Part 16: Holland Part 3: 1468-1498Holland Part 3: 1468-1498
France's refusal to even consider allying with us has left me worried for some time. I really would have liked to have them as an ally, but despite having no conflicts of interest I could see, they simply wouldn't go for it. Right around the beginning of 1468, both England and Portugal approach us with alliance offers. They are also allied with each other, so I accept both offers and create a little alliance bloc with them.
England wastes no time making use of our new relationship and invites me into a war of conquest against Castille.
The Dutch and English fleets roam around the British Isles and Iberia, destroying any Castillian fleets they find.
Castille's navy is reduced to splinters and they are prevented from bringing any reinforcements to their holdings in Scotland. English troops pour into Northumberland and the Scottish Highlands to begin occupying the poorly defended provinces.
In the peace settlement, Castille's presence is reduced to a single province in the British Isles.
Joining another war at England's side pits us against France. France is occupied fighting several wars in the south, so it seems like a good time to test how we stack up against them with our superior troops. We have some initial victories and even successfully occupy Calais, but our main army is pinned down in Caux by large numbers of reinforcements.
Rather than lose our entire army, I quickly make peace with the French and march them home to lick their wounds. This war demonstrated to me that our army simply isn't enough to go toe to toe with France yet. Our investment sliders are moved to focus on Land tech again. Once we get level 2 forts, they will be going up right away. Several new regiments are recruited to increase our army's size as well.
England remains in the war, but their massive fleet lurks back and forth in the English Channel and prevents France from moving against them.
After building our army up to standards, we receive a new mission: to annex Utrecht! This is the last piece of the puzzle that we need to form The Netherlands.
They accept our offer and we are granted a core on them via our mission.
The national decision to form The Netherlands will give us 2 ticks towards centralization, cores on some provinces that we currently don't control, and some other minor bonuses.
We are now The Netherlands. And we are orange.
Our new cores on Gelre and Brabant make each of them prime targets for diplomatic annexation at the earliest opportunities.
A new mission appears, urging us to colonize North America. I definitely have plans for this, but I may way until the reformation hits before we start colonizing on a truly large scale. I don't want to be burdened by the need to convert several catholic colonies.
Normandy is released from France briefly, and is re-annexed by them within a decade.
War breaks out between Portugal and Austria over the throne of Savoy. We enter this conflict against both Austria and Castille, as well as several minors. France takes the opportunity to delcare war on Portugal as well, finding themselves up against the England/Portucal/Netherlands alliance once more.
After shattering Castille's main army, Portugal is free to occupy their provinces at their leisure.
France moves their massive armies into our territory once more, but we are more prepared this time. Our army is nearly twice as big as it was before, our land tech is 16 to France's 10, and we have level 2 forts in nearly every province. Our border provinces are scorched, and we pull back to watch French siege forces struggle against our level 2 forts. The French continually split off forces to go siege our vassals, and we're able to chase down and destroy a large army.
More French troops are sent running. Our superior troops cause them severe damage in several battles.
Eventually, France's war capacity starts to bottom out from losing so many men in the Dutch Lowlands. Their war exhaustion is on the rise as well. As new French invasion forces arrive, they become thinner and thinner over time.
And finally, France is unwilling to suffer any more losses and settles a peace with our war leader England. Picardie is ceded to the English and they have a foothold in France once more. More importantly, we've learned that its possible for us to fight off a French invasion, even if they were distracted by fighting on multiple fronts. I keep pushing our advantage and race us towards Land Tech 18. This would give us access to early firearms and an increase to military tactics decades before France.
Europe in 1498
National Statistics in 1498