Tuesday, September 30, 2008

19th Century Imaginations - Oh Furstenberg! Lovely Gem of the Balkans

The Margravate of Furstenberg is a small country in the Balkans that has, through its relatively short (600 year) history, been a part of, and not a part of, various empires and alliances.

Through several periods of history, Furstenberg has been more or less active in the struggle for power against other Balkan states. Relations with her belligerent neighbor, the Earldom of Rumpwhistle, have always been a bit testy.

In the latter half of the 17th century, the War for St. Helga's Baptismal raged between the two diminutive states. Surrounding powers finally stepped in, and under the oversight of Vulgarian diplomats, a treaty was drawn up (the Vulgar Peace), which was accompanied by a multi-national edict, known as the Edict of Boomplatz, where all bomb-throwing activities by soldiery from Furstenberg was deemed outlaw activity, and in compensation to the Furstenbergers, the Rumpwhistle province of Graatz was placed under Furstenberger administration. A curious side effect of the Edict of Boomplatz, was that no Furstenberger infantry regiments were permitted to have Grenadiers.

Furstenberg is divided up into (including the Protectorate of Graatz) 7 provinces (or beyliks), each ruled alternatively by a Governor or a Bey (depending on the ethnicity of the province, or beylik). In addition to being the local authority for collecting and providing taxes and troops to the Markgraf, each province (or beylik) is entitled to having an Elector reside when it is time to elect a new Markgraf. Surprisingly, that even since the acquisition of Graatz which gave Furstenberg 7 provinces, there have been several tied votes for Markgraf. This situation led to the war of Furstenberg Succession, fought in the early part of the 18th century. With the seven provinces (or beyliks) providing 7 electors, and the Uzlov family (the traditional royal family since the early 16th century) having 2 additional electors, and the 2 military cities of Bruzlov and Smellensk, there were a total of 11 electors. Yet the vote for the new Markgraf (Stephan Uzlov II) was challenged by the Vulgarian brother of old Markgraf Stephan I's wife (Nestor). The vote was split, 8 votes for Stephan II and 8 votes for Nestor. Where the additional 5 votes came from, and who cast them is still a mystery, but it incited another war (1722-1729) between Furstenberg and Rumpwhistle (with allies from Vulgaria and elsewhere).
Markgraf Stephen Uzlov, Stephan VIIStephan VII (1830-1907)

In the second half of the 19th century a series of small wars were waged with Trans-Turkylvania over the fate of the ethnic Urbs. The Bey of Frugalia (one of the seven Electors) is the self-professed Begler-Beg of the Ethnic Urbs (the largest majority of which do not dwell within Furstenberg, but rather across the border in Trans-Turkylvania). Mounting raids across the Trans-Turkylvanian border, with the stated goal of protecting the interests of the Urbish people, has led to sabre rattling by both the Markgraf of Furstenberg and the Khedive of Trans-Turkylvania, and threatens to draw all of Balkania into a protracted conflict.

In an upcoming series, the military details of units throughout the history of Furstenberg will be presented here, with wargaming guidelines.

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