North West Passage The Beginnings The King had summoned me and I must meet him. A courier had arrived 6 months ago with the scroll sealed with wax bearing the symbol of his royal divine right. Conquer the North West Passage and settle a colony for the might and glory of Spain was all he asked. The King knew I was ambitious and this was my reward after 30 years of service in the finest fleet of the world. When I meet the King again he congratulated me on the metals I had won and how I had risen my family name to great honour and respect in Spain. This was my chance to make my family legacy last forever he told me. He had already commissioned 100 gold ingots for the venture and had organised a caravel named the The Spirited. All I needed was some security and some settlers and I could begin on the greatest adventure of my life. As I had climbed the ranks of the Imperial Armada I had developed good connections with General Bosaio of the Spanish Army who had a stellar career and I was also fortunate enough to call him a good friend. This allowed me to convince his nephew, an outstanding young Corporal named Spurindos and his Battalion to join the exhibition with approval from the General and the King of course. I had also found some hearty souls from Basque who were hard workers and tough as nails. Having been religiously oppressed by the Catholics they were eager as well. So having been granted the title Viceroy and given the charter of the North Sea Colony Company by his royal majesty, my exhibition launched from Valencia and headed for the icy waters of the North West Passage. The bitter winds chilled our bones as we sailed on, the seas getting bigger the further along we went. But we felt safe as the Spirited cut through the water. My Captain would often say, Shes a fine ship Sir, she glides like an angel and floats like a knife! On the 2nd month since we left port I heard the cries while below deck checking rations. Gulls! the crew cried. A sure sign land was close. We followed them and soon found land. A mighty peak we named Mount Hawk after the Corporals favourite bird was the first land we saw since we had left Spain. Below her to the north was a forest which we later found was full of deer the like we had never seen before. To her south was a large bay we called Philip Harbour for his royals namesake which was brimming with giant crab we soon named King Crab for it was delicious as it was big! The tundra plain to Mount Hawks east would become home and the first settlement of the North Sea Colony Company. I sent the Spirited to further explore up the coast and search for signs of life or good places with abundant resources. The moment she had left the damn English turned up! We waved flags of peace and they sent a small contingent to greet us. They were also Colonists and their leader John Adams was a well read and thoughtful man who spoke Spanish well enough to grease relations and ease tensions. After a cup of tea they went on their way in search of a new home and adventure. We were all disappointed the English were here, I could see it in the faces of our people. The Soldiers were the most wounded though. We had all lost friends when the Mighty Spanish Armada was destroyed! However I knew our work must continue regardless. Perhaps we could get one up on the English in this foreign, inhospitable land. We were still building our homes but had decided to name our settlement Isabella in honour of her greatness and we knew the King had been adored by his late mother. A month later the Spirited returned with news of a native tribe. They were called the Sioux and their leader Sitting Bull proclaimed us wandering peoples from over the seas as friends and looked forward to trading with us and learning from us. The feeling in the camp became peaceful and that Isabella was now our home when a Sioux Raiding party bought a gift of beads for our people. New Spain would flourish we were told by their best hunter Beer Chaser. I sent the Pioneers from Basque to Mount Hawk to search for gold. They found no gold but found a seam of silver. In need of some form of income I immediately got them digging out a mine to enhance the production of the seam. It aint gold but it will do! I sent the Spirited back to Spain. We need more people out here I told the Captain. I sent Corporal Spurindos as well. I knew he would be able to call on more favours than the Captain. I also sent a letter with them for the King. It briefly mentioned the new settlement and the natives who I said where no threat. However I expressed grave concern that the English also had a Colony Ship in these parts. I hinted that some military aid would be most beneficial. However having no gifts or goods for him I fear my pleas will fall on deaf ears. I await the 4 month round trip eagerly for their return and his royal reply. Life seemed to go more slowly from that day. Things began to become more mundane and familiar over the next couple of months as we settled down. Thankfully we would face the Northern Summer before the Winter. I inspected the mines the Basque Pioneers were digging, and applauded them for their hard work although there was still much to do. I also climbed to the summit of Mount Hawk which gave a spectacular view of the landscape. From there I could also make out the Sioux settlement of Sisitowan. A small settlement of 4 to 5 hundred natives living in their triangle cone tents! These natives are just so primitive, I find it hard to grasp their simplistic way of life. Considering the sheer will it takes to survive in this wilderness you think they would give up seal hunting and head for finer pastures further south. But who am I to say what their blood drives them to do! The Captain and the Corporal returned with a Seasoned Scout from one of the Corporals Uncles Campaigns. I knew the Corporal would deliver wonders. The Scouting Party bought their own horses so after congratulating them on their dedication to Spain I sent them to explore further inland but boarded them on the Spirited to get them there with haste. I soon learnt Isabella was on an isle! This wasnt ideal but it was still a good staging point for setting sail to Europe. I await with baited breath for the Scouts report when they return. I gave up a vial of ink so they can draw maps as they venture, I hope they understand the sacrifice that this is in this land. Hopefully my wife will send more from Spain on the next voyage. My instincts were right! The Spirited returned and the Captain gave me the Scouts map with a written report. I was most impressed. They had meet with another Sioux tribe and had found some ancient relics of a past civilisation. I was concerned that the Scouts hadnt loaded the treasure onboard the Spirited but the Captain assures me the Scouts have a rondevous point already figured and wanted to further explore while the locals where friendly. The French also arrived the same day as the Spirited. I couldnt believe the French where now also looking for territory in these parts. I corresponded with the French by letter. Sir Frounac desired an open land and waters passage treaty. But I had no stomach for it, the only good Frenchman is a dead one. Which where similar to my thoughts when the English man John Adams also asked for a Charter of Passage by land and sea, my letter in response was neither rude nor warm but it was concise. Having found another large Island to the West I have began plans for a future settlement there. The mainland to the Southwest is prime land. However the filthy English have established a settlement there already named Jamestown. Already I consider and discuss with the Corporal what I would need to destroy it. He suggests at least 4 Battalions with mounted support and artillery. It seems I will be delaying plans of war for some time. Perhaps even future generations. My age now takes me and I pass on my reigns of power to my son who has arrived from Spain. Established Colony I have sent the Spirited back to Spain with another letter emphasizing the imperative threat that New England poses to New Spain. It is the first time I have called the Collective Colony as a whole New Spain to the King. My father who founded this colony would be full of wrath if he knew that. God rest his soul. His legacy still gives our people hope and inspiration though. The North West Colony Company is just to sterile to inspire hope. So I pray the King understands that without adequate security his colony could be wiped out at any time. Months pass by like days and the Spirited returns with good news. The docks are overflowing with immigrants ready for the New World which is grand. But they only overflow because the King has burdened the populace who arent Catholic. Spains loss is our gain. The Spirited delivers an old hand at fishing who brought his nets along with a Guild Master of Cloth. A promising sign if these professionals want to join New Spain! The King has agreed to grant us a cannon regiment but at a price. It is welcoming news for Isabellas defence. Rumours stir that the French have settled by the English. I pray that these two inferior rivals go to war with one another and I decide to do whatever I can to encourage them both to that end. Over the next year Isabella grows fivefold, the fish markets becoming a hive of activity every morning. More colonists arrive from Spain bolstering her numbers and all have unique skills which will greatly benefit our settlement. Having not heard from Sitting Bull the Sioux Chieftain for sometime and to quell rumours that the natives are servants of Satan who turn into demons at night I send a brave priest to Sisitowan to preach. I inform him softly that to return to Isabella without having converted the Natives to Catholicism would be dangerous to his health. With that kind of motivation he cannot fail! The Spirited comes and goes several times during the same year, one of our colony shows promise a sailor named Pedro Altares. He has charted the weather patterns and the Spirited now sets sail with the most favourable winds for travel back to Spain slashing months off the journey. I have great things in mind for this young character, if he survives long enough maybe even a leadership post in the New Spanish Fleet! Isabella now also has a thriving fur business, supplemented with silver from the newly renamed Mt SilverHawk mine. I build up the colonies assets ever mindful that the French and English are a real and deadly threat. A new colonist my fathers friend Spurindos informs me is proving troublesome, hes a good speaker and has been causing a stir at the Townhall. I decide to pay this young demagogue a visit. Hes a little shocked to see me the founders son of the colony at his request. I probe him to open up and eventually he does. He has a vision of a better world, of a better country. We dont need the oppression and tyranny of Europes Monarchies, he wails, we demand decency and liberation, we are all men under one God! I can see Corporal Spurindos is moved by this statesman rhetoric and so am I. We grant him a full time post at the Townhall. We all agree that we had better not step to proudly just yet. A recent letter from the King detailing his standing Royal Expeditionary Force is as terrifying as it is impressive. The King is no fool. I dont hear from the Scouting Party my father commissioned til early the year after. The winter was harsh they tell me and they got bogged down in blizzards but now make good progress west having discovered another tribe of natives that call themselves the Tupi. I send 2 colonists to the mainland to establish a settlement before the French and English gain to much of a foothold on the coastal areas. I pray they will be safe. I have high hopes. Shortly after the settlers of the mainland leave I am flabbergasted to hear a report that a merchantman flying the Dutch Colours is sighted off Isabella Isle heading past Little Isabella and to the mainland. Now the Dutch! I grumble to Spurindos, Pedro and the Statesmen at our secret monthly independence constitution meetings that we may as well be in Europe because at least over there we knew where our enemies where! Patience they tell me to calm me. In time we will strike the killing blow vanquishing our enemies from the land we found first. We also invite another to our group Juan de Ponce. Having proven his worth at treasure hunting and not happy with the tax the King demands on his profits he fits the Council perfectly. Santo Domingo is founded in 1538 A.D. Not in an ideal place but it is strategic. It allows us an entrance point into the mainland at the north end of a vast expansive harbour we call the Bay of Barco after the great Carthaginian leader. Further to the south, Indian contact suggests the French have another settlement in the same bay. I learn soon after Santo Domingo is founded that the Dutch settle New Amsterdam just to the south on the same coast in the Bay of Barco. Maybe we should ally with the Dutch the Council of Five advise me. Which has become the de facto name of our Independence Spanish Tea Party. France and England are more of a threat they challenge. I humbly agree but decide to leave it some time before we pursue further relations with the Dutch. Another 2 year pass without much of note and finally I get a report from the Scouts again. I find it hard to believe that the land is so vast. If these maps are true and the scouts have not suffered dementia or walked around in circles then this continent is as big or bigger than Europa herself. At our Council meeting we become quite excited at the endless possibilities of expansion. A nation called New Spain the size of Europe combined! Trade continues with Europe who are hungry for our pelts and fine coats. We grow more of a quiet confident and use caution as our watchword. The Kings annual letter reminds me that Spain is still our master and will not tolerate any thing less. This year placing a permanent tax on all colony goods. Pirates! We hear rumours of pirates far to the south in the Caribbean making fortunes and thank our Lord that none have ventured this far north. However it also sparks a thought that the assets of New Spain could be increased and also hinder the progress of the other European Powers here if Isabella commissioned a Privateer of her own. The Council of Five all agree it is a marvellous idea. But we do not have the facilities to boat build. Finally after much discussion into the early hours of the morning we decide to ask for a royal commissioning of a privateer from our King Prince Philip. If we pay for it he will allow it Pedro declares. Spainish shipping has been harassed for years by the English, the Dutch and the French in the Americas. The King will welcome this and thus he did! The Silent Knife built by the same shipbuilders as the Spirited do us proud and a fine ship is launched to raid the high seas of the North West Passage. The Silent Knife does brilliantly in her first two encounters gutting a French Caravel with bundles of Tobacco which is quickly unloaded at Isabella while repairs are made on her hull. She then sets off again and meets a much tougher opponent a Dutch Merchantman. However again the Silent Knife is victorious sending her to the bottom of the seas and bagging furs and cotton in the process. I am happy for the great successes but cant help but feel that we need to strike a blow at the English. Already we discuss the commissioning of another Privateer. We have so much to build and grow the Council of Five becomes Six when an ex Soldier from Colonial Wars in South America joins our cause. He brings in years of experience and we set him about building defences in our settlements. More months fly buy with constant trade between Port Isabella and Spain. Although they arent jumbo loads of goods they are consistent and before long we agree to purchase another privateer to quell foreign shipping. Our colonies attitude also eases to the other colonies here. In this wild land of Indians we find more in common with our European colonists now even though they were enemies back in the old world. We call a common charter of peace and goodwill and allow open borders with the other colonies. Secretly we the Council of Six laugh and smoke the cigars made from the first loot of the Silent Knife. Now we will see them leave their own safe ports before they even have a chance to evade our Privateers by high seas! The new Privateer Calypso joins in on the fray and the havoc that Silent Knife has been causing. Her Captain reports back that the English and French have no at least 3 settlements each. Having eating up most of the northern mainland peninsula. I take comfort in the fact that 2 privateers are going to cause a lot of pillage but concerned at their expansion. I request an audience with the Council of Six which becomes Seven when a Horticulturist who is mad about Tobacco is nominated as a suitable candidate. His case is strong and he adds immense value to our colony not just in material wealth. The shipping lanes across the North West Passage are so harassed by these two they account for an untold number of destroyed vessels, at one stage sinking 5 vessels in as many months. New Spain has grown strong and Port Isabella although isolated on an Isle and not on prime land has proven her worth as a staging point for trade back to Europe and as the Capital of Fur and Coat Trade in the New World. Scouting for Independence Our cause for independence grows stronger and 2 more admitted to our council. I congratulate our newest members in public. However in private myself, Corporal Spurindos and the Statesman talk quietly about leaks. The Kings annual letter is rather moody and not only a hefty rise in Tax from 3 coins in a trade of a hundred to 8 coins! He also airs concerns for an independence movement he has heard from his advisors and asks me to crush it quickly. Reminding me that the ever expanding Royal Expeditionary Force is awaiting in earnest should I fail to quell any talks of rebellion. Finally after years of nothing heard I get a report from my scouting party. This land is so huge they tell me that it would take thousands of years to populate it. The scattered tribes of wandering nomads are no match for European Weaponry and being so small are of little threat. The maps they have drawn are so expansive that I shudder to think that a passage through the North may take longer to get to India and China then going around Africa! Barely days have passed since reading the scouts letter when the Sioux declare war on the French! Sitting Bull gives me no explanation other than the French threaten their old ways of living. The New World Colonies wait anxiously to hear of news that follows this French-Indian War! The next few years passed quickly. Our colony purchases a Galleon and more immigrants flood to our mecca of peace and opportunity of Port Isabella. The war between the French and Sioux rages somewhat stalemated until the cunning Indians managed to overpower the defences of Montreal and raze it to the ground. All of us feel terrified at the savagery of the natives and awful for the dead French. The Sioux although our friends having taught us in the way of animal trapping and allowing 3 missions in 2 local tribes are still a primitive and brutal race who are savages of war. They scalped their victims and this and other brutal practices lead us to believe they can not be trusted to do the decent Christian action of mercy and tolerance. Some of our citizens fear thy may also one day attack New Spain. I have set preparations for an Armoury to be built so we can manufacture our own muskets. I refuse to buy guns from Europe I told the Council. Which had now swollen further and we gave up calling it a number! The French Indian War was a wake up call for all the colonists in the New World. The peace was over and war was brewing! Having grown New Spain to the most powerful colony in the North West I rest easy in my old age and hand the reigns of power over to the young blood. My father would be proud and I look forward to my son inheriting my familys legacy of New Spain.