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31 June 1996-1 April 1997
Southern Seas of Greater Dienstad
Shino Villa (POW)
Military Deaths:#military here
Military Deaths:#military here
Civilian Dead #civilians here
Civilian Dead: #civilians here
Total Dead: #totals here
Total Dead: #totals here
The AHSCAian War for Indepencence also known as War in the Southern Seas, Unification War and simply The War was a conflict fought primarily between the present day United Island States of AHSCA and the Empire of Stevid in the late summer and early spring of 1996-1997. Nations such as Holy Marsh which has a significant Marshite population and religious presence in the island provided support with nations of Lamoni and Kuronami joining major combat operations by the start of the next year.
Major operations were brought to a standstill when tropical cyclone forced all sides to hunker down, before eventually an armistice was reached between the parties involved. The exact casus belli of the war remains disputed, with AHSCA claiming nations like Stevid hoped to claim the islands for territorial expansion, while Stevid disputes these claims stating the causes were increased political instability in the region that posed a security risk to their trade routes. Kuronami cites the concerns of both nations but agrees Stevid overstepped by commencing invasion.
In the late 1980s the Aurora Empire which held several islands of the chain collapsed, allowing again each island to be it's own formal state. Though the islands had little to no international recognition being seen as a group of highly isolated tribes.
The Nanao Duchy dynasty of Aurora continued to preside over Aurora and Hoshino where former territories such as Animalpolis were now left to their devices. In the early 1990s there were early signs of movements towards unification whereas other national movements were also pushing for self determination. The Kingdom of Stillestando (Truce) and The Chiefdom of Corona initially resisted a unification under one government proposal, preferring to remain autonomous. Stiellstando advocated towards a socio-political union, Corona advocated for no union but open fair trade, Aurora, Hoshino and Animalpolis were pushing for a unitary union. That said, talks continued on and off through the early part of the decade between leaders of each island.
In the mid 1990s a series of natural gas and oil deposits were discovered 1100 kilometers to the south which brought an increased interest of activity from foreign nations. Given the Islands still were in a relatively primitive state, these mattered little to the islands but the new discoveries brought a lot of attention to the region around the islands. Now the previously unremarkable seas were annexed as apart of Greater Dienstad which included all of AHSCA into the region.
The pre-UIS Islands had little interest in the greater regional politics or natural resource deposits but didn't like the increased presence of trade and military ships in the region. Many islands complained to the Aurora Duchy that citizens were harassed from prime fishing spots and weather spotting stations from uninhabitable islands or rocky protrusions were destroyed or claimed.
Given the islands weren't any formal government with any international recognition, there was little the Duchy could do.
In late 1994 the Kingdom of Stillestando began to see its own internal divisions, both in regards to the unity question as well as other factions. A noted communist movement also began taking shape around this time, aligning itself with a pro-independence movement, a faction that rejected any unity with Aurora instead desiring becoming a independent state.
King Joslyn III and Queen Schala I attempted to quell the anti-unity and communist movements. In September of 1994, King Joslyn was beginning a troop inspection and was assassinated by a Communist Movement member Blitz Johan who was also killed in the attempt. With the King dead power fell to the Queen and Princess, Schala II but to avoid death, both abdicated their throne and retreated into exile deep into the island's jungles. With the royal family deposed the insuating power vacuum lead to a full deceleration of civil war between the parties, though no actual fighting began as the parties agreed to a season ceasefire and would wait until the summer when the monsoons would subside.
However the summer of 1995 proved to be a wet and unpleasant one with precipitation well above average. Dubbed, "the never ending Monsoon Season," no fighting began on the island in full though little skirmishes did occur usually resulting in minor to little injuries. This is another reason Stillsteando often retains the name Truce.
Trade Disruption and Security Threats
In late 1995, an armed militia group from various islands including the still "at war" Stillestando attempted an armed hijacking of a freighter known as the Gatherer, passing within 50 kilometers of the islands. Their goal was to shoo away the big ships and call hopefully scare away further activity in the regional waters near the islands. The armed attack failed with gunfire being exchanged. No members of the Gather crew were injured or killed but several island militia were. The Nanao Duchy showed a condemnation of the attack, stating it was rogue agents, not acting on behalf of any of the tribal governments of the islands. Over the course of the year, more attempts on various ships of any size and classification passing through the area would commence, most with little success, except one passing yatch which was damaged in an attack but with no injuries to either side.
By 1996 communications had largely broken down between all sides, the island's lack of proper infrastructure and unwelcome attitude towards foreigners made it difficult to attempt direct communications with the natives. Communication leaflets dropped from the air proved useless as none were written for native languages of the islands, and few spoke English. In December, a naval blockade started off the coasts, distant enough to not disrupt near coastal fishing operations but closing off weather spotters, open sea fishermen and making natives on edge.
As weather conditions improved around the islands, ships were considerably more visible and again attempts were made to attack the ships but these were largely unsuccessful, usually resulting the natives being scared off.
Military campaign began in the morning hours of June 31, 1996 as the Royal Stevid Navy began a shelling campaign on the islands to prepare for a ground assault. As citizens were largely caught off guard, time to mobilize a counter offensive against the naval ships proved futile for the natives. Stevid prepared to flank the islands and put down resistance by commencing a multi island invasion, as opposed to a single invasion and hop scotching their way across. By the time the initial shelling ceased, defensive lines on the beaches were able to put up significant resistance against any amphibious assaults, slowing the invasion and diverting resources across. Stevid attempted to remedy the enemy fortifications by splitting forces between a southern and northern front. However the northern beaches proved near impossible due to swifter tides and rougher seas, making Stevid redirect their focus on primarily southern beaches where tides were easier for troop boats to land ashore or to allow soldiers and easier swim or wade into the shallower waters and knock out the primitive boats. A first attempt of dropping in paratroopers proved inefficient due to strong crosswinds pusing troopers signfincantly off target. Those soldiers that managed to get ashore on the north found little resistance but more sparse and denser jungle lands.
The time to organize and redirect troops allowed time for the island natives to fortify positions and make advances that much more difficult. Strong cross winds kept aerial support grounded for time enough to allow both sides to dig in and commence a war of attrition against each other. That said, Stevid still retained the overall advantage with a superior force and far more developed weaponry including amphibious assault vehicles that were able to plow through defensive lines.
Aurora officially fell after four days of fighting as troops seized the port and winds calmed enough for areal support to bust up defensive lines by the natives and combat began to shift largely to guerilla tactics by the natives from this point on. With the "capital" secure, Duchess Shino Nanao (later Villa) openly walked into the streets hoping to negotiate for peace. The Duchess was instead taken as a prisoner of war and refused any audience.
This was an action that angered Lamoni, whom felt taking the island's leader and taking her as prisoner instead of granting her audience to allow a negotiation was unjust an a brazen disregard for the laws of war. Stevid rejected Lamoni's complaint, stating The Duchess was not a sovereign leader but an enemy combatant whom had taken arms against the and Duchess Nanao had indeed been participating as an active soldier in combat. Lamoni still held their position and stated open opposition against the Empire and announced they'd side with the islands and would be joining the war. Neighboring Hoshino island was the next to fall a few more days after Aurora as areal superiority overtook ground forces. Having seen what happened to Duchess Nanao, Hoshino leaders, Masako Hoshino and his wife Aya opted to not surrender, instead splitting up to different combat units to better chances of not getting captured.
Heavy rains returned as Stevid advanced up Stillestando and with the harsher weather, combat operations began to grind to a slower push inland. Rough seas also made it difficult to easily dispatch landing craft to reinforce against the native forces which had taken the time granted by the weather to dig in further to prevent a further seige. Lamoni and Marshite forces now entered the fray, spreading out forces further. Stillestando finally fell with the defeat and capture of the resistance forces on the island. With Corona being deemed so small and insignificant, the island was instead put to the side with resources being diverted back to the other already taken islands or to aid further in securing positions and lines.
At the end of August, a major hurricane brought a momentary ceasefire with all sides hunkered down to weather the storm. During this moment of berevity, the leaders of the islands (save for the now Captured Duchess Nanao) passed their commands along and gathered in a hidden spot on Corona, which still had yet to be fully invaded, only having its waters mined. In this, the leaders again met to resume their stalled discussions of the formation of a united states. Given the state of the war and invasion, it was formally agreed upon, a full united union under a single ruler was the best option to go with, and futher discussions of a possible change in this would have be discussed again if they could gain independence. With this, a Deceleration of Independence was written up and published out to the world, with all participants signing their own names, ranks and representation.
The work was far from done on the formation of the UIS, however, and more would have to be done, depending on international reaction to the deceleration. Duchess Nanao was also given a signature in abstenia as well as being declared the First Duchess of the UIS. Though there was some minor push back, ultimately it was agreed as Duchess Nanao had been the forefront leader in the early UIS negotiations as well as the only leader to attempt to broker a negotiation with the invading force. Work for the formal framework of how the government would function continued over the next week, with the logic being that if they could have a formal function of government, on top of the deceleration, it would be easier to gain recognition and thus easier for foreign powers to put pressure on Stevid and others who might be eyeing the islands to back off. A formal Constitution was written up and made public.
Stevid had rejected the island's deceleration as well as their constitution, citing the islands were still poorly organized and too volatile to form any proper union and continued major combat operations. A formal bounty was put out for those who had signed the deceleration and were deemed to still be enemy combatants and subject to the same stipulations as any soldier. And now the formal invasion of Corona began, with the hopes to find the participants of the deceleration and take them as prisoners. Chief Kino had willfully surrendered himself but was killed shortly after. Why he was killed also remains disputed, with the UIS claiming he was executed while Stevid claims he resisted and put up an actionable fight against troops. Stevid cites the holding of Duchess Nanao as proof they intended to take all of them as political prisoners of war.
The killing of Chief Kino complicated things as Kino was originally from Kuronami's Mazomba Islands region, a chain of islands that had long historical and cultural ties to the islands, including of Kino's lineage. Kino had come from a prominent old Tribal Family of the islands before emigrating to Corona Island when he met the native Ayla. His death upset the Imperial Government but most of all had angered the Mazomban Regional Government whom considered Kino still one of their own even with his status of Island Chief of Corona. Akoni Abercrombie, Mazomba's General Governor took his people's g all the way up to the Emperor whom agreed, Stevid had committed a serious offense against them. Still Kuronami had resisted to join the actual war effort for now, instead began imposing sanctions against the Stevid Empire. Though there were those in the Emperor's inner circle who really disliked the idea of Stevid on their doorstep and were already willing to go to war, Emperor Hermánn still held back the ready use of force but instructed to begin an active readiness should circumstances changed.
Invasion and Ransacking of Animalpolis
Animalpolis was the last to be invaded and soldiers were surprised to find the unique populous that resided there. Being comprised of Anthomimi type human-animal mixtures was a real surprise to the invading forces but tasks were resumed as usual. The larger area of Animalpolis meant more ground had to be covered but again weather conditions improved enough to allow a resuming of areal bombing runs. But to the natives advantage a series of underground caverns that spanned the majority of the island allowed quicker and stealthier movements of troops, and attempts to follow them were first proving difficult for invading forces to properly navigate and track without getting seriously lost or hurt in the winding caves. But troops noted the large deposits of various precious minerals and gems which began to take a larger focus for the time being. The Great Madokami Temple on Animalpolis was also destroyed with people inside it, which wouldn't be the only war crime against the population. (See §War Crimes.) The burning of the temple along with other atrocities committed during the war, is what pushed Kuronami to join by the end of the given year and by the end of 1996, Animalpolis fell.
The Holy Empire began a militant crackdown on the native forces for the religious practices. Being a Catholic country, Stevid employed its own religious inquisition against those who practiced Madokamisim and the Christian and Marshite minorities also faced persecution. The Aurora and Hoshino Temples were spared as the stone structure provided convenient sturdy shelter for the stationed soldiers to work and shelter in. Corona though just as devout lacked a stone temple and saw it's building destroyed by the bombardment, and Stillestando had it's site already set into the native rocks of the terrain. The temple on Animalpolis was burned in a mass execution of at least 100 people both civilian and combatants.
While the majority of POWs captured by Stevid were kept alive and in relatively humane conditions, a fair few were executed on the spot, mostly Priestesses or other clergy who resisted renouncing of faith and even those of a Christian or Catholic faith who resisted to condemn the "pagan beliefs."
Island Militia Forces were generally less humane with Stevidan POWs, keeping them in tight quarters in intense conditions. During the hurricane that struck in August soldiers were left to weather conditions on their own in substandard shelter leading to further deaths. Though all surviving POWs were eventually released at the end of the war, at least one resident of Animalpolis was reportedly abducted by Stevidan forces and never heard from again.
The End of the War
Now facing three military forces along with a native force still putting up firm resistance, Stevid began to reconsider its presence in the area and on the islands. Further, after the March deceleration, more nations including the majority of the region had begun to recognize full or partial independence for the islands. Increased international pressure on top of the toll the war was taking on Stevid's now stretched resources in the area, on top of already having to secure their trade and resource gathering assets in the Southern Seas, the Holy Empire was willing to come to the table to negotiate.
Lamoni played host to the meetings which took place over a 10 day period in the nation's capital between the parties involved, including someone to speak on behalf of the newly formed UIS. Conditions that were agreed too included, the UIS would respect the global trade routes, observe a legal exclusive economic zones beyond their territorial waters and prevent any attempted acts of sabotage or piracy. Stevid and Lamoni agreed to wind down military forces in the region and a moratorium of any large scale military buildup in the Southern Seas would be implemented for all parties for a period of 10 years. Kuronami, Lamoni and Holy Marsh agreed to handle the post-war recovery and an amnesty would be granted for Stevid provided all conditions were met within a two year period. AHSCA agreed that it would be placed under a trusteeship by the Kuronami Government to secure its sovereignty in the immediate aftermath of withdrawal of all combat forces.
AHSCA would be allowed to build up its own military force provided it continued to respect the agreed upon conditions regarding trade and other economic activity in the Southern Seas, and violation of this by the UIS Royal Government would be considered a breach of the treaty. AHSCA was still granted a right to its own self determination as outlined by the formation of its own Constitution during the war, though Lamoni had expressed hope it would form itself as a democratic government. All prisoners of war would be returned and it was agreed that no citizen would be held to ransom, though the fate of the Animalpolis woman to date remains unknown. Duchess Nanao would be formally recognized as the rightfully installed leader of the UIS and thus would be freed and returned without issue.
Stevid agreed to a midway exchange, transporting the Duchess partway to Lamoni and Lamoni would formally dispatch her back to the UIS. The Duchess was held over for a couple days of extensive debriefing of her time in captivity and psychological counseling. Duchess Nanao has said she appreciated the efforts but unfortunatley it had done little to quell the trauma of the experience overall and was thankful to be returned home.
pose for a photograph with a native child (center)
A recovery plan was planned on being done by the three major parties in phases, one would be a basic recovery option to repair and replace damages to the natural landscape, being the basics of modernizing and implementing infrastructure and finally a rebuilding of the nation's military for its self defense needs. Holy Marsh and Kuronami agreed to handling the rebuilding phases while Lamoni agreed to handle the bulk of the military rebuilding. Kuronami troops also agreed to provide on the ground domestic security and stabilizing forces while also overseeing the disengagement needs of the broader area. Fresh water wells were dug up and pumps built to provide adequate and clean drinking water. Prior to this, islanders depended on gathering ample rainfall or taking from the streams. Fluoride was also added to better improve the overall health of the islanders. Islanders were given vaccinations and treated for any existing conditions by volunteer and medical doctors and nurses present on the site with the teams as well as other NGO relief workers present in the immediate aftermath of the fighting. Given AHSCA's higher female population and it's history of a matriarchal government, Kuronami in particular decided to ratio its armed presence with a greater presence of women to men, as well as finding expats who knew the local languages and customs.
As it was already outlined in the Constitution, AHSCA already pledged to "Not wage war unless attacked or faced with imminent attack first" but still faced with a greatly reduced abled and disorganized force, Lamoni volunteered to handle the retraining and rebuilding of AHSCA's defense forces, along with it's other allies. Before and during the war, the UIS had largely relied on arms dealt by third parties, black market, and even piracy. This meant the islands were only able to really mount a ground defense but were defenseless when it came to air or naval combat by comparison. The Militia was rebuilt as a new Self Defense forces in the first days, reinforcing ground training. Lamoni and Kuronami commissioned spare ships of their Naval arsenal to also rebuild the UISDF Navy. By late 1997 talks began of the withdrawal process for foreign forces still present. Holy Marsh and Kuronami agreed to allow Lamoni to wind down its forces first given they had done the most to build up the new UISDF.
As outlined in talks and the formation of the Constitution, each state was granted the ability to form its own style of self government while abiding to the overall monarch government. Most had already had returned to their styles of government that were present before and during the war but on Stillestando, the early pre-war unrest began to crop up again with some internal infighting and disagreements about the future of the island's own internal government as well as its place on the national stage. The Communist movement that had been present had reformed and were pushing for a secession from the UIS, citing no desire for monarchy, self determination and the fact that Stillestando was recognized at the secret gatherings by the Royal Government that had been deposed in the coup, thus rejecting the ties to the union. A pro-union and monarchy faction had banded together with the threat to stifle the opposition. The early evening hours of September 15, 1997 tempers flared as a fight broke out between the Union Loyalists and the Communist Parties with shots fired. Kuronami and Marshite forces quelled the fighting taking all participants into military custody to be dealt with in a manner determined by the new AHSCA Government. Duchess Nanao promised all involved a full pardon of all members provided they come together to work out their internal affairs or accept Aurora intervention. Union Loyalists favored this while the Communists continued to resist and still promised an uprising against the Duchess. Thus the Communist Party was deposed via firing squads. This was met with push-back by the other installed State Leaders but Duchess Nanao insisted it was needed to maintain the still fragile union and prevent subjection to a foreign colonial power.
Holy Marsh began to wind down it's overall military presence leaving the rest to Kuronami to finish out the final needs of disengagement. Kuronami proposed to build a small military installation on UIS soil but the Duchess wasn't fond of the proposition and proposed another uninhabted island to set up on. Kuronami agreed and now began to wind down and redistribute its forces around the Southern seas while returning others back to home. The last of the Kuronami releif forces left the island in January 1998 and the Empire formally deemed the mission complete by 1999 and the Trusteeship was formally ended.
Over the period of the recovery, AHSCA began to form its own political factions to begin organizing its Congress. As agreed to by the finalized Constitution, the UIS would have a democratically elected legislative body to allow a greater participation from the public while retaining the constancy and continuity ensured by a traditional Monarch. The devolution of political powers was something the Duchess had been interested in, wanting to reform from the days of her more autocratic and authoritarian ancestors before her and ensure better political stability across the UIS. January 2000 marked the first elections for Congress with several small parties gathered from around the islands able to campaign and receive votes from their home islands.
The first decade after the war was described as a period of relative isolation while the UIS continued to fortify its defenses and continue on with life. A particularly aggressive monsoon season in the summer of 2000 prompted the people to look inward spiritually and not further the plans of greater infrastructure projects outlined by the relief forces, feeling it was an affront to their Goddesses and the Black Goddess was raining down a divine punishment upon them for considering it, though minor projects would continue through the decade. The shifts in political power were minor between the States and National governments with Stillestando adopting a democratic system with its own internal legislative branch, the only in the UIS to do so, to dissolving it several years later due to widespread corruption. New alliances were eventually forged with Mokastana following the marriage between an expat of the nation and the Duchess Nanao whom adopted the surname, Villa.