Saturday, March 9, 2013

19th Century Imaginations - Rumpwhistle (1 - history)

So, in spite of the danger from Vulgaria, when the Twenty Three Weeks War started because of instigation by university students in Furstenberg it wasn't against the Vulgarian Empire, it was instead against the Confederated Cantons of Rumpwhistle.  Since I am prepping my wargaming armies to be able to fight out the major engagements that were part of this little brush war, I thought it would be prudent to detail some of the background history of Rumpwhistle, and also her military structure.

During the later Middle Ages, due to the vagaries of glebe law under the canonical rule of the Balkanian Orthodox church, a large parcel of land passed from a priest, to his third son.  At the same time, the son was forced into a rather uncomfortable arrangement with the daughter of a Vulgarian duchess.  The father of the bride to be, rather ashamed at having an illegitimate son of a priest as a son-in-law, rather took things into his own hands, and through bribes of the local elector, had the lad dubbed Earl of Rumpwhistle.  At the time, the Rumpwhistle lands consisted of a small sheep farm, and a coal seam that had never delivered.  Immediately following the wedding, however, the church lands eschewed to the new Earl, making him a rather large and prominent landowner, and all of a sudden, the envy of his Balkanian neighbors.

Over the next three hundred years, war upon war hardened the little kingdom of sheep herders and coal miners into a political nut that was hard to crack.  The line of Earls sure had its fair share of loonies (some would say more than its fair share), but the various barons and mayors under the Earls did a pretty good job of keeping the various baronies and royal cities in line.  Several wars, especially, in the 16th and 17th century, fought over church rights, succession to the Rumpwhistle Throne, the ongoing question of the Ethnic Urbs (noisome people who live in the Carfathian Mountains, and the Karzstan Mountains, between Rumpwhistle and her southern neighbor, the Margravate of Furstenberg) and finally the Vainglorious Revolution fought in the 1680s.

That last war, was an internal civil war, between the noble families (many of whom were herd land owners, but some were also urban traders in coal oil and root vegetables) and the democratic body known as the Landhouse.  It seemed that the people at large (stirred up by religious zealots and free-land herders - their motto was "sheep are sheep") wanted a say into the running of court.  Especially in the restrictions on use of powdered wigs, silk stockings, lace covered cuffs, and high heeled shoes for men.  The nobles were having none of it.  So a civil war broke out, between the ancien regime of the nobles on one hand (the Earl and his followers were brought into this faction), and the Landhouse leaders, religious rabble, and populists on the other side.  The war raged for a couple of months in late 1682, on into the spring and summer of 1683, but as these things often do, it petered out once the fall skittles season opened up again.  The nobles, eager to get back to their skittle greens, hastily signed a peace with the Landhouse, and even forced the Earl to ratify the Treaty of Confederation, signed in the golden Dome of Man, the great house in the city of Ramshorn where the Landhouse meets.

The Treaty of Confederation raised the various baronies and independent cities into Cantons.  Each having an equal vote for the two year office of Premier of the Landhouse, and each providing sitting Consuls for the Landhouse.  The treaty allows the method of election, both of Electors for the Premier and also of Consuls, up to the Cantons.  And in all internal matters the Cantons have free reign, save a common currency, and common observance of the practices of the Reformed church of Balkania, Nikovena Synod.  The matters relating to the currency, as well as to the organization of the common Confederacy Army, which the cantons all contribute funds and men towards, are handled from Ramshorn at the Dome of Man.

In the early 18th century, when Northern Furstenberg was embroiled in the War of Pumpkin-King Succession, the new Cantons of the Confederacy of Rumpwhistle were too involved in their own natal state matters to get involved, other than some of the Cantons sending volunteer regiments to assist this side or that side (either the Grand Duchy of Poppenheim or the Principality of Bombastia).

In the early 19th century, the Cantons provided troops to various factions to the waging of the Napoleonic Wars in Balkania.  By the middle of the century, economic pressure had pushed Furstenberg and Rumpwhistle into competition again, and a military buildup ensued on both sides of the border.

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