by Max Barry

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The Easter Uprising of 1891

The territory of what is today called the Imperium of Leonism had been settled by various Germanic tribes since at least 2500 years ago. When an expanding Latin-speaking Empire attacked the tribes in 9 CE, invading from the northeast, they changed the ethnic and cultural makeup of the region forever. The invaders were called Römer by the native population, who united their tribes against the foreign threat for the first time ever at the Battle of the Hasenberger Forst in 9 CE. The united tribes lost this battle decisively, paving the way for five centuries of Römer rule. When the Römer Empire withdrew from the territory of what is now Leonism, they left a lasting legacy. The descendants of their settlers and soldiers now made up at least 20% of the population, their language had fused with the local Germanic dialects and their culture had become part of the local culture. Christianity, a religion that the Römer themselves had converted to only a century earlier, was also brought to the Leonist territory by the newcomers.

After the Empire had officially withdrawn from Leonist territory, the old rivalries between the tribes began to re-emerge, now joined by ethnic and religious conflict between Latinised/Christian parts of the population and traditional Germanic/paganist people. Political landscape now consisted of various small principalities and kingdoms who fought each other in perpetuity, struggling for dominance.

These struggles were prevalent in Leonism for several centuries, and it is important to have this background in mind when talking about an event that occured much later, namely in 1891:

In 1891 the Imperium of Leonism already existed as a unified state, having absorbed all of the smaller principalities, independent cities and kingdoms in a centuries-long struggle that had further been heated by emerging nationalism of the 19th century. One of the last provinces to become part of Imperial territory was Ohrwald, situated at the northeastern border of the country, in 1879. Ohrwald was notable in having the largest percentage of ethnically Latin population throughout the country, as the Römer had colonised this region first two millenia earlier. It was frequently refered to by its Latin name, Oroval. The local culture and language were distinct from the rest of the Imperium. Politically, the Imperium was still an absolute monarchy, in the process of reforming into a constitutional monarchy. Germanic nationalism had led to people of German descent, who made up about 80% of the population, being regarded as superior to people of Latin descent. Thus, the local ruling class in Ohrwald was made up almost entirely of German nobility.

When crop failure led to widespread famine in 1890, the provincial rulers in Ohrwald decided to disband the standing provincial army, whom they were otherwise obliged to feed. The army was composed mostly of Latin people, who had shown a much greater martial prowess than their German bretheren over the course of centuries, all the way back to the decisive Battle of the Hasenberger Forest in 9 CE. Thus, the Latin population was disproportionaly affected by the decision. Their representatives in turn demanded greater influence on the political decisions pertaining the region. This led to an unruly winter 1890/1891, with local strikes and terrorist attacks setting the stage for what would ultimately become an all out uprising. The superficial reason for the uprising were reports that the minority German population had broken into Römer churches and stole the little bread that was stored there for the communion. These reports may or may not have been false, but they were used by agitators in the Römer population to whip their fellow citizens into a frenzied uprising against the German nobility. The noble houses, such as the House Tann-Ratsamhausen, the House Eichenberger and the House Lippstedt, called on the Imperial central government for military help. However, the Imperator, Johann XI., was locked in a power struggle against his wife, Kaiserin Sophie, and did not send the Imperial military to help, as he feared a civil war on his own doorstep in the capital of Leestcheck.

The Römer population in Ohrwald was thus easily able to overpower the local German militia units protecting the nobility. They had superior training and manpower, making most of the battles a forgone conclusion. The noble houses fled, House Eichenberger fled northwest towards the province of Meiringen while House Tann-Ratsamhausen and House Lippstedt fled the country entirely. Many of them would later settle in the Republican Federation of Loftegen 2, especially around the Canton of Orovalo.

The province of Ohrwald remained a hotspot for conflict until present day. It was re-conquered in 1905 when Imperial central government had re-established a firm grip on all provinces under Kaiserin Sophie. It gained some autonomy in the 1970s, after several decades of low-level civil war. Together with the similarly unruly province of Tannberg, Ohrwald formed the backbone of the newly autonomous region of Lower Leonism. Lower Leonism gained home rule in all matters except foreign policy and military in 1994, but nevertheless tried to fully overthrow the Imperial masters in the 2015 "War of the Northern Provinces". The province is currently at an uneasy peace, but still occupied by several tens of thousands of Imperial peacekeeping troops who are a frequent target for small-scale terrorist attacks.

The Imperium of Leonism