the time there was room for a lot more.
Henry taking note of warnings from his own network of spies as well as those of Christian of Denmark and Frederick of Holland requests Parliament to increase the size of the British army, this means Britain can now field a professional army of 60,000 men plus an equivalent logistical field force to operate anywhere on mainland Europe, though with commitments in Ireland and Northern Scotland this would be unlikely. Parliament also agrees to supply the means necessary to train up a colonial militia to British army standards.
The British East India Company continued to strengthen its position in India by setting up trading post strongholds in Surat, Madras, and Bombay. The aim being to eclipse the Portuguese Estado da India, which had established bases in Goa and Chittagong with an eye to becoming the dominant trader on the Indian mainland.
Henry again encouraged British expansion in the New World and Caribbean, treaties were signed with local natives to expand the colonial areas and many friendly tribes found the British all too willing to exterminate their enemies for them to gain their assistance. Intermarriage which had at first been frowned upon was now encouraged as many natives adopted Christianity and became colonial citizens. Henry was also quick to remove any Governor who caused problems for the expansion of the realm. It was at this time Henry started to appoint Governors born in the Americas to run "his" colonies.
A new British colony was started on the narrow South American isthmus (Panama) Its purpose was to build and maintain two Freeport’s on each ocean (Port Henry on the Atlantic and Port Robert on the Pacific) and a Kings Highway between them. As part of the deal with Spain, Spanish Ships were to be allowed access to the ports and facilities. The colony soon became known as a hard duty posting as the death due to the environment amongst those building the road were very heavy. The solution eventually found was to buy slaves from Africa to clear the way and to build the road.
The Glasgow to Edinburgh canal was making headway to Falkirk from Edinburgh. Vermuyden having decided against using locks had now started building the first aqueducts of 3 across the River Avon near Linlithgow.
The mercury barometer was invented by the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli, a pupil of Galileo he left Italy during the arrest of his former master and settled in Britain with many other learned men of Europe. This indeed was the cause of the renaissance of science that flowered in Britain at this time.
Widespread famine hits Japan, this is allayed somewhat by food shipments brought by British ships from as far away as India and Southern China.
The Dutch received an embassy from France with the demand that as the Spanish had ceded the Netherlands as part of the Treaty of Milan they were now subject to the French King and would hand over control of Holland to their new ruler the Duc De Flanders the former General Longueville. The Dutch sent them away and prepared for war.
In Denmark King Christian now knew about a possible alliance between France and the HRE, he too prepared for War.
Sweden continued its colonial efforts, though its King Gustav Adolphus in contact with Britain, Denmark and Holland knew war was brewing.
In France, Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars was a "favourite" of King Louis XIII of France who led the last and most successful of the many conspiracies against the king's powerful first minister, the Cardinal Richelieu.
Cinq-Mars was the son of Marshal Antoine Coiffier-Ruzé, marquis d'Effiat, a close friend of Richelieu, who took the boy under his protection on his father's death in 1632.
In 1642, Louis had no "favourite" (a close friend, usually a lover at court, who usually had a major influence on the King's decisions). Richelieu had introduced the young Cinq-Mars to Louis, hoping Louis would take Cinq-Mars as a lover. The cardinal believed Cinq-Mars was easy to control. Instead, the marquis tried to convince the king to have Richelieu executed something Louis was not averse to as relationships with Richelieu and his meddling had deteriorated over the years. Cinq-Mars brought some French nobility into the plot convincing them that Richelieu was betraying French interests to the Spanish. Richelieu was imprisoned but died of ill health before a trial, which many later historians felt would have exonerated him. It was Cinq-Mars who instigated talks with the HRE about dealing with the "Protestant" problems Ferdinand III was having, whilst Cinq-Mars planned to take what the Spanish could not, all the Netherlands, as he knew they had been ceded to France in "Richelieu’s Peace." (Something Richelieu who had military experience would never attempt, he merely planned to sell the lands back to the Dutch in return for some future favour)
Spain, it’s coffers if not full, was at least comfortable, negotiated a peace with Holland and settled down to a period of stability and reform, though many of the old nobility were seething at the military humiliation she’d just undergone. With the ability to pay his armies though King Philip felt secure and looked for internal reform to bring prosperity and stability to a fractured realm. In this he was helped by his advisors Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares and Juan de Palafox y Mendoza who had been about to go to New Spain, but was requested by Philip to re-order his realm. This at first meant stopping the revolt in Portugal in which he was successful, then bringing his frequently independent nobles to heel, a task which would take years.
Irish settlers in Brittany as with native Bretons now became under pressure to integrate fully into French ways. Scots Highlanders were allowed to settle the newly acquired Rosselon area north of the Pyrenees, intermarrying with the locals.
(1643) January, Britain prepares for a continental war having been informed that Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars had been named regent of the ailing French King and his son Louis, ousting Queen Anne as well as any supporters of the deceased Richelieu from the French court. Though the British Army was in winter barracks there was much fine detail to sort out for Henry and his advisors mostly involving logistics and liaising with the Dutch with whom Henry expected to fight alongside.
The British Parliament finally approved the funding of a military academy for the professional training of officers to be based in Edinburgh, though open to anyone with the means to pay, the academy’s primary purpose was to train Britain’s young men in the art and science of war including logistics, castramentation, history of warfare, field tactics etc.
British dragoons at this time had their armour changed to just a front plate, their arms were also changed to two pistols, sword and a 10 foot lance. Their primary purpose had now been changed to pursuit troops.
The ability of smiths in Sheffield to produced far better refined iron had given British artillery a new generation of guns, lighter and more manoeuvrable for the same value of shot fired, though these were still in short supply as the Navy were in competition to be supplied as well.
Hong Taiji, Emperor of the Qing Dynasty of the Manchu dies and is succeeded by his five year-old son, the later Shunzhi Emperor of China.
The Dutch also prepared their defences, though they knew that they’d have a hard task against seasoned French veteran troops. The Dutch captain Abel Tasman discovers the island of Tonga.
Denmark also prepared for war, though they did not as yet know where or when the HRE would strike.
Sweden also prepared her armies and had arranged for transport across the Baltic with the aid of Danish ships when needed.
In France there was some turmoil as the Marquis de Cinq-Mars seized the reins of power, many of Richelieu’s men met with "accidents" including Jules, Cardinal Mazarin a favourite of Queen Anne and Richelieu who was apparently a victim of highwaymen as he travelled from Rome to Paris from where he had been in service to Cardinal Antonio, nephew of the pope. Cinq-Mars was then declared regent by the dying Loius.
In Italy Pope Urban VIII announced a Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith.
In Spain, reform continued, though greatly hampered by institutional conservatism within the Spanish nobility and interference in the affairs of state by the Jesuit order. When the Papal Bull was announced, Philip declined to bring Spain officially to war against Protestantism, though he did allow many young hotheads to be recruited as mercenaries within the armies of the HRE.
In the HRE plans were finalised to counter reform the Protestant states of the north, by the sword if necessary.
(1643) February. Henry finalises plans for a British landing in Europe at the port of Bruge. There he would link up with the Dutch army under Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange sharing joint command (something Henry was not happy about).
The assembly of the army was complete; Henry would be taking some 50,000 troops with him as well as a siege train and 5000 support troops.
The British Parliament placed a call to various southern counties militia to assemble at the Army training grounds at Buxton after the first planting to be trained in the arms and manoeuvres of the Army proper.
The British fleet despite foul weather proceeded to sweep the Channel for any and all French vessels, impounding, destroying or driving back into port anything that could be deemed a spy or a threat.
In the New World, Admiral Hayter of the North American flotilla received orders to board colonial militia and seize Jamaica from French control.
The largest collection of merchant shipping ever seen by Londoners was assembling in The Thames waiting to embark the British "Bluecoats" to Flanders.
A British ambassador finally gained an audience with Shogun Iemitsu though the meeting was strained over language and cultural differences overall it caused a thaw in relations between the British and Japanese that was to bear fruit in later years.
The Dutch continued their preparations and fortification of their lines across Flanders waiting for a French assault.
The Dutch also at this time chart New Zealand.
In Denmark, Christian receives several formal requests for alliances and aid from some very nervous Princes and Arch-Bishoprics across northern Germany.
The Danish Baltic fleet is assembling near Copenhagen preparatory to bringing a Swedish army across to fight alongside the Danish army.
In Sweden Gustav sends out messages for his army to assemble as soon as the snows clear.
Germany descends into chaos as differing Protestant and Catholic factions fight it out in the cities, towns and countryside. Brother slays brother and the violence spirals out of control many taking the opportunity to loot and pillage traditional enemies or rivals despite their religious beliefs.
In France Cinq-Mars tightens his grip on the reins of power any suspected of sympathising with the previous favourites in court were falsely accused and removed into state "protection." The French army other than those needed for border duties is ordered to assemble in Piccardy. There is a lot of low level dissatisfaction in Brittany as the local nobility use enforced conscription to make up their levies.
In the HRE Wallenstein and Tilly receive their orders to remove Protestantism from the HRE and bring the Emperor’s lands back to the true faith.
(1643) March, British troops start landing in Bruge, where they are swiftly moved out of the city to camps outside. The troops have been warned against mistreating the natives and that any infringements of discipline will be severely punished. Henry himself had his headquarters in one of the camps showing that whatever his men suffered so did he. There is in truth little or no problems with the local populace despite being mostly Roman Catholic, this is mostly down to the British insistence of paying for any requisitioned food or supplies they are not bringing across with them.
The British navy fought and won a battle against the French navy off Le Havre sinking 3 and boarding 5 to no serious losses. A naval flotilla also enters the Mediterranean watched though not interfered with by the Spanish to patrol the French coast off Marseille. Though not as manoeuvrable as galleys they are far heavier armed than any other ships in the Mediterranean.
Admiral Hayter and 500 Colonial troops seize Jamaica, though ostensibly a French colony handed over by the Spanish, there was no French garrison or governor in place, merely a few French merchants. It is the first time colonial troops have fought away from their colonies, and they acquitted themselves well. Also present were a small group of Haudenosaunee volunteer scouts.
The Dutch army under the Prince of Orange assembles close to the British army. The Prince is impressed with the discipline of the British, though wonders what they’ll be like under real combat.
Denmark is having refugee problems as thousands of displaced Protestants flee north to escape the troubles or just to get out of the way of the war. The Swedish army is however on its way to back up the Danish army which is still under strength from its recent conflict in Sweden.
In Sweden Gustav and prince Robert of Britain board Danish ships at Stockholm to join up with the Danish army.
Two French armies of over 70,000 men each (combined from 4 armies) are moving north to the Dutch lines near Liege. The newly created Duc de Flanders and the French General Louis II de Bourbon, 4th Prince de Condé, Duc d'Enghien thought overwhelming force would soon bring the Dutch to their knees, totally discounting the British as being of no consequence as they had no experience of real war. Other French armies are being assembled to assist their HRE allies, but are not yet in the field. French demands that Savoy should also provide troops are coldly rebuffed, the Duke of Savoy having no liking for Cinq-Mars or his faction, indeed sheltering Queen Anne from Cinq-Mars spite.
The two HRE armies move into the field, moving from one Protestant stronghold to the other killing or forcibly converting the populace they meet, driving hundreds from their land and into hiding. Wallenstein meets and annihilates a combined elector army north of Mannheim.
(1643) April, Henry and the Prince of Orange split their armies with the Dutch moving to meet the Duc de Flanders at Liege and the British to try and hold Bruge.
The Army of the Duc d'Enghien moved to attack the British army outside of Bruge meeting them in battle at the small town of Rozeboom. The French were drawn up in the traditional block formations of two pike to one musket and outnumbered the British army by almost a 1/3rd. The British all musket regiments were drawn up in lines of 6 deep with artillery support amongst the regiments, with cavalry on each wing. At 10 am on Wednesday 10th of April the first shots were fired.
The French immediately found themselves in trouble as the British artillery outranged and was far more concentrated than their own. Still the orders went out and five regiments advanced against the fragile seeming British lines whilst the French cavalry on either wing swept around looking to outflank the British lines.
At 150 yards the British commenced volley fire, the platoons alternating their fire, first from the outside, right then left, and continuing the firing order toward the centre of the battalion. This allowed a continuous fire to be presented to the enemy and minimized the obscurity of the target caused by smoke. After each man had discharged his Musket he moved to the rear of the line and reloaded whilst the man behind him stepped forward and fired on command. Within 1 minute a French block had taken 1200 bullets from a single British regiment and the attack had stalled as the casualties from the volley fire of several British regiments had almost annihilated the French attack. Though surprised the Duc d'Enghien tried a cavalry attack from the flanks combined with another frontal assault by 10 regiments. The French cavalry on outflanking the British lines were presented with what they thought was an easy target, a couple of musket regiments without pike support. Charging in quads of 200 they managed to close to within 100 yards of the Musket regiment lines before being hit by devastating volley fire. The second and third quads in the charge becoming entangled and divided by the carnage in front of them were then met by a counter charge by the British cavalry who met them head on loosing 2 volleys from pistol before wielding their new Katana swords. The French already weakened by the musket volleys were massacred, the British swords were heavier and they locally outnumbered the French cavalry. The last thing many a Frenchman saw was a katana smash his own sword away to cleave deep into his unprotected sides. The second French attack stalled in the same way as the first with the massed ranks simply unable to close with the British line and its withering rain of fire.
Henry the called for the advance and keeping strict time the British lines marched forward to within 200 yards of the nearest French regiment, presented arms and continued volley fire.
Chaos now reigned within the French ranks as the Duc d'Enghien frantically sent out orders to various regiments to close ranks to meet the British advance only to see many regiments begin to move away from the horrific carnage that the British were causing in the centre. Worse was to come as a regiment of British cavalry under the command of David Leslie broke through the French cavalry screen and charged the rear of a pike regiment causing it to rout into the side of other regiments. This was the signal for a general French retreat which under the pressure of the British army became an every man for himself rout. At this juncture Henry sent in his dragoons and ordered his cavalry to break any standing French formations they could or hold them in position if they couldn’t. Henry also authorised the taking of surrender of any French regiment who offered.
The day turned into nightmare made flesh for the French army, constantly harried, cut down from behind by the lances of the British dragoons or the katanas of the cavalry. The General Duc d'Enghien was captured in Torhout and his command scattered.
French casualties estimated at the end of the day were almost 35,000, with the British suffering just over 3,000. The news stunned the political elite of Europe and by many was simply disbelieved as impossible.
The second French army under the Duc de Flanders fought a more conventional battle outside of Liege and pushed the Dutch out of the city.
The British Mediterranean squadron bombarded Marseille.
The British Parliament voted a nations thanks to the British army and the Militia turnout for training at Buxton was almost overwhelmed by volunteers to go fight the enemies of Britain. En-route from Scotland with the British volunteers (including a regiment of Campbells in Bluecoats and kilts) the Marquis of Montrose found themselves being greeted by cheering mobs of well wishers as Britain united as never before.
In Holland, notice was taken of the British tactics and though unable to emulate them (as yet) preparations for the future were made.
The joint Danish Swedish army set out from Kiel to try and restore order to the south. Both Tilly and Wallenstein moved to meet them though slowing to continue their main task of removing Protestantism from the lands they crossed. The two armies of Denmark and Sweden had to be kept apart generally as bad feelings over the recent Danish invasion often threatened to spill over into fighting.
In France there was disbelief as the news came in over their defeat by the British. The blame was placed squarely on the incompetence of the Duc d'Enghien and his poor planning and tactics. Mostly by people who had never fought or been near a battle in their lives.
The Edict of Nantes was also removed from French law at this time.
In Spain the French defeat was used by opponents of King Philip to try and prove how incompetent he was over the last war against the French. A coup was now in the Planning.
After the battle Henry set about reorganising his troops to take into account his losses and gains. All French prisoners were immediately shipped back to Britain to await ransom or parole. All the French artillery were sent to Bruge to be added to the cities defence. Henry also visited his wounded and having heard the screams as the surgeons operated spoke with them on means of helping his men’s distress. One surgeon mentioned on reading a paper on the properties of ether to put men into a deep slumber that they could not be roused till after it had worn off. He asked to put it to the test and after a few trials a working method was produced. (Men no longer died from shock, though the total lack of antisepsis still killed them from disease)
Henry then sent out scouts along a line of march designed to bring him in behind the advance of the Duc de Flanders.
The Duc de Flanders upon hearing of Henry’s advance pulled back from Dutch territory, not wishing to be surrounded by hostile forces, allowing the Dutch to re-occupy their lines around Liege. There then followed a period of cat and mouse marching and counter marching in an attempt to bring each others forces to battle in a favourable position for an attack. Henry determined not to be cut off from his line of supply, The Duc de Flanders determined not to be caught between two forces.
The Dutch army having received a mauling from the French licked its wounds and repaired the damage.
The Danish Swedish army brought Wallenstein to battle outside of Munster and were soundly trounced as tensions between the joint armies came to a head and a Swedish regiment refused orders from a Danish general to advance with other Danish regiments causing a break in the lines that Wallenstein’s blocks ruthlessly exploited. Many of the Danish troops were cut off and unable to retreat until a cavalry charge by Gustav Adolphus broke the HRE lines allowing some of the Danes to withdraw. The joint army withdrew towards Osnabruck to fortify a position and then the recriminations began.
The French regent Cinq-Mars acted quickly to quash rumours of a major French defeat and to raise more armies to secure the north, France’s coffers being full, he could easily hire a few mercenary regiments too.
In the Germanic principalities the civil war between Protestants and Catholics intensified with huge areas being laid waste by bandits, armies, and neglect as crops were destroyed or not planted and peasants killed. Larger states of Brandenburg and Saxony kept their troops within their borders fearing to venture out to meet the larger HRE armies.
(1643) May, A second British army under the Marquis of Montrose landed in Bruge, though smaller and less well trained Henry set them the task of securing the northern coastline of France by reducing the fortified Channel ports and garrisoning them. Montrose swiftly moved his army on to garrison Ostende (which had thrown out the small French garrison and governor), seize Fort Mardyck and Dunquerque. He was then to move on and seize Gravelines and Calais, he was then to proceed along the coastline reducing and capturing all the main ports and eliminating all pirates nests.
Henry continued the cat and mouse chase with the Duc de Flanders, though unable to bring him to battle, slowly pushing him south out of Flanders.
The British Mediterranean squadron met and defeated a fleet of French galleys off Corsica
The Dutch having reinforced their positions near Liege began to move west towards Namur hoping to seize the town then move on to Charleroi.
The general dislike of the Danes and Swedes came to a head in Osnabruck, with the splitting of the two armies. Though reluctant to do this Christian and Gustav felt it was the only way in the near future the alliance could work. In consequence the Danes would cover the Swedes as their larger army would advance and meet the armies of the HRE. The Swedes met the Army of Wallenstein at Bielefeld and managed to defeat him, forcing him to retreat south to Paderborn. Then marched east to try and relieve Saxony. The Danes remained at Osnabruck daring Wallenstein to attack them behind fortifications.
The HRE army under Tilly invaded Saxony, defeating their army south of Leipzig. He also laid siege to Dresden, taking and sacking the city and executing Johann Georg I the Elector of Saxony along with other members of his household. His son was smuggled out to safety with the Danes. Count Tilly was then given the title Elector of Saxony in reward for his services. At this time it was becoming apparent that anyone in the German states of the HRE could raise an army if they had the money to do so. Mercenaries of all stripes were moving in and hiring out to the highest bidders (usually French backed, though a surprising number were obtained by Savoy).
The French had assembled two more armies and sent them north to deal with the British and the Dutch and raised another army to threaten Savoy. There is considerable unrest in the provinces over forced conscription, though not yet at the stage of rebellion.
In Spain the plot to oust Philip and replace him with someone more controllable gains pace, supported by high ranking nobles and Jesuits who see Philips reluctance to support the Pope as a weakness. What they do not know is Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel the Kings advisor is aware of the plot.
Louis XIII King of France dies, Cinq-Mars now has supreme power in France as regent for Louis XIV (then only 4 years old)
(1643) June, Montrose succeeds in taking Fort Mardyke, and moves on to secure Dunquerque. His next step is to take Gravelines, which he manages successfully by the end of the month.
Henry is still stalking the Duc de Flanders, though is now aware of the approaching armies so decides to hold a position slightly north of Arras. Allowing himself room to manoeuvre in the hope of catching them one at a time. It soon becomes obvious from intensive scouting that the French are not in steady communication with each other as interception of couriers and clashes between scouting parties proves. When this becomes apparent, Henry orders a forced march west around Arras to meet the western French army, knowing he can retreat north towards Montrose at Gravelines if necessary. The result is another British victory against a disorganised French army under "Cadet la Perle", Henri de Lorraine, count of Harcourt who had not realised just how close Henry was or how far away the other French armies were. French losses out of an army of 37,000 were some 13,000 as Harcourt was able to extricate a proper fighting retreat. British losses were just under 2,000. The seizure of Harcourt’s baggage train (including his mistress) saw the British war chest expanded by over £200,000.
Henry then retreated northeast towards his original position near Arras, pursued but in no danger of being caught by the two remaining French Armies.
A second British squadron has entered the Mediterranean also using Corsica for port facilities. The first squadron cautiously explores around the Italian coast and into the Aegean Sea, mapping and taking soundings for future charts. They are shadowed by the Venetians, but as they aren’t overtly hostile are allowed to continue.
The Dutch had meanwhile settled into a siege at Namur knowing that whilst Henry was in the field, the French would be very cautious about trying to relieve the city and place themselves between the British and Dutch armies.
The Danes were being steadily reinforced by new regiments at this time. Though nowhere near as large an army as Wallenstein, they were sufficient to prevent him marching north or retreating south.
The Swedes were moving east into Saxony in the hope of bringing Tilly to battle. The two armies met outside of Leipzig resulting in an inconclusive draw as the Swedes had the better tactics and Tilly by far the superior numbers and better ground. His army exhausted and in need of resupply, Gustav retreated north into Brandenburg.
In France there was much disquiet at the recent events in the Netherlands, though open opposition to Cinq-Mars and his faction was severely muted and singularly unhealthy if you were suspected. There was also a great deal of worry over the events in the German provinces and that it might spill over into France proper. Cinq-Mars himself was not immune to the worries; this British King was proving to be a very painful thorn in the side of his imperial ambitions. Orders were sent out to the armies to try and contain Henry, until at least overwhelming force could be applied.
In the HRE there was a great deal of anger at Tilly’s seizure of Saxony and his elevation to Elector. This was somewhat allayed by the fact that Saxony would become a loyal state within the HRE again, with properties returned to the church and Protestantism quashed. Tilly himself was ruthless in suppressing any and all opposition to his rule, proceeding to storm and sack Leipzig after Gustav’s retreat. After this, no city or town in Saxony barred their gates to him.
In Savoy, the approach of a French army is met with alarm and a Savoyard army is assembled to meet and block its progress. Savoy starts looking around for potential allies, though only Venice would seem to be potentially sympathetic at the minute. They also sound out rebels in the Duchy of Milan to see if French power could be eroded there.
In Spain the rebel noblemen led by Don Francisco de Melo prepared their plans to seize power by putting Balthasar Charles, the Kings son on the throne with de Melo as regent. De Melo would then restore Spain’s glory by seizing back all that had been lost to France.
(1643) July. Both surviving French armies supplemented by the survivors of the other two sought to keep Henry contained in the Flanders, Pas de Calais area. Their biggest problem was that without pikes, the British were just so much faster than the larger French armies. There was also the problem of the second British army under Montrose currently besieging Calais, which was also under blockade by the British Navy. Montrose himself was in no hurry, having adequate supplies shipped in from Dunquerque contented himself with stripping the countryside bare of anything that might aid or assist the French garrisons at Calais or Arles. The two French armies were also very nervous of getting out of contact with each other and allowing Henry to attack one or the other with impunity. The French generals also started to drill their troops in volley fire to try and offset the devastating British firepower advantage. This was made all the more difficult by the total lack of standardisation found amongst individual troops never mind the regiments.
All through July, Henry marched and countermarched his troops slowly drawing the French closer to Charleville, whilst keeping in contact with his Dutch allies.
The 1st British squadron in the Mediterranean whilst mapping the Aegean had several "incidents" with Ottoman galleys, all of which were decisively terminated in the favour of the British.
The Dutch finally managed to seize the besieged town of Namur. Having been in contact with Henry, they then skirted the Ardennes forest with the hope of engaging one of the French armies whilst Henry dealt with the other.
The Danes spent much of this month fighting minor skirmishes with Wallenstein’s army and several mercenary bands over much of central and eastern Germany. There were no major battles fought, but many attempts to stop the general carnage and destruction of towns and villages caused by both religious factions.
The Swedes joined with the army of Brandenburg on its southern border with Saxony. Preparations were made to defend themselves against a possible attack by Tilly.
In France the (supposed) lack of British and Dutch activity calmed many of the nobles in the court. There was a lot of grumbling about the capture of the northern port towns, but it was generally felt time was on the side of France. Many courtiers were however worried as to the hostility of Savoy, once thought of as a close ally.
In the HRE the Emperor was now becoming worried as to the extent of Wallenstein and Tilly’s ambitions.
The Savoyards prevent a French army from entering their territory, though supposedly en-route to Milan, the Savoyards had information as to an attempt to seize the French Queen Anne and take her along with the French army.
In Spain a coup by Don Francisco de Melo, several nobles and high churchmen was launched. Though initially meeting with some success, Don Francisco de Melo’s failure to secure the loyalty of the Spanish army led ultimately to civil war. The fact that Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares and Juan de Palafox y Mendoza had made sure the army’s wages were paid kept many loyal to the crown. De Melo ruthlessly killed any loyalists within his reach, though he was unable to get close to the King he did manage to seize Balthasar Charles a debauched and indolent young man who nevertheless added legitimacy to de Melo’s cause. Gaspar de Guzmán retaliated by then proceeding to clean house, by seizing any property or family of the plotters within his grasp and imprisoning them (saving some wives and children who had high connections elsewhere) The army also was used to deal with errant Jesuit colleges and seminaries. By the end of the month Spain had divided into two camps, but it was the loyalists who held the upper hand. This was the start of the rift between the Spanish crown and the church which would last for over a century. Juan de Palafox at this time brought in the infamous sumptuary taxes which brought to a grinding halt the pervasive decadence of the Spanish court.
Venice permits the British temporary port facilities.
(1643) August. Henry and Frederick of Orange sprang their trap, The British moving forward to engage the Duc de Flanders outside of Mezieres with the Dutch attacking "Cadet la Perle" near Charleville.
Despite facing a much larger French army using (slightly) better tactics the British were again victorious, though casualties were higher. The French losing 37,000 men to the British 11,000, the Duc de Flanders being forced to surrender after British dragoons and cavalry cut off his retreat. Some 15,000 French prisoners were taken.
Henry ordered the prisoners taken back to Bruge and transported to Britain, whilst the army moved to Hirson to rest and await fresh reinforcements.
Montrose gained control of Calais by bribing the commander to open a sally port letting the British in to seize the port and elements of the French fleet still trapped in the harbour. Leaving the port under the command of Admiral Hamilton and the British fleet, he moved south to invest Arles.
The North American flotilla met and defeated a French attempt to retake Jamaica losing two sloops to one French man of war, but managing to sink four of the troop carrying merchantmen, making the French turn back.
The Second British Mediterranean squadron raided up and down the southern coast of France pillaging and destroying what they could. The first British Mediterranean squadron meanwhile continued its survey of the eastern Mediterranean, though avoiding conflict with the Ottoman’s where possible.
The British Parliament at the request of Denmark authorised the transportation of Protestant refugees, into Britain and straight off to the New World. Britain’s colonial fleet was soon moving up to 100 colonists per week off to the Americas all of whom were prepared to swear loyalty to the British crown simply to get out of Europe. Most were transported into the former French holdings around Montreal and Quebec along with supplies and tools sufficient enough to keep them going for a year. Parliament also requested and received help from the Haudenosaunee to make sure the settlers survived, so long as they didn’t end up on Haudenosaunee land.
The Dutch Army under Frederick Henri, Prince of Orange met the second smaller French army under the command of Cadet la Perle south of Charleville. Both sides attempted to use "British" tactics on the field with the Dutch coming out ahead due to more practice and use of the paper cartridge system of reloading. General "Cadet la Perle" retreated from the field in good order with over a third of his army intact, but the French threat (this year) to the Netherlands was at an end. The Dutch lost 21,000 men to "Cadet la Perle’s" 27,000. Relying on the British army to keep an eye on the French, the Dutch marched north to seize Charleroi.
The Danes and Wallenstein met in battle at Osnabruck, the Danes fighting behind fortified lines beat off the attack, but Christian was badly wounded when the position he was observing the battle from was shelled by the HRE guns, collapsing and burying him under tons of debris. General Anders Bille took over the battle and Wallenstein was beaten off. General Bille then sent messages informing Christian’s son Christian that he was now acting monarch until his father recovered.
The Swedish and Brandenburger armies met Tilly near Potsdam, fighting was savage and no mercy was shown by either side. Despite greater numbers Tilly eventually was forced to retreat but the Swedish army was left in no fit condition to pursue him and the Brandenburg army was only a shadow of its former self. Gustav fortified his army in and around Potsdam and sent for reinforcements.
In Paris, once the news was received about the defeats, there was rioting in the streets by the mob (savagely put down by Cinq-Mars) and rumours were rife within the French court that the British would soon be at the gates of Paris. Although able to keep control of matters, Cinq-Mars’ reputation was badly damaged with many private discussions amongst the "men of power" as to who or what could redeem the situation. Orders were sent out to the army at the Savoy border to head north to defend Paris. Notice was also sent out to recruit mercenaries and nobles were requested to raise more armies from their lands by conscription.
In the HRE the Emperor was grimly satisfied by Tilly and Wallenstein’s defeats though growing ever more concerned at the never-ending fighting and destruction in Germany.
In Savoy there was relief at the turning back of the French army. Queen Anne of France sent out messages to various nobles in France seeking support in an attempt to become regent, though finding she did not have much in the way of support as yet.
The Duchy of Milan made plans to throw off French control and ally with Savoy, should the war take a worse turn for France.
Venice started negotiations with Britain seeking support (and ships) to aid them in their constant battles against Ottoman expansion.
In Spain there was confusion as various provinces declared for or against the King. Portugal and Catalonia rejecting both rebels and loyalists and attempting to seek independence from both, though the Viceroyalties of the Two Sicilies and Sardinia as well as the colonies remained loyal to the crown. Philip at this time had the loyalty of Old and New Castile, Cordoba, Seville and Granada. De Melo had support in Valencia, Aragon, Navarre, Asturias and Galicia. The Bulk of the Army stayed loyal to Philip though and began to move against any who opposed him. Having once thought the church to be "his" to control, Philip also took steps to weaken its hold on state politics. Many senior Bishops and Cardinals were forced to flee to Italy to escape his wrath, though Philip left ordinary churchmen alone, keeping the support of the masses. By the end of August, Philip has stabilised those areas under his control and was prepared to move against de Melo. Many though, wondered just what was to become of Spain as a result.
(1643) September. Henry, reinforced, moved to secure the areas he currently occupied. This mostly involved scouting and skirmishing with small garrisons of French occupying towns and removing any hostile forces behind his lines that might threaten his lines of supply. He was very cautious not to interfere with the local peasantry fearing a revolt could undo any good will he had built up with his army’s reputation for good and honest behaviour. In most towns and villages being freed of the ruling (usually distant) nobility left them with a surplus of food to which the British were keen to buy. Having gold on their hands allowed the villagers a greater degree of self determination than they’d ever known. Henry also made sure the British religious "Contract" was enforced with no reprisals against Roman Catholic priests so long as they did not promote trouble against the occupation. His use of Huguenots as Royal Marshals, was at first suspect, but as they knew the language and had strict rules of conduct no troubles arose as a result, indeed their hanging of a group of soldiers caught raping a local woman made them popular with the town and countryfolk alike.
Montrose continued to invest Arles, it was proving a very tough nut to crack, though the arrival of a second siege train from Britain looked as if it might tip the odds in his favour, hopefully before winter could set in.
Admiral Hamilton started making plans for modernising the Port of Calais into making it the largest British naval base outside of Britain proper. He planned to extend the harbour walls as well as build new fully bastioned fortifications to the south of the town to prevent a repeat of what Montrose had achieved.
In the Mediterranean, The two British squadrons continued to attack any French or Papal state shipping they found, though many merchants simply flew any colours of convenience. The British also attacked and destroyed any pirates’ nests they found particularly on the North African shore.
In North America the influx of German speaking colonists came as a surprise but welcome addition to the colonies, particularly their willingness to work hard to clear the wilderness sites in order to create farms of their own. With good relations with the 5 tribes of the Haudenosaunee, towns such as Quebec and Montréal took on a distinctly hybrid German, Native American flavour with the original French settlers becoming a tiny minority.
In The Southern Colonies, British aid to the Tsalagi enabled them to defeat and absorb the Chickasaw and Creek tribes, with the British moving settlers onto some of the conquered territories. The Tsalagi at this time settled their differences with the British and were given all the rights of citizenship when not on their native lands as had been granted to the Haudenosaunee several years ago. Many colonist groups now contained Native Americans from the friendly tribes as they moved ever westward into new territories.
British explorers with native aid at this time completed sailing down the Erie River to the Mississippi and down to New York (New Orleans OTL)
The Dutch seized Charleroi late in the month and settled into defensive positions awaiting the winter and a new year.
With the Danes General Anders Bille took charge with Christian’s son assisting him. Though the Chosen Prince was hopelessly unfit, his earnest desire to do his best for the army made him very popular. That plus the strict regime of army life meant he was also shedding weight and building muscle quite well. His life was not made that easy by reports of attempts by his brother in law Corfitz Ulfeldt to undermine him at every possible moment. Christian 4th himself was of no help as his injuries had sunk him into a coma and he was not expected to recover. Fortunately for the Danes, Wallenstein was busy rebuilding his army by seizing territory and loot from anywhere too weak to resist him.
The Swedes were being reinforced as fast as Danish ships could carry replacement troops. Though they were too weak to prevent Tilly from entering Brandenburg and systematically pillaging each town and village he came too.
In Paris, things had settled somewhat with relieving armies arriving to make sure the British and Dutch did not attempt to seize the city. Though not prepared to attempt anything more this year, it was hoped the new armies raised would be sufficient to crush the Dutch and British in the New Year.
In the German HRE Tilly and Wallenstein continued to increase their armies and power at the expense of any state too weak to stand in their way. Ruin and starvation are now faced many of the smaller electorates as the peasants had been driven off their lands and crops burnt in the fields. The Emperor himself was facing growing anger on the part of his other electors at just how far and how bad he’d allowed the situation to become. Though he knew he no longer had the power to stop Wallenstein and Tilly.
In Spain Philips forces met and defeated rebels near Valencia and placed the port under siege.
In Venice talks continued with the British with trade agreements being worked out along with mutual protection of merchants being agreed in each others waters. Britain also agreed to send trainers to bring the Venetian army up to modern standards (what was now becoming known as the "British Method")
(1643) October. Most of this month was spent by Henry making sure his troops were securely billeted and supplied with food and fuel in preparation for the coming winter. He also made very sure that when possible he would always have scouts out in case the French tried to surprise him.
Montrose finally took Ardres in mid October garrisoned it and moved the bulk of his army back to Calais and Dunquerque for winter billeting. He also made sure the areas he controlled and just beyond were well scouted.
Henry also received at this time several Parliamentary delegations, mostly to sound out his views on various matters of concern. The main ones being the efforts necessary to support the British colony of New London (OTL San Francisco) and the Panamanian Isthmian Kings Highway. The consensus agreed that the third resupply to New London would be the last major one; the colony would have to be minimally self supporting after this. The Panamanian road would then get top priority to give Britain and her allies’ easy access to the North Pacific. Other matters requiring the Royal seal of approval were the expansion of British trade with India and Japan. Chinese trade was discussed though the tendency was a wait and see approach over the current civil war raging there.
With all the Spanish Netherlands under their control, the Dutch were extremely happy. Their long term aims now were to secure their state from French expansionism.
The Danish army continued to mount many low level hit and run conflicts with Wallenstein and several mercenary bands roaming eastern Germany. Though not keen this year to have a major battle with Wallenstein, plans are in progress to meet and defeat him next year. Chosen Prince Christian appointed his Brother Frederick to be his eyes and ears in the Council of the Realm and to keep in check the activities of his uncle Corfitz Ulfeldt. He also appointed Hannibal Sehested another uncle to be his ambassador to Britain. His next steps were to find an admiral for the Danish fleet, settling upon his brother Ulrik, a promising young prince with an already accomplished military career behind him.
Gustav and his Brandenburg allies manage to push Tilly out of Brandenburg, though the amount of damage done to the surrounding countryside and people is enormous. The Swedes too dig in to winter quarters.
In France, Cinq-Mars continues his machinations to increase state power, by ensuring that everyone and everything would soon be subordinate to the crown. Though not as skilled as Richelieu had been he worked towards creating an absolutist and centralised state (with him holding the strings of course) He spent most of October making promises and securing the means necessary for France’s armies to drive the British back into the sea. Bribes and patronage were keeping his nobles very happy, but what he didn’t notice was the level of hostility his decrees and orders were producing amongst the ordinary people of the land who had armies forced upon them and forced conscription robbing them of sons and husbands.
In the HRE Wallenstein and Tilly both removed their armies away from hostile territory and also arranged for winter quartering. Other than the armies this was a bad time to be in Germany, Nobles, merchants, traders and peasants had all been victims of the war. Few areas had escaped damage and they were over run by refugees, there was little food to be had nor money to buy it, so extreme had the looting and pillaging been. For some there was the hope of making it to Danish territory, then to Britain and the New World, but even the best efforts of the British could only take so many.
The Emperor was now virtually under siege by nobles who wanted him to rein in the power of Tilly and Wallenstein (all without having to involve themselves in doing so)
In Spain, Valencia surrenders to the forces of Philip. All supporters of the attempted coup are arrested, but otherwise unharmed (for now) Phillip then moves north to return Catalonia to the Kingdom.
An army led by Gaspar de Guzmán meets and defeats a Portuguese army and marches into Lisbon which had declared its loyalty to Philip after the defeat.
Charles Emmanuel II duke of Savoy declares war on Genoa for aiding and assisting French attempts to undermine the Savoyard state. The war is quick and brutal with only the city of Genoa remaining free of Savoy’s occupation. Whilst there is a lot of discomfort in the Papal States about this, there is also fear that Venice would side with Savoy and possibly Milan should the Papal States intervene.
(1643) November/December. Europe settled down to a tense winter. All armies were now in winter barracks and little was happening in affairs of state. In Germany there was starvation and mass movement of the populace as they tried to reach areas that might be able to support them. Many small states closed their borders if they had supplies or collapsed and vanished if they didn’t.
In Britain it was decided that 1643 had been a good year, though natural worries about the war in Europe abounded, it was the increase in trade and colonisation that gladdened many in the state. Trade along with politics for many had become the new religion as many now qualified through careful investment to be enfranchised.
In Holland the Dutch were quietly satisfied too; they now felt that their own destiny was almost within their grasp. Trade too had increased and the Northern alliance had proved itself the equal of Europe’s Great Powers. There were many discussions and agreements with the British on joint ventures abroad which would prove advantageous to both realms. René Descartes publishes in Amsterdam, The World, originally titled Le Monde and also called Treatise on the World, it contains a relatively complete version of his philosophy, from method, to metaphysics, to physics and biology. It is immediately put on the banned books list of the Vatican and he is excommunicated in absentia by Pope Urban VIII. There is a lot of debate in the Lutheran church about Descartes theories (and a lot of anger too) but it is felt that debate not censorship is the best way to deal with his beliefs.
Denmark was in mourning. The death of Christian the 4th from his coma seemed a bad omen for the future. His son Christian the 5th however came back to be crowned a changed man. No longer a slave to gluttony or indulgence and prepared to listen and be advised by the Rigsraad he was seen as the hope for Denmark’s future.
To Gustav of Sweden the future looked quite bright, Sweden was on the cusp of becoming a major European and colonial power. His biggest problem was actually paying for it.
France had come to think of herself as the leding power in Europe over her victories against Spain. The British and Dutch led military incursions in the north had come as a very rude surprise. However there was still very much an air of complacency over the defeats suffered, the thought being that once the full might of France’s military came to bear, the British and Dutch would be forced to capitulate their temporary gains. What was being ignored or underplayed was the growing anger of the peasant underclass for the conscription, tolls and levy’s put upon them by their political masters over the last 10 years of war.
The HRE was reaching a crisis as confidence by the nobility in their emperor was at an all time low. It was now well understood that both Wallenstein and Tilly had imperial ambitions.
Savoy conquered Genoa and consolidated her position as one of the coming powers on the Italian peninsula. The Isle of Corsica remains ostensibly under Genoan control, though no-one on the islands ruling nobility really cared.
In the Papal States the Castro war is reaching a conclusion. The war had started when Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, who controlled Castro, had quarrelled with Pope Urban VIII's influential Barberini nephews during a visit to Rome in 1639. These offended relatives of the Pope convinced him to ban grain shipments originating in Castro from being distributed in Rome and the surrounding territory, thereby depriving Duke Odoardo of an important source of income. As a result, Duke Odoardo was unable to pay debts due to Roman creditors, which he had accumulated in military adventures against the Spanish in Milan and in luxurious living. These unpaid and unhappy creditors sought relief from the pope, who turned to military action in an attempt to force payment. The war had proceeded to drag on for years making Pope Urban VIII a very unpopular man in the Papal States. His Bull on Roman Catholic re-conquest of the Protestant states was almost the final straw as British ships now regularly boarded and seized papal State vessels.
In Spain most armies had settled into winter barracks, there was much back and forth of diplomats as each side sought out to gain allies or undermine the other side’s efforts.
In Venice there was serious talk of trying to gain the help of Britain or the Northern Alliance to aid in the defence of their Republic against constant Ottoman expansion.
(1644) January. Henry returns to France and begins meetings with his officers to discuss outline for the coming campaign. The outline plan is for a reinforced main army under Henry to seize Amiens then probe and press the French into thinking he is aiming for Paris, whilst Montrose sweeps west to seize Dieppe, Havre and Rouen.
Montrose appoints Henry’s cousin Prince Rupert of Bohemia as his cavalry commander.
Parliament debates the raising of a third British army for deployment in Europe, this will take some time and require some training, but it is felt to be essential to ending the campaign swiftly. Parliament with Henry’s consent appoints Thomas Fairfax as commanding General.
Parliament with many people flocking to the cities begins to debate land reform and civic development.
Perplexed colonists in Boston report America's 1st UFO sighting.
The Dutch make preparations for their military campaign, in co-ordination with the British, they plan to seize Reims.
King Christian 5th of Denmark recruits mercenaries and bolsters the Danish army with volunteers. His plans are to finally meet and beat Wallenstein and move south to relieve various Protestant states desperate for relief from the occupying armies.
Gustav plans to use his reinforced army to remove Tilly from Saxony then sweep east to link up with the Danes. A second Swedish army is also en-route, to be commanded by Gustave Karlsson Horn. Gustav is also relieved that a war chest from Britain, Holland and Denmark has arrived to pay his troops.
In France, Cinq-Mars places the French army under the over all command of Cadet la Perle he (Cinq-Mars) believes it can overwhelm the British and Dutch by sheer numbers and retake the gains made by the Northern Alliance, Cadet la Perle is not so sure, but keeps his thoughts very much to himself as people who disagree with Cinq-Mars have a tendency to disappear.
In The HRE, Emperor Ferdinand III survives an assassination attempt, though no-one is sure of which 3 factions (Tilly, Wallenstein, Electors) it came from. Both Wallenstein and Tilly have plans to further aggrandise their existing possessions by defeating the Swedes and Danes to the north then fight it out to see who becomes the new Emperor.
Philip of Spain, plans to re-unite his realm this year by utterly crushing the opposition rebels under Don Francisco de Melo. Though a series of alliances and promises by de Melo with France to obtain funding for his troops have made this a lot harder than Philip and his ministers first envisaged.
Savoy and Venice form an alliance to resist any further expansion from France, the HRE or the Papal States.
(1644) February. Taking advantage of good supplies and frozen ground, Henry mounts a surprise seizure of the town of Cambrai having been given assurances from the townsfolk that the French Garrison was understrength and did not expect any British movement. The town was swiftly taken as the inhabitants drove off the garrison and allowed the British into the town. Henry then added to the guns defending the town fully garrisoned it and withdrew daring the French to attack the town, knowing Henry’s army was out there and splitting the French armies from easy mutual support.
The British Parliament begins debating the colonial boundaries of North America with a view to colonial representation (observer status) within Parliament.
Henry discusses with Parliament on the extension of the nobility to North America. Despite a few objections by some of his own nobility about diluting the principles of patents of nobility most see this as a sensible step towards rewarding those abroad who serve the state well. Word is sent to the various governors to propose men for ennoblement the aim being the long term stability of the colonies. Many of the burgeoning middle class in Britain see an opportunity knocking and make plans to emigrate. Plans are set in motion for Prince James to visit the colonies and ennoble men of worth.
In North America treaties are signed with the Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw nations granting them equal rights within British North America and protecting their claimed lands from settlement.
Joint Britannic/Dutch settlements are made along the western and eastern coasts of Southern Africa as safe resupply posts before and after the Skeleton coast as well as on the tip of South Africa. These are mostly a fort with a small enclave for inland trade as well as docking and basic repair facilities for Britannic/Dutch shipping, though other members of the Northern alliance are allowed to use them without port fees.
There is rejoicing in Britain at the birth of an heir to Prince James and his wife Christina. A son Henry William Stuart.
Henry’s daughter Christina Elizabeth is betrothed to William II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange.
The Dutch although surprised by the actions of the British army are in very good spirits, well armed, supplied and trained they expect to inflict further shocks on France as soon as the ground is firm enough to fight on.
King Christian 5th rejoins his army at Osnabruck and makes sure preparations are in hand for a forthcoming offensive designed to force Wallenstein out of the fortress of Breisach and south into Bavaria. Christian hopes that by seizing Breisach he can secure his flank against any surprise French move to reinforce their HRE allies. Despite being smaller than Wallenstein’s forces, the Danes have now standardised the majority of their arms and tactics, greatly simplifying their logistics for the forthcoming campaign.
King Gustav has travelled back to Sweden to consult with his chancellor Oxenstierna and also to see to the formal adoption of Robert Stuart as his heir apparent. The dynasty formed becoming the House of Vasa-Stuart. Robert is betrothed to Sophie Auguste Prinzessin von Holstein-Gottorp.
In the French court there is anger that this British King can seemingly attack and win without opposition any position he desires to take. Cinq-Mars under growing pressure to act, orders France’s armies to attack Henry at the earliest opportunity, regardless of whether the army is ready or not.
A peasant revolt breaks out in Brittany as the indigenous Bretons and the Irish immigrants lash out at the deliberate conscription of their people as opposed to the French.
In the HRE Wallenstein and Tilly continue on in winter quarters, believing that the real fight will be between them over who becomes the Emperor of the HRE.
In Austria a revolt begins in the Tyrol near Trient over the imposition of new taxes.
In Spain the campaigning season is underway early as Don Francisco de Melo catches Philip of Spain unaware and marches south to take Burgos almost unopposed. He then swings south to besiege Valladolid.
(1644) March. Despite wet weather making the roads treacherous Henry starts his campaign by moving on a French army commanded by the Duc d’Orleans north of Saint-Quentin. On the first day, caught unprepared by the British advance, the French line collapses and despite a mercenary army moving to reinforce d’Orleans the British tactics tear his army and that of the mercenaries apart. Henry’s use of forward artillery to support his lines was something the French had no answer too. British casualties were light at 1500 as the French had problems with damp powder. French losses were 13,000 French and 5,000 mercenaries. The second day of the battle saw d’Orleans throw in the full weight of his army plus that of his mercenary brigades against the British lines. At first the French appeared to be carrying the day as the British musketeers gave way in the centre drawing the French army in after them. This was a feigned retreat with British cavalry keeping the French from outflanking the wings of the army, the trap closed as units that the French were unaware of reinforced the centre and wings and manoeuvred to encircle the French army. Sweeping around to cut off any retreat the British cavalry under Colonel Leslie seized the high ground and the French guns to put the French in a desperate situation. The sheer speed (relatively) and precision of the British formations soon began to make itself felt along with the weight of fire it could produce. Desperate to salvage something d’Orleans led a massed cavalry charge at two musketeer regiments blocking the weakest point for a retreat only to have them practically destroy the French cavalry by resisting 3 charges following up the last one with an advance with bayonet’s drawn.
At the end of the day, d’Orleans surrendered, badly wounded and with most of his officers dead or incapacitated it was the worst defeat in French history since Agincourt. It was estimated that the combined French losses were over 40,000, with British losses just under 10,000. After dealing with his casualties and the French prisoners Henry marched west to Amiens, which capitulated without a fight.
Montrose took his army and headed west along the coast in conjunction with the British navy, seizing all French ports along the channel. There is little to stop him most fortifications in the towns are of 14th century vintage and unsuited to modern defence. By the end of the month Britain controlled the channel as far as Dieppe. Despite some unrest from the French townsfolk there was little or no actual trouble. The British gave terms dependant on good behaviour from various civic leders, breach of those terms was made clear, the town would be ransacked with the property and lives of the remaining citizens forfeit to the British crown. If they behaved though, then they were under British protection.
Massachusetts establishes a 2-chamber legislature for the colony, the upper chamber to be under the control of the new nobility, the other directly elected. Other colonies plan similar elected bodies.
The Dutch taking a leaf out of the British book also start their campaign early driving themselves hard to capture Reims. Meeting the French army under Cadet la Perle at Rethel. The battle was a triumph for the Dutch as their forces drove the French from the field and into headlong retreat to Reims. Casualties were 9,000 Dutch to 27,000 French. Cadet la Perle himself surrendering to the Prince of Orange rather than go back to face Cinq-Mars. Two days after the battle the Dutch lay siege to Reims.
At Osnabruck, the Danes were finishing their final preparations, Christian 5th has spared no expense nor wasted any time in preparing the army to drive Wallenstein from the field and restore Denmark’s pride in her army. All Christian needed was the right place to fight and hopefully Wallenstein would oblige him.
Gustav was back with his army in Potsdam, he too was preparing to advance into Saxony and restore it to its original nobility. The second Swedish army under General Horn was also under march to join him.
In Paris there was again anger and dismay at the inability of the French armies to deal with the British and Dutch. Cinq-Mars moves the court to the Royal Château of Fontainebleau to protect the King, in reality to keep Louis out of the reach of those opposed to Cinq-Mars. Many nobles are now in communication with the Kings mother Anne in Savoy looking for an opportunity to remove Cinq-Mars and restore Anne as regent, then seek terms with Britain and Holland. The revolt in Brittany spreads to other regions as years of neglect, incompetence, corruption and greed finally take their toll on the absent nobility of France. Led by An Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn the last King of Connaught now self styled King of the Bretons, much of northwest France is in anarchy.
In the HRE Tilly and Wallenstein remain at their winter quarters, both increase the size of their armies and prepare for the struggle ahead. Both believe they can win and go on to higher things. The Emperor tries and fails to end the revolt in Trient, the rebels now are aided by Venetian forces.
In Spain forces loyal to King Philip march north to intercept the rebels driving them away from Valladolid back to Burgos. Other forces march into Catalonia to force the rebel independents there back into the loyalist camp.
Papal forces suffer a crucial defeat in the Battle of Lagoscuro resulting in the surrender of the Papal forces; a peace was agreed to in Ferrara. Under the terms of the peace, Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza was readmitted to the Catholic Church and his fiefdoms were restored to him. Grain shipments from Castro to Rome were once again allowed, and Odoardo was to resume payments to his Roman creditors. This peace settlement concluded the war and was widely considered a disgrace to the papacy, which was unable to impose its will through use of military force.
In the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan, "Ibrahim the Mad", seeing the disarray in the lands to his northwest ponders intervention.
In Japan, high level diplomacy between the representatives of Britain and the Shogunate produces a set of accords which grant the British a status of favoured trading nation. The British agree to supply Japan with needed raw materials in return for finished goods. They also agree to abide to the conditions of not allowing any Japanese to leave the islands.
(1644) April. Heavy rain throughout this month in France prevents much in the way of military activity Henry consolidates various towns seized and makes sure reinforcements to his regiments are distributed correctly. He is also in secret talks (along with the Dutch) with French dissident nobility in Paris to talk terms should they be able to rid themselves of Cinq-Mars.
Montrose despite the bad weather continues to move along the coast, finally reaching and taking the town of Le Havre-de-Grâce at the Pointe De Normandy. He then follows the Seine south towards Rouen.
Fairfax starts to march the 3rd British army south from Buxton to Dover to embark on ships to Calais. The army is the Standard British mix of Cavalry, artillery and musketeers, though Fairfax has dropped the front armour the musketeers usually wear in order to increase their marching speed.
In the North American colonies the appointment of Roger Williams by Henry as ambassador to the Haudenosaunee is well received. Williams’ friendship with the tribes as well as his opposition to forced conversion had made him friends with both native and colonials. His views that the British religious contract must also apply to non Christians were controversial for the time, but ultimately accepted in order to prevent future problems with the British allies. This did not prevent unforced conversion as many in the tribes were accepting of Christianity.
The Dutch siege of Reims was a miserable affair as atrocious weather made the land around the city a sea of mud. The French in the city sat in comfort, though supplies were low, they expected to be relieved by other armies coming to their aid.
The Danish army moved out of Osnabruck south towards Paderborn where they met Wallenstein in battle. Despite being outnumbered the Danes more than held their own in battle. Driving Wallenstein’s forces off the field and into a retreat towards Breisach, the Danes followed hoping to trap Wallenstein before he could reach safety.
The two Swedish armies forged south meeting Tilly near Leipzig. This time there was no standoff as the Swedes defeated Tilly and forced him to retreat south towards Chemnitz.
In France the bad weather was looked upon as a godsend by Cinq-Mars as it gave him time to bring other French armies to block the British and Dutch. He also planned an escape with the young King Louis south to Bordeaux where he still felt he had support. The Breton/Irish rebellion was now fully in control of Brittany, most of the native French having fled to sympathetic towns or left the region totally. Such was the fear and terror of the French at An Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn that towns and cities in neighbouring Normandy sent Henry of Britain offers to surrender to his forces rather than be overrun by the Bretonic Gaels. Other areas of France in rebellion were The Vendee, Auvergne, the Loire valley and Languedoc.
In the HRE the Emperor was relieved that Wallenstein and Tilly were both defeated and hoped that he could come to terms with the Danes and Swedes. The rebellion he faced in Trient was now at an end, the Venetians and the Tyrolese living there had declared themselves free of the HRE.
In Spain, loyal forces tried to recapture Burgos, but were repulsed with very heavy losses. In Catalonia, several minor battles were fought all over the region as slowly it was brought back to the fold. Philip and his advisor Juan de Palafox y Mendoza continued the reforms in loyalist territories, removing corruption and investing in the development of roads and land reform.
The Duchy of Milan revolts against French occupation and requests aid from Savoy.
A popular Chinese rebellion led by Li Zicheng sacks Beijing, prompting Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, to commit suicide. Li Zicheng declares himself Emperor of the Shun dynasty.
(1644) May. The weather was finally clear and the land had dried off enough for Henry to continue his campaign. This he did with a drive straight towards Paris bypassing the fortified town of Beauvais and in 3 days destroying 3 mercenary armies who desperately tried to stop him by simply outgunning the woefully under equipped peasant levies the mercenaries were using. On Friday, May 17th Henry and his army marched into Paris finding the gates open and the walls unmanned, the city in chaos and anarchy. All who could flee had, the Paris mob rioting and burning down over a fifth of the city.
Declaring a curfew and martial law, Henry spent the next 3 days restoring order and making sure key citizens were found or accounted for.
Though technically Henry had among his titles "King of France" it was something he never appeared to seriously consider, when asked at a later date by Montrose if he would take the throne of France his reply was "Heavens no! What on earth would I do with it?" Though he did take up residence in the Tuileries palace.
After ascertaining the whereabouts of various nobles and churchmen, Henry let them know he (and the Dutch) were prepared to discuss terms.
The British position was solidified a few days later when the 3rd army under Fairfax entered the city.
Montrose, having marched to Rouen only to have it capitulate on his arrival, moved west again to take control of Caen and the Cherbourg peninsula, dealing with bandits and refugees from Brittany en-route. Most of the towns had already asked for terms as the French government seemed in no position to take on the Breton rebels. Montrose met the Breton army on the 26th near Avranches, driving what appeared to be no more than a very large armed mob from the field. The next day he met with Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn and told him to stay in Brittany or lose that kingdom as well. The Bretons agreed and retreated to Rennes.
In North America the possibility of gaining a title and crown lands was the talk of the nation. Large swathes of land were held in title by the Governors in the name of the crown and many governors had hopes of a Dukedom, bribery for favours was rife.
Reims formally surrendered to the Dutch when word was brought of the British occupation of Paris. The Dutch, garrisoned the city and marched south to the east of Paris where they encamped next to Fairfax’s army. Frederick then joined Henry in wait of a French attendance at a meeting for terms and the start of a conference to divide up Europe.
The Danish army continued to harass and drive Wallenstein’s army south, though greatly outnumbered they were by far superior in logistics and tactical advantage. However when Wallenstein divided his forces they were forced to follow the HRE army to Breisach whilst Wallenstein himself marched off into central Germany. Christian asked his brother Frederick to represent him and the Rigsraad in Paris, his only stipulation being that he took Corfitz Ulfeldt with him and kept a very close eye on who he spoke too.
The Swedish armies continued to move south harrying Tilly out of Saxony and finally bringing him to battle at Gera where they annihilated what remained of Tilly’s forces. Tilly himself was killed by a musketeers bullet trying to retreat from the battlefield. Gustav sent back word to Oxenstierna to represent him in Paris.
At Fontainebleau, Cinq-Mars fled with a few loyal followers and King Louis 14th to Bordeaux, desperately seeking allies and alliances that simply were not there to be had. He was seized by the forces of Jean de Gassion who in turn was loyal to Queen Anne. Louis himself seemed bewildered by events, though otherwise unharmed kept asking Jean de Gassion to go and fight Henry eventually getting the reply "Si j'ai entendu Henri venait combattre, je me rendrais maintenant avant qu'il ait ait détruit la dernière armée Française." ("If I heard Henry was coming to fight, I’d surrender now before he destroyed the last French army.")
Word was sent to Henry that French diplomats were on their way to discuss terms.
Queen Anne also set off for Paris, hoping to salvage anything from Cinq-Mars mess.
In Spain fighting continued around Burgos with neither side gaining an advantage, though de Melo still held the fortress. In Catalonia rebels continued a low level warfare of ambush and deception, though the region was now under Philips control again.
Philip sent observers to the "Paris Conference," having been assured by the British and the Dutch that none of Spain’s possessions were in doubt, but that it would be well for Spain’s interests to be represented. The opportunity to repay France for Spain’s recent defeats was irresistible.
In the HRE the Emperor declares Tilly and Wallenstein outlaw (for the sake of form as he had no such real power and Tilly was already dead) and has sent his diplomats to Paris to try and salvage anything out of the mess Tilly and Wallenstein had created for him. He hoped that the influence the British and Dutch had over the Danes and Swedes would prevent them from invading Austria and Bavaria. He also hoped for promises of aid should the Ottoman’s military build up on his borders come to anything.
The Duke of Savoy escorted Queen Anne of France to the Paris Conference, hoping for great things for Savoy. With him were representatives from Venice.
In China, Li Zicheng is killed along with most of his army by the Manchu’s, either by committing suicide off of a Loctus tree or was killed by pro-Ming militia during his escape. Some folk tales hold that Li didn't die upon defeat, but instead became a monk.
(1644) June. Much of this month was spent in diplomacy with talks and discussions between various countries as the map of Europe was redrawn. As victors the British gained Normandy and Picardy off France as well as Jamaica. This gave the British control over the English Channel. The British also insisted on an independent Brittany.
Henry also gets the Rheinland Palatinate restored to his nephew Charles Louis, (German: Karl I. Ludwig) and makes it independent of the HRE. (This also gets his sister out of the Palace at Greenwich and out of Henry’s life.)
Henry started talks with Italian fortification engineers to build a secure line of fortresses along his new border; he also commissions a new road network to be established from the ports to the forts to enable British troops to support them.
Henry installs Montrose as the Governor of Normandy giving him the title of Duke of Picardy, whilst Henry gave the title of Duke of Normandy to Benjamin de Rohan the leader of the Huguenots and encouraged them to settle the region in depth to ensure its loyalty. Henry also added the Huguenot crest to the Normandy flag and declared the entire region to be named Greater Normandy. Sir Thomas, Lord Fairfax for past service was given the title Count of Arles.
The Glasgow to Edinburgh canal is finally finished, using only 11 locks and 3 aqueducts it is fêted as one of the wonders of the world, it is now possible for cargo to travel from one city to the other in just 8 hours. The Dutch architect Vermuyden receives a knighthood for his efforts.
Cromwell in Ireland starts the process of uniting the Irish and British Parliaments as well as starting a Kings Highway from Belfast to Dublin. Protestants now outnumber Roman Catholics by almost a third; many of the remaining Catholics are in the wealthy middle classes and now see no reason to leave.
The Dutch claims to the Netherlands were also recognised as well as gaining any independent Bishoprics in their territories they also gained the city of Lille and the overseas colony of Senegal.
Denmark gained several north German territories including Bremen and Frisia extending their border to that of Holland. They also gained the French colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Sweden gained Brandenburg and Saxony as Protectorates and gained St Kitts in the Caribbean.
In Germany the Danish army drove Wallenstein’s army away from Briesach and occupied the fortress. Christian then pursued Wallenstein across Germany finally trapping him between his army and that of Sweden’s General Horn and finally defeating him totally. Wallenstein himself escaped to Vienna, where he was imprisoned and finally poisoned by the Emperor.
Gustav and his army moved south, mopping up any remaining mercenary forces until finally joining with the Danes to menace Vienna.
In Paris, French diplomats frantically tried to stave off the dismemberment of their nation, losing territory to Britain, Holland, the Bretons and Savoy. Queen Anne as regent for King Louis was at the end of the conference relieved in that Louis would still have a France to rule, albeit a smaller France. Louis himself only met Henry a few times and was said to be unimpressed by the British King, remarking that "He (Henry) dresses as a shopkeeper." Referring to the sombre dress most strict British Protestants wore. Mistaking appearance for strength was a delusion Louis was never able to throw off, to France’s detriment in later years.
Cinq-Mars was executed after a trial, his place in French history assured as the man who destroyed the dream of empire. Wracked by civil war, her territory reduced and her overseas possessions seized by her enemies, it would be decades before France regained even a marginal amount of her power.
In the HRE, menaced by Danish and Swedish armies the Emperor had to accede to demands that his northern territories were handed over to them. The HRE also lost Trient to Venice and recognised the Swiss as independent too.
Spain though not expecting to gain from the Paris Conference was quietly satisfied at the results, France would be no threat to Spain for many years and the cutting off of funds to de Melo was an added bonus.
The siege of Burgos carried on interminably with the loyalist troops unable to fully secure the area from the rebels. In Catalonia a sullen populace grudgingly returned to a normal way of life after a few examples were made of rebels to the crown. Martial law would be some time in being removed, but the region at least was secure.
Savoy, as part of the peace treaty Ferdinand III, HRE grants Savoy sovereignty and the right of the Duke of Savoy to call himself King. After which Savoy becomes independent of the HRE. Savoy also gained the Duchy of Milan, some French territory in the east and the Isle of Corsica. They also permitted British port facilities on Corsica.
Venice gained the Tyrolese region of Trient and also permitted the British port facilities on Crete.
The invading Manchu army, with the help of Ming general Wu Sangui, captures Beijing, this marks the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (also known as the Manchu Dynasty).
(1644) July. With the war over the British army moved back to the Normandy region, whilst the various militias who had volunteered to support the army were returned to Britain and allowed home. The French were forced to pay a massive indemnity to Britain and Holland to have their troops returned, this was used to pay for the massive fortifications now being built or planned for Flanders and Normandy. Henry also allowed a donative to the troops to be paid from this either in land or in cash and encouraged many of the militia to settle in Greater Normandy.
In the Mediterranean the British squadron operating out of Candia in Crete continued actions against piracy and unlike the Knights of St John operating out of Malta they did not prey on Muslim shipping unless caught in piracy. The British Squadron operating out of Corsica did likewise, though mainly concentrating on the Barbary Coast. In this the British were somewhat at a disadvantage as they did not use galleys and were at the mercy of the wind to some extent.
The Panamanian Kings Highway was now halfway complete, engineering and medical difficulties made the road the most difficult ever built at the time. Some swamps were found to require a fill of over 100 feet (30 m) in depth before a solid road bed could be constructed. It was estimated that over 5,000 slaves and others had died so far as a result of yellow fever and malaria. There was also the "Cadaver trade". As disease (spread mainly by the mosquitoes that thrived in Panama's swampy conditions) and exhaustion took their toll on the workers, the disposal of unidentifiable bodies was a boon to those with proper connections. Medical schools and teaching hospitals needed cadavers to train budding physicians, and paid handsomely for anonymous bodies pickled in barrels shipped up from the tropics.
In the Netherlands there were massive celebrations as the Dutch finally found themselves free from foreign interference for the first time ever. Within the Republic there was much talk of foreign investment and colonial ventures with members of the Northern alliance and independently.
In Denmark too there were celebrations, Christian 5th returned home to a heroes welcome. Talks in the Rigsraad centred on Denmark’s new European possessions agreeing with Christian to give the Germanic speaking provinces a great deal of autonomy so long as they paid their taxes. The Rigsraad at this time also started to build a road system similar to Britain’s to link all of Jutland to Lubeck, Hamburg and Bremen, then into the Netherlands.
The Swedish too celebrated their victories in Europe with Gustav disbanding much of his army back to their villages and farms. Talks with Denmark resumed on dealing with potential areas of dispute and assisting Sweden’s colonisation efforts, the two nations deciding they had far more in common than differences against each other. This was to have major implications for Poland/Lithuania in the near future.
In France there was despair, the massive indemnities paid out had left the country almost bankrupt. The returning troops were of no help as the state could not afford to pay them and many joined the civil war, fighting against the French state. Many nobles fled to the Italian states where there was safety whilst the merchant classes moved north to Britain or Holland to take advantage of the new opportunities and wealth being created by those nations. The Royal court of France was somewhat insulated from these events and the Regent Queen Anne was quite a shrewd politician and so was able to stabilise the areas around Paris and Fontainebleau until funds were available to start the reconquest.
In Brittany King Calbhach, continued removing all the French from his territories before starting talks with various other nations about trade and investment. Realising that Brittany alone would not be able to resist a future resurgent France (should there be one) he took great pains to establish a friendly relationship with Britain.
In the HRE despite the losses in territory and prestige the Emperors position was now secure. The damage done to the German states though was immense and would require years to restore the wealth generated by those states. This was not helped by many Protestant peasants leaving their lands and heading north to Danish territory to seek passage to Britain and the New World.
Savoy crowned their Duke as King and moved to consolidate her Italian possessions and increase trade with Venice and the Northern Alliance. A possible campaign against the Papal States and Florence to unite all of Northern Italy was considered.
Pope Urban VIII dies, almost universally reviled as the man who did most damage to internal Christian relations as well as Papal prestige than any other. His Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith had damaged the Catholic states of Spain, France and the HRE as well as solidifying the Northern Alliance as a true European power. His losses and disgrace in the Battle of Lagoscuro had left the Papal States looking weak and ineffective in war.
In Spain the siege of Burgos continued though the build up of the loyalist army had now succeeded in isolating the fortress from the rebels. Philips army in Catalonia now moved against Navarre slowly cutting off the rebels influence and support.
Philips court was now a sombre serious affair, shorn of the decadence and ritual that it had once been. Despite the countries problems much had been achieved at home and abroad with the regularisation of taxation and investment in internal infrastructure. Philip and his advisors also moved against any religious organisations who they felt harboured anti Spanish (Philip) sentiments these included the Inquisition, Jesuit seminaries and other influential orders. Stripping them of their wealth and power and reducing them to their original purpose.
China under the Manchu’s Shunzhi Emperor starts trade relations with the rest of the world.
(1644) August. This was the month the great fire of London broke out. Starting with a small roof fire in Crutched Friars taking hold after weeks of hot dry weather in strong winds it was soon out of control. London was essentially medieval in its street plan, an overcrowded warren of narrow, winding, cobbled alleys. It had experienced several major fires before 1644, the most recent in 1632. Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for centuries, but these cheap materials continued to be used. The only major stone-built area was the wealthy centre of the City, where the mansions of the merchants and brokers stood on spacious lots, surrounded by an inner ring of overcrowded poorer parishes whose every inch of building space was used to accommodate the rapidly growing population. These parishes contained workplaces, many of which were fire hazards (foundries, smithies, glaziers) which were theoretically illegal in the City, but tolerated in practice. The human habitations mixed in with these sources of heat, sparks, and pollution were crowded to bursting-point and designed with uniquely risky features. "Jetties" (projecting upper floors) were characteristic of the typical six- or seven-storey timbered London tenement houses. These buildings had a narrow footprint at ground level, but would maximise their use of a given land plot by "encroaching", as a contemporary observer put it, on the street with the gradually increasing size of their upper storeys. The fire hazard posed when the top jetties all but met across the narrow alleys was well perceived as it facilitated the conflagration, but, the corruption of city magistrates worked in favour of jetties. In 1632, Henry had issued a proclamation forbidding overhanging windows and jetties, but this was largely ignored by the local government. Henry’s next, sharper, message in 1641 warned of the risk of fire from the narrowness of the streets and authorised both imprisonment of recalcitrant builders and demolition of dangerous buildings. It too had little impact.
The riverfront was a key area for the development of the Great Fire. The Thames offered water for the firefighting effort and hope of escape by boat, but, with stores and cellars of combustibles, the poorer districts along the riverfront presented the highest conflagration risk of any. All along the wharves, the rickety wooden tenements and tar paper shacks of the poor were shoehorned amongst "old paper buildings and the most combustible matter of Tar, Pitch, Hemp, Rosen, and Flax which was all layd up thereabouts. London was also full of gunpowder, as the former members of the city militia still retained their muskets and the powder with which to load them. Five to six hundred tons of powder were stored in the Tower of London at the north end of London Bridge. The ship chandlers along the wharves also held large stocks, stored in wooden barrels.
The 18-foot (5.5 m) high Roman wall enclosing the City put the fleeing homeless at risk of being shut into the inferno. Once the riverfront was on fire and the escape route by boat cut off, the only way out was through the eight gates in the wall. During the first couple of days, few people had any notion of fleeing the burning City altogether: they would remove what they could carry of belongings to the nearest "safe house", in many cases the parish church, or the precincts of St. Paul's Cathedral, only to have to move again hours later. Some moved their belongings and themselves "four and five times" in a single day. The perception of a need to get beyond the walls only took root late on the second day, and then there were near-panic scenes at the narrow gates as distraught refugees tried to get out with their bundles, carts, horses, and wagons.
The crucial factor in frustrating firefighting efforts was the narrowness of the streets. Even under normal circumstances, the mix of carts, wagons, and pedestrians in the undersized alleys was subject to frequent traffic jams and gridlock. During the fire, the passages were additionally blocked by refugees camping in them amongst their rescued belongings, or escaping outwards, away from the centre of destruction, as demolition teams and fire engine crews struggled in vain to move in towards it.
The sheer incompetence of the mayor and other elected officials to clear fire breaks or evacuate areas in the path of the fire allowing firefighters to get ahead of it caused it to spread ever further and wider even managing to bridge a gap on London Bridge to spread south of the river. On the third day with no-one seemingly in control and Henry out of the country Queen Maria finally acted, sending the Royal life Guards in to restore order and ordering ships from the fleet to use their cannon to bring down buildings ahead of the fire. It still took another 2 days before the situation was under control.
London was devastated over 100,000 people were homeless casualties though assumed low were never known as people of the lower and middle classes were simply never registered in the parishes. Maria also stepped in to stop people from rebuilding directly on the old property boundaries and called in architects to redesign the city from the ground up, with an adequate water system. Food and some shelter were provided by the crown, though many homeless made their way to other towns and cities.
Henry although aware of the fire was in no position to help spending much of his day riding out with troops and architects surveying his new demesne. A series of border fortresses (some new) were planned, mostly designed to hold up an invading army long enough for the British army to take to the field. The British were also dealing with refugees fleeing France and Brittany and making sure that any attempts to return Normandy to French rule were nipped in the bud. To this end Henry summoned Cromwell from Ireland to bring Greater Normandy well and truly into the British sphere of influence. Henry appointed Fairfax to be his new governor in Ireland to continue the works Wentworth and Cromwell had begun.
Henry proposes to Parliament the setting up of a regiment of engineers and for military engineering to be taught at the British Military Academy in Edinburgh.
The Marquis of Worcester patents a steam pump capable of lifting water more than forty geometrical feet. Its use rapidly spreads to mines and land drainage and is incorporated into London’s new water system.
The Dutch were also busy planning a series of fortresses along their new border, they also looked to the long term, realising that France may one day be back with a vengeance. To this end they saw the need to keep the Northern alliance strong and intact.
Christian of Denmark also had his work cut out for him. Integrating both German and Danish regions into a cohesive realm would take up every spare minute of his time. It was a very difficult balancing act making sure that all felt fairly treated. One of his first acts was to make sure that any dissidents to his rule were shipped off to New Denmark (Puerto Rico), Guadeloupe or Martinique. He also appointed Corfitz Ulfeldt as governor general of the Danish Caribbean Territories, figuring his political machinations would do less harm there than in Denmark. Oddly enough Ulfeldt was pleased with his new posting, seeing it as a way of becoming very wealthy.
Sweden was busy incorporating Brandenburg and Saxony into their empire. Like Denmark had with her new holdings; Gustav saw the need to give them a great deal of autonomy, treating them as independent kingdoms in their own right. As for the ordinary people of Brandenburg and Saxony, they saw little change in their lives other than a new road network being built upon British lines. To them one Emperor was pretty much the same as another.
W³adys³aw IV of Poland-Lithuania was not a happy man, the self styled "King of Sweden" (although he had no control over Sweden whatsoever and had never set foot in that country) now felt hemmed in by Gustav Adolphus and looked for an opportunity to bring Sweden down.
In Spain the civil war ground on, though there was little doubt that Philip was winning it. De Melo had few allies and little or no funding and was running out of space to manoeuvre. He did offer an interesting proposal to Philips advisors during a brief truce, and that was to take himself and his followers off into France and try to carve out his own kingdom there.
Savoy also looked to consolidate its power by rebuilding its border defences and looking to see if there were opportunities to obtain lands further south. An agreement with Queen Anne of France not to interfere there was honoured. There was a great deal of welcome trade with the members of the Northern Alliance.
Venice, strengthened with its new territories was still very wary of the Ottoman Empire. New trade opportunities to the west though brought about a new age of trade for the Venetian merchants and many fortunes were made transporting new world raw materials to the eastern Mediterranean.
The Ottoman’s looked at a much weaker HRE and started making plans to invade, perhaps this time they would seize Vienna.
(1644) September to December. Much of this time was spent rebuilding or re-housing London’s population. The plans for the new city were well in advance with wide roads and tree lined streets spreading the city further and wider than before. Wooden buildings with thatched roofs were banned, although many were currently living in them temporarily, the plan was to use brick or stone. The damage and cost to the economy was massive and even though Britain’s economy was booming there simply was not enough money at times to pay for all the work at home and abroad that needed to be done. The temptation to increase taxes on the colonies abroad to pay for the rebuilding was frequently discussed, though on this Henry and Parliament were in agreement that to do so might just kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. It was when Henry heard from Roger Williams his ambassador to the Haudenosaunee about the willingness of people to pay for a patent of nobility that Henry proposed to Parliament a novel way of raising funds. The result was the creation of the British order of Knights Mercantile, a life peerage giving the holder (though not their children) the right to place the title "Sir" before their name. At a cost of £5,000 each Henry and Parliament soon had enough to cover the initial costs of rebuilding London. There was in some quarter’s outrage at the King selling titles, though many also realised just how precarious the finances of the land were. The result was a massive boost to the popularity of the King and moved saved cash back into circulation.
In India the British aid to Shahbuddin Mohammed Shah Jahan the ruler of the Mughal Empire enabled him to expel the Portugese from Bengal. In return for trading privileges the British supplied arms and training for the Mughal armies.
Now that China was at peace, the British stepped up their efforts in trade and commerce calling in at coastal towns and cities along its entire coastline.
In North America the British colonial effort continued with new lands in the interior being explored and opened up for colonists. The usual British method being to find a friendly native tribe if available and support them against their enemies and gain some of the land taken. Though many sub tribes had simply been outnumbered and absorbed into the colonists without resort to violence. Tribes such as the Haudenosaunee and Tsalagi were treat with respect by the colonial authorities (though not always by the colonists) and could have any sources of concern dealt with by the British ambassadors to their territories. Trade was brisk with agricultural implements and tools being popular with the tribes in exchange for furs and escorts.
Some British colonists were also moving to the African Supply forts, particularly Capetown.
The Dutch trading empire continued to expand, often in friendly competition with the British and Danes and occasionally in hostile competition with the Spanish and Portuguese. Dutch settlers too were moving to Van Diemensland and also to Capetown mixing and mingling with the British colonists to clear the land for farms and industry.
The Danes also continued to expand their trading links in India though as yet not into China. Their colonies on the Gold Coast and New Denmark were now turning in a tidy profit for Danish investors.
The Swedes continued to send small groups of colonists to New Sweden, though this was difficult and expensive as their shipping capacity was small and mostly designed for the Baltic. They did however start exploiting St Kitts and were soon making a small profit in trade for the new owners.
The civil war in France continued without pause with small bands of outlaws attacking towns and villages for food and coin, whilst larger bands of mercenaries and "patriots" took over towns and the lands supporting them. What remained of the royal Army was kept around Paris to protect the King.
In the Papal States a new Pope was elected. Pope Innocent X came to power promising to heal the differences caused by his predecessor. His first act being to remove the Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith. Following this up with delegations to the Northern alliance seeking to smooth over the difficulties caused by the previous Pope.
In Spain, the loyalists finally took Burgos and started to make inroads on the north of the country. De Melo and his supporters were now planning on moving over the Pyrenees into France and carving out a new Kingdom there.
(1645) January to March. The year got off to a very quiet start, with Britain only involved in diplomacy, colonisation and mercantile activities. Efforts to raise funding for various military endeavours and the rebuilding of London had been reached, though there was little remaining for anything else. Henry spent much of his time going over plans for the rebuilding of London making sure that the designs included adequate housing as well as churches, parks and workplaces. His other over-riding desire though was to have his capital to be seen as an extension of British power, security and wealth, not a grim overcrowded mess. This would be the work of decades and Henry himself would not live to see the full extent of the design that would earn London the title of the "City of splendour".
Whilst the state was concerned only with reconstruction there was still much private investment in various endeavours, land drainage, mining and new industries were all targets for investment by Britain’s burgeoning middle class many of whom were also purchasing plots for town houses in the New London suburbs. For the poor of Britain though it was a different story, many were still homeless and unemployment was rife, crime and disease in the tent cities outside of London was at an all time high. The only road for many was to take indentured servitude in the colonies and it was from this outward pressure that expanded the British colonial presence far and away above any other European nation. It was estimated that over 50% of new colonists died within the first 2 years of reaching a new colony, though those that survived usually ended up doing well for themselves after coming out of servitude. Life on the frontiers was hard and yet hard work and commitment was enough to create a far better life for many than staying in London would have done. Yet it was not only the British that were settling in Britain’s colonies, in New Britain the influx was mainly from the German speaking protestants fleeing oppression in Catholic Bishoprics and Sees, who were successfully settling into the north and spreading west. Mostly being peasants they showed no inclination to settle in the towns and cities preferring new land that was theirs (or would be once they had worked off their indenture to the crown)
Spanish rebels crossed the Pyrenees fleeing King Philip and join up with rebels in Languedoc fighting the French crown, led by De Melo and being veteran troops they swiftly destroyed all French Loyal forces in the field then started negotiating with the rebels.
In Spain the forces loyal to King Philip continued mopping up any remaining rebel forces left, refusing to send troops into France to remove De Melo when asked too by the French ambassador.
Savoy invades Florence on the pretext of Ferdinando II de' Medici the grand Duke of Tuscany plotting to seize Milan. The Pope wants to intervene, but Venetian troops massing on his northern borders prevent any action.
In Poland-Lithuania W³adys³aw IV started talks with his Cossack Hetmen to see if they will support an invasion of the Swedish holdings to the north of Lithuania. The answer was no, W³adys³aw IV was simply not trusted to keep his promises.
In the Ottoman Empire the call was sent out to assemble the armies of the Sultan for a march into Austria.
(1645) April to June. The rebuilding of London was now in full swing and many were employed in the various tasks involved, reasonable weather helped too. The largest task was the setting up of the Royal Parade running in a straight line From Hyde Park through to the Tower of London. Wide enough to parade an army down with the offices of Government on either side it was designed specifically with the view to impress (or intimidate) visitors with the might and power of Britain.
Elections were held in Ireland for the British Parliament uniting that realm with Britain. The Cross of St Patrick was now flown outside the British Parliament along with those of the other nations under Parliament. Discussions were also underway to bring Greater Normandy into the franchise.
Henry and Parliament also discussed with concern the war between the HRE and the Ottoman’s, though they could do little unless invited and financed by the Emperor such was the precarious state of Britain’s own finances.
In British North America the first elections were held for the Commonwealth representatives to the crown, the 6 men elected were to have observer status at the British Parliament though as yet no (official) voice.
The Dutch also had their concerns about the Ottoman’s, though like the British they had no desire to go where they weren’t invited. Henry’s daughter Christina Elizabeth marries William II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange.
Christian of Denmark and Gustav of Sweden were in talks about trade and mutual assistance. The matter of the Ottoman’s came up with both deciding that a threat to Austria was a very definite threat to them. Envoys were sent offering assistance should Emperor Ferdinand III require it.
In France Queen Anne manages to raise a second army under the Duc d’Enghien and start to restore order in the regions around the capital. Although the army is pitiful compared to previous French armies, it is more than enough to overwhelm the small rebel forces holding the towns and countryside around Paris.
In the HRE, the Emperor Ferdinand is looking for allies, preferably from Roman Catholic states, though only Poland-Lithuania would seem to be in any fit condition to send any aid. He dismisses the offer from his former enemies Denmark and Sweden thinking only that they’d wish to seize more land.
In Spain the loyalist victory is met with relief rather than celebration, the flight of the Kings son with the rebels is still a matter of some concern to the dynasty. Philip himself has decided that reconstruction not foreign adventurism will be the policy of Spain for the next few years and rebuffs Papal attempts to get involved with the HRE.
Savoy continues to try and take Florence, though few battles have been fought, both sides mostly manoeuvring, looking for an advantage.
Ottoman and HRE armies meet in a series of battles as the Ottoman’s advance on Vienna. Ferdinands troops are defeated outside of Szentgotthárd, and Bratislava and the Ottomans reach Vienna to put it under siege by the beginning of July.
In the Papal States Pope Innocent calls for a Christian alliance to fend off the Ottomans. This is a difficult time however for most western European states as the wars have taken their toll on the nations and none seem too keen to get involved with another one.
Elsewhere, Michael Cardozo becomes 1st Jewish lawyer in Brazil.
(1645) July to September. In the Royal courts of Europe there is turmoil over the Ottoman advance. Not one of the major Catholic states is prepared to send an army to relieve Vienna, some like France and Savoy are simply unable too, others like Spain and Poland-Lithuania simply unwilling.
In desperation Ferdinand III turns to his former enemies Sweden and Denmark both of whom do not wish for the Ottomans to be any closer than they are. Gustav and Christian assemble their armies in preparation to march to relieve Vienna.
In Britain, Henry and Parliament are approached by Hannibal Sehested the Danish ambassador to see if they would support the Danish Swedish alliance. Though reluctant through the financial straits Britain was in, it was decided to send half the Army in Greater Normandy to join the Northern Alliance forces assembling in Saxony. Henry placed his son James in overall command of the British regiments, though James was told in no uncertain terms that he was there to listen and learn from General Leslie and to follow his "suggestions". Prince Rupert from the Palatinate was also along as James’ cavalry commander. Henry though feeling that the army would acquit itself well, was very well aware of just how inexperienced the army was.
The Dutch also respond to requests for support from Denmark and Sweden with Several regiments under the Prince of Orange joining the British as they marched east.
The Army of the Northern Alliance assembled at Leipzig, numbering about 45,000 it was agreed that Gustav of Sweden would be in overall command with Christian, James and William as his seconds. Though the British and Dutch had limited logistic supplies arrangements had been made with various Duchy’s and Sees as well as Austria proper to supply the army en-route.
Vienna had been under siege for nearly 2 months before the Northern Alliance, joined by 18,500 Austrian troops met the Ottoman army in battle. Historians have never been able to understand why the Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha allowed them to approach so close to Vienna, it’s known from reports that Ottoman scouts were aware of the progress of the Alliance, yet they made no move to hinder or stop them. The city itself was nearing breaking with the walls breached by sappers in several places and the citizens facing starvation.
The allied armies set up on the high ground above the city on the Kahlenberg and faced an experienced Ottoman army of 70,000, with a further 30 to 40,000 troops scattered around the area for support purposes. The battle commenced when Ottoman troops tried to prevent the deployment of Allied troops only to be forced back with heavy losses by the British musketeers holding the centre of the line. Danish and Swedish forces surged forward on the left flank in an attempt to outflank the Ottoman’s only to face a massive counter attack ordered by the Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha which drove them back towards their original position. It was at this point that Gustav himself led one of his famous cavalry charges into the exposed flank of the Ottoman counter attack, causing it to fall back in confusion though unfortunately leaving Gustav badly wounded. The Austrian’s on the right flank had also attempted to relieve the siege on the city though they struggled against the counter defences the Ottoman’s had placed behind their lines.
Both armies had now been fighting for 6 hours and a pause came over the battle as lines were redrawn and reserves brought forward.
At noon battle recommenced with the Ottoman’s attacking the centre of the line held by the British and Dutch musketeers only to be thrown back by the weight of fire. British and Dutch in the centre then took the initiative, and advanced steadily, their flanks protected by Danish and Austrian cavalry in constant skirmish with Ottoman Sipahis, the lines closed to the Ottoman centre and the Britannic-Dutch killing zone, volley fire commenced. British light artillery had also been moved up with the skirmish lines and commenced to use chain shot to blast holes in the Ottoman lines. As in the battles in France, the deadly new tactics of the Northern Alliance tore apart the Ottoman regiments facing them who had never faced such massed firepower before. Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha finally ordered the Janissaries to charge the Britannic-Dutch lines with the elite Sipahis keeping the Allied cavalry from supporting the centre. The resulting massacre of the Janissaries finally caused the centre of the Ottoman lines to collapse. This was the point at which Christian of Denmark and General Horn of Sweden launched a mass cavalry charge themselves, punching through the Ottoman’s lines and causing a rout of the Ottoman army. During the chaos of the Ottoman retreat Prince Rupert and several quads of British cavalry managed to seize the Ottoman supply train along with the wives and retainers of several Ottoman nobles. 16 hours after the battle had started an exhausted Northern Alliance army bedded down still on the field of battle. Casualties were very high, of an army of 57,500 almost half were dead or likely to die from their wounds. Ottoman casualties were higher an estimated 45,000 dead on the field including Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha who had been executed by the remaining Janissaries. The remains of the Ottoman army itself retreated back into Hungary, no longer a real threat to Austria.
3 days after the battle Gustav Adolphus King of Sweden died from his wounds. His body was transported with honours back to Stockholm where it was interred at the Riddarholmskyrkan, (Church of Riddarholmen)
Reinforcements from Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia finally made it to Vienna a week after the battle bringing food and supplies for the populace. At this point the Northern Alliance armies led by King Christian of Denmark with Prince James of Britain, William of Orange and General Gustave Karlsson Horn at his side marched through the city to the adulation of the citizens and back to the north.
(1645) October to December. The victory at Vienna was met with rejoicing throughout northern Europe and with cold disdain throughout southern Europe save only in Vienna itself. The HRE though still at war with the Ottoman’s were in no position to take the war to them and so negotiated a peace treaty with them that led to a status quo ante situation.
Henry met his son and the army in Calais, praising them as defenders of Christianity and offering them their nation’s thanks. Of much more interest to Henry was the seized war chest that James had brought with him. Even though it had been divided up equally between the 5 nations fighting, the sum brought home was still in the region of £1,000,000 money the coffers of Britain needed.
The first of the new British long range warships was launched, designed for extended time at sea it main use was as an anti piracy vessel.
In Henricia (OTL California and Baha California) the colony is finally declared self sufficient.
Parliament agrees the adoption of the Gregorian calendar; this will bring the dates of Britain and its colonies into line with most of Western Europe. This meant that 10 days were dropped in November shortening the month, and led to riots with people wanting their lost eleven days! It is also led to the British "Budget Day" being the 6th April; it used to be on the "Quarter Day", i.e. 28th March but because Henry and Parliament had lost eleven day's taxes that year the financial year was extended.
This was also the year of another cold hard winter and although some of London was rebuilt, many still died amongst the old and very young from exposure to the elements.
In Sweden King Robert William is crowned of the royal house of Vasa-Stuart.
In France there was grim satisfaction that the regions around Paris were now firmly under the control of the Crown.
The Dutch were now looking to further their trading investment and looked to cut into Britain’s and Denmark’s interests if necessary.
Savoy still struggled to conquer Florence/Tuscany, so far they only held the ground their soldiers stood upon as revolts fired up in the areas they thought conquered.
(1646) The Great Isthmian Highway finally opened in the British colony of Panama. Running from Port Henry in the east to Port James in the west and covering 80 miles of well graded road, twice the width of a standard highway this cut the shipping times around South America by weeks. Although both ports were Freeports open to all shipping it was the road tolls that started money pouring into Britain’s coffers, these were deliberately set low to encourage commerce, yet the volume of traffic meant that they were very, very, profitable. Henry and Parliament authorised the shipping of 20 warships to form the British Pacific squadron covering the sea lanes from China to New London down to Port James. Britain also signed agreements with the Kingdom of Hawaii allowing them to set up port facilities in the islands for watering and restocking of supplies. Parliament then set the slaves and workers to draining and clearing the land on each side of the highway to bring in more colonists and make the colony secure from foreign interference.
In North America the first Christian church in Onondaga is built in Haudenosaunee territory. Although many Haudenosaunee had adopted Christianity (of a sort) this is the first step towards major acceptance of the Christian faith amongst the Haudenosaunee nations.
In Massachusetts the iron foundry of Joseph Jenkes builds America’s first fire engine. Within the colonies themselves there is a great deal of interest in education with many schools being built and plans for a series of universities.
The use of the new highway in Panama increases colonisation of the western seaboard of North America, particularly Henricia which has a Mediterranean climate and is a very popular destination.
Tension between the British and the Dutch grows over overseas trade, both sets of merchants trying to undercut or have the others presence removed from profitable routes and ports. Though the joint venture of Capetown remains peaceful and settled with both sets of colonists getting on very well together.
In Sweden King Robert set about modernising certain aspects of the state with the aid of the Ständestaat in the Riksdag. Unlike the former King, Robert was far more involved with Swedish internal politics and his use of Axel Oxenstierna his chancellor to force through needed reform of the states governance and finances was deeply unpopular with certain of the nobility who disliked this "foreign" king. Yet Robert had one major advantage and this was that the Swedish army stood squarely behind him as one of the reforms he pushed through was the regular payment of this army. Ships were also purchased from Britain to speed up Swedish colonisation of New Sweden (OTL Australia) and St Kitts in the Caribbean.
In Denmark Christian saw the advantages of the Panama highway for the Far East trade and soon Danish merchantmen were seen plying their trade from India to China and across the Pacific.
In France the army of the Duc d’Enghien continues its work to try to rejoin the various rebellious regions. His work is made all the harder by the self styled Duke of Languedoc Francisco de Melo who has united a southern coalition to try and stay free of the French crown. Although being a Spaniard, de Melo is very popular amongst the local French as he doesn’t interfere or tax as much as the previous French government had.
In Spain, whilst recovering from its civil war there was a great deal of interest in setting up trade with the far east and increasing their holdings on the Philippines. Trade not war would be the Spanish desire for the next few years, at least until the nation was strong again.
Savoy and Florence continued their war with neither side able to gain any sort of convincing victory, though Savoyard numbers were now beginning to make a difference in controlling what they did hold.
In Brittany there was much talk over a type of government and adapting a language to suit the nation. Oddly enough both factions were forced to use French at first to understand each other. Though combining Gael and Breton was seen as necessary.
In the Ottomans, military adventurism was quietly shelved, at least until the new western tactics could be countered or copied.
(1647) Tensions between Britain and the Dutch continued to grow over trade. Dutch merchants had in the earlier part of the century been the masters of trade amongst all the European nations bringing in resources and goods from all over the world to their ports and selling them on at a profit to the rest of Europe, even to parts they were at war with. Now they faced very stiff competition from the British who had cornered several markets and continued to expand their trade in areas the Dutch had thought to be monopolies of theirs (notably the spice trade). The British trade in leather to Japan had also ended the Dutch export from Taiwan. The loss of Northern America although seen as necessary to remove Spain from the Netherlands had cost them the resources of that continent, mostly hardwoods and tobacco. The British setting up Panama with a direct link to the Pacific was proving to be a master stroke for them by giving them an income from all the trade that passed over the road. Privateering from the Dutch also started to rise against British merchantmen despite various treaties and agreements forbidding it. Despite the deep friendship between Henry and the Prince of Orange, it was the wealthy merchants in Amsterdam who were pulling the strings of power and a trade war turning into a real war was looming.
With Britain now in a much better financial position Parliament and Henry now turned their attention to Britain’s education. Standardized school books had been imposed in the 1540s and, closely corresponding with Shakespeare's lifetime, there was a boom in the founding of schools. Despite a great variety of forms and purposes in the educational life of Britain, 1560 to 1640 was characterized as a period of educational revolution, when the British education system was more vigorous, more purposeful, better funded and better equipped at this time than ever before. Funds were now provided for each town to provide a basic education in the 3 r’s to all children of ages 6 to 10, scholarships to further education were also provided for pupils of greater than average intelligence. Though many slipped under the net to work as their fathers did the long term benefits to Britain were incalculable as literacy rose from 30% to almost 85% in Britain’s towns and cities.
Universities and academies of all sorts were now provided with funding to expand their curricula to include more modern subjects, though a classical education still ranked high, a "scientific" education now ranked higher.
Henry at this time also funded a small modest townhouse for himself and Maria built at the western edge of Hyde Park. Designed by Inigo Jones and simplistically elegant, it was subsequently copied throughout Britain by the up and coming merchant class.
The London mint is fully mechanised and starts production of milled coins. With the replacement of the ancient technique of hammering coins, minting has become fully mechanised. Improved productivity is not the only advantage. The milled edges prevent clipping and cutting and make counterfeiting more difficult.
British warships track down and exterminate various pirate nests in the Java Sea; many had been quietly funded by Dutch merchants to attack British shipping.
Prince James and his wife Christina visit the North American colonies. Stopping at all the capitals of the various colonies, he formally bestows nobility on those deemed worth by the various governors. Each governor is given a Dukedom, heads of counties are made Earls and heads of cities are made Lords, other worthies are knighted.
The North American colony of Virginia disallows a Roman Catholic priest access to colony. They back down when a Prince James reminds them that the British contract on religion applies to all religions. The priest who had been disembarked in Mariasland returns to minister to the small catholic population of Virginia.
In Mariasland Lord Wilmington’s niece is ejected from the city council for requesting the vote.
The Haudenosaunee seeing the levels of investment being put into the surrounding British colonies apply to join the Commonwealth of North America. This causes some consternation amongst the governors as there is no precedent for doing so, they eventually refer it "upwards" to Parliament. The governors at the instigation of the colonial Parliaments also pass the first compulsory school attendance act.
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, dies and is succeeded by his son William, though married to Henry’s daughter Christina Elisabeth he is not strong enough to control the republicans in the Dutch States-General, an assembly made up of representatives of each of the seventeen provinces but dominated by the largest and wealthiest province, Holland and the merchants of Amsterdam.
Both Sweden and Denmark continue consolidating their realms and expanding their colonies.
In France, a series of pitched battles against the rebels holding the Loire valley and the Vendee leaves the Royalists in control of those areas, although the damage to the infrastructure of those lands is very high.
Savoy finally defeats Florence in a pitched battle outside of Pisa; Tuscany formally becomes an integral Duchy of the Savoy Kingdom.
In Venice there is dismay that an Ottoman ship captured by the Knights of St John puts into Crete to sell the contents and crew. This was the excuse the Ottoman’s needed to declare war and attempt to seize the island.
In Spain it is a quiet year with new roads, and town facilities being built, investment in colonial enterprises is also at an all time high. A surreptitious funding of De Melo in Languedoc also begins, seeing an opportunity to keep France out of Spain’s direct concerns for a while. There was a people's uprising against high prices and Spanish rule in Naples, though it was short lived and brutally suppressed.
(1648) Britain protests to the Dutch about the seizure of British merchantmen and piracy in the East Indies and around Taiwan. The protests also match those of the Danes whose lighter volume of mercantilism suffers greater loss due to the Dutch privateering. The situation gradually spiralled out of control with measure and countermeasure being put into place until the Dutch finally closed their ports to British and Danish shipping then proceeded to fire upon Danish and British merchantmen attempting to leave the harbours. Denmark immediately closed the Sund to Dutch vessels and Britain closed Panama and the English Channel to the Dutch and a joint Danish, British delegation was sent to deliver a stern warning to the Dutch Staten-Generaal and to negotiate some form of settlement before things got totally out of hand.
The British squadron operating out of Crete had the unfortunate experience of the Ottoman navy firing upon them as they patrolled around the island. The Ottoman’s had the unfortunate experience of the British sinking a quarter of their fleet intending to take Crete and sending the rest back to their ports harried by Venetian galleys. The British then set up a blockade around Crete denying access to Ottoman vessels.
The Ottoman’s then attempted to break through the blockade by sallying their fleet against the British fleet sailing from the Aegean. This was in the hope of forcing the British to stay close to their port and allowing the Ottoman’s to move their invasion fleet freely up to the Island. Unfortunately for the Ottoman’s, the British under Admiral Robert Blake though outnumbered and massively outgunned had eighteen ships superior in firepower to the heaviest Ottoman galley and proceeded to demonstrate why it was folly to approach a British vessel under full sail. The Ottoman fleet was sent reeling back to its bases with the loss of over half the galleys including most of the troop transports. Worse was to follow when Blake sailed fireships into the Ottoman harbours catching the merchant ships as well as the naval vessels at rest, the resulting conflagration spreading to the town as well. The Ottoman losses were almost all galleys, merchant vessels and most of the port facilities. Those vessels that managed to evade the flames and put to sea were captured by the British.
In British North America the 1st U.S. labour organization forms, the Boston Shoemakers.
Colonial population of British North America is estimated at 210,000. (4 x OTL)
British Parliament and Henry discuss the application for commonwealth status of the Haudenosaunee.
Andres Manso de Contreras from Cuba who had built a vast fortune by intercepting Caribbean pirates deposits £4 million in gold in a London bank at 5% interest.
The Dutch are in a quandary, the British and Danish sanctions are costing them far more than the commerce raiding of the Dutch merchants have gained from their piracy. There are some calls for war to break the blockade but these are shouted down and the mercantile support crumbles as the Royalist Orange party gains ascendancy in the Staten-Generaal.
In Denmark there is a great deal of anger at the Dutch merchants, trade has been badly hurt and many Danish merchants have went bankrupt.
In Sweden there is a great deal of interest in the events in Poland-Lithuania, though as yet no desire to intervene.
Bank of Sweden is founded, its charter authorizes it to accept deposits, grant loans and mortgages, and issue bills of credit.
In Poland-Lithuania W³adys³aw IV dies and is succeeded by John II Casimir. Civil war in the Ukraine almost immediately breaks out when Bohdan Khmelnytsky a Cossack hetman leads a revolt partly caused by the Polish-Lithuanian’s ignoring or oppressing Orthodox Ruthenian’s by the Polish magnates and their wrath was directed at the Poles' Jewish traders, who often ran their estates for them. The advent of the Counter-Reformation further worsened the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, and coupled with the frequent abuse of the Orthodox clergy this added the religious dimension to the conflict. This could have been one of the many other frequent Cossack revolts that had been put down by the authorities, but the stature, the skill and the respect of the seasoned 50-year-old negotiator and warrior Khmelnytsky made all the difference.
At the battle of Zhovti Vodi, where aided by the Tatars of Tugay Bey the Cossacks inflicted their first crushing defeat on the Commonwealth. This was repeated soon after, with the same success, at the Battle of Korsuñ. What made these Cossack successes different was the diplomatic and military skill of Khmelnytsky: under his leadership, the Cossack army moved to battle positions following his plans, Cossacks were proactive and decisive in their manoeuvre and attacks, and most importantly, he not only managed to persuade large contingents of registered Cossacks to switch to his side, but also got the support of the Crimean Tatar’s. Unfortunately Khmelnytsky told the people that the Poles had sold them as slaves "into the hands of the accursed Jews." With this as their battle-cry, the Cossacks killed a large number of Jews during the years 1648. There is no unanimity among historians as to the exact number of casualties, and the precise number of dead may never be known, but several hundred Jewish communities were attacked (300 of them destroyed completely), and at least 25% of Jews in Ukraine were killed, with death toll estimates in the tens of thousands. He was successful in establishing the Cossack Hetmanate of the Ukraine and proceeded to expel all non Ukrainian’s (Jews and Poles) from the territory.
In France, attempts to retake the southern regions are repulsed with great losses by the experienced tercio’s of De Melo.
There is a new emperor of the Ottoman Empire from Ibrahim I to Mehmed IV. He proceeds to negotiate with Venice to smooth over the current war as he was dismayed by the British intervention on Venice’s part.
In Savoy it’s a relatively peaceful year, though political unrest in Tuscany continues to tie down troops.
Venice is delighted at the British intervention at Crete; they cannot believe their luck at the stupidity of the Ottoman vessel that fired at a British vessel.
Venice also uses the opportunity to seize the Republic of Ragusa from the Ottoman’s using their British trained militia to utterly crush the Ottoman irregulars guarding the state.
Discovery is made of the Bering Strait (originally called the Anian Strait) between Asia and North America by Semyon Dezhnev. Proving the lands of Asia and North America aren’t linked.
(1649) Brought to the negotiation table the Dutch were forced to make an indemnity to both Britain and Denmark and were told to cease their privateering on the British and Danish shipping. However, the commercial rivalry between the three nations was not resolved. Especially in the vast overseas empires hostilities continued between Dutch, British and Danish trading companies, which had their own policies and aims.
Britain negotiates with emissaries from the Shogunate to allow their warships base facilities on Deshima Island, this allows them to patrol between India and Japan along the Chinese coast dealing with commerce raiders.
The British Parliament debates changes to the army, particularly the equipping of colonial and company troops many of whom have little or no training and outdated arms. Parliament also puts out to tender a contract to supply the army with a better designed musket that could be loaded faster than the current one minute of an experienced trooper.
The rebuilding of London carries on apace, the new street plans are set and although many are in temporary housing the tent cities outside of London are gone. Henry is presented with plans for a new St Paul’s cathedral and approves them; the design is novel for Britain and somewhat resembles the Hagia Sofia in Constantinople.
Henry is approached by the Senior Rabbi of the British council of Jewry, with the terrible events of the Cossack Hetmanate with regard to its Jewish population, the Senior Rabbi requests that Britain transports refugees to the colonies. The British Jewry along with other Jews throughout Europe and the Ottoman Empire have raised funds to bribe Khmelnytsky to allow the Jews of the Ukraine to leave rather than be slaughtered, they are also willing to pay the British to transport them to any colony Henry will allow. Henry though willing, cannot see how the Jewish population can even make it to a place where ships from Britain’s colonial fleet can pick them up. The Rabbi has however received word through intermediaries in the courts of Poland, Sweden and Denmark to allow the Jews to pass through their lands providing they do not settle. Henry agrees to have colonial transports available in Bremen to start transporting the Jews to Britain and hence to Bristol where the full colonial fleet has its base. His next problem is where to send them.
Britain formally welcomes the Haudenosaunee confederation into the Commonwealth of British North America, the Tadodaho of that time called Hotrewati and though elected was to have the equivalent rank as a Duke for all dealings with the nation.
Britain starts to colonise the islands of New Zealand, though at first only as a fortified naval bases.
Two new fortresses were approved for the colony of Panama to cover the land approaches to the ports. The population of Panama has almost doubled in the last 2 years despite the health hazards. Massive draining of swampland by redirecting rivers and building dykes is slowly eliminating the mosquito problem though.
In the Netherlands various factions were now fighting to establish dominance in the Staten-Generaal and the Regents were very much on the back foot against the Orangist’s. The huge financial resources of the regents however were still being used to keep the common people down and more or less run the country as a business and this sufficed to keep any form of unanimity developing amongst the various opposition groups. The increased toll’s for the Danish Oeresund are also biting into Dutch Mercantile profits and many merchants are questioning the wisdom of antagonising close allies in the name of a few Guilders more profit.
The stadtholder William II, Prince of Orange is biding his time sooner or later the various merchants will make a mistake and allow the Staten-Generaal to come back under the control of the common people and the Orange party.
The Pernanbucana insurrection breaks out again in Dutch Brazil as Portuguese settler’s revolt against Dutch rule.
Denmark and Sweden now both watch with interest the war in Poland-Lithuania. Scandinavian military power and self belief had not been as high in centuries and the possible break up of Poland-Lithuania looked like the perfect opportunity to increase that power.
The Danes though now allowing transport to the Baltic by the Dutch have increased the Oeresund fees for their passage though not by a great amount, simply enough to cost profits not volume of the merchant traffic.
The northern European high road is started, to run from Calais to Bruxelles, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck and Rostock. With side roads off to various other towns and cities it is believed it will greatly increases internal trade within the Northern Alliance.
In France the civil war in the south continued to be fought draining men and resources away from the rebuilding of French power on the continent.
In Spain resources and money were being diverted into increasing trade and strengthening the colonies already held. The revolt in Naples though easily quelled brought about a change in policies for the Two Sicilies with a lowering of taxes and an increase in the amount of land used for farming. Relations with the Papal States remained cold and formal, the homes and palaces of Spanish cardinals and priests often being attacked by mobs in the city of Rome.
Savoy continued to have problems holding down Florence, though violence was very rarely necessary the sullen attitude of the people kept the Savoyards on their guard.
Poland-Lithuania though surprised by the ferocity and strength of the Cossack rebellion starts to fight back the Hetmanate did not have enough strength to stabilize the situation or to inflict a defeat on the enemy. What followed was a period of intermittent warfare and several peace treaties, which neither side put much faith in or cared to abide by. From the spring of 1649 on, the situation turned for worse for the Cossacks, as the frequency of Polish attacks increased and they were becoming more and more successful. The resulting Treaty of Zboriv in August was unfavourable for Cossacks. Khmelnytsky realising he couldn’t win alone and not trusting his Tatar allies sent out emissaries to talk to the Russians and the Swedes.
(1650) Despite securing an agreement that privateering would stop between the Dutch and the other allies, piracy continued on apace in the Southeast Asian seas. The dispatch of British and Danish warships helped a little, but the area covered was vast and the pirates either well hidden or back under neutral colours before the British or Danes could catch them. Henry had a number of merchantmen converted to heavily armed pirate chasers and despatched to East Asia, this along with increased guards and a convoy system brought raiding down to manageable levels, though by no means eliminating it. Henry and Parliament also offered a bounty for anyone who was prepared to identify pirated goods, pirates, or pirate bases.
Despite the objections of some in Parliament, the British colonial fleet started transporting Jewish refugees to Florida, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, the principles were the same for transporting German refugees, where the colonists became British citizens and took an oath to uphold British laws.
This year also saw the retirement of Oliver Cromwell as Governor of Greater Normandy through ill health; he was replaced by Sir Philip Stapleton his friend and understudy, who carried on Cromwell’s task of securing the Duchy as a British stronghold. Cromwell’s sons Richard and Oliver were both at the British Military Academy in Edinburgh and expected to be fine officers of the crown.
George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Torrington, Baron Monck of Potheridge, Beauchamp And Teyes is appointed commander of the North American Militia’s, he and an experienced staff from the British Military Academy travel to the New World to train up the Militias as well as study the tactics of the colonists and their native allies.
Britain sends a delegation to the Ottoman’s to clear up recent misunderstandings, although initially hostile, dialogue on a number of outstanding issues is achieved.
The "News" reports that a Henry Robinson has opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters, the first historically documented dating service in Threadneedle Street, London.
Also becoming popular in London are the new Coffee Houses, where gentlemen can sit and discuss the events of the day without recourse to drunken boorish behaviour.
Otto von Guericke demonstrates a powered air pump to scientists and merchants in London. Its use in mining becomes essential for any deep excavations.
In the Netherlands a reorganisation is undertaken of the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie aka Dutch East India Company) practically making them a private army and navy abroad. This coupled with the Dutch merchant houses quest for ever greater profits lead to various ventures to attempt to oust British, Danish, Spanish and Portuguese merchants from present-day Indonesia and in the Malay Peninsula, Ceylon, the Malabar Coast of India, and Japan. Using mostly mercenaries, local rulers and adventurers the organisation which on the surface appeared respectable soon had stirred up a hornets nest in the East Indies. Having 150 merchantmen, 40 warships with another 30 being built and over 10,000 soldiers it rapidly expanded to take over any outposts abandoned by its rivals in the face of the violence it supported. Though there was no evidence or trail of paperwork back to Amsterdam, it soon became obvious to the four other mercantile powers just what was going on.
The Pernanbucana insurrection collapses as a Dutch army though very badly mauled by the Portuguese and their native help finally defeat the rebels.
The Danes though no strangers to rigorous competition themselves were wondering just who was in charge of the Netherlands, with Prince William saying one thing, the Staatholders another and the VOC doing something else consulted with their friendly rivals the British and Swedes to decide on a course of action.
The Swedes were in talks with the Cossack Hetmanate about the recognition of their regime. King Robert could see the advantages of bringing the Ukraine into Sweden’s sphere of interest especially as it would also keep the Russians out of the Ukraine. Although having little taste for the excesses of the Hetmanate regime it was decided that over all it would be in the best interests of Sweden to recognise Bohdan Khmelnytsky and his country.
This prompted Poland-Lithuania to declare war on Sweden.
In France continued efforts to gain control of the south of the country by the royalists are thwarted by De Melo and his allies. French attempts to get Spain to assist them in dealing with De Melo are coldly rebuffed.
In Spain there is talk of another war with the Dutch over their actions in the East Indies, the Spanish decide to act cautiously, speaking to Britain and Denmark first before getting involved in a struggle that might drag the British and Danes into a shooting war with Spain. The Spanish continue their quiet funding of De Melo, warning him only to stay out of Spain on pain of death, but allowing him to recruit mercenaries from Spanish towns.
King John Casimir of Poland angered at Swedish recognition of the Cossacks proceeds to send an army north into Estonia and another into Brandenburg. He also requests assistance from the HRE to support his attacks against the Protestant heretics. He receives support and aid from Austria and Bavaria with various "mercenary" units being sent to his armies.
Venice and the Ottoman’s re-establish peaceful relations; Venice also retains control of the Republic of Ragusa.
Venice warns that the Knights of St John are no longer welcome in Venetian territory.
(1651) Tensions increase in the East Indies with privateering, raid and counter raid by the various nations’s involved. Dutch attempts to have the British removed from Japan backfire with the Dutch delegation being expelled by the Shogunate over a breach of etiquette and their trading rights revoked.
The British presence in India is also increased due to good relations with the Moghul Empire.
British warships continue to seek out pirate nests with the assistance of the Danes and occasionally the Spanish/Portuguese, ruthlessly wiping out any they find.
The British army is issued with a newer musket, lighter than the previous model it is 46 inches (116.8 cm) long, firing a .75 inch calibre ball. Using an iron ramrod instead of a wooden one it can after practice be reloaded 2 times in a minute with some experienced troops managing an amazing 3 times per minute. (Though this was unusual and rarely happened in combat) This process was drilled into troops until they could do it by instinct and feel. The main advantage of the British army was that unlike continental armies they trained at this procedure almost every day.
The British Parliament agrees to fund the full colonisation of New Zealand feeling that a larger British presence in the southern hemisphere is both necessary and desirable. Following on the example of colonising Henricia (OTL California) 3 large colonisation fleets are planned over the next 10 years, each carrying 5,000 colonists with all the necessary supplies needed to set up a thriving community, in addition to the regular colonial efforts.
Increasing colonisation of British North America brings increasing debate on colonial size and boundaries. Though most colonies are happy to be ruled by King Henry, they are concerned that the British Parliament despite having colonial advisors are too distant to properly meet the ongoing needs of the various colonies. Admiration of the Haudenosaunee style of self governance and a desire to take hold of their own destiny to a greater degree leads to a decision to hold a colonial congress to debate future expansion as well as new boundaries. The British Parliament agrees to look at any decisions arrived at by the congress, though not necessarily to ratify them.
In the Netherlands there is fierce debate over the actions of the VOC and the Regents. Although there is no direct evidence of wrongdoing it is becoming very obvious that the Regents are not acting in the best interests of the Republic. Prince William is in talks with Henry and Christian over the situation and agrees to act against the Regents should evidence be found that they are directly responsible for the actions taking place in the East Indies as he is not yet strong enough to act directly against them.
Denmark though concerned over the problems in the East Indies continues to expand its commercial interests in Africa, China and India. Profits also soared from her West Indies possessions despite the rampant corruption of the governor of New Denmark (OTL Puerto Rico) The Danish army is also put on alert over the Polish invasion of Brandenburg, though the Swedes have not (as yet) asked for aid. King Christian also begins talks with the Rigsraad over a revision of offices held by nobility, this is very unpopular with some of the nobility, but Christian uses his influence along with the support gained in the new territories to carry it through.
In Sweden the attacks by Poland-Lithuania come as no surprise and the Swedish army moves to counter the two invasions of Swedish territory. A series of battles in Estonia rapidly drives the invaders off Swedish territory and plans are made to drive further south into Latvia. In Brandenburg the situation is a lot more difficult as the Polish armies have been bolstered by mercenaries from various HRE states and the Swedes and Brandenburger’s are forced into a series of defensive battles and are slowly pushed out of the province despite causing greater casualties to the invaders.
In Poland-Lithuania though happy with progress in Brandenburg they are dismayed at the defeats in Estonia. There is further bad news with an indecisive battle with the Cossacks between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army under King Jan II Casimir and Cossack and Ukrainian peasant forces, led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and their Crimean Tatar allies. The Polish army had around 70,000 troops, the Cossacks around 80,000 plus 40,000 Crimean Tatar cavalry. Both sides had about 40,000 cavalry each. Fighting was close; with the core of excellent Cossack infantry making up for the weakness of their cavalry, much of the decisive fighting was by the infantry and dismounted dragoons of each side. Victory was claimed by the Cossacks despite the Crimean Tatars, dispirited by the death of their leader Toðay Bey, deserting the battlefield. However most historians agree the battle petered out, as the Cossacks charged the ranks of the Polish-Lithuanian army but were unable to break through. As a result, Casimir was forced to call up more troops to defend his realm.
In France it was another series of inconclusive battles in the South with neither side being able to gain an advantage over the other. King Louis XIV comes of age and takes over the reins of power from his mother Queen Anne.
In Spain preparations were being made for war with the Dutch, although there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the fight amongst Philips generals, Philip and his advisors knew it was not really in Spain long term interests to get bogged down in another struggle with the Netherlands, something they hadn’t come close to winning before when they had troops stationed in Flanders.
Savoy puts down an attempted insurrection in Tuscany.
Venice agrees to purchase some long range armed merchantmen from Britain in its first attempts to start trading in the New World and East Asia.
(1652) Britain, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands are practically fighting an undeclared war in the East Indies over the activities of the VOC. The capture of a Dutch privateer by a British armed merchantman opens a massive can of worms for the Dutch merchant staatholders. The ship also carrying mercenaries to assist in the expulsion of the Portuguese/Spanish from Ceylon also contained correspondence to other Dutch outposts to continue their expansion to the exclusion of all other foreign nationalities. The Spanish in particular (when their spies report the findings) are incensed at the Dutch actions and threaten war unless serious reparations are made. Henry and Christian likewise are very angry at their so called allies threatening further sanctions on Dutch shipping travelling their waters. Fortunately, Prince William acts promptly by summoning the Staten-Generaal and presenting the evidence; the Staten-Generaal then calls for the arrest of the heads of the VOC and starts procedures against them for treasonous activities. Seizure of assets belonging to the families is offered as a sop to the offended nations. The trading outposts seized are also returned back to the offended parties. Many of the VOC leaders however have knowledge of the charges and flee the Netherlands with their families to East Asia.
British interests abroad were further expanded with a series of treaties with Siam, Vietnam and Korea, mostly for raw materials. British efforts to increase trade with China are made more difficult by the Emperors advisor Johann Adam Schall von Bell, a Jesuit from Germany who had no love for the Protestant traders and pushed the Shunzhi Emperor towards better relations with the Spanish and Portuguese. In response the British started discrete talks with a rebel leader called Koxinga seeing if influence could be obtained from that direction.
In British North America the first all colony congress is held discussing mutual aid, policies and representation within the British Parliament. Also discussed are the British religious contract which enforced a form of freedom of religion and whether it should apply to native religions. There are calls from some groups for a "Jubilee Year" in which all slaves should be freed, though this is shouted down by many in the congress who own slaves themselves.
Henry prepares the army for deployment should Sweden ask for aid.
Prince William continues to clean house in the Netherlands, although there was some risk of civil war, the population, army and navy stood square behind him as he proceeded to set right the damage done to the State and the reputation of the State. Moving swiftly as his party now controls the Staten-Generaal he passes several laws governing the mercantile practice of the Regents and the VOC. He also puts a bounty on the heads of the VOC who fled the country in the wake of the investigation into their illegal practices. It’s not so much that they were doing them, but that they did them to excess and were caught. Prince William also puts the army in readiness to assist the Swedes should they ask.
King Christian assembles the Danish army around Hamburg, consisting of his regular levies as well as those from the new Danish protectorates. The news from Brandenburg and Estonia is not good and he expects the Northern alliance to be involved in coming to Sweden’s aid soon. He is also relieved that the Dutch appear to have sorted out their problems within the Netherlands; however he does order any Danish shipping to keep an eye out for the missing VOC members. The Dutch indemnity is also enough to salve the outraged Danish merchants who had been calling for war against their neighbours.
Sweden’s push down into Latvia comes to a grinding halt when they are faced with a massive invasion behind them from Russia. The Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich allied himself to the Poles having been angered by Sweden’s interference with the Ukraine. Caught between two armies the northern Swedish army was crushed despite making a good account of itself just outside of Tartu. The Russians then moved to lay siege to Tallinnn. In Brandenburg the Swedes are pushed west from Neubrandenburg fighting a text book withdrawal in the face of hostile forces yet unable still to hold back the sheer numbers of the Poles and their allies. Robert calls to his allies in the Northern alliance to come to Sweden’s aid.
In Poland-Lithuania there is a great deal of satisfaction with the current state of the war, true they have had to get aid from the Russians and will lose territory in the east, but they see Sweden as a far greater current threat. Dealing with the Cossack insurrection has not however proven easy as Khmelnytsky is proving himself a tough and ingenious general.
In France it is yet another year of inconsequential battles over the south of the country. Neither side seems able to make any kind of a breakthrough and Louis is far too stubborn to try and negotiate.
In Spain there is disappointment from some at not getting to fight the Dutch, however to Philip and his advisors this is a relief as they were not in a position to fight a long war yet. Spain’s activities were currently spent on improving the defences of her colonies, some whom were perceived as being very vulnerable to attack. British permission to use the Panama road was also very useful as it enabled the transfer of goods and precious metals across the South American continent very quickly. The British, true to their word did not interfere with anyone’s business so long as they paid the toll and obeyed the law.
Venice and Savoy pooled their resources and set up a small colony at the mouth of the Demerara River in South America (OTL Georgetown) Land was swiftly cleared and plantations set up and a small influx of colonists began making the journey west.
(1653) January to March. The British army was shipped across to Bremen where despite the weather it marched to Stettin and was billeted in and around the town. Henry called in at Hamburg to consult with Christian and William and clarify lines of command. This is not expected to be an easy campaign and fighting against Russia is an unknown quantity for the Alliance. Henry himself does not expect to be involved in the fighting and had merely travelled to talk to the other Heads of state and though healthy for his age and all his faculties still sharp does not really feel that at 59 his place should be on the battlefield. His son James is commander in chief of the Army with Generals Leslie, Montrose and Fairfax commanding the three separate arms. In total this is the largest army ever fielded by Britain with just under 80,000 men at arms. The experiences fighting in France and Austria are held in good stead as the support units travelling across Europe are well supplied with powder, shot and food. The Plan is for the British to try and skirt around the edges of the Poles and their allies and threaten to cut off their northern support, whilst the Dutch and Danes join with the Swedes to engage the Poles head on and drive them back out of Brandenburg.
The British Parliament receives representatives from the Colonial Congress and their requests to form a Parliament of North America to deal with matters of interest to the colonies save only in foreign affairs and taxation. As with the British Parliament, the head of state would remain Henry.
Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, John Wallis, John Evelyn, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren and William Petty petition Henry to give his support to the Society of Britain for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, assent is given and the Royal Society is founded. Knowledge and results of experimentation are soon being passed between the society and other learned men of Europe.
John Thurloe becomes Henry’s head of intelligence drawing together the various departments that used to deal with aspects of gaining intelligence from various powers in Europe and placing them all under one head.
Prince William having managed to avoid both a civil war and foreign wars against the British, Danes and Spaniards moves to strengthen his position and that of his party within the republic. Although immensely popular amongst the ordinary people and the middle classes, he has alienated the remaining Regents and merchants by his measures to regulate their activities. He is worried by keeping his obligations to the Northern Alliance he has become vulnerable at home as the army is so far away.
Christian of Denmark is glad to be back out in the field leading his troops, leaving his Brother Frederick in charge at Copenhagen. Though immensely worried about the size of the armies facing the Alliance he feels that it is possible to break the threat from the east for at least a generation giving the Alliance time to grow and prosper from trade and colonisation.
Robert of Sweden though glad of the support of the Alliance in the south is moving the best parts of his army to the north to try and relieve Estonia. Though the Russians are laying siege to Tallinn, the intense winter cold and strong defences have left their army in a dreadful state. Robert hopes that once the mud has dried after spring the full might of Sweden can crush the Russians and drive them away from Estonia.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky knows that unless the Northern Alliance can defeat Poland-Lithuania and send a relief army through to the Ukraine he is unlikely to survive this year as his Tatar allies have switched sides and the country itself is almost totally over run with various armies all hoping for a chunk of the spoils.
King Casimir of Poland is greatly satisfied by the actions of his armies in the south, the Swedes had been pushed back and the Cossacks were in serious trouble. The bringing up of the Northern alliance worried him not at all; despite their numbers he still had the advantage of territory and men at arms.
In France the royalists prepared for another campaign in the south of the country.
Spain continued their reforms and attempted to expand further trade in the East Indies, hoping to snatch various monopolies and trading posts off the Dutch whilst there was much confusion over the Regents.
(1653) April. The British army moved east to try and outflank the Polish-Lithuanian army and force them to retreat back towards Neubrandenburg, the Dutch, Danes and Swedes driving forward seeking to engage the Poles. Forced into retreat by the larger armies the Poles and their allies look to try and engage one or the other Alliance armies before the other could come to its aid. Keeping in constant touch with one another the Alliance kept the pressure on the Poles slowly driving them from Brandenburg much to the relief of the Brandenburger’s themselves who had been facing discrimination for being Protestants. Finally near the town of Schwedt, the Poles thought they saw their chance and engaged the British army. Unlike previous battles, the British instead of fighting in blocks six deep the line was only three deep, this enabled the flanks of the army to extend beyond the Polish lines. Expecting their heavier lines to be able to punch through the fragile seeming British lines the Poles were caught out by the much faster British volleys and their discipline under fire themselves. The British line then proceeded to use its flanks to swing around the sides of the Polish army trapping many in a pocket causing a rout as the Polish army could not retreat fast enough to escape the trap prepared for them. Broken and bloodied the Poles fell back towards the border harried mercilessly by British lancers and cavalry only to face the larger Alliance army swinging up around Schwedt cutting off their retreat. The battle was a disaster for the Poles and their allies and its general Jeremi Micha³ Korybut Wiœniowiecki was forced to surrender his army en-masse to Prince James and were marched back into Brandenburg to repair the depredations they had caused to the towns and cities. The British continued their march into Silesia heading for Torun whilst the Dutch and Swedes headed towards Breslau. The Danes holding the centre ground moved towards Poznan. The Alliance all stayed within touch of each other and scouted heavily, all were able to come to the aid of the other should the need arise.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky fights several battles in the south of the Hetmanate against the Crimean Tatars who are trying to enslave and sell many of the indigenous natives of the Ukraine.
French troops under the Duc d’Enghien defeat a rebel army lead by De Melo and re-occupy Toulouse driving the rebels out of that region back to Languedoc.
Spanish and Portuguese troops land in Ceylon to protect their mercantile interests from Dutch hostile acquisition.
(1653) May. The British occupied Torun having been welcomed in by the mostly Protestant German population opening up the port facilities there to aid their resupply. The population drove out the Jesuits and Dominican’s and recent Catholic settlers who had arrived in order to promote the Counter-Reformation, taking control of the Church of St. John. This was then rededicated to the Lutheran church. Though unable to stop the townsfolk driving out the Roman Catholics, the British army did retain order and prevented any violence. Leaving the town strongly garrisoned the British then moved east to threaten Warsaw.
The Danes under King Christian swiftly overran Poznan with the cities walls not being in the best of conditions being welcomed by some and gaining grudging acceptance by others. Leaving the City garrisoned the Danes moved east to link up with the British near Warsaw.
The Dutch and Swedes were welcomed into Breslau by the local German Lutheran’s who had been suppressed by their Hapsburg rulers. The local population once again took the opportunity to drive out their supposed oppressors as did most of the mainly protestant Silesian region. The joint army then continued east skirting around the Poland-Lithuanian forces moving to defend Warsaw and headed towards Kraków, where they meet and defeat a small army lead by Marcin Kalinowski and proceed to lay siege to the city.
In Estonia a joint Swedish, Danish army landed and proceeded to move towards Tallinn to relieve the city which had been under desultory Russian siege for nearly 8 months.
The Battle of Plock took place between that town and the Vistula crossing near Warsaw over 3 days at the end of May between the combined armies of Britain and Denmark and a Joint Poland-Lithuanian, Russian army and was the largest battle yet seen on the continent. The British and Danes numbering about 120,000 men and the Polish-Lithuanians and Russians numbering in the region of 140,000, though not all forces took part in the battle.
On the first day the British and Danes mounted a conventional, frontal assault which was resisted and repulsed, though casualties were very low. The space between the Bia³o³êka Forest to the east and the Vistula River on the west made the line of battle very narrow and prevented the British and Danes infantry from forming an effective firing line with their muskets, though the lighter British artillery did make some progress in suppressing any return fire from the Poles and Russians. The Polish-Lithuanian forces had also thrown up earthwork fortifications in front of their positions, creating a very difficult defensive position to assault, though this also hampered any attempt to counterattack as any troops emerging from behind the defenses were immediately cut to pieces by the British and Danish infantry. The majority of the Danish infantry swung round to the south of the Polish positions looking for a crossing point to assault their lines.
On the second day, Prince James led a personal reconnaissance mission and noticed that a hillock against the forest, known as the "Colline", was on high enough ground to see over the Bia³o³êka Forest and was also a prime position to put his guns. He had it assaulted and occupied by British infantry and dragoons and soon positioned his cannon on it, holding off against repeated Polish charges against the hillock. With the British having shifted attention to the Colline hillock, the highly mobile Danish cavalry began a daring maneuver having found a crossing point and driving off the guards holding it they wheeled around the Bia³o³êka Forest unseen by the Russian right flank, they consolidated a new position which made the Russian battle lines untenable. A countercharge by Russian cavalry was not strong enough to break the Danish lines and rescue the situation because the sudden appearance of the outflanking Danish army on their southern flank caused them to rush uncoordinated attacks that petered out by nightfall.
The third day was when the Poles and Russians forces were finally defeated. Prince James began an hour-long bombardment and followed with a bayonet charge against the now demoralized and unorganized enemy forces on the northern flank. King Christian led a cavalry charge to the right and broke deep into the rear of the Polish-Russian lines, causing a general disintegration of their forces. John II Casimir decided the battle was lost and attempted to withdraw his army across a single bridge over the Vistula River, while his cavalry retreated north and south along the river harried mercilessly by the British and Danish dragoon lancers. Moving his lighter artillery swiftly in the face of the retreat Prince James was able to bring the bridge over the Vistula under fire causing pandemonium as the retreating Poles and Russians were caught in a choke point. The swiftly marching British infantry were soon within range of the bridge and began to pour volley fire into the carnage causing massive casualties as the Poles and Russians were unable to retreat fast enough, nor had anyone in a position to officially surrender. The British and Danish casualties were light being around some 9,000 men the Poles however lost somewhere in the region of 50,000 men including over 10,000 of their elite winged hussars and were badly demoralised by the defeat. The Russians lost over 20,000 and retreated back towards Russia after Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich repudiated the treaty between them.
The following day the British and Danish armies marched into Warsaw watched by a fearful population.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky moves his army north to fight off a Russian incursion near Chernigov forcing them to withdraw after heavy losses. All Polish-Lithuanian incursions into the Hetmanate have now ceased as their armies move west to try and contain the Northern Alliance. Khmelnytsky hopes that independence for the Ukraine will be agreed soon, though he eyes the Crimea in the hope of seizing a port on the Black Sea.
France consolidates its position around Toulouse by hanging thousands of rebels against the crown. This brings Languedoc back into French hands and splits the rebels into two separate parts, Aquitaine and Provence.
(1653) June. The British and Danish armies split with the British heading north towards the Lithuanian capital at Vilnius and the Danes marching towards Lublin. Both armies fight a series of light skirmishes en-route, though scouts report larger armies forming ahead of them.
The Joint Danish, Swedish army breaks the siege of Tallinn sending the Russians back towards Novgorod. Leaving the town adequately garrisoned the Army swings south towards Tartu and the Latvian border.
The Dutch, Swedish army at Krakow continues to lay siege to the town as the defenders desperately hold on hoping for relief, with Plague and famine are running rampant behind the walls. There are a lot of minor battles fought against Bavarian and Austrian mercenaries, though there seems no concerted effort to relieve the city.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky having agreed terms with the Russians to leave the Ukraine swings his army south to engage the Crimean Tatars hoping to capture the Black Sea port at Cherson.
The Russian Parliament starts talks with the Northern Alliance seeking an end to hostilities.
King Casimir of Poland ignoring the advice of his noble council summons another host to "destroy the heretics." This causes splits within Poland and Lithuania with many ignoring the call demanding the King seek terms with others flocking to the Kings banner. Many of the nobles in Lithuania simply refuse to fight seeing no gain in throwing away a generation of fighting men against what appears to be an unbeatable foe.
In Britain Henry is strongly involved in the rebuilding of London, putting his seal of approval on all manner of buildings (though notes from his chronicler suggest it was actually Queen Maria who gave the final seal of approval) The classical styles used set the pattern for future generations and many new techniques that have become commonplace were tried and tested during this period.
The British Parliament received a request from the Tsalagi to join the Commonwealth of British North America.
Jewish immigration to Florida has now reached over 10,000. Many are also having their way paid to the Southern island of New Zealand boosting the British colonial efforts there. Some though are also choosing to settle in the highlands of Scotland where they are mostly left alone to follow their religious practices.
Arriving in Bristol are two regiments of colonial militia and several units of Haudenosaunee auxiliary scouts under General George Monck. They march to Dover to sail to Calais and deployment in Poland. The differences in dress and equipment of the colonials are the talk of London society with their buckskin trousers and coats showing none of the colour of a European army.
The British Parliament formally approves the founding of a North American Parliament to take over the day to day formalities of the colony. Revenue and foreign policy remain in the hands of Britain though.
Britain agrees to discretely arm, train and supply Koxinga in China in his rebellion against the Manchu dynasty hoping that he’ll allow better trade in any ports he captures.
The talk in North America is of the deployment of their militia abroad, there is a great deal of pride in the fact that they are able to come to the aid of their King and this is thought to be the start of the tradition of serving in the colonial militias and forging a loyalty to Britain that has never been broken.
In France the army of Duc d’Enghien moves in to Aquitaine to stifle the rebellion there. Another French army under Cadet la Pearl moves to Provencal and are soundly defeated by De Melo and his tercios.
Spain continues to try and expand its colonies in South America with many new investments in plantations and mines. Colonial infrastructure is also being expanded and although life is harsh for many of the natives it is slowly improving.
Philip rebuffs an attempt by Poland to involve himself in the northern war, trade with Britain and British colonies is growing and becoming a necessary component of Spanish wealth and mercantile growth and whilst there is no great love between the two nations, at the moment peace is more profitable than war.
Ferdinand III of the HRE though disturbed by the Northern Alliance victories in Poland can offer little but verbal support to the Poles save only allowing them to recruit mercenaries from his lands. His advice to Casimir to come to terms as quickly as possible falls on deaf ears.
(1653) July. The Dutch and Swedes take Krakow as the local population force the town leaders to open the gates, starvation and disease have decimated the population and most are relieved as the joint army moves in and distributes food as well as allowing other supplies into the town. The Dutch then march north to link up with the Danes whilst the Swedes move east to Lvov
The British marched one army under Fairfax north towards Gdansk stopping only long enough to take the ports surrender and confirm its free city status. Ships from the Alliance were soon calling into the port bringing supplies and reinforcements including the Colonial Militia who were attached to Montrose’s army. A further march north took the British up to Königsberg which also duly surrendered not wishing any part of a war which disturbed trade. A second British army under Leslie moved towards Vilnius to meet emissaries from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who requested that the British accept their non belligerent status. The British then regrouped to move south to Kiev and a meeting with Bodhan Khmelnytsky.
In the far north the Danes and Swedes continued to drive a demoralised Polish army south out of Estonia and back into Latvia. Riga opens its gates to the allies and resistance in the north collapses.
The Cossack Hetmanate continues to drive the Crimean Tatars from their lands bordering the Black Sea. The war is one of movement, raid and counter-raid, though the Cossacks concentrate on trying to seize Cherson.
The Danish army occupied Warsaw and continued to scout out the countryside of the surrounding areas, they are aware of a large Polish army assembling towards Brest, though are not prepared to move out of prepared positions to attack them yet.
In Ireland the new Kings Highways were being completed linking most towns to Dublin, land reform had increased farm size and the land had become the breadbasket of the British union.
Several of the new forts in Normandy were nearing completion and land reform similar to Ireland was taking place although there was no wholesale driving of the population off the land.
North American Mounted Militia come in contact with the Kiowa tribe, contact is friendly though the militia are warned to proceed no further.
In France desperate fighting by the rebels in Aquitaine only delays the inevitable and the Duc d’Enghien smashes the final resistance in Bordeaux to bring all but Provencal back under French rule.
(1653) August. The Polish army attacks the Danes outside of Warsaw, King Casimir has gathered a huge host thinking he can overwhelm the Danes by sheer numbers before any of the other allied armies can come to their aid. This is a last throw of the dice for Casimir, in less than a year he has seen all his gains stripped away from him and should he be defeated, the dissolution of the Commonweath as his Lithuanian nobles and their Parliament (sejmik) refused to aid him and sought separate terms with the Alliance.
The battle of Warsaw was a disaster for Poland, going down in their history as the blackest days they’d ever faced. Attacking the Danes who were securely positioned, amply supplied and armed behind huge earthworks the Poles broke themselves making mass charge after mass charge and were thrown back with massive casualties every time. At the end of the first day the Poles had lost almost 15,000 men to the Danes 300. The following day the Poles concentrated their attacks along one front trying to seize the defensive earthworks finally driving the hard pressed Danes from their secured position only to have to withdraw as the fast marching Dutch army arrived on the field. Caught out of position from not having kept scouts out the Poles were driven off the field in disorder, harried and decimated by the sallying Danish and Dutch lancers.
Polish losses were estimated at almost 47,000 to the Danes 8,000 and the Dutch’s 2500. Casimir fled the field with his royal guard only to be seized later that night by a Danish patrol hiding in a church, betrayed by one of his own guards.
The rest of the month saw Northern alliance forces move from town to town disbanding or exterminating any forces loyal to Casimir or those who had turned to banditry. Though never particularly welcome anywhere, the alliance troops at least had a reputation for fair dealing with the populace and violent incidents were few and far between.
The treaty of Warsaw signed later that month changed the face of Northern Europe. Poland was forced to recognise the Cossack Hetmanate (Ukraine) as a separate country, the Commonwealth was divided and Lithuania no longer tied to Poland. Poland also ceded the German speaking regions of Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia and lost all access to the Baltic. King Casimir was forced to give up all claims to the Swedish throne.
Sweden gained Estonia in the north and also gained Lithuania as an independent protectorate (at Lithuania’s request), though at Danish insistence lost Brandenburg and Saxony in the South.
Brandenburg, Saxony, Silesia, Pomerania and Prussia formed a new German dominated state known as the Baltic Federation based loosely on the Dutch republic.
Britain Denmark and the Netherlands received an indemnity of £500,000 each and agreed to keep some of their troops in the Baltic federation until its constitution could be sorted out.
In London the request of the Tsalagi for commonwealth status is debated and passed. There is also some discussion of what to call a colony after the colonial phase has passed, though as yet no-one could make up their minds.
The missing Regents from the VOC are finally traced to Formosa, though the governor there refuses to hand them over to the representatives of the Staten-Generaal.
Balthasar Charles of Spain, Prince of Asturias and Portugal dies in Provencal from over indulgence at a feast. De Melo has his body transported back to Spain and awaits Philip’s judgement on the event.
During this time the French again try to reconquer province and are beaten back by De Melo’s army.
In France Aquitaine is "cleansed" of all rebels to the crown in a reign of terror that lasts for over a year. No-one whether young, old, noble or commoner were spared, from execution, nor were their families.
A revolt in Florence was brutally suppressed by the Savoyard army.
(1653) September to December. Europe settled into an uneasy peace, the strength of the Northern Alliance was something no state wished to challenge, though most were now trying to train their armies up to the standards now set.
In Britain there is a great deal of satisfaction at the strength of their arms, though also astonishment at just how quickly the situation in Poland collapsed.
Parliament extends the franchise to landowners and men of wealth in Greater Normandy whose total wealth exceeds £1000 per annum.
Henry arranges a grand tour of his realm for the following year, including a trip to North America, there is a great deal of anticipation involved as to who will get to meet the King as well as endless discussion on the protocols of meeting the King, something that means very little to Henry as during his army years he had got into the habit of meeting and talking to all his men at arms as equals. His habit of taking a morning constitutional in Hyde park and talking to any and all who were passing through also added to his growing reputation of being a King for all men, though it gave his head of intelligence (John Thurloe) a lot of problems as protecting the King was his duty.
Henry’s town house was completed at this time and was renowned for having wallpaper as opposed to carpets on the walls when he and his household moved into it. Known formally as the King’s Residence and informally as Henry’s House it became the royal residence for all future monarchs, though the Court of St James was still used as the formal meeting place for foreign ambassadors.
The First Cape Colony wines are sold in London and Amsterdam.
The population of London reaches 100,000 for the first time.
In Denmark the betrothal of King Christian to Magdalena Sibylla of Saxony is greeted with acclamation by the people.
Denmark continued to expand its holdings on the Gold coast expanding south to encroach on territory belonging to Spain/Portugal.
Swedish and Lithuanian diplomats spent this time discussing the implications involved in the linking of the two realms. Fortunately King Robert and his experience of the British way of dealing with religion helped greatly to ease fears in Lithuania of being forced into Protestantism. Robert also at this time guaranteed the rights of Lithuania’s free farmers and stopped the slide into serfdom that many were experiencing. During this time he also strengthened the powers of the Swedish Riksdag despite objections from his nobles to counter their growing influence on Swedish foreign policies.
He also curtailed the power of the Lithuanian Szlachta (Noble houses) over their riding roughshod over the mercantile classes when it came to taxation.
In Poland king Casimir and a cabal of nobles managed to hold onto power and gradually turned his reign into that of absolutism with everything coming under the command of the King and his nobles. Feeling deeply humiliated by the Northern Alliance victories the King starts talks with Austria, Bavaria and France about mutual interests.
In the Netherlands Williams demands for the Governor of Taiwan to hand over the Regents of the VOC are denied and he makes plans to seize the island back from the Regents and their supporters.
In France the army of Cadet La Perle fights several pitched battles with De Melo finally forcing him and his followers out of Provencal and into exile in Savoy. Again a reign of terror begins in Provencal as all who opposed the King are ruthlessly hunted down and executed.
In Spain a period of mourning begins for Balthasar Charles, though it is only really observed in the royal household. Philip no longer sends monetary aid to De Melo.
(1654) Was a year of diplomacy and discussions as the Northern Alliance leaders again met in Copenhagen, each member having issues and matters for debate with each other. Also welcomed to the Alliance were the Baltic Federation.
The main issue for Britain was the continuing Dutch (VOC) piracy in the East Indies which was hurting trade and affecting the confidence of investors, the representatives of the Staten-Generaal assured Henry that warships and troops were now being sent to bring the VOC to heel and hopefully end the piracy by Dutch privateers at least.
The main issue for the Dutch was to try and lower the toll’s through the Oeresund and gain back some of their Baltic trade, this Christian of Denmark promised he would look at as soon as Dutch privateering ceased against Danish vessels.
Christian of Denmarks biggest issue was the increasing power of Sweden, although he had managed to loosen the states of Brandenburg and Saxony from Sweden’s grasp, the influence of Sweden had increased with the gaining of Estonia and bringing Lithuania into Sweden’s sphere of influence. Talks with King Robert however assured Christian that Sweden as such had no designs on Danish territory in Scania and Halland and that Swede would be looking to closer ties in the future to ensure that all their gains could be consolidated into a Baltic Union with benefits for all.
Robert of Sweden at this time was looking to ensure the solidity of the Northern Alliance, knowing that alone Sweden would be no match for her enemies, events before the Alliance came to the aid of Sweden had proved that.
The British Parliament debated a new treaty with Japan which would allow for a greater amount of trade with the islands in exchange for further trade ports to be opened. The invitation was sent out with a new ambassadorial staff to supplement the existing staff.
At the end of September Henry sails for the New World, landing in Boston to the acclaim of the local population.
In London the artist Carel Fabritius does a series of portraits of the Royal household at the behest of Queen Maria, thus ensuring his reputation in Britain and securing a series of commissions that left him a very wealthy man.
In the Royal Society Otto von Guericke proves the existence of atmospheric pressure by demonstrating with two spheres held together by a vacuum could not be separated even by two teams of horses.
In the Netherlands a Dutch fleet and army is assembled and sent out to Taiwan to return the island to the rule of the Staten Generaal. The northern European high road reaches Arnhem and plans are made to extend it further than the original destination of Rostock and link it eventually to Tallinn via Stettin, Torun and Vilnius, with side roads out to Danzig, Koenigsberg and Riga.
In Denmark the nation rejoices as King Christian announces Magdalena Sibylla of Saxony his Queen is with child.
In Sweden talks continue between that nation’s diplomats and the nation of Lithuania, treaties of mutual support and defence are made as well as seeking closer political ties. Lithuania though nervous of Sweden and her ambitions is far more nervous of Russia.
In France there is consolidation of the reign of King Louis with various laws and ordinances being set out to bring the land (and especially the King) into a degree of prosperity. His rule becomes increasingly autocratic and what power there is in the land is wielded by the king and his advisors.
Spain increases its commitment to colonisation and takes settlers across to South America determined to extend their control of the land.
Savoy and Venice also increase their business in their colony of Nuovo Italia, though are very cautious of the Spanish as well as other privateers.
(1655) Newer methods of crop rotation were experimented with by modern thinking landowners leading to a four field system. This leads to calls for a debate in parliament for the best use for the land of Britain.
The debate is fomented by Member of Parliament James Harrington stating Aristotle's theory of constitutional stability and revolution, Harrington stated that a government is certain to reflect a social system in which the bulk of the land is owned by the gentry rather than by the king and the Church as in ages past. He favours dividing the country into landholdings of a specified maximum value, having a legislature that holds a referendum on each proposed law, and a complex rotation scheme for public officials: "The law is but words and paper without the hands and swords of men," writes Harrington, but he will be credited with saying that the ideal form of government is "an empire of laws and not of men. Attempts to have Harrington arrested are prevented by Prince James who supports Harrington’s conclusions, though not necessarily his methodology.
The British Parliament is forced to debate further land reform as the outcry from various involved parties grows and as more and more people are leaving the land and travelling to the cities much land is now standing fallow. Parliament allows any land to be incorporated (for a price) into large scale farming schemes that change much of the landscape of Britain over the next few decades. Parliament though stipulates that simply turning the peasant class off the land will not be allowed they must be given passage to the New World or other colonies as part of the land purchase price. This is to keep the level of colonisation high and not out of any philanthropic or altruistic motives of the M.P’s.
Henry’s grand tour of North America continues with him visiting many towns’ cities and hamlets. His visits to the Haudenosaunee and Tsalagi were captured by local artists and show the tribes during their transitional stage to a modern European style dwellings and farming. He then travelled to New Jerusalem (OTL Tampa Bay) in Florida where he spoke with various elders and merchants in the Jewish settlements discussing various problems with the setting up of a colony in hot humid and frequently swampy territory.
After visiting eastern North America Henry then set sail for Panama where he travelled the Highway to set sail from Port Robert to New London.
In a battle at Postage Farina, Tunis: Admiral Blake and the British fleet beats the barbarian pirates of the Barbary Coast and severely damage the arsenal of the Bey of Tunis.
British expansion in North America from the east has reached the Missouri in the north and follows the Brazos to the south. Colonisation of the west coast is very much lower and tends to be mostly small coastal settlements, though the area around New London (OTL San Francisco) is very popular.
In The Netherlands the fleet from Prince William lands in Taiwan and lays siege to Tayoan City and Castle Zeelandia, the siege is long and hard but the Dutch succeed and capture the rebels.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is discovered by Christian Huygens.
The Danish Fort Dansborg at Tranquebar is attacked by Hindu rebels against the Moghuls, fortunately a British merchantman passes the news on to the British and Dutch settlements further up the coast and a relief expedition is sent by both countries to drive the rebels off.
Queen Magdalena produces an heir to the throne, also called Christian.
In Sweden reforms by the King and the Rigsdag are finally gaining acceptance, though many nobles who resist find themselves isolated and forced to move abroad to New Sweden. Lithuanian colonists also start making the long journey south.
In France the Kingdom gradually recovers from the excesses of the last 15 years, though the countries infrastructure is in a deplorable state and will require years of repair and millions of Sous to finance it.
Spanish troops in the East Indies invade Vietnam and seize Prey Nokor (Saigon) to use as a base of further colonial expansion.
Emperor Go-Sai ascends to the throne of Japan, for the first time a British ambassador was present at the ceremony.
Fabio Chigi replaces Pope Innocent X as Alexander VII.
(1656) Henry’s visit to Henricia and New London was a great success as was his whole tour, cementing the loyalty of his people and allowing them to see their King as a man not some distant figure.
London is still the biggest building site in the world, though many buildings on the Royal Parade from the Tower to Hyde Park (passing to the front of the court of St James) are well under construction. All buildings fronting this parade have to fill certain criteria and despite a lot of indignation from some architects of differing schools the style remains Neo Classical with most buildings fronted by Doric pillars, though arches and domes were highly prevalent. Buildings hotly disputed were a Synagogue and a Roman Catholic Cathedral, but both were allowed despite protests in Parliament. Competition for the remaining places remained fierce though most were obtained by the various mercantile companies including the East India Company, North American Colonial Enterprises, The Bank of Britain and the Stock Exchange.
Christiaan Huygens living in Edinburgh, revolutionizes clockmaking with an instrument regulated by a pendulum, he has adopted an idea proposed to him by the late Marin Mersenne, applying a concept that occurred to the late Galileo Galilei in 1583 while watching a lamp swinging from a long chain in Pisa Cathedral.
Jacob Lumbrozo founds the Jewish Hospital in New Jerusalem, Florida, it will grow to become the leading medical facility in North America.
In the Netherlands the capture of the remaining rebel Regents causes Dutch East India Company shares to plummet on the Amsterdam Exchange and many investors are ruined. Among them is painter Rembrandt van Rijn, now 50, who is declared bankrupt and whose possessions are put up for sale and is invited by his student Carel Fabritius to live with him in London, where he finds work decorating the insides of many of the new buildings as well as painting portraits of their current heads of business.
Dutch forces try to take the Sinhalese port of Colombo from the Portuguese and are repulsed by the strong garrison of Portuguese and Spanish troops. This is the last major attempt by the VOC to assert its (now) illegal powers in the East Indies.
Artificial pearls 1st manufactured by M Jacquin in Bruge, made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales.
In Denmark news of the attempt to take control of their company/colony in Tranquebar allowed Christian to form the regiment of Danish Marines who take responsibility for protecting all colonial and commercial endeavours abroad.
Christian also obtains funding from the Rigsraad to found several colleges and universities including a military academy.
In Sweden Robert has to step into an argument when Olof Rudbeck returning to Uppsala after studying at Leyden, is appointed professor of anatomy, and builds an anatomical theater where he performs dissections on human bodies, scorning criticism of the practice that is new to Uppsala. Robert refuses to have Rudbeck arrested or confined and strongly censures the complainants.
In France, attempts to negotiate with Savoy to have territories ceded in 1644, they are rebuffed by Savoy who see no reason to return anything to France despite their friendship with Louis’ mother. Louis opens negotiations with the HRE about common interests, particularly those of the seized territories held by the Northern Alliance.
Spain fights a series of battles in the Mediterranean against the Barbary pirates and attacks their bases in an attempt to gain control of the western Mediterranean.
Mehmed Köprülü becomes Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. His first tasks are to try and bring back stability to the Ottoman’s who have lost territory and prestige in many eyes.
(1657) Henry returns from his tour of North America and announces that he is retiring from public life and is more or less handing over the reins of power to his son James. He and Queen Maria still have fairly active private lives as patrons of the arts, education and sciences though all ceremonial duties as well as dealing with Parliament are now left to the Prince.
Henry and Maria now spend a great deal of their time funding schools, college and library building as well as granting annuities to scientists, artists and scholars of merit. Many public works schemes were given royal assent during this time from street paving to water supplies in many towns and cities.
Parliament grants Jews within the Commonwealth full citizenship allowing them the franchise so long as they meet the necessary criteria of income.
In the Moghul Empire Shah Jahan becomes ill, allowing his son to take control, this is not to the advantage of Britain as Aurangzeb was notable for his piety and zeal. His strict adherence to Islam and Sharia (Islamic law)—as he interpreted them—were the foundations of his life. He codified and instituted Sharia law throughout the empire, abandoning the religious tolerance of his father. Many Hindu temples were defaced and destroyed at his orders, and many non-Muslims were forcibly converted to Islam. He instituted a Jizya, a head tax on non-Muslims, and was a threat to all European interests in India.
The British started to cultivate the friendship of Chatrapati Shivaji Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle a Maratha rebel covertly selling him and his follower’s arms and a degree of training.
Following Henry’s recommendations a new series of forts and defensive works are planned and instituted throughout British North America and Panama though this will be the work of many years, the income from colonial endeavours is now exceeding the cost by a very high margin.
The East India Company expands its operations by setting up a trading post in Ayutthaya, Siam with the permission of King Suthammaracha.
British aid to Koxinga starts to pay off as he successfully seizes Guangzhou (Panyu) and starts to extend an area of control south of the Pearl River, displacing the Portuguese traders there in favour of British traders.
In British North America colonists are now spreading up the Mississippi valley and setting up farms and settlements in ever increasing numbers.
Two new colonies join the Commonwealth as full members; Wyandot (roughly OTL southern Ohio and northern Kentucky) named after the confederation of Huron refugees who had fled their after losing their war with the Haudenosaunee. The other being Ojibway (OTL Wisconsin) named after an indigenous tribe found there.
In the Netherlands the former regents and investors in the VOC were tried and found guilty of treason. William of Orange interceded on behalf of their wives and children having them made wards of the crown.
The new governor of the Dutch settlements on Taiwan starts to strengthen the defences of the island and remove many of the more "over enthusiastic" VOC supporters.
Denmark founds a new colony on the west coast of Africa (roughly OTL Congo) founding the settlement of New Jutland on the Congo River. At first it is mostly used in slavery transportation, though it is found that cash crops such as cassava, plantains, sugar cane, palm oil, maize, coffee, cocoa; forestry were all profitable investments. The Danes also in contact with the Kingdom of Congo supplied them with arms and training against the Portuguese in Angola.
Sweden began training the Lithuanian army up to modern standards in order for them to withstand the demands of their neighbours. Polish attempts to draw Lithuania back into an alliance are rebuffed as the Lithuanians do not like the autocratic methods used by King Casimir to enforce his rule.
In France, King Louis begins the long process of rebuilding that countries shattered infrastructure with a road building program to match that of his northern neighbours. He also sends ambassadors to Spain, Austria and Poland feeling out the attitudes of those countries towards assisting France to regain her lost provinces.
Spain continues to move troops into Vietnam during this period supporting Trinh Tac the leader of the Trinh Lords and strengthening its grip on the south of the country and driving the Nguy?n Lords back into the hinterlands.
Pope Alexander VII seeking to mend fences with Britain sends a high level delegation to see Henry in light of the monarch’s go ahead for a Roman Catholic cathedral in London. Though Britain’s religious contract forbids intervention by the state on any church, the Pope is no fool and knows if Henry does not approve of the new Cardinal for the cathedral, he won’t stay long in Britain.
(1658) Henry’s good friend Oliver Cromwell died this year and was given a state funeral in recognition of the work he had done for the state. His son Oliver becomes the second Earl of Essex of that family. Henry himself gave the eulogy in Westminster Abbey in praise of a man who put his love of the Land and its King into his many good works. Statues to Cromwell went up in Ireland and Greater Normandy where he was remembered as a good, fair and just governor who had brought much prosperity to those lands. Though in the Kingdom of Brittany his effigy was burned in many an old Irish celebration.
Talks in London between Henry, James and the papal delegation reach a satisfactory conclusion and a new Cardinal for London will be Giulio Rospigliosi an Italian, though conversant in English as well as an able diplomat himself.
British East India Company troops occupy harbour city Quilon (Coilan) in India after threats to the ruling house there from the Council of Eight and a Half known as the Ettara Yogam (which consisted of seven Brahmin families, one Nair noblemen and the Maharajah of Venad alias Travancore) and the Ettuveetil Pillamar a society of Brahmin landlords who controlled much of the surrounding area. In return for trading rights the British keep order and drive the rebels from their positions of power.
In Japan, high level talks between British officials and the Shogunate allow the British to recruit Samurai for use as troops outside the Shogunate, providing that they are never allowed to return. Many lordless Samurai came to find honourable employment in the Ranks of the East Indies Company. One fully equipped company (having learned English) is sent to London as a gift to Henry knowing his love of Japanese martial skills. Henry has them employed as his household guards at the royal residence and they formed the later nucleus of the British Samurai Guards.
In British North America there is massive investment in building roads to connect to the interior, though there is a fairly good coastal highway and good communications up rivers, it is becoming obvious that an all weather transportation network is going to be essential to increase the prosperity of the commonwealth.
The shipyards in Jamestown are also increased in size at this time to cope with the endless stream of colonists flowing into the land.
In the bustling town of New York (OTL New Orleans) new shipyards were also being built to support the North American fleet whose workload in protecting mercantile and colonial shipping had massively increased over the last 20 years.
The Dutch agree to sell Van Diemen's Land to the Danes for £500,000 using the money to help secure their hold on Taiwan.
King Christian and the Rigsraad upon the purchasing of Van Diemen's Land send out colonists to settle the land now named Christiansland.
The Swedish and Lithuanian armies fight a series of skirmishes along the Lithuanian, Russian frontier as the Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich tests the strength of his reformed army in an attempt to seize Smolensk. Peace is soon made however as the resistance met is far stronger than the Russians imagined it would be, the Russians citing a misunderstanding of orders etc to account for their troops behaviour.
France continues to rebuild her infrastructure and her merchant fleet, although nowhere near as large as the British or Dutch merchant fleets it does comprise of newer and swifter vessels. Louis himself though is more concerned with France and the stranglehold that his (perceived) enemies have around the realm.
Spain concentrates on moving more troops to Vietnam to seize economic control over the south of that country, though ostensibly in alliance with the Trinh Lords of the North, Spain’s long term plans will involve the total control of Vietnam eventually.
The rebel Koxinga in southern China inflicts a series of defeats on Manchu armies sent to meet him gradually securing the lands below the Pearl River.
The Taj Mahal is completed in India.
(1659) The British Parliament passes a series of laws granting far greater rights to established colonies (now known as provinces) these include the right of full representation in the British Parliament.
Henry and Maria attend the grand opening of the London Opera House, a design by the architect Inigo Jones yet completed by Christopher Wren. The Venetian composer Francesco Cavalli staged a production of L'Antioco which was very well received, though the Opera is most notable for the Queen Maria being taken ill after the performance.
Britain's harvest comes up short, producing a dearth of food and higher prices that cause great suffering among the poor; this is swiftly alleviated by Henry’s insistence that Parliament uses its power to purchase extra food from North America where there is a surplus. The returning colony ships now start carrying grain and corn to supplement the harvest.
Lutheran minister Dean John Clayton of Kildare discovers a pool of natural gas near Wigan, Lancashire. He gathers the gas with animal bladders and amuses his friends by setting it on fire.
In the Netherlands Dutch attempts to have a lowering of the Oeresund tolls come to naught and instead they increase funding for the European High Road which has now reached Hamburg.
The Dutch greatly increase their holdings on Java at this time trying to gain a monopoly on spices from the East Indies.
In Denmark the colonisation of the Congo is attracting a lot of support as is the covert arming of the Congo Kingdom and its war with the Portuguese/Spanish in Angola. The Danes tactic of friendship is paying off as they gain a great deal of influence in the hinterland beyond their normal reach.
The Swedish section of the European High Road now stretches from Tallinn to Vilnius and is now progressing towards Torun. In Sweden itself the road building policy of King Robert now has highways being built connecting all major towns, He also has agreements with King Christian of Denmark to connect the towns of Scania and Halland into the network, despite many Danes having reservations about Robert’s ultimate aims.
A series of border incidents caused by France against Savoy threatens to spill over into full warfare until Britain and Spain make it quite clear to Louis that they will not stand for any French attempt to restore her former territories.
Paris authorities raid a monastery and send 12 monks to jail for eating meat and drinking wine during Lent.
The HRE and Poland finally come to a mutual defence agreement (aimed mostly at the Northern Alliance) Called the Holy League by many as one of its stipulations is that the nations bound by it must be dominantly Roman Catholic.
In Spain, Philip produces another heir to the throne, Carlos Philip.
The Muslim sultan of Bijapur in southern India sends a 20,000-man army under the command of Afzal Khan against the Marathan rebel Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle, who has been raiding his territory in the Deccan area. Shivaji’s own ancestral estates are in the region; he’s been trying to rally opposition to Muslim oppression and perscution of Hindus and now has covert British support. He feigns a retreat, calls for peace talks, lures Afzal Khan into the mountains, murders him, and then ambushes his leaderless army, seizing the Bijapur guns, horses, ammunition, and supplies.
Koxinga tries to capitalize on the absence of Manchu forces fighting in the south to lead an army of more than 100,000 men up the Pearl and Liu Rivers; he reaches the gates of Longcheng (Dragon City) gaining a great victory over the Manchu’s sent to stop him and occupying the city.
The Ottoman grand vizier Mehmed Köprülü gains ascendancy over rebel pashas, has them executed in February, and sends an inspector to Anatolia in the summer with authority to exclude from the state registers all non-Muslim taxpayers (reaya) who claim to belong to the military class. Intended to suppress the private mercenaries (sekbans), the measure reestablishes central authority in the region.
(1660) Henry and Britain grieve deeply over the death of Queen Maria, never a strong woman after the birth of her 3rd child she passed away peacefully in her bed after a long illness caused by a bout of pneumonia. She was given a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey. Those that knew Henry well said that the light and joy that seemed to fill his life left at that time and he began to truly show his age.
A rebellion of French sympathisers occurred in Greater Normandy at this time, poorly organised and badly lead it was quickly and ruthlessly suppressed by General Monke and the Colonial regiments serving there. Monke’s use of his Haudenosaunee scouts to infiltrate wooded areas where rebels were trying to hide as well as the American tactic of shooting from cover with teams of two (one man reloading) were noted and adapted by the British army for future use.
"New Experiments Physics-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects" by Oxford chemist Robert Boyle, 33, is published.
Roger L'Estrange builds the nation's first ice house near St. James's Park, London.
A columnist in the "News" notes in an article that he has drunk a "cup of tee" (a China drink).Tea sells for about £6 per pound.
London's population remains static at 350,000, from an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 in 1650; this is mostly due to colonisation and the great fire.
Settlers in the joint Britannic-Dutch colony of Capetown expand along with black Khoisan pastoralists into new territories coming into contact with new tribes as they expand the colonial territory.
In the Netherlands colony of Senegal Dutch planters start cultivation of cacao on Martinique, replacing cotton fields with cacao plantations; the first beans from the colony will arrive in Amsterdam the following year.
Isaack B. Fubine of Savoy, in The Hague, patents macaroni.
Denmark and Sweden agree a joint colonial policy whereby Danish ships will also carry Swedish colonists to New Sweden (OTL Australia) in return the Swedes agree to pay an increased Oeresund toll for each vessel so used.
Blaise Pascal's The Provincial Letters, a defense of the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld, was ordered shredded and burned by King Louis XIV of France. Louis then had Pascal arrested and hung, then announced a purge of Jansenists from France (hoping to curry favour with the Jesuit society) Many Jansenists moved to Greater Normandy at this time where the British maintained religious toleration (by force if necessary)
France's Louis XIV is married in the 13th-century Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste at Saint Jean de Luz to Marie von Habsburg daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III.
Spain is finally in control of Southern Vietnam having destroyed the Nguyen Lords and their armies and driven the survivors into exile.
Andres Malong, a native chieftain of Pangasinan, Philippines, leads a revolt against the Spanish regime.
German woodcarvers in the Black Forest town of Fürtwangen create clockworks made entirely of wood. They have invented clocks from which wooden cuckoos appear periodically to sound the hours, half-hours, and quarter-hours.
(1661) The British Parliament discusses the imposition of an act that banned foreign ships from transporting goods from outside Europe to England or its colonies and banned third party countries' ships from transporting goods from a country elsewhere in Europe to England. The idea was to strengthen Britain’s shipping and increase the numbers of ships available to the Navy. Henry in his last appearance in Parliament pointed out the likelihood of it causing a war between Britain and her allies The Netherlands and Denmark in which all would suffer and none would gain. That the King opposed such a law meant that the measure was dropped, though Henry’s discussions with the North American Representatives provided a solution in that they were prepared to ask their commonwealths to provide a naval presence for North America, crewed and supported entirely from the Provinces.
Negotiations between Britain and Spain provides for Britain to purchase Tangier and Bombay (Mumbai), for £2,000,000.
The Normandy rebellion is over, the rebels had hoped for aid from King Louis of France but hat received only kind words as Louis generals had told their King that attacking Britain would be a serious mistake at this time.
A promising young student, Isaac Newton, is admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge.
Water ices go on sale for the first time in London under the direction of Sicilian limonadier Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli from Palermo). Fruit-flavored ices were originated by the Chinese, who taught the art to the Persians and Arabs.
The first Punch and Judy show is recorded as having played in London.
In the Netherlands a series of trade agreements are reached with the Ottoman Empire that will allow the Dutch to start trading in spices and cinnamon across a land route rather than the ever increasingly dangerous sea routes.
This year sees a massive shipbuilding program taking place in Denmark as King Christian is determined to strengthen Denmark’s presence on the world stage. Trade and exploration will massively increase over the years of his reign and closer ties with Sweden will result as past mistakes and wars become old memories. Danish merchants, particularly from the German Holdings to the south also begin to expand east inland looking for new markets.
Sweden begins the construction of a massive series of forts along the Lithuanian Russian border, grimly determined to keep Russia out of the affairs of the Baltic Countries.
In France Louis anger at his Generals refusal to aid the rebels in Normandy cools and with the aid of several military advisors he begins a program to increase the size and quality of the French army to a point where France will be feared as an opponent in Europe. Louis long term aims the restoration of France to its former glory.
Spain uses the money gained from the sale of Tangiers’ and Bombay to expand her interests in China, opening direct communications with the high officials surrounding the new Emperor. Promising aid against the Rebel Koxinga.
Japan's Takanoshi family opens a business in food seasonings; it will develop a reputation for its soy sauce.
The Ottoman grand vizier Mehmed Köprülü dies at Adrianople in Thrace after a 6-year reign in which he has suppressed rivals, put down insurrections, restored the central authority of the empire, expanded its Balkan holdings, and reorganized the army. His 26-year-old son Fazl Ahmed made governor-general of Damascus last year is appointed grand vizier and will serve with equal distinction until his death in 1676 as Fazl Ahmed Köprülü, maintaining a private force of about 1,500 mercenary soldiers (sekbans) while developing a reputation as a scholar of Islamic law and Persian literature.
The seventh Sikh guru Har Rai dies in the Punjab after a 17-year reign in which missionary activity has declined while the guru devoted himself to spiritual exercises. He is succeeded by his 5-year-old son Hari Krishen, despite protests from his older brother Ram Rai, who has curried favor with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Hari Krishen will be titular head of the sect until his death and will move the Sikh people into much closer ties with Britain.
The Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty of China dies and is succeeded by his third son, Xuan Ye (Hsuan Yeh), who will reign until 1722 as Kangxi (K'ang-hsi). Now 6, the new emperor will begin his personal rule in 1667, ushering in a period of cultural achievement that will surpass the greatest achievements of earlier dynasties. Jesuit scholar-missionaries will be encouraged to bring their scientific knowledge to China, which Kangxi will enlarge by adding parts of Russia and Outer Mongolia while extending Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, though the situation in the south with Koxinga will be the one blight on his reign.
(1662) A Year of great sadness in Britain as the death of the King affected all, both young and old, rich and poor.
Henry’s death in his sleep at the Royal Residence came as a surprise to the nation and although the King had recently been showing his age he was still regarded as a strong "vital" man.
Word was sent out to James his son and he and his family travelled to London where affairs of state were put in motion for a Royal funeral. Word was sent out to Sweden where Henry’s son Robert ruled and Holland where his daughter and her husband lived. Both set sail on their swiftest ships to attend, Robert joined by King Christian of Denmark as he passed Copenhagen. Henry’s body had been packed in straw and ice until arrangements could be made and lay in state for four weeks.
The funeral was unlike any seen in Britain, reports of the time say that the funeral train took over 6 hours to pass with thousands of mourners packing the Royal Parade as Henry’s body mounted on a chariot complete with an effigy was slowly walked up the Parade drawn by one black horse with Prince James holding the reins. Ahead of the cortege was a lone soldier chosen by lot from the 1st Regiment of Foot (aka Henry’s Own) carrying a cushion with a broken katana on it. The chariot itself was followed by members of Henry’s immediate family, then other Royalty, Lords and M.P.’s from the Commons as well as close personal friends of Henry. Behind the nobility marched a single platoon of each regiment in the armies of the realm including the Samurai Guards, Haudenosaunee Scouts, Colonial Cavalry and Capetown Dragoons all with their standards lowered. Yet swelling behind the cortege and unplanned came a mass of ordinary people who had travelled to London to pay their respects.
Henry was laid to rest next to his Queen in Westminster Abbey and the unadorned tomb bears recognisance of the change that had come over Britain during his reign with the simple inscription,
Reflecting the fact that he was the first King of all Britain.
Identical parades were held in many other towns in Britain including being replicated at the Universities for at this time a funeral spectacle could be separated from the body.
The Fifty Shilling British coin is minted this year, it’s only ever issued for the year after a monarch dies. The last one from the Henry minting to come up for auction reached an astounding £2,340,000. They are exceedingly rare and highly valued amongst collectors over the world.
John Grant, in one of the earliest uses of statistics, published statistical information about the births and deaths in London.
Chinese oranges are introduced in Britain.
John Flamsteed an astronomer makes copious notes on a solar eclipse, 1st known astronomical observation.
In France on hearing of the death of Henry, Louis orders a day of celebrations to be held on the day of his funeral, though enjoyed by the populace, many intellectuals feel the whole thing to be crass and report it so in their diaries.
Philip of Spain sends his senior advisor (García Sarmiento de Sotomayor) to Henry’s funeral.
Prince of Gui, last remaining claimant to the Ming throne, is killed; Ming Dynasty dies out. Koxinga declares a new dynasty (Zheng) centred on himself and continues to carve out a kingdom in southern China despite everything the Qing/Manchu dynasty can do to prevent him. During this time he seizes Macao and drives off the Portuguese and offers it to his British "patrons".
(1663) James I King of Britain is crowned in a series of ceremonies drawn up by his father that though enhanced today are of the same basic format.
First in Scotland he is crowned King of that land and given a ceremonial shield representing that he is to guard his people.
Then to Ireland where he is crowned King of that land and given a mace (sceptre) that he may deal swiftly and surely with his people’s enemies.
Then to Wales where he is confirmed as ruler of that land and given a Welsh gold ring binding him to the people of the Kingdom.
Finally to London where he is crowned King with the crown of Britain and then steps out of Westminster Abbey to face his people. He then takes from a cushion held by a lady in waiting the broken sword of his father and holds it high then turns to the youngest soldier in the army to place down the broken sword and pick up a new sword whole and sharp. He is then acclaimed 3 times by the people "Hail James, our King, lead us!"
So is crowned James I, King of Britain, Ireland and King of Man and the Isles.
(Excerpt from the book "The beginning of Modern Britain." Author J Fortesque. Imperium Press 2007.
……..these days it is popular to look back and judge the past by modern standards, decrying the slavery, child labour and general plight of the common man. Many look back to the reign of Henry the 1st and have called him imperialist, pirate, kinslayer and yet whilst listing his supposed faults, miss the foundations he laid that have led to the Imperium and modern Britain. Today we take our right to vote for granted and that Parliamentary boroughs are of equal size or value. We travel when we must upon a road system laid down by Henry’s decree and can worship freely to our choice also thanks to Henry.
Many believe or have proposed that such would have happened under any King, yet an examination of what we know of Charles, shows that having lived under his brothers shadow may have lead to a very different realm should as some suggest Henry had died of Typhus in 1612 at the age of 18. Whilst it is not in the nature of a scholarly document to indulge in speculation, the very weakness of Charles, his inflexibility, his vanity and his fallibility to flattery could very well have broken the Kingdom Henry preserved and nurtured.
Could the Imperium as we know it have grown without Henry? The facts speak for themselves……………….)