Henry the Great
Original Time Line (OTL)
Long recognised as one of the greatest monarchs the United Kingdoms of England and Scotland has produced, Henry IX was a man seemingly destined from birth to be one of the great movers and shakers of history.
Born in Scotland (19th February 1594) at Stirling castle, the son of James VI of Scotland and Anne of Denmark. He was christened at midsummer and it is said that the central event in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, written shortly after, was based on the royal baptismal party.
His father had high expectations of his eldest and in 1598 wrote the "Basilikon Doron" (Royal Gift) giving guidelines as to how a successful monarch should rule his subjects.
(1594) Henry Stuart was born. He was immediately given the titles Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Lord of the Isles, confirming him in the highest of Scottish titles.
(1603) Elizabeth I died and James VI becomes James I of England. He confirmed Henry as Duke of Cornwall.
(1605) The Gunpowder plot.
(1610) Henry was confirmed as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. Bringing together the titles which every male monarch who has subsequently occupied the throne of Britain has held. During this time Henry also befriended Sir Walter Raleigh as well as establishing a correspondence with Henry VI of France and Gustav Adolphus of Sweden. Though when his father suggested a French marriage, he answered that he was 'resolved that two religions should not lie in his bed'.
(1611) King James Bible published.
(1612) (This is the Point of Departure from the Original Time Line (OTL)). In November Henry decided to take an unseasonable swim in the Thames, subsequently contracted typhoid and was only saved by the intervention of his friend Sir Walter who, despite being in the Tower of London, procured some quinine to break the fever. (In OTL Henry died and Charles became the successor)
(1612 – 1625) During this time Henry added to his increasing popularity by living a fairly austere protestant lifestyle (as opposed to the decadence of the Jacobean court). He championed such causes as naval reform and reconstruction, and, with an eye to the future, colonisation especially of Virginia, as well as encouraging various "troublemaking" protestant sects to set up their own colonies in the New World. He also interceded with his father to stay the execution of his friend and mentor Sir Walter Raleigh. It was during this time that Henry was betrothed in marriage to Maria Elisabet of Sweden, daughter of Charles IX and his second wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp. The marriage was ostensibly a happy one, though rumours abounded of internal strife between the young couple. Though an initial friendship with Henry IV of France's son, Louis XIII, had been established, this relationship became strained over the years as the influence of Louis' mother and her protégé Cardinal Richeleiu dominated Louis' life. Henry also became famous for chivalry and his patronage of artists, architects, and men-of-letters seemed to promise that the reign would be a potential golden age for Britain. His friendship with various members of Parliament (despite James having dissolved it) and his preparedness to listen to reason, even if it went against his views, frequently brought him into strife with his father. It is thought that it was at this time that Henry's later reforms of Parliament and taxation were formulated by his discussions and friendship with William Cavendish, John Byron and the lawyer, John Bradshaw. His knowledge of Robert Cecil's "Great Contract" undoubtedly played a part.
(1618) Henry and Maria's first child, a son, James Alexander was born.
(1619) Charles was married to Elisabeth von Nassau-Siegen.
(1621) Henry and Maria's second child, a son, Robert William was born.
(1624) Charles' wife died in childbirth as did the child, a daughter.
(1625) This year saw the death of James I of England, a man who started off in great popularity with the English but whose actions over the years, including his most cherished ambition – the union of England and Scotland – were thwarted by Parliament, who objected to James's wish to rename the joint realm 'Britain'. To Parliament, a new name meant a new kingdom in which James would be free to set himself up as an absolute emperor. In contrast, Parliament would be a mere provincial assembly.
James's reaction was to try to enact the Union symbolically, using his own powers under the royal prerogative. By proclamation he assumed the title 'King of Great Britain'. He then announced a new union currency, Royal Coat of Arms and flag.
Not content with symbols, he also practiced a union by stealth by filling his bedchamber, the inner circle of his court, almost exclusively with Scots. James took a more than fatherly interest in Scots lads with well-turned legs and firm buttocks, but recruiting them also suited him politically.
James had inherited a substantial debt from Elizabeth. He also had a large family to maintain and wanted to spend money on his favourites and pleasures. The crown's 'ordinary income' from land and custom duties was hopelessly inadequate, and there was no choice but to ask Parliament for more money. But Parliament saw no reason why tax payers' money should end up in the pockets of Scots favourites.
Upon his accession, in 1625 Henry was crowned, despite Parliament's objections, as King of Britain. However one of his first acts as King was to assemble Parliament to sort out the Royal finances and, despite his inclination towards the divine right of Kings, Henry accepted a modified version of the Great Contract, allowing his household an income of £250,000 per annum. In return Henry gave up his feudal privileges and despite the occasional bouts of acrimony a working relationship (of sorts) was established. Indeed Parliament saw the need to strengthen the Kingdom both militarily and financially and, with the support of the King, looked for means to increase commerce and trade in order to pay for naval and military reconstruction.
At this time Henry also dismissed all of James I's favourites from the court including George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, a man whom he distrusted greatly and whom he had prevented inveigling his dying father into declaring war on Spain. Removing several of his titles in the process, Henry had Villiers exiled to Scotland. Henry then appointed the capable John Pym to represent him in France in negotiations with Cardinal Richelieu over concerns with the Huguenot Protestants currently in revolt at La Rochelle in France. This Pym managed successfully, despite his disdain for Catholicism, allowing an earlier Huguenot exodus to England and Ireland with a corresponding transfer of dissidents in return. The resulting gain to the English and Irish economies further boosted Henry's attempts to revitalize Britain. Henry also appointed Thomas Wentworth, as his President of the Council of the North after dismissing Emmanuel Scrope, Earl of Sunderland from his position for suspected Catholic sympathies. Henry, although like his father being tolerant of other faiths, was determined always to have control over the organizations that controlled them. Henry was also able to recruit Ernst Von Mansfeldt to advise him on military affairs. This after Maria had persuaded him not to get involved in funding a Danish attempt to seize the Palatinate, despite it being his sister's husband's original demesne.
(1626) Henry appointed his brother Charles to represent the "King" at the Scottish Parliament. This was meant to free Charles from his entanglements with extreme Protestant groups and isolate him from various influences within the royal court. All this led to was Charles coming under the influence of James' old cabal, including Buckingham, who resented their loss of influence (and wealth) within the "British" court.
(1627) Henry and Maria's third child, a daughter, Christina Elizabeth, was born. The labour was difficult and the subsequent fever left Maria barren and prone to bouts of weakness, though she still remained her husband's enduring love. It was at this time that Henry, horrified at the actions of the doctors, actively started to seek out "men of knowledge, science and the arts" It was his desire to see his kingdom as a shining beacon of light and progress.
(1628) By now Henry had consolidated his position as monarch in England, though still struggling to sort out the nations finances to his satisfaction (and advantage). In order to increase his influence, Henry proposed to Parliament a review of the Magna Carta with a view to "expanding the influence of the realm in its dealings with all good men". Henry's main thoughts at the time, according to his chronicler, were towards increasing the size of Parliament by including new boroughs as well as denuding Parliament of its rotten ones (and increasing his influence by patronage). He immediately faced opposition in the form of Robert Devereaux, 3rd Earl of Essex, a man who had been married to Frances Howard, Countess of Suffolk, in 1606, but was divorced by James I so that she could marry his favourite. A man who hated the Stuarts with a passion, Devereaux's first act was to gather up like-minded men in an attempt to limit the King's power and to tie him to Parliament's tail by causing Henry to dissolve Parliament as his father had and foment dissent within the country. By constant thwarting of debate by means of gerrymandering and prevarication all Devereaux managed to do was isolate himself and his followers from the moderates within Parliament who wanted reform. Henry himself spent little time debating. Being a man of action he was currently using his new wealth to support and finance endeavours abroad, as well as having the keels laid of a new generation of warships. He preferred to leave debate in the hands of his confidants, William Cavendish, John Byron and the lawyer, John Bradshaw. At length though, Parliament produced a set of proposals to which the King felt himself able to give assent.
The main proposals were:
• No taxes to be levied without consent of Parliament;
• No subject to be imprisoned without cause (this reaffirmed the right of habeas corpus);
• Enfranchisement of all men having a value in property of over £1,000;
• Constituency reform in that all voting boroughs shall have an equal number of voters;
• Parliament to be increased to represent the new franchises.
At this time Parliament agreed to properly finance the King in order to expand the Navy, in return the King would give up his right to the Sea Tax, Knight's tax and various other means monarchs had used to obtain additional income without recourse to Parliament.
Parliament also allowed Henry the tonnage and poundage (customs) income to be allocated towards the Navy.
(1629) With a guaranteed income from the state to meet the needs of his modest court and economic growth within the country, Henry's mind was turned to what he saw as the greatest threat to the internal peace of the realm, religion. Though a devout protestant believer himself, Henry had become alarmed over the years at the treatment of other fine men who had other beliefs, indeed he was aware of the possibilities of this treatment driving them into the arms of those extremists who wanted a Catholic takeover.
Yet the Protestants had very good reason to fear foreign Catholic powers and their influence.
In the 1550's Bloody Mary had burned nearly 300 Protestants.
The Spanish Inquisition was still a force to be reckoned with abroad.
(1560) The Spanish Duke of Alva massacred Protestant civilians in the Netherlands.
(1573) The St Bartholemew Massacre in Paris, where Catholics had murdered 5,000 Protestants in cold blood, took place.
(1558) The Spanish Armada and several Catholic plots against Elizabeth were dealt with.
There was still the Catholic Church's threat to recover all the land stolen from them by Henry VIII.
Indeed his own father had been the subject of the Gunpowder plot. So the fears were very real.
Henry called a conclave of religious leaders to discuss the issues involved, hoping for a solution as he himself resolved to make Britain so tough a nut to crack that foreign adventurism would be looked at as an act of desperation by the Catholic super-states of France or Spain.
(1630) The Conclave held in York was currently stalemated, often resulting in brawls between various factions and churchmen. That no-one had died was more the result of Henry's royal guards searching the attendees for edged weapons than any act of God. Many of the Puritan representatives had threatened to boycott the Conclave when they were made aware of the need to include some Roman Catholic laymen. Only a personal appeal by the King and Queen brought them unwillingly to the debate.
The first of the new naval craft built by Henry took to sea. Looked upon as the most heavily armed ship of its type in the world, its duties were to patrol the English channel to deal with various pirates and slavers operating in the area. Others were near completion and would be used to extend British influence both around the islands and in the New World.
(1631) The "Great Conclave" finally yielded results, though they were not to anyone's great satisfaction they produced a compromise most could live with. The most controversial was the call for a "Freedom of Religion" whereby no man could be forced to worship in a manner he found not to his taste. This would essentially mean that Roman Catholicism would be tolerated again (though not loved). The Puritan influence within Anglicanism was salved by moves to unite with Lutheranism (the puritans, being essentially patriarchal, nevertheless had a great admiration for Henry's Queen and her "simple piety"). There was recognition too for such groups as the Quakers and other dissident religious organisations. The downside from Henry's point of view was that the Conclave concluded that he could no longer be the head of God's Church in England. This meant in essence that he was being asked to hand over to the church various religious properties he still held in trust as its head. The downside from Parliament's view was the conclave asking them to remove the laws requiring mandatory attendance at an Anglican church. Not that removing a law was difficult, but because of the rancorous debate that followed on the "probable decline in moral standards". The one thing all agreed upon was the Conclave's statement that "All men must come to God, though it is to the weakness of man that God has provided many paths in His church. Yet all good men must be subject to the laws of this land and its King, seeking not to undermine that which is good and proper". And so it was decided. Church and State must separate. As later historians put it, "It was not easy and it was not immediate and were it not for Henry's decision to allow free transport to the New World for those who could not live in peace together then the circumstances which followed would have been so much worse".
Britain's fleet at this time had now increased to 60 ships of the line, ten of which were the new type based on the "Sovereign of the Seas" with a further fifteen under construction.
At this time Henry and Parliament also made major investments in the New World, expanding the colonies and building two new shipyards and ship repair facilities. At this time also the colonists came into conflict with those of New France and New Holland. A low key war of raid and counter-raid commenced, with both sides picking off each other's outposts and shipping. The British colonists however had the advantage of numbers and infrastructure as their King and Parliament had been encouraging growth and industry in their lands since before he became King.
(1632) France however had other plans for dealing with Britain and its upstart people. Henry's spies in the French court had got wind of plans to invade Ireland. This was a ruse to take Henry's eye off what was about to happen in Scotland. It meant that the British Navy was out in strength around the Irish coast when the real plan was sprung.
Charles, his brother, under the influence of various Scottish and English nobles who were fearful of losing their influence and power, was crowned King of Scotland in Stirling. Bankrolled by France and promised French troops in support, many (though not a majority) in Scotland rallied to his side seeking independence. To add to Henry's woes, the Devereaux uprising began with Essex and Kentish militias seeking to free their counties of pernicious foreign influences (Huguenots) forced on them by the King.
The British Civil war had begun.
(1632) Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, and now rebel against the crown, was a seasoned military commander and Parliamentarian, having served three times abroad in the Bohemian rebellion and war of the Palatinate (OTL 30-years war). His distaste for the House of Stuart, stemming from losing his wife, Frances Howard, Countess of Suffolk, in 1606, in divorce by James I so that she could marry James' favourite, had hardened into hatred over what he saw as the betrayal of the Palatinate by the refusal of Henry to support any foreign adventures during the time of national rebuilding. Gathering together various disgruntled and ambitious nobles, many of whom were facing financial ruin due to the inflation of James I reign by having fixed rents on their land tenants along with poor investments abroad. Taking advantage of a poorly organised local rebellion in Essex and Kent against the Huguenots, Devereaux gathered an army with the intent of marching on London and restoring England's rightful place in the world. Many historians have argued over the years just what Devereaux's intentions actually were. Was he a republican or just a usurper? No one, not even Devereaux, seemed to know for sure. Many of the nobles and their personal retinues fighting for Devereaux seemed to have their own agenda, though all seemed to agree this "Merchant" King must go. The Rebellion in Scotland seemed perfect for them to get what they wanted and divide up the spoils after. Unfortunately for them, Charles' seeming indecision in Scotland after taking the Scottish crown (he was in fact waiting for French reinforcements), left them the first to face Henry.
Henry however had his own problems, the calling out of the various militias to face Charles and Devereaux was not going well. Though having many loyal supporters, there were also many who had decided to sit on the fence, deciding that a problem in Scotland was not their problem. So it took several months for Henry to assemble a force of 10,000 men to face Devereaux and his 8,000 in Essex.
Henry's chronicler noted the King's reaction to the march to face Devereaux. "His majesty is not amused by the damage to his kingdom that the militias perform. Theft, arson, rape, and murder seem to follow in the wake of the armies billeting on the roads to find the rebels. The noble commanders seem to have no control over their men. Indeed many seem not to know where their men are."
Devereaux led the King a merry dance with his army never engaging, until finally, some weeks after the King's army set off, a tired, cold, hungry and increasingly rebellious army faced up to Devereaux's rested and ready army.
The battle of Braintree (September 1632) was a victory for the Royal forces however as recorded by Henry's chronicler. It was at best a draw, with fortuitous circumstances at the end. Both sides faced each other on each side of a small valley with mixed musketeer and pikemen regiments to the fore, cavalry on the wings and heavy cannon to the rear. At 11am the Royal army advanced to engage the centre of the rebels only to find their advance studded by caltrops causing their squares to break formation. Devereaux having more heavy cavalry swung around them to outflank the foot soldiers, only to face Henry's artillery and cavalry reserve. A general melee ensued, during which Henry attempted to extricate his mixed musket and pikemen. It was at this stage that Devereaux's cavalry broke through to engage the Royal party itself. Henry was only saved by a small troop of volunteer cavalry from Huntingdon, led by a landowner named Oliver Cromwell, throwing themselves into the fray and allowing Henry's men to seek safety within the regiments of foot. Seeing the disarray his army was facing Henry determined to go down fighting. Removing his lower armour (quite a feat in itself), he moved his Royal guard to the front of the regiment, had his royal banner unfurled and sounded the advance. To the astonishment of Devereaux and the rebel commanders the entire front line of Henry's army followed their King into the face of a torrent of artillery and musket, not marching but advancing at a run. Seeing the royal banner and the maddened Royals bearing down upon them the rebels, despite seemingly looking like winning the day, broke and fled. Devereaux himself was carried off the field by his personal guard cursing and struggling and eventually ended up joining the army of Charles in Scotland having set sail from Ipswich. Many of the rebel officers were cut down by their own men as they made vain attempts to rally them. Others though abandoned their men and fled north to join Charles, some making it, but many were caught and hanged by loyalist sheriffs as they tried to avoid Henry's men's wrath.
The aftermath was quite as bad as Henry thought. He'd lost over 3,000 men with more sure to die from their wounds. Henry himself had lost the tip of an ear though he had no recollection how. The rebels however had dissolved, losing somewhere in the region of 2,500 men. The majority, having scattered back to wherever they came from, weren't to be a threat again, though the area suffered from brigandage for a number of years after.
Henry's further thoughts on the matter are well known. His next move was to request Parliament to finance a standing army, with a properly organised commissary to stand in defence of the realm. He also offered a Royal Commission to one John McGregor to sort out the King's Highways to a standard fit to march an army over. McGregor had approached the King years before with such a proposal using a cut stone base with crushed gravel for road surfacing graded to a constant size of chippings (similar to Roman roads). This the King had put on the back burner for years, simply not having the means to finance it. This Parliament agreed to finance using the seized holdings of the "Traitors" along with captured prisoners to actually do the work. Although Henry was never able to march to war over such a road, within ten years the travel times in Britain had been cut by two thirds.
Henry also commissioned a survey of Britain's coastal defences with the long term view of keeping the Islands secure. Other measures taken were the building of "manned light-towers" to guide shipping into the harbours of the realm safe from rocks and shoals. A request was made to Jeremiah Horrocks to see if spyglasses could be improved. William Harvey was also asked to see to the setting up of an army corps of surgeons. Many great scientists were also moving to Britain's universities, attracted by Henry's support of the sciences, including Johann Baptista van Helmont, William Oughtred, Hans Janssen; and his son, Zacharias, who brought with them their first crude microscope.
Further honours went to Oliver Cromwell, knighted on the field of battle and given the title of Earl of Essex for saving the King's life. He and the King became fast friends. Henry liked the man's practical turn of mind. He allowed him, Sir Thomas Fairfax and Ernst Von Mansfeldt to build and standardise the "New British Army". It was Cromwell who solved the age old problem of pikemen, sawing off the last two feet of their pike to make carrying it easier by introducing a socketed pike that could be split in half for transport. It was Mansfeldt who oversaw the introduction of a socket bayonet to fix onto the New Army's flintlocks, giving them a form of defence as well as the ability to reload and fire. Both musketeers and pikemen were given a steel helmet as well as a steel front-plate. No back-plate was supplied, the reasoning being that this army would never retreat.
The army consisted of a total of 22,500 men, broken down in the following way:
Type No of Regiments No in each Regiment Total
Cavalry 11 600 6,600
Infantry 12 1,200 14,400
Dragoons 1 1,000 1,000
Artillery 5 100 men 12 guns 500 men 60 guns
The infantry were issued with royal blue uniforms to replace their existing regiment's colour. Cavalry were issued with light headpieces, armour front and back, and a buff coat of leather.
The pay was set at eight pence a day for infantry, and two shillings a day for cavalry. Those in the cavalry had to provide their own horse. Promotion was now done strictly on military prowess, and no longer on a family or monetary basis. Henry was commander-in-chief, Fairfax and Mansfeldt his generals, with Cromwell his Quartermaster General, a task he seemed born for.
Further developments this year were Henry removing Thomas Wentworth from his position as Lord-President of the Council of the North and sending him to Ireland as Lord-Lieutenant with the instruction to keep the Irish under control. Wentworth had evolved the policy known as "Thorough" by which he managed the Northern nobles for the administration of the State before the period of the British Civil War. Wentworth systematically applied this policy in Ireland. He dominated the main power groups by clever manipulation of the Irish Parliament and by securing firm control of the army in Ireland. Schemes were introduced to develop trade and industry of every kind: financial reforms to increase Ireland's revenue were enforced; the piracy that was rife around the Irish coast was suppressed. The interests of the Crown and the British Parliament were his priority, at the expense of all private interest and many indeed thought Wentworth's methods were ruthless and despotic. He alienated the predominantly Catholic "Old English" aristocracy in Ireland by promoting the interests of the new wave of Protestant English and Scottish settlers. The policy of driving the native Irish population from their lands was continued and extended under Wentworth's administration and under instruction from Henry none were allowed to the New World but were permitted to "escape" to France.
In the port of Calais 70 French merchantmen escorted by 25 ships of the line set sail for Dunbar carrying 3,000 hardened troops, a siege train and a war chest of £200,000. Caught out of position, elements of the British fleet could only play catch up as the French steadily made their way north towards Charles.
(1632) The weather and winds favoured the French fleet and in September they lay off the coast of Scotland and began disembarking men, arms and money. Within days the Rebel forces had made contact and moved to link up with their French allies. For all Charles figured prominently in the campaign to free Scotland, he was not a particularly happy man. The terms of French aid included a marriage to a French princess and separate command of the French forces to a French commander. Spending a few weeks to sort out various command differences the rebel army split, one (15,000) set out south for Edinburgh with Charles, the other smaller (12,000) set out for Glasgow under the command of the Head of Clanranald, one of the larger more belligerent Scottish highland clans. The idea being to secure both cities and then link up through the midland valleys of the Forth and Clyde. On reaching Edinburgh, Charles had his first major setback in that the gates were shut in his face and the wall manned with the city militia. The Scottish rump Parliament having decided that Charles was no "King o' theirs". Discussions with his commanders ensued and a siege was initiated. The French siege train was brought up and defensive lines were dug to protect the army, whilst off the Forth the French men of war gathered to close off any seaborne aid. After two weeks of relentless shelling a breach in the Flodden Wall was made and enlarged. At dawn on October 2nd an assault was made on the city. Despite the valiant efforts of the defenders the maddened Highlanders seized the walls and poured into the city, killing, raping and looting. Whole swaths of the Old Town were burnt to the ground, including the Parliament building. It is estimated almost 9,000 people died in the siege and ensuing atrocities out of a population of around 25,000, driving a permanent wedge between relations of the Lowland and Highland Scots. Only the Castle on its promontory still held, though its commander was forced to surrender five days later when hope of relief was dashed by the retreat of the Earl of Newcastle's relieving army who were outnumbered by the rebels almost two to one.
The Argyll led army had better luck when Glasgow opened its gates to prevent a siege and possible atrocity. Leaving a garrison behind, Argyll marched east to join with Charles who was moving to lay siege to Berwick.
(1633-A) The siege of Berwick was lifted after winter set in and Charles' army retreated to the Midland valley to billet and winter in (relative) comfort. Over the border in England there was panic in many towns who feared the Scots were just over the horizon, as well as frantic repairing of town and city walls, even as far south as Stamford. Questions in Parliament were raised as to the competency of the Earl of Newcastle, though much of the debate was stifled by Francis Pym who declared that any member who wished to lead an army north against a much greater foe was more than welcome to the command. This was the cause of one of the few rifts with Parliament Henry had, as he was under the impression it was "his" army.
Good news came with the news that Admiral Hamilton had finally driven off the French fleet from the coast of England. The survivors had fled north to safety at Edinburgh, the British fleet losing two ships to the French's seven. Hamilton docked at Newcastle to a hero's welcome for all he was a Scot; he was a loyal Scot as the mob hailed him. News also came from the Caribbean that the French colony sharing the Isle of St Kitts had surrendered to Britain's North American flotilla. Admiral Wood had installed a British governor and had sent the French governor and his staff packing on the remaining French merchantman. The flotilla had then set out to interdict any French shipping it could find and had surprised the French Man-of-War Couronne, capturing her and two escorts as they lay becalmed just off the coast of OTL Maine.
(1633-B) Was also the year known as the great Spanish swindle, in which Spain lost one of her prize Caribbean possessions and ended up in a European war with France. Later historians were able to put together the pieces of the actual events, though the machinations of the parties involved were very obscure at the time. During 1628 a British privateer (on detached duty from the North American flotilla) patrolling the Caribbean ran across a Danish man-of-war. This unusual event was noted by the Captain and further investigation soon uncovered a series of discreet Danish colonies in the Virgin Islands (ostensibly claimed by Spain, though of little consequence as Spain still claimed the entire Caribbean). The Danes had been quietly shipping their colonists up to Iceland, using it as a staging post and then moving them south, thus avoiding notice in the English Channel. It was the Dutch Netherlands who made the initial approaches to Denmark and Britain. They were desperate to relieve the siege of their homelands and had approached France in the hopes of intervention and the French seeking to end Spanish dominance of Europe had agreed, for a price, 40 million ducats, an amount that would have bankrupted Holland. However the staatholders had come up with a means to overcome this, if only Denmark and Britain would agree. It was known the Spaniards used Puerto Rico as a staging post for transporting silver and gold from their overseas colonies en-route to Spain. The Dutch had previously attempted to seize the Island back in 1625 under General Boudewijn Hendrick and now thought to try again. The first moves were the transportation of a Danish regiment and siege train to Britain (it was assumed they were mercenaries to fight the Scots). Disembarking in Dover, they were marched overland to Bristol ostensibly to be re-embarked on transports to liberate Glasgow. The Danes however were embarked on British colonial transports (expansion in the New World had given Britain a lot of expertise in transporting large numbers of people to the Americas) to join an Anglo-Dutch fleet off the coast of Puerto Rico. The plan was simple, to seize the Island including the fort of San Felipe del Morro by means of landing at Santurce, crossing the San Antonio bridge (from an area known today as Condado) into the islet of San Juan. Whilst the Dutch fleet with British aid blockaded the harbour keeping the treasure fleet from sailing out. This was accomplished and the Dutch with the help of Danish and British "mercenaries" were able to seize the Jewel in Spain's Caribbean crown. The Spanish governor and troops were rounded up by Dutch regulars and were kept unaware of a British or Danish presence and sent back to Spain on the slowest galleon that could be found. The British then withdrew also, having no desire to be involved in a war with Spain. The Dutch then "sold" Puerto Rico to the Danes for 40 million ducats, minus the booty in the treasure fleet captured at anchor. And withdrew themselves. Though they did keep their fleet in the area to prevent any Spanish vessels getting too close to notice the change of ownership. Three days after the Dutch deposited 40 million Ducats with the Fuggers Bank in Augsburg, French troops moved in to seize the Palatinate isolating the Northern Spanish army from Italy. Henry's chroniclers parsed it perfectly. The Dutch wanted to be free, the Danes had the money, we had the transport. We got New Amsterdam and New Haarlem, Denmark got Puerto Rico by legal sale and the Dutch got their chance at freedom. Indeed, when Spain finally got round to sending back an invasion fleet to retake Puerto Rico, they found a Danish flag and fleet waiting for them. The situation in Europe being bad enough for Spain at the moment, the Spanish commander, not wishing to bring Denmark into the European war, decided to withdraw back to Spain.
(1633-C) Having wintered in and around Edinburgh, Charles' army forged south again in the spring of that year meeting little opposition. Deciding to bypass Berwick (a very tough nut to crack) the rebels moved south to take Newcastle meeting and defeating the Earl of Newcastle's army just outside Morpeth. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Earl felt obliged to at least try and draw the sting from the rebel army. The worst failings of pre-war militia training came to the fore in the ensuing battle with the experienced French troops in the centre cutting to pieces the British squares who, though they tried, were simply outclassed by the discipline shown by the rebel army. The resulting rout from the field caused the most casualties as the British were overtaken by both rebel cavalry and lightly armed Highlander swordsmen. The rebel army took light casualties of only 354 men, whilst the Earl of Newcastle's army of 12,000 lost over 8,000 in the ensuing battle and rout, the rest dispersing to flee to their homes. The Earl of Newcastle was captured too and, having refused to swear fealty to Charles, was executed on the spot. Two days later the City of Newcastle was captured, its citizens fearful of another "Edinburgh" had they not opened their gates and surrendered. At this time Charles sent diplomats to negotiate with Henry, promising to withdraw should Henry recognise Scotland as a separate Kingdom again and Charles as its King. Henry's reply is unknown, the negotiators apparently taking one look at his face fled in fear of their lives.
The New British Army (NBA) at this stage had been drilling and practicing with new tactics and disciplines. Unlike most European armies at this time, Henry, from his correspondence with Gustav Adolphus, had decided to opt for having two musketeers to one pikeman (it was usually the other way round) and forming his men in line as opposed to in block, giving a much larger firing front. This, along with Mansfeldt's new-fangled bayonets, gave Henry hope that this inexperienced army could hold its own against Charles' veterans. Shortly after dismissing Charles' attempt at diplomacy, the New British Army headed north to its first engagement.
Charles, having heard of Henry's refusal to talk and the news that Henry's army was on the move, took counsel with his advisors. He left a small garrison to hold Newcastle and headed south to what he hoped might be his destiny as King of Britain as well as Scotland.
The two armies met at the small village of Shipton, just North of York. Henry had pushed his army hard to avoid the City of York falling to Charles. The rebel army numbered some 25,000 men with the New British Army standing at about 20,000.
The Battle of Shipton was the first engagement of the fledgling New British Army and wasn't an auspicious start. Deploying into their line before the ranks of the rebel army many were overcome with nerves at the sight of the disciplined blocks of men facing them and the seeming fragility of their own line. Battle commenced at 10am. and the rebels advanced on the NBA centre, taking casualties from the musketeers at about 300 yards, The Head of Clanranald sent his cavalry to probe at the right wings of the NBA, gaining some success as the inexperienced NBA cavalry gave ground, being pushed away from the centre, opening a gap between the foot and the cavalry, which a massed charge by a Highlander regiment was able to exploit. With a breach in his battle line already opened Henry ordered the foot regiment to wheel in place something that had only been practiced on the parade grounds with limited success and on the field of battle was a complete disaster. The regiment broke, however the delay allowed Henry time to bring his cavalry reserve down on the now isolated Highlanders, routing them from the field. Elsewhere there was success in the centre as the longer line of Henry's musketeers took a deadly toll on the French regulars. On the NBA left though an advance had been stalled by broken ground and a series of hedges and ditches and so the regiments were unable to support each other. Here the rebels were able to catch and attack Henry's foot regiments piecemeal, causing a great many casualties. Only the bringing forward of the Dragoon regiment prevented a rout by finally enabling the NBA left to withdraw. Faced with both wings of his army badly mauled Henry withdrew the army backwards one foot at a time, always keeping them facing the menacing Rebel advance. The bayonet wall kept the Rebel cavalry and Highlander irregulars at bay whilst the second rank were able to reload.
The armies finally parted company shortly before dusk of a very long day. It was declared a rebel victory, though at no stage an overwhelming one as Henry's army was able to retreat back under the walls of York with its covering cannon fire. NBA casualties stood at 5,000 dead with the rebels losing 4,500. However most casualties were in the French regulars who it is estimated lost almost 1,100 men to the NBA line. The next day Charles and his commanders were more than eager to resume the battle; however the commanding general of the French said Non! His forces had been badly mauled and without their support this rebel army would lose. After much bitter argument and recrimination the rebel army withdrew north, back to Newcastle.
(1633-D) The rebel retreat came as some surprise to the loyalists, though their morale had not been shattered and the belief was strong that they had just been unlucky the day before and were relishing a chance to have another go. Still it did give Fairfax and Von Mansfeldt a chance to bring up reserves and new recruits to replenish the ranks of the army. Though Henry's every instinct told him to pursue the rebels, wiser heads prevailed, the NBA (now being called by some the Bluecoats) needed to re-organise and Cromwell's supply train was still some two days behind them, so hard had Henry pushed his army forward.
(1633-E May) France invaded the Palatinate; no declaration of war against Spain was made, though many believed a massive Dutch bribe was responsible for this action. One result of this was further French reserves, who were attempting to embark for Scotland, were withdrawn to face the Spanish tercios invading northern France from the Spanish Netherlands.
The NBA finally set forth from York leaving a strong garrison behind and headed north. Though anxious to relieve Newcastle, the plan was to bypass the city by travelling north via Hexham and head to Scotland via Otterburn, Jedburgh and Dalkieth, outflanking and cutting off the retreat of the rebel army from their strongholds and isolating them in increasingly hostile territory.
The British Navy under Admiral Hamilton were able to finally annihilate the remaining French warships in a battle just off the Firth of Forth. Reinforced by five new sovereign class men of war from the naval docks at Chatham, the French were no match for the superior speed and much heavier gunned British fleet. Eleven French ships were sunk, four were captured as prizes leaving three very badly damaged vessels to slip free, only to have to put in to Bruge and be seized by the Spanish, no-one having told their captains about the war.
The rebels however had learned of the loyalist plans and abandoned Newcastle, fleeing north to secure their hold over the Midlothian valley. The rebel army also faced problems with hunger as the land they now crossed had been stripped bare by them on the march south, unlike the well supplied "Bluecoats". Still, having a slight head start, meant that the rebels were able to reach Edinburgh and resupply as well as recruit more Highlanders and their Lairds to the cause. What Charles was unaware of, was that the wholesale looting of the lowlands by his "followers" had left bitter resentment and a burning desire for revenge on the harbingers of their woes, providing of course Henry could defeat the rebels. The two armies met again as Charles, his army now numbering 28,000, faced the NBA at Dalkieth.
(1633-F June) The two forces met facing each other over the valley of the South Esk river, though at this stage of the year it was no more than a small stream. Once again the rebel forces placed the French regulars in the centre, though heavily reinforced by the pikemen of the leader of Clanranald. The Highlanders massed on the wings of this central core, with cavalry on the outside. The NBA, numbering 20,000, plus various irregulars bringing the total up to 26,000, once again drew up its ranks into a line rather than a square. This time however Henry placed two blocks of irregulars on the left and right flanks to cover against any gap opening in the line. Henry also brought up some small artillery pieces to fill the gaps in his line and a goodly array of canister shells to fill them with. This time Henry allowed the rebels to come to him, with his cavalry under the control of Fairfax blocking any attempts to outflank the loyalists.
On the left and right flanks, crossing the stream, the Highlanders advanced into a hail of fire expecting the thin lines to break as they charged, this time they were wrong and also faced Henry's small artillery who poured cannister in on their formations. On hitting the line all they managed was to bow it backwards whilst taking very heavy casualties from bayonets in the front rank and musket fire from the ranks behind. At this stage, seeing the Highlanders weren't going to break the NBA formation, the rebel commanders halted the advance of their centre and started an exchange of musket fire. This was what Henry had hoped for; his lines could pour far more fire onto the rebels than they could pour at him and it soon became apparent that casualties on the rebel side were mounting. Finally the rebel centre retreated and Henry loosed his cavalry into the flanks of the Highlanders, causing them to break back towards their own lines. Henry sounded a general advance and ordered his Dragoons if possible to circle around and give oblique fire onto the flanks of the rebel right. Constantly under fire and in danger of being outflanked and their retreat cut off, a large mass of rebels broke from the field back to the dubious safety of their camp near Edinburgh, taking Charles with them. Left on the field to surrender were the Clanranald's pikemen and the French. Henry's Dragoons had also managed to seize the baggage train and although partially looted had made it secure.
Accepting the surrender and parole of the French commander and ordering him south under escort to Newcastle, Henry wondered what to do with Clanranald's men.
Rebel casualties were thought to be in the region of 11,000, mostly from the retreat when loyalist cavalry caught up with them. The NBA lost 3,500 men, a great and satisfying victory.
(1633-G June) It was in this month that a number of British goldsmiths, dealing in foreign and domestic coins and by letting their safes be used for deposits of valuables, decided, along with a number of well-financed private citizens as well as Parliament, to set up a Bank of England. The main purpose of the Act founding the Bank was to raise money for the War by taxation and by the novel device of a permanent loan on which interest would be paid but the principal would not be repaid.
(1633-H June) Charles and what remained of his army fled northwest abandoning Edinburgh, moving towards Stirling. Although still numbering 15,000 his numbers were getting lower everyday as many Lairds and Highlanders deserted him and melted away into the countryside, fleeing for their castles, determined to keep their heads down and hope Henry would miss them. The lowlands of Scotland had risen behind him, killing any Highlander or sympathiser they could get their hands on. Only a small garrison in Edinburgh castle still held out, led by George Villiers, the ex-Duke of Buckingham. Seeing Henry's army marching into Edinburgh, he tried to negotiate for his life, but was seized by the captain of the guard and handed over to Henry in return for the lives of the garrison. Henry himself was shocked by the destruction and devastation of the Scottish capital and promptly ordered that one in ten of the captured Highland prisoners should be hanged as an example to all those who would raise arms against their legitimate King he also enslaved Clanranald after hanging its head and sent them south to join McGregor's ever voracious work-gangs as indentured labour to build the new King's Highways.
Henry then ordered Fairfax and Von Mansfeldt to continue the pursuit as he set forth back to London and affairs of state. He appointed Cromwell as Governor General of Edinburgh, charged with the rebuilding of the city and the formation of new regiments for the NBA. This Cromwell took to with relish, though making up new regiments was easy as he had five times more Lowlanders trying to sign up than he had positions for. His first priority was accepting veterans who had mercenary experience, including a young captain of horse called David Leslie, whose small band of "guerrilla" fighters had been a constant pain for the rebels, reminding them that this wasn't "their" land.
(1633-I July) Charles and his followers abandoned Stirling, fleeing ever further north hoping that Fairfax would give up the pursuit or that they could somehow find a way to safety.
Richelieu agreed an indemnity of £100,000 and got what remained of the French regiments back, Britain kept the siege train though.
Spanish troops in the siege of the Dutch Netherlands de-camped and marched south-east to retake the Palatinate, meeting the French in a colossal battle just outside Koblenz. Making the British civil war look like a playground scuffle, two armies of over 75,000 men each, fought each other to a standstill.
(1633-J August) Fairfax and the NBA fought a small skirmish with rogue Highlander bands just south of Perth. Winning, he then occupied Scone Castle and, under secret orders from Henry, had the Stone of Destiny loaded onto a cart bound for Edinburgh and then hence by sea to London. Von Mansfeldt had since parted with half the NBA to the west at Oban, fighting occasional skirmishes as well as capturing any Highland man or boy he could find and having them transported in slave coffles to Edinburgh to rebuild the city.
The Stone of Destiny was smuggled into London (no-one, not the captain or crew of the ship nor the men guarding it had any idea it was there, they just thought it to be the heads of traitors to be displayed on the city gates of London). The Stone was then secreted away somewhere in the grounds of Hampton Court, guarded by men loyal to Henry alone.
Spanish troops managed to dislodge the French from the Palatinate and link up with reinforcements from the Spanish holdings in Italy.
Spain also discovered that the "Dutch" had occupied Puerto Rico and started assembling a fleet to take it back. Spain also attempted to send an army over the Pyrenees towards Toulouse, but this was turned back at the passes by very strong French defences.
France sent an army south to invade northern Italy.
The Bank of England started issuing promissory notes, they became very popular as carrying gold or silver was time consuming and bulky.
The first McGregor road had now reached Rochester (Kent) and would go to Dover via Canterbury. A similar project was heading west to Bristol and then north to Gloucester then Cardiff. Plans were being laid to use Scots prisoners to build a Great North road to Edinburgh via Peterborough, York and Newcastle.
Giovanni Branca, travelled to the New Universities in England and showed off his woodcut drawings for a steam turbine. Although laughed at by many, some scholars took note and sought funding to build one.
Plans were also offered to Parliament to link the Kennet (a tributary of the Thames near Reading) to the River Avon by means of an inland waterway using mitre gate locks designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. This would enable New World cargoes to avoid the English Channel.
(1633-K Sept) Charles' army (now numbering only 4,000) dissolved as he was pushed out of Inverness by Fairfax's troops, leaving Charles with just a few loyal retainers as he attempted to flee around the loyalists by heading east to Elgin.
Many Scottish highland towns were now virtually depopulated as major reprisals against "traitors" to the crown began. The men were used to rebuild towns, coastal defences or join the road crews, the women were indentured into domestic service. Many protested this treatment, claiming they had no part in the troubles, but no-one wanted to hear their pleas at this time. Henry offered the towns to his Huguenot subjects and also various other protestant groups fleeing the Franco-Spanish war. Many accepted, life was harsh in the north but they were hard-working and industrious and very loyal to this British King. There was some debate in the English Parliament as to Henry's right to do this, however, as this was Scotland and the land was forfeit to the crown, there was little Parliament could do.
Henry's eldest son, James, now accompanied Henry in all his dealings with Parliament and other influential men of Britain. Not as outgoing as Henry, he nevertheless was developing into a promising young man of many talents.
Henry was also approached by Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel, a Jew from Portugal, and was persuaded after discussions with merchants, clergymen and lawyers to allow those of the Jewish faith to settle in Britain after a gap of 343 years.
Henry convened what became known as the Hampton Conference to discuss the integration of Scotland, England and Wales into a single governance entity. Scotland itself was still under direct rule by Cromwell, acting as governor of Edinburgh (and hence all the lowlands). Many members of the Scottish Parliament had died in the pillaging of Edinburgh or were subsequently hunted down by Charles' rebels, leaving no legitimate group to claim the rule of Scotland. Henry, anticipating success, asked the architect Inigo Jones to design a new British Parliament building with a circular debating chamber. He asked his friend, John Pym, to chair the debate and invited many men of influence to air their views.
France won a major battle against the Spanish near Turin and proceeded to lay siege to the city.
In Germany a battle outside Euskirchen ended in a bloody draw.
British colonists in the New World now numbered some 100,000, though the average lifespan of a colonist was still only 35 years. Yet still there were many clamouring to travel to start a new life, even some of the middle class were now considering the opportunities that North America and the Caribbean could provide. Most colony towns had self-governing councils, with Henry selecting Governors for the Colonies as a whole. Virginia was still the most populous Colony, though New England with the inclusion of New Amsterdam was fast catching up.
Henry opened Hyde Park, the first of his Royal parks, to the public.
(1633-L Oct) Charles was captured hiding in a crofters hut near Elgin. All his friends had deserted him at the last. He was bound as a common criminal and carted back to London.
There was a riot in Edinburgh as a mob tried to lynch Charles. Cromwell had it put down, and was later commended for the restraint he showed; still, 23 people died in the ensuing violence as Charles was placed on a ship bound for London.
The French continued to besiege Turin, though many were now suffering from exposure to the elements and lack of sanitation, due to the sloppiness of their camps. Dysentery was estimated to have killed over 10,000 of them.
The McGregor road from London to Dover had now reached Canterbury; the one to Bristol had reached Newbury. The Great North Road had reached St Albans from London and North Berwick from Edinburgh.
(1633-M Nov) Charles was now in London, imprisoned in the Tower.
The NBA suspended operations in the Highlands and moved back to their barracks in Midlothian.
Henry was approached by Gustav Adolphus of Sweden with an offer of betrothal for James to Gustav's daughter, Maria Christina Alexandra, though she was currently only seven. Henry consulted with James and both agreed it was a good match. Maria would be allowed to visit Britain soon.
The French retreated from Turin, disease and desertion had decimated the army.
There were no major battles in Europe at this time as winter had now set in.
(1633-N Dec) Henry celebrated Christmas with a land once again at peace.
The trial of Charles was set for January. He was to be tried by his peers in the House of Lords.
(1634) The trial of Charles began. Facing his accusers, he was arrogant and unrepentant of his acts of treason. Often refusing to answer and occasionally accusative in return, he claimed Henry had betrayed Protestantism by abandoning his position as its head in England. The trial wasn't long. Charles was found guilty and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered (the fate of traitors). Charles appealed to his brother thinking, as many did, that Henry would not kill his own blood, or even that Henry would offer him the death of a King. Henry's reply is quite famous, "My Britain is a land of law, it would ill behove my subjects to see any man, be he King or commoner, not to be subject to these laws". The only mercy Henry would allow was that Charles would be buried with his wife.
Much of 1634 was spent rebuilding in Britain, especially in lowland Scotland, as many buildings and housing had been destroyed during the rebellion. The first of the McGregor Highways was completed to Dover from London and was considered a marvel of construction. Bristol was finally linked to London later in the year and the Great North Road was progressing satisfactorily from both ends. Cromwell had also authorised a Highway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Work also started on the Great Canal between the rivers Avon and Kennet.
Money and trade continued to pour into Britain from abroad, one effect being the drawing away of country folk into the now overcrowded and squalid inner cities.
The NBA continued to seek out and reduce any Highland strongholds, now helped by lowland units recruited by Cromwell.
In Ireland, Wentworth continued his "thorough" methodology to make Ireland a modern prosperous state. Many of the Old English Roman Catholic aristocracy were now selling up their land and moving to England to take advantage of the religious tolerance there. The other poor Irish were being slowly but surely removed from their tenancies and shipped to France, many finding employ in the French army.
Giovanni Branca and some colleagues demonstrated the first steam driven turbine to great interest. Many could see great possibilities for a device that didn't rely on wind, water, man nor beast to turn it.
In Europe the French and Spanish continued to fight a series of large and small battles over much of northern Italy as well as the Pyrenees and the Palatinate. Most of these were inconclusive, though those that ended in victory tended to be to the French. In the Caribbean a Spanish relief force sent to retake Puerto Rico was dumbfounded to find a Danish flag flying over the island and a Danish fleet in the area. The fleet commander retreated, not wishing to cause anything that might draw Denmark into the war.
The Dutch broke through the depleted Spanish lines at their land border and proceeded to occupy the Spanish Netherlands as far south as Antwerp.
In Poland resistance to the occupation of Swedish forces was growing. Gustav Adolphus prepared to bring them to heel with the Swedish army.
In North America, British privateers stepped up operations against straggling merchantmen of the other nations, especially those of France. Henry had been informed of the weakness of Nouvelle France and saw an opportunity to expand his realm whilst France was busy elsewhere. British exploration of the great river in the Gulf of Mexico had led it upstream to found several towns on the banks, opening up some of the interior.
In Britain a huge convoy was also being assembled for a long and dangerous voyage to California to set up a colony in the bay of St Francis.
Captain George Martins of the merchant vessel Queen Marie set foot on Japanese soil at the port of Satsuma. Opportunities for trade looked very promising.
Draining of the Cambridge Fens - an experienced embankment engineer, Vermuyden was financed by Henry to drain Hatfield Chase in the Isle of Axholme. Jointly financed by Dutch and English capitalists, Francis, Earl of Bedford and 13 Adventurers, the project was a controversial undertaking, not only for the engineering techniques used, but also because it employed Dutch, rather than English, workmen. Despite many problems the project was a success and similar techniques were started to increase the amount of arable land available throughout Britain.
(1635) The Hampton Conference endorsed a plan to unite the Kingdoms of England and Scotland with a joint Parliament. There were no plans for any union flags or any other symbols of the union other than the Royal Standards. Henry agreed to summon the joint Parliament as soon as a building could be found to house it, recognising that the Palace of Westminster would not be suitable. The new Parliament building was still a long way off completion.
Negotiations also began between the four northern protestant states (Britain, Holland, Denmark and Sweden) to stop the piracy of each other's vessels. It had become self-evident that they had more to gain from protecting each other than inflaming tensions between themselves.
A British colony in California was planted in the bay of St Francis (San Francisco). It was the largest undertaking the British colonial fleet had ever undertaken. Even so, with all the resources available, over half the colony had succumbed to starvation and disease within a year. It would take a further ten years and three other major resupply fleets before the colony was considered viable.
Many Highlanders were now fleeing to France (including the MacDonald's) via their kin in Ireland. Some though such as Clan Campbell had managed to prove to Cromwell's satisfaction that they were not involved in the rebellion and had property and kin returned to them. The Campbell's were now acting as scouts to the NBA, seeking out rebel encampments and ridding themselves of the occasional rival clans (Lamont and Irvine being pre-eminent).
Glasgow and Edinburgh were now linked by a King's Highway. The Great North Road from Edinburgh had now reached Newcastle and Peterborough from London. The Great Canal was now under construction but was suffering from lack of expertise in canal building techniques. The Dutch engineer Vermuyden suggested using puddle clay to line the canal and this proved adequate in sealing the canal bottom. Many lowland Scot's petitioned Cromwell for a canal between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This was rejected as simply too expensive for the Crown to bear. Though many private investors looked upon it with interest.
John Stearne, an apprentice of Matthew Hopkins (deceased, killed during the Devereaux uprising) aka the so-called "Witch-finder General" was arrested in Norwich for murder along with several rich landowners who had hired his help to remove "undesirables" from their land by accusations of witchcraft.
Gustav Adolphus and the Swedish army re-invaded Poland to bring the rebellious land back to heel. This proved far more difficult than Gustav thought, someone had been arming and training the Poles.
The war between France and Spain dragged on, despite numerous battles neither side seemed able to gain the upper hand.
(1636) The NBA was finally withdrawn from the Highlands, leaving many areas totally depopulated, although there was some movement north from immigrant groups moving into Britain, escaping from the fighting between France and Spain. Local militias were drawn up to garrison the larger towns and deal with crime.
The Branca group demonstrated a steam powered spinning rig, linking several different machines powered by a Branca turbine, including a wood turning lathe, a spinning machine, and a blacksmiths bellows. There was a great deal of interest from many groups including the Huguenots.
The first newspaper in Britain was printed. It had no title, it was known simply as "The News".
John Sibthorpe demonstrated a coal burning oven.
William Gascoigne demonstrated a micrometer on his telescope allowing extremely accurate measurement and movement.
A British merchantman, fleeing a typhoon, sought shelter in OTL Sydney harbour. The Captain realised this could be a new venture colony financed by the British crown and reported his findings to crown agents in Bombay, who despatched a message to London about this "New Land".
The first Japanese silks and lacquer-work appeared in London.
Plans were being drawn up to seize key locations in Nouvelle France in an attempt to take the colony off French hands.
Denmark/Norway attacked Sweden in an attempt to extend Danish influence further north of Scania. Although initially successful it rapidly became apparent that Swedish resistance was far stronger than Christian IV imagined it would be, and this with much of the Swedish army bogged down in Poland.
France was now totally in control of the Palatinate as an army under General Longueville crushed the remaining Spanish tercios operating in northern Europe.
Spain was currently bogged down in Italy as the French blocked every move to break out to the north. Many of the fleeing Highlander clans sought permission to settle in the Pyrenees in return for service to the French crown. This was granted.
At sea, the Dutch attacked a Spanish fleet setting out for the Netherlands, the Dutch won but the loss of ships on both sides was immense. 30 Spanish and 24 Dutch men-of-war went to the bottom.
Britain, Holland and Denmark agreed not to "liberate" each other's merchantmen and concentrate on the Spanish and French instead. Sweden agreed in principle though not in the case of Denmark with whom they were at war.
(1637) The New British army was re-organised with the phasing out of pikes in favour of bayoneted muskets. This gave it a much faster marching speed and battlefield manoeuvrability. The English Parliament debated standing it down, however the troubles in Europe as well as plans for further colonial acquisition meant the debate came to nothing. Henry also set up a board of ordinance to proof check all weapons supplied to the Army as well as the costs. He soon found out that the Worshipful Company of Workmen Armours of London was grossly overcharging him for each weapon supplied and started to look for alternative makers and suppliers.
The Great North Road was finally completed, it was now possible for a coach to travel from London to Edinburgh in just two days (with frequent horse changes en-route). Other King's Highways were planned and the maintenance of these roads was taken up by Parliament, local roads being a parish responsibility.
The new British Parliament building was taking shape, though as yet there were no plans to dissolve the English Parliament and merge the two nations systems.
Work continued on the Royal Canal mostly by trial and error, but it was now nearly two thirds dug.
William Oughtred demonstrated a circular slide rule based on a logarithmic scale to mathematicians in Oxford and Cambridge alongside his works on Clavis Mathematicae which included a description of Hindu-Arabic notation and decimal fractions and a considerable section on algebra. He experimented with many new symbols including 'x' for multiplication and '::' for proportion. Like all Oughtred's works it was very condensed, contained in only 88 pages.
The Denmark-Swedish war continued with Danish troops bogged down in southern Sweden and the Swedish army bogged down in Poland, unable to return to Sweden because of Danish men-of-war interdicting all shipping in the Baltic. This was turning into a war neither side needed or wanted. Though Christian IV of Denmark still believed he could win, he now knew that it might not be worth the time or effort involved and was now looking for a way out of his predicament.
France was now pushing hard against Spanish holdings in Northern Italy. The only reason they hadn't pushed into the Papal States was the Pope's threat to ex-communicate any Frenchman who dared to violate his territory. Philip of Spain was now in talks with his cousin, Ferdinand III of the Holy Roman Empire, to come to his aid. Ferdinand instructed Albrecht Von Wallenstein to mobilise an Imperial army, though was reluctant as yet to get involved.
Richelieu learnt from various sources that Britain intended to move against Nouvelle France but he did not have the support or means to prevent this. The King, Louis, was far more interested in getting his hands on Northern Italy than keeping this territory. Richelieu sent a letter to King Henry in Louis' name offering to sell the territories to him.
The Dutch continued to expand in the disputed Spanish Netherlands, although a strongly worded message from Cardinal Richelieu limited this somewhat. The Dutch had no desire to get into a war with France and started talks with Britain, Denmark and Sweden to see if they could arrange some sort of mutual defence league, though without great success.
More Irish and rebel Scots settled in France, often displacing natives and causing a lot of local unrest. They were however valued as doughty and fierce warriors by the French military.
(1638) The new Parliament building now was roofed and Henry ordered the dissolution of the English Parliament and summoning of the British Parliament by election. Henry asked John Pym to negotiate with Richelieu on the proposed purchase of Nouvelle France.
Following an attempted treatment of Queen Maria Elisabet with ground mummy to cure her bouts of weakness and making her violently ill, Henry threatened to revoke the charter of the Royal College of Physicians unless they could prove by efficacy the nature of their cures. Long having been a closed shop, the Physicians were forced to open their doors to scrutiny, including the translation into plain English of many of their Latinised texts, including the London Pharmacopeia. In this Henry was aided and abetted by many young physicians and herbalists including Nicholas Culpeper who, despite his belief in astrology, believed that medicine was a public asset not a commercial secret, and that nature's medicine was universal and cheap and only physicians' medicines were expensive. He felt the use of Latin and high prices by doctors, lawyers and priests was a conspiracy to keep power and freedom away from the general public, saying "Three kinds of people mainly disease the people - priests, physicians and lawyers - priests disease matters belonging to their souls, physicians disease matters belonging to their bodies, and lawyers disease matters belonging to their estate". Many Greek, Roman and Arabic texts were obtained and opened to scrutiny to see if the ancient lore could start providing answers. A young Doctor at this time noted that ether could cause drowsiness and sleep if inhaled through a linen pad, though at the time this was thought of no consequence.
The western King's highway to Cardiff via Bristol and Gloucester was completed along with the southern Highway to Portsmouth.
Henry sent gifts to the Shogunate in Japan as Portuguese priests and traders were ousted and Portuguese trading ships were banned from the country. The British and Dutch were allowed to remain to trade so long as they do not bring priests or otherwise proselytise in Japan after a series of revolts by Roman Catholic converts. These gifts included a musket with walnut stock, inlaid with gold and mother of pearl with all metal exposed parts plated in silver, to the Shogun Iemitsu.
Henry decided to use the old Palace of Westminster as a national library "To equal or exceed any other library today or in antiquity". A team was assembled to sort out any tomes acquired and instructions were given to all trading companies to purchase in the name of the crown any rare or precious books that could be found.
Wilhelm Schickard demonstrated his calculating machine to amazed mathematicians in London.
In Japan a peasant uprising (the Shimabara Uprising), in which Christians took a leading role, took place on the Shimabara Peninsula of Kyûshû. It was estimated that of the 37,000 people who took part, only about 100 escaped alive.
The Danish-Swedish war was now at a total stalemate, both monarchs accepted Henry's offer to mediate and to abide by his decisions.
A small Dutch colony was set up on Van Diemen's Land (OTL Tasmania). The Dutch were aware of Australia but as yet had not fully mapped it or found any useable harbours.
The Dutch also approached Henry in his dealings with Denmark and Sweden to see if there was any possibility of a mutual defence treaty.
The Franco-Spanish war continued to go badly for Spain as French armies laid siege to Turin and defeated a relief force to the city. The only fly in the French ointment was the events unfolding in the HRE. Wallenstein had raised an army and was now moving towards the fortress of Breisach on the Rhine. The intentions of Ferdinand III were not known to Richelieu or indeed Philip of Spain.
Irish immigration to France had now topped 200,000 (over the last 13 years); with Scottish highlander immigration at a modest 8,000.
Louis XIII of France had a son, also called Louis.
(1639) Some British army regiments of foot were now being equipped with a lighter musket which did not require the use of a shooting stick.
The British army also adopted from the Swedes the use of the paper cartridge method of reloading their muskets. A musketeer was equipped with a cartridge box that contained pre-made rounds of powder and ball. The musketeer would grab a cartridge from the box, then bite down on the ball and tear the cartridge open. He would pinch off a small amount of powder in the cartridge and pour the remainder into the muzzle of his musket. The remaining powder was placed into the pan. The ball was retrieved from his teeth and placed into the muzzle. Then he rammed the ball down the barrel until it was well seated into the chamber. The musketeer then fired his weapon as before. The Swedish/British combination of lighter, handier muskets, with paper cartridges, and salvo tactics enabled the musketeers to reload at one-minute intervals.
The British army now practiced with a variety of methods of volley fire.
The Royal Canal was finally finished. British shipping could now dock at Avonmouth and unload cargoes for London onto barges towed by horse. This greatly reduced the risk to merchant shipping from piracy as it no longer had to traverse the English Channel, which, despite the efforts of the British Navy, was still troubled by such incidents.
Henry resolved the Danish-Swedish war in a way satisfactory to both parties. The Danes had taken severe casualties in southern Sweden and the Swedes were trapped in Poland by Danish warships. The peace Henry proposed was a return to a status quo ante bellum, with Sweden guaranteeing the integrity of the Danish/Norwegian holdings in return for Denmark forgoing the Sound toll to Swedish shipping. Henry also requested that all four leaders of the Protestant North gather in Copenhagen to discuss mutual concerns regarding France, Spain and the HRE. Henry, after representations by Gustav of Sweden about New World colonies, was blunt in that he intended to see North America as a British fief. He did however offer to Gustav the location of OTL Sydney Australia. This was accepted and Gustav, his Kingdom now at peace, arranged for a colonial fleet to set forth for "New Sweden".
British negotiations with France for the sale of Nouvelle France were successful. For the paltry sum of £300,000 Britain now controlled the eastern seaboard of northern America with the sole exception of Florida. The war between England and France was ended at the same time, though not the constant privateering of British vessels against French merchantmen.
Representatives from some of the larger settlements in North America approached the regional governors to request the redrawing of colony boundaries so that proper representation of local governance could be achieved.
The Japanese Shogun sent gifts to Henry in thanks and hopes of a more tranquil relationship between their nations. One of these gifts was a samurai sword which impressed Henry immensely as it's superiority to western swords was plainly obvious. Henry contacted the traders involved and asked that they attempt to purchase more if possible for use by his cavalry.
In Sheffield a local metalsmith attached a series of bellows connected to "Branca" turbines onto a smelter. The iron produced as a result of the higher temperatures involved was of a far higher quality than had previously been produced.
The Dutch continued to expand into the Spanish Netherlands, settling on a border of the Maas and Scheldt rivers. The French informed them, "this far and no further!".
Denmark, freed from its involvement with Sweden, expanded its holdings in the Caribbean and also founded some outposts on the Gold Coast, mostly to acquire slaves for sugar plantations.
A large colonial fleet from Sweden set out for New Sweden. The British Navy escorted them through the English Channel and south past Portugal.
The Franco-Spanish war bogged down again, with many French regiments being diverted north to cover the HRE army massing on the Rhine. The Spanish managed a minor breakthrough in Northern Italy to relieve the siege of Turin, though not enough to drive the French away from the area.
(1640) In this year Henry replaced Thomas Wentworth as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland at his own request. Wentworth wished to retire to his English estates and in honour of the work he'd done, Henry bestowed upon him the title of Earl of Strafford. Oliver Cromwell was asked to take his place, with the same brief, to keep Ireland prosperous and to remove any and all obstacles to the common peace. James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was given the title Lord-Lieutenant of Scotland and took up residence as Henry's governor in Edinburgh.
Henry's son, James, married Maria Christina Alexandra Adolphus of Sweden. This made James technically also first in line to be King of Sweden, though both Henry and Gustav had made arrangement that should Gustav not produce a male heir the Swedish crown should go to James' brother Robert, who was through his mother (as was James) fluent in Swedish.
The Copenhagen conference went ahead as scheduled and despite some fears that Christian of Denmark and Gustav of Sweden would come to blows it turned out all four monarchs got on surprisingly well. Various trade agreements were made and markets opened. Both Henry and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, agreed to Sweden's request to assist in the colonisation of New Sweden (by supplies not colonists) and Denmark's request for similar aid on the Gold Coast. In return Dutch and British shipping were given free access to the Baltic.
The main part of the Copenhagen conference was the Treaty of Copenhagen which bound each realm to come to the aid of each other on request should they be attacked. This was mostly with the intention of keeping France in check. At the end of the conference Henry's son, Robert, travelled with Gustav Adolphus back to Sweden.
Traders from Japan brought 10,000 katana swords from the Shogunate to equip the British army cavalry; these were highly prized and much sought after by infantry officers who had to purchase their own. Trade with Japan increased steadily as the British traded basic commodities such as iron ore, wood and food for finished goods.
King's Highways now linked most major towns of England and Wales with Scotland fast catching up.
The British Parliament discussed the setting up of a colony on the Panama Isthmus, with a view to constructing a fortified port at either side linked by a King's Highway.
Henry also authorised a new water supply for the people of London at this time, using hollowed out elm trunks as piping.
The merchants of Edinburgh and Glasgow raised money to employ the engineer Vermuyden to construct a canal between their cities after James Graham stated that the crown would cover half the costs.
Jeremiah Horrocks watched the heavens with a telescope and described the first transit of Venus.
The Tradescants – father and son, both named John, and both gardeners to Henry – introduced new plants such as the French willow, acacia and lilac to British gardens.
Cromwell ordered the first King's Highway in Ireland, to connect Dublin to Cork.
In this year for the first time Protestants outnumbered Roman Catholics in Ireland, though the population had dropped by one third in the last 15 years.
In British North America colonial boundaries were set for Virginia, New England, Mariasland (OTL Carolina), Plymouth colony, New Amsterdam, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and they were allowed to elect their own assemblies with the governor set as the representative of the Crown. All other settlements were still under the direct rule of the companies that founded them.
The area around New York (OTL New Orleans) was being expanded rapidly northwards as the river allowed easy access to the interior. Nouvelle France was renamed New Britain and opened up to colonisation, though many preferred the more "civilised southern colonies". The existing French trappers didn't seem particularly bothered who was in charge so long as they could trade.
The Haudenosaunee at this time approached the Governor of New Amsterdam with regard to territorial rights and a treaty of friendship with Britain. Contact with most native American tribes was friendly though some were beginning to resent the encroachment on their territory by settlers.
In Japan the British demand for swords had given a boost to the declining fortunes of the sword-makers and many were now receiving personal orders for decorated weapons.
All members of a Portuguese diplomatic mission from Macao were executed when they arrived in Japan to request a reopening of trade.
All Japanese were ordered to register at a temple of their choice. Relations with the British and Dutch remained cordial if aloof.
The Dutch consolidated their new holdings in northern Europe, building and restoring fortifications as well as improving the roads in "British" style.
Denmark continued its expansion in the Caribbean and on the coast of Africa. British and Dutch trading ships were now a welcome sight at these colonies.
Sweden continued to send colonists to New Sweden and its first town of Nya Stockholm. Other harbours were discovered and further expansion was planned, though the distance was daunting to many colonists.
King Philip of Spain began peace talks with representatives of the French crown (Richelieu). Spanish dreams of dominance in northern Europe were in ruins and he was in great danger of losing Spanish holdings in Northern Italy too. A temporary ceasefire now held in Italy.
The HRE Emperor, Ferdinand III, issued the Edict of Restitution to his northern Protestant states, requiring the return of all lands expropriated from the Roman church since the 1550s. He was informed by the ambassadors of Sweden and Denmark that any such attempt would bring them to war with the HRE. Knowing he couldn't win, it was quietly shelved, but Ferdinand felt humiliated and looked for allies to support this move.
Whilst Richelieu was negotiating in Spain, his enemies in the French court set in motion schemes to isolate him from the reins of power.
Over 20,000 Scottish Highlander families had now settled in the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Central Massif. Most Irish had settled into Brittany.
(1641) This was the year of negotiations, The British Parliament and Henry were involved in talks with the Haudenosaunee and the Spanish. The Haudenosaunee were the easiest, in return for British guarantees over their territory and access to British technology, they would aid and assist colonists to travel through their territory. The leaders of four of the five tribes had travelled to London and were welcomed by an impressed Henry who also promised them British assistance should they require it in their ongoing wars against the Huron.
The British colonial governor in Mariasland was also in talks with the Tsalagi tribes to negotiate a similar deal.
The Spanish request was to obtain money; the loss of their treasure fleet during the taking of Puerto Rico had bankrupted them as a nation. This more than any other factor had caused them to lose the European war with France. Their inability to recruit new or pay existing tercios had put them at an extreme disadvantage. The Spanish under Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares, needed money and peace to reform Spain and Henry with Britain was, next to France, one of the richest countries in Europe. Spain offered to cede in total any territories in North America to Britain above the 30th parallel. But also including Florida and southern California. For this Spain wanted £5,000,000 and an end to British privateering.
Henry had now also entered correspondence with the Shogun of Japan about expanding British trade with Japan, though to no great success. The Shogun Iemitsu was very cautious about opening Japan up again to foreign influences after his dealings with the Portuguese and their Jesuit missionaries.
"De Motu Gravium" by Evangelista Torricelli was published and also translated into English. It was the founding work of Hydrodynamics, correctly applying Galileo's laws of motion to liquids.
For the first time, a live Chimpanzee was transported to Europe, and
reporters in the "News" wrote about it to astonished readers.
Henry was saddened to learn of the death of the great Galileo, still under house arrest.
The Dutch continued to expand into their colonies in South America and East Asia. There were a number of low key skirmishes with French mercenaries along their southern border, but nothing serious as yet.
Christian IV of Denmark was alerted to talks between members of the French court and the HRE, though the matters under discussion were not known.
The Swedish colonial effort was now in full swing, with guarantees of safe conduct past Denmark, Holland and Britain. Swedish vessels with over 2,000 colonists had set off for the Southern New World.
France and Spain ended their European war with France gaining all of Spain's northern European territories as well as its territories in Northern Italy and all territory north of the Pyrenees. The French also gained Jamaica as a colony. Spain was left humiliated and bankrupt, though not weak in manpower, she simply did not have the means to pay her tercios nor reform her economy.
The Emperor of the HRE continued to maintain his army under Wallenstein at Breisach and started to recruit a new one under Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly.
Richelieu, on returning to Paris expecting great thanks from the King, found Louis XIII ill and near death, with his son under the influence of men opposed to the rising power of Richelieu.
In Japan Dutch traders were moved from Hirado and restricted to Dejima and the Chinese restricted to Nagasaki. British traders were however left alone to trade in Hirado as well as Dejima.
Irish immigration had now slowed to a trickle, though many Highlander clans still moved to France to seek a new life.
(1642) Britain's negotiations with Spain were successfully concluded. A small British fleet left London for Cadiz carrying the Spanish delegation and £5 million in British gold. Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel felt hope for Spain. Peace and reform would soon see her take her place as a leader in Europe again, though he planned to advise King Philip to stay well out of Henry or Britain's way in the future.
Upon hearing of famine in Japan, Henry despatched several merchantmen with authority to buy grain and sell it to the Japanese. With them travelled a British delegation whose purpose was to seek out ways and means of increasing trade and understanding between the two great island kingdoms.
At this time Henry ordered the building of a new class of warship, one designed for long distance travel and exploration. These ships were to be well armed yet self-sufficient in on-board supplies with the purpose of protecting Britain's growing merchant fleet in distant waters.
The main debating houses of the British Parliament building were finally complete, though work continued on the various offices of state that surrounded the site. Looking from above like a giant figure of eight, the two chambers were large enough to seat both houses and room to spare. Outside the entrances were situated the flags of the Realm all at equal height and a tradition started of rotating each flag to signify no country was above another. Three flags were currently flying – Scotland, England and Wales. It was noted at the time there was room for a lot more.
Henry, taking note of warnings from his own network of spies as well as those of Christian of Denmark and Frederick of Holland, requested Parliament to increase the size of the British army. This meant Britain could now field a professional army of 60,000 men plus an equivalent logistical field force to operate anywhere on mainland Europe, though with commitments in Ireland and Northern Scotland this would be unlikely. Parliament also agreed to supply the means necessary to train up a colonial militia to British army standards.
The British East India Company continued to strengthen its position in India by setting up trading post strongholds in Surat, Madras and Bombay. The aim being to eclipse the Portuguese Estado da India, which had established bases in Goa and Chittagong with an eye to becoming the dominant trader on the Indian mainland.
Henry again encouraged British expansion in the New World and Caribbean, treaties were signed with local natives to expand the colonial areas and many friendly tribes found the British all too willing to exterminate their enemies for them to gain their assistance. Intermarriage which had at first been frowned upon was now encouraged as many natives adopted Christianity and became colonial citizens. Henry was also quick to remove any Governor who caused problems for the expansion of the realm. It was at this time that Henry started to appoint Governors born in the Americas to run "his" colonies.
A new British colony was started on the narrow South American isthmus (Panama). Its purpose was to build and maintain two Freeports, one on each ocean (Port Henry on the Atlantic and Port Robert on the Pacific) and a King's Highway between them. As part of the deal with Spain, Spanish ships were to be allowed access to the ports and facilities. The colony soon became known as a hard duty posting as the death rate due to the environment amongst those building the road was very heavy. The solution eventually found was to buy slaves from Africa to clear the way and build the road.
The Glasgow to Edinburgh canal was making headway to Falkirk from Edinburgh. Vermuyden having decided against using locks had now started building the first of three aqueducts across the River Avon near Linlithgow.
The mercury barometer was invented by the Italian physicist, Evangelista Torricelli, a pupil of Galileo. He left Italy during the arrest of his former master and settled in Britain with many other learned men of Europe. This indeed was the cause of the renaissance of science that flowered in Britain at this time.
Widespread famine hit Japan, this was allayed somewhat by food shipments brought by British ships from as far away as India and Southern China.
The Dutch received an embassy from France with the demand that as the Spanish had ceded the Netherlands as part of the Treaty of Milan they were now subject to the French King and would hand over control of Holland to their new ruler, the Duc de Flanders, the former General Longueville. The Dutch sent them away and prepared for war.
In Denmark, King Christian now knew about a possible alliance between France and the HRE. He too prepared for war.
Sweden continued its colonial efforts, though its King, Gustav Adolphus, in contact with Britain, Denmark and Holland knew war was brewing.
In France, Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, was a "favourite" of King Louis XIII of France who led the last and most successful of the many conspiracies against the King's powerful first minister, the Cardinal Richelieu.
Cinq-Mars was the son of Marshal Antoine Coiffier-Ruzé, Marquis d'Effiat, a close friend of Richelieu, who took the boy under his protection on his father's death in 1632.
In 1642 Louis had no "favourite" (a close friend, usually a lover at court, who usually had a major influence on the King's decisions). Richelieu had introduced the young Cinq-Mars to Louis, hoping Louis would take Cinq-Mars as a lover. The Cardinal believed Cinq-Mars was easy to control. Instead, the Marquis tried to convince the King to have Richelieu executed, something Louis was not averse to as relationships with Richelieu and his meddling had deteriorated over the years. Cinq-Mars brought some French nobility into the plot convincing them that Richelieu was betraying French interests to the Spanish. Richelieu was imprisoned but died of ill health before a trial, which many later historians felt would have exonerated him. It was Cinq-Mars who instigated talks with the HRE about dealing with the "Protestant" problems Ferdinand III was having. Cinq-Mars planned to take what the Spanish could not, all the Netherlands, as he knew they had been ceded to France in "Richelieu's Peace". (Something Richelieu, who had military experience, would never attempt, he merely planned to sell the lands back to the Dutch in return for some future favour.)
Spain, whose coffers, if not full were at least comfortable, negotiated a peace with Holland and settled down to a period of stability and reform. Many of the old nobility were seething at the military humiliation she'd just undergone. With the ability to pay his armies though, King Philip felt secure and looked for internal reform to bring prosperity and stability to a fractured realm. In this he was helped by his advisors Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares, and Juan de Palafox y Mendoza who had been about to go to New Spain, but was requested by Philip to re-order his realm. This at first meant stopping the revolt in Portugal in which he was successful, then bringing his frequently independent nobles to heel, a task which would take years.
Irish settlers in Brittany, as with native Bretons, now came under pressure to integrate fully into French ways. Scots Highlanders were allowed to settle the newly acquired Rosselon area north of the Pyrenees, intermarrying with the locals.
(1643 January) Britain prepared for a continental war having been informed that Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, had been named regent for the ailing French King and his son Louis, ousting Queen Anne as well as any supporters of the deceased Richelieu from the French court. Though the British Army was in winter barracks there was much fine detail to sort out for Henry and his advisors, mostly involving logistics and liaising with the Dutch, with whom Henry expected to fight alongside.
The British Parliament finally approved the funding of a military academy for the professional training of officers to be based in Edinburgh. Though open to anyone with the means to pay, the academy's primary purpose was to train Britain's young men in the art and science of war, including logistics, castramentation, history of warfare, field tactics etc.
British dragoons at this time had their armour changed to just a front plate. Their arms were also changed to two pistols, sword and a 10-foot lance. Their primary purpose had now been changed to pursuit troops.
The ability of smiths in Sheffield to produced far better refined iron had given British artillery a new generation of guns, lighter and more manoeuvrable for the same value of shot fired, though these were still in short supply as the Navy were in competition to be supplied as well.
Hong Taiji, Emperor of the Qing Dynasty of the Manchu, died and was succeeded by his five year-old son, the later Shunzhi Emperor of China.
The Dutch also prepared their defences, though they knew that they'd have a hard task against seasoned French veteran troops. The Dutch captain, Abel Tasman, discovered the island of Tonga.
Denmark also prepared for war, though they did not as yet know where or when the HRE would strike.
Sweden also prepared her armies and had arranged for transport across the Baltic with the aid of Danish ships when needed.
In France there was some turmoil as the Marquis de Cinq-Mars seized the reins of power. Many of Richelieu's men met with "accidents" including Jules, Cardinal Mazarin, a favourite of Queen Anne and Richelieu who was apparently a victim of highwaymen as he travelled from Rome to Paris where he had been in service to Cardinal Antonio, nephew of the Pope. Cinq-Mars was then declared regent by the dying Louis.
In Italy, Pope Urban VIII announced a Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith.
In Spain, reform continued, though greatly hampered by institutional conservatism within the Spanish nobility and interference in the affairs of state by the Jesuit order. When the Papal Bull was announced, Philip declined to bring Spain officially to war against Protestantism, though he did allow many young hotheads to be recruited as mercenaries within the armies of the HRE.
In the HRE plans were finalised to counter-reform the Protestant states of the north, by the sword if necessary.
(1643 February) Henry finalised plans for a British landing in Europe at the port of Bruge. There he would link up with the Dutch army under Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, sharing joint command (something Henry was not happy about).
The assembly of the army was complete; Henry would be taking some 50,000 troops with him as well as a siege train and 5,000 support troops.
The British Parliament placed a call to various southern counties' militia to assemble at the Army training grounds at Buxton after the first planting of their crops to be trained in the arms and manoeuvres of the Army proper.
The British fleet, despite foul weather, proceeded to sweep the Channel for any and all French vessels, impounding, destroying or driving back into port anything that could be deemed a spy or a threat.
In the New World, Admiral Hayter of the North American flotilla received orders to board colonial militia and seize Jamaica from French control.
The largest collection of merchant shipping ever seen by Londoners was assembled in The Thames, waiting to embark the British "Bluecoats" for Flanders.
A British ambassador finally gained an audience with Shogun Iemitsu, though the meeting was strained over language and cultural differences. Overall it caused a thaw in relations between the British and Japanese that was to bear fruit in later years.
The Dutch continued their preparations and fortification of their lines across Flanders waiting for a French assault.
The Dutch also at this time charted New Zealand.
In Denmark, Christian received several formal requests for alliances and aid from some very nervous Princes and Arch-Bishoprics across northern Germany.
The Danish Baltic fleet was assembling near Copenhagen preparatory to bringing a Swedish army across to fight alongside the Danish army.
In Sweden, Gustav sent out messages for his army to assemble as soon as the snows cleared.
Germany descended into chaos as differing Protestant and Catholic factions fought it out in the cities, towns and countryside. Brother slayed brother and the violence spiralled out of control, many the opportunity to loot and pillage traditional enemies or rivals despite their religious beliefs.
In France, Cinq-Mars tightened his grip on the reins of power. Any suspected of sympathising with the previous favourites in court were falsely accused and removed into state "protection". The French army other than those needed for border duties was ordered to assemble in Picardy. There was a lot of low level dissatisfaction in Brittany as the local nobility used enforced conscription to make up their levies.
In the HRE, Wallenstein and Tilly received their orders to remove Protestantism from the HRE and bring the Emperor's lands back to the true faith.
(1643 March) British troops started landing in Bruge, where they were swiftly moved out of the city to camps outside. The troops had been warned against mistreating the natives and that any infringements of discipline would be severely punished. Henry himself had his headquarters in one of the camps showing that whatever his men suffered so did he. There was in truth little or no problem with the local populace despite being mostly Roman Catholic, this was mostly down to the British insistence on paying for any requisitioned food or supplies they did not bringing across with them.
The British Navy fought and won a battle against the French navy off Le Havre, sinking three and boarding five to no serious losses. A naval flotilla also entered the Mediterranean, watched though not interfered with by the Spanish, to patrol the French coast off Marseille. Though not as manoeuvrable as galleys they were far more heavily armed than any other ships in the Mediterranean.
Admiral Hayter and 500 Colonial troops seized Jamaica, though ostensibly a French colony handed over by the Spanish. There was no French garrison or governor in place, merely a few French merchants. It was the first time colonial troops had fought away from their colonies, and they acquitted themselves well. Also present were a small group of Haudenosaunee volunteer scouts.
The Dutch army under the Prince of Orange assembled close to the British army. The Prince was impressed with the discipline of the British, though wondered what they would be like under real combat.
Denmark was having refugee problems as thousands of displaced Protestants fled north to escape the troubles or just to get out of the way of the war. The Swedish army was however on its way to back up the Danish army which was still under strength from its recent conflict in Sweden.
In Sweden, Gustav and Prince Robert of Britain boarded Danish ships at Stockholm to join up with the Danish army.
Two French armies of over 70,000 men each (combined from four armies) were moving north to the Dutch lines near Liege. The newly created Duc de Flanders and the French General Louis II de Bourbon, 4th Prince de Condé, Duc d'Enghien, thought overwhelming force would soon bring the Dutch to their knees, totally discounting the British as being of no consequence as they had no experience of real war. Other French armies were being assembled to assist their HRE allies, but were not yet in the field. French demands that Savoy should also provide troops were coldly rebuffed, the Duke of Savoy having no liking for Cinq-Mars or his faction, indeed sheltering Queen Anne from Cinq-Mars spite.
The two HRE armies moved into the field, moving from one Protestant stronghold to the other, killing or forcibly converting the populace they met, driving hundreds from their land and into hiding. Wallenstein met and annihilated a combined elector army north of Mannheim.
(1643 April) Henry and the Prince of Orange split their armies with the Dutch moving to meet the Duc de Flanders at Liege and the British to try and hold Bruge.
The Army of the Duc d'Enghien moved to attack the British army outside Bruge, meeting them in battle at the small town of Rozeboom. The French were drawn up in the traditional block formations of two pike to one musket and outnumbered the British army by almost a third. The British all musket regiments were drawn up in lines six deep with artillery support amongst the regiments, with cavalry on each wing. At 10am on Wednesday 10th of April the first shots were fired.
The French immediately found themselves in trouble as the British artillery outranged them and was far more concentrated than their own. Still the orders went out and five regiments advanced against the fragile seeming British lines whilst the French cavalry on either wing swept around, looking to outflank the British lines.
At 150 yards the British commenced volley fire, the platoons alternating their fire, first from the outside, right then left, and continuing the firing order toward the centre of the battalion. This allowed a continuous fire to be presented to the enemy and minimized obscuring the target by smoke. After each man had discharged his musket he moved to the rear of the line and reloaded whilst the man behind him stepped forward and fired on command. Within one minute a French block had taken 1,200 bullets from a single British regiment and the attack had stalled as the casualties from the volley fire of several British regiments had almost annihilated the French attack. Though surprised, the Duc d'Enghien tried a cavalry attack from the flanks combined with another frontal assault by ten regiments. The French cavalry, on outflanking the British lines, were presented with what they thought was an easy target, a couple of musket regiments without pike support. Charging in quads of 200 they managed to close to within 100 yards of the musket regiment lines before being hit by devastating volley fire. The second and third quads in the charge, becoming entangled and divided by the carnage in front of them, were then faced with a counter charge by the British cavalry who met them head on, loosing two volleys from their pistols before wielding their new Katana swords. The French, already weakened by the musket volleys, were massacred. The British swords were heavier and they locally outnumbered the French cavalry. The last thing many a Frenchman saw was a katana smash his own sword away to cleave deep into his unprotected sides. The second French attack stalled in the same way as the first, with the massed ranks simply unable to close with the British line and its withering rain of fire.
Henry called for the advance and keeping strict time the British lines marched forward to within 200 yards of the nearest French regiment, presented arms and continued volley fire.
Chaos now reigned within the French ranks as the Duc d'Enghien frantically sent out orders to various regiments to close ranks to meet the British advance, only to see many regiments begin to move away from the horrific carnage that the British were causing in the centre. Worse was to come as a regiment of British cavalry under the command of David Leslie broke through the French cavalry screen and charged the rear of a pike regiment causing it to rout into the side of other regiments. This was the signal for a general French retreat which, under the pressure of the British army, became an every man for himself rout. At this juncture Henry sent in his dragoons and ordered his cavalry to break any standing French formations they could or hold them in position if they couldn't. Henry also authorised the taking of the surrender of any French regiment which offered.
The day turned into nightmare made flesh for the French army, constantly harried, cut down from behind by the lances of the British dragoons or the katanas of the cavalry. The General Duc d'Enghien was captured in Torhout and his command scattered.
French casualties estimated at the end of the day were almost 35,000, with the British suffering just over 3,000. The news stunned the political elite of Europe and by many was simply disbelieved as impossible.
The second French army under the Duc de Flanders fought a more conventional battle outside Liege and pushed the Dutch out of the city.
The British Mediterranean squadron bombarded Marseille.
The British Parliament voted a nation's thanks to the British army and the militia turnout for training at Buxton was almost overwhelmed by volunteers to go and fight the enemies of Britain. En-route from Scotland the British volunteers (including a regiment of Campbells in Bluecoats and tartan trousers) led by the Marquis of Montrose found themselves being greeted by cheering mobs of well-wishers as Britain united as never before.
In Holland, notice was taken of the British tactics and though unable to emulate them (as yet) preparations for the future were made.
The joint Danish-Swedish army set out from Kiel to try and restore order to the south. Both Tilly and Wallenstein moved to meet them though slowing to continue their main task of removing Protestantism from the lands they crossed. The two armies of Denmark and Sweden had to be kept apart generally as bad feelings over the recent Danish invasion often threatened to spill over into fighting.
In France there was disbelief as the news came in over their defeat by the British. The blame was placed squarely on the incompetence of the Duc d'Enghien and his poor planning and tactics, mostly by people who had never fought or been near a battle in their lives.
The Edict of Nantes was also removed from French law at this time.
In Spain the French defeat was used by opponents of King Philip to try and prove how incompetent he was over the last war against the French. A coup was now in the planning.
After the battle Henry set about reorganising his troops to take account of his losses and gains. All French prisoners were immediately shipped back to Britain to await ransom or parole. All the French artillery were sent to Bruge to be added to the city's defence. Henry also visited his wounded and having heard the screams as the surgeons operated spoke with them about a means of helping his men's distress. One surgeon mentioned reading a paper on the properties of ether to put men into a deep slumber that they could not be roused till after it had worn off. He asked to put it to the test and after a few trials a working method was produced. (Men no longer died from shock, though the total lack of antisepsis still killed them from disease.)
Henry then sent out scouts along a line of march designed to bring him in behind the advance of the Duc de Flanders.
The Duc de Flanders upon hearing of Henry's advance pulled back from Dutch territory, not wishing to be surrounded by hostile forces, allowing the Dutch to re-occupy their lines around Liege. There then followed a period of cat and mouse marching and counter-marching in an attempt to bring each other's forces to battle in a favourable position for an attack. Henry was determined not to be cut off from his line of supply, the Duc de Flanders not to be caught between two forces.
The Dutch army having received a mauling from the French licked its wounds and repaired the damage.
The Danish-Swedish army brought Wallenstein to battle outside Munster and were soundly trounced as tensions between the joint armies came to a head and a Swedish regiment refused orders from a Danish general to advance with other Danish regiments, causing a break in the lines that Wallenstein's blocks ruthlessly exploited. Many of the Danish troops were cut off and unable to retreat until a cavalry charge by Gustav Adolphus broke the HRE lines allowing some of the Danes to withdraw. The joint army withdrew towards Osnabruck to fortify a position and then the recriminations began.
The French regent, Cinq-Mars, acted quickly to quash rumours of a major French defeat and to raise more armies to secure the north. France's coffers being full, he could easily hire a few mercenary regiments too.
In the Germanic principalities the civil war between Protestants and Catholics intensified with huge areas being laid waste by bandits, armies, and neglect as crops were destroyed or not planted and peasants killed. The larger states of Brandenburg and Saxony kept their troops within their borders, fearing to venture out to meet the larger HRE armies.
(1643 May) A second British army under the Marquis of Montrose landed in Bruge. Though smaller and less well trained, Henry set them the task of securing the northern coastline of France by reducing the fortified Channel ports and garrisoning them. Montrose swiftly moved his army on to garrison Ostende (which had thrown out the small French garrison and governor), seize Fort Mardyck and Dunquerque. He was then to move on and seize Gravelines and Calais, and then proceed along the coastline, reducing and capturing all the main ports and eliminating all pirate's nests.
Henry continued the cat and mouse chase with the Duc de Flanders, though unable to bring him to battle, slowly pushing him south out of Flanders.
The British Mediterranean squadron met and defeated a fleet of French galleys off Corsica.
The Dutch having reinforced their positions near Liege began to move west towards Namur hoping to seize the town, then move on to Charleroi.
The general discord between the Danes and Swedes came to a head in Osnabruck, with the splitting of the two armies. Though reluctant to do this Christian and Gustav felt it was the only way in the near future for the alliance to work. In consequence the Danes would cover the Swedes as their larger army would advance and meet the armies of the HRE. The Swedes met the army of Wallenstein at Bielefeld and managed to defeat him, forcing him to retreat south to Paderborn. Then they marched east to try and relieve Saxony. The Danes remained at Osnabruck, daring Wallenstein to attack them behind fortifications.
The HRE army under Tilly invaded Saxony, defeating their army south of Leipzig. He also laid siege to Dresden, taking and sacking the city and executing Johann Georg I, the Elector of Saxony, along with other members of his household. His son was smuggled out to safety with the Danes. Count Tilly was then given the title Elector of Saxony in reward for his services. At this time it was becoming apparent that anyone in the German states of the HRE could raise an army if they had the money to do so. Mercenaries of all stripes were moving in and hiring out to the highest bidders (usually French backed, though a surprising number were obtained by Savoy).
The French had assembled two more armies and sent them north to deal with the British and the Dutch and raised another army to threaten Savoy. There was considerable unrest in the provinces over forced conscription, though not yet at the stage of rebellion.
In Spain the plot to oust Philip and replace him with someone more controllable gained pace, supported by high ranking nobles and Jesuits who saw Philip's reluctance to support the Pope as a weakness. What they did not know is Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, the King's advisor, was aware of the plot.
Louis XIII, King of France, died. Cinq-Mars now had supreme power in France as regent for Louis XIV (then only four years old).
(1643 June) Montrose succeeded in taking Fort Mardyke, and moved on to secure Dunquerque. His next step was to take Gravelines, which he managed successfully by the end of the month.
Henry was still stalking the Duc de Flanders, though he was now aware of the approaching armies so decided to hold a position slightly north of Arras. He allowed himself room to manoeuvre in the hope of catching them one at a time. It soon became obvious from intensive scouting that the French were not in steady communication with each other as interception of couriers and clashes between scouting parties proved. When this became apparent, Henry ordered a forced march west around Arras to meet the western French army, knowing he can retreat north towards Montrose at Gravelines if necessary. The result was another British victory against a disorganised French army under "Cadet la Perle", Henri de Lorraine, Count of Harcourt, who had not realised just how close Henry was or how far away the other French armies were. French losses out of an army of 37,000 were some 13,000 as Harcourt was able to extricate a proper fighting retreat. British losses were just under 2,000. The seizure of Harcourt's baggage train (including his mistress) saw the British war chest expanded by over £200,000.
Henry then retreated northeast towards his original position near Arras, pursued but in no danger of being caught by the two remaining French Armies.
A second British squadron entered the Mediterranean also using Corsica for port facilities. The first squadron cautiously explored around the Italian coast and into the Aegean Sea, mapping and taking soundings for future charts. They are shadowed by the Venetians, but as they weren't overtly hostile were allowed to continue.
The Dutch had meanwhile settled into a siege at Namur knowing that whilst Henry was in the field, the French would be very cautious about trying to relieve the city and place themselves between the British and Dutch armies.
The Danes were being steadily reinforced by new regiments at this time. Though nowhere near as large an army as Wallenstein, they were sufficient to prevent him marching north or retreating south.
The Swedes were moving east into Saxony in the hope of bringing Tilly to battle. The two armies met outside Leipzig, resulting in an inconclusive draw as the Swedes had the better tactics and Tilly by far the superior numbers and better ground. His army being exhausted and in need of resupply, Gustav retreated north into Brandenburg.
In France there was much disquiet at the recent events in the Netherlands, though open opposition to Cinq-Mars and his faction was severely muted and singularly unhealthy if you were suspected. There was also a great deal of worry over the events in the German provinces and that it might spill over into France proper. Cinq-Mars himself was not immune to the worries; this British King was proving to be a very painful thorn in the side of his imperial ambitions. Orders were sent out to the armies to try and contain Henry, until at least overwhelming force could be applied.
In the HRE there was a great deal of anger at Tilly's seizure of Saxony and his elevation to Elector. This was somewhat allayed by the fact that Saxony would become a loyal state within the HRE again, with properties returned to the church and Protestantism quashed. Tilly himself was ruthless in suppressing any and all opposition to his rule, proceeding to storm and sack Leipzig after Gustav's retreat. After this, no city or town in Saxony barred their gates to him.
In Savoy, the approach of a French army was met with alarm and a Savoyard army was assembled to meet and block its progress. Savoy started looking around for potential allies, though only Venice seemed to be potentially sympathetic at the minute. They also sounded out rebels in the Duchy of Milan to see if French power could be eroded there.
In Spain the rebel noblemen led by Don Francisco de Melo prepared their plans to seize power by putting Balthasar Charles, the King's son, on the throne with de Melo as regent. De Melo would then restore Spain's glory by seizing back all that had been lost to France.
(1643 July) Both surviving French armies, supplemented by the survivors of the other two, sought to keep Henry contained in the Flanders/Pas de Calais area. Their biggest problem was that without pikes, the British were just so much faster than the larger French armies. There was also the problem of the second British army under Montrose currently besieging Calais, which was also under blockade by the British Navy. Montrose himself was in no hurry, having adequate supplies shipped in from Dunquerque he contented himself with stripping the countryside bare of anything that might aid or assist the French garrisons at Calais or Arles. The two French armies were also very nervous of getting out of contact with each other and allowing Henry to attack one or the other with impunity. The French generals also started to drill their troops in volley fire to try and offset the devastating British firepower advantage. This was made all the more difficult by the total lack of standardisation found amongst individual troops never mind the regiments.
All through July, Henry marched and countermarched his troops slowly drawing the French closer to Charleville, whilst keeping in contact with his Dutch allies.
The 1st British squadron in the Mediterranean whilst mapping the Aegean had several "incidents" with Ottoman galleys, all of which were decisively terminated in the favour of the British.
The Dutch finally managed to seize the besieged town of Namur. Having been in contact with Henry, they then skirted the Ardennes forest with the hope of engaging one of the French armies whilst Henry dealt with the other.
The Danes spent much of this month fighting minor skirmishes with Wallenstein's army and several mercenary bands over much of central and eastern Germany. There were no major battles fought, but many attempts to stop the general carnage and destruction of towns and villages caused by both religious factions.
The Swedes joined with the army of Brandenburg on its southern border with Saxony. Preparations were made to defend themselves against a possible attack by Tilly.
In France the (supposed) lack of British and Dutch activity calmed many of the nobles in the court. There was a lot of grumbling about the capture of the northern port towns, but it was generally felt time was on the side of France. Many courtiers were however worried as to the hostility of Savoy, once thought of as a close ally.
In the HRE the Emperor was now becoming worried as to the extent of Wallenstein's and Tilly's ambitions.
The Savoyards prevented a French army from entering their territory, though supposedly en-route to Milan, the Savoyards had information as to an attempt to seize the French Queen Anne and take her along with the French army.
In Spain a coup by Don Francisco de Melo, several nobles and high churchmen was launched. Though initially meeting with some success, Don Francisco de Melo's failure to secure the loyalty of the Spanish army led ultimately to civil war. The fact that Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, Count-Duke of Olivares and Juan de Palafox y Mendoza had made sure the army's wages were paid kept many loyal to the crown. De Melo ruthlessly killed any loyalists within his reach, though he was unable to get close to the King, he did manage to seize Balthasar Charles, a debauched and indolent young man who nevertheless added legitimacy to de Melo's cause. Gaspar de Guzmán retaliated by then proceeding to clean house, by seizing any property or family of the plotters within his grasp and imprisoning them (saving some wives and children who had high connections elsewhere). The army also was used to deal with errant Jesuit colleges and seminaries. By the end of the month Spain had divided into two camps, but it was the loyalists who held the upper hand. This was the start of the rift between the Spanish crown and the church which would last for over a century. Juan de Palafox at this time brought in the infamous sumptuary taxes which brought to a grinding halt the pervasive decadence of the Spanish court.
Venice permitted the British temporary port facilities.
(1643 August) Henry and Frederick of Orange sprang their trap. The British moving forward to engage the Duc de Flanders outside Mezieres with the Dutch attacking "Cadet la Perle" near Charleville.
Despite facing a much larger French army using (slightly) better tactics the British were again victorious, though casualties were higher. The French losing 37,000 men to the British 11,000. The Duc de Flanders being forced to surrender after British dragoons and cavalry cut off his retreat. Some 15,000 French prisoners were taken.
Henry ordered the prisoners taken back to Bruge and transported to Britain, whilst the army moved to Hirson to rest and await fresh reinforcements.
Montrose gained control of Calais by bribing the commander to open a sally port, letting the British in to seize the port and elements of the French fleet still trapped in the harbour. Leaving the port under the command of Admiral Hamilton and the British fleet, he moved south to invest Arles.
The North American flotilla met and defeated a French attempt to retake Jamaica losing two sloops to one French man-of-war, but managing to sink four of the troop carrying merchantmen, making the French turn back.
The second British Mediterranean squadron raided up and down the southern coast of France pillaging and destroying what they could. The first British Mediterranean squadron meanwhile continued its survey of the eastern Mediterranean, though avoiding conflict with the Ottoman's where possible.
The British Parliament at the request of Denmark authorised the transportation of Protestant refugees into Britain and straight off to the New World. Britain's colonial fleet was soon moving up to 100 colonists per week off to the Americas, all of whom were prepared to swear loyalty to the British crown simply to get out of Europe. Most were transported into the former French holdings around Montreal and Quebec along with supplies and tools sufficient enough to keep them going for a year. Parliament also requested and received help from the Haudenosaunee to make sure the settlers survived, so long as they didn't end up on Haudenosaunee land.
The Dutch Army under Frederick Henri, Prince of Orange, met the second smaller French army under the command of "Cadet la Perle" south of Charleville. Both sides attempted to use "British" tactics on the field with the Dutch coming out ahead due to more practice and use of the paper cartridge system of reloading. General "Cadet la Perle" retreated from the field in good order with over a third of his army intact, but the French threat (this year) to the Netherlands was at an end. The Dutch lost 21,000 men to "Cadet la Perle's" 27,000. Relying on the British army to keep an eye on the French, the Dutch marched north to seize Charleroi.
The Danes and Wallenstein met in battle at Osnabruck. The Danes, fighting behind fortified lines, beat off the attack, but Christian was badly wounded when the position he was observing the battle from was shelled by the HRE guns, collapsing and burying him under tons of debris. General Anders Bille took over the battle and Wallenstein was beaten off. General Bille then sent messages informing Christian's son, Christian, that he was now acting monarch until his father recovered.
The Swedish and Brandenburger armies met Tilly near Potsdam. Fighting was savage and no mercy was shown by either side. Despite greater numbers Tilly was eventually forced to retreat but the Swedish army was left in no fit condition to pursue him and the Brandenburg army was only a shadow of its former self. Gustav fortified his army in and around Potsdam and sent for reinforcements.
In Paris, once the news was received about the defeats, there was rioting in the streets by the mob (savagely put down by Cinq-Mars) and rumours were rife within the French court that the British would soon be at the gates of the city. Although able to keep control of matters, Cinq-Mars' reputation was badly damaged with many private discussions amongst the "men of power" as to who or what could redeem the situation. Orders were sent out to the army at the Savoy border to head north to defend Paris. Notice was also sent out to recruit mercenaries and nobles were requested to raise more armies from their lands by conscription.
In the HRE the Emperor was grimly satisfied by Tilly and Wallenstein's defeats though growing ever more concerned at the never-ending fighting and destruction in Germany.
In Savoy there was relief at the turning back of the French army. Queen Anne of France sent out messages to various nobles in France seeking support in an attempt to become regent, though finding she did not have much in the way of support as yet.
The Duchy of Milan made plans to throw off French control and ally with Savoy, should the war take a worse turn for France.
Venice started negotiations with Britain seeking support (and ships) to aid them in their constant battles against Ottoman expansion.
In Spain there was confusion as various provinces declared for or against the King. Portugal and Catalonia rejecting both rebels and loyalists and attempting to seek independence from both. Though the Viceroyalties of the two, Sicily and Sardinia, as well as the colonies remained loyal to the crown. Philip at this time had the loyalty of Old and New Castile, Cordoba, Seville and Granada. De Melo had support in Valencia, Aragon, Navarre, Asturias and Galicia. The bulk of the Army stayed loyal to Philip though and began to move against any who opposed him. Having once thought the church to be "his" to control, Philip also took steps to weaken its hold on state politics. Many senior Bishops and Cardinals were forced to flee to Italy to escape his wrath, though Philip left ordinary churchmen alone, keeping the support of the masses. By the end of August, Philip has stabilised those areas under his control and was prepared to move against de Melo. Many though, wondered just what was to become of Spain as a result.
(1643 September) Henry, reinforced, moved to secure the areas he currently occupied. This mostly involved scouting and skirmishing with small garrisons of French occupying towns and removing any hostile forces behind his lines that might threaten his lines of supply. He was very cautious not to interfere with the local peasantry, fearing a revolt could undo any goodwill he had built up with his army's reputation for good and honest behaviour. In most towns and villages being freed of the ruling (usually distant) nobility left them with a surplus of food which the British were keen to buy. Having gold in their hands allowed the villagers a greater degree of self-determination than they'd ever known. Henry also made sure the British religious "Contract" was enforced with no reprisals against Roman Catholic priests so long as they did not promote trouble against the occupation. His use of Huguenots as Royal Marshals was, at first, suspect, but as they knew the language and had strict rules of conduct no troubles arose as a result. Indeed their hanging of a group of soldiers caught raping a local woman made them popular with the town and country-folk alike.
Montrose continued to invest Arles, it was proving a very tough nut to crack, though the arrival of a second siege train from Britain looked as if it might tip the odds in his favour, hopefully before winter could set in.
Admiral Hamilton started making plans for modernising the Port of Calais into making it the largest British naval base outside Britain proper. He planned to extend the harbour walls as well as build new fully bastioned fortifications to the south of the town to prevent a repeat of what Montrose had achieved.
In the Mediterranean, the two British squadrons continued to attack any French or Papal state shipping they found, though many merchants simply flew any colours of convenience. The British also attacked and destroyed any pirates' nests they found particularly on the North African shore.
In North America the influx of German speaking colonists came as a surprise but welcome addition to the colonies, particularly their willingness to work hard to clear the wilderness sites in order to create farms of their own. With good relations with the five tribes of the Haudenosaunee, towns such as Quebec and Montréal took on a distinctly hybrid German/Native American flavour with the original French settlers becoming a tiny minority.
In the Southern Colonies, British aid to the Tsalagi enabled them to defeat and absorb the Chickasaw and Creek tribes, with the British moving settlers onto some of the conquered territories. The Tsalagi at this time settled their differences with the British and were given all the rights of citizenship when not on their native lands as had been granted to the Haudenosaunee several years ago. Many colonist groups now contained Native Americans from the friendly tribes as they moved ever westward into new territories.
British explorers with native aid at this time completed sailing down the Erie River to the Mississippi and down to New York (New Orleans, OTL)
The Dutch seized Charleroi late in the month and settled into defensive positions awaiting the winter and a new year.
With the Danes, General Anders Bille took charge with Christian's son assisting him. Though the Chosen Prince was hopelessly unfit, his earnest desire to do his best for the army made him very popular. That plus the strict regime of army life meant he was also shedding weight and building muscle quite well. His life was not made that easy by reports of attempts by his brother-in-law, Corfitz Ulfeldt, to undermine him at every possible moment. Christian IV himself was of no help as his injuries had sunk him into a coma and he was not expected to recover. Fortunately for the Danes, Wallenstein was busy rebuilding his army by seizing territory and loot from anywhere too weak to resist him.
The Swedes were being reinforced as fast as Danish ships could carry replacement troops. Though they were too weak to prevent Tilly from entering Brandenburg and systematically pillaging each town and village he came to.
In Paris, things had settled somewhat with relieving armies arriving to make sure the British and Dutch did not attempt to seize the city. Though not prepared to attempt anything more this year, it was hoped the new armies raised would be sufficient to crush the Dutch and British in the New Year.
In the German HRE Tilly and Wallenstein continued to increase their armies and power at the expense of any state too weak to stand in their way. Ruin and starvation now faced many of the smaller electorates as the peasants had been driven off their lands and crops burnt in the fields. The Emperor himself was facing growing anger on the part of his other electors at just how far and how bad he'd allowed the situation to become. Though he knew he no longer had the power to stop Wallenstein and Tilly.
In Spain Philip's forces met and defeated rebels near Valencia and placed the port under siege.
In Venice talks continued with the British with trade agreements being worked out along with mutual protection of merchants being agreed in each other's waters. Britain also agreed to send trainers to bring the Venetian army up to modern standards (what was now becoming known as the "British Method").
(1643 October) Most of this month was spent by Henry making sure his troops were securely billeted and supplied with food and fuel in preparation for the coming winter. He also made very sure that when possible he would always have scouts out in case the French tried to surprise him.
Montrose finally took Ardres in mid-October, garrisoned it and moved the bulk of his army back to Calais and Dunquerque for winter billeting. He also made sure the areas he controlled and just beyond were well scouted.
Henry also received at this time several Parliamentary delegations, mostly to sound out his views on various matters of concern. The main ones being the efforts necessary to support the British colony of New London (OTL San Francisco) and the Panamanian Isthmian King's Highway. The consensus agreed that the third resupply to New London would be the last major one; the colony would have to be minimally self-supporting after this. The Panamanian road would then get top priority to give Britain and her allies' easy access to the North Pacific. Other matters requiring the royal seal of approval were the expansion of British trade with India and Japan. Chinese trade was discussed though the tendency was a wait and see approach over the current civil war raging there.
With all the Spanish Netherlands under their control, the Dutch were extremely happy. Their long term aims now were to secure their state from French expansionism.
The Danish army continued to mount many low level hit and run conflicts with Wallenstein and several mercenary bands who were roaming eastern Germany. Though not keen this year to have a major battle with Wallenstein, plans were in progress to meet and defeat him the next year. Prince Christian appointed his brother, Frederick, to be his eyes and ears in the Council of the Realm and to keep in check the activities of his uncle, Corfitz Ulfeldt. He also appointed Hannibal Sehested, another uncle, to be his ambassador to Britain. His next steps were to find an admiral for the Danish fleet, settling upon his brother Ulrik, a promising young prince with an already accomplished military career behind him.
Gustav and his Brandenburg allies managed to push Tilly out of Brandenburg, though the amount of damage done to the surrounding countryside and people was enormous. The Swedes too dug in to winter quarters.
In France, Cinq-Mars continued his machinations to increase state power, by ensuring that everyone and everything would soon be subordinate to the crown. Though not as skilled as Richelieu had been, he worked towards creating an absolutist and centralised state (with him holding the strings of course). He spent most of October making promises and securing the means necessary for France's armies to drive the British back into the sea. Bribes and patronage were keeping his nobles very happy, but what he didn't notice was the level of hostility his decrees and orders were producing amongst the ordinary people of the land who'd had armies forced upon them and forced conscription robbing them of sons and husbands.
In the HRE Wallenstein and Tilly both removed their armies away from hostile territory and also arranged for winter quartering. Other than the armies this was a bad time to be in Germany, nobles, merchants, traders and peasants had all been victims of the war. Few areas had escaped damage and they were over-run by refugees, there was little food to be had or money to buy it, so extreme had the looting and pillaging been. For some there was the hope of making it to Danish territory, then to Britain and the New World, but even the best efforts of the British could only take so many.
The Emperor was now virtually under siege by nobles who wanted him to rein in the power of Tilly and Wallenstein (all without having to involve themselves in doing so).
In Spain, Valencia surrendered to the forces of Philip. All supporters of the attempted coup were arrested, but otherwise unharmed (for now). Phillip then moves north to return Catalonia to the Kingdom.
An army led by Gaspar de Guzmán meets and defeats a Portuguese army and marches into Lisbon which had declared its loyalty to Philip after the defeat.
Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy, declared war on Genoa for aiding and assisting French attempts to undermine the Savoyard state. The war was quick and brutal, with only the city of Genoa remaining free of Savoy's occupation. Whilst there was a lot of discomfort in the Papal States about this, there was also fear that Venice would side with Savoy and possibly Milan should the Papal States intervene.
(1643 November/December) Europe settled down to a tense winter. All armies were now in winter barracks and little was happening in affairs of state. In Germany there was starvation and mass movement of the populace as they tried to reach areas that might be able to support them. Many small states closed their borders if they had supplies or collapsed and vanished if they didn't.
In Britain it was decided that 1643 had been a good year, though natural worries about the war in Europe abounded. It was the increase in trade and colonisation that gladdened many in the state. Trade along with politics for many had become the new religion, as many now qualified through careful investment to be enfranchised.
In Holland the Dutch were quietly satisfied too; they now felt that their own destiny was almost within their grasp. Trade too had increased and the Northern alliance had proved itself the equal of Europe's Great Powers. There were many discussions and agreements with the British on joint ventures abroad which would prove advantageous to both realms. René Descartes published The World in Amsterdam, originally titled Le Monde and also called Treatise on the World, it contained a relatively complete version of his philosophy, from method to metaphysics, to physics and biology. It was immediately put on the banned books list of the Vatican and he was excommunicated in absentia by Pope Urban VIII. There was a lot of debate in the Lutheran church about Descartes theories (and a lot of anger too) but it was felt that debate not censorship was the best way to deal with his beliefs.
Denmark was in mourning. The death of Christian IV during his coma seemed a bad omen for the future. His son Christian V however came back to be crowned a changed man. No longer a slave to gluttony or indulgence and prepared to listen and be advised by the Rigsraad he was seen as the hope for Denmark's future.
To Gustav of Sweden the future looked quite bright, Sweden was on the cusp of becoming a major European and colonial power. His biggest problem was actually paying for it.
France had come to think of herself as the leading power in Europe through her victories against Spain. The British and Dutch led military incursions in the north had come as a very rude surprise. However there was still very much an air of complacency over the defeats suffered, the thought being that once the full might of France's military came to bear, the British and Dutch would be forced to capitulate their temporary gains. What was being ignored or underplayed was the growing anger of the peasant underclass for the conscription, tolls and levies put upon them by their political masters over the last ten years of war.
The HRE was reaching a crisis as confidence by the nobility in their emperor was at an all-time low. It was now well understood that both Wallenstein and Tilly had imperial ambitions.
Savoy conquered Genoa and consolidated her position as one of the coming powers on the Italian peninsula. The Isle of Corsica remained ostensibly under Genoan control, though no-one in the islands ruling nobility really cared.
In the Papal States the Castro war was reaching a conclusion. The war had started when Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, who controlled Castro, had quarrelled with Pope Urban VIII's influential Barberini nephews during a visit to Rome in 1639. These offended relatives of the Pope convinced him to ban grain shipments originating in Castro from being distributed in Rome and the surrounding territory, thereby depriving Duke Odoardo of an important source of income. As a result, Duke Odoardo was unable to pay debts due to Roman creditors, which he had accumulated in military adventures against the Spanish in Milan and in luxurious living. These unpaid and unhappy creditors sought relief from the Pope, who turned to military action in an attempt to force payment. The war had proceeded to drag on for years, making Pope Urban VIII a very unpopular man in the Papal States. His Bull on Roman Catholic re-conquest of the Protestant states was almost the final straw as British ships now regularly boarded and seized papal State vessels.
In Spain most armies had settled into winter barracks, there was much back and forth of diplomats as each side sought out to gain allies or undermine the other side's efforts.
In Venice there was serious talk of trying to gain the help of Britain or the Northern Alliance to aid in the defence of their Republic against constant Ottoman expansion.
(1644 January) Henry returns to France and begins meetings with his officers to discuss an outline for the coming campaign. The outline plan is for a reinforced main army under Henry to seize Amiens then probe and press the French into thinking he is aiming for Paris, whilst Montrose sweeps west to seize Dieppe, Le Havre and Rouen.
Montrose appoints Henry's cousin, Prince Rupert of Bohemia, as his cavalry commander.
Parliament debates raising a third British army for deployment in Europe. This will take some time and require some training, but it is felt to be essential to ending the campaign swiftly. Parliament, with Henry's consent, appoints Thomas Fairfax as commanding General.
Parliament, with many people flocking to the cities, begins to debate land reform and civic development.
Perplexed colonists in Boston report America's 1st UFO sighting.
The Dutch make preparations for their military campaign. With the co-operation of the British, they plan to seize Reims.
King Christian V of Denmark recruits mercenaries and bolsters the Danish army with volunteers. His plans are to finally meet and beat Wallenstein and move south to relieve various Protestant states desperate for relief from the occupying armies.
Gustav plans to use his reinforced army to remove Tilly from Saxony then sweep east to link up with the Danes. A second Swedish army is also en-route, to be commanded by Gustave Karlsson Horn. Gustav is also relieved that a war chest from Britain, Holland and Denmark has arrived to pay his troops.
In France, Cinq-Mars places the French army under the overall command of "Cadet la Perle", he (Cinq-Mars) believes it can overwhelm the British and Dutch by sheer numbers and retake the gains made by the Northern Alliance. "Cadet la Perle" is not so sure, but keeps his thoughts very much to himself as people who disagree with Cinq-Mars have a tendency to disappear.
In the HRE, Emperor Ferdinand III survives an assassination attempt, though no-one is sure of which of three factions (Tilly, Wallenstein, or Electors) it came from. Both Wallenstein and Tilly have plans to further aggrandise their existing possessions by defeating the Swedes and Danes to the north then fight it out to see who becomes the new Emperor.
Philip of Spain plans to re-unite his realm this year by utterly crushing the opposition rebels under Don Francisco de Melo. Though a series of alliances and promises with France by de Melo to obtain funding for his troops have made this a lot harder than Philip and his ministers first envisaged.
Savoy and Venice form an alliance to resist any further expansion from France, the HRE or the Papal States.
(1644 February) Taking advantage of good supplies and frozen ground, Henry mounted a surprise seizure of the town of Cambrai, having been given assurances from the townsfolk that the French Garrison was understrength and did not expect any British movement. The town was swiftly taken as the inhabitants drove off the garrison and allowed the British in. Henry then added to the guns defending the town, fully garrisoned it and withdrew daring the French to attack, knowing Henry's army was out there and splitting the French armies from easy mutual support.
The British Parliament began debating the colonial boundaries of North America with a view to colonial representation (observer status) within Parliament.
Henry discussed with Parliament the extension of the nobility to North America. Despite a few objections by some of his own nobility about diluting the principles of patents of nobility, most saw this as a sensible step towards rewarding those abroad who served the state well. Word was sent to the various governors to propose men for ennoblement, the aim being the long term stability of the colonies. Many of the burgeoning middle class in Britain saw an opportunity knocking and made plans to emigrate. Plans were set in motion for Prince James to visit the colonies and ennoble men of worth.
In North America treaties were signed with the Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw nations granting them equal rights within British North America and protecting their claimed lands from settlement.
Joint Britannic-Dutch settlements were made along the western and eastern coasts of Southern Africa as safe resupply posts before and after the Skeleton coast as well as on the tip of South Africa. These were mostly a fort with a small enclave for inland trade as well as docking and basic repair facilities for Britannic-Dutch shipping, though other members of the Northern alliance were allowed to use them without port fees.
There was rejoicing in Britain at the birth of an heir to Prince James and his wife Christina – a son, Henry William Stuart.
Henry's daughter Christina Elizabeth was betrothed to William II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange.
The Dutch although surprised by the actions of the British army were in very good spirits. Well-armed, supplied and trained they expected to inflict further shocks on France as soon as the ground was firm enough to fight on.
King Christian V rejoined his army at Osnabruck and made sure preparations were in hand for a forthcoming offensive designed to force Wallenstein out of the fortress of Breisach and south into Bavaria. Christian hoped that by seizing Breisach he could secure his flank against any surprise French move to reinforce their HRE allies. Despite being smaller than Wallenstein's forces, the Danes had now standardised the majority of their arms and tactics, greatly simplifying their logistics for the forthcoming campaign.
King Gustav had travelled back to Sweden to consult with his chancellor Oxenstierna and also to see to the formal adoption of Robert Stuart as his heir apparent. The dynasty formed becoming the House of Vasa-Stuart. Robert was betrothed to Sophie Auguste, Prinzessin von Holstein-Gottorp.
In the French court there was anger that this British King could seemingly attack and win without opposition any position he desired to take. Cinq-Mars, under growing pressure to act, orders France's armies to attack Henry at the earliest opportunity, regardless of whether the army was ready or not.
A peasant revolt broke out in Brittany as the indigenous Bretons and the Irish immigrants lashed out at the deliberate conscription of their people as opposed to the French.
In the HRE Wallenstein and Tilly continued on in winter quarters, believing that the real fight would be between them over who became the Emperor of the HRE.
In Austria a revolt began in the Tyrol near Trient over the imposition of new taxes.
In Spain the campaigning season was underway early as Don Francisco de Melo caught Philip of Spain unawares and marched south to take Burgos almost unopposed. He then swung south to besiege Valladolid.
(1644 March) Despite wet weather making the roads treacherous Henry started his campaign by moving on a French army commanded by the Duc d'Orleans north of Saint-Quentin. On the first day, caught unprepared by the British advance, the French line collapsed and despite a mercenary army moving to reinforce d'Orleans the British tactics tore his army and that of the mercenaries apart. Henry's use of forward artillery to support his lines was something the French had no answer to. British casualties were light at 1,500 as the French had problems with damp powder. French losses were 13,000 French and 5,000 mercenaries. The second day of the battle saw d'Orleans throw in the full weight of his army plus that of his mercenary brigades against the British lines. At first the French appeared to be carrying the day as the British musketeers gave way in the centre drawing the French army in after them. This was a feigned retreat with British cavalry keeping the French from outflanking the wings of the army. The trap closed as units that the French were unaware of reinforced the centre and wings and manoeuvred to encircle the French army. Sweeping around to cut off any retreat, the British cavalry under Colonel Leslie seized the high ground and the French guns to put the French in a desperate situation. The sheer speed (relatively) and precision of the British formations soon began to make itself felt along with the weight of fire it could produce. Desperate to salvage something d'Orleans led a massed cavalry charge at two musketeer regiments blocking the weakest point for a retreat only to have them practically destroy the French cavalry by resisting three charges following up the last one with an advance with bayonets drawn.
At the end of the day d'Orleans surrendered, badly wounded and with most of his officers dead or incapacitated. It was the worst defeat in French history since Agincourt. It was estimated that the combined French losses were over 40,000, with British losses just under 10,000. After dealing with his casualties and the French prisoners Henry marched west to Amiens, which capitulated without a fight.
Montrose took his army and headed west along the coast in conjunction with the British navy, seizing all French ports along the channel. There was little to stop him, most fortifications in the towns were of 14th century vintage and unsuited to modern defence. By the end of the month Britain controlled the channel as far as Dieppe. Despite some unrest from the French townsfolk there was little or no actual trouble. The British gave terms dependant on good behaviour from various civic leaders, breach of those terms was made clear, the town would be ransacked with the property and lives of the remaining citizens forfeit to the British crown. If they behaved though, then they were under British protection.
Massachusetts established a two-chamber legislature for the colony, the upper chamber to be under the control of the new nobility, the other directly elected. Other colonies planned similar elected bodies.
The Dutch, taking a leaf out of the British book, also started their campaign early driving themselves hard to capture Reims, meeting the French army under "Cadet la Perle" at Rethel. The battle was a triumph for the Dutch as their forces drove the French from the field and into headlong retreat to Reims. Casualties were 9,000 Dutch to 27,000 French. "Cadet la Perle" himself surrendered to the Prince of Orange rather than go back to face Cinq-Mars. Two days after the battle the Dutch laid siege to Reims.
At Osnabruck, the Danes were finishing their final preparations, Christian V had spared no expense nor wasted any time in preparing the army to drive Wallenstein from the field and restore Denmark's pride in her army. All Christian needed was the right place to fight and hopefully Wallenstein would oblige him.
Gustav was back with his army in Potsdam. He too was preparing to advance into Saxony and restore it to its original nobility. The second Swedish army under General Horn was also under march to join him.
In Paris there was again anger and dismay at the inability of the French armies to deal with the British and Dutch. Cinq-Mars moved the Court to the Royal Château of Fontainebleau ostensibly to protect the King, in reality to keep Louis out of the reach of those opposed to Cinq-Mars. Many nobles were now in communication with the King's mother, Anne, in Savoy looking for an opportunity to remove Cinq-Mars and restore Anne as regent, then to seek terms with Britain and Holland. The revolt in Brittany spread to other regions as years of neglect, incompetence, corruption and greed finally took their toll on the absent nobility of France. Led by An Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn, the last King of Connaught, now self-styled King of the Bretons, much of northwest France was in anarchy.
In the HRE Tilly and Wallenstein remained at their winter quarters, both increased the size of their armies and prepared for the struggle ahead. Both believed they could win and go on to higher things. The Emperor tried and failed to end the revolt in Trient. The rebels were now aided by Venetian forces.
In Spain forces loyal to King Philip marched north to intercept the rebels, driving them away from Valladolid back to Burgos. Other forces marched into Catalonia to force the rebel independents there back into the loyalist camp.
Papal forces suffered a crucial defeat in the Battle of Lagoscuro resulting in the surrender of the Papal forces; a peace was agreed to in Ferrara. Under the terms of the peace, Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, was readmitted to the Catholic Church and his fiefdoms were restored to him. Grain shipments from Castro to Rome were once again allowed, and Odoardo was to resume payments to his Roman creditors. This peace settlement concluded the war and was widely considered a disgrace to the Papacy, which was unable to impose its will through use of military force.
In the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan, "Ibrahim the Mad", seeing the disarray in the lands to his northwest pondered intervention.
In Japan, high level diplomacy between the representatives of Britain and the Shogunate produced a set of accords which granted the British a status of favoured trading nation. The British agreed to supply Japan with needed raw materials in return for finished goods. They also agreed to abide by the conditions of not allowing any Japanese to leave the islands.
(1644 April) Heavy rain throughout this month in France prevented much in the way of military activity. Henry consolidated various towns seized and made sure reinforcements to his regiments were distributed correctly. He was also in secret talks (along with the Dutch) with French dissident nobility in Paris to discuss terms should they be able to rid themselves of Cinq-Mars.
Montrose, despite the bad weather, continued to move along the coast, finally reaching and taking the town of Le Havre-de-Grâce at the Pointe de Normandy. He then followed the Seine south towards Rouen.
Fairfax started to march the third British army south from Buxton to Dover to embark on ships to Calais. The army was the Standard British mix of cavalry, artillery and musketeers, though Fairfax had dropped the front armour the musketeers usually wore in order to increase their marching speed.
In the North American colonies the appointment of Roger Williams by Henry as ambassador to the Haudenosaunee was well received. Williams' friendship with the tribes as well as his opposition to forced conversion had made him friends with both native and colonials. His views that the British religious contract must also apply to non-Christians were controversial for the time, but ultimately accepted in order to prevent future problems with the British allies. This did not prevent unforced conversion as many in the tribes were accepting Christianity.
The Dutch siege of Reims was a miserable affair as atrocious weather made the land around the city a sea of mud. The French in the city sat in comfort, though supplies were low, they expected to be relieved by other armies coming to their aid.
The Danish army moved out of Osnabruck south towards Paderborn where they met Wallenstein in battle. Despite being outnumbered the Danes more than held their own in battle. Driving Wallenstein's forces off the field and into a retreat towards Breisach. The Danes followed hoping to trap Wallenstein before he could reach safety.
The two Swedish armies forged south meeting Tilly near Leipzig. This time there was no standoff as the Swedes defeated Tilly and forced him to retreat south towards Chemnitz.
In France the bad weather was looked upon as a godsend by Cinq-Mars as it gave him time to bring other French armies to block the British and Dutch. He also planned an escape with the young King Louis south to Bordeaux where he still felt he had support. The Breton-Irish rebellion was now fully in control of Brittany, most of the native French having fled to sympathetic towns or left the region totally. Such was the fear and terror of the French at An Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn that towns and cities in neighbouring Normandy sent Henry of Britain offers to surrender to his forces rather than be overrun by the Bretonic Gaels. Other areas of France in rebellion were the Vendee, Auvergne, the Loire valley and Languedoc.
In the HRE the Emperor was relieved that Wallenstein and Tilly were both defeated and hoped that he could come to terms with the Danes and Swedes. The rebellion he faced in Trient was now at an end. The Venetians and the Tyrolese living there had declared themselves free of the HRE.
In Spain, loyal forces tried to recapture Burgos, but were repulsed with very heavy losses. In Catalonia, several minor battles were fought all over the region as it was slowly brought back into the fold. Philip and his advisor, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, continued the reforms in loyalist territories, removing corruption and investing in the development of roads and land reform.
The Duchy of Milan revolted against French occupation and requested aid from Savoy.
A popular Chinese rebellion led by Li Zicheng sacked Beijing, prompting Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, to commit suicide. Li Zicheng declared himself Emperor of the Shun dynasty.
(1644 May) The weather was finally clear and the land had dried off enough for Henry to continue his campaign. This he did with a drive straight towards Paris, bypassing the fortified town of Beauvais and in three days destroying three mercenary armies, who desperately tried to stop him by simply outgunning the woefully under equipped peasant levies the mercenaries were using. On Friday, May 17th Henry and his army marched into Paris finding the gates open and the walls unmanned, the city was in chaos and anarchy. All who could flee had, the Paris mob rioting and burning down over a fifth of the city.
Declaring a curfew and martial law, Henry spent the next three days restoring order and making sure key citizens were found or accounted for.
Though technically Henry had among his titles "King of France", it was something he never appeared to seriously consider. When asked at a later date by Montrose if he would take the throne of France his reply was "Heavens no! What on earth would I do with it?", though he did take up residence in the Tuileries palace.
After ascertaining the whereabouts of various nobles and churchmen, Henry let them know he (and the Dutch) were prepared to discuss terms.
The British position was solidified a few days later when the third army under Fairfax entered the city.
Montrose, having marched to Rouen only to have it capitulate on his arrival, moved west again to take control of Caen and the Cherbourg peninsula, dealing with bandits and refugees from Brittany en-route. Most of the towns had already asked for terms as the French government seemed in no position to take on the Breton rebels. Montrose met the Breton army on the 26th near Avranches, driving what appeared to be no more than a very large armed mob from the field. The next day he met with Calbhach mac Aodha O Conchobhair Donn and told him to stay in Brittany or lose that kingdom as well. The Bretons agreed and retreated to Rennes.
In North America the possibility of gaining a title and crown lands was the talk of the nation. Large swathes of land were held in title by the Governors in the name of the crown and many governors had hopes of a Dukedom, bribery for favours was rife.
Reims formally surrendered to the Dutch when word was brought of the British occupation of Paris. The Dutch, garrisoned the city and marched south to the east of Paris where they encamped next to Fairfax's army. Frederick then joined Henry in waiting for French attendance at a meeting for terms and the start of a conference to divide up Europe.
The Danish army continued to harass and drive Wallenstein's army south, though greatly outnumbered they were by far superior in logistics and tactical advantage. However when Wallenstein divided his forces they were forced to follow the HRE army to Breisach whilst Wallenstein himself marched off into central Germany. Christian asked his brother Frederick to represent him and the Rigsraad in Paris, his only stipulation being that he took Corfitz Ulfeldt with him and kept a very close eye on to whom he spoke.
The Swedish armies continued to move south, harrying Tilly out of Saxony and finally bringing him to battle at Gera where they annihilated what remained of Tilly's forces. Tilly himself was killed by a musketeer's bullet trying to retreat from the battlefield. Gustav sent back word to Oxenstierna to represent him in Paris.
At Fontainebleau, Cinq-Mars fled with a few loyal followers and King Louis XIV to Bordeaux, desperately seeking allies and alliances that simply were not there to be had. He was seized by the forces of Jean de Gassion who in turn was loyal to Queen Anne. Louis himself seemed bewildered by events, though otherwise unharmed he kept asking Jean de Gassion to go and fight Henry eventually getting the reply "Si j'ai entendu Henri venait combattre, je me rendrais maintenant avant qu'il ait ait détruit la dernière armée Française." ("If I heard Henry was coming to fight, I'd surrender now before he destroyed the last French army.")
Word was sent to Henry that French diplomats were on their way to discuss terms.
Queen Anne also set off for Paris, hoping to salvage anything from Cinq-Mars mess.
In Spain fighting continued around Burgos with neither side gaining an advantage, though de Melo still held the fortress. In Catalonia rebels continued a low level warfare of ambush and deception, though the region was now under Philips control again.
Philip sent observers to the "Paris Conference", having been assured by the British and the Dutch that none of Spain's possessions were in doubt, but that it would be well for Spain's interests to be represented. The opportunity to repay France for Spain's recent defeats was irresistible.
In the HRE the Emperor declared Tilly and Wallenstein outlaw (for the sake of form as he had no such real power and Tilly was already dead) and had sent his diplomats to Paris to try and salvage anything out of the mess Tilly and Wallenstein had created for him. He hoped that the influence the British and Dutch had over the Danes and Swedes would prevent them from invading Austria and Bavaria. He also hoped for promises of aid should the Ottoman's military build-up on his borders come to anything.
The Duke of Savoy escorted Queen Anne of France to the Paris Conference, hoping for great things for Savoy. With him were representatives from Venice.
In China, Li Zicheng is killed along with most of his army by the Manchus, either by committing suicide off a Loctus tree or was killed by pro-Ming militia during his escape. Some folk tales hold that Li didn't die upon defeat, but instead became a monk.
(1644 June) Much of this month was spent in diplomacy with talks and discussions between various countries as the map of Europe was redrawn. As victors the British gained Normandy and Picardy off France as well as Jamaica. This gave the British control over the English Channel. The British also insisted on an independent Brittany.
Henry also got the Rheinland Palatinate restored to his nephew Charles Louis, (German: Karl I. Ludwig) and made it independent of the HRE. (This also got his sister out of the Palace at Greenwich and out of Henry's life.)
Henry started talks with Italian fortification engineers to build a secure line of fortresses along his new border. He also commissioned a new road network to be established from the ports to the forts to enable British troops to support them.
Henry installed Montrose as the Governor of Normandy, giving him the title of Duke of Picardy, whilst he gave the title of Duke of Normandy to Benjamin de Rohan the leader of the Huguenots and encouraged them to settle the region in depth to ensure its loyalty. Henry also added the Huguenot crest to the Normandy flag and declared the entire region to be named Greater Normandy. Sir Thomas, Lord Fairfax, for past service was given the title Count of Arles.
The Glasgow to Edinburgh canal was finally finished, using only eleven locks and three aqueducts. It was fêted as one of the wonders of the world. It was now possible for cargo to travel from one city to the other in just eight hours. The Dutch architect Vermuyden received a knighthood for his efforts.
Cromwell in Ireland started the process of uniting the Irish and British Parliaments as well as starting a King's Highway from Belfast to Dublin. Protestants now outnumbered Roman Catholics by almost a third; many of the remaining Catholics were in the wealthy middle classes and now saw no reason to leave.
The Dutch claims to the Netherlands were also recognised. As well as gaining any independent Bishoprics in their territories they also gained the city of Lille and the overseas colony of Senegal.
Denmark gained several north German territories including Bremen and Frisia extending their border to that of Holland. They also gained the French colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Sweden gained Brandenburg and Saxony as Protectorates and gained St Kitts in the Caribbean.
In Germany the Danish army drove Wallenstein's army away from Briesach and occupied the fortress. Christian then pursued Wallenstein across Germany finally trapping him between his army and that of Sweden's General Horn and finally defeating him totally. Wallenstein himself escaped to Vienna, where he was imprisoned and finally poisoned by the Emperor.
Gustav and his army moved south, mopping up any remaining mercenary forces until finally joining with the Danes to menace Vienna.
In Paris, French diplomats frantically tried to stave off the dismemberment of their nation, losing territory to Britain, Holland, the Bretons and Savoy. Queen Anne, as regent for King Louis, was at the end of the conference relieved in that Louis would still have a France to rule, albeit a smaller France. Louis himself only met Henry a few times and was said to be unimpressed by the British King, remarking that "He (Henry) dresses as a shopkeeper", referring to the sombre dress most strict British Protestants wore. Mistaking appearance for strength was a delusion Louis was never able to throw off, to France's detriment in later years.
Cinq-Mars was executed after a trial, his place in French history assured as the man who destroyed the dream of empire. Wracked by civil war, her territory reduced and her overseas possessions seized by her enemies, it would be decades before France regained even a marginal amount of her power.
In the HRE, menaced by Danish and Swedish armies, the Emperor had to accede to demands that his northern territories were handed over to them. The HRE also lost Trient to Venice and recognised the Swiss as independent too.
Spain, though not expecting to gain from the Paris Conference, was quietly satisfied at the results, France would be no threat to Spain for many years and the cutting off of funds to de Melo was an added bonus.
The siege of Burgos carried on interminably with the loyalist troops unable to fully secure the area from the rebels. In Catalonia a sullen populace grudgingly returned to a normal way of life after a few examples were made of rebels to the crown. Martial law would be some time in being removed, but the region at least was secure.
As part of the peace treaty with Ferdinand III, the HRE granted Savoy sovereignty and the right of the Duke of Savoy to call himself King. After which Savoy became independent of the HRE. Savoy also gained the Duchy of Milan, some French territory in the east and the Isle of Corsica. They also permitted British port facilities on Corsica.
Venice gained the Tyrolese region of Trient and also permitted the British port facilities on Crete.
The invading Manchu army, with the help of Ming general Wu Sangui, captured Beijing. This marked the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (also known as the Manchu Dynasty).
(1644 July) With the war over the British army moved back to the Normandy region, whilst the various militias who had volunteered to support the army were returned to Britain and allowed home. The French were forced to pay a massive indemnity to Britain and Holland to have their troops returned. This was used to pay for the massive fortifications now being built or planned for Flanders and Normandy. Henry also allowed a donative to the troops to be paid from this either in land or in cash and encouraged many of the militia to settle in Greater Normandy.
In the Mediterranean the British squadron, operating out of Candia in Crete, continued actions against piracy and, unlike the Knights of St John operating out of Malta, they did not prey on Muslim shipping unless caught in piracy. The British Squadron operating out of Corsica did likewise, though mainly concentrating on the Barbary Coast. In this the British were somewhat at a disadvantage as they did not use galleys and were at the mercy of the wind to some extent.
The Panamanian King's Highway was now halfway complete, engineering and medical problems made the road the most difficult ever built at the time. Some swamps were found to require a fill of over 100 feet (30m) in depth before a solid road bed could be constructed. It was estimated that over 5,000 slaves and others had died so far as a result of yellow fever and malaria. There was also the "Cadaver trade". As disease (spread mainly by the mosquitoes that thrived in Panama's swampy conditions) and exhaustion took their toll on the workers, the disposal of unidentifiable bodies was a boon to those with proper connections. Medical schools and teaching hospitals needed cadavers to train budding physicians, and paid handsomely for anonymous bodies pickled in barrels shipped up from the tropics.
In the Netherlands there were massive celebrations as the Dutch finally found themselves free from foreign interference for the first time ever. Within the Republic there was much talk of foreign investment and colonial ventures both with members of the Northern alliance and independently.
In Denmark too there were celebrations, Christian V returned home to a hero's welcome. Talks in the Rigsraad centred on Denmark's new European possessions, agreeing with Christian to give the Germanic speaking provinces a great deal of autonomy so long as they paid their taxes. The Rigsraad at this time also started to build a road system similar to Britain's to link all of Jutland to Lubeck, Hamburg and Bremen, then into the Netherlands.
The Swedish too celebrated their victories in Europe with Gustav disbanding much of his army back to their villages and farms. Talks with Denmark resumed on dealing with potential areas of dispute and assisting Sweden's colonisation efforts. The two nations deciding they had far more in common than differences with each other. This was to have major implications for Poland/Lithuania in the near future.
In France there was despair, the massive indemnities paid out had left the country almost bankrupt. The returning troops were of no help as the state could not afford to pay them and many joined the civil war, fighting against the French state. Many nobles fled to the Italian states where there was safety whilst the merchant classes moved north to Britain or Holland to take advantage of the new opportunities and wealth being created by those nations. The Royal Court of France was somewhat insulated from these events as the Regent Queen Anne was quite a shrewd politician and so was able to stabilise the areas around Paris and Fontainebleau until funds were available to start the re-conquest.
In Brittany, King Calbhach, continued removing all the French from his territories before starting talks with various other nations about trade and investment. Realising that Brittany alone would not be able to resist a future resurgent France (should there be one) he took great pains to establish a friendly relationship with Britain.
In the HRE despite the losses in territory and prestige the Emperor's position was now secure. The damage done to the German states though was immense and would require years to restore the wealth generated by them. This was not helped by many Protestant peasants leaving their lands and heading north to Danish territory to seek passage to Britain and the New World.
Savoy crowned their Duke as King and moved to consolidate her Italian possessions and increase trade with Venice and the Northern Alliance. A possible campaign against the Papal States and Florence to unite all of Northern Italy was considered.
Pope Urban VIII died, almost universally reviled as the man who did most damage to internal Christian relations as well as Papal prestige than any other. His Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith had damaged the Catholic states of Spain, France and the HRE as well as solidifying the Northern Alliance as a true European power. His losses and disgrace in the Battle of Lagoscuro had left the Papal States looking weak and ineffective in war.
In Spain the siege of Burgos continued though the build-up of the loyalist army had now succeeded in isolating the fortress from the rebels. Philip's army in Catalonia now moved against Navarre slowly cutting off the rebels influence and support.
Philip's court was now a sombre serious affair, shorn of the decadence and ritual that it had once had. Despite the country's problems, much had been achieved at home and abroad with the regularisation of taxation and investment in internal infrastructure. Philip and his advisors also moved against any religious organisations which they felt harboured anti-Spanish (anti-Philip) sentiments. These included the Inquisition, Jesuit seminaries and other influential orders. They were stripped of their wealth and power and reduced to their original purpose.
China under the Manchu's Shunzhi Emperor started trade relations with the rest of the world.
(1644 August) This was the month the great fire of London broke out. Starting with a small roof fire in Crutched Friars taking hold after weeks of hot dry weather in strong winds it was soon out of control. London was essentially medieval in its street plan. It was an overcrowded warren of narrow, winding, cobbled alleys. It had experienced several major fires before 1644, the most recent in 1632. Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for centuries, but these cheap materials continued to be used. The only major stone-built area was the wealthy centre of the City, where the mansions of the merchants and brokers stood on spacious lots, surrounded by an inner ring of overcrowded poorer parishes whose every inch of building space was used to accommodate the rapidly growing population. These parishes contained workplaces, many of which were fire hazards (foundries, smithies, glaziers) which were theoretically illegal in the City, but tolerated in practice. The human habitations mixed in with these sources of heat, sparks, and pollution were crowded to bursting-point and designed with uniquely risky features. "Jetties" (projecting upper floors) were characteristic of the typical six- or seven-storey timbered London tenement houses. These buildings had a narrow footprint at ground level, but would maximise their use of a given land plot by "encroaching", as a contemporary observer put it, on the street with the gradually increasing size of their upper storeys. The fire hazard posed when the top jetties all but met across the narrow alleys was well perceived as it facilitated the conflagration, but the corruption of city magistrates worked in favour of jetties. In 1632, Henry had issued a proclamation forbidding overhanging windows and jetties, but this was largely ignored by the local government. Henry's next, sharper, message in 1641 warned of the risk of fire from the narrowness of the streets and authorised both imprisonment of recalcitrant builders and demolition of dangerous buildings. It too had little impact.
The riverfront was a key area for the development of the Great Fire. The Thames offered water for the firefighting effort and hope of escape by boat, but, with stores and cellars of combustibles, the poorer districts along the riverfront presented the highest conflagration risk of any. All along the wharves, the rickety wooden tenements and tar paper shacks of the poor were shoehorned amongst "old paper buildings and the most combustible matter of Tar, Pitch, Hemp, Rosen, and Flax" which was all laid up thereabouts. London was also full of gunpowder, as the former members of the city militia still retained their muskets and the powder with which to load them. Five to six hundred tons of powder was stored in the Tower of London at the north end of London Bridge. The ship chandlers along the wharves also held large stocks, stored in wooden barrels.
The 18-foot (5.5 m) high Roman wall enclosing the City put the fleeing homeless at risk of being shut into the inferno. Once the riverfront was on fire and the escape route by boat cut off, the only way out was through the eight gates in the wall. During the first couple of days, few people had any notion of fleeing the burning City altogether: they would remove what they could carry of belongings to the nearest "safe house", in many cases the parish church, or the precincts of St. Paul's Cathedral, only to have to move again hours later. Some moved their belongings and themselves "four and five times" in a single day. The perception of a need to get beyond the walls only took root late on the second day, and then there were near-panic scenes at the narrow gates as distraught refugees tried to get out with their bundles, carts, horses, and wagons.
The crucial factor in frustrating firefighting efforts was the narrowness of the streets. Even under normal circumstances, the mix of carts, wagons, and pedestrians in the undersized alleys was subject to frequent traffic jams and gridlock. During the fire, the passages were additionally blocked by refugees camping in them amongst their rescued belongings, or escaping outwards, away from the centre of destruction, as demolition teams and fire engine crews struggled in vain to move in towards it.
The sheer incompetence of the mayor and other elected officials to clear fire breaks or evacuate areas in the path of the fire allowing firefighters to get ahead of it caused it to spread ever further and wider, even managing to bridge a gap on London Bridge to spread south of the river. On the third day with no-one seemingly in control and Henry out of the country Queen Maria finally acted, sending the Royal Life Guards in to restore order and ordering ships from the fleet to use their cannon to bring down buildings ahead of the fire. It still took another two days before the situation was under control.
London was devastated, over 100,000 people were homeless, casualties though assumed low were never known as people of the lower and middle classes were simply never registered in the parishes. Maria also stepped in to stop people from rebuilding directly on the old property boundaries and called in architects to redesign the city from the ground up, with an adequate water system. Food and some shelter was provided by the crown, though many homeless made their way to other towns and cities.
Henry although aware of the fire was in no position to help, spending much of his day riding out with troops and architects surveying his new demesne. A series of border fortresses (some new) were planned, mostly designed to hold up an invading army long enough for the British army to take to the field. The British were also dealing with refugees fleeing France and Brittany and making sure that any attempts to return Normandy to French rule were nipped in the bud. To this end Henry summoned Cromwell from Ireland to bring Greater Normandy well and truly into the British sphere of influence. Henry appointed Fairfax to be his new governor in Ireland to continue the works Wentworth and Cromwell had begun.
Henry proposed to Parliament the setting up of a regiment of engineers and for military engineering to be taught at the British Military Academy in Edinburgh.
The Marquis of Worcester patented a steam pump capable of lifting water more than forty geometrical feet. Its use rapidly spread to mines and land drainage and was incorporated into London's new water system.
The Dutch were also busy planning a series of fortresses along their new border. They also looked to the long term, realising that France may one day be back with a vengeance. To this end they saw the need to keep the Northern alliance strong and intact.
Christian of Denmark also had his work cut out for him. Integrating both German and Danish regions into a cohesive realm would take up every spare minute of his time. It was a very difficult balancing act, making sure that all felt fairly treated. One of his first acts was to make sure that any dissidents to his rule were shipped off to New Denmark (Puerto Rico), Guadeloupe or Martinique. He also appointed Corfitz Ulfeldt as governor general of the Danish Caribbean Territories, figuring his political machinations would do less harm there than in Denmark. Oddly enough Ulfeldt was pleased with his new posting, seeing it as a way of becoming very wealthy.
Sweden was busy incorporating Brandenburg and Saxony into their empire. Like Denmark had with her new holdings; Gustav saw the need to give them a great deal of autonomy, treating them as independent kingdoms in their own right. As for the ordinary people of Brandenburg and Saxony, they saw little change in their lives other than a new road network being built upon British lines. To them one Emperor was pretty much the same as another.
Wladyslaw IV of Poland-Lithuania was not a happy man, the self-styled "King of Sweden" (although he had no control over Sweden whatsoever and had never set foot in that country) now felt hemmed in by Gustav Adolphus and looked for an opportunity to bring Sweden down.
In Spain the civil war ground on, though there was little doubt that Philip was winning it. De Melo had few allies and little or no funding and was running out of space to manoeuvre. He did offer an interesting proposal to Philip's advisors during a brief truce, and that was to take himself and his followers off into France and try to carve out his own kingdom there.
Savoy also looked to consolidate its power by rebuilding its border defences and looking to see if there were opportunities to obtain lands further south. An agreement with Queen Anne of France not to interfere there was honoured. There was a great deal of welcome trade with the members of the Northern Alliance.
Venice, strengthened with its new territories was still very wary of the Ottoman Empire. New trade opportunities to the west though brought about a new age of trade for the Venetian merchants and many fortunes were made transporting New World raw materials to the eastern Mediterranean.
The Ottoman's looked at a much weaker HRE and started making plans to invade, perhaps this time they would seize Vienna.
(1644 September to December) Much of this time was spent rebuilding or re-housing London's population. The plans for the new city were well in advance with wide roads and tree lined streets spreading the city further and wider than before. Wooden buildings with thatched roofs were banned, although many were currently living in them temporarily, the plan was to use brick or stone. The damage and cost to the economy was massive and even though Britain's economy was booming there was simply not enough money at times to pay for all the work at home and abroad that needed to be done. The temptation to increase taxes on the colonies abroad to pay for the rebuilding was frequently discussed, though on this Henry and Parliament were in agreement that to do so might just kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. It was when Henry heard from Roger Williams, his ambassador to the Haudenosaunee, about the willingness of people to pay for a patent of nobility that Henry proposed to Parliament a novel way of raising funds. The result was the creation of the British order of Knights Mercantile, a life peerage giving the holder (though not their children) the right to place the title "Sir" before their name. At a cost of £5,000 each Henry and Parliament soon had enough to cover the initial costs of rebuilding London. In some quarters there was outrage at the King selling titles, though many also realised just how precarious the finances of the land were. The result was a massive boost to the popularity of the King and moved saved cash back into circulation.
In India the British aid to Shahbuddin Mohammed Shah Jahan, the ruler of the Mughal Empire, enabled him to expel the Portuguese from Bengal. In return for trading privileges the British supplied arms and training for the Mughal armies.
Now that China was at peace, the British stepped up their efforts in trade and commerce calling in at coastal towns and cities along its entire coastline.
In North America the British colonial effort continued with new lands in the interior being explored and opened up for colonists. The usual British method being to find a friendly native tribe if available and support them against their enemies and gain some of the land taken. Though many sub-tribes had simply been outnumbered and absorbed into the colonists without resort to violence. Tribes such as the Haudenosaunee and Tsalagi were treated with respect by the colonial authorities (though not always by the colonists) and could have any sources of concern dealt with by the British ambassadors to their territories. Trade was brisk with agricultural implements and tools being popular with the tribes in exchange for furs and escorts.
Some British colonists were also moving to the African Supply forts, particularly Capetown.
The Dutch trading empire continued to expand, often in friendly competition with the British and Danes and occasionally in hostile competition with the Spanish and Portuguese. Dutch settlers too were moving to Van Diemensland and also to Capetown mixing and mingling with the British colonists to clear the land for farms and industry.
The Danes also continued to expand their trading links in India though as yet not into China. Their colonies on the Gold Coast and New Denmark were now turning in a tidy profit for Danish investors.
The Swedes continued to send small groups of colonists to New Sweden, though this was difficult and expensive as their shipping capacity was small and mostly designed for the Baltic. They did however start exploiting St Kitts and were soon making a small profit in trade for the new owners.
The civil war in France continued without pause with small bands of outlaws attacking towns and villages for food and coin, whilst larger bands of mercenaries and "patriots" took over towns and the lands supporting them. What remained of the Royal Army was kept around Paris to protect the King.
In the Papal States a new Pope was elected. Pope Innocent X came to power promising to heal the differences caused by his predecessor. His first act being to remove the Papal Bull requiring all Roman Catholics to aid in the restoration and reformation of those Christian nations dwelling in error from the true faith. This was followed up with delegations to the Northern Alliance, seeking to smooth over the difficulties caused by the previous Pope.
In Spain, the loyalists finally took Burgos and started to make inroads on the north of the country. De Melo and his supporters were now planning on moving over the Pyrenees into France and carving out a new Kingdom there.
(1645 January to March) The year got off to a very quiet start, with Britain only involved in diplomacy, colonisation and mercantile activities. Efforts to raise funding for various military endeavours and the rebuilding of London had been successful, though there was little remaining for anything else. Henry spent much of his time going over plans for the rebuilding of London making sure that the designs included adequate housing as well as churches, parks and workplaces. His other over-riding desire though was to have his capital to be seen as an extension of British power, security and wealth, not a grim overcrowded mess. This would be the work of decades and Henry himself would not live to see the full extent of the design that would earn London the title of the "City of Splendour".
Whilst the state was concerned only with reconstruction there was still much private investment in various endeavours. Land drainage, mining and new industries were all targets for investment by Britain's burgeoning middle class, many of whom were also purchasing plots for town houses in the new London suburbs. For the poor of Britain though it was a different story, many were still homeless and unemployment was rife. Crime and disease in the tent cities outside London was at an all-time high. The only road for many was to take indentured servitude in the colonies and it was from this outward pressure that expanded the British colonial presence far and away above any other European nation. It was estimated that over 50% of new colonists died within the first two years of reaching a new colony, though those that survived usually ended up doing well for themselves after coming out of servitude. Life on the frontiers was hard and yet hard work and commitment was enough to create a far better life for many than staying in London would have done. Yet it was not only the British that were settling in Britain's colonies, in New Britain the influx was mainly from the German speaking protestants fleeing oppression in Catholic bishoprics and sees, who were successfully settling into the north and spreading west. Mostly being peasants, they showed no inclination to settle in the towns and cities preferring new land that was theirs (or would be once they had worked off their indenture to the crown).
Spanish rebels crossed the Pyrenees fleeing King Philip and joined up with rebels in Languedoc fighting the French crown. Led by De Melo and being veteran troops they swiftly destroyed all French loyal forces in the field, then started negotiating with the rebels.
In Spain the forces loyal to King Philip continued mopping up any remaining rebel forces left, refusing to send troops into France to remove De Melo when asked to by the French ambassador.
Savoy invaded Florence on the pretext of Ferdinando II de' Medici, the grand Duke of Tuscany, plotting to seize Milan. The Pope wanted to intervene, but Venetian troops massing on his northern borders prevented any action.
In Poland-Lithuania Wladyslaw IV started talks with his Cossack Hetmen to see if they would support an invasion of the Swedish holdings to the north of Lithuania. The answer was no, Wladyslaw IV was simply not trusted to keep his promises.
In the Ottoman Empire the call was sent out to assemble the armies of the Sultan for a march into Austria.
(1645 April to June) The rebuilding of London was now in full swing and many were employed in the various tasks involved, reasonable weather helped too. The largest task was the setting up of the Royal Parade running in a straight line From Hyde Park through to the Tower of London. Wide enough to parade an army down. With the offices of Government on either side, it was designed specifically with the view to impress (or intimidate) visitors with the might and power of Britain.
Elections were held in Ireland for the British Parliament, uniting that realm with Britain. The Cross of St Patrick was now flown outside the British Parliament along with those of the other nations under Parliament. Discussions were also underway to bring Greater Normandy into the franchise.
Henry and Parliament also discussed with concern the war between the HRE and the Ottomans, though they could do little unless invited and financed by the Emperor such was the precarious state of Britain's own finances.
In British North America the first elections were held for the Commonwealth representatives to the crown, the six men elected were to have observer status at the British Parliament, though as yet no (official) voice.
The Dutch also had their concerns about the Ottomans, though like the British they had no desire to go where they weren't invited. Henry's daughter Christina, Elizabeth, marries William II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange.
Christian of Denmark and Gustav of Sweden were in talks about trade and mutual assistance. The matter of the Ottomans came up with both deciding that a threat to Austria was a very definite threat to them. Envoys were sent offering assistance should Emperor Ferdinand III require it.
In France Queen Anne managed to raise a second army under the Duc d'Enghien and started to restore order in the regions around the capital. Although the army was pitiful compared to previous French armies, it was more than enough to overwhelm the small rebel forces holding the towns and countryside around Paris.
In the HRE, the Emperor Ferdinand was looking for allies, preferably from Roman Catholic states, though only Poland-Lithuania would seem to be in any fit condition to send any aid. He dismissed the offer from his former enemies, Denmark and Sweden, thinking only that they'd wish to seize more land.
In Spain the loyalist victory was met with relief rather than celebration, the flight of the King's son with the rebels was still a matter of some concern to the dynasty. Philip himself had decided that reconstruction not foreign adventurism would be the policy of Spain for the next few years and rebuffed Papal attempts to get involved with the HRE.
Savoy continued to try and take Florence, though few battles had been fought, both sides were mostly manoeuvring, looking for an advantage.
Ottoman and HRE armies met in a series of battles as the Ottomans advanced on Vienna. Ferdinand's troops were defeated outside Szentgotthárd, and Bratislava and the Ottomans reached Vienna to put it under siege by the beginning of July.
In the Papal States Pope Innocent called for a Christian alliance to fend off the Ottomans. This was a difficult time however for most western European states as the wars had taken their toll on the nations and none seemed too keen to get involved with another one.
Elsewhere, Michael Cardozo became the first Jewish lawyer in Brazil.
(1645 July to September) In the Royal courts of Europe there was turmoil over the Ottoman advance. Not one of the major Catholic states was prepared to send an army to relieve Vienna; some like France and Savoy were simply unable to, others like Spain and Poland-Lithuania simply unwilling.
In desperation Ferdinand III turned to his former enemies, Sweden and Denmark, both of whom did not wish for the Ottomans to be any closer than they were. Gustav and Christian assembled their armies in preparation to march to relieve Vienna.
In Britain, Henry and Parliament were approached by Hannibal Sehested, the Danish ambassador, to see if they would support the Danish-Swedish alliance. Though reluctant through the financial straits Britain was in, it was decided to send half the Army in Greater Normandy to join the Northern Alliance forces assembling in Saxony. Henry placed his son, James, in overall command of the British regiments, though James was told in no uncertain terms that he was there to listen and learn from General Leslie and to follow his "suggestions". Prince Rupert from the Palatinate was also along as James' cavalry commander. Henry though feeling that the army would acquit itself well, was very well aware of just how inexperienced the army was.
The Dutch also responded to requests for support from Denmark and Sweden with several regiments under the Prince of Orange joining the British as they marched east.
The Army of the Northern Alliance assembled at Leipzig, numbering about 45,000 it was agreed that Gustav of Sweden would be in overall command with Christian, James and William as his seconds. Though the British and Dutch had limited logistic supplies, arrangements had been made with various Duchy's and sees as well as Austria proper to supply the army en-route.
Vienna had been under siege for nearly two months before the Northern Alliance, joined by 18,500 Austrian troops, met the Ottoman army in battle. Historians have never been able to understand why the Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha allowed them to approach so close to Vienna. It was known from reports that Ottoman scouts were aware of the progress of the Alliance, yet they made no move to hinder or stop them. The city itself was nearing breaking point, with the walls breached by sappers in several places and the citizens facing starvation.
The allied armies set up on the high ground above the city on the Kahlenberg and faced an experienced Ottoman army of 70,000, with a further 30 to 40,000 troops scattered around the area for support purposes. The battle commenced when Ottoman troops tried to prevent the deployment of Allied troops only to be forced back with heavy losses by the British musketeers holding the centre of the line. Danish and Swedish forces surged forward on the left flank in an attempt to outflank the Ottomans, only to face a massive counter attack ordered by the Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha which drove them back towards their original position. It was at this point that Gustav himself led one of his famous cavalry charges into the exposed flank of the Ottoman counter attack, causing it to fall back in confusion though unfortunately leaving Gustav badly wounded. The Austrians on the right flank had also attempted to relieve the siege on the city though they struggled against the counter defences the Ottomans had placed behind their lines.
Both armies had now been fighting for six hours and a pause came over the battle as lines were redrawn and reserves brought forward.
At noon battle recommenced with the Ottomans attacking the centre of the line held by the British and Dutch musketeers, only to be thrown back by the weight of fire. British and Dutch in the centre then took the initiative, and advanced steadily, their flanks protected by Danish and Austrian cavalry in constant skirmish with Ottoman Sipahis. The lines closed to the Ottoman centre and the Britannic-Dutch killing zone, volley fire commenced. British light artillery had also been moved up with the skirmish lines and commenced to use chain shot to blast holes in the Ottoman lines. As in the battles in France, the deadly new tactics of the Northern Alliance tore apart the Ottoman regiments facing them, who had never faced such massed firepower before. Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha finally ordered the Janissaries to charge the Britannic-Dutch lines with the elite Sipahis keeping the Allied cavalry from supporting the centre. The resulting massacre of the Janissaries finally caused the centre of the Ottoman lines to collapse. This was the point at which Christian of Denmark and General Horn of Sweden launched a mass cavalry charge themselves, punching through the Ottomans lines and causing a rout of the Ottoman army. During the chaos of the Ottoman retreat Prince Rupert and several quads of British cavalry managed to seize the Ottoman supply train along with the wives and retainers of several Ottoman nobles. Sixteen hours after the battle had started an exhausted Northern Alliance army bedded down still on the field of battle. Casualties were very high, of an army of 57,500 almost half were dead or likely to die from their wounds. Ottoman casualties were higher, an estimated 45,000 dead on the field including Grand Vizier Nevesinli Salih Pasha who had been executed by the remaining Janissaries. The remains of the Ottoman army itself retreated back into Hungary, no longer a real threat to Austria.
Three days after the battle, Gustav Adolphus, King of Sweden, died from his wounds. His body was transported with honours back to Stockholm where it was interred at the Riddarholmskyrkan, (Church of Riddarholmen).
Reinforcements from Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia finally made it to Vienna a week after the battle bringing food and supplies for the populace. At this point the Northern Alliance armies led by King Christian of Denmark with Prince James of Britain, William of Orange and General Gustave Karlsson Horn at his side marched through the city to the adulation of the citizens and back to the north.
(1645 October to December) The victory at Vienna was met with rejoicing throughout northern Europe and with cold disdain throughout southern Europe save only in Vienna itself. The HRE, though still at war with the Ottomans, were in no position to take the war to them and so negotiated a peace treaty with them that led to a status quo ante situation.
Henry met his son and the army in Calais, praising them as defenders of Christianity and offering them their nation's thanks. Of much more interest to Henry was the seized war chest that James had brought with him. Even though it had been divided up equally between the five nations fighting, the sum brought home was still in the region of £1,000,000, money the coffers of Britain needed.
The first of the new British long range warships was launched, designed for an extended time at sea its main use was as an anti-piracy vessel.
In Henricia (OTL California and Baha California) the colony was finally declared self-sufficient.
Parliament agreed the adoption of the Gregorian calendar; this brought the dates of Britain and its colonies into line with most of Western Europe. This meant that ten days were dropped in November shortening the month, and led to riots with people wanting their lost eleven days! It also led to the British "Budget Day" being the 6th April; it used to be on the "Quarter Day", i.e. 28th March but because Henry and Parliament had lost eleven day's taxes that year the financial year was extended.
This was also the year of another cold hard winter and although some of London was rebuilt, many amongst the old and very young still died from exposure to the elements.
In Sweden King Robert William of the royal house of Vasa-Stuart was crowned.
In France there was grim satisfaction that the regions around Paris were now firmly under the control of the Crown.
The Dutch were now looking to further their trading investment and looked to cut into Britain's and Denmark's interests if necessary.
Savoy still struggled to conquer Florence/Tuscany. So far they only held the ground their soldiers stood upon as revolts fired up in the areas they thought conquered.
(1646) The Great Isthmian Highway finally opened in the British colony of Panama. Running from Port Henry in the east to Port James in the west and covering 80 miles of well graded road, twice the width of a standard highway this cut the shipping times around South America by weeks. Although both ports were Freeports, open to all shipping, it was the road tolls that started money pouring into Britain's coffers, these were deliberately set low to encourage commerce, yet the volume of traffic meant that they were very, very, profitable. Henry and Parliament authorised the shipping of twenty warships to form the British Pacific squadron covering the sea lanes from China to New London down to Port James. Britain also signed agreements with the Kingdom of Hawaii allowing them to set up port facilities in the islands for watering and restocking of supplies. Parliament then set the slaves and workers to draining and clearing the land on each side of the highway to bring in more colonists and make the colony secure from foreign interference.
In North America the first Christian church in Onondaga was built in Haudenosaunee territory. Although many Haudenosaunee had adopted Christianity (of a sort) this was the first step towards major acceptance of the Christian faith amongst the Haudenosaunee nations.
In Massachusetts the iron foundry of Joseph Jenkes built America's first fire engine. Within the colonies themselves there was a great deal of interest in education with many schools being built together with plans for a series of universities.
The use of the new highway in Panama increased colonisation of the western seaboard of North America, particularly Henricia which had a Mediterranean climate and was a very popular destination.
Tension between the British and the Dutch grew over overseas trade, both sets of merchants trying to undercut or have the other's presence removed from profitable routes and ports. Though the joint venture of Capetown remained peaceful and settled with both sets of colonists getting on very well together.
In Sweden King Robert set about modernising certain aspects of the state with the aid of the Ständestaat in the Riksdag. Unlike the former King, Robert was far more involved with Swedish internal politics and his use of Axel Oxenstierna, his chancellor, to force through needed reform of the State's governance and finances was deeply unpopular with certain of the nobility who disliked this "foreign" king. Yet Robert had one major advantage and this was that the Swedish army stood squarely behind him as one of the reforms he pushed through was the regular payment of this army. Ships were also purchased from Britain to speed up Swedish colonisation of New Sweden (OTL Australia) and St Kitts in the Caribbean.
In Denmark Christian saw the advantages of the Panama highway for the Far East trade and soon Danish merchantmen were seen plying their trade from India to China and across the Pacific.
In France the army of the Duc d'Enghien continued its work to try to rejoin the various rebellious regions. His work was made all the harder by the self-styled Duke of Languedoc, Francisco de Melo, who had united a southern coalition to try and stay free of the French crown. Although being a Spaniard, de Melo was very popular amongst the local French as he didn't interfere or tax as much as the previous French government had.
In Spain, whilst recovering from its civil war, there was a great deal of interest in setting up trade with the far east and increasing their holdings on the Philippines. Trade not war would be the Spanish desire for the next few years, at least until the nation was strong again.
Savoy and Florence continued their war with neither side able to gain any sort of convincing victory, though Savoyard numbers were now beginning to make a difference in controlling what they did hold.
In Brittany there was much talk about a type of government and adapting a language to suit the nation. Oddly enough both factions were forced to use French at first to understand each other. Though combining Gael and Breton was seen as necessary.
In the Ottomans, military adventurism was quietly shelved, at least until the new western tactics could be countered or copied.
(1647) Tensions between Britain and the Dutch continued to grow over trade. Dutch merchants had in the earlier part of the century been the masters of trade amongst all the European nations, bringing in resources and goods from all over the world to their ports and selling them on at a profit to the rest of Europe, even to parts they were at war with. Now they faced very stiff competition from the British who had cornered several markets and continued to expand their trade in areas the Dutch had thought to be monopolies of theirs (notably the spice trade). The British trade in leather to Japan had also ended the Dutch export from Taiwan. The loss of Northern America, although seen as necessary to remove Spain from the Netherlands, had cost them the resources of that continent, mostly hardwoods and tobacco. The setting up in Panama by the British of a direct link to the Pacific was proving to be a master stroke for them by giving them an income from all the trade that passed over the road. Privateering from the Dutch also started to rise against British merchantmen despite various treaties and agreements forbidding it. Despite the deep friendship between Henry and the Prince of Orange, it was the wealthy merchants in Amsterdam who were pulling the strings of power and a trade war turning into a real war was looming.
With Britain now in a much better financial position, Parliament and Henry now turned their attention to Britain's education. Standardized school books had been imposed in the 1540s and, closely corresponding with Shakespeare's lifetime, there was a boom in the founding of schools. Despite a great variety of forms and purposes in the educational life of Britain, 1560 to 1640 was characterized as a period of educational revolution, when the British education system was more vigorous, more purposeful, better funded and better equipped at this time than ever before. Funds were now provided for each town to provide a basic education in the three R's to all children of ages six to ten. Scholarships to further education were also provided for pupils of greater than average intelligence. Though many slipped under the net to work as their fathers did, the long term benefits to Britain were incalculable as literacy rose from 30% to almost 85% in Britain's towns and cities.
Universities and academies of all sorts were now provided with funding to expand their curricula to include more modern subjects. Though a classical education still ranked high, a "scientific" education now ranked higher.
Henry at this time also funded a small modest townhouse for himself and Maria built at the western edge of Hyde Park. Designed by Inigo Jones and simplistically elegant, it was subsequently copied throughout Britain by the up and coming merchant class.
The London mint was fully mechanised and started production of milled coins. With the replacement of the ancient technique of hammering coins, minting had become fully mechanised. Improved productivity was not the only advantage. The milled edges prevented clipping and cutting and made counterfeiting more difficult.
British warships tracked down and exterminated various pirate nests in the Java Sea; many had been quietly funded by Dutch merchants to attack British shipping.
Prince James and his wife Christina visited the North American colonies. Stopping at all the capitals of the various colonies, he formally bestowed nobility on those deemed worth by the various governors. Each governor was given a Dukedom, heads of counties were made Earls and heads of cities were made Lords, other worthies were knighted.
The North American colony of Virginia disallowed a Roman Catholic priest access to the colony. They backed down when Prince James reminded them that the British contract on religion applied to all religions. The priest who had been disembarked in Mariasland returned to minister to the small catholic population of Virginia.
In Mariasland Lord Wilmington's niece was ejected from the city council for requesting the vote.
The Haudenosaunee, seeing the levels of investment being put into the surrounding British colonies, applied to join the Commonwealth of North America. This caused some consternation amongst the governors as there was no precedent for doing so. They eventually referred it "upwards" to Parliament. The governors, at the instigation of the colonial Parliaments, also passed the first compulsory school attendance act.
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, died and was succeeded by his son William. Though married to Henry's daughter, Christina Elisabeth, he was not strong enough to control the republicans in the Dutch Staten-Generaal, an assembly made up of representatives of each of the seventeen provinces but dominated by the largest and wealthiest province, Holland and the merchants of Amsterdam.
Both Sweden and Denmark continued consolidating their realms and expanding their colonies.
In France, a series of pitched battles against the rebels holding the Loire valley and the Vendee left the Royalists in control of those areas, although the damage to the infrastructure of those lands was very high.
Savoy finally defeated Florence in a pitched battle outside Pisa; Tuscany formally became an integral Duchy of the Savoy Kingdom.
In Venice there was dismay that an Ottoman ship captured by the Knights of St John puts into Crete to sell the contents and crew. This was the excuse the Ottomans needed to declare war and attempt to seize the island.
In Spain it was a quiet year with new roads and town facilities being built. Investment in colonial enterprises was also at an all-time high. A surreptitious funding of De Melo in Languedoc also began, seeing an opportunity to keep France out of Spain's direct concerns for a while. There was a people's uprising against high prices and Spanish rule in Naples, though it was short lived and brutally suppressed.
(1648) Britain protested to the Dutch about the seizure of British merchantmen and piracy in the East Indies and around Taiwan. The protests also matched those of the Danes whose lighter volume of mercantilism suffered greater loss due to the Dutch privateering. The situation gradually spiralled out of control with measure and countermeasure being put into place until the Dutch finally closed their ports to British and Danish shipping then proceeded to fire upon Danish and British merchantmen attempting to leave the harbours. Denmark immediately closed the Sund to Dutch vessels and Britain closed Panama and the English Channel to the Dutch and a joint Danish-British delegation was sent to deliver a stern warning to the Dutch Staten-Generaal and to negotiate some form of settlement before things got totally out of hand.
The British squadron operating out of Crete had the unfortunate experience of the Ottoman navy firing upon them as they patrolled around the island. The Ottomans had the unfortunate experience of the British sinking a quarter of their fleet intending to take Crete and sending the rest back to their ports harried by Venetian galleys. The British then set up a blockade around Crete denying access to Ottoman vessels.
The Ottomans then attempted to break through the blockade by sallying their fleet against the British fleet sailing from the Aegean. This was in the hope of forcing the British to stay close to their port and allowing the Ottomans to move their invasion fleet freely up to the Island. Unfortunately for the Ottomans, the British, under Admiral Robert Blake, though outnumbered and massively outgunned had eighteen ships superior in firepower to the heaviest Ottoman galleys and proceeded to demonstrate why it was folly to approach a British vessel under full sail. The Ottoman fleet was sent reeling back to its bases with the loss of over half the galleys including most of the troop transports. Worse was to follow when Blake sailed fire-ships into the Ottoman harbours catching the merchant ships as well as the naval vessels at rest, the resulting conflagration spreading to the town as well. The Ottoman losses were almost all galleys, merchant vessels and most of the port facilities. Those vessels that managed to evade the flames and put to sea were captured by the British.
In British North America the first U.S. labour organization formed, the Boston Shoemakers.
Colonial population of British North America was estimated at 210,000. (four times OTL)
The British Parliament and Henry discussed the application for Commonwealth status of the Haudenosaunee.
Andres Manso de Contreras from Cuba, who had built a vast fortune by intercepting Caribbean pirates, deposited £4 million in gold in a London bank at 5% interest.
The Dutch are in a quandary, the British and Danish sanctions are costing them far more than the Dutch merchants have gained from their piracy. There are some calls for war to break the blockade but these are shouted down and the mercantile support crumbles as the Royalist Orange party gained ascendancy in the Staten-Generaal.
In Denmark there was a great deal of anger at the Dutch merchants. Trade had been badly hurt and many Danish merchants had gone bankrupt.
In Sweden there was a great deal of interest in the events in Poland-Lithuania, though as yet no desire to intervene.
The Bank of Sweden was founded, its charter authorised it to accept deposits, grant loans and mortgages, and issue bills of credit.
In Poland-Lithuania Wladyslaw IV died and was succeeded by John II Casimir. Civil war in the Ukraine almost immediately broke out when Bohdan Khmelnytsky, a Cossack hetman, led a revolt partly caused by the Polish-Lithuanian's ignoring or oppressing Orthodox Ruthenians by the Polish magnates and their wrath was directed at the Poles' Jewish traders, who often ran their estates for them. The advent of the Counter-Reformation further worsened the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, and, coupled with the frequent abuse of the Orthodox clergy, this added the religious dimension to the conflict. This could have been one of the many other frequent Cossack revolts that had been put down by the authorities. But the stature, the skill and the respect of the seasoned 50-year-old negotiator and warrior, Khmelnytsky, made all the difference.
At the battle of Zhovti Vodi, where, aided by the Tatars of Tugay Bey, the Cossacks inflicted their first crushing defeat on the Commonwealth. This was repeated soon after, with the same success, at the Battle of Korsuñ. What made these Cossack successes different was the diplomatic and military skill of Khmelnytsky: under his leadership, the Cossack army moved to battle positions following his plans. Cossacks were proactive and decisive in their manoeuvre and attacks, and most importantly, he not only managed to persuade large contingents of registered Cossacks to switch to his side, but also got the support of the Crimean Tatars. Unfortunately Khmelnytsky told the people that the Poles had sold them as slaves "into the hands of the accursed Jews". With this as their battle-cry, the Cossacks killed a large number of Jews during the year 1648. There is no unanimity among historians as to the exact number of casualties, and the precise number of dead may never be known, but several hundred Jewish communities were attacked (300 of them destroyed completely), and at least 25% of the Jews in Ukraine were killed, with death toll estimates in the tens of thousands. He was successful in establishing the Cossack Hetmanate of the Ukraine and proceeded to expel all non-Ukrainian's (Jews and Poles) from the territory.
In France, attempts to retake the southern regions were repulsed with great losses by the experienced tercios of De Melo.
There was a new Emperor of the Ottoman Empire from Ibrahim I to Mehmed IV. He proceeded to negotiate with Venice to smooth over the current war as he was dismayed by the British intervention on Venice's part.
In Savoy it was a relatively peaceful year, though political unrest in Tuscany continued to tie down troops.
Venice was delighted at the British intervention at Crete. They could not believe their luck at the stupidity of the Ottoman vessel that fired at a British one.
Venice also used the opportunity to seize the Republic of Ragusa from the Ottomans, using their British trained militia to utterly crush the Ottoman irregulars guarding the state.
The Bering Strait (originally called the Anian Strait) between Asia and North America was discovered by Semyon Dezhnev. This proved that the lands of Asia and North America weren't linked.
(1649) Brought to the negotiation table, the Dutch were forced to make an indemnity to both Britain and Denmark and were told to cease their privateering on British and Danish shipping. However, the commercial rivalry between the three nations was not resolved. Especially in the vast overseas empires hostilities continued between Dutch, British and Danish trading companies, which had their own policies and aims.
Britain negotiated with emissaries from the Shogunate to allow their warships base facilities on Deshima Island, this allowed them to patrol between India and Japan along the Chinese coast, dealing with commerce raiders.
The British Parliament debated changes to the army, particularly the equipping of colonial and company troops, many of whom have little or no training and outdated arms. Parliament also put out to tender a contract to supply the army with a better designed musket that could be loaded faster than the current one minute of an experienced trooper.
The rebuilding of London carried on apace. The new street plans were set and although many were in temporary housing the tent cities outside London were gone. Henry was presented with plans for a new St Paul's cathedral and approved them; the design was novel for Britain and somewhat resembled the Hagia Sofia in Constantinople.
Henry was approached by the Senior Rabbi of the British Council of Jewry. With the terrible events of the Cossack Hetmanate with regard to its Jewish population, the Senior Rabbi requested that Britain transported refugees to the colonies. The British Jewry along with other Jews throughout Europe and the Ottoman Empire had raised funds to bribe Khmelnytsky to allow the Jews of the Ukraine to leave rather than be slaughtered. They were also willing to pay the British to transport them to any colony Henry would allow. Henry though willing, could not see how the Jewish population could even make it to a place where ships from Britain's colonial fleet could pick them up. The Rabbi had however received word through intermediaries in the courts of Poland, Sweden and Denmark to allow the Jews to pass through their lands providing they did not settle. Henry agreed to have colonial transports available in Bremen to start transporting the Jews to Britain and hence to Bristol where the full colonial fleet had its base. His next problem was where to send them.
Britain formally welcomed the Haudenosaunee confederation into the Commonwealth of British North America. The Tadodaho of that time called Hotrewati and though elected was to have the equivalent rank as a Duke for all dealings with the nation.
Britain started to colonise the islands of New Zealand, though at first only as fortified naval bases.
Two new fortresses were approved for the colony of Panama to cover the land approaches to the ports. The population of Panama had almost doubled in the last two years despite the health hazards. Massive draining of swampland by redirecting rivers and building dykes was slowly eliminating the mosquito problem though.
In the Netherlands various factions were now fighting to establish dominance in the Staten-Generaal and the Regents were very much on the back foot against the Orangists. The huge financial resources of the Regents however were still being used to keep the common people down and more or less run the country as a business and this sufficed to keep any form of unanimity developing amongst the various opposition groups. The increased tolls for the Danish Oeresund are also biting into Dutch Mercantile profits and many merchants are questioning the wisdom of antagonising close allies in the name of a few guilders more profit.
The Stadtholder, William II, Prince of Orange, is biding his time, sooner or later the various merchants would make a mistake and allow the Staten-Generaal to come back under the control of the common people and the Orange party.
The Pernanbucana insurrection broke out again in Dutch Brazil as Portuguese settlers revolted against Dutch rule.
Denmark and Sweden now both watched with interest the war in Poland-Lithuania. Scandinavian military power and self-belief had not been as high in centuries and the possible break up of Poland-Lithuania looked like the perfect opportunity to increase that power.
The Danes, though now allowing transport to the Baltic by the Dutch, have increased the Oeresund fees for their passage though not by a great amount, simply enough to cost profits not volume of the merchant traffic.
The northern European high road was started, to run from Calais to Bruxelles, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck and Rostock. With side roads off to various other towns and cities. It was believed it would greatly increase internal trade within the Northern Alliance.
In France the civil war in the south continued to be fought, draining men and resources away from the rebuilding of French power on the Continent.
In Spain resources and money were being diverted into increasing trade and strengthening the colonies already held. The revolt in Naple, s though easily quelled, brought about a change in policies for the two Sicilies with a lowering of taxes and an increase in the amount of land used for farming. Relations with the Papal States remained cold and formal, the homes and palaces of Spanish cardinals and priests often being attacked by mobs in the city of Rome.
Savoy continued to have problems holding down Florence, though violence was very rarely necessary. The sullen attitude of the people kept the Savoyards on their guard.
Poland-Lithuania, though surprised by the ferocity and strength of the Cossack rebellion, started to fight back. The Hetmanate did not have enough strength to stabilize the situation or to inflict a defeat on the enemy. What followed was a period of intermittent warfare and several peace treaties, which neither side put much faith in or cared to abide by. From the spring of 1649 on, the situation turned for the worse for the Cossacks, as the frequency of Polish attacks increased and they were becoming more and more successful. The resulting Treaty of Zboriv in August was unfavourable for the Cossacks. Khmelnytsky, realising he couldn't win alone and not trusting his Tatar allies, sent out emissaries to talk to the Russians and the Swedes.
(1650) Despite securing an agreement that privateering would stop between the Dutch and the other allies, piracy continued on apace in the Southeast Asian seas. The dispatch of British and Danish warships helped a little, but the area covered was vast and the pirates either well hidden or back under neutral colours before the British or Danes could catch them. Henry had a number of merchantmen converted to heavily armed pirate chasers and despatched to East Asia. This, along with increased guards and a convoy system, brought raiding down to manageable levels, though by no means eliminating it. Henry and Parliament also offered a bounty for anyone who was prepared to identify pirated goods, pirates, or pirate bases.
Despite the objections of some in Parliament, the British colonial fleet started transporting Jewish refugees to Florida, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. The principles were the same for transporting German refugees, where the colonists became British citizens and took an oath to uphold British laws.
This year also saw the retirement of Oliver Cromwell as Governor of Greater Normandy through ill health. He was replaced by Sir Philip Stapleton, his friend and understudy, who carried on Cromwell's task of securing the Duchy as a British stronghold. Cromwell's sons, Richard and Oliver, were both at the British Military Academy in Edinburgh and expected to be fine officers of the crown.
George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Torrington, Baron Monck of Potheridge, Beauchamp and Teyes, was appointed commander of the North American Militias. He and an experienced staff from the British Military Academy travelled to the New World to train up the Militias as well as study the tactics of the colonists and their native allies.
Britain sent a delegation to the Ottomans to clear up recent misunderstandings. Although initially hostile, dialogue on a number of outstanding issues was achieved.
The "News" reported that a Henry Robinson has opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters, the first historically documented dating service in Threadneedle Street, London.
Also becoming popular in London were the new Coffee Houses, where gentlemen could sit and discuss the events of the day without recourse to drunken boorish behaviour.
Otto von Guericke demonstrated a powered air pump to scientists and merchants in London. Its use in mining became essential for any deep excavations.
In the Netherlands a reorganisation was undertaken of the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie aka Dutch East India Company), practically making them a private army and navy abroad. This, coupled with the Dutch merchant houses quest for ever greater profits, led to various ventures to attempt to oust British, Danish, Spanish and Portuguese merchants from present-day Indonesia and in the Malay Peninsula, Ceylon, the Malabar coast of India and Japan. Using mostly mercenaries, local rulers and adventurers the organisation, which on the surface appeared respectable, soon had stirred up a hornet's nest in the East Indies. Having 150 merchantmen, 40 warships with another 30 being built and over 10,000 soldiers, it rapidly expanded to take over any outposts abandoned by its rivals in the face of the violence it supported. Though there was no evidence or trail of paperwork back to Amsterdam, it soon became obvious to the four other mercantile powers just what was going on.
The Pernanbucana insurrection collapsed as a Dutch army, though very badly mauled by the Portuguese and their native help, finally defeated the rebels.
The Danes, though no strangers to rigorous competition themselves, were wondering just who was in charge of the Netherlands, with Prince William saying one thing, the Staatholders another and the VOC doing something else, consulted with their friendly rivals, the British and Swedes, to decide on a course of action.
The Swedes were in talks with the Cossack Hetmanate about the recognition of their regime. King Robert could see the advantages of bringing the Ukraine into Sweden's sphere of interest, especially as it would also keep the Russians out of the Ukraine. Although having little taste for the excesses of the Hetmanate regime it was decided that over all it would be in the best interests of Sweden to recognise Bohdan Khmelnytsky and his country.
This prompted Poland-Lithuania to declare war on Sweden.
In France continued efforts to gain control of the south of the country by the royalists are thwarted by De Melo and his allies. French attempts to get Spain to assist them in dealing with De Melo are coldly rebuffed.
In Spain there was talk of another war with the Dutch over their actions in the East Indies. The Spanish decided to act cautiously, speaking to Britain and Denmark first before getting involved in a struggle that might drag the British and Danes into a shooting war with Spain. The Spanish continued their quiet funding of De Melo, warning him only to stay out of Spain on pain of death, but allowing him to recruit mercenaries from Spanish towns.
King John Casimir of Poland, angered at Swedish recognition of the Cossacks, proceeded to send an army north into Estonia and another into Brandenburg. He also requested assistance from the HRE to support his attacks against the Protestant heretics. He received support and aid from Austria and Bavaria with various "mercenary" units being sent to his armies.
Venice and the Ottomans re-established peaceful relations; Venice also retained control of the Republic of Ragusa.
Venice warned that the Knights of St John were no longer welcome in Venetian territory.
(1651) Tensions increased in the East Indies with privateering, raid and counter-raid by the various nations involved. Dutch attempts to have the British removed from Japan backfire with the Dutch delegation being expelled by the Shogunate over a breach of etiquette and their trading rights revoked.
The British presence in India was also increased due to good relations with the Moghul Empire.
British warships continued to seek out pirate nests with the assistance of the Danes and occasionally the Spanish/Portuguese, ruthlessly wiping out any they find.
The British army was issued with a newer musket, lighter than the previous model it was 46 inches (116.8 cm) long, firing a .75 inch calibre ball. Using an iron ramrod instead of a wooden one it could, after practice, be reloaded twice in a minute with some experienced troops managing an amazing three times per minute. (Though this was unusual and rarely happened in combat.) This process was drilled into troops until they could do it by instinct and feel. The main advantage of the British army was that, unlike continental armies, they trained at this procedure almost every day.
The British Parliament agreed to fund the full colonisation of New Zealand, feeling that a larger British presence in the southern hemisphere was both necessary and desirable. Following on the example of colonising Henricia (OTL California) three large colonisation fleets were planned over the next ten years, each carrying 5,000 colonists with all the necessary supplies needed to set up a thriving community, in addition to the regular colonial efforts.
Increasing colonisation of British North America brought increasing debate on colonial size and boundaries. Though most colonies were happy to be ruled by King Henry, they were concerned that the British Parliament, despite having colonial advisors, were too distant to properly meet the ongoing needs of the various colonies. Admiration of the Haudenosaunee style of self-governance; a desire to take hold of their own destiny to a greater degree led to a decision to hold a colonial congress to debate future expansion as well as new boundaries. The British Parliament agreed to look at any decisions arrived at by the congress, though not necessarily to ratify them.
In the Netherlands there was fierce debate over the actions of the VOC and the Regents. Although there was no direct evidence of wrongdoing, it was becoming very obvious that the Regents were not acting in the best interests of the Republic. Prince William was in talks with Henry and Christian over the situation and agreed to act against the Regents should evidence be found that they were directly responsible for the actions taking place in the East Indies as he was not yet strong enough to act directly against them.
Denmark, though concerned over the problems in the East Indies, continued to expand its commercial interests in Africa, China and India. Profits also soared from her West Indies possessions despite the rampant corruption of the governor of New Denmark (OTL Puerto Rico). The Danish army was also put on alert over the Polish invasion of Brandenburg, though the Swedes had not (as yet) asked for aid. King Christian also began talks with the Rigsraad over a revision of offices held by nobility. This was very unpopular with some of the nobility, but Christian used his influence along with the support gained in the new territories to carry it through.
In Sweden the attacks by Poland-Lithuania came as no surprise and the Swedish army moved to counter the two invasions of Swedish territory. A series of battles in Estonia rapidly drove the invaders off Swedish territory and plans were made to drive further south into Latvia. In Brandenburg the situation was a lot more difficult as the Polish armies had been bolstered by mercenaries from various HRE states and the Swedes and Brandenburgers were forced into a series of defensive battles and were slowly pushed out of the province, despite causing greater casualties to the invaders.
In Poland-Lithuania, though happy with progress in Brandenburg, they were dismayed at the defeats in Estonia. There was further bad news with an indecisive battle with the Cossacks between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army under King Jan II Casimir and Cossack and Ukrainian peasant forces, led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and their Crimean Tatar allies. The Polish army had around 70,000 troops, the Cossacks around 80,000 plus 40,000 Crimean Tatar cavalry. Both sides had about 40,000 cavalry each. Fighting was close; with the core of excellent Cossack infantry making up for the weakness of their cavalry, much of the decisive fighting was by the infantry and dismounted dragoons of each side. Victory was claimed by the Cossacks despite the Crimean Tatars, dispirited by the death of their leader Toðay Bey, deserting the battlefield. However most historians agree the battle petered out, as the Cossacks charged the ranks of the Polish-Lithuanian army but were unable to break through. As a result, Casimir was forced to call up more troops to defend his realm.
In France it was another series of inconclusive battles in the South with neither side being able to gain an advantage over the other. King Louis XIV came of age and took over the reins of power from his mother Queen Anne.
In Spain preparations were being made for war with the Dutch, although there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the fight amongst Philip's generals. Philip and his advisors knew it was not really in Spain's long term interests to get bogged down in another struggle with the Netherlands, something they hadn't come close to winning before when they had troops stationed in Flanders.
Savoy put down an attempted insurrection in Tuscany.
Venice agreed to purchase some long range armed merchantmen from Britain in its first attempts to start trading in the New World and East Asia.
(1652) Britain, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands were practically fighting an undeclared war in the East Indies over the activities of the VOC. The capture of a Dutch privateer by a British armed merchantman opened a massive can of worms for the Dutch merchant staatholders. The ship also carried mercenaries to assist in the expulsion of the Portuguese/Spanish from Ceylon. It also contained correspondence to other Dutch outposts to continue their expansion to the exclusion of all other foreign nationalities. The Spanish in particular (when their spies reported the findings) are incensed at the Dutch actions and threatened war unless serious reparations were made. Henry and Christian likewise were very angry at their so called allies, threatening further sanctions on Dutch shipping travelling their waters. Fortunately, Prince William acted promptly by summoning the Staten-Generaal and presenting the evidence; the Staten-Generaal then called for the arrest of the heads of the VOC and started procedures against them for treasonous activities. Seizure of assets belonging to the families was offered as a sop to the offended nations. The trading outposts seized were also returned to the offended parties. Many of the VOC leaders however had knowledge of the charges and fled the Netherlands with their families to East Asia.
British interests abroad were further expanded with a series of treaties with Siam, Vietnam and Korea, mostly for raw materials. British efforts to increase trade with China were made more difficult by the Emperor's advisor, Johann Adam Schall von Bell, a Jesuit from Germany, who had no love for the Protestant traders and pushed the Shunzhi Emperor towards better relations with the Spanish and Portuguese. In response the British started discreet talks with a rebel leader called Koxinga, seeing if influence could be obtained from that direction.
In British North America the first all colony congress was held, discussing mutual aid, policies and representation within the British Parliament. Also discussed were the British religious contract which enforced a form of freedom of religion and whether it should apply to native religions. There were calls from some groups for a "Jubilee Year" in which all slaves should be freed, though this was shouted down by many in the congress who owned slaves themselves.
Henry prepared the army for deployment should Sweden ask for aid.
Prince William continued to clean house in the Netherlands, although there was some risk of civil war, the population, army and navy stood square behind him as he proceeded to set right the damage done to the State and the reputation of the State. Moving swiftly as his party now controlled the Staten-Generaal he passed several laws governing the mercantile practice of the Regents and the VOC. He also put a bounty on the heads of the VOC who fled the country in the wake of the investigation into their illegal practices. It was not so much that they were doing them, but that they did them to excess and were caught. Prince William also put the army in readiness to assist the Swedes should they ask.
King Christian assembled the Danish army around Hamburg, consisting of his regular levies as well as those from the new Danish protectorates. The news from Brandenburg and Estonia was not good and he expected the Northern alliance to be involved in coming to Sweden's aid soon. He was also relieved that the Dutch appeared to have sorted out their problems within the Netherlands; however he ordered any Danish shipping to keep an eye out for the missing VOC members. The Dutch indemnity was also enough to salve the outraged Danish merchants who had been calling for war against their neighbours.
Sweden's push down into Latvia came to a grinding halt when they were faced with a massive invasion behind them from Russia. The Russian Tsar, Alexei Mikhailovich, allied himself to the Poles, having been angered by Sweden's interference with the Ukraine. Caught between two armies the northern Swedish army was crushed despite making a good account of itself just outside of Tartu. The Russians then moved to lay siege to Tallinn. In Brandenburg the Swedes were pushed west from Neubrandenburg, fighting a text book withdrawal in the face of hostile forces yet unable still to hold back the sheer numbers of the Poles and their allies. Robert called to his allies in the Northern alliance to come to Sweden's aid.
In Poland-Lithuania there was a great deal of satisfaction with the current state of the war, true they had had to get aid from the Russians and would lose territory in the east, but they saw Sweden as a far greater current threat. Dealing with the Cossack insurrection had not however proven easy as Khmelnytsky was proving himself a tough and ingenious general.
In France it was yet another year of inconsequential battles over the south of the country. Neither side seemed able to make any kind of a breakthrough and Louis was far too stubborn to try and negotiate.
In Spain there was disappointment from some at not getting to fight the Dutch, however to Philip and his advisors this was a relief as they were not in a position to fight a long war yet. Spain's activities were currently spent on improving the defences of her colonies, some of which were perceived as being very vulnerable to attack. British permission to use the Panama road was also very useful as it enabled the transfer of goods and precious metals across the South American continent very quickly. The British, true to their word, did not interfere with anyone's business so long as they paid the toll and obeyed the law.
Venice and Savoy pooled their resources and set up a small colony at the mouth of the Demerara River in South America (OTL Georgetown). Land was swiftly cleared and plantations set up and a small influx of colonists began making the journey west.
(1653 January to March) The British army was shipped across to Bremen where despite the weather it marched to Stettin and was billeted in and around the town. Henry called in at Hamburg to consult with Christian and William and clarify lines of command. This was not expected to be an easy campaign and fighting against Russia was an unknown quantity for the Alliance. Henry himself did not expect to be involved in the fighting and had merely travelled to talk to the other Heads of State and, though healthy for his age and all his faculties still sharp, did not really feel that at 59 his place should be on the battlefield. His son, James, was Commander-in-Chief of the Army with Generals Leslie, Montrose and Fairfax commanding the three separate arms. In total this was the largest army ever fielded by Britain with just under 80,000 men-at-arms. The experiences fighting in France and Austria were held in good stead as the support units travelling across Europe were well supplied with powder, shot and food. The plan was for the British to try and skirt around the edges of the Poles and their allies and threaten to cut off their northern support, whilst the Dutch and Danes joined with the Swedes to engage the Poles head on and drive them back out of Brandenburg.
The British Parliament received representatives from the Colonial Congress and their request to form a Parliament of North America to deal with matters of interest to the colonies save only in foreign affairs and taxation. As with the British Parliament, Henry would remain the Head of State.
Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, John Wallis, John Evelyn, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren and William Petty petitioned Henry to give his support to the Society of Britain for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, assent was given and the Royal Society was founded. Knowledge and results of experimentation were soon being passed between the society and other learned men of Europe.
John Thurloe became Henry's head of intelligence, drawing together the various departments that used to deal with aspects of gaining intelligence from various powers in Europe and placing them all under one head.
Prince William, having managed to avoid both a civil and foreign wars against the British, Danes and Spaniards, moved to strengthen his position and that of his party within the republic. Although immensely popular amongst the ordinary people and the middle classes, he had alienated the remaining Regents and merchants by his measures to regulate their activities. He was worried that by keeping his obligations to the Northern Alliance he had become vulnerable at home as the army was so far away.
Christian of Denmark was glad to be back out in the field leading his troops, leaving his brother, Frederick, in charge at Copenhagen. Though immensely worried about the size of the armies facing the Alliance he felt that it was possible to break the threat from the east for at least a generation giving the Alliance time to grow and prosper from trade and colonisation.
Robert of Sweden, though glad of the support of the Alliance in the south, was moving the best parts of his army to the north to try and relieve Estonia. Though the Russians were laying siege to Tallinn, the intense winter cold and strong defences had left their army in a dreadful state. Robert hoped that once the mud had dried after spring the full might of Sweden could crush the Russians and drive them away from Estonia.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky knew that unless the Northern Alliance could defeat Poland-Lithuania and send a relief army through to the Ukraine he was unlikely to survive this year as his Tatar allies had switched sides and the country itself was almost totally over-run with various armies all hoping for a chunk of the spoils.
King Casimir of Poland was greatly satisfied by the actions of his armies in the south, the Swedes had been pushed back and the Cossacks were in serious trouble. The bringing up of the Northern alliance worried him not at all; despite their numbers he still had the advantage of territory and men-at-arms.
In France the royalists prepared for another campaign in the south of the country.
Spain continued her reforms and attempted to expand further trade in the East Indies, hoping to snatch various monopolies and trading posts off the Dutch whilst there was much confusion over the Regents.
(1653 April) The British army moved east to try and outflank the Polish-Lithuanian army and forced them to retreat back towards Neubrandenburg. The Dutch, Danes and Swedes, driving forward, sought to engage the Poles. Forced into retreat by the larger armies, the Poles and their allies looked to try and engage one or the other of the Alliance armies before the other could come to its aid. Keeping in constant touch with one another the Alliance kept the pressure on the Poles, slowly driving them from Brandenburg, much to the relief of the Brandenburgers themselves who had been facing discrimination for being Protestants. Finally, near the town of Schwedt, the Poles thought they saw their chance and engaged the British army. Unlike previous battles, the British, instead of fighting in blocks six deep, the line was only three deep, this enabled the flanks of the army to extend beyond the Polish lines. Expecting their heavier lines to be able to punch through the fragile seeming British lines the Poles were caught out by the much faster British volleys and their discipline under fire themselves. The British line then proceeded to use its flanks to swing around the sides of the Polish army, trapping many in a pocket causing a rout as the Polish army could not retreat fast enough to escape the trap prepared for them. Broken and bloodied the Poles fell back towards the border, harried mercilessly by British lancers and cavalry only to face the larger Alliance army swinging up around Schwedt, cutting off their retreat. The battle was a disaster for the Poles and their allies and its general Jeremi Michal Korybut Wiœniowiecki was forced to surrender his army en-masse to Prince James and they were marched back into Brandenburg to repair the depredations they had caused to the towns and cities. The British continued their march into Silesia, heading for Torun whilst the Dutch and Swedes headed towards Breslau. The Danes, holding the centre ground, moved towards Poznan. The Alliance all stayed within touch with each other and scouted heavily, each was able to come to the aid of the other should the need arise.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky fought several battles in the south of the Hetmanate against the Crimean Tatars who were trying to enslave and sell many of the indigenous natives of the Ukraine.
French troops under the Duc d'Enghien defeated a rebel army led by de Melo and re-occupied Toulouse, driving the rebels out of that region back to Languedoc.
Spanish and Portuguese troops landed in Ceylon to protect their mercantile interests from Dutch hostile acquisition.
(1653 May) The British occupied Torun, having been welcomed in by the mostly Protestant German population, opening up the port facilities there to aid their resupply. The population drove out the Jesuits and Dominicans and recent Catholic settlers who had arrived in order to promote the Counter-Reformation, taking control of the Church of St. John. This was then rededicated to the Lutheran church. Though unable to stop the townsfolk driving out the Roman Catholics, the British army did retain order and prevented any violence. Leaving the town strongly garrisoned, the British then moved east to threaten Warsaw.
The Danes under King Christian swiftly overran Poznan, with the city's walls not being in the best of conditions, being welcomed in by some and gaining grudging acceptance by others. Leaving the city garrisoned the Danes moved east to link up with the British near Warsaw.
The Dutch and Swedes were welcomed into Breslau by the local German Lutherans who had been suppressed by their Hapsburg rulers. The local population once again took the opportunity to drive out their supposed oppressors as did most of the mainly protestant Silesian region. The joint army then continued east skirting around the Polish-Lithuanian forces moving to defend Warsaw and headed towards Kraków, where they met and defeated a small army lead by Marcin Kalinowski and proceeded to lay siege to the city.
In Estonia a joint Swedish-Danish army landed and proceeded to move towards Tallinn to relieve the city which had been under desultory Russian siege for nearly eight months.
The Battle of Plock took place between that town and the Vistula crossing near Warsaw over three days at the end of May between the combined armies of Britain and Denmark and a joint Polish-Lithuanian-Russian army and was the largest battle yet seen on the continent. The British and Danes numbering about 120,000 men and the Polish-Lithuanians and Russians numbering in the region of 140,000, though not all forces took part in the battle.
On the first day the British and Danes mounted a conventional, frontal assault which was resisted and repulsed, though casualties were very low. The space between the Bialowieza forest to the east and the Vistula river on the west made the line of battle very narrow and prevented the British and Danish infantry from forming an effective firing line with their muskets. The lighter British artillery did make some progress in suppressing any return fire from the Poles and Russians. The Polish-Lithuanian forces had also thrown up earthwork fortifications in front of their positions, creating a very difficult defensive position to assault. This also hampered any attempt to counterattack as any troops emerging from behind the defences were immediately cut to pieces by the British and Danish infantry. The majority of the Danish infantry swung round to the south of the Polish positions looking for a crossing point to assault their lines.
On the second day, Prince James led a personal reconnaissance mission and noticed that a hillock against the forest, known as the "Colline", was on high enough ground to see over the Bialowieza forest and was also a prime position to put his guns. He had it assaulted and occupied by British infantry and dragoons and soon positioned his cannon on it, holding off against repeated Polish charges against the hillock. With the British having shifted attention to the Colline hillock, the highly mobile Danish cavalry began a daring manoeuvre having found a crossing point and driving off the guards holding it they wheeled around the Bialowieza forest unseen by the Russian right flank. They consolidated a new position which made the Russian battle lines untenable. A counter-charge by Russian cavalry was not strong enough to break the Danish lines and rescue the situation because the sudden appearance of the outflanking Danish army on their southern flank caused them to rush uncoordinated attacks that petered out by nightfall.
The third day was when the Pole's and Russian's forces were finally defeated. Prince James began an hour-long bombardment and followed with a bayonet charge against the now demoralized and disorganized enemy forces on the northern flank. King Christian led a cavalry charge to the right and broke deep into the rear of the Polish-Russian lines, causing a general disintegration of their forces. John II Casimir decided the battle was lost and attempted to withdraw his army across a single bridge over the Vistula river, while his cavalry retreated north and south along the river harried mercilessly by the British and Danish dragoon lancers. Moving his lighter artillery swiftly in the face of the retreat, Prince James was able to bring the bridge over the Vistula under fire causing pandemonium as the retreating Poles and Russians were caught in a choke point. The swiftly marching British infantry were soon within range of the bridge and began to pour volley fire into the carnage, causing massive casualties as the Poles and Russians were unable to retreat fast enough, nor was anyone in a position to officially surrender. The British and Danish casualties were light, being around some 9,000 men, the Poles however lost somewhere in the region of 50,000 men including over 10,000 of their elite winged hussars and were badly demoralised by the defeat. The Russians lost over 20,000 and retreated back towards Russia after Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich repudiated the treaty between them.
The following day the British and Danish armies marched into Warsaw watched by a fearful population.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky moved his army north to fight off a Russian incursion near Chernigov, forcing them to withdraw after heavy losses. All Polish-Lithuanian incursions into the Hetmanate had now ceased as their armies moved west to try and contain the Northern Alliance. Khmelnytsky hoped that independence for the Ukraine would be agreed soon, though he eyed the Crimea in the hope of seizing a port on the Black Sea.
France consolidated its position around Toulouse by hanging thousands of rebels against the crown. This brought the Languedoc back into French hands and split the rebels into two separate parts, Aquitaine and Provence.
(1653 June) The British and Danish armies split, with the British heading north towards the Lithuanian capital at Vilnius and the Danes marching towards Lublin. Both armies fought a series of light skirmishes en-route, though scouts reported larger armies forming ahead of them.
The joint Danish-Swedish army broke the siege of Tallinn, sending the Russians back towards Novgorod. Leaving the town adequately garrisoned the Army swung south towards Tartu and the Latvian border.
The Dutch-Swedish army at Krakow continued to lay siege to the town as the defenders desperately held on hoping for relief, with plague and famine running rampant behind the walls. There were a lot of minor battles fought against Bavarian and Austrian mercenaries, though there seemed to have been no concerted effort to relieve the city.
Bodhan Khmelnytsky, having agreed terms with the Russians to leave the Ukraine, swung his army south to engage the Crimean Tatars hoping to capture the Black Sea port at Cherson.
The Russian Parliament started talks with the Northern Alliance, seeking an end to hostilities.
King Casimir of Poland, ignoring the advice of his noble council, summoned another host to "destroy the heretics". This caused splits within Poland and Lithuania with many ignoring the call demanding the King seek terms with others flocking to the King's banner. Many of the nobles in Lithuania simply refused to fight seeing no gain in throwing away a generation of fighting men against what appeared to be an unbeatable foe.
In Britain Henry was strongly involved in the rebuilding of London, putting his seal of approval on all manner of buildings (though notes from his chronicler suggest it was actually Queen Maria who gave the final seal of approval). The classical styles used set the pattern for future generations and many new techniques that have become commonplace were tried and tested during this period.
The British Parliament received a request from the Tsalagi to join the Commonwealth of British North America.
Jewish immigration to Florida had now reached over 10,000. Many were also having their way paid to the Southern island of New Zealand, boosting the British colonial efforts there. Some though were also choosing to settle in the highlands of Scotland where they were mostly left alone to follow their religious practices.
Arriving in Bristol were two regiments of colonial militia and several units of Haudenosaunee auxiliary scouts under General George Monck. They marched to Dover to sail to Calais and deployment in Poland. The differences in dress and equipment of the colonials were the talk of London society with their buckskin trousers and coats showing none of the colour of a European army.
The British Parliament formally approved the founding of a North American Parliament to take over the day to day formalities of the colony. Revenue and foreign policy remained in the hands of Britain though.
Britain agreed to discreetly arm, train and supply Koxinga in China in his rebellion against the Manchu dynasty hoping that he would allow better trade in any ports he captured.
The talk in North America was of the deployment of their militia abroad. There was a great deal of pride in the fact that they were able to come to the aid of their King and this was thought to be the start of the tradition of serving in the colonial militias and forging a loyalty to Britain that has never been broken.
In France the army of Duc d'Enghien moved in to Aquitaine to stifle the rebellion there. Another French army under "Cadet la Perle" moved to Provencal and were soundly defeated by De Melo and his tercios.
Spain continued to try and expand its colonies in South America with many new investments in plantations and mines. Colonial infrastructure was also being expanded and although life was harsh for many of the natives it was slowly improving.
Philip rebuffed an attempt by Poland to involve him in the northern war. Trade with Britain and British colonies was growing and becoming a necessary component of Spanish wealth and mercantile growth and whilst there was no great love between the two nations, at the moment peace was more profitable than war.
Ferdinand III of the HRE though disturbed by the Northern Alliance victories in Poland could offer little but verbal support to the Poles, save only allowing them to recruit mercenaries from his lands. His advice to Casimir to come to terms as quickly as possible fell on deaf ears.
(1653 July) The Dutch and Swedes took Krakow as the local population forced the town leaders to open the gates. Starvation and disease had decimated the population and most were relieved as the joint army moved in and distributed food as well as allowing other supplies into the town. The Dutch then marched north to link up with the Danes whilst the Swedes moved east to Lvov.
The British marched one army under Fairfax north towards Gdansk, stopping only long enough to take the ports surrender and confirm its free city status. Ships from the Alliance were soon calling into the port bringing supplies and reinforcements including the Colonial Militia who were attached to Montrose's army. A further march north took the British up to Königsberg which also duly surrendered not wishing any part in a war which disturbed trade. A second British army under Leslie moved towards Vilnius to meet emissaries from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who requested that the British accept their non-belligerent status. The British then regrouped to move south to Kiev and a meeting with Bodhan Khmelnytsky.
In the far north the Danes and Swedes continued to drive a demoralised Polish army south out of Estonia and back into Latvia. Riga opened its gates to the allies and resistance in the north collapsed.
The Cossack Hetmanate continued to drive the Crimean Tatars from their lands bordering the Black Sea. The war was one of movement, raid and counter-raid, though the Cossacks concentrated on trying to seize Cherson.
The Danish army occupied Warsaw and continued to scout out the countryside of the surrounding areas, they were aware of a large Polish army assembling towards Brest, though were not prepared to move out of prepared positions to attack them yet.
In Ireland the new King's Highways were being completed, linking most towns to Dublin. Land reform had increased farm size and the land had become the breadbasket of the British Union.
Several of the new forts in Normandy were nearing completion and land reform similar to Ireland was taking place although there was no wholesale driving the population off the land.
North American Mounted Militia came in contact with the Kiowa tribe, contact was friendly though the militia were warned to proceed no further.
In France desperate fighting by the rebels in Aquitaine only delayed the inevitable and the Duc d'Enghien smashed the final resistance in Bordeaux to bring all but Provencal back under French rule.
(1653 August) The Polish army attacked the Danes outside Warsaw, King Casimir had gathered a huge host thinking he could overwhelm the Danes by sheer numbers before any of the other allied armies could come to their aid. This was a last throw of the dice for Casimir, in less than a year he had seen all his gains stripped away from him and should he be defeated, the dissolution of his Commonwealth as his Lithuanian nobles and their Parliament (Sejmik) refused to aid him and sought separate terms with the Alliance.
The battle of Warsaw was a disaster for Poland, going down in their history as the blackest days they'd ever faced. Attacking the Danes, who were securely positioned, amply supplied and armed behind huge earthworks, the Poles broke themselves making mass charge after mass charge and were thrown back with massive casualties every time. At the end of the first day the Poles had lost almost 15,000 men to the Danes 300. The following day the Poles concentrated their attacks along one front trying to seize the defensive earthworks finally driving the hard pressed Danes from their secure position only to have to withdraw as the fast marching Dutch army arrived on the field. Caught out of position from not having kept scouts out, the Poles were driven off the field in disorder, harried and decimated by the sallying Danish and Dutch lancers.
Polish losses were estimated at almost 47,000 to the Danes 8,000 and the Dutch's 2,500. Casimir fled the field with his Royal Guard only to be seized later that night by a Danish patrol hiding in a church, betrayed by one of his own guards.
The rest of the month saw Northern alliance forces move from town to town, disbanding or exterminating any forces loyal to Casimir or those who had turned to banditry. Though never particularly welcome anywhere, the alliance troops at least had a reputation for fair dealing with the populace and violent incidents were few and far between.
The treaty of Warsaw signed later that month changed the face of Northern Europe. Poland was forced to recognise the Cossack Hetmanate (Ukraine) as a separate country, the Commonwealth was divided and Lithuania no longer tied to Poland. Poland also ceded the German speaking regions of Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia and lost all access to the Baltic. King Casimir was forced to give up all claims to the Swedish throne.
Sweden gained Estonia in the north and also gained Lithuania as an independent protectorate (at Lithuania's request), though at Danish insistence lost Brandenburg and Saxony in the South.
Brandenburg, Saxony, Silesia, Pomerania and Prussia formed a new German dominated state known as the Baltic Federation based loosely on the model of the Dutch republic.
Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands received an indemnity of £500,000 each and agreed to keep some of their troops in the Baltic Federation until its constitution could be sorted out.
In London the request of the Tsalagi for Commonwealth status was debated and passed. There was also some discussion of what to call a colony after the colonial phase had passed, though as yet no-one could make up their minds.
The missing Regents from the VOC were finally traced to Formosa, though the governor there refused to hand them over to the representatives of the Staten-Generaal.
Balthasar Charles of Spain, Prince of Asturias and Portugal, died in Provencal from over indulgence at a feast. De Melo had his body transported back to Spain and awaited Philip's judgement on the event.
During this time the French again tried to reconquer the province and were beaten back by De Melo's army.
In France Aquitaine was "cleansed" of all rebels to the crown in a reign of terror that lasted for over a year. No-one whether young, old, noble or commoner was spared from execution, nor were their families.
A revolt in Florence was brutally suppressed by the Savoyard army.
(1653 September to December) Europe settled into an uneasy peace, the strength of the Northern Alliance was something no state wished to challenge, though most were now trying to train their armies up to the standards now set.
In Britain there was a great deal of satisfaction at the strength of their arms, though also astonishment at just how quickly the situation in Poland collapsed.
Parliament extended the franchise to landowners and men of wealth in Greater Normandy whose total wealth exceeded £1,000 per annum.
Henry arranged a grand tour of his realm for the following year, including a trip to North America. There was a great deal of anticipation involved as to who would get to meet the King as well as endless discussion on the protocols of meeting the King. This was something that meant very little to Henry as during his army years he had got into the habit of meeting and talking to all his men-at-arms as equals. His habit of taking a morning constitutional in Hyde Park and talking to any and all who were passing through also added to his growing reputation of being a King for all men, though it gave his head of intelligence (John Thurloe) a lot of problems as protecting the King was his duty.
Henry's town house was completed at this time and was renowned for having wallpaper as opposed to carpets on the walls when he and his household moved into it. Known formally as the King's Residence and informally as Henry's House it became the royal residence for all future monarchs, though the Court of St James was still used as the formal meeting place for foreign ambassadors.
The first Cape Colony wines were sold in London and Amsterdam.
The population of London reached 100,000 for the first time.
In Denmark the betrothal of King Christian to Magdalena Sibylla of Saxony was greeted with acclamation by the people.
Denmark continued to expand its holdings on the Gold coast, expanding south to encroach on territory belonging to Spain/Portugal.
Swedish and Lithuanian diplomats spent this time discussing the implications involved in the linking of the two realms. Fortunately King Robert and his experience of the British way of dealing with religion helped greatly to ease fears in Lithuania of being forced into Protestantism. Robert also at this time guaranteed the rights of Lithuania's free farmers and stopped the slide into serfdom that many were experiencing. During this time he also strengthened the powers of the Swedish Riksdag despite objections from his nobles to counter their growing influence on Swedish foreign policies.
He also curtailed the power of the Lithuanian Szlachta (Noble houses) over their riding roughshod over the mercantile classes when it came to taxation.
In Poland King Casimir and a cabal of nobles managed to hold on to power and gradually turned his reign into that of absolutism with everything coming under the command of the King and his nobles. Feeling deeply humiliated by the Northern Alliance victories the King started talks with Austria, Bavaria and France about mutual interests.
In the Netherlands William's demands for the Governor of Taiwan to hand over the Regents of the VOC were denied and he made plans to seize the island back from the Regents and their supporters.
In France the army of "Cadet La Perle" fought several pitched battles with De Melo, finally forcing him and his followers out of Provencal and into exile in Savoy. Again a reign of terror began in Provencal as all who opposed the King were ruthlessly hunted down and executed.
In Spain a period of mourning began for Balthasar Charles, though it was only really observed in the royal household. Philip no longer sent monetary aid to De Melo.
(1654) Was a year of diplomacy and discussions as the Northern Alliance leaders again met in Copenhagen, each member having issues and matters for debate with the others. Also welcomed to the Alliance were the Baltic Federation.
The main issue for Britain was the continuing Dutch (VOC) piracy in the East Indies which was hurting trade and affecting the confidence of investors, the representatives of the Staten-Generaal assured Henry that warships and troops were now being sent to bring the VOC to heel and hopefully end the piracy by Dutch privateers at least.
The main issue for the Dutch was to try and lower the tolls through the Oeresund and gain back some of their Baltic trade, this Christian of Denmark promised he would look at as soon as Dutch privateering ceased against Danish vessels.
Christian of Denmark's biggest issue was the increasing power of Sweden, although he had managed to loosen the states of Brandenburg and Saxony from Sweden's grasp, the influence of Sweden had increased with the gaining of Estonia and bringing Lithuania into Sweden's sphere of influence. Talks with King Robert however assured Christian that Sweden as such had no designs on Danish territory in Scania and Halland and that Sweden would be looking to closer ties in the future to ensure that all their gains could be consolidated into a Baltic Union with benefits for all.
Robert of Sweden at this time was looking to ensure the solidity of the Northern Alliance, knowing that alone Sweden would be no match for her enemies, events before the Alliance came to the aid of Sweden had proved that.
The British Parliament debated a new treaty with Japan which would allow for a greater amount of trade with the islands in exchange for further trade ports to be opened. An invitation was sent out with a new ambassadorial staff to supplement the existing personnel.
At the end of September Henry sailed for the New World, landing in Boston to the acclaim of the local population.
In London the artist Carel Fabritius did a series of portraits of the Royal household at the behest of Queen Maria, thus ensuring his reputation in Britain and securing a series of commissions that left him a very wealthy man.
In the Royal Society Otto von Guericke proved the existence of atmospheric pressure by demonstrating with two spheres held together by a vacuum which could not be separated even by two teams of horses.
In the Netherlands a Dutch fleet and army was assembled and sent out to Taiwan to return the island to the rule of the Staten Generaal. The northern European high road reached Arnhem and plans were made to extend it further than the original destination of Rostock and link it eventually to Tallinn via Stettin, Torun and Vilnius, with side roads out to Danzig, Koenigsberg and Riga.
In Denmark the nation rejoiced as King Christian announced that Magdalena Sibylla of Saxony, his Queen, was with child.
In Sweden talks continued between that nation's diplomats and the nation of Lithuania. Treaties of mutual support and defence were made as well as seeking closer political ties. Lithuania, though nervous of Sweden and her ambitions, was far more nervous of Russia.
In France there was consolidation of the reign of King Louis with various laws and ordinances being set out to bring the land (and especially the King) into a degree of prosperity. His rule became increasingly autocratic and what power there was in the land was wielded by the King and his advisors.
Spain increased its commitment to colonisation and took settlers across to South America, determined to extend their control of the land.
Savoy and Venice also increased their business in their colony of Nuovo Italia, though were very cautious of the Spanish as well as other privateers.
(1655) Newer methods of crop rotation were experimented with by modern thinking landowners leading to a four field system. This led to calls for a debate in Parliament for the best use for land in Britain.
The debate was fomented by Member of Parliament, James Harrington, stating Aristotle's theory of constitutional stability and revolution. Harrington stated that a government was certain to reflect a social system in which the bulk of the land was owned by the gentry rather than by the King and the Church as in ages past. He favoured dividing the country into landholdings of a specified maximum value, having a legislature that held a referendum on each proposed law, and a complex rotation scheme for public officials: "The law is but words and paper without the hands and swords of men," wrote Harrington, but he will be credited with saying that the ideal form of government was "an empire of laws and not of men". Attempts to have Harrington arrested were prevented by Prince James who supported Harrington's conclusions, though not necessarily his methodology.
The British Parliament was forced to debate further land reform as the outcry from various involved parties grew and as more and more people were leaving the land and travelling to the cities much land was now standing fallow. Parliament allowed any land to be incorporated (for a price) into large scale farming schemes that changed much of the landscape of Britain over the next few decades. Parliament though stipulated that simply turning the peasant class off the land would not be allowed, they must be given passage to the New World or other colonies as part of the land purchase price. This was to keep the level of colonisation high and not out of any philanthropic or altruistic motives of the MP's.
Henry's grand tour of North America continued with him visiting many towns, cities and hamlets. His visits to the Haudenosaunee and Tsalagi were captured by local artists and show the tribes during their transitional stage to a modern European style of dwellings and farming. He then travelled to New Jerusalem (OTL Tampa Bay) in Florida where he spoke with various elders and merchants in the Jewish settlements, discussing various problems with the setting up of a colony in hot, humid and frequently swampy territory.
After visiting eastern North America Henry then set sail for Panama where he travelled the Highway to set sail from Port Robert to New London.
In a battle at Postage Farina, Tunis: Admiral Blake and the British fleet beat the barbarian pirates of the Barbary Coast and severely damaged the arsenal of the Bey of Tunis.
British expansion in North America from the east had reached the Missouri in the north and followed the Brazos to the south. Colonisation of the west coast was very much lower and tended to be mostly small coastal settlements, though the area around New London (OTL San Francisco) was very popular.
In the Netherlands the news was that Prince William's fleet had landed in Taiwan and laid siege to Tayoan City and Castle Zeelandia, the siege was long and hard but the Dutch succeeded and captured the rebels.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, was discovered by Christian Huygens.
The Danish Fort Dansborg at Tranquebar was attacked by Hindu rebels against the Moghuls, fortunately a British merchantman passed the news on to the British and Dutch settlements further up the coast and a relief expedition was sent by both countries to drive the rebels off.
Queen Magdalena produced an heir to the throne, also called Christian.
In Sweden reforms by the King and the Rigsdag were finally gaining acceptance, though many nobles who resisted find themselves isolated and forced to move abroad to New Sweden. Lithuanian colonists also started making the long journey south.
In France the Kingdom gradually recovered from the excesses of the last 15 years, though the country's infrastructure was in a deplorable state and would require years of repair and millions of sous to finance it.
Spanish troops in the East Indies invaded Vietnam and seized Prey Nokor (Saigon) to use as a base of further colonial expansion.
Emperor Go-Sai ascended to the throne of Japan, for the first time a British ambassador was present at the ceremony.
Fabio Chigi replaced Pope Innocent X as Alexander VII.
(1656) Henry's visit to Henricia and New London was a great success as was his whole tour, cementing the loyalty of his people and allowing them to see their King as a man and not some distant figure.
London was still the biggest building site in the world, though many buildings on the Royal Parade from the Tower to Hyde Park (passing to the front of the court of St James) were well under construction. All buildings fronting this parade had to fulfil certain criteria and, despite a lot of indignation from some architects of differing schools, the style remained Neo-Classical with most buildings fronted by Doric pillars, though arches and domes were highly prevalent. Buildings hotly disputed were a Synagogue and a Roman Catholic Cathedral, but both were allowed despite protests in Parliament. Competition for the remaining places remained fierce though most were obtained by the various mercantile companies including the East India Company, North American Colonial Enterprises, the Bank of Britain and the Stock Exchange.
Christiaan Huygens living in Edinburgh, revolutionised clock-making with an instrument regulated by a pendulum. He had adopted an idea proposed to him by the late Marin Mersenne, applying a concept that occurred to the late Galileo Galilei in 1583 while watching a lamp swinging from a long chain in Pisa Cathedral.
Jacob Lumbrozo founded the Jewish Hospital in New Jerusalem, Florida. It would grow to become the leading medical facility in North America.
In the Netherlands the capture of the remaining rebel Regents caused Dutch East India Company shares to plummet on the Amsterdam Exchange and many investors were ruined. Among them was painter Rembrandt van Rijn, now 50, who was declared bankrupt and whose possessions were put up for sale and was invited by his student Carel Fabritius to live with him in London, where he found work decorating the insides of many of the new buildings as well as painting portraits of their current heads of business.
Dutch forces tried to take the Sinhalese port of Colombo from the Portuguese and were repulsed by the strong garrison of Portuguese and Spanish troops. This was the last major attempt by the VOC to assert its (now) illegal powers in the East Indies.
Artificial pearls, first manufactured by M Jacquin in Bruge, were made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales.
In Denmark news of the attempt to take control of their company/colony in Tranquebar allowed Christian to form the regiment of Danish Marines who took responsibility for protecting all colonial and commercial endeavours abroad.
Christian also obtained funding from the Rigsraad to found several colleges and universities, including a military academy.
In Sweden Robert had to step into an argument when Olof Rudbeck, returning to Uppsala after studying at Leyden, was appointed professor of anatomy, and built an anatomical theatre where he performed dissections on human bodies, scorning criticism of the practice that was new to Uppsala. Robert refused to have Rudbeck arrested or confined and strongly censured the complainants.
In France, attempts were made to negotiate with Savoy to regain territories ceded in 1644. They were rebuffed by Savoy who saw no reason to return anything to France despite their friendship with Louis' mother. Louis opened negotiations with the HRE about common interests, particularly those of the seized territories held by the Northern Alliance.
Spain fought a series of battles in the Mediterranean against the Barbary pirates and attacked their bases in an attempt to gain control of the western Mediterranean.
Mehmed Köprülü became Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. His first tasks were to try and bring back stability to the Ottomans who had lost territory and prestige in many eyes.
(1657) Henry returned from his tour of North America and announced that he was retiring from public life and was more or less handing over the reins of power to his son, James. He and Queen Maria still had fairly active private lives as patrons of the arts, education and sciences though all ceremonial duties as well as dealing with Parliament were now left to the Prince.
Henry and Maria now spent a great deal of their time funding school, college and library building as well as granting annuities to scientists, artists and scholars of merit. Many public works schemes were given Royal Assent during this time from street paving to water supplies in many towns and cities.
Parliament granted Jews within the Commonwealth full citizenship, allowing them the franchise so long as they met the necessary criteria of income.
In the Moghul Empire Shah Jahan became ill, allowing his son to take control. This was not to the advantage of Britain as Aurangzeb was notable for his piety and zeal. His strict adherence to Islam and Sharia (Islamic law)—as he interpreted them—were the foundations of his life. He codified and instituted Sharia law throughout the empire, abandoning the religious tolerance of his father. Many Hindu temples were defaced and destroyed at his orders, and many non-Muslims were forcibly converted to Islam. He instituted a Jizya, a head tax on non-Muslims, and was a threat to all European interests in India.
The British started to cultivate the friendship of Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle, a Maratha rebel, covertly selling him and his follower's arms and a degree of training.
Following Henry's recommendations a new series of forts and defensive works were planned and instituted throughout British North America and Panama though this would be the work of many years, the income from colonial endeavours was now exceeding the cost by a very high margin.
The East India Company expanded its operations by setting up a trading post in Ayutthaya, Siam with the permission of King Suthammaracha.
British aid to Koxinga started to pay off as he successfully seized Guangzhou (Panyu) and started to extend an area of control south of the Pearl River, displacing the Portuguese traders there in favour of British traders.
In British North America colonists were now spreading up the Mississippi valley and setting up farms and settlements in ever increasing numbers.
Two new colonies joined the Commonwealth as full members; Wyandot (roughly OTL southern Ohio and northern Kentucky) named after the confederation of Huron refugees who had fled there after losing their war with the Haudenosaunee. The other being Ojibway (OTL Wisconsin) named after an indigenous tribe found there.
In the Netherlands the former Regents and investors in the VOC were tried and found guilty of treason. William of Orange interceded on behalf of their wives and children, having them made wards of the crown.
The new governor of the Dutch settlements on Taiwan started to strengthen the defences of the island and removed many of the more "over enthusiastic" VOC supporters.
Denmark founded a new colony on the west coast of Africa (roughly OTL Congo) founding the settlement of New Jutland on the Congo River. At first it was mostly used in slavery transportation, though it was found that cash crops such as cassava, plantains, sugar cane, palm oil, maize, coffee, cocoa and forestry were all profitable investments. The Danes, also in contact with the Kingdom of Congo, supplied them with arms and training against the Portuguese in Angola.
Sweden began training the Lithuanian army up to modern standards in order for them to withstand the demands of their neighbours. Polish attempts to draw Lithuania back into an alliance were rebuffed as the Lithuanians did not like the autocratic methods used by King Casimir to enforce his rule.
In France, King Louis began the long process of rebuilding that country's shattered infrastructure with a road building program to match that of his northern neighbours. He also sent ambassadors to Spain, Austria and Poland feeling out the attitudes of those countries towards assisting France to regain her lost provinces.
Spain continued to move troops into Vietnam during this period, supporting Trinh Tac the leader of the Trinh Lords and strengthening its grip on the south of the country and driving the Nguyen Lords back into the hinterlands.
Pope Alexander VII, seeking to mend fences with Britain, sent a high level delegation to see Henry in the light of the monarch's go ahead for a Roman Catholic cathedral in London. Though Britain's religious contract forbade intervention by the state on any church, the Pope was no fool and knew if Henry did not approve of the new Cardinal for the cathedral, he wouldn't stay long in Britain.
(1658) Henry's good friend, Oliver Cromwell, died this year and was given a state funeral in recognition of the work he had done for the state. His son Oliver became the second Earl of Essex of that family. Henry himself gave the eulogy in Westminster Abbey in praise of a man who put his love of the Land and its King into his many good works. Statues to Cromwell went up in Ireland and Greater Normandy where he was remembered as a good, fair and just governor who had brought much prosperity to those lands. Though in the Kingdom of Brittany his effigy was burned in many an old Irish celebration.
Talks in London between Henry, James and the papal delegation reached a satisfactory conclusion and the new Cardinal for London would be Giulio Rospigliosi, an Italian, though conversant in English as well as an able diplomat himself.
British East India Company troops occupied the harbour city, Quilon (Coilan), in India after threats to the ruling house there from the Council of Eight and a Half known as the Ettara Yogam (which consisted of seven Brahmin families, one Nair noblemen and the Maharajah of Venad alias Travancore) and the Ettuveetil Pillamar, a society of Brahmin landlords, who controlled much of the surrounding area. In return for trading rights the British kept order and drove the rebels from their positions of power.
In Japan, high level talks between British officials and the Shogunate allowed the British to recruit Samurai for use as troops outside the Shogunate, providing that they were never allowed to return. Many lordless Samurai came to find honourable employment in the ranks of the East Indies Company. One fully equipped company (having learned English) was sent to London as a gift to Henry, knowing his love of Japanese martial skills. Henry had them employed as his household guards at the royal residence and they formed the later nucleus of the British Samurai Guards.
In British North America there was massive investment in building roads to connect to the interior, though there was a fairly good coastal highway and good communications up rivers, it was becoming obvious that an all-weather transportation network was going to be essential to increase the prosperity of the Commonwealth.
The shipyards in Jamestown were also increased in size at this time to cope with the endless stream of colonists flowing into the land.
In the bustling town of New York (OTL New Orleans) new shipyards were also being built to support the North American fleet whose workload in protecting mercantile and colonial shipping had massively increased over the last 20 years.
The Dutch agreed to sell Van Diemen's Land to the Danes for £500,000 using the money to help secure their hold on Taiwan.
King Christian and the Rigsraad, upon the purchasing of Van Diemen's Land, sent out colonists to settle the land now named Christiansland.
The Swedish and Lithuanian armies fought a series of skirmishes along the Lithuanian-Russian frontier as the Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich tested the strength of his reformed army in an attempt to seize Smolensk. Peace was soon made however as the resistance met was far stronger than the Russians imagined it would be, the Russians cited a misunderstanding of orders etc. to account for their troops' behaviour.
France continued to rebuild her infrastructure and her merchant fleet, although nowhere near as large as the British or Dutch merchant fleets it comprised newer and swifter vessels. Louis himself though was more concerned with France and the stranglehold that his (perceived) enemies had around the realm.
Spain concentrated on moving more troops to Vietnam to seize economic control over the south of that country. Though ostensibly in alliance with the Trinh Lords of the North, Spain's long term plans involved the total control of Vietnam eventually.
The rebel Koxinga in southern China inflicted a series of defeats on Manchu armies sent to meet him, gradually securing the lands below the Pearl River.
The Taj Mahal was completed in India.
(1659) The British Parliament passed a series of laws granting far greater rights to established colonies (now known as provinces), these included the right of full representation in the British Parliament.
Henry and Maria attended the grand opening of the London Opera House, a design by the architect Inigo Jones yet completed by Christopher Wren. The Venetian composer Francesco Cavalli staged a production of L'Antioco which was very well received, though the opera was most noted for Queen Maria being taken ill after the performance.
Britain's harvest came up short, producing a dearth of food and higher prices that caused great suffering among the poor. This was swiftly alleviated by Henry's insistence that Parliament used its power to purchase extra food from North America where there was a surplus. The returning colony ships now started carrying grain and corn to supplement the harvest.
Lutheran minister Dean John Clayton of Kildare discovered a pool of natural gas near Wigan, Lancashire. He gathered the gas with animal bladders and amused his friends by setting it on fire.
In the Netherlands Dutch attempts to have a lowering of the Oeresund tolls came to naught and instead they increased funding for the European High Road which had now reached Hamburg.
The Dutch greatly increased their holdings on Java at this time, trying to gain a monopoly on spices from the East Indies.
In Denmark the colonisation of the Congo was attracting a lot of support as was the covert arming of the Congo Kingdom and its war with the Portuguese/Spanish in Angola. The Danes tactic of friendship was paying off as they gained a great deal of influence in the hinterland beyond their normal reach.
The Swedish section of the European High Road now stretched from Tallinn to Vilnius and was progressing towards Torun. In Sweden itself the road building policy of King Robert had highways being built connecting all major towns. He also had agreements with King Christian of Denmark to connect the towns of Scania and Halland into the network, despite many Danes having reservations about Robert's ultimate aims.
A series of border incidents caused by France against Savoy threatened to spill over into full warfare until Britain and Spain made it quite clear to Louis that they would not stand for any French attempt to restore her former territories.
In Paris authorities raided a monastery and send twelve monks to jail for eating meat and drinking wine during Lent.
The HRE and Poland finally came to a mutual defence agreement (aimed mostly at the Northern Alliance) called the Holy League by many as one of its stipulations was that the nations bound by it must be dominantly Roman Catholic.
In Spain, Philip produced another heir to the throne, Carlos Philip.
The Muslim sultan of Bijapur in southern India sent a 20,000-man army under the command of Afzal Khan against the Marathan rebel Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle, who had been raiding his territory in the Deccan area. Shivaji's own ancestral estates were in the region; he'd been trying to rally opposition to Muslim oppression and persecution of Hindus and now has covert British support. He feigned a retreat, called for peace talks, lured Afzal Khan into the mountains, murdered him, and then ambushed his leaderless army, seizing the Bijapur guns, horses, ammunition, and supplies.
Koxinga tried to capitalize on the absence of Manchu forces fighting in the south to lead an army of more than 100,000 men up the Pearl and Liu Rivers; he reached the gates of Longcheng (Dragon City) gaining a great victory over the Manchu's sent to stop him and occupying the city.
The Ottoman Grand Vizier Mehmed Köprülü gained ascendancy over rebel pashas, had them executed in February, and sent an inspector to Anatolia in the summer with authority to exclude from the state registers all non-Muslim taxpayers (reaya) who claimed to belong to the military class. Intended to suppress the private mercenaries (sekbans), the measure re-established central authority in the region.
(1660) Henry and Britain grieved deeply over the death of Queen Maria, never a strong woman after the birth of her third child, she passed away peacefully in her bed after a long illness caused by a bout of pneumonia. She was given a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey. Those that knew Henry well said that the light and joy that seemed to fill his life left at that time and he began to truly show his age.
A rebellion of French sympathisers occurred in Greater Normandy at this time, poorly organised and badly led it was quickly and ruthlessly suppressed by General Monke and the Colonial regiments serving there. Monke's use of his Haudenosaunee scouts to infiltrate wooded areas where rebels were trying to hide as well as the American tactic of shooting from cover with teams of two (one man reloading) were noted and adapted by the British army for future use.
"New Experiments Physics-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects" by Oxford chemist Robert Boyle, 33, was published.
Roger L'Estrange built the nation's first ice house near St. James's Park, London.
A columnist in the "News" noted in an article that he had drunk a "cup of tee" (a China drink). Tea sold for about £6 per pound.
London's population remained static at 350,000, from an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 in 1650; this was mostly due to colonisation and the great fire.
Settlers in the joint Britannic-Dutch colony of Capetown expanded along with black Khoisan pastoralists into new territories coming into contact with new tribes as they expanded the colonial territory.
In the Netherlands colony of Senegal Dutch planters started cultivation of cacao on Martinique, replacing cotton fields with cacao plantations; the first beans from the colony arrived in Amsterdam the following year.
Isaack B. Fubine of Savoy patented macaroni in The Hague.
Denmark and Sweden agreed a joint colonial policy whereby Danish ships would also carry Swedish colonists to New Sweden (OTL Australia). In return the Swedes agreed to pay an increased Oeresund toll for each vessel so used.
Blaise Pascal's The Provincial Letters, a defence of the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld, was ordered shredded and burned by King Louis XIV of France. Louis then had Pascal arrested and hanged, then announced a purge of Jansenists from France (hoping to curry favour with the Jesuit society). Many Jansenists moved to Greater Normandy at this time where the British maintained religious toleration (by force if necessary).
France's Louis XIV was married in the 13th-century Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste at Saint Jean de Luz to Marie von Habsburg, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III.
Spain was finally in control of Southern Vietnam having destroyed the Nguyen Lords and their armies and driven the survivors into exile.
Andres Malong, a native chieftain of Pangasinan, Philippines, led a revolt against the Spanish regime.
German woodcarvers in the Black Forest town of Fürtwangen created clockworks made entirely of wood. They have invented clocks from which wooden cuckoos appear periodically to sound the hours, half-hours, and quarter-hours.
(1661) The British Parliament discussed the imposition of an act that banned foreign ships from transporting goods from outside Europe to England or its colonies and banned third party country's ships from transporting goods from a country elsewhere in Europe to England. The idea was to strengthen Britain's shipping and increase the numbers of ships available to the Navy. Henry in his last appearance in Parliament pointed out the likelihood of it causing a war between Britain and her allies The Netherlands and Denmark in which all would suffer and none would gain. That the King opposed such a law meant that the measure was dropped, though Henry's discussions with the North American Representatives provided a solution in that they were prepared to ask their commonwealths to provide a naval presence for North America, crewed and supported entirely from the Provinces.
Negotiations between Britain and Spain provided for Britain to purchase Tangier and Bombay (Mumbai) for £2,000,000.
The Normandy rebellion was over, the rebels had hoped for aid from King Louis of France but had received only kind words as Louis' generals had told their King that attacking Britain would be a serious mistake at this time.
A promising young man, Isaac Newton, was admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge.
Water ices went on sale for the first time in London under the direction of Sicilian limonadier Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli from Palermo. Fruit-flavoured ices were originated by the Chinese, who taught the art to the Persians and Arabs.
The first Punch and Judy show was recorded as having played in London.
In the Netherlands a series of trade agreements were reached with the Ottoman Empire that would allow the Dutch to start trading in spices and cinnamon across a land route rather than the ever increasingly dangerous sea routes.
This year saw a massive shipbuilding program taking place in Denmark as King Christian was determined to strengthen Denmark's presence on the world stage. Trade and exploration would massively increase over the years of his reign and closer ties with Sweden would result as past mistakes and wars became old memories. Danish merchants, particularly from the German Holdings to the south also began to expand east inland looking for new markets.
Sweden began the construction of a massive series of forts along the Lithuanian-Russian border, grimly determined to keep Russia out of the affairs of the Baltic Countries.
In France Louis' anger at his Generals refusal to aid the rebels in Normandy cooled and with the aid of several military advisors he began a program to increase the size and quality of the French army to a point where France would be feared as an opponent in Europe. Louis' long term aim was the restoration of France to its former glory.
Spain used the money gained from the sale of Tangiers and Bombay to expand her interests in China, opening direct communications with the high officials surrounding the new Emperor, promising aid against the Rebel Koxinga.
Japan's Takanoshi family opened a business in food seasonings; it would develop a reputation for its soy sauce.
The Ottoman Grand Vizier Mehmed Köprülü died at Adrianople in Thrace after a six-year reign in which he had suppressed rivals, put down insurrections, restored the central authority of the empire, expanded its Balkan holdings, and reorganized the army. His 26-year-old son, Fazl Ahmed, made governor-general of Damascus last year, was appointed Grand Vizier and would serve with equal distinction until his death in 1676 as Fazl Ahmed Köprülü, maintaining a private force of about 1,500 mercenary soldiers (sekbans) while developing a reputation as a scholar of Islamic law and Persian literature.
The seventh Sikh guru Har Rai died in the Punjab after a 17-year reign in which missionary activity had declined while the guru devoted himself to spiritual exercises. He was succeeded by his five-year-old son Hari Krishen, despite protests from his older brother Ram Rai, who had curried favour with the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. Hari Krishen was titular head of the sect until his death and moved the Sikh people into much closer ties with Britain.
The Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty of China died and was succeeded by his third son, Xuan Ye (Hsuan Yeh), who reigned until 1722 as Kangxi (K'ang-hsi). Now six, the new emperor began his personal rule in 1667, ushering in a period of cultural achievement that surpassed the greatest achievements of earlier dynasties. Jesuit scholar-missionaries were encouraged to bring their scientific knowledge to China, which Kangxi enlarged by adding parts of Russia and Outer Mongolia while extending Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, though the situation in the south with Koxinga was the one blight on his reign.
(1662) A year of great sadness in Britain as the death of the King affected all, both young and old, rich and poor.
Henry's death in his sleep at the Royal Residence came as a surprise to the nation and although the King had recently been showing his age, he was still regarded as a strong "vital" man.
Word was sent out to James, his son, and he and his family travelled to London where affairs of state were put in motion for a Royal funeral. Word was sent out to Sweden where Henry's son Robert ruled and Holland where his daughter and her husband lived. Both set sail in their swiftest ships to attend. Robert was joined by King Christian of Denmark as he passed Copenhagen. Henry's body had been packed in straw and ice until arrangements could be made and lay in state for four weeks.
The funeral was unlike any seen in Britain, reports of the time say that the funeral train took over six hours to pass, with thousands of mourners packing the Royal Parade as Henry's body, carried on a chariot complete with an effigy, was slowly walked up the Parade drawn by one black horse with Prince James holding the reins. Ahead of the cortege was a lone soldier chosen by lot from the 1st Regiment of Foot (aka Henry's Own) carrying a cushion with a broken katana on it. The chariot itself was followed by members of Henry's immediate family, then other Royalty, Lords and MP's from the Commons as well as close personal friends of Henry. Behind the nobility marched a single platoon of each regiment in the armies of the realm including the Samurai Guards, Haudenosaunee Scouts, Colonial Cavalry and Capetown Dragoons all with their standards lowered. Yet swelling behind the cortege and unplanned came a mass of ordinary people who had travelled to London to pay their respects.
Henry was laid to rest next to his Queen in Westminster Abbey and the unadorned tomb bears recognisance of the change that had come over Britain during his reign with the simple inscription,
Reflecting the fact that he was the first King of all Britain.
Identical parades were held in many other towns in Britain including being replicated at the Universities, for at this time a funeral spectacle could be separated from the body.
The Fifty Shilling British coin is minted this year, it was only ever issued for the year after a monarch dies. The last one from the Henry minting to come up for auction reached an astounding £2,340,000. They are exceedingly rare and highly valued amongst collectors over the world.
John Grant, in one of the earliest uses of statistics, published statistical information about the births and deaths in London.
Chinese oranges are introduced in Britain.
John Flamsteed, an astronomer, makes copious notes on a solar eclipse, 1st the first known astronomical observation.
In France on hearing of the death of Henry, Louis ordered a day of celebrations to be held on the day of his funeral, though enjoyed by the populace, many intellectuals felt the whole thing to be crass and report it so in their diaries.
Philip of Spain sent his senior advisor (García Sarmiento de Sotomayor) to Henry's funeral.
Prince of Gui, last remaining claimant to the Ming throne, was killed; the Ming Dynasty died out. Koxinga declared a new dynasty (Zheng) centred on himself and continued to carve out a kingdom in southern China, despite everything the Qing/Manchu dynasty could do to prevent him. During this time he seized Macao and drove off the Portuguese and offered it to his British "patrons".
(1663) James II, King of Britain, was crowned in a series of ceremonies drawn up by his father that, though enhanced, today are of the same basic format.
First, in Scotland, he was crowned King of that land and given a ceremonial shield representing that he was to guard his people.
Then to Ireland where he was crowned King of that land and given a mace (sceptre) that he may deal swiftly and surely with his people's enemies.
Then to Wales where he was confirmed as ruler of that land and given a Welsh gold ring binding him to the people of the Kingdom.
Finally to London where he was crowned King with the crown of Britain and he then stepped out of Westminster Abbey to face his people. He then takes from a cushion held by a lady in waiting the broken sword of his father and held it high, then turned to the youngest soldier in the army to place down the broken sword and pick up a new sword whole and sharp. He was then acclaimed three times by the people "Hail James, our King, lead us!".
So James II was crowned King of Britain, Ireland and King of Man and the Isles.
(Excerpt from the book "The beginning of Modern Britain." Author J Fortesque. Imperium Press 2007.
... these days it is popular to look back and judge the past by modern standards, decrying the slavery, child labour and general plight of the common man. Many look back to the reign of Henry IX and have called him imperialist, pirate, kinslayer and yet whilst listing his supposed faults, miss the foundations he laid that have led to the Imperium and modern Britain. Today we take our right to vote for granted and that Parliamentary boroughs are of equal size or value. We travel when we must upon a road system laid down by Henry's decree and can worship freely to our choice also thanks to Henry.
Many believe or have proposed that such would have happened under any King, yet an examination of what we know of Charles, shows that having lived under his brother's shadow may have led to a very different realm should, as some suggest, Henry had died of Typhus in 1612 at the age of 18. Whilst it is not in the nature of a scholarly document to indulge in speculation, the very weakness of Charles, his inflexibility, his vanity and his fallibility to flattery could very well have broken the Kingdom Henry preserved and nurtured.
Could the Imperium as we know it have grown without Henry? The facts speak for themselves... )