Part 22: XXII. Laurence III, Martin IV 1733-1762 A.D.
Inbetween updates, I 'rationalized' a few territories, trading them one for one to improve a few areas. Byzantium and Rum swapped a province. The big blob of Orleans colonies in the middle of the Scottish North Nicholian colonies migrated south to the Florida/Carolina areas to make borders more logical, and similarly the Irish holdings in the Argentine slid south as well. Just neatening things up a bit so they're not quite so scattered and some future events work and perform better and more logically.
When King Laurence III took the throne in 1732 he immediately began to improve and reform the army. For too long, Jerusalem had lived under the shadow of their northern, Orthodox neighbors. Laurence's pride drove him to want more glory then a series of easy campaign against Indian and African pagans. More importantly, his economic advisors continued to press him for a land route to Christian India.
While Laurence III dreamed of invading the Russian Rum, the colonial peoples in Nicholia began to dream of freedom. After the humiliating defeat the Scotts Union had suffered at the hands of Rum, many in the Nicholian colonies began to see the King in Edinburgh as a weak and ineffectual ruler. In August of 1733, a small clique of Nicholian philosophers, businessmen, and local governors declared their independence from the Scotts King. Their new government was built on the idea of the universal equality of all men and democratic rule.
The King of the Scottish Union, having lost control of Wales on their own home island, could hardly let their richest colonies slip away without a fight.
The newly elected President of the Confederate States of Nicholia was the promising young Governor of New Iverness, Duff Graham. President Graham sent embassies to many in Europe, asking for help against the Scotts Union, but King Laurence III sent them away unheard, fearing the influence of these new liberal ideas on the poorer underclass of the Kingdom.
A handful of trading ships from Jerusalem witnessed the early fighting before escaping either seizure by the Nicholians or the tightening net of the Scotts Union blockade. The Confederacy, having hoped for a quick victory over their oppressors, had underestimated the will of the Union King, and the war dragged on and on over the next decade.
In 1738, King Laurence III launched a quick campaign to strip Vijayanagar of the Andaman islands. He also continued to improve and expand the army of Jerusalem. Laurence III was a perfectionist and was continually unsatisfied with the progress he was making, although he was very popular with the army.
Ten years after the Nicholian revolution had started the Union had still failed to repress the Confederacy. The Scottish King had painted himself into a corner, squeezing what colonies remained to him harder and harder for both men and money to crush the tenacious Confederates. In early 1743 the final straw broke. Scottish colonists in South Nicholia, angered by heavy taxes and conscription, and inspired by the rhetoric of the freedom loving Confederates, raised the banner of rebellion. The Republic of Hybrasil seized control of the Union holdings in South Nicholia.
While the Scotts colonial empire began to disintegrate, empires closer to Jerusalem began to grow more powerful. After centuries of incestuously close relations, the Byzantine Emperor inherited the Principality of Adana. King Laurence III redoubled his efforts to improve his armies, focusing particularly on reinforcing the fortifications along Jerusalem's northern borders.
In 1745, King Laurence III began to draw his plans for an invasion of Rum. After many years he was finally happy with the state of the army of the Kingdom. It was vastly larger, better trained, armed with modern weapons, and ready for a war with anyone. Moreover, the King was enormously popular with the army and had made them believe in themselves.
Sadly, he was never to see the glory of the army he had trained. In March of 1746 he was on the northern frontier of the Kingdom, reviewing a new set of special siege cannons designed to break the massive Rum fortifications in the Caucus Mountains. A particularly massive cannon, having been poorly cast, exploded when fired, killing King Laurence III.
His younger brother took the throne amongst great national mourning.
In 1749 the nobles of the Scottish Union finally forced the aging Scotts King to make peace with both the Confederacy and Hybrasil. The costs of the seemingly endless war had nearly bankrupted Scotland and had cost far, far more then the nobles felt the rebellious Nicholians were worth. As it licked its wounds, the Scotts slowly began to turn their colonial attentions towards Asia and the East. The Nicholians meanwhile, north and south, riotously celebrated their newfound independence.
But not everyone was so pleased. The King of the Flemish Argentine, smelling blood, attacked the Republic of Hybrasil, thinking them weakened by years of war with the Union. After a bloody stalemate that lasted several years, Hybrasilian President Erskine forced the Argentines to a white peace. Democracy had triumphed in Nicholia.
Democratic ideas spread to Jerusalem as well, causing a massive loss of stability as King Martin IV tried to suppress a long series of popular revolts.
In 1752, the Russian Rum inherited Novgorod. Rum had also fought another series of wars in central Europe, slowly advancing against Bohemia. King Martin decided that the time had come to fulfill his brother's dream of a land route to Christian India, and began to mobilize the army and draw plans for an invasion of the north.
In 1753, the Russian Rum and their Byzantine allies once attacked both Bohemia and Italy, drawing their troops away from the border with Jerusalem. King Martin IV attacked in early 1754, with the Orthodox alliance heavily invested in western Europe.
Martin's primary plan was to strip away Rum's allies in order to be able to fight only a single enemy. The Byzantine countryside was far less well fortified then that of Rum, and a quick series of brutal assaults quickly sized much of lightly garrisoned Anatolia.
With Byzantium locked in a war with Italy, the Byzantine Emperor was more then happy to bail on the Russian Rum and accept the generous offer of King Martin IV to sign a white peace. Over the next year or so, Rum's minor allies also begged for peace. It was just in time.
The King of Rum quickly signed a peace treaty with Bohemia and swung their massive army south to meet Jerusalem. Although King Martin's initial thrust to seize a corridor to Christian India succeeded, Rum counterattacked into Jerusalem's holdings in Gujarat.
Gradually, bit by bit, bloody battle after bloody battle, Jerusalem began to advance. Unlike previous wars, King Martin refused to throw his troops away in assaults against the massive network of forts that defended Rum. Instead, he besieged them over several long years, repeatedly driving back attempts to relieve the defenders. By 1758, Jerusalem had driven deep on both the northern and eastern fronts. The cost had been heavy in men, however, and the mountains and wastes of Rum were littered with the corpses of both Catholic and Orthodox.
The war with Bohemia had also been bloody for Rum. In 1759, their manpower reserves exhausted, Rum's front collapsed and King Martin IV surged forward.
After the treaty was signed, in 1760, Martin IV visited his elder brother's grave to pray. The dream had been accomplished. Between the two nations, nearly a million men had died, and Rum no doubt would attempt to take their vengeance; but Jerusalem had a land route to their holdings in India.
During the war, a new bureaucracy had arisen to centralize the power of Jerusalem. Liberal forces also spawned a new series of revolts in Iraq and southern Persia.
In 1761, King Martin IV moved a few thousand troops into the remnants of Vijayanagar and annexed them to the Kingdom. But a new threat was rising in India. Ming China had seized a coastal territory in India smack dab in the middle of Jerusalem's planned corridor to finally fully connect their Indian holdings.
Jerusalem could scarcely afford to get in a drawn out war with China when it was likely Rum would be building up for an attempt to reclaim their lands. King Martin IV glowered in his palace and began to consider his options...