S is for Stadacona

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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S is for Stadacona: 13 September 1759 – France has been making desperate attempts to expand its territories in North America, but Captain Benning Migisi and his Odawa militia lieutenant, Obwandiyag, watch at night from their ship as French scouts scale the cliff onto the plains beyond Stadacona, capital of Kanata [Quebec City]. Benning, Obwandiyag, and their force of Mjölnir Militia attack the French scouts but encounter other French troops. They evade French patrols to reach their own lines and warn the Kanatian commander, General Jakob Ulve, of the impending French assault.

On the morning of the 13 September, the Kanatian forces, regular and Mjölnir Militia, repel the repeated attacks of the French. However, Benning Migisi dies saving his friend Obwandiyag, and in his dying breath says, “We are one people. We are one within Manitou’s sight.”

This is the last attempt by the French to invade Kanatian soil, although the Dixie States declare war on their northern neighbours forty-three years later.

 

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Death of General Wolfe (1770) – Artist: Benjamin West (1738-1820) – National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario – Public Domain.

 

In our timeline: On the 13 September 1759, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, British forces led by General James Wolfe successfully resisted the column advance of French troops and Canadien militia under General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm. Wolfe received three gunshot wounds that ended his life within minutes of the beginning of the engagement and Montcalm died the next morning after receiving a musket ball wound just below his ribs. In the wake of the battle, the French evacuated the city; their remaining military force in Canada and the rest of North America came under increasing pressure from British forces.

France ceded most of its possessions in eastern North America to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris. However, from 1763 to 1791, the British retained Quebec as the capital of the Province of Quebec; from 1791 to 1841, it was the capital of Lower Canada; from 1852 to 1856 and from 1859 to 1866, it was capital of the Province of Canada; and since 1867, it has been capital of the Province of Quebec.

As Kanata chose Stadacona (Quebec City) as their capital and major trading port, would there have been other nations that would attack the city? Or would the 1759 victory have been sufficient deterrent, except for the Dixie States?

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ

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R is for Rurikid Diarchy

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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R is for Rurikid Diarchy: 23 April 1933, Kiev – With the peaceful future of international relations thriving after the creation of the Union of World Nations in 1930, Tsaritsa Irina Feodorovna, co-ruler of the Rurikid Diarchy agrees with her co-ruler Patriarch Yaroslav Pieracki of the Kievan Orthodox Church that they should abdicate in favour of a true democracy. Despite the opposition of Georgian authoritarian, Josef Stalin, her Ukrainian advisors, Dariya Stasiuk and Havryil Chayka, draw up a constitution that addresses the existence in the Rurikid territories of various ethnic groups and states, using the example set by their trading partner, Kanata.

Fears of another European war diminish with the successful election of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the defeat of the Nazi party struggling after the death from syphilis of their psychotic leader Adolf Hitler.

A year later the Rurikid Confederation is born, with the Tsaritsa agreeing to represent Rurikid and perform speeches or attend any important ceremonial events as a symbolical guide to the people, but she agrees to hold no actual power in decision-making, appointments, etcetera. The Rurikid dynasty has ruled the Rus territories since 862, when her Varangian ancestor, Prince Rurik, originally from Norway, settled Novgorod before conquering Kievan Rus′.

 

800px-Top_of_the_Millennium_of_Russia_Monument_in_Novgorod,_2005

Millenium of Russia monument in Novgorod with Prince Rurik at the centre and Vladimir the Great at the left and Dmitry Donskoy at the right (both Rurikids) – Creative Commons

In our timeline: The Rurikid Dynasty was founded by the Varangian Prince Rurik, around the year 862, and they ruled in parts of Russia for over 700 years. The Varangians was a name given to the Vikings by the East Slavs and Greeks. Many served as mercenaries with the Byzantine Empire.

 

The last Tsars, the Romanovs, were descended from the Rurikids through marriage, but their reign ended with the Russian Revolution in 1917. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian by birth and took part in the Revolutions of 1917. He was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Some have argued that he would have forced his way into power under any system and was never a true communist.

The Russian Orthodox Church was founded around 988 and survived through the Soviet period despite persecution. Some of the former states now have separate Orthodox Churches over which the ROC does not have full autonomy, notably the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Social Democratic Party of Germany was the main opposition to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, but in 1930, its deputies were either arrested or fled into exile. Adolf Hitler is reputed to have had various medical conditions, including syphilis.

Could a move to genuine democracy in Germany and Russia, and the death of Hitler, have avoided World War II? What kind of influence could a Kanata Confederation with allies in Northern Europe have wielded?

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/atozchallenge/

Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ

Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

K is for Kalmar Union

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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K is for Kalmar Union: 12 June 1397 – Kalmar Castle, Denmark: Outnumbered by superior forces, two rival Hanseatic merchant captains, Palle Fisker and Izaak Rusnak, are escorted to Kalmar Castle by Captain Urika Migisi and her three Kanatian warships. Queen Margaret I of Denmark is hosting a gathering of merchants and nobles from across the Baltic to form a trading alliance across Northern Europe. The delegates agree as long as Kanata sets up a neutral trading post to secure the arrangement, based at Palle’s home port of Visby, on the strategic island of Gotland. Urika wins Palle’s heart, but his rivalry with Izaak spills down the generations – all the way to 2020.

 

Skibsflaget_fra_Mariakirken_i_Lübeck

A medieval ship flag captured from a Danish ship by forces from Lubeck in 1427 displaying the arms of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Pomerania – Illustration by Professor Julius Magnus Petersen. (Public Domain)

 

In our timeline: The Kalmar Union was created and existed from 1397 to 1523, joining under a single monarch the three kingdoms of DenmarkSweden (then including Finland), and Norway, together with Norway’s overseas dependencies (then including IcelandGreenland, the Faroe Islands and the Northern Isles). Queen Margaret of Denmark was the regent at this time and a prime mover. One main impetus for the Union’s formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region. The Hanseatic League were one of the major rivals of the Scandinavians, as were the Victual Brothers, a loosely organised guild of pirate operating at one time from Visby, a former Hanseatic city.

Although the Kalmar Union suffered from all the rivalry around the Baltic, including conflicts between the Scandinavian nations, could a powerful intermediary like Kanata have safeguarded Baltic trade? This might have been feasible, especially as Visby as the main port on the island of Gotland was well-placed to monitor traffic.

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/atozchallenge/

Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ

Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

J is for Jasper

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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J is for Jasper: 1813, Jasper, Kanata: Fur trader Doron Klen is negotiating with postmaster-merchant Jasper Hawes over the value of the goods that he wants to be sent on the next shipment east. Jasper agrees on a fair price given the distance from the post at the gateway to the Assinwati mountains [Rockies] to Lake Gichigami [Superior] and the main trading ports. Another fur trader sneers at Doron, condemning his Jewish ways extorting money out of good Christians like Jasper. However, Jasper reminds the angry fur trader that Kanata welcomes all settlers, especially those fleeing from persecution, and reminds him that his sect was condemned for their beliefs. Yet, the indigenous tribes welcomed them all – in fact, does he condemn them for their beliefs or the Norse founders that follow Skaði or Odin? Maybe he should complain to the Mjölnir militia. The rogue fur trader is forced to accept that Jasper is correct, and he apologises to Doron, who adds that if his Jewish homeland was ever free, many of his people might return there.

 

Jasper_House_National_Historic_Site_of_Canada_2012-09-23_19-35-58

Jasper House National Historic Site of Canada – Photographer: Themeancanadian

 

 

In our timeline: Until the British seized Montreal in 1760, there were no Jewish settlers in Canada, as the French required that everyone was Roman Catholic. There were several Jews in the British regiments, and from then on Jewish settlers were initially merchants and fur traders. Canada was one of the destinations of choice, alongside the United States, following the pogroms in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Jasper is named after a real Jasper Hawes who was the postmaster at the trading post established there in 1814 as part of the network controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ

Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

I is for Ice

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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I is for Ice: 1264, Eyrar, Iceland:   Fishermen Thorvard Gilsson and Kjartan Jonsson are repairing their nets and discussing their concerns that the increase in drift ice around the northern coast of Iceland is threatening their safety when fishing. The spread of sea ice is also making trade harder, especially with Greenland to the west, but at least the merchants from Kanata continue to support them both, providing much-needed goods, including timber so the settlers don’t need to chop down their few precious trees.

The Kanata merchants must have access to many varieties of trees, says Kjartan, as their shipwrights have crafted some rugged vessels that can navigate great storms and probably the drift ice. The fishermen suspect the vessels are reinforced, particularly around the waterline with double planking to the hull and strengthening cross members inside the ship. If they had enough iron that could be wrapped around the outside. Maybe the Kanatians will teach them the secrets so they can build safer fishing boats.

Thorvard agrees and suggests they make a formal request via the Althing. Both men are glad that the Icelandic chieftains and guild representatives rejected swearing allegiance to the king of Norway, knowing that it was Kanata that protected them and ensured peace in the country.

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A 17th-century Russian koch in a museum – Public Domain

In our timeline: In 1250 the Atlantic Sea ice began to grow and by 1300 there were signs throughout Europe that the Medieval Warm Period was ending. This new period, although the dating varies, has been called the ‘Little Ice Age’. Sea ice surrounding Iceland in many years extended for miles in every direction, closing harbours to shipping. Greenland was largely cut off by ice from 1410 to the 1720s, although it is unclear if this why the Norse settlements were abandoned. Timber was scarce on both Greenland and Iceland, which was one resource the expeditions to Vinland and Markland were seeking. But these timber expeditions did not continue. Building the first wooden ships that could navigate Arctic waters was achieved in North Russia.

Wikipedia – “In the 11th century, in North-Russia started settling the coasts of the White Sea, named so for being ice-covered for over half of a year. The mixed ethnic group of the Karelians and the Russians in the North-Russia that lived on the shores of the Arctic Ocean became known as Pomors (“seaside settlers”). Gradually they developed a special type of small one- or two-mast wooden sailing ships, used for voyages in the ice conditions of the Arctic seas and later on Siberian rivers. These earliest icebreakers were called kochi. The koch’s hull was protected by a belt of ice-floe resistant flush skin-planking along the variable water-line, and had a false keel for on-ice portage. If a koch became squeezed by the ice-fields, its rounded bodylines below the water-line would allow for the ship to be pushed up out of the water and onto the ice with no damage.”

The skill of the Kanatian shipwrights with access to plenty of timber should have allowed them to build early icebreakers to navigate via Greenland and Iceland to and from Europe. Would they have access to the Pomors and their kochi because of the Eastern trade routes? [Maybe when I get to ‘N’ that might produce an answer.]

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ

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H is for Honfleur

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.

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H is for Honfleur: 1228 -Wischard Snekker, a shipbuilder, is waterproofing the clinker hull of his latest vessel in the old harbour of Honfleur. A passing stranger remarks in Norman French that it resembles an extended knarr, and he asks what its use will be. When they introduce themselves, they realise their common heritage – as Norwegian Vikings, so speaking in Norwegian, they discuss Wischard’s dream of a ship that can navigate the Great Sea [the Atlantic] with substantial cargo and yet manoeuvre easily and defend itself. The stranger is Keme Migisi, a merchant explorer from distant Kanata, and he shows his new friend sketches of craft that he has observed navigating the Mediterranean and the coastal areas of the Atlantic. He even arrived on a lateen-rigged ship that the Albion fleet obtained in Gascony. Together they design a three-masted ship with the traditional square sail of the Viking ships, plus a foresail and a triangular lateen mizzen, as well as oars for navigating rivers. He will fund the building.

When asked about his Migisi name, Keme admits to family connections that give him access to developments at many European courts which are aiding the Norse connections that are holding Europe together. He values those contacts and they will support their project even though the design must remain a closely guarded secret until they reach Kanata. By spring1229, the Draken Havet Hersker sails laden with a cargo of horses, jewellery, silk, spices, bronze goods, tin ingots, and new settlers willing to brave the crossing and the wilds of Kanata.

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Honfleur, the old port – Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot  (circa 1824) commons.wikimedia.org

Our timeline: Wikipedia – “Until the 15th century, Europeans were limited to coastal navigation using the barge or the balinger (barinel), ancient cargo vessels of the Mediterranean Sea with a capacity of around 50 to 200 tons. These boats were fragile, with only one mast with a fixed square sail that could not overcome the navigational difficulties of southward oceanic exploration, as the strong windsshoals and strong ocean currents easily overwhelmed their abilities.

The caravel was developed in about 1451, based on existing fishing boats under the sponsorship of Henry the Navigator of Portugal, and soon became the preferred vessel for Portuguese explorers like Diogo CãoBartolomeu Dais or Gaspar and Miguel CorteReal, and by Christopher Columbus. … They were agile and easier to navigate than the barca and barinel, with a tonnage of 50 to 160 tons and 1 to 3 masts, with lateen triangular sails allowing beating.”

However, there was a Portuguese caravel in the English fleet that returned to Gascony in 1226. Yet it was over 200 years before the Age of Discovery began.  When the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror, control of the overland trade routes to Cathay and the Far East changed and the Iberians looked to the possibility of finding sea routes east. The Scandinavians had also established trade routes from the Baltic down the river network to Constantinople. But by then, their Greenland colony was struggling and they looked to Europe for their survival.

The shipbuilding technology to cross the Atlantic existed in 1000 AD when Leif Eriksson reached Newfoundland. The additional technology that the Portuguese and Spanish applied 250 years later, existed well before that date. What would be the right motivation for the Scandinavians to apply their extensive shipbuilding skills to build their versions of caravels and explore further afield on the other side of the Atlantic?

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Important Links for the A to Z Challenge – please use these links to find other A to Z Bloggers

Website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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Twitter handle: @AprilAtoZ