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The Kingdom of Varennes
10-18-2019, 09:07 PM (This post was last modified: 10-18-2019 09:08 PM by Edgard.)
Post: #1
The Kingdom of Varennes
Kingdom of Varennes
El Reino de Varennes
Le Royaume de Varennes

[Image: Jli4wIv.png]

Capital: Port-Réal
Population: 41,567,893

Nationality:
Noun: Varennese
Adjective: Varennese

Territory: All the lands currently held by Ardennes.

Key Historical Events, Ideas, Development Points

Early Varennes History:
Varennes took time to exist as it is today:
- Started with the intermarrying of local noble houses and merchant families that controlled the lands, commerce, and cities in the area that make up Varennes today.
- Conflicts between local nobles and “warlords” in the chaos after the collapse of the Dragar Monopoly.
- Other local dynastic clashes and civil strife such as peasant revolts and other forms of civil strife or unrest.
- These noble and rich merchant families hired mercenaries from around the world and often sought the involvement of foreign powers to their advantage, to varying degrees of success.
- Strongest of these noble families is the House of Carrillo (think Spanish Bourbons). Symbol of the family: the White Rose.
- Carrillo earned the support and assistance of (neighboring Gothan nation) and of other constituent parts of Varennes.

Early Varennese history (first 300 years after the collapse of the Dragar Monopoly) largely characterized by the laying of the groundwork for the Carrillos to eventually unite all of Varennes either by marriage, conquest, or outright purchase or overrun the others.
  • Consolidation into units: 5-7 duchies, 2 larger “petty kingdoms” (Baudrix and Valenciennes).
  • These units eventually become the constituent parts/provinces to the modern-day Kingdom of Varennes.
  • Fiefdom of the Carrillos: Petty Kingdom of Baudrix. Chief historic rivals: Petty Kingdom of Valenciennes, Duchy of Santander y Corcovado. Other: Principality of San Martin, Principality of Mantua, Duchy of Auterre. Other names to include: Rio Grande, Terrenoire.

From the foundation of the Kingdom, general history:
- The Kingdom of Varennes is founded from the union of Baudrix and Valenciennes, marriage between the House of Carrillo and the House of _______.
- King XXXXXX (the King that united and founded the Kingdom) begins the delicate construction of a more united state.
- Builds a centralized but super bureaucratic state, very jumbled taxation system that was supposed to appease as many sectors of society as possible to stay in power.
- Works for a while, but it made it very hard for the growing centralized government to consistently collect revenue. Debt begins to pile up.
- Government expenditures directed to defense and security, pursuing a “panem et circenses” policy to maintain support of the growing masses.
- Regime enters a period of decadence, which results in moral outrage (offending whatever largest religion Varennes ends up having) and providing concessions (think of it as pork-barrel spending to appease constituencies in modern democracies like in the US) to different constituencies, mainly nobles and bankers.

Roughly 100 years from the founding of the Kingdom:
- The Varennese Revolution - A large national revolt over this jumbled mess of a Varennese system rose mainly from dissatisfaction by the more populous lower class, system thinks it can save itself by granting concessions (as it has always been done);
- Having done that so many times over 100 years, it's spent itself into oblivion and is saddled by massive debts and steep deficits. Cannot offer the economic concessions that were always the preferred tool of the regime for pacifying concessions;
- Forced to maybe look at institutional/structural reforms that could result in the erosion of power away from House of Carrillo and its government, the general consensus from the heights of power (an aging and virtually senile King XXXXX at the time) was to say no and suppress things, which leads to violence all over the country between the social classes - civil strife, riots, open insurrections, mutinies;
- After intense fighting in the capital, aging King XXXXX decides to flee with his family - wife, one son, the Crown Prince, and one daughter, the Princess Royal. More popular (and youngest) brother of the aging King is installed, Prince Phillippe-Francois, who builds the modern Varennese state (think First French Empire).
- Sheer popularity and effectiveness of this Prince turned King manages to make people forget that he's just built a better autocratic state than his siblings and ancestors did. He co-opts the language of democratic reformers and institutes “referendums”, a “Constitution”, “rule of law”.
- King in exile dies, his descendants up until claiming the throne, are largely discredited, living off of the dwindling fortunes that the escaping King could plunder on his way out. Supported largely by the good graces of foreign interests (even then, they are very limited) that perhaps want a hand in restoring an old King if the new(er) regime somehow does not work out and its fall would advance their interests in Varennes (which are undefined at the moment).

Varennes Now:

After King Phillipe-Francois:
- King Phillippe-Francois rules as a popular “Bon Roi Phillippe”, is the subject of national songs and rhymes. Massive investments in education and science take place, but Varennes remains saddled with most of the debt of the past regime.
- He is succeeded by the first female monarch of Varennes, for which laws and customs were changed to allow for succession, seen as an enlightening modernization of the country: Queen Marguerite.
- Queen Marguerite reigns for sixteen years, dies of cancer. Her son Louis succeeds her as King (Current King in Varennes “now”).
- The “new” regime is largely popular and has managed to embrace occasional reform and retain popular goodwill, economic growth enables Kingdom to service its debts and begin to invest in national infrastructure projects that become large scale jobs programs.
- However, despite the growing national prosperity, Varennes is now facing "big boy problems": ruling over a Kingdom that is fractured along internal political lines (Liberals-Moderates-Conservatives-Loyalists), cultural lines (French-Spanish), plus the bubbling undercurrents of rising liberalism and progressivism. Great economic disparity between lower and upper classes. Nascent middle class.
- Veneer of legitimacy is starting to crack because now there's people wanting real “democracy” - which the people never truly had but will sound great to them.

Government and Politics
  • Head of State: King Louis I
  • Head of Government: First Consul Ricardo Loubriel (Conservative)
  • Type of Government: Constitutional absolute monarchy

[Image: VWVRVLO.png]

The King is the source of all authority, titled as the King of the Varennese following the Varennese revolution. The concept of monarchy is one of a “popular monarchy” where the King is a King over his people rather than the territory (but does include the territory for all intents and purposes).

The King appoints the head of government, called the First Consul. The First Consul is picked from the Senate by the King, and is usually the leader of a political party or coalition that can command a majority in the Varennese Parlement, composed of the Senate and the Consulta. Once the First Consul is appointed, the King proceeds to appoint the Consulate, which is the Cabinet in Varennes, composed of Consuls that each are responsible for a specific government portfolio.

The Varennese Parliament is composed of two chambers:
- the Senate, a powerful upper house;
- and the Consulta, a consultative lower house.

The Senate is the more powerful and important chamber of the two, composed of nobles and dignitaries of the Realm. The Royal Princes and many members of the Royal Family are all ex-officio members of the Senate. The Senate votes on the laws and ensures their constitutionality before they come into effect. Laws usually originate from the Council of State, but they can also originate from the King directly or from the Consulate (with the consent of the King).

The Consulta is a larger body that is limited to debating and editing law drafts but cannot vote on them. The Consulta is composed of deputies that are indirectly elected by the people - the people vote to approve a carefully screened and vetted candidate list from the legally registered political parties and groups. Suffrage is limited to men that own land or have served in the military. The King appoints all the members of the Consulta - ⅓ of the Consulta is not appointed from the winning list but from consultations of the King with his advisors and generals. ⅔ of the Consulta is appointed from the popularly approved list.

The Council of State serves as another consultative body composed of appointees of the King. The entire Consulate and First Consul are ex-officio members of the Council of State. The King is free to take advice or not take advice on appointments to the Council of State, but traditionally the King appoints key nobles, important religious figures, and key local and regional leaders to this Council. Almost all legislation is drafted by the Council and then put through the legislature.

The original document, I had the above as a running Google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jw93...sp=sharing

I'll be tossing more things in the thread like flags, heraldry and other things as I design them. Smile
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10-18-2019, 10:21 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
I think this is a great proposal to replace the vacant Ardennes spot. The narrative you've drawn is highly detailed and will prove a fruitful foundation for political intrigues and domestic politics - very cool. I particularly like the tensions you're highlighting, whether it be between the King and the people, or between Spanish and French cultural/linguistic groups. Homogeneous states are boring - so I approve of this big political mess!

You already mention potential foreign involvement and I think there is a lot of cool material here for us to generate interactions and geopolitical history across Anaria, and maybe beyond. I'm not entirely sure of the timescales of the various events, but Anisora is founded in 7367 and after that is the boisterous neighbour trying to prove itself. So if things are happening after that, maybe Anisora could be involved one way or another. Just an idea.

Talking of timeframes: the Varennese Revolution. If there have been three monarchs since the Revolution took place (Phillippe-Francois, Marguerite, and Louis), we might be able to put the revolution into the Revolutions of 7473 that took place across Anaria - akin to the Revolutions of 1848 in Europe. If the date is currently 7580, it could be feasible. Alternatively, we can have the Revolution happen a bit later, during the Pan-Anarian War (7498-7552). So there are some nice options to slot the Revolution into wider history, if you so wish.

It's interesting that Anisora and Varennes share quite a lot in common. They are both Dragaric nations, first and foremost, with a common ancient history in the Dragar Monopoly. And being neigbhours I expect there will be lots of cultural exchange going on. There are also political similarities. Well, historic Anisoran similarities, I should say. Anisora used to be very similar to Varennes before the Revolutions of 7473 - it's a constitutional monarchy these days. I'll look forward to seeing how you develop the politics of Varennes!

In terms of languages, I know you are going for French and Spanish. Is either one dominant, or are they equally accepted and spoken? Going off the latest iteration of the languages map (which was changed by Brian recently without me realising at first) it makes sense for French to be spoken in the northern areas, and Spanish the southern ones. What do other players think about this?

All in all a great proposal - it will be great for Anisora to (FINALLY) have a neighbour!

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10-18-2019, 10:48 PM
Post: #3
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Looking at the available territory that remains in the ex-Ardennes, the Kingdom of Varennes:
[Image: Varennes-locator-map.png]
I haven't included the ex-Ardennian territories across the Medio Sea in Thultannia because, correct me if I am wrong Tom, but you and Brian agreed a while ago that part of them are now part of Auresia? I don't know if it was officially decided?

Also, given the data on the Ardennes page is woefully out of date, I calculate the population of Varennes to be 37,811,917 according to the ledger, with an area of 486,420 km2.

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10-18-2019, 11:31 PM (This post was last modified: 10-19-2019 12:20 AM by Edgard.)
Post: #4
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Where can I find the updated political map? I've been working off of this one the entire time...

I was also thinking of consolidating around this core territory - take it all the way to the mountains in the south as the natural barrier:
[Image: 4A35bTm.png]

If that's too much to start, I can expand into that eventually, but that's really my solid goal there.

Quote:Talking of timeframes: the Varennese Revolution. If there have been three monarchs since the Revolution took place (Phillippe-Francois, Marguerite, and Louis), we might be able to put the revolution into the Revolutions of 7473 that took place across Anaria - akin to the Revolutions of 1848 in Europe. If the date is currently 7580, it could be feasible. Alternatively, we can have the Revolution happen a bit later, during the Pan-Anarian War (7498-7552). So there are some nice options to slot the Revolution into wider history, if you so wish.

Totally love this. Thankfully the above is very rough and I havent' set any dates - I think we can make adjustments to make everything line up well!

Quote:In terms of languages, I know you are going for French and Spanish. Is either one dominant, or are they equally accepted and spoken? Going off the latest iteration of the languages map (which was changed by Brian recently without me realising at first) it makes sense for French to be spoken in the northern areas, and Spanish the southern ones. What do other players think about this?

I want to shoot for a 60/40 split, with French being the stronger/more dominant one.
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10-19-2019, 09:40 AM
Post: #5
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
I think the larger claim is better overall. It gives you a more interesting frontier with Anisora and puts you more on par power wise with both Anisora and Auresia which would be necessary to justify you're survival.

Geo-politically you're hemmed in, hope you don't mind that! Historically Auresia, due to it's power and long land border with you would have been you're largest rival and threat I imagine. I believe it claims a direct lineage from a Pastanan Imperial entity and you sit between it and Pastana so....

Anisora could have been a bit of an irritant, especially since the Kingdom of Pastana pursued integration with Casella rather than enter of remain in you're sphere. That was a relative recent event from my recollection. Projection wise though, due to Pastanan defensiblity and a maritime barrier this frontier would likely be at stalemate.

Language wise you've expanded into territories with a North Italian linguistic dominance. It's rather fitting I suppose that a Francophone power would expand some influence in a region like this but be mindful of Anisoran affinities in these ares, after all they are the 'Italian' power.

By Keija's Hand! Kamura Shapes the World!
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10-19-2019, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 10-19-2019 06:39 PM by Edgard.)
Post: #6
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Hm, okay. I think I may need to step back and reassess everything then... it seems that there isn't a lot of space where I can do a Franco-Spanish nation without having to change a lot of things to make it work. Huh

Maybe I can drop the French-Spanish tension and go all in on French and heighten the other internal conflicts if I do this instead:

[Image: 0pmy5Hs.png]
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10-21-2019, 08:29 PM (This post was last modified: 10-21-2019 08:33 PM by August Dux.)
Post: #7
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Right, I think we have had a bit of misunderstanding in terms of the languages. This is natural, as the languages map was changed recently and not all of us might have noticed it! Unilateral changes like that cause problems like this!

The land taken by Ardennes used to be Italian-speaking in the north and French in the south. This was changed recently to Catalan and Spanish, with French moving across the Medio Sea in Southern Thultannia. Now, since Edgard's concept is really nice, I don't see an issue with moving French back to where it was before and keeping the Spanish (or maybe Catalan) in the south portion of Edgard's claim. That way we can have the Franco-Spanish tensions Edgard envisaged. It will be a highly multi-lingual Kingdom, with more going on than simply French and Spanish.

With the larger claim, you're also looking at Anisoran speakers as well as Campian (Romanian) speakers in the south-west. So if this larger claim is used, it will provide some nice minorities for the Varennese government to have to deal with!

Edgard Wrote:Where can I find the updated political map?

The properly updated map was being worked on by Brian a few months ago, but his silence suggests we won't be seeing it at the moment. However, James produced this map which nicely shows you the political situation at present. As such, territories 1179 and 1180 are part of Anisora.

[Image: Varennes-locator-map2.png]
This new, expanded proposal would have a population of 53,667,513 - making it one of the most populous countries in Anaria (at the moment), the second-most populous after Auresia.

TeamBattleaxe Wrote:Geo-politically you're hemmed in, hope you don't mind that! Historically Auresia, due to its power and long land border with you would have been your largest rival and threat I imagine. I believe it claims a direct lineage from a Pastanan Imperial entity and you sit between it and Pastana so....

Anisora could have been a bit of an irritant, especially since the Kingdom of Pastana pursued integration with Casella rather than enter of remain in your sphere. That was a relative recent event from my recollection. Projection wise though, due to Pastanan defensiblity and a maritime barrier this frontier would likely be at stalemate.

Moving on to geopolitics! Obviously this is all to be discussed, but I imagine Auresia would be a larger threat than Anisora. James is right that Auresia's land border, plus its imperialist-continentalist nature and interests in the Dragar legacy (the Pastanan interest James mentioned) would make it a threat.

But in terms of Anisora, the geography of Pastana (the Cadrai Peninsula which sticks out into the Medio Sea to the west of Varennes) and the preoccupation with interests in Anaria Minor (the other side of the Medio in the west) would probably mean that Anisora would not be looking for a fight. That doesn't preclude times when a war could have been fought. The territory 1180 might well be a source of tension. Plus in the period 7370-7430 Anisora was fighting to become the dominant power in the Medio. It fought major wars with Auresia (Auresio-Anisoran War, 7395-7397) and Amberia (War of the Becuvatian Succession, 7426-7431) - so if Varennes was stable at that time, there may well have been a fight!

In fact, Varennes could have been a major threat to Anisora for much of its pre-unification history - depending on the internal stability of the kingdom of course. Before 7367 the Anisoran lands were divided into independent states that would ally themselves with different powers at various times. I want these lands to be political chess pieces for the larger Anarian powers - perhaps including Varennes before 7367. Think a bit like the Italian states before the 19th century - lots of inheritances and land-swapping going on between the great houses.

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10-21-2019, 11:59 PM (This post was last modified: 10-22-2019 12:01 AM by Edgard.)
Post: #8
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Having minority languages in Varennes makes total sense and they can add new "flavors" to the country! I wasn't aware that the map I was looking at wasn't accurate, sorry.

Maybe I can use that to organize some smaller areas where minorities are concentrated and later on as Varennes grows and modernizes, I can eventually have some regional nationalist movements like in Catalonia or Quebec in Varennes... adds possibilities for interesting stories and events later on to explore.

I envision Varennes being a Kingdom that is multilingual, but with French and Spanish as the two largest ones by far. The above seems like a nice way to make Varennes happen.

I think the potential is there to integrate the event timeline I've roughly described with the history of the region, I'm sure it won't be a problem to work that in as I fill in the blanks and hash things out more.

Also, here's the flag of Varennes:

[Image: 678JoZv.png]
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10-22-2019, 10:21 PM
Post: #9
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
Interesting development. Some thoughts anybody can pick up discussing:

Building up debts as a nation... How does that work in a Gothan setting? Who is providing the money and what would they get in return? Because usually in traditional kingdoms, the king just robs from the land what he thinks he needs to continue his hobbies. And if he would owe someone money, that person would probably end up face down in a ditch or behind bars for some made-up charges. Now, my cavemanish approach of this era does not have to bite your timeline, it might just be another way of describing the same thing.

Where do political parties come from if the democracy is only there for a little elite? One usually gets a Whigs - Tories type two faction system, or Roundheads and Royalists.

Lastly, if three large nations sit next to each other they will have fought countless wars. See UK, France, Spain, later Germany. This does however give a great excuse to come to some conclusion to the Pan-Anarian War that lasted decades. There will most probably have been all kind of buffer states or more loosely allied dependencies between Auresia, Varennes and Anisora, but at the end of the Pan Anarian, those three carved up the shores between them reaching the status quo we have for the last 2-3 decades. Which also explains the presence of minority languages, these are just former buffer regions that one of these three nations did not want to see allying themselves with one of their neighbors. Looking forward to some "one nation, one king, one language" policies being deployed here.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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10-22-2019, 10:22 PM
Post: #10
RE: The Kingdom of Varennes
First off, I'm liking that flag, it looks so different from most flags!

Also I like you're initial proposal and would prefer it to remain where it is. We can yield on the languages issue for sure. Indeed Alex, being our main Dragar historian up to now could create a linguistic continuum from Anisora to Errea (name might as well stay) showing how Gotha's 'romance' languages evolved.

Spanish would probably be where Auresia if French is where Varennes is but clearly you'll have some Spanish speaking territories if you have land near Auresia. I would imagine despite being enclosed on two sides, you will like France was in the RW be a strong nation with past conquests into adjacent regions.

As for the lands of Thultannia across the sea, I think they were meant as an analogue to Britain and I would favour they remain that way, a land of Celts and Saxons. I'd like to propose an idea for dusting off Alsair to serve useful narrative purposes, including a base of Standard English and an intellectual tradition that makes sense. Should leave the detail of that for another thread though...

By Keija's Hand! Kamura Shapes the World!
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