Part 23: Austria Part 6: 1572-1648Austria Part 6: 1572-1648
The time isn't right to unify the Empire. An army of vassal and union states that can overrun our enemies is a good tool to have and we shouldn't waste it. Venice has been difficult to deal with due to our lack of any sizable navy, but now with an entire continent of allies we should be able to complete our mission to conquer them. Aragon enters the war, and then Naples follows to aid Aragon. The total warscore cost to annex Venice entirely is so high that we'll need to occupy them for years to bring them down into the annexable range.
Aragon stands no chance. They are quickly defeated and then forced to become a vassal state.
Naples is overrun by a swarm of allied troops as well.
They are forced to cede Ancona to Tuscany, and Rome and Abruzzi to us. Holding the city of Rome gives us extra prestige and missionaries every year.
Georg has become adept at using covert agents to great advantage, but with Austria's sliders leaning towards Aristocracy and Free Trade, we don't generate spies naturally. Up to this point, we've had to rely on spies that we received as rewards from random events, but with the espionage idea we can cultivate some spy agents naturally.
Georg immediately puts our new spies to use by fabricating claims on the kingdom of Naples, then forcing them into a union.
Venice is finally worn down enough by occupation that they are willing to submit to full annexation. Venice falls into our hands and we gain a core on it as a reward for our mission.
The old capital of the Eastern Roman Empire was among Venice's possessions as well. We now hold both Romes. Constantinople is isolated and surrounded by the Ottomans, however.
Our infamy is near the cap from our recent warmongering. It will take a long time to decay, but we can do a couple of things to speed the process along.
When we form the Holy Roman Empire, we'll gain cores on any HRE member provinces that any of our cored provinces are bordering. Some of the HRE states in our possession now are unnecessary, because any provinces that they border are already bordered by other cored provinces that we own. This means that we can release them as vassals for infamy reduction now, and re-inherit them without any ill effects when we restore the union. Parma and Bohemia are both released and our infamy drops into the teens.
In 1585, 50 years after taking the throne, Georg I von Habsburg fakes his own death and retreats from the public eye so that he can run the Austrian shadow government forever as an immortal god-emperor. His eldest heir, Johann Leopold I is not yet old enough to formally take over administrative duties, but Georg's aggressive diplomacy pays off and Johann Leopold directly inherits the thrones of the majority of Europe.
Our regency council is unable to properly deal with such a large empire, especially when over half of it consists of foreign peoples who are wary of being ruled by a distant child emperor. The next 50 years will be full of unrest.
Since we're overextended for the next 50 years no matter what, its worth it to begin diplomatically annexing a few HRE states where we don't have an Austrian presence. Once these additional Austrian exclaves core themselves, it will be the perfect time to unify the empire.
For the longest time we've had no navy whatsoever. Now, we need transports to send troops to distant colonies as well as warships to protect trade lanes from piracy. While we scramble to catch up and construct the necessary ships, our overseas provinces languish under the control of rebels and pirates.
We can enact provincial decisions in our small colonies to send colonists there and convert the majority of the local culture to Austrian. This will help significantly with revolt risk, but it will take quite some time to get to them all.
Rebel armies rise up all across France, Iberia, and our new colonies without mercy for decades. We don't go a month without some sort of new revolt occuring somewhere. There's nothing that can be done about it. Due to nationalism and overextension, we have some strict minimum revolt risks blanketed across all of the inherited territories.
Island colonies suffer for longer, while our shipyards continue to work to get transports and escort ships prepared.
Eventually, things begin coming together. Many of our island colonies have the pirates wiped from their waters and receive small garrisons and light warships to fend off rebels and deter piracy.
While we still have to contend with fresh rebels, at least we have local garrisons now that can quickly put them down.
Johann Leopold comes of age and takes over the administration of the kingdom from our regency council. He is an overall talented ruler, much the same as his father.
One of Johann Leopold's first actions is to diplomatically annex Gelre. A core on Gelre will allow us to receive more cores in the Dutch territories once the empire is united. Austria has moderate infamy, but with 5 unlawfully held imperial territories between Hesse and Gelre, our infamy is barely decaying at all. Johann is forced to rule in a time of awkward peace, where Austria's reputation hovers in a questionable range.
Meanwhile, other nations continue to expand. Denmark in particular has great success in conquering Sweden and Norway.
HRE states colonize in peace, expanding our future inheritance.
Johann Leopold doesn't see the same value in spies as his father did, and abandons the Austrian spy agencies to instead focus on trade.
I swear I had nothing to do with this. Great Britain's ruler dies, and the Austrian Habsburgs somehow find the crown of another kingdom in their possession.
Decades pass, and finally the provinces of Naples, Poland, France, and Castille all feel at home as part of Austria. Our ratio of cored to non-cored provinces drops to a much more reasonable level and the ill effects of overextension fade away.
We've also had plenty of time by now to convert the French and Castillian provinces from Catholicism to Protestant. Nearly all of Europe is Protestant, now. The revolts we dealt with on a daily basis a few years ago have all but disappeared amidst the religious and political harmony.
In just another decade, Gelre will core and then we'll be prepared to restore the Empire.
Johann Leopold dies on the eve of unification, though. Much like his father, he lived and ruled for a long, long time. He saw Austria through over over 50 years of difficult times from 1585 through the early 1640s - over 55 years on the throne. Our new ruler, Franz Stefan, continues the Habsburg tradition of inheriting a throne upon coronation.
Gelre cores, and everything is in place for a smooth unification process.
Kaiser Franz III Stefan brings forth a motion for reform at the 1647 Imperial Diet in Berlin.
The member states vote in favor of the motion, and an Empire is restored.
Franz III Stefan moves the Imperial capital to Rome, orders the construction of a great university there and develops a new center of trade in the city to draw commerce from all across the Mediterranean.
All of the prior Imperial reforms are cancelled and their effects are gone. The benefits they provided were all based on cooperation between the member states and the Emperor, but now that the Emperor directly controls those states, they operate just like any other nation. Instead, we receive this single modifier.
The next step I'd take is to go through Asia Minor, Egypt, and North Africa to have total control over the Mediterranean Sea, but I think this is a good place to stop since we've gone through every reform.