Part 34: Lorraine Part 4: 1495-1538Lorraine Part 4: 1495-1538
Lorraine's reputation has caused hardships for their merchants for years. Foreign traders simply don't feel as if they can fully trust the Lorrainians, and this makes it difficult to do business. The frustration over this situation slowly gives way to an apathy towards Lorraine's traditional trade policies. The attention of the people shifts more towards the the grandness of their nation's army and the heroes who have brought them glory.
With Lorraine's membership in the Genoese Trade League revoked, their merchants began doing more business close to home. This caused Lothringen to become a bustling center of trade in its own right, and soon there were traders from all over central Europe doing business in the streets of Lorraine's capital.
With the recent deaths of some of Lorraine's greatest generals, Leopold Joseph de Metz must rely on some of their younger, less experienced nobles as well as his own modest skills for the war over Ansbach. Initial fighting within Bavaria bring victories to Lorraine, though not the absurdly one-sided victories they've grown used to.
The morale of the Lorrainians remains high though, and the Bavarians always seem to break first.
Leopold Joseph suggests to his ministers that not only strong leadership is necessary, but also well trained and disciplined men in the rank and file. A series of new policies go into effect to ensure a higher base level of training for all Lorrainian recruits.
In 1501, Leopold Joseph falls ill and dies at a young age while on a new march to the Bavarian front. His brother Nicolas assumes his titles and command of the war.
Nicolas's first order of business is to end hostilities with Wurzburg. The terms of the peace dictate that the small state end its web of complex treaties which brought it into such a conflict to begin with.
Nicolas takes into consideration the achievements of certain high ranking noblemen thus far in the ongoing war against Bavaria and Milan. From this pool, he selects those who show the most promise as new grand commanders of the Lorranian army.
After a lengthly occupation, Nicolas negotiates the full surrender and vassalization of the duchy of Milan. He is frank and direct with Doge of Milan - the Milanese lands will be directly incorporated into Lorraine in the coming years.
Bavaria once again finds itself on the losing end of a war with Lorraine. Among other concessions, they are required to renounce all claims on the state of Ansbach once and for all.
High quality weapon manufacturing facilities spring up in and around Lothringen, ensuring quality arms and armor for the Lorrainian troops. The boost to the local economy does not go unnoticed, either.
France formally embargoes Lorrainian merchants from its trading centers with a strongly worded decree. Nicolas responds to the insult with a subtle Lorrainian diplomatic slight-of-hand: the full-scale invasion of France.
In 1507, after only a few years on the throne, Nicolas de Metz dies in his sleep. His son Leopold II ascends to the throne. Leopold is a master of the military sciences. It seems to run in their blood.
General Krogloth overwhelms one of France's northern armies early in the war, routing it completely in Normandie.
BAVARIA declares war on us to aid France. Their army charges directly into central Lorraine and begins attacking fresh recruits who have not yet been organized into armies.
New measures are put into place by Leopold II to assure that intelligent, qualified officers can be pulled from lower ranks and put into positions of authority. This strengthens the pool of talent from which our top commanders can be chosen.
The newly organized recruits fight back against the Bavarian interlopers and draw them all the way to Luxemburg. The Lorrainian 2nd army falls back from the western front to help repel their attack.
In Sundgau, an entire French unit is wiped out by General Detemple.
Lorrainian troops prove victorious in a battle outside Paris and being to lay siege to the city.
A generous peace is offered. The French must renounce their claims on Valenciennes.
With France weakened by our trade war, Aragon sees an opportunity to make their own move.
After some short, fierce fighting, territorial boundaries are redrawn in Aragon's favor.
Leopold becomes known for identifying the best qualities in foreign armies, and then bringing in experts from those countries to introduce those tactics to Lorraine's military.
In 1512, heresy pervades France as the Protestant faith makes its appearance and quickly spreads throughout the country. The ruling aristocracy of France rejects the faith and clings desperately to their Catholic beliefs.
France is unable to keep up with the numbers of protestant zealots arising in their countryside, and soon they begin spilling over into Lorraine as well.
While the violent zealots are subdued through military force, the heretical beliefs spread rampantly and without resistance through Lorraine's common people.
Leopold II himself is swayed by the Protestant arguements against the Catholic church, and formally converts. This pulls Lorraine into a period of religious unrest.
Lorraine's feudal organization seems more and more archaic as time goes on. The common people have so many freedoms now that the system makes little sense. A new form of government is adopted in which the government is administered centrally by the duke, with the aid of his advisors and an organized noble bureaucracy beneath him.
Burgundy's ruling noble line dies off, and Leopold II stakes the de Metz's claim to the Burgundian lands. Burgundy's regency council rejects the notion completely, and would rather elect a local noble to the throne. Leopold declares war to prevent them from doing so.
The Burgundian armies are quickly overwhelmed by the much larger Lorraine.
With their home territories under occupation, the regency council of Burgundy submits and accepts Leopold as their duke.
In Austria, their catholic ruler suggests a counter-reformation to return the continent to the Catholic faith.
Leopold II passes in 1528, leaving the duchies of Lorraine and Burgundy to his son Charles III Ferdinand de Metz.
Charles III follows in the footsteps of his father and rather seeks to expand Lorraine by seeking additional titles. Savoy has suffered from a weak succession for some time, and Charles manages to place himself on the throne of Savoy after a short military incursion.
The Catholic world does not appreciate the fact that another Catholic nation finds itself under the crown of a heretic Duke. An alliance including Austria, The Papal States, and several other catholic nations is organized under Tuscany in an attempt to Free Savoy from Lorraine's grasp.
A large battle takes place in Breisgau in the early stages of the war. Although Lorraine is victorious, the Catholic alliance escapes with most of their army sill intact.
Only when the Austrians start making foolish advances through the Swiss Alps do they begin suffering extreme losses. Austria in particular loses multiple armies in the mountains.
With their larger partners collapsing and Lorrainian troops occuping their home provinces, Tuscany agrees to a peace.
In order to pursue a claim on the province of Champagne, Charles III declares a war of reconquest against France. Weakened by war with Aragon and Protestant zealots, the French are unable to put up any resistance against the 5 Lorrainian armies that pour into their countryside. The victory against France is so quick and complete that France is forced not only to surrender Champagne, but several other provinces to Lorraine and Savoy.
Lorraine in 1538
World Political Map, 1538