Part 35: Lorraine Part 5: 1538-1600Lorraine Part 5: 1538-1600
The religious turmoil in France spirals out of control, and the French Army is unable to restore order. Toulouse, Normandy, and later Brittany all claim independence during this instability.
To the east, Charles III declares a war of reconquest against Thuringia over the disputed province of Nassau.
Thuringia brings in several nearby allies, but the number of men their alliance can field is simply too small to compete with Lorraine's numbers.
After defeating Thuringia's army in Berg, Lorrainian troops push for a quick end to the war.
A peace settlement is reached and the province of Nassau is ceded to Lorraine.
Shortly after the war with Thuringia, Charles III passes away and the Duchies of Lorraine and Savoy each pass to Rene I de Metz. Rene is a true military strategist, but he rules during a long period of peace. His attention is mostly spent on issuing new military reforms and dictating improvements to Lorrainian military procedure.
Years of peace and stability allow Lorraine's old trading traditions to flourish once again. In fact, their merchants have become even more savvy than ever.
Rivalry still exists between Catholic countries, as evidenced by Bohemia's excommunication of Austria. This does nothing but antagonize the larger country, though.
Rene I's rule ends in 1654, and his son claims the throne. Rene II has no care for military matters and no silver tongue, but he is a talented administrator who understands the intricacies of running a nation.
Rene II's first action is to declare Lorraine's departure from the Holy Roman Empire, declaring himself King of Lorraine. Rene II views imperial law and diplomacy as nothing but a hindrance to Lorrainian government. Without the shackles of Holy Roman Imperial politics, Lorraine will be free to carve out its own destiny.
Immediately afterwards, Switzerland is annexed into Lorraine. Imperial possessions in Swiss cities are confiscated and Imperial officials are dismissed from their posts.
The Austrian Emperor is unwilling to stand for this, and declares war against Lorraine.
Austria organizes a large alliance behind them to bring the new King of Lorraine back under his influence.
After only 9 years of rule, Rene II dies suddenly and his brother Charles IV de Metz is crowned King of Lorraine. Charles is a talented military commander in a time where such a man is needed. Charles is unwilling to let Austria undo the work of his departed brother.
Charles IV takes command of Lorraine's 1st Army and rushes to Tirol, an important choke point in the war between Austria and Lorraine. His victory here slows the arrival of more Austrian troops to Northern Italy and Lorrainian Switzerland.
Tirol proves to be a frequent battleground in the war, with several clashes both beginning and ending there.
The tide begins to turn against the local invading Austrian forces when Charles IV defeats a gathering of Austrian armies in Lombardia.
Many of the survivors from the battle at Lombardia are chased down and wiped out in Piedmont.
Opposing reinforcements are stopped in their tracks once again at Tirol. The Austrians have finally began assigning talented generals to lead their troops, but they started this practice far too late, and after losing far too many soldiers. With enemy resistance becoming weaker, Lorrainian troops gain the opportunity to push forward and seize Austrian territory.
Three years after the onset of the war, Austria's capacity to continue fighting has been diminished to nothing.
Trent and Treviso are ceded to Lorraine in post-war negotiations.
Shortly after the war, Charles IV annexes Milan as well and puts the majority of Northern Italy under the direct rule of the King of Lorraine.
Lorraine in 1600