History of Van Luxemburg

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The History of Van Luxemburg is the history of an entrepreneurial and trading people who occupy one of the largest and easternmost islands in Maredoratica.

Ancient History

Traces of human remains and stone tools found during archeological excavations in various parts of Van Luxemburg suggest that the country was inhabited by humans early on, the island at that time still being attached to the mainland. It was later split from the mainland following an ice age and extreme erosion by melted ice.

The first written history suggests that the initial inhabitants of Van Luxemburg were largely tribal in origin, highly localized settlements that survived through gathering and hunting. Eventually, larger entities were formed from 400 BC on, as some of the more advanced societies managed to gain the upper hand. By 57 BC, it is suggested that there are approximately 15 major feudal kingdoms, among which the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg, and many other, smaller state-like entities or societies. Van Luxemburg was relatively distant from the major empires of the time, and its separation from the mainland meant that development was largely local in nature, apart from the occasional recorded contact between Van Luxemburger people and the Sericanese civilization of Ruccola. Most major technological and societal developments however reached the island as expeditions were mounted by societies in the present-day regions of Zinzendorf, Enzersdorf and Levallois-Perret.

Formation of Major States

Through the next centuries, major shifts occurred in the power balance as some kingdoms fell or were overrun by more advanced and more powerful groups, forcing every existing ruler to keep up with developments. Eventually, by 600 AD, a number of major states remained.

The Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg, with its main seat in what is now Luxembourg, controlled the land from the Zinzener Appeninen until the Alzettemier, of which it controlled a sizeable stretch of coastline from the present-day cities of Strassen to Lanzendorf. The Duchy of Zinzendorf controlled most of the Zinzener Appeninen mountain range, its Duke residing in Zinzendorf. Its main rival was the Duchy of Bitterfeld, which controlled the coastline of present-day Zinzendorf and was able to maintain trade routes across the Marmorian sea.

The Kingdom of Preding maintained large areas of land in northwestern Van Luxemburg, in present-day Enzersdorf. In the east, it was bordered by the Duchy of Vorstenbosch in the south and the Duchy of Annabeek in the north. Immediately south of the Duchy of Vorstenbosch was the Kingdom of Weiningen, bordered in the west by a collection of various smaller Duchies and in the south by the Principality of Arvaglio and the Duchy of Venezia. In what are now the regions of Villacoublay and Levallois-Perret, three states had formed: the southern Kingdom of Châtellerault, the Duchy of Billancourt and the Principality of Villacoublay. During this period, Catholic missionaries arrived from the Rovellian Empire, converting most of the population to Catholicism and expelling other beliefs. Van Luxemburg was to remain an entirely catholic region for over seven hundred years.

End of the Status Quo

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Van Luxemburg as it appeared from 600-800AD, with all major states marked.

The status quo that had been created around 600AD remained until 800AD, despite several wars between various states. In the 9th century, the relatively minor Grand Duchy of San Giustra managed to gain the support of the Duchy of Venezia, which it bordered at the time, allowing San Giustra to expand north along the coastline, eventually establishing a border with the Duchy of Vorstenbosch. As it expanded inland, it shared several of its new acquisitions with the Duchy of Venezia, making both rather sizeable countries within Van Luxemburg.

In 960, the Kingdom of Châtellerault successfully invaded parts of Van Luxemburg’s western peninsula by crossing the Barrier Strait, annexing various smaller states in the process. It was halted by an alliance consisting of San Giustra, Venezia and Arvaglio, who had massed forces at Villachiara, eventually driving back theforces of Châtellerault to present-day Castelneuf. From 1025-1036, the War of the Lanzendorf Line was fought, involving the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg and the Kingdom of Preding. This resulted in a victory for Preding, allowing the kingdom a stretch of coast along the Alzettemier, from Kapfers till Wendling. Shortly afterwards, in 1087, King Wilhelm XI of Preding died without a heir,resulting in the Kingdom being inherited by the Duke of Enzersdorf. Subsequently, the Duchy of Enzersdorf and the Kingdom of Preding were merged,forming the Duchy of Enzersdorf.

Century of Consolidation

The 12th and 13th century were relatively quiet, characterized mostly by attempts of the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg to gain influence through marriages with other royal families in Van Luxemburg. The peaceful two centuries were followed by what is known as the‘Century of Consolidation’, from 1300-1400. This was triggered in 1306 by the Duchy of Annabeek’s invasion of the Duchy of Vorstenbosch, through a war that lasted 13 years. As the Duchy of Annabeek was victorious over Vorstenbosch, Sint-Annabeeker rule over the entire Dutch-language region was ensured, as the last few minor states were forced into submission, the latest being the Barony of Koningsbergen.

In 1324, the Kingdom of Châtellerault managed to defend itself from an attack by the Duchy of Billancourt, eventually striking back and succeeding in capturing the Duchy’s capital, Billancourt. This meant that the Kingdom of Châtellerault now controlled both the eastern and western side of the Perret mountains, as well as a stretch of land on the opposite side of the Barrier strait. Its main opponent remained the Principality of Villacoublay, which controlled most of its northern border. In 1365, San Giustra had a falling out with its former ally Venezia, resulting in a war for the inland areas they previously shared. In this war, San Giustra was supported by the Kingdom of Weiningen and the much smaller Barony of Samedan, and the war eventually resulted in the withdrawal of Venezia. Even though Venezia remained a major naval power, being capable of sending out expeditions abroad, its power on land was reduced to a relatively minor stretch of land near the city of Venezia itself.

Treaty of Lëtzebuerg

Despite these conflicts, several of the monarchies that ruled in Van Luxemburg realized that the threat may not come from the relatively minor military powers within Van Luxemburg itself, but rather from far away. Venezian and Annabeeker tradesmen and explorers, originating from the two major seafaring states within Van Luxemburg, returned with stories about Slavic hordes in the north, the risin gpower of Germanic kings in the far west (Alisna), and various others also spoke of a newly formed Sericanese Kingdom in present-day Ruccola and the advent of the Erusean people in the southwest.

This prompted the King of Lëtzebuerg to send out a unusual proposition to the major powers within Van Luxemburg, regarding them as his peers in what was to become a war against the uncultured. Most states were shocked by the predictions of doom that the diplomats of Lëtzebuerg brought, and given the influence that Lëtzebuerg had gained through various marriages and agreements between states, most of the other monarchies were quick to agree with the proposal to form a ‘holy alliance’ against the uncultured. This ‘Treaty of Lëtzebuerg’ was signed in 1401, and any minor domestic opposition to the Treaty was quickly crushed by the joint forces of the states under the treaty. The expected ‘invasion of the uncultured’ however did not take place, but the states remained locked into their alliance. This allowed the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg to further expand their influence across the various states, and some states were inherited by family of the King of Lëtzebuerg, such as Zinzendorf and Bitterfeld, which were eventually merged into the Duchy of Zinzendorf.

Confederation of Junglinster

With the crowning of King Sigismund II in 1452 and his marriage to Maria of Arvaglio, the power of the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg had reached a vital tipping point; the Kingdom’s superior influence meant that an agreement was made between most monarchies of Van Luxemburg to form the Confederation of Junglinster in 1465. The Confederation included most states, except the Kingdom of Châtellerault and the Kingdom of Weiningen, along with several smaller states. During the War of Unification from 1467-1506, however, the remaining states were forced into submission and replaced by the Duchy of Weiningen and the Duchy of Levallois. As the entire island had been unified under Lëtzebuerger rule, the state became commonly known as the Kingdom of Lëtzebuerg, especially abroad. Annabeeker merchantmen often indicated that they were ‘Van Luxemburg’ (Of Lëtzebuerg) when introducing themselves abroad, meaning that ‘Van Luxemburg’ became a common name for the state as well. This eventually made it into local language aswell, creating the state of ‘Vun Lëtzebuerg’, a confederation of various smaller monarchies under the rule of the King of Lëtzebuerg.

Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg

Following the death of King Sigismund II in 1509, however, the state remained without a ruler. Duke Koenraad IV of Annabeek eventually demanded the crown of Lëtzebuerg, having systematically eliminated others in the line of succession. As he accepted the position as ruler of Lëtzebuerg, he ruled that the Confederation of Junglinster would be reformed into the Grand Duchy of Vun Lëtzebuerg, or Van Luxemburg, capitalizing upon the common foreign name Annabeeker merchantmen had given the state. The duchies and principalities that remained under the rule of the Confederation continued to exist and its rulers still had far-stretching sovereignty over their states, remaining in control of their armies and had the power to make almost all local decisions. The Grand Duchy took the form of a federation,in which Grand Duke Koenraad IV was responsible for all foreign affairs, whilst leaving most other day-to-day tasks to the rulers of the respective monarchies.

This only lasted for a relatively brief period, as the Christian Reformation sparked widespread civil unrest from the 1530’s on, requiring Koenraad IV to assume supreme command of the armed forces in order to control the unrest and avoid that any of the federated monarchies would fall. The Army reformation of 1535 established a common command structure which created Royal Regiments under the command of the Grand Duke. Other smaller regiments remained under control of the other monarchies, but these were of relatively minor importance. Eventually, with the death of Grand Duke Koenraad IV in 1539, the Grand Duchy backed out of the religious conflict and rather maintained order and in fact, a form of religious freedom.

Golden Age of Colonialism

Developments in naval technology meant that the Duchy of Annabeek and, to a lesser extent, the Duchy of Venezia, were capable of establishing trade routes between various areas of Maredoratica and Van Luxemburg, bringing back various new, previously unknown goods such as pepper. As harvests failed across Annabeek in the 1540’s, many farmers were left without a job and a famine developed across the nation, as insufficient agricultural goods could be supplied. Various entrepreneurial Annabeekers formed the Agricultureele Compagnie in 1545, a company meant to exploit the various riches of Maredoratica as a whole. The company joined forces to establish expeditions to various areas of the region, and established trading posts in Northern Hardenburgh and Eastern Leucia, among others. It employed previously unemployed Annabeeker farmers to work as contract farmers in the surroundings of these trading posts, to provide the Agricultureele Compagnie with goods. The farmers often received pay based on the products they provided, and limited protection. The AC however never claimed land for itself, except for the trading posts. A particularly important event was the creation of a Van Luxemburger military in 1671, which drafted all regiments not yet part of the Grand-Ducal military in this organization. The Annabeeker military fleet and its marine infantry (Maritieme Jagers) were largely left unchanged however, as these had been registered to the Agricultureele Compagnie which had an agreement with the Grand Duchy to provide them in case of war.

This ‘Golden Age’ of Van Luxemburger colonialism continued until roughly the 1750’s, with the largest amount of trading posts being established throughout the 17th century. After 1700, the power of the AC and Van Luxemburg as a trading nation quickly declined, as democratic and revolutionary movements within the Grand Duchy weakened the position of the state.

Ideas of democracy spread throughout the Grand Duchy, and from the early 18th century on small riots often took place in various cities around the nation, which were usually answered by military force from the local military regiments. Only in 1754, a breakthrough was forced by democratic movements in Villacoublay and Levallois-Perret, which gained the upper hand in the regiments based in these regions. The military forces quickly turned against the ruling counts of the two regions, which did not have enough troops, nor the money, to hold out for very long. These counts were imprisoned for life, instead of the then common death sentence, as the democratic movement thought of these sentences as ‘barbaric’ and would mean their rule would be no better than that of the former rulers.

One Hundred Years' War

As the Transperret Republic was proclaimed on the 18th of December 1754, the remaining monarchs in other regions of Van Luxemburg travelled to Burg Rickenbach, in the Stanzertal (Weiningen), where they concluded the Rickenbach Accords: A joint military cooperation against the Transperret Republic and the remaining democratic movements in other regions. The joint military forces of these 7 remaining regions, usually called the Arméi vun Sankt Petrus, or ‘Army of Saint Peter’, by its opponents, as they denied any cooperation and betrayed the true Christ, the Transperret Republic, according to these opponents. However, the Grand-Ducal troops turned out to be rather successful, effectively suppressing other democratic uprisings. One of those uprisings was in the Duchy of Venezia, which was effectively suppressed, after which Venezia was folded into the much stronger Principality of Arvaglio. The best-known military action during what was dubbed as the 100-Year War was the taking of Strassen by Transperret troops, which used a Trojan Horse tactic to deceive the Grand-Ducal troops into thinking that the ships containing the Transperret troops were actually their regular supply transports. Ironically, this action took place on the 1st of April 1786, which has led to a very long tradition of April Fools Day jokes in Van Luxemburg.

With the abdication of Grand Duke Konrad IV in 1821 and the ascension of Grand Duke Florian I, the political atmosphere became a lot more tolerant to the Transperret republic and its democratic ideals. However, the government of Transperret did not welcome the idea of improving relationships with the Grand Duchy, and it took a government change (in 1823) to create a dialogue between the two nations. The Premier of Transperret, Michel Senneville, a gifted diplomat and economist, eventually closed the Neunhausen Agreement with Grand Duke Florian I, leading to a ceasefire between the two nations, also known as the Thirty Years of Neunhausen.

Improvement of relations and unification

In these thirty years, the relations between the Republic and the Grand Duchy significantly improved, and Van Luxemburger politics were influenced by the proceedings in Transperret: In the last years of the ceasefire period, a constitution was adopted (1846), which also organised the Van Luxemburger democratic proceedings roughly as they are today. The first elections saw the absolute victory of Michel Senneville as the Premier of Van Luxemburg, next to his position as Premier of Transperret. As this essentially unified the two nations once again, Senneville planned out the ‘Path to Unification’ in 1847. The unification would be completed on the 13th of April 1854, some one hundred years after the start of the One Hundred Year War. Michel Senneville remained the Premier of Van Luxemburg for another two consecutive periods in the unified nation, in which he addressed important issues such as the first steps in the creation of a national railway network, the regulation of industrial work in the Industrial areas Van Luxemburg knew since the start of their Industrial Revolution in the 1840’s, as well as housing regulations and important state-related reforms, completing Van Luxemburg’s transformation into a democracy, as a constitutional monarchy.

Assassination of Michel Senneville

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A portrait of Michel Senneville, circa 1861.

The nation mourned as Senneville was shot during his inauguration for his third term since the unification, on the morning of the 26th of July 1862. Twenty suspects were quickly rounded up by the Korps Rijksveldwacht in Luxembourg, the suspects all being ex-military officers. As the news spread throughout the nation, several military units attempted a coup against the current Van Luxemburger state, but were quickly stopped by the loyal military forces and the Korps Rijksveldwacht, who formed a far larger force than the ex-Transperret military forces. As the death penalty had been abolished for most crimes, the judicial powers had no option but to banish the Transperret loyalists to a barren and dry island off the coast of Van Luxemburg, otherwise known as the Île Saint-Dié.

Plan Senneville

Main article: Plan Senneville

Despite the assassination of Michel Senneville, one of his major plans was still executed; a plan for the defence of the nation whilst adhering to a policy of strict neutrality. Senneville recognized the problem that the newly founded military suffered from: a lack of manpower to protect the entire country. The successful defence of the country was supposedly very difficult without outside assistance, something which could not be counted on because of the newly introduced neutrality policies. Therefore, Senneville proposed his plan for national defence, in a letter to the parliament and the military’s high command. This plan remains in effect as of today, as the Plan Senneville.

20thCentury

Rise of infrastructure and automobile culture

From the 1870’s on, a considerable share of the Van Luxemburger governmental budgets also went to the expansion of the infrastructural networks, primarily roads, railways and ports. This was deemed necessary, as the Van Luxemburger population had found a job in the many factories around the Grand Duchy, but had refused to move towards these industrial locations. Therefore, transportation took an important role in Van Luxemburger society from the 1870’s on. This has caused the early introduction of the mass-marketed automobile and the motorway, in the 1910’s and 1920’s respectively, along with the introduction of the railways as a cheap way of mass transport during the 1870’s, with the first railway lines being built as early as 1837. Historians think that the large commuting distance for Van Luxemburger workers, even from the 1870’s on, has been the cause for the Grand Duchy to be focused on transportation and to become a very automobile-minded nation. Dozens of automobile manufacturers were founded since 1887, the year the first Van Luxemburger automobile was produced.

First Dié Intervention

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A Monteluci Fighter-bomber used in the First Dié Intervention, exhibited at the ALD-Museum in Junglinster

In the 1930s, the situation in Dié rapidly deteriorated. Even though the banished Transperret loyalists had built up a respectable existence on the barren island, and even managed to irrigate part of their lands, a long period of drought resulted in discontent among the populace. As the governing council of the Dié republic was unable to take action against the drought, week-long riots eventually caused the governing council to step down, and be replaced by a group of military leaders, not unusual for the Dié republic. The new council organised the military forces in such a way that it would set out to sea to pirate ships in the vicinity of Dié, and thus obtaining goods that could be traded, as well as food. Due to Dié location close to Van Luxemburg, often ships that had the Grand Duchy as their destination were attacked, leading to increasing losses of the Van Luxemburger merchant navy. As attacks were usually far and few apart,the Van Luxemburger Marine had little incentive to actively hunt for pirates in the Dié sea. Only in 1941, when the piracy attacks had increased to unacceptable levels and had been going on for no less than 9 years, the Arméi Loft Dienst was allowed to take action, despite Van Luxemburger neutrality. Politicians established that the continued piracy was an attack on Van Luxemburger sovereignty, requiring the Grand Duchy to respond. In a coordinated attack, with targets marked by IVD personnel on the ground in Dié, a precision attack with fighter-bombers took place, which destroyed the offices of the Dié governing council, as well as their military headquarters. The operation,dubbed the First Dié Intervention, however came at a price of a massive loss of life among the IVD agents in Dié, effectively wiping out the Van Luxemburger intelligence network in places, an undisclosed number of civilian casualties,as well as a dozen of planes lost due to the extremely low altitude the attack was performed at.

However, the intervention had some success, as the military council was once again replaced by a civilian governing council, which suspended the piracy attacks. As the civilian council seemed to be much more tolerant of Van Luxemburger politics, Humanitarian aid from the Grand Duchy was sent to the Dié republic from 1941 till 1945. This was also the date that the Dié republic once again saw a coup attempt by the military of the Transperret loyalists. This resulted in a military government that has continued to rule until the present day.

Post-Intervention economic boom

Meanwhile, after the end of the First Dié intervention, Van Luxemburg saw a massive increase in wealth and productivity, which in turn resulted into an expansion of the infrastructure and would also result in the government-funded creation of VLT Automotive, in 1946. As a result of a secret military project, Van Luxemburg tested its first nuclear weapon in 1954. It was a 19 kiloton device, detonated on a small island off the coast of Arvaglio. Van Luxemburg however renounced nuclear weaponry soon after, though rumours persist that the Van Luxemburger military has the capability to assemble a nuclear weapon out of readymade parts in 30 minutes. The Van Luxemburger and Ruccolian governments jointly founded Firema in 1969, a bi-national sovereign wealth fund, which was very successful in profiting from the Great Alisnan War by acquiring various firms and real estate in war-torn countries in Alisna.

The 20th century part should probably be expanded.