by Max Barry

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The Grand Duchy of
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

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History of Rivienland (Under Revision)

Early History

According to archaeological records, the first records of human settlement within Rivienland were in 960. Several tribes, most notable the Eldeii people, settled along the River Verrijn. In the next few centuries various settlements, mainly concerning of terps, were found throughout the soil-rich plains of the country. Around 1032, as it was recorded in the Chronicle of Blithulf, the Confederation of Nederstede rose to dominate much of the country through its strategic position where the Verrijn met the sea. Under Chief Riklef in 1069, Saint Tado of Doccinga arrived bring the religion of Christianity. While several minor wars would break out in the following decades, most of land was converted to Christianity by the end of the 12th century.

Lampsweerde Era

By the early 13th century, political power was centralized within, what was then known as, Eldeia around six Ducal houses: Langbroek, Lampsweerde, Van Riviendorp, Zuylen, Van Dijkstra and Aefferhout. Primarily two families, Lampsweerde and Zuylen, were apart of growing hostilities, and a goal to unite the surrounding lands. Finally, in 1220, conflict broke out and, for 63 years, the various noble houses of Eldeia fought for control of the country. Known as the War of the Six Dukedoms, the country was ravaged by the conflict which led to the mass ruin of several villages, and the Sack of Roseef. In the end, by 1283, the House of Lampsweerde, supported by Van Riviendorp and Langbroek, forced the remaining nobility to sign the Treaty of Hindeveen which acknowledge the supremacy of the Lampsweerde family, and named Willem-Hendrik the first Grand Duke of Eldeia.

Following the establishment of the Grand Dukedom of Eldeia, the nation soon returned to a state of peace and order. Following the vast building projects by Willem-Hendrik I, an economic and cultural renewal, known as the Lampsweerde Renaissance, took place. Supplemented by an increase of trade on the River Verrijn, the nobility, who also saw a return to the times of a bountiful harvest, were able to build grander estates throughout the countryside. Especially within the city of Hindeveen, the newly declared capital of Eldeia, did various building projects turn the city into a first-rate capital. Notably, the foundations of De Rodekasteel, the main palace during the age, were expanded upon.

Grand Duchy of Rivienland
In 1403, Willem-Hendrik III, in the prime of his youth, suffered a sudden death and was left without an heir. With the House of Lampsweerde responding slow to the dilemma, several noble houses, including Zuylen and Aefferhout, rose in open rebellion. What once was small skirmishes quickly escalated in total civil war through the countryside. Far worse than the War of the Six Dukedoms, many noble houses found themselves forced to support or fight against several pretenders and challengers claiming the Eldeian throne. Known was the Time of Silence (1403-1421), much of the nation was faced with lawlessness and anarchy.

By the summer of 1420, Eldeia was at the point of societal collapse. It was at this time Count Maurits van Mierevelt began a movement to end the succession wars through a open and civil debate, of course still limited only to the nobility. After a year of gaining supporters, all of the noble houses met in Joppeborg, a larger city several miles outside the former capital, to debate which noble house was rightfully allowed to claim the Eldeian throne. While several houses boasted strong claims, one noble house, Van Riviendorp, had stayed out of the war, but held several relations to the House of Lampsweerde. With several silent supporters, and with the candidate, Willem Van Riviendorp, seen as a able successor to restore peace and prosperity, the House of Van Riviendorp was proclaimed the legal successor to the throne on 11 October, 1421. Besides several minor revolts by other claimants, the Van Riviendorps have continued to rule the nation till this day.

20th & 21st Century

While the 20th century was generally uneventful, it was a time of philosophical debate within the country to the destiny of Rivienland, and how the nation saw herself in a world of technological innovation. Known as the Culture Crisis of 1904, several great debates broke out within the University of Vorstdam over the spirit of Rivienlander culture, and what place Rivienland held within the wider world. Some, know as the Imperialist faction, sought to expand the borders of the Grand Duchy and to establish new colonies like other rising monarchist powers. On the other hand, the Isolationists sought to close the borders of the wider world off, and to preserve the culture and peace of Rivienland. Much of the 20th century would see these two factions battle throughout society, bringing nobles and peasants alike into the fold.

At the dawn of the 21st century, Rivienland, regardless of popular opinion, realized that complete isolation was impossible to maintain. With growing relations with neighboring nations, Rivienland joined Forest in early 2017. Later that year, following the consent of the Grand Duke, Rivienland joined the World Assembly. Besides these two major events, internal factions still debate over Rivienland's foreign policy. Most notable, was Rivienland's official and unofficial involvement in the Posteastan Crisis. The Republic of Posteastan, affected by several recent regional conflicts, collapsed into complete civil war. With several international and regional powers lending their support to various factions, Rivienland, while officially neutral, was accused by several nations at attempting to support the monarchist faction. Overwhelmed by the scandal, Rivienland has been slow to get involved with any International Incident since the Crisis.

In 2020, Rivienland was blindsided when Grand Duke Willem-Christoffel V and his heir, Prince Willem-Constantijn, were killed when their plane crashed while abroad. This came as a complete shock to the government, Ducal Court and public when the youngest son of the Grand Duke, Prince Ambroos, was next in line to inherit the throne. Many political analysts saw this as a watershed moment as Prince Willem-Constantijn was viewed, like his father, as a Modernist. The Prince was a large supporter of opening up Rivienlander markets to the world, and pushing for a greater separation between Church and State. Prince Ambroos, unlike his brother, was a Isolationist. He wished for more Protectionist policies and a neutral stance on the world stage.

Having his coronation in September of 2020, Prince Ambroos chose the regal name of Willem XIV.