Part 38: Venice Part 1: Establishing a Domain (1399-1440)Venice Part 1: Establishing a Domain (1399-1440)
This time, I've started a game in the Shattered Europe scenario of Miscmods as the Merchant Republic of Venice. I'm also using Wiz's Intelligent Wars Module, which is supposed to make the AI more selective about who it chooses to attack and when. I made colonists Free and increased their placement size in the pre-game options as well, to encourage lots of AI colonizing.
Venice in 1399. Our only holdings are Venezia and Treviso. The Greek island states of Corfu and Naxos still answer to Venetian Rule, but any other influence that Venice once had in Greece has evaporated in the face of a growing Sunni presence. Milan, Styria, Tirol, and Aquileia all border us, and Venice is a tempting target with its wealthy center of trade. Our independence from the Holy Roman Empire leaves us somewhat vulnerable, but our sizable fleet can guard our capital against any invaders - for now.
Milan makes a move to seize Venice early and declares war on us. Their larger army marches into Treviso and begins to lay siege. Without any navy of their own, Milan is unable to reach Venice itself at all, as long as our fleet remains in the bay. We don't have the strength to push back against the invasion in Treviso yet.
Some of our league members recognize our vulnerable position and take the opportunity to break their compacts. Maybe they found a more natural place to trade, or maybe they just don't want to trade in a war zone. Venice doesn't have the capability to go off and enforce these treaties through strength of arms in the middle of war with Milan, so there's nothing to do for now but accept the news and move on.
Our diplomats were preparing to travel abroad and negotiate new treaties to expand the trade league, but now they must be used to arrange military alliances. Austria is a prominent member of the trade league, and Venetian diplomats successfully negotiate a formal military alliance with them. Once their fighting with Styria is over, they should come to our aid.
Milan responds by requesting aid from an ally of their own - Switzerland.
Austria generously offers us monetary aid so that we can bolster our army.
The small Venetian army strikes out from Venice over and over again, but keeps getting pushed back. The Milanese are unable to cross to Venice, so the Venetian troops continue to harass the enemy with raids and quick retreats until finally the sieging force is driven off. If Milan had their entire force in Treviso, this wouldn't have been the result. Luckily, the majority of their army had moved to invade Ferrara.
An excessive amount of minting along with Austria's war subsidies allows Venice to quickly raise a competitive number of troops. These troops move into Milanese territory and begins an attack on Verona.
The Austrians finish their war against Styria and move in to aid us against Milan. A siege unit is left behind in Verona along with the Austrians while our main force advances further inland, laying siege to Brescia.
Ferrara falls to Milanese forces and is completely annexed. The Milanese army remains pinned down across the river in Ferrara by invading forces in Vernoa.
Brescia falls, and the Venetian army continues into Lombardia and Cremona where the Milanese reserve forces are wiped out.
Switzerland agrees to peace in exchange for a small tribute. Milan can no longer count on assistance from the north.
Our diplomats negotiate the entry of Bavaria and Croatia into the Venetian Trade League. This ensures that they won't be poached by the Hanseatic or Genoese leagues, and that they won't create their own competing centers of trade.
The whole of Milan is occupied by the Venetian army as Austria chases Milan's main force into Pisa.
Two and a half years after Milan's ill-fated invasion of Venice, a peace is agreed upon. The Venetians seize Brescia and Verona from Milan, as well as the recently annexed Ferrara. This new acquisition of land provides a new safety net for Venice on terra firma.
Relations with Austria are strengthened in the following years. Their assistance they provided against Milan meant the difference between victory and defeat, and we shouldn't forget that.
Austria invades Tirol, and Venice uses the opportunity to make a play for the province of Trent.
The Bohemian Emperor comes to the aid of the Imperial state of Trent. They've had it with Venice's encroachment on Imperial territory.
The previous Doge's term expires just after Bohemia's declaration of war. The plutocratic council charged with electing Venice's ruler opts to put Gianpiero Molin in power. Doge Molin appeared to be the most militaristic of the candidates, but as he began administering his duties it became clear that his star actually shined brightest off of the battlefield.
Doge Molin takes command of the Venetian army and leads it to victory against the armies of Trent and their ally Mantua.
Trent it occupied, then annexed from Tirol just as the Bohemian Imperial army arrives in Treviso.
Mantua is taken as well. Aquileia joins the Emperor in his fight against Venice and moves into Treviso while the Imperial army marches on Verona.
Doge Molin wheels around the Bohemian Imperial army and marches fast for the Aquileian troops attacking Treviso. He must meet up with reinforcements from Venezia if he hopes to stand a chance against the large force in Verona. Austria concludes the siege of Tirol and then annexes it for themselves.
The Aquileian army retreats deep into their own territory as Doge Molin approaches. With the reinforcements from Venezia under his command, he feels confident enough to meet the Bohemian force in battle.
In order to save money, or perhaps due to some poor planning, the Bohemian army contains no cavalry whatsoever. Doge Molin takes great advantage of this and delivers a decisive blow to their forces at Verona. The Aquileian army marches back to Venice to aid them, but their return comes too late.
The Bohemian force is wiped out at Brescia. With the Imperial army gone, the Doge's full attention can be turned to Aquileia. Without the Bohemian army to aid them, Aquileia's forces are less than half that of the Venetians.
Predictably, the small Aquileian army is destroyed, leaving their provinces undefended to assault. While Venice works to occupy the lands of their enemy, Austria, Hungary, and Transylvania attempt to fight back against a sudden Ottoman conquest of Croatia.
Doge Molin is not adverse to weakening local aristocracy if it means more gold for the war coffers.
By 1410, Castille and Portugal are both purged from the Iberian peninsula. The Iberian sultanates now begin to look to one another for a place to expand.
Aquileia is under occupation and Krain decides to defect to Venetian rule before peace is even signed. The electing council has grown worried that Doge Molin's warlike spirit is ruining Venice's reputation both abroad and among close allies. During the next election, they oust him in favor of Pietro Giustinani. Pietro made many promises to the electing council regarding his plans to restore Venice's tarnished name, but in practice he is shown to be an ineffective and dull leader. His charm seems to only go far enough to secure his election. Within a year, there are already grumblings in the ruling administration about Doge Giustinani's effectiveness.
The Ottomans make peace with the Christians, then secure their position in the Balkans even further through the annexation of Bosnia.
Austria feuds with Bohemia, and Venice comes to their aid. By the time we arrive, Austria is already firmly in control of the war, but its the thought that counts.
Hungary's King grows nervous of Austria's intentions and uses his Papal influence to have the Habsburg King excommunicated. As worrisome as Austria may be, it could be a bad idea to weaken them at a time that the Ottomans are making a push towards central Europe.
In 1415, the council elects Giuseppe Memmo to the position of Doge, ousting Giustinani after just a single term. Doge Memmo is a dynamic diplomat with a sharp mind.
One of Doge Memmo's first actions is to bring an official end to the wars with Bohemia and Aquileia. While major fighting has been over for years, Aquileian cities had remained under military occupation, and no official end to hostilities had been arranged with Bohemia. Dogue Memmo arranges for the full annexation of the remaining Aquileian provinces and a simple white peace with the Emperor. He tries to allay the fears of his neighbors by stating definitively that Venice has no ambitions to expand any further, and argues that the only reason for their rapid expansion thus far has been to protect themselves from unwarranted aggression. In the back of his mind though, he cannot help but know that Venice has made out like a bandit. Gold, silver, major port facilities, an established university town, and developed textile industries all lie within the borders of the republic now.
Bavaria and Austria form an official military alliance, and the Doge arranges a similar agreement between Venice and Bavaria. The three countries fates are now shared for the time being. Shortly after this alliance is signed, Bohemia's ruling family loses the title of Emperor to Bavaria.
Brittany, Burgundy, Champagne, and Flanders all grow to be prominent powers in recent years, as well. Flanders has unfortunately found itself on the wrong side of a war against Bavaria, however.
Austria strikes back against a growing Hungary in retaliation for the Hungarian king's attempts to have Austria excommunicated. Meanwhile, the Ottomans continue to grow by absorbing Serbia.
Doge Memmo dies suddenly in 1435 and an emergency council is called to elect a new leader. Marino Trevisano was known to be an expert negotiator and a knowledgeable, intelligent bureaucrat. Once put into a position of power, he began to perform beyond expectations.
In 1437, Doge Trevisano rearranges the Venetian administration to allow for better efficiency when handling overseas possessions. Some questioned the benefits of this when Venice's only overseas possessions include the self-run vassal states of Corfu and Naxos. There are those in the council who believe this to be a precursor to the annexation of those island states, and perhaps the reconquest of Crete and Cyprus - both lost to Venice centuries ago.
Austria petitions Venice for aid in their struggle against Hungary. Among Hungary's allies in the war are the small Adriatic coastal states of Ragusa and Montenegro.
Before coming to Austria's aid in Hungary, Dogue Trevisano sends a large enough detachment to Ragusa and Montenegro to bring them under Venetian control. They are each vassalized and incorporated into the Venetian League.
Austria is victorious in their war against Hungary and redraws borders in their favor during the peace settlement.
On the British Isles, England comes under attack by the Lancasters and the Scottish in a seemingly one-sided war.
In Iberia, Seville absorbs nearly all of Badajoz while Zaragoza retains their grip on the north. Granada comes under attack from both of the larger powers, bringing its future existence into question.