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Catherine, Czarina of all the Africas (1st story)

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by BuckyRea, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Cover your mouth when you cough, boy. I'm sure you've heard of germs. Now let's get on with our lesson.

    A Sunday Stroll

    My father told me stories of Russia's Golden Age as we strolled along these avenues, young Alek. He was a great story teller, even if sometimes he didn't bother to get the facts quite right. I think sometimes his love of a good yarn is what inspired me to study history.

    Oh cut that out, you mangy pup. You always start yawning whenever I mention my dad. You think I don't notice? And quit slouching, too. Great men who served their whole lives for Mother Russia have walked along these same paths. Giants and geniuses have fed squirrels in this same park, so walk like you deserve their sacrifices, you spoiled knucklehead.

    We're in the Old City here. When I was in college the People's Historical Society started renovating it to look just like it did in the 1570s--the old classical architecture, sidewalk artists' kiosks... See, there? That's where they're going to refurbish the old Onion Dome Cathedral of Saint Vlad. They'll even restore the secret tunnel that Czarina Ekatarina IV used to visit the Royal Zoo at night.

    Originally, they even wanted to have the local ivans dress in period uniform, big furry caps and all, and carry halberds instead of their department issued machine pistols. Of course the Policemen's Guild put a stop to that--no ivan wants to chase down a dope-addled street mugger in puffy pantaloons armed only with a halberd. This avenue up here leads to the Meditation Garden where Bishop Medrikov in the early 1800s used to talk to God himself--so they say--while plotting to depose the Romanova Dynasty.

    You walk these sidewalks, and you can almost feel what it must've been like to live back in the Golden Age. Exotic Egyptian and Brazulian merchants traveling up from the harbor, Secretive Franstralian spies lurking behind every corner of our New University and trying to kidnap or seduce our best scientists. Mighty knights would go "sporting" in the North Country, hunting down bears or the last of the Englians rebels in their grand noble costumes, and then return to Moscow to sell their slaves and show off their ostentatious wealth.

    For the nobility the Golden Age was a return to greatness, or to feudalism rather, for the new Russian subjects in the North didn't have the rights of Russian citizens. Not yet. Our Golden ancestors could establish a Rus in the Englian wilds of the north, but they could not make the people there Russians in their hearts. So of course giving them the traditional rights of Russians would have been useless. Those Englandians were always mad with their philosophies and, like all Asians, with their mystic perceptions of the world. Superstitious folk don't need the vote; they need the whip.

    When Russia forgot that... well, I guess that's why they don't call our century a Golden Age.

    Across the wadi there is the Pilgrims' Walk. No, no, Alek, that's a common misperception. They didn't name it after our Pilgrims. They referred that that pathway to the original Pilgrims. Throughout the 1500s and 1600s there was a steady migration of Iroquois from the south of Africa toward the jungles of Indogermany. The Orientals never settled their southern peninsula in force, and so the weak natives of that jungle were ripe for settlement from an advanced nation like the Iroquois. They were Seneca, Mokawk, Cayuga, or Tuscarora when they left southern Africa. But by the time they settled the far east, they were simply Mingo.

    Those pilgrims traveled by wagon, by ferry, sometimes by foot even, from Iroquoia, up thru the Rift Valley, across the sandy deserts of the Roman Levant, across the Burgundian Plain. It was an epic journey and many--most, really--didn't survive the trip. But land was scarce in Africa and the east seemed unsettled and abundant to them... and so they went.

    IROQUOIS MIGRATION
    Russians span the hemisphere

    Yes, yes, it's much like the Russian conquest of Burgundia. Of course, our people were a little more successful in our settlement of the New Africa. We Russians are an expansive people and it was in the Golden Age that our great settlers spread out across the face of the hemisphere. When the Iroquoians marched thru our lands on their Grand Trek, perhaps it inspired our ancestors to speed up our own colonization efforts. But no one in the Golden Age would admit that.

    Well no one should be proud of it, but our forebears were somewhat prejudiced against the Iroquoian Pilgrims. That's why they made the "Haudies" (as they called them) walk on the far side of the wadi from the Old City--didn't want them stinking up the Palace Grounds or tracking mud into our New University. Many great Russian families of today built their wealth off of those migrants, too. They charged them exorbitant rents and internal "road tariffs" at the start of the Grand Trek and the clueless settlers paid because they had no choice. Sadly, it was often a lack of funds that drove those early Iroquoian settlements in Indogermany into bankruptcy.



    But I guess we've already learned that history is full of little human tragedies, haven't we? And by "we" I mean you. Wait, no maybe I don't mean that "you" have learned something, but it's not for a lack of me trying. Oh quit smirking you imbecile. My point is that we may be a wealthy people, but we still are cheapskates. And the wealthiest among us are the worst.

    Oh that got your attention, did it? You doubt me? Well then, let me tell you another story from our "Golden Age." I think it might better illustrate my point.

    Continued Tomorrow (in what could technically be called Chapter 31)
     
  2. Marsden

    Marsden Keeper of the HoF Annex Hall of Fame Staff

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    Yea! Alright Bucky, you're back! More story, too!:goodjob:
     
  3. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Glorious Monarch

    It was not really our cossacks' victories in the conquest of Englandia that launched our Golden Age. That idea is just malarkey for poets and filmmakers to spiel. No, and I tell you this authoritatively, the development of steam power as a production tool in the 1560s is what signaled the beginning of Russia's greatest years of advance. This was also the age when famed Russian scientist, Yitzak Niutonski developed his laws of global cylindrical physics and revolutionized the work of the "New University"--which today is named in his honor. The colonies in New Africa also began to become more independent and self sustaining, vastly increasing the wealth and power of the Matriarch's empire.

    But all this advancement and development doesn't just happen by fluke. This Age of Gold was very much the gift of a wise and visionary ruler, the "Glorious Monarch," Czarina Katrinne IInd. Ascending to the Onion Throne in 1559, Katrinne saw her traditional role as patroness of the arts in a broader light than most of her ancestors had. She wanted to promote the "useful arts," as she called them--industry, invention, horticulture, science, and the law. A recent graduate from university studies herself (which took place in the Forbidden Palace in Sevastopol, as no women were allowed into the public universities in that century), she was filled with the ideas of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and completely unfettered by the wisdom that years and failure can bring.

    Still, as a visionary and would be political patron, she needed more money than even her royal allowance provided. She wanted title and control of all the new provinces in conquered Englandia. Whatever her army conquered, she believed, should belong personally to her. Of course the Duma would not normally go along with this. But the leading political factions were evenly divided in these years and Katrinne cleverly played the two sides against each other throughout her reign. She moved her residence to Moscow to celebrate the opening of the New University, stayed on to "help out the governors," and became the leading figure in the politics of the day. Her intrusions into the government of empire were unwelcomed by the boyars, generals, and great merchants who ran the Duma. But being the matriarch, she didn't really give them much choice in the matter.

    All appointments of state offices had to go thru the czarina--even if prior matriarchs had simply rubber stamped their ministers' choices. From her first months on the throne Katrinne grilled Premier Prince Ully Laszlov and Government Minister Marchion Dzergeroff mercilessly on each appointment, dismissing many candidates for being merely "friends of the men in government." Often she would suggest her own candidates, which infuriated Prince Lazslov to no end. Yet she silenced her ministers, saying, "what matters in awarding offices is not what young nobleman needs the job, but what each job needs in a officer."

    It seems logical to us today, but in the 1500s that was a radical idea. Of course the very idea of a "meritocracy" would ultimately undermine the monarchy itself. But that's a story for another century.

    The only thing Prince Lazslov was worse at than getting his cronies into office was getting himself out of it. On several occasions he offered his resignation to the czarina, but on each occasion she refused his letters, tish-toshed his objections, or simply told him, "Sleep on it, my dear Ully. Mother Russia still needs you, but she can wait until the morning."

    The czarina's biggest problem, however, would not be Mother Russia, but Cousin England.

    Controlling politics in a representative government is a tricky matter. Leadership requires patronage and patronage requires cash and having cash requires having offices to dispense. But corruption was so rampant in the far Englian conquests that few office holders of merit could be found to take the jobs of running those far communities.

    By the 1570s, the cost of operating the colonies in north Asia became prohibitive. Police went unsupervised; taxes went uncollected, contraband made up the bulk of the economy. Constantly Egyptian and Roman agents plotted to sway the conquered people's loyalty over to their empires. The Duma built libraries and churches in the towns to make the people happy, but that hardly ensured that the far flung subjects would contribute much energy, industry, or revenues to the motherland. One Boyar general expressed the feelings of the occupying Army of Asia: "No matter how hard we flog these Engli, they won't be grateful for our protections."

    The Capture of Brighton

    In 1575 the situation got worse. The Army of Asia conquered Brighton, a remote Englian iron-mining enclave in the Himmel mountains. Rather than endure the cost of occupying yet one more corrupt, rebellious province, the Premier, Prince Ully Laszlov, acceded to the Czarina's demands and promptly turned the new troublesome province over to her personal administration. He wrote in his diary,
    The Czarina jumped on the opportunity, dispatching her Prince-Consort Arkady Edilvas of Romanov to personally institute reforms in the backwards mountain community of Brighton to make of it a showcase of modern government. In Prince Arkady's five year "exile of service" he turned devastated Brighton into a clean, beautiful city--even if it ultimately remained one utterly corrupt for the entirety of his wife's reign. Still, the people of Brighton, altho among the last holdouts in resisting Russian conquest, became fervent royalists and intensely loyal Russian due to their Czarina and her consort's caring government.



    For the Duma, Katrinne's surprising success in Brighton had other, less pleasing consequences. Having established the precedent that newly conquered lands belonged personally to the Czarina, and the Czarina having failed to fail in governing her first acquisition, Prince Lazslov was in an awkward position when more "good" news arrived in 1577.

    After a harrowing march thru the snowy steppes and tundra, a new Englian outpost, the provisional capital at Norwich, had been captured far far to the north.




    to be continued
     
  4. mrtn

    mrtn Shaven not stirred

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    Nice return. :)
     
  5. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Auction

    After the collapse of their monarchy, the crumbling Englian society divided into half a dozen petty baronies. In what today would be termed a "mopping up operation" the Russian army spent the next two generations after the conquest of Englandia continuing to conquer Englandia.

    Well, think of it like eating a cake, son. When you first get your hands on a slice, you devour it. Crumbs fly everywhere. After you've finished eating your slice, your plate will be littered with crumbs. I've seen you eat, Alek; this is a very good metaphor. So what do you do after your eat your cake? You still have to spend almost as much time now eating all the little crumbs.

    Well, yes, I guess you could just ignore all the crumbs if you're not hungry. But what do you get when you leave a lot of crumbs lying around?

    Oh don't be dense, boy, we don't all have servants to clean up after our sloppy messes. Govno! If you don't clean up all the crumbs you get roaches, vermin. Perhaps that would have meant an Englian nationalistic uprising in the next generation, perhaps it would have been an invigorated Germany or America charging down out of Asia at us, maybe even a resurgence of barbarianism. Whatever it was, we needed to avoid it and that required wiping out the rest of the English, no matter the cost.

    Now where was I? Ah yes, the new conquest. This one was a doozy. The strongest Englian barony was in the arctic wastelands far far from Russia: The Grand Duchy of Norwich. These people were fanatical chauvinists. The Russian general in charge should have torched the town, but this was the age of enlightenment. Generals didn't do that any more--or didn't do that yet. So again the premier handed over what appeared to be a useless, rebellious province over to his monarch. Katrinne knew that this was not going to be like Brighton.

    Indeed, from the moment of conquest the town seemed utterly destined to rebel. The Czarina called upon her personal diplomacy advisor, Boris Pievloluykhmy, to review her options amid the tangle of post-partition alliances and treaties. After seeing that nothing could be made of her latest territory, the Czarina struck upon a cunning plan.

    (aka: a get rich quick scheme best viewed in 1024x768 resolution)
     
  6. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Welcome back Bucky!
     
  7. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Thanks (and mega-hat-tips to) Thery, Marsden, MRTN and Iggy. It's good to be back.
     
  8. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    All That Glitters Fades

    The rest of Katrinne IInd's reign was peaceful. Altho the Glorious Monarch foresaw an eventual conflict with the remote villainous Franstralians to the far southeast of the Near Hemisphere (and their Frandonesian puppets), no great wars arose in her tenure. As always the Romans remained a pesky nuisance to our north, but in 1581 the czarina neutralized that threat with her "Roman Sandwich" treaty with Egypt.



    Katrinne always feared that Mother Russia would come to war with the fanatical French alliánce. But she also knew that their radical democratic government gave their people enough strength and efficiency that they would always remain powerful and threatening. In her last years the czarina began instituting government reforms, expanding the franchise, and pressing for liberation of the "unpropertied classes"--that rising middle class of artisans and professionals who earned enough money to pay taxes, but never owned enough property to gain the vote.

    Always her leading conservative ministers opposed or obstructed her reforms, first Prince Ully Lazslov, then in her later reign the conniving premier, Baron Uzhekhan Voltek. Politicians of the 1580s often wondered why the matriarch would keep Voltek in offie when he labored so hard and so subtly to undermine all of her reforms. The French ambassador even ungallantly suggested that she only pretended to favor democratic reforms to stay popular with her subjects while using Voltek to keep the aristocrats in power. The Iroquois ambassador, future Iroquois Speaker-General Teskwahote, offered a more philosophical theory, that the czarina believed in balance and thus placed as First Minister a young nobleman who would provide a constant yang against her ongoing yen to reform her government.



    Psychohistorians today speculate that she simply loved political conflict and, tired with politically jousting against the conservative but plodding Prince Ully Laszlov, eventually replaced him with a more worthy opponent. But my own view is this: that no matter what she did, Katrinne knew that she would have the ambitious, young Baron Voltek opposing her policies. In the crude words of Lyndon Ivanovich, "it was better to have Voltek inside the tent spitting out than on the outside spitting in." Of course Lyndon Ivanovich didn't use the word spitting.

    In any event, in 1588 the Glorious Monarch died, ten years to the day after her celebrated auction, and it is from this event that historians date the end of Russia's Imperial Golden Age. Oh, there would be another Golden Age, after the Constitution of 1614--but without the Great Dame there, it wouldn't quite seem so golden. The Grand Lady's heir was her daughter, Kitsie the Short. Inspired by her mother's ideals, but intellectually incapable of controlling the politics of the age as Katrinne II did, Kitsie soon found herself outclassed and outmaneuvered by Baron Voltek and unable to continue the reforms.

    In 1595 she dismissed Voltek, who abruptly joined the "loyal" opposition and continued to defeat every reform attempted by the monarch whom he derisively called the "Pyrite Princess." Just as Ivanovich predicted, Voltek caused far more mischief from outside the tent, as Liberals and the professional classes became increasingly impatient with the lack of reform.

    By 1600, whispers of revolution were in the air. The landed classes, led by Voltek, seemed to oppose every sane reform. Czarina Kitsie seemed helpless to stop them. Polarized politics soon descended into anarchy and in 1601 the reformer Mikhail Aleksandrev led a mass march on the Dry Season Palace demanding the abdication of the czarina. After having Aleksandrev shot, the Duma (under Baron Voltek) decided to take full charge of the government and forced Kitsie's abdication in 1602.



    Baron Voltek claimed at first that he would administer the sovereignty of the matriarchy only until disputes over Kitsie's legal successor could be resolved. But it quickly became apparent that the "acting Patriarch" had little motive or interest in resolving the conflict and ending his effective reign over Russia.

    Perhaps the better phrase would be "ineffective reign over Russia" as the populace generally did not support his government and riots were frequent and violent. Voltek, of course, proved incapable of running the country without either the guidance of the matriarch or the support of the people. Particularly those whose friends had been shot during the suppression of the riots. Russia descended into anarchy for a dozen years.
     
  9. Theryman

    Theryman King

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    It's odd. Everyone throws that picture at me, but I have no clue who he is. The bastard stole my name, though.

    Also, I have no idea how to make music.

    Great update!
     
  10. The Farow

    The Farow NESer

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    Welcome Back Bucky Rea!!!

    Welcome back and your story is good as ever.
     
  11. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Oops, and here I was all proud of my cybersleuthing abilities (read "Google search"). You can see now why I washed out of stalker's school.
     
  12. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Septembrists

    The Duma's rule over the empire weakened the political cohesion of the far-flung Russes. By 1610 New Africa was forming its own state and politie and making plans to formally secede from the empire. West Africa and the Englian Russes in central Asia were sending almost no tax incomes to Moscow and local leaders were refusing to enforce the Duma's laws. The so-called government of Baron Uzhekhan Voltek and his finance minister Knyaz Nikita Ronov was powerless in domestic affairs.



    At first they commanded the army and managed to keep Rome and Franstralia from attacking during these years of trouble. The military castes were only too happy to be rid of reform-minded monarchs. And a strong economy kept the people from resisting the Voltek-Ronov regime too much. Soon rumors circulated that Voltek was delaying resolution of the question of imperial secession long enough for his own daughter, Sophia, to reach the age of majority and be elevated to the throne of the Matriarch. But soon even the conservative minded militarists began to grumble that the "Volt-Ron Interregnum" was lasting too long.

    In 1613 Baron Voltek attempted to elevate himself in the hereditary peerage from the rank of Baron to the rank of Knyaz, again a move that would ease the ascension of his own daughter to the throne and launch a new dynasty. The peerage was, of course, entirely a royal prerogative. The idea that the Duma could elevate its own membership was a deep violation of the unwritten constitution that ran back over 2000 years.

    The young officer corps acted quickly before the Duma could vote or debate on the matter, led by the moderate "Septembrists" faction. Elite cavalry officers raided the Duma building and the Cathedral of St Pavel where the pro-Voltron Arch-Cardinal Viktor Patriarch Viyashchevsky of Moscow was issuing Edicts of Sanctification upon each of the Volt-Ron Laws. Led by Knyaz Nicholai Edilvas (nephew of the Glorious Matriach Katrinne II and her Prince-consort) the Septembrists dissolved the Duma, deposed the Arch-Cardinal, and swore loyalty to the leading conservative claimant to the throne, Catria-Beatriz of Romanova.

    The Septembrists publicly executed Ronov for embezzling imperial funds, while Baron Voltek himself fled into the jungles of Congo-Rus, then eventually to the sanctuary city of Nicomedia. The baron's entire family, including his daughter, would-be-Czarina Sophia died in the flight from Moscow, only adding to the Baron's tragedy and the sense of pity that the people came to associate with the Volt-Ron Interregnum.



    Although the traditionalists loved her, Catria-Beatriz had a rather weak claim to the throne. To make matters worse, there was no Arch-Cardinal of the St Pavel Diocese to sanctify the new Czarina's elevation. Her first coronation was carried out by a lesser bishop (which was certainly traditional), but most of the witnesses were members of the lesser ranked nobles or second sons forced by primogeniture to settle on army careers.

    The elevation of Catria-Beatriz occurred under a cloud of possible illegitimacy. Given the explosion of liberal French and constitutionalist Egyptian ideals of that age, the notion of absolute monarchs was already questionable. To consolidate her power (and to hold onto wayward provinces in Burgundia and Englandia) the new czarina was forced to call for a new, formal, and written constitution in 1614. Delegates and lawyers from across the empire came to Moscow that summer to debate the new codification of state and produced a document that would last the test of time.

    Empowered by rationalist and enlightenment ideals, the Constitution of 1614 preserved the monarchy, but created a second house of the Duma, expanded the vote to virtually all property owners (including unremarried widows!), liberated the upper castes of serfs (so long as they were Orthodox Christians), and reduced the privileges of the boyars to holding only two votes in local elections (the infamous "one vote for the man; one vote for the tradition" formula). It was at long last a true democracy.

    Ratified on September 24th, the effects of the Constitution of 1614 were almost immediate. Imperial revenues resumed from around the empire and dramatically increased from the traditionally corrupt New African provinces. Businessmen and artists began to gain a new interest in the exotic cultures of the Far Hemisphere, particularly the radical economics and populism of the Greeks. There was an explosion in renewed interest in the sciences that rivaled that of the Golden Age. In fact historians today generally regard the two time periods, the Golden Age of Czarina Katrinne IInd and the "Golden Age of Democracy" under her grandniece Czarina Catria-Beatriz as a single epoch of unique growth in our civilization--just one that was unwisely interrupted by a brief period of anarchy and really bad decisions.



    In the end, the 17th century proved to be a unique and happy time in our history--a time of hope, political progress, and relatively stable international relations. It was not to last.
     
  13. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    a47.jpg Czarina Catria-Beatriz discusses stuff with her advisor, Boris Pretie-Gudinov
    CLICK, OF COURSE,
    TO ENLARGE
     
  14. mrtn

    mrtn Shaven not stirred

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    "The North Vespuccians" heh. :cool:
     
  15. Theryman

    Theryman King

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    It took me quite a while to realize that you were revolting into a Democracy.

    Anyways, sell the Iriquois those coal! The 22 gpt will help minimally, but the railroads in their land will increase their revenue, making them more lucrative trade partners.

    If you plan on taking them out soon, though...


    While 'Cbyer Sluething,' you no doubt determined my forum of choice, huh? Here's a hint-- it's where all those damned avatars linked to.
     
  16. Ansar

    Ansar Détente avec l'été

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    I just noticed this story...:hmm:...and its awesome!
    keep it up! :thumbsup: :bounce: :cooool:

    BTW, what program do you use to edit the pictures, they are awesome! :)
     
  17. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Thanx, yr maj'

    I use plain ol' MS Paint for 90% of what I do. Sometimes, when I want to shrink or enlarge the pictures w/o pixelating the images, I use Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, which came embedded with my Dell Windows XP package. It's all pretty low tech, but it sorta looks alright--so long as you don't have your monitor on an 800 wide resolution. Those tend to crap up my jpegs--particularly around the "text" images.
     
  18. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Golden Age of Democracy

    With public enthusiasm over the Septembrian reforms and the proclamation of the First Republic, the first half of the 1600s were a time of great prosperity. Regional rail systems increased food production and commerce and allowed more people to move to the great urban areas to work as specialists. In the outer provinces the number of serfs began to decrease and twice in this period the Duma (with the elective lower House of Deputies pushing the more aristocratic House of Nobles) expanded the franchise to include unpropertied professionals (mostly lawyers and bankers).

    But alas, all Golden Eras end.

    a50.jpg clik 2 open

    In 1655 the failure of several planned colonization movements in the sparsely settled jungles of Indogermany led to a collapse in several financial institutions that were funding the colonization schemes. The banks, which were mostly unregulated by the radical Septembrists then ruling the Duma, tried to recoup their losses by raising interest rates, triggering first a stock panic and then an increasing cycle of inflation throughout the 1650s and 60s. The Septembrist's major opposition party at the time, the Agriculturalists (forebears of today's Agros), unfortunately sought to return the economy to its traditional stability by re-impressing the serfs and promising to demote to serfdom any debtors who couldn't arrange payments to their creditors. With such a radical program on their platform, the Agriculturalists lost elections to the liberal Septembrists for the decade following the Panic of 1655.



    If the Septembrists didn't know how to manage the economy, they did know at least that Russia's future lay in developing overseas colonies. In 1664 the Duma chartered the first overseas colonization society, the Indogerman Silk Export Company, whose charter authorized shareholders to establish a colony in the Annam Peninsula. For the next ten years Franstralian, German, Brazuluan, and Russian agents competed to establish successful colonies that could control the local silk and bamboo markets of southern Annam. A successful Chinese colony thrived to the west of the prime silk farms, but never managed to achieve economic dominance of the region. Duma agents in this time work feverishly to harass and obstruct Iroquois migration headed toward southeast Asia to protect Russian interests in colonizing that area.

    Despite constant harassment by Franstralian agents, in 1675 the nascent colony of Vologda managed to establish a foothold in Indogermany with the construction of the Harbor of Vologda, assuring a permanent commerce connecting the colony to the empire. Other colonies attempted in the dwindling unclaimed lands of the Malay peninsula failed at the cost of much blood and gold. No one who undertook to settle this hostile region did so unaware of the grave risks involved.



    tbc'd, o.c.
     
  19. Tribute

    Tribute Not Sarcastic

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    You really spent the 640 gold? I'd have waited a turn (to halve the price) and reduce it a small amount more. But that's just me. Other than that, the story still looks great.
     
  20. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Age of Colonization

    From its earliest inception, the southeast Asian silk trade was subject to constant intrigue from Franstralian agents. Paris-based spies--posing as merchants, tourists, journalists, or diplomats--visited the young colony in the Mekong delta, bribing the Mekong natives and underpaid colonial officials for information and sabotage. Franstralian writers circulated extremist "democratic" propaganda to undermine solid Russian whiggish values. In the 1683 Vologda Incident, the radical Frandonesian government of Clytemnester Marât used not only gold, but also the Franstralian navy to intimidate, the colonial Russian government at Vologda into defecting to Frandonesian control. At the height of tensions, the shadow of war loomed over Indogermany; indeed, elements in the Franstralian navy were actively trying to provoke war. But eventually the two powers avoided conflict, as they reluctantly and diplomatically agreed to withdraw their navy from around the Russian colonies.

    Still, the spectre of competition threatened constantly to drag the colonial powers into bloody conflict. As the early colonists said, "the Frannies will return." Throughout the colonial era, Frandonesia and Franstralia sought to establish their hegemony over the undeveloped Asian southeast.



    Now, Alek, I'm about to tell you why I don't like modern times. I know your high school teachers all told you to revere the Constitution of 1614 and applaud the rise of The Common Man. There were even comments in my college textbooks celebrating the "progress" Mother Russia went thru when she evolved from a constitutional monarchy in the 1500s to an almost-democratic republic (albeit retaining our matriarchal figureheads) in the 1600s. In fact, you, my frivolous lad, are an excellent example of why we need a strong monarch.

    In the 15th and 16th centuries, we led the world. Then we got a constitution to hamstring our leaders. For a while our democracy gave us some strength, but a people in a republic are only busier than the people under a divinely directed matriarch--and perhaps they have more material wealth. But they lack discipline. They want for direction. If you want a team of horses to pull a cart, you don't just tie eight ropes to your cart. No, that's preposterous! You line them up, shackle 'em together, and give one big smart guy a whip to drive them in the direction that he decides on. Are the horses happier? Hell no! But they get to the feedlot faster and the cartload of goods will be delivered on time.

    And that, my truculent child, is why democracies are inferior to monarchies. You individualists my say "Oh, but it feels better on my unshod hooves to run free thru the pastures and graze up as much grass as I can stomach." Bah! Well, maybe it feels better, but happy feelings don't drive the cart to market. An empire is like a household and a household needs a head. Or, as our Ukrainganikian friends say, the tail doesn't wag the hyena. Except, of course, in a democracy, it does.

    EPICURIAN DEMOCRACY:
    THE PEOPLE FORGET THEIR PLACE


    My point? What's my point? Are you even listening? Govno! Look at history, you squawking frog! What your textbooks call the "Age of Colonization" really ought to be called the Age of Decline. By the late 17th century the Motherland had fallen behind the Franstralians and possibly even the Egyptians in technology. We had more colonies; we had more goodies, but were we stronger for it all? No!

    Instead, less money went to bolstering our armies and navy while more resources were spent on consumer trinkets and exporting the luxuries of home to the southern orient. Meanwhile, back in north Asia, the Englian and Scotlian ethnic minorities began to agitate for equal rights--often inflamed by the sinister Franstralian ideologies--liberté, égalité, fraternité!--and other such dreadful nonsense.

    What? No, you knucklehead, fraternité has nothing to do with college fraternities. Oy! If those radical Frannies had their way everyone would go to college and no one would get to join fraternities because they're elitist and bourgeois. These are the dangerous ideas unleashed in the industrial age by radical democratism and its franophile adherents.

    In the 17th and 18th centuries the Near Hemisphere world stage was the scene of a great ideological and geographic power struggle between radical Franstralian-style "universalistic democracy" on one hand and the socially stable (or what the rads call "conservative") Russian, Egyptian, and Roman-style democratic republicanism. The Franstralian upstarts continued to challenge the power of the colonial moderates like ourselves, the Egyptians, and the Romans. The stand off over our colony at Vologda was only the beginning.

    In the wake of the Vologda Incident, the first World Security Alliance System evolved to prevent future wars between the great powers and to keep the subversive Franstralians in check. Both the Babylon-Athens bloc and the Thebes-Moscow bloc kept the leading powers secure. Germany and the Franstralia-Frandonesia bloc were the only powers not somehow affiliated with protective alliances--and Germany paid dearly for its unaffiliation thru a number of bloody wars that left the Teutons without a viable colonial policy in these years--a time when other nations were building colonies right in Germany's backyard.

    In 1695, the Septembrists were able to bring Germany and the Iroquois into our network of alliances, but by then it was too late to prevent war.

    a56.jpg <== A SCENE OF TRAGIC COMPROMISE

    The Frannies were a growing world power, and by 1700 the leading world power. And while they were isolated diplomatically, they were also well positioned militarily--and thus fully prepared to use their positioning to undertake their "Risk: the World Domination Game" strategy. That is, they planned to start off by dominating their small continent and from there branch out to conquer one continent at a time until they controlled the world. As we were the leading colonial power in Indogermany, it fell to Russia to restrain these Franstralians.

    And that is where the tragedy began.
     

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