Part 32: XXXI. Queen Ioulanda II 1891-1901 A.D.
Trouble was brewing across the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The political realities of the new age were finally catching up with the Kingdom of God. The masses were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the remnants of the old feudal system. The recent war with Russia, far from uniting the nation after victory had simply deepened old divisions and caused more strain. Showing wisdom equal to her skill in war, Queen Ioulanda II called a general council of her ministers.
Although there was no immediate danger of widespread revolution, it was clear that if nothing was done the risk would grow greater and greater by the year. An ounce of prevention was better then a pound of cure. Therefore, the Queen resolved to expand and strengthen the Bill of Rights that Archambaut II had instituted in 1811.
Despite the resistance of the capitalists and merchants of the Kingdom, the first of these reforms was to guarantee certain minimal rights for the working class in the form of minimum wage laws and safety regulations. The biggest expense, however, would come in a massive expansion of the power of the Hospitalier Order. During the Great War with Russia, the Queen had visited several of the hospitals for wounded troops and been appalled at the filth and squalor. The Knights of the Hospitaliers would now bring clean, decent, and regularized standards to all citizens of the Kingdom. Neither the beggar, nor the leper would be neglected any longer.
Furthermore certain rights on the press and public assembly were opened up. More importantly, the High Council of the Kingdom was formalized into a sort of Parliament. There was no question of this Parliament going against the will of the Queen, but it gave the people of the Kingdom a sense that the supreme autocracy of the Throne was softened somewhat.
No one was surprised when Parliament voted unanimously for the Jerusalem Party to continue to rule.
To the Queen's relief, the series of reforms seemed to be fairly effective. The call for militant revolt slowly began to subside. The nobility breathed a sigh of relief, and turned their attention to the expansion of Kingdom's holdings the great, unknown of central Africa. Orleans, Leon, the Scots, the Amazonians, and the Federal Republic of Nicholia were also all moving inward.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, an enterprising young Nicholian in the Federal Republic fulfilled the dreams of centuries by perfecting heavier then air flight.
An aeroplane being demonstrated on the parade ground outside Jerusalem, for Queen Ioulanda II, spring 1894.
The invention of the airplane did little good for the Confederacy who, in 1894, were forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty, ceding the vast province of Quebeca, and the mouth of the St. Lawrence river to Leon and Prussia. The news was of little import in Jerusalem, just another of the constant wars which wracked the Nicholian continent.
The Queen was, however, carrying out her own negotiations with the victorious Kingdom of Leon. In the spring of 1895, Jerusalem transferred possession of her West African holdings, several million in gold, and promises of technical expertise in exchange for the purchase of Leonese Antipodea. Antipodea had long been on the bottom of the list of Leon's profitable colonies, and they were surprisingly eager to rid themselves of land in order to focus on securing lands closer to home.
Leon tightens its hold on West Africa.
Jerusalem buys half a continent.
That same year, electrical lighting began to be seen on the streets of the capital in private homes. The Queen, her eyesight failing, was delighted by the new invention and how it allowed her to stay up late with her Bible and other reading.
Many of the nobles of the Jerusalem faction were in the pockets of the rich capitalists, and were opposed to heavy government interference with the economy. The Queen, however, driven by her nephew, Martin, had grown to feel that many of the rich and grown to complacent and hide bound, unwilling to invest heavily in the marvelous new technologies that were blossoming. Unwilling to have Jerusalem left behind, Queen Ioulanda II began to heavily favor the nobles of the Baghdad Faction, allowing them to take control of Parliament. Many were displeased by her heavy handedness, but she was the Queen, and the bowed there heads. Work was begun on a slew of new, modern factories.
A second wave of new factories followed, making certain Jerusalem would be able to produce her own automobiles and airplanes as well as other strategic necessities. Once her plans had been set in motion, and could not be changed, the Queen did not object too heavily when the Jerusalem faction took power again in the next formal election.
The Kingdom continued to expand its holdings in Africa, discovering that the other most aggressive colonial power was the Amazonian Commowealth.
In Europe, Germania continued to expand its power, and the Scottish Union crushed Sweden.
In the early hours of January 1st, 1901, on the first day of the new century, Queen Ioulanda II died quietly in her sleep. Her nephew was crowned King Martin V shortly before dawn. Another new age was beginning.
The Funeral of Queen Ioulanda II, the Crusader Queen.
King Martin V
The World in 1901
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The Great Powers of 1901
The political scene in 1901. The bizarre island of Bali has become a Communist 'utopia' of all things.
Jerusalem's factories. The new airplane and automobile factories weren't very profitable and are being brought online more slowly as a market for them grows.
Demographics and budget, 1901.
A new century beckoned…