Part 15: Holland Part 2: 1439-1467Holland Part 2: 1439-1467
An alliance bloc consisting of The Hansa and their vassals enters into a war with a large variety of nations, including Brabant and Gelre. Brabant and Gelre are all territories that I'd like to add to Holland at some point, and this is a good opportunity to gain a casus belli against them.
I pick one of The Hansa's allies, Oldenburg, and offer them an alliance. Enemy troops are marching into their territory and they gladly accept an alliance offer. This immediately grants us an Alliance casus belli on all nations they are at war with.
Gelre's alliance partners don't appear to be very formidable, so we declare war on them first. Brabant enters the war to protect them, saving us the trouble of declaring war on them ourselves and possibly dragging in Brabant's allies.
Our larger army blazes a trail through their territories and occupies them all. They attempt to bring the fight to us before its all over, but they are severely outnumbered and fail to retrieve any lost ground.
Both Brabant and Gelre are forced to become vassals of Holland. When we form the Netherlands, we'll be granted cores on several nearby provinces, including Gelre and 2/3 of Brabant's territories. That will turn them into prime targets for diplomatic annexation. Until then, they'll make for fine allies.
Manpower is a problem for us. Sure, our forcelimits allow us to field over 30,000 troops at a time, but our national manpower is only around 12,000. This means that we don't have much lasting power in war. Once our troops are depleted and reinforced a few times, our manpower will be empty and fresh replacements will only come in at a trickle. Its a good idea for small nations such as this to actually build some of the army structures to boost manpower. We have the money and the magistrates, so we may as well invest in them wherever we can.
France engages in one final epic battle against the remaining English forces on the continent and over 50,000 French troops pour into Calais. A short while after their army is wiped out, England finally gives in and cedes the province to France. France leaves behind 15,000 troops in Picardie to stare across the border at us.
After a few gifts, a war weary England finally convinces the pope to lift the Excommunication against our ruler.
Government tech 10 is reached and we gain access to the Formalized Weights and Scales decision in our capital as well as a new government form: Noble Republic. Noble Republics have the benefit of holding elections for a new ruler every 8 years while also retaining the necessary aristocracy in government to arrange royal marriages with other kingdoms. I plan to move us towards being a full fledged republic. This will be a good step in that direction.
We can't go directly from a Feudal Monarchy to a Noble Republic though, the differences are too drastic. Instead, we first have to regress to a less structured government form.
After switching from Feudal Monarchy to Despotic Monarchy, we have the option to move forward to Noble Republic as planned.
Changing government forms twice in a single day caused a huge collapse in our stability, though. One benefit of being a small nation with a large income is that our total stability cost is low and we can regain a point every couple of months. We'll be back to +3 stability from -2 in under a year.
Shortly after switching to a Noble Republic, elections are held to determine our ruler. Since we're a Noble Republic, we have the option of getting our current king re-elected as Prince. Normally, any new hereditary ruler who appears will have all three stats ranging from 3-9. Elected officials are guaranteed to have a minimum of 5 in at least one area. Bureaucratic ensures a minimum of 5 administrative skill, for example. Our current king has good administrative skill, but I want us to burn off our infamy more quickly and perhaps gain a "Claims on our Rivals" event, which would grant us cores on bordering nations. High diplomacy skill increases the chance of this happening. With that in mind, we bid farewell to our old king and vote in the diplomatic candidate.
Well, I suppose that will do. We could have received a ruler with attributes as low as 3 admin, 5 diplomacy, and 3 military. This is the kind of prince we will want to vote back into power at each election for as long as he lives.
If you have a royal marriage and an alliance with a nation in the same religious group as you, vassalization can be requested. The nation of Friesland is weak enough that they would consider this. It may take a few tries, but we'll keep asking them until they give in. Friesland is one of the two remaining provinces we need to form the Netherlands, and if we get a mission to diplomatically annex them, we'll get an instant core on them.
The next mission we receive is to subjugate the archbishopric of Liege and make them our vassal.
Austria is already involved in several wars, so I feel relatively safe about making a play for Liege immediately. If Utrecht were to join the war on their side, it would be great. We still need Utrecht as a component to form The Netherlands as well.
Utrecht just couldn't resist, and now they are a vassal.
Austria is unable to get reinforcements there in time (or at all), and Liege falls to troops from Holland and allied vassals.
Liege is vassalized and treaties are signed to allow us military access and formalize a new alliance with them. Our small collection of vassal states is growing nicely.
Austria begins sending us ridiculous demands for peace. I'm not willing to accept such drastic terms for peace, so I send our troops down to begin sieging Austria and their ally Metz.
I don't think Austria is interested in fighting a war on the other side of the continent while they are already busy, but they are unwilling to agree to a white peace. We offer them a token concession of defeat, just so they don't have to tell their friends that they were beaten by Holland.
After negotiating the vassalization of Friesland, we try to do the same with Hainaut and see further success. This gives us a total of 5 nations with 8 provinces under our control as vassal states. We also have all of the remaining required provinces to form Netherlands as vassals. Eventually, we'll receive missions to diplomatically annex them and instantly gain cores. This will let us form The Netherlands in (hopefully) less than the 50 years it'd take to core them naturally, assuming we get the right missions.
SWEDEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING
Eight years pass already, and our prince is up for re-election. Jan Hendryck is just too talented, so we push him through again.
After following some missions to build our navy and army up to new forcelimits, we get one of the missions that we've been hoping for and use it to annex Friesland with a core. Now we just need Utrecht, but you must wait at least 10 years between each annexation of a vassal.
A new idea slot becomes available and we adopt Quest for the New World. We'll be able to start exploring and colonizing in the next updates.
Sweden seems to be doing well for itself.
England remains perplexed by what to do about Castillian Scotland. Scotland itself is vassalized by England, so I expect them to be diplomatically annexed sometime soon. Northumberland was relased by England after their last war against Castille over that land.
France is nearly done annexing all of its vassals, and has the largest army in the world with several talented generals. We are ahead of them in technology, but I'm not sure if it would be enough to hold them back should they invade us. We're on good terms with them diplomatically, but they simply refuse to sign an alliance with us. As long as we begin successfully colonizing we could always escape to the new world if we need to. Hopefully it will never come to that.