T is for Texas

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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T is for Texas: 1836 – Thirty-three years after the Dixie States acquired territory from France by the Louisiana Purchase, the Mēxihcans attempt to claim Texas. The port of New Orleans is no longer in Kanatian hands, as it was the only concession that the Dixies received after invading the Chesapeake Bay area in 1812 and instead lost their capital at Richmond in the peace talks. From their new capital in Memphis, the Dixie States control the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of Mēxihco, but Kanata still has trading posts all along the coast.

On the 13 February 1836, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna leads a Mēxihca army of six thousand troops north to wipe out the massively outnumbered Texian army garrisoned at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio de Béxar.  From there, seizing Texas will be straightforward. However, the unusually low temperatures in Texas, including snow, slow his progress and he is unaware that Kimantsi scouts have detected the army as it heads north and alerted the Mjölnir Militia at the trading post on the Nueces estuary. As the senior merchant, Donat Migisi values dealing with the Texians over the Mēxihcans. Kanata is anxious to see the buffer territory in the south of the continent strengthened.

With two hundred Kimantsi and Mjölnir guerrillas divided into two groups, Santa Anna’s army is harassed by a fast-moving enemy. After two weeks of ceaseless assaults, and with his forces disillusioned, Santa Anna reaches the Medina, where a final ambush decimates the invaders and only a thousand remain. The delays allow reinforcements from the other Dixie States to reach the Alamo, along with another fifty Mjölnir Militia led by Donat’s sister, Daina. Traps are set everywhere from covered pits, fire trenches and barricades creating pinch points for sharpshooters. The harassed army is driven forward by relentless marauders, and Santa Anna is forced to sue for peace. “We’ve ensured the Mexicans remember the Alamo, and remember to stay south of the Nueces,” say Colonels Travis and Bowie.

 

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The Fall of the Alamo, painted by Theodore Gentilz in 1844, depicting the Alamo complex from the south. The Low Barracks, the chapel. and the wooden palisade connecting them are in the foreground. – Texas State Library – Public Domain.

 

In our timeline: Richmond, Virginia was the most permanent capital of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Although 25% of the city’s buildings were destroyed, by departing Confederate troops, the city recovered – as did Washington which the British burnt during the War of 1812, when the US invaded the British provinces of Canada.

Memphis did see some action during the Civil War as a strategic location on transportation routes. Its access by water was key to its initial development, with steamboats plying the Mississippi river. Railroad construction strengthened its connection to other markets to the east and west.

Tragically, “Remember the Alamo” is linked to a heroic but bloody defeat of the brave Texian defenders under Colonels Travis and Bowie. Snow did hamper the Mexican army, and Comanche warriors did harass the advancing troops, many of whom were conscripts, but the reinforcements were delayed and there were Mexican settlers in Texas spreading false information as well as spying for Santa Anna. Texian Army General Sam Houston was only able to exact revenge afterwards, at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Could the combined strategies of the Kimantsi warriors and the Mjölnir Militia with their generations of elite fighting prowess have bought the crucial time for the reinforcements? Was Kanata correct to side with a neighbour that had invaded them twenty-four years earlier?

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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

G is for Göta älv

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, and the theme reveal is here. I also wrote about this world in my blog post ‘This could be Kanata.

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G is for Göta älv: In 1036, Harthacnut delays returning from Denmark to England to claim his late father, Cnut the Great’s throne as his rightful heir. Denmark is under threat from Norway, once part of Cnut’s North Sea Empire, comprising Denmark, England, Norway, and parts of Sweden. However, in early 1035 the Danes had been driven out of Norway with Swedish help and Magnus I was crowned King.

An armed delegation of Kanatians, many of Norwegian descent, persuade their Norse brethren to negotiate a treaty at Göta älv in Götland, on the Norwegian-Danish border. Harthacnut and Magnus agree that if either die without an heir, his kingdom would go to the other. The warrior leader of the Kanata delegation, Vefrid Migisi captivates Harthacnut and he proposes to her, asking that her Mjölnir Militia helps him reclaim his English throne. She accepts but Magnus requests that she first persuade the infamous Jomsvikings mercenaries into her army. Two years later, she gives Harthacnut an heir and ensures that a Norse-Anglo-Saxon dynasty will rule Albion.

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Imaginative picture of the meeting between Magnus and Harthacnut – (illustration by Halfdan Egedius).

In our timeline: a treaty was agreed at Göta älv in Götland before Harthacnut claimed his English throne. He remained unmarried and had no known children when he died in 1042. His successor was his half-brother Edward the Confessor, which eventually led to various claims to the throne when Edward died – but that is another crucial date in English history, 1066.

Although Magnus I threatened to invade England because of his settlement with Harthacnut. In 1043, Magnus put an end to the Jomsviking threat. He sacked Jomsborg and destroyed the fortress. Magnus was not married but had a daughter out of wedlock, Ragnhild, who married Haakon Ivarsson, a Norwegian nobleman. Her great-grandson would become King Eric III of Denmark.

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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

F is for Franco-Prussian War

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, and the theme reveal is here. I also wrote about this world in my blog post ‘This could be Kanata.

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F is for Franco-Prussian War: (4 August 1870 – 10 May 1871) The conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Prussian ambitions in Europe had become apparent when in 1864 they demanded that Denmark ceded Schleswig-Holstein back to the German people, despite many Danes living in the territory. On 3rd February 1864, a Prussian-Austrian army forced the Danish army to retreat, before promised troops from Sweden-Norway could intervene.

So, when Prussia invaded France across the border near Metz, they were met by a French army bolstered by the elite Mjölnir militia. In three critical defeats of Prussian armies over the next nine months, the cause of German Unification was delayed, although Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismark, with the intervention of forces of reason on all sides, pursued a path of diplomacy through trade and dynastic marriages emulating the success of the Norse alliances stretching from Kanata to Eastern Rurikid.

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A French Cavalry Officer Guarding Captured Bavarian Soldiers, Watercolor with gouache, private collection. (1875). Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille (1848–1912)

In our timeline: Denmark did lose Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia, then Prussia continued to unite Germany. France was heavily defeated and lost territory to Germany. As Wikipedia says, “Many historians praise Bismark as a visionary who was instrumental in uniting Germany and, once that had been accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy.” When he died a younger Kaiser ruled Germany, one that he clashed with in his final years. “Historians stress that Bismarck’s peace-oriented, ‘saturated continental diplomacy’ was increasingly unpopular because it consciously reined in any expansionist drives. In dramatic contrast stands the ambition of Kaiser Wilhelm II‘s Weltpolitik to secure the Reich’s future through expansion, leading to World War I. Likewise Bismarck’s policy to deny the military a dominant voice in foreign political decision making was overturned by 1914 as Germany became an armed state.”

If German Unification had gone down a different path, would there have been World War I? Would Hitler or Stalin have emerged in a radically reformed Europe with no military superpowers and based on trade?

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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

E is for Embabeh

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, and the theme reveal is here. I also wrote about this world in my blog post ‘This could be Kanata.

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E is for Embabeh: In 1798, the French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage to threaten Albion-Norse trade in the East, and thus force them to make peace. Napoleon Bonaparte’s first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. As a major location on the trading routes, the harbour of Valletta was a key location. Bonaparte’s forces landed on the island but were repelled by the Knights and a garrison of Mjölnir militia defending Anglo-Norse interests.

Napoleon sailed and landed at Alexandria, meeting the forces of the two local Mamluk rulers at the Battle of Embabeh, on July 21st. He planned to keep the two Georgian Mamluk armies divided by fighting on one bank of the Nile, but Mjölnir militia transported the second stranded army across and helped rout the French. Meanwhile, the Albion navy under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson defeated the French navy at Aboukir Bay and the Battle of the Nile.

Although Napoleon fled to France, he engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. However, Albion led a successful coalition to restrict his attempted invasions out of France.

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Bataille des Pyramides (1808) – Louis-Francois, Baron Lejeune (1775-1848)

In our timeline: Wikipedia – The Mediterranean campaign of 1798 was a series of major naval operations surrounding a French expeditionary force sent to Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars. The French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage in an effort to threaten British India, and thus force Great Britain to make peace. Departing Toulon in May 1798 with over 40,000 troops and hundreds of ships, Bonaparte’s fleet sailed southeastwards across the Mediterranean Sea. They were followed by a small British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, later reinforced to 13 ships of the line… Bonaparte’s first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and theoretically granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. Bonaparte’s forces landed on the island and rapidly overwhelmed the defenders, securing the port city of Valletta before continuing to Egypt.

[After landing in Egypt and fighting a minor skirmish, Napoleon advanced on Alexandria.] On 2 Thermidor (20 July), the French army arrived half a mile from the village of Embabé. The heat was unbearable and the army was exhausted and needed a rest, but there was not enough time and so Bonaparte drew up his 25,000 troops for battle approximately nine miles (15 km) from the Pyramids of Giza… This was the start of the so-called Battle of the Pyramids, [also known as the Battle of Embabeh], a French victory over an enemy force of about 21,000 Mamluks. (Around 40,000 Mamluk soldiers stayed away from the battle.) The French defeated the Mamluk cavalry with a giant infantry square, with cannons and supplies safely on the inside. In all 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed. The battle gave rise to dozens of stories and drawings.

On the scientific front, the expedition led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, creating the field of Egyptology. Despite many decisive victories and an initially successful expedition into Syria, Napoleon and his Armée d’Orient were eventually forced to withdraw, after sowing political disharmony in France, experiencing conflict in Europe, and suffering the defeat [by Horatio Nelson] of the supporting French fleet at the Battle of the Nile.

However, could events have taken a different course? Napoleon did engineer the coup and later became the Emperor of the French and then invaded successive countries. But who could have stopped him before the retreat from Moscow, or later before Waterloo?

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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