Duchy of Leyl
|Duchy of Leyl|
|Motto: Voor Hertog, Natie en Eenheid! (For Hertog, Nation and Unity.)|
|Official language(s)||Southbatavian, Praeta, Alexandrian Fransch|
|Official religion(s)||Holy Catologian Church (non-official)|
|Government||Unitary Semi-constitutional monarchy|
|- Duke of Leylstadt||Nicholas I|
|- Legislature||State Duma of the Duchy of Leylstadt|
|Currency||Aldurian Écu (€), Batavian Kruys (†)|
The Duchy of Leyl (formerly known as Duchy of Leylstadt) was a semi-constitutional monarchy, established as an independent, sovereign duchy within the Green of Apollonia, in 1675 AN by Duke Nicholas des Vinandy-Windsor. The nation is composed of several ethnic groups, mainly Badaweians (the offspring of Batavian settlers in Kildare, and later Jingdao) and Transbatavians, Krasnocorians, Morovians, Gralans and tribal peoples. The nation, located between the mountain ranges, neighbours both Florian Republic and Jingdao. The nation was established as a personal project of the adventurous Nicholas, who sought a nation to call his home. Despite being squashed between larger nations and having no access to the sea, the beautiful landscape inspired Nicholas to settle. He proclaimed the Duchy as a place where anyone unwilloing to live under any other country's regime could seek refuge. Pressured by the increasing expansion of the Jingdaoese, Krasnocorians and Florians, some mountain tribes joint the venture of Nicholas the First to establish a new country, bolstering the population numbers towards 292,000 residents.
In 1680 AN, heavy rainfalls led to the destruction of several settlements near the Leyl River. Problems were worsened as rain kept falling and attempts to stop the water were deemed insufficient or proved disastrous. Fearing for the life of his subjects, the Duke requested the aid of the Chidao Emperor. The Heavenly Court proclaimed their support for the Leylstadters and promised them aid by resettling them further northwards. While remaining independent, the Duke and his State Duma started aligning themselves with the Jingdaoese and USSO, which had supported the migration efforts with an emergency funds. Simultaneously, the country moved away from becoming too dependent on Alduria, which by then had given up its neutrality and joined Raspur.
In 1683 AN, the Ducal administration announced that they had good hope that every Leylstadter would once more have a place to call home in 1690 AN. Huge efforts, partly financially supported by the Jingdaoese-Krasnocorian trade routes running through the country, had been made to construct towns, grant land to farmers and the clergy. Its capital, Leylstadt, was assigned to become the capital and headquarters of the USSO.
- 1 Name
- 2 History
- 3 Foreign relations and Military
- 4 Government and administration
- 5 Economy
The Duchy owns its name to the river Leyl, which runs through the mountain pass which surround the country. As the Leyl is both the lifeline of the country - as it delivers fresh drinking water to the town and its surroundings, and allows for transportation towards the sea - the first settlers decided upon the name Leylstadt. This means City at the Leyl.
To remember the importance of the river, the locals celebrate Leyl Festival annually halfway the year. It's seen as a national holiday and the Duke tours his country to listen to his citizens' various grievances and or, doubtless effusive, expressions of gratitude.
The first steps
Nicholas des Vinandy-Windsor was born as younger brother of Joseph des Vinandy-Windsor in 1625 AN. Born as a kinsman of Batavian noble heritage within - by then Shirerithian - occupied territory, he enjoyed a comfortable youth. He was well-versed in both Batavian and Shirerithian classics, and he soon made connections among the other noble houses of the country. His entrepreneur's spirit convinced him to move to Shirekeep in 1643 AN to join the Iron Company's branch office in the hope of amassing a fortune.
Frustrated with the lack of progress (the war hadn't helped), and eventually charged with corruption, Nicholas left the capital and fled to Jingdaoese 's Koningenwaarde in 1657. Having irritated both the Shirerithian authorities and the Iron Company, he found a lot of support among the amused Jingdaoese elite. His old connections helped him in setting up a shipping company. The allowance he received from his older brother (to stay away as far as possible from Davignon) helped him further to increase his investments.
The Bataafsche Scheepvaartmaatschappij flourished, especially as the war had opened the possibilities for traders within Jingdao. Both the Meiyo Emperor and Chidao Emperor passed legislation which opened up the market. Nicholas amassed the fortune he had dreamt of.
In 1661 AN, mainland Batavia was re-united. His company was now forced to chose: remain active in Batavia, or Jingdao. After much deliberation, Nicholas chose to remain in Batavia. This would, however, change rather rapidly, as goodwill around the initial unification stranded and he himself started dreaming aloud of himself on the Throne. When his brother, Joseph, proclaimed support for David Ayreon-Kalirion on the Throne, Nicholas understood that his chances of ever ruling the country had been ruined. His family, the House des Vinandy-Windsor, had made itself extremely unpopular among the vinandist royalists. When Arkadius IV - with support of the Windsors - received the Crown in 1669 AN, his chances were further diminished.
By then, he had already started contacting several groups who had grown increasingly frustrated with the state of affairs: both the struggle for the crown (and afterwards, limited frustration about the king himself), as frustrations about corruption and lack of a decent administration made excellent partners to work with. Especially among those who had once lived in the Transbataafsche Vrystaat, he found allies to aid his cause.
In 1664, he gathered those families who he had seen fit, and - paid with the profits of his company - set of towards Apollonia. There he would, among the Green, find a new homeland.
The Valesian Expedition (1664 - 1674)
Nicholas had been a fairly successful businessman thanks to his own ability to recognise the abilities of the peoples working under him. While he himself had rather mediocre talents, he successfully placed the right employees in the right job. He recognised that establishing his own country, even with the funds he could provide, was a difficult endeavour. He needed adventurers with sufficient know how, experts who would be able to not only find a decent place to live, but also be able to negotiate with the local tribes.
The Aldurian-Batavian conquistador André Vales was hired in 1663 AN to prepare the venture. Vales, who had a decent knowledge of the central Apollonian plains and mountain regions in the Green, opted for former Aryan lands. After much deliberation, Nicholas agreed with him: the lands were fertile, the mountains gave sufficient defence against other powers, and the climate was reasonable (not too cold in winter, but not too hot in summer). Besides that, the tribes living in the region still spoke Praeta from the times that the Apollonian Republic had dominated the region, a language which most new colonists had learnt as first or second language.
Vales undertook three expeditions between 1664 and 1673 AN, in which he personally organised the settlement of over 200,000 inhabitants across the region. The local chiefs received considerable bribes from Vales in the years prior Nicholas' arrival and had been promised the benefits of a new, orderly established nation. Promises of order, wealth and a new feeling of national pride convinced many of the young locals, while the elders remained mostly indifferent.
In 1674, the Fourth Valesian Expedition arrived with new residents - around 50,000 Batavians, Krasnocorians and Morovians - at what had once been the city of Mahapur, but had since the Apollonians had left, slowly transformed into ruins and small living communities. In a short ceremony, the local chief handed over a decree with signatures of all local chiefs, which approved the establishment of a new state under Nicholas.
Leylstadt was proclaimed on 25.XV.1674 AN as an independent state.
Grant of ducal title (1675)
- See also: Donation of Pius
The proclamation of independence of Leylstadt was celebrated across the mountain range. Especially the new settlers were excited. Among them were many Batavians, some of Badaweian (former Jingdaoese or Kildarian Batavians) and others from Transbatavian descent. Most of them followed one of the variants of the catologian faith - Tianchaodao or the Holy Catologian Church - and were uneasy living in a state which did not have the endorsement of a religious institution.
Nicholas, a follower of catologism, but hardly a devote one, would therefore have told that "ruling Leylstadt is worth a mass to him" and he contacted Magister Pius II of the Holy Catologian Church with the request to grant a royal title to him. Pius was confronted with a difficult choice: while the Church had once held the power to grant noble titles (as it had done before the unification of Batavia into one country), this tradition had long ended since the Kings of Batavia had adopted that privilige. His advice to contact the Batavian king, Shirerithian Kaiser or Jingdaoese Emperor, fell onto deaf ears from Nicholas, who had no interest in endangering his country by aligning with any of them. In the end, after a series of discussions, large monetary donations and promises of establishing the Church as dominating religion, Pius II granted Nicholas the title of an independent Duke (claiming that he held no power to simply create a royal title), equal to the kind of title the House of des Vinandy-Windsor had held for centuries as Dukes of Davignon.
Reign of Nicholas the First (1675 - ... AN)
The reign of Nicholas began with his inauguration in the Catodral of Leylstadt. In the presence of a representative of the Holy Catologian Church, the new Duke received the blessing of both the people as the Faith. Inspired by his travels, the new Duke pushed for the construction of monuments to celebrate the birth of the country.
The construction works, often started with foreign loans, was seen as an important part of the awakening of national pride: "We may be Batavian, Jing, Aldurian, Krasnocorian,... at the beginning of the day, but at the end, we will all be Leylstadter!"
The Duchy met with hardships during the first years of his reign: the Duke, who had invested enormous sums in the country, was unable to further invest in his development projects. The nobility in the Duma blocked several attempts to loan from foreign banks, as the year 1678 and 1679 had proven disastrous for the agricultural sector because of heavy rainfall.
In 1680 AN, the country was hit by disaster as heavy rain led to the destruction of Zwartburg. Please for help initially were met, but the government was unable to keep the situation in control. A special delegation with Nicholas and André Vales  arrived at the Imperial Palace in Daocheng and met with the Imperial Stewardship to receive aid. The Jing eventually convinced the Duke that any attempts to solve the problem would meet failure in the end. Instead they offered to aid the Leylstadters in moving northwards.
To reflect the changes, the Duchy was renamed to a Domain: the Leyl Domain was born, as it claimed a larger territory than before. Located between Krasnocoria and Jingdao, it also gained control over an important trade route.
Foreign relations and Military
Since its establishment, Leylstadt had close ties with the Republic of Alduria. Nicholas' connections with former Caputian and Alexandrian nobility and the wealthier merchant class of the nation, made it an important starting point for the Duke's expeditions to what is nowadays the Duchy. Goods, funding, and - most importantly - the immigrants were moved to several important harbour towns from across Micras to then be shipped towards the Apollonian continent.
Massive loans were taken by the Leylstadter government to fund the migration and construction of its country, making it dependent on some important bankers from Alduria. The president, Alejandro Campos, and Duke, Nicholas des Vinandy-Windsor, are, according to some sources close friends and drinking buddies.
With other nations, Leylstadt holds no formal ties. However, due to the population influx of Transbatavians and Badaweians, it considers itself a 'Batavian' nation with 'Batavian' culture. Plans for membership of the Batavian Confederation was considered, but - due to worries about instability within the Kingdom and a declaration of martial law by Arkadius IV in 1676 AN - eventually put in the freezer till the situation stabilised.
Religious contacts between the Church and administration are upheld through the clerical office at the city of Leylstadt, but several Jingdaoese and Flemish inspired monasteries and monastic orders act independent from those church authorities (with most objecting to the claim of Arkadius' holy catologian emperorship, from a theological or even political stance). Government policy to strengthen unity among the orders and church have failed and, sometimes, even backfired with riots as a consequence.
Relations between Jingdao and Leylstadt were cordial but no formal relations had been established until 1676 AN. Upon hearing of Leylstadt Jingdaoese Chidao Emperor issued a decree welcoming their establishment. Duke Nicholas des Vinandy-Windsor was invited to Daocheng, but no date for the visit had been agreed upon. It wasn't till the Disaster of 1680 struck the country, that Duke Nicholas kowtowed in front of Jingdaoese dignitaries and accepted their aid in rescuing the country.
While remaining independent, the Leylstadter became increasingly indebted to the Jingdaoese and the USSO, which had sent both military and financial support.
The Armed Forces of Leylstadt, or Leylstadter Strijdkrachten, is a small corps of 135 professional soldiers and mountaineers. It was originally conceived as a group of ten personal bodyguards of Duke Nicholas, prior his ascension to the Ducal throne in 1675 AN. From then on, the forces were reorganised into a more militarised and professional army.
Focus during training lies on defending the mountain ranges which give access to the green valleys.
Government and administration
Duke of Leylstadt
The Dukes of Leylstadt are the rulers of the Duchy. He, or she (the Duchy allows for women to ascend to the throne if no male heir is present), acts as head of state and national symbol. The first Duke based his title on the Donation of Pius, in which the pope of the Holy Catologian Church granted him the position of an independent Duke, without having to own any obligations towards a suzerain. This freed Nicholas from any obligations he - and his branch of the House des Vinandy-Windsor - held towards the Kings of Batavia.
As the Ducal House committed a large share of its possessions and funds to the Valesian Expeditions, which founded the country, the Duke received considerable power over the country. Through Decrees, he can establish new laws, while he can veto those of the State Duma. The Grand Pensionary, who aids him in his tasks of governing the state, is appointed by him and not by the State Duma. Nicholas' youth and later years convinced him that democracy in its purest form could only harm a country (as he saw it as chaotic), but inspired and pressured by the freedoms in Alduria, he also showed support for an elected State Duma.
The Grand Pensionary is the prime minister of the country. He holds considerable power and influence within the administration. However, as he has to seek both approval of the Duke (who can appoint and fire him at will) and the State Duma (which has the power to block any law coming from the cabinet) to govern, he has to find a delicate balance between the two.
The State Duma consists of twenty elected representatives from the population across the country. 14 seats are distributed to Leylstadt, while the village of Grison hold four seats and Thurgou receives two representatives. While every citizen is allowed to vote, those who hold considerable economical power (read: pay more taxes) receive two - and in some cases three - votes. As the government actively supports the better educated merchant class to govern the lands, entrepreneurs and the richer middle class have been the dominating political elite within the State Duma.
The Duma is elected every five Norton years and is presided by the Grand Pensionary, who is not a member of the parliament.
Leylstadt is a small duchy, composed of several municipalities. The city of Leylstadt forms the political, cultural and economical centre of the small country, as most of the adventurers and refugees who arrived with Nicholas the First settled down in fertile valley at the river Leyl.
Every village, except Leylstadt itself, has a village elder. This is, in most cases, someone who has been appointed by the villagers themselves. He represents his town in official ceremonies and, during Leyl Festival, announces their villages praises and grievances to the Duke.
The economy of the nation was heavily based on the personal fortune of the branch of Nicholas' House des Vinandy-Windsor. To purchase the lands and bribe his way through, enormous funds were gathered and squandered. Even Nicholas' company, the Bataafsche Scheepvaartmaatschappij, which was one of the sole companies allowed to travel and trade both between Jingdao and Alduria and between Batavia and Alduria (making it effectively one of the only companies capable of trading between the Batavian Confederation and Jingdao), filed for bankruptcy in 1674 AN. Confronted with owning a Duchy, but no longer having any access to easy money, the decision was made in 1675 AN to cooperate with the Aldurian authorities.
The Aldurian Écu was seen as a stable coin, though the Republic itself was rather young. Personal relations between the leaders of either country were positive, which sealed the deal. Discussions began and the possibility of establishing a Central Bank of Alduria and Leylstadt was discussed.
In 1680, the country moved northwards after the Disaster of 1680 and even expanded its borders. Through this move, the small country (which was now even further land inwards) gained more natural resources, and became a necessary trade partner for the Jingdaoese and Krasnocorians. It strengthened the economy of the country, as Leylstadt became an economical trade centre.
Leylstadt's economy produces rather a lot of agricultural goods. While Grison in the south acts as a major trading hub, the northern towns of Sargan, Donou and Zwartburg produce excesses of grain. Some it is used in bread or for export, while part of it is used in Thorgou to produce local beer. A large portion of the beer brewed in Thorgou is exported to the Alriggian capital of Driftwood where the Leylstadter Bieren are very popular.
Minor mining activities mostly happen around the towns of Mezel and Sinon. Coal, tin and iron are found in small but sufficient quantities to keep trade with the other towns running.
Logistic services and transport routes to Alrig and Jingdao are offered by the Alriggian company TransGreen, which has a warehouse in Thorgou.