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Old 07-07-2011, 10:51 AM   #1
Cap Ologist
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Holy Swiss Empire

October 14, 1399

"Outrageous," Friedrich Bischofberger muttered. "I can't believe the nerve of the Emperor." He passed around the proclamation to the other two men, Frederic Heberlin and Henri Luz.

Tensions had been building up in the small country of Switzerland. They looked at the neighboring states around them as inferior. Switzerland had developed an advanced form of government under the direction of Heberlin. The administrative republic was also a haven for many merchants who had come to take advantage of the the favorable conditions created by Luz.

The three men viewed every action of the Holy Roman Emperor with distrust as he worked to consolidate power and improve his own country of Bohemia. Bohemia was a powerful country, and with the added title of Emperor, Bohemia was poised to become a superpower by absorbing all the small states.

The three men were the ruling council of Switzerland for the next four years as the country transitioned fully to the new form of government. Their power was limited in that they could not declare war, a limitation that frustrated Bischofberger the most as Minister of War. How could they stop the spread of Bohemia's influence? How could they influence the election of a leader in four years who would share those same ideals?

As the men sat and thought, the day passed and evening drew near. Bischofberger stirred and spoke quietly, "Maybe we just need to give Bohemia and the Empire a good kick with our boot." He quickly summoned a diplomat, wrote a quick note and said, "Go quickly."

He turned to Minister of Finance Luz, "Make preparations to send out merchants quickly. Target Lubeck, Venezia and Genoa first. Keep sending them until they control the trade in those markets." An aide was summoned and the instructions given.

When they were finally alone again, he walked the other two ministers through each step of his plan.

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Old 07-07-2011, 09:30 PM   #2
Cap Ologist
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Preparations were made to establish strong trading presence in Europe's most affluent provinces. This income would be greatly needed to help fund an army big enough to be relevant in the region.

In early 1400, word reached the Council of Ministers that the Papal State had declared war on Ferrara. This news brought great joy to them because they had dispatched diplomats to many of the small provinces south of Switzerland proclaiming a guarantee of independence. Although the constitution would not allow them to declare war, they did have the ability to go to war to help an ally. This was the moment they'd been waiting for.

They sent their 5,000 man army led by General Matthieu Sporri south to defeat the Papal State. A few other minor countries also joined in and they assaulted the Papal army in Ferrara, leaving Roma wide open for the Swiss. On July 25, 1400 the province surrendered and the Swiss were able to negotiate a peace deal where the Papal State would become a vassal of Switzerland and enjoy their protection.

There was much rejoicing among the Council of Ministers when this news reached Bern. Their first step had been accomplished. They continued to send merchants and established a dominant presence. They also waited to see how the world would respond to the vassalization of the Papal States. Reaction was varied, but mostly people thought it a great benefit for the Pope to be under the protection of the Swiss Army, and so a long standing tradition began. Many other countries also sent petitions for formal alliances including southern countries Ferrara, Mantua, Modena and Tuscany.

In 1403, the first elections were held with three parties vying for control. The Red party believed that a strong military presence was in the best interest of the country, the Green party believed that a strong diplomatic presence was in the best interest of the country, while the Blue party believed that the best course of action was to keep government reformed. The Council of Ministers debated each of action and ultimately threw their support behind the Green party candidate, Karl Schwendimann. Schwendimann was also an appealing candidate for the Blue party and with the support of the Council of Ministers, won easily.

He announced plans for raising funds to build a Glorious Monument, improving not only the prestige of the country, but also giving a small bonus to improving the reputation of the country. In January 1405, he ordered the implementation of Shrewd Commercial Practices, giving a 10% advantage to traders in their competition.

In January 1405, he also declared war on Ancona, a small province that bordered the two provinces of the Papal State. Ancona was not a member of the Holy Roman Empire. Their lone ally was the Kingdom of Naples, the southernmost country on the peninsula. They declared war on Switzerland and the Papal States. Ferrara, Mantua, Modena and Tuscany declined involvement.

The Swiss and Papal armies moved south, crushing Ancona quickly and then routing the small army of Naples. Ancona was annexed, and Naples was forced to relinquish Abruzzi, Apulia and Calabria as well as annul treaties with Austria and Aquileia. The reputation of Switzerland took a nasty hit. Their surrounding countries became a little nervous. Protecting the Pope was one thing, an apparent land grab was another. To their relief, Switzerland transferred control of the 4 provinces to the Papal States. Now, not only was the Pope protected by Switzerland, but they had given him a very generous gift.

The Council of Ministers urged Schwendimann to let the reputation restore, and he did... for a while. It still rankled him that three countries had turned their back on him. As time passed and the limitation of using the dishonored call crept closer, Schwendimann declared war on Modena in 1410. Modena's defeat was quick and total annexation was demanded. Schwendimann coerced the newly captured province to abandon the Holy Roman Empire, and then gifted them to the Papal States.

In August of 1410, Minister Bischofberger died and was replaced in the council by a diplomat, Andre Amman. Amman was selected to heal the reputation of Switzerland quickly because the wars had made it difficult for the Swiss merchants to compete.
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