by Max Barry

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by The Free Lands of Vancouvia. . 774 reads.

Timeline of Vancouvia - Antiquity to Modern Day

Antiquity to Noronnican Colonization

Antiquity - 1000 AD: Vancouvia is uninhabited due to its freezing climate and rumors of ravenous beasts that occupy the interior of the island. No permanent settlements have been established although the southern waters have been periodically fished in for over a millennia. Its shores are very roughly mapped and some interior exploration has occurred, although most nation-states consider the Vancouvian islands to be cursed and useless. Vancouvia becomes a haven for abundant wildlife, including varying species of bears, deer, walrus, wolves, and cattle.

The Vancouvian Landscape

900: Archaeological data suggests the first seasonal hunting camps sprung up on Rochester Hook around this time, although these were temporary and vanished several years later.

1018: Sessux rebels from Noronica flee west in several damaged ships after a battle against King Aegen's forces. About a hundred men and women arrive on Petlan Isle (modern-day Independence Island) and begin a harsh existence, ultimately succumbing to the elements and their lack of supplies over the next twenty years, but not before introducing several mainland Argus-Gaelish animals to the ecosystem.

1072-1099: Nyssic King Edmund sends a series of exploration voyages to Vancouvia, which report back with a depiction of a land consisting of vast timber and hunting grounds. Edmund authorizes the first true permanent settlements on Vancouvia's southern shore. A new duchy, Vaenland, is created with claims over the entire island group. Roughly a thousand Nyssic settlers spread out over Vaenland, hunting the plentiful game.

It is a spirited land of mountains and ice, but also of untouched beauty and opportunity. The air is cold but manageable. We drink from the fast rivers and eat berries from the bushes freely. The wild beasts outnumber us greatly but do not dare approach. A fortune could be made, if only one were to seek it here.

-Translation of Nyssic Explorer's Journal, 1074

Isolated Growth

Trade with Foreign Lands Flourishes

1100-1400: A variety of valuable resources are discovered on Vaenland, including pearls, silver, and exotic furs which continues to drive immigration. Vaenland gradually begins to become a nation of its own: a local council government siphons off more and more authority away from Noronica (which is busy with its own internal conflicts), a Vaenland flag and army is formed, Christianity takes root, permanent towns and castles are built, and trade flourishes. A significant fishing village, Vaenhall (modern-day Fishhook), becomes the de facto capital.

1370 to 1400: Groups from Athara Magarat begin to arrive, many of them wanting to enroll in the Vaen Guard. These people bring with them numerous scientific technologies, including advances in astronomy, mathematics, shipbuilding, and most importantly: gunpowder. Quickly becoming the dominant minority group, they are nevertheless treated fairly well by the native Nyssic-Vaenlanders, who adopt a sort of reverence for their scientific expertise. Immigrants from Athara Magarat, most seeking asylum from the expanding Atnaia Empire, continue to arrive for the next 400 years in significant number.

1410: Vaenland becomes one of the first nations to adopt the use of gunpowder into its army. Home-crafted hand cannons called "firehorns" begin to be mass-produced and become the chief weapon of the central army, calling themselves the Vaen Guard. A tradition of firearms begins, with Vaenland almost completely abandoning the sword and bow.

They had among them great metal and wood pipes,
that would cause such a loud noise upon action that all men would take heed.
Lightning struck forth from one end, impaling any object
which had the misfortune of catching its hatred.
These are our new weapons, I declare, if we may tame them.

-Translation of Vaenland Council Report, 1411

1414-1418: Vaenland is virtually completely explored and mapped. Road construction begins in an effort to link the western and eastern coast (modern-day Quotavia to Angeles) with a well-maintained highway, which is eventually completed in 1435.

1460-1464: Several villages on the western coast rise up in arms against each other in the Wilderness Wars, primarily over rights to hunting grounds. The violence is quickly halted when the Guard arrives en masse and hangs leaders on both sides of the conflict. This marks the first time mass violence occurs on the island.

In the first instance in which most men could remember, brother and cousin struck blows against one another in heated fury and rage. Blood lined the shores and the women could not gather shells or tend the crops without fear. Bless our souls, God, for we may not be long for this world.

-Translation of historical account of the Wilderness Wars, published 1475

A Free Land, After Some Struggle

And nor shall Vaenland ever yet again be governed by a King or ruler of the same sort.
We pledge our lives to this call. We pledge our honor to this.
We pledge our future to this; Vaenland shall henceforth be a free land.

-Translation of a segment of the Free Land Accords, 1492

1492: King Henry the IV of Noronica dies and is succeeded by his infant son. The Vaenland Council issues the "Free Land Accords" which declare that Vaenland shall never again have a King or equivalent and shall be ruled in perpetuity by an elected oligarchy. This is a direct slight against Noronica, but is dismissed as merely hollow words from a distant, ceremonial duchy.

1497: The right to vote is extended to any working male who has lived on the island for more than five years. The meaning of what constitutes "working" proves highly contentious, although the issue is treated liberally after threats from the serf class.

The Wild Cow War

1530: In the highly infamous Wild Cow War, a 500 man strong elite detachment of the Vaen Guard marches north to dispatch the growing threat of unchecked wild cattle herds, which have prevented any permanent settlements on the northern half of the island due to their aggressive stampedes and great number. A battle outside modern-day Lexington ensues, which ends in disaster for the Vaen Guard when a massive stampede charges into the soldiers carelessly camped in an open field. Over half the detachment is killed or wounded, with the remaining men forced to retreat and leave the casualties on the battlefield. The battle shatters the Vaen Guard's reputation and public confidence wanes. The incident is captured in multiple mediums, including many paintings and ballads. Inspired by the debacle, the Council beings to recruit military experts from across the region to train the Vaen Guard in professional tactics. Ironically, the loss proves to be a blessing in disguise, as the Guard grows to be a highly trained and deadly force in the following decades.

1535-1550: The Vaen Guard manages to decimate the wild cattle population through the use of smarter tactics and upgraded muskets. The cattle are pushed back to the northern cliffs and remain only a serious threat on Petlan Isle, which has grown into a haven for thieves and pirates.

The menace is dead, at last. It has been years since the dust clouds have risen in the sky and the stomping of deranged hooves have reached my ears. I may now freely plant my barley among the prairies and keep my gun in storage. My wife and son rejoice, and I give thanks to my countrymen.

-Translation of farmer's journal, 1551

1552: Vaenland formally declares complete independence from Noronica during its civil war. Although lacking any sort of navy, the Vaenland Council is deeply optimistic that any reprisals will be halted by the Vaen Guard. No such action takes place, and Vaenland begins its course as an independent nation.

A Silver Age

The Vaen Guard Marches On

1550-1800: Vaenland centralizes its government and expands its hold on the islands. A unique silver coin, the cove, is minted and established as the official currency. An early postal system is created and proves successful. Public schoolhouses and early universities prop up and are staffed by talented scribe-professors. English explorers and missionaries bring their language to the island and it becomes the lingua franca. The Council expands to 40 members and establishes term limits. Vaenland becomes a major exporter of blubber and oils. A volunteer minuteman navy is established from existing trade vessels, although it lacks significant power projection or command structure.

1625-1675: Vaenland and Torom privateers conspire to exploit and harass Xrevaro-Linavian shipping lanes in the Argean sea for half a century. Although not specifically sanctioned by the Vaenland Council, many council members and other prominent citizens invest heavily in the pirate activity, reaping rewards that push Vaenland's standard of living to new heights. The Free Island, modern-day International District, becomes a haven for pirate crews, who occasionally scuffle between themselves. Piracy gradually dies down after several losses at sea, causing the Vaenland Council to shift its focus further to land-based power.

1700-1850: The Vaen Guard gains a reputation as a highly professional army for hire, and becomes one of the first modern armies to utilize hit-and-run tactics on a grand scale. Accustomed to cold climates and mountainous and forest terrain, the Guard proves to be an effective mercenary force in many skirmishes and wars across the region, including the Verdon War of the Stripes, Noronica conquest of Arván, and other conflicts.

The crack of their rifles stopped their foes dead, time and time again.
Woe, to those who face the ancient riflemen!

-On the Vaen Guard's Conquests, Herman Manchester, 1775

1785-1810: The Vaen Guard serves as a mercenary force for Spain on the colony of Corindia for decades. In 1805, Corindia revolts. After years of attempting to quell the independence movement, the Vaen Guard abandons the colony when the Spanish no longer can maintain payment.

1786: A massive wildfire blazes across the inner corridor of the island, burning millions of acres of farms and timberland and killing over 3,000 residents.

1799: Growing demands for a Bill of Rights reach a boiling point when some 15,000 civilians march on Vaenhall. Local militia groups soon join civilians in an occupation of the capital. The Vaen Guard arrives in force a week later after a deployment on Petlan, exhausted and dangerously seeking a quick end to the revolt. Colonel Thomas Thantana manages to prevent any violence after a cool-headed speech reminding all of their status as fellow countrymen.

1800: Voters elect many populist candidates to the Council, including Colonel Thantana, which results in the speedy creation of a Declaration of the Rights of Men, granting several basic rights to Vaenlanders.

All those acting against the Council shall be hanged.

-The curt Council Declaration Against the Knights of Order, October 1827

1802: The Vaen Guard aids Noronica in the quelling of native peoples on The Black Isles and in turn is rewarded with the western half of the island group. The islands go on to serve as an agricultural base as well as a vacation destination.

1820-1830: A group calling themselves the Knights of Order gains traction, calling for a President to govern Vaenland and more checks and balances to be installed against the Council. The Council quickly declares them a treasonous organization and leaders of the group are executed without trial. The group loses appeal and falls into obscurity.

1841: Slavery is officially abolished, a largely ceremonial move, as slavery had never taken hold in Vaenland and serfdom and involuntary servitude were largely expunged by the turn of the century.

The New Dark Age

Ghost Track Remnants

1850-1900: Vaenland begins a downward spiral referred to as the New Dark Age. Corruption plagues the Council and a period of stagnation exists. Multiple petty squabbles threaten to destroy the Council, while at the same time votes become publicly for sale for the same price as the annual "citizen tax": a concept ironically known as Equal Footing, which essentially works as a poll tax to force the poor to vote in the same officials year after year. Unemployment becomes a major issue as crowds of the unemployed join and form gangs to rule various cities. Prostitution, gambling, alcoholism, and crime abound. The Vaen Guard begins to negotiate with various gangs out of desperation, and the country is split into multiple factions vying for shreds of power.

1870-1872: A battle over the Swift Bay region escalates into a full-scale civil war. The Vaen Guard suffers a series of initial defeats against rival gangs, but eventually gains the upper hand when a propaganda campaign swells their numbers. The naval branch of the Guard infamously opens fire on an enemy force occupying Port Thomas, destroying much of the city and inflicting hundreds of civilian casualties.

1885-1890: The construction of a national railroad system never materializes when the Inner Argean Company files for bankruptcy after a massive embezzling scheme by the company's executive officers. Some unused "ghost tracks" are laid but later are recovered by local gangs and sold for scrap.

1890: The Vaen Guard enters into a series of contracts with Verdon to help police its territories in the Eterna Sea.

1893-1895: Several mercenary regiments of the Vaen Guard participate in the First Ostehaar War on the Verdonian side, wherein they commit many atrocities against the Oster people, horrifying Vaenlanders when this is discovered later. The Council and Guard both vow to never again permit such action.

Members of the Blackcoat Gang Pose for a Photograph

It is perhaps not the acts themselves that shock us most, but the fact that our own committed them. Yes, war is hell, but it need not be hell inflicted by Vaenlanders onto others. Let us use the rifle well, but let us first use it wisely. Let us spring forward over the breach with a song of purpose in our hearts, and let us not fall into the grips of unkempt malice nor revenge. This is our duty, not as soldiers, but as members of humanity.

-Harold Briarwhite, October 1899

A Dark Turn of the Century

Chemical Weapons Factory in Greenview

1900-1924: The Vaen Guard begins to almost exclusively operate in Verdonian held territories in the Eterna Sea, with many regions undergoing fierce revolts and rebellions in what comes to be known as the Frontier Wars. Many soldiers become increasingly disillusioned with their role as mercenaries.

1915: Vaenland controversially begins the production of chemical gases for usage in warfare and sells them to the highest bidders.

1925-1927: The Second Oster War occurs. Vaenlanders, now deeply sympathetic for the Oster cause, betray their Verdonian contracts and join Ostehaar in the war to take back their country, with many regiments fighting on the front line and ironically subjected to their own chemical weapons sold to Verdon just years prior. While it results in an Oster victory, Vaenlanders are increasingly disinterested in foreign affairs.

1927-1930: The Vaen Guard, now with a diminished reputation, struggles to maintain its relevance as a mercenary force in the modern age. A large percentage of the Guard is laid off in the "Dead Summer" of 1928 amidst a budget crisis, and the remainder returns home to a still-fractured nation.

1930-1939: The country collapses as the Great Depression collides with internal strife. Unemployment rises to some of the highest levels in the entire region. Entire towns are abandoned, many people devolve back to the subsistence hunting of their ancestors, and the cove loses all value on the international market. The Council, deeply rotted for decades by corruption, declares martial law and hires allied gangs to fight against their rivals. A massive exodus occurs, with millions of Vaenlanders moving to Argus, Gael, and the Four Passages.

The Destruction of Vaenhall

1941: Two successive hurricanes wipe out Vaenhall, the final nail in the coffin. The Council officially disbands and the Vaen Guard becomes an army with no home. The country turns into a wasteland and refuge of undesirables. Vaenland is effectively defunct, with about a million citizens remaining in relative squalor under a dangerous anarchy.

1941-1947: Remnants of the Vaen Guard, now effectively a volunteer militia, keeps some order in major cities, but is constantly overwhelmed with requests for aid.

Codman: A Shadow of a Former Nation

Yorkford, 1955

1948: Vaenlanders shed their former name and declare themselves Codmaners, a loose attempt to rebrand as a modern fishing nation, although no real government system exists. The population stalls at around 600,000, made up of mostly fishermen and other supplemental industries.

1950-1970: Codman stabilizes and finally recovers from its depression, yielding a relatively prosperous fishing industry. Codmaners flirt with communism but ultimately it fails to gain popularity. Immigrants from America, Canada, Scandinavia, Japan, Korea, Ostehaar, Xrevaro, Noronica, and Athara Magarat soon outnumber Vaenlander descendants. Unspoken mores and customs drive a sense of community harmony.

1977-1984: Incursions by Xrevaro fishing vessels into Codman waters lead to escalated tensions, with Codmanners petitioning Ostehaar to intervene. Multiple Oster ships are sunk, leading to the Oster-Xrevaro war, wherein Oster and Codman forces eventually push back the Xrevaran aggressors.

The Nuclear Rush & The Codman Republic

Uranium Mine Near Syracuse

June 1984: Vast and extensive uranium deposits are discovered on the northern coastline. Almost overnight, many investors and foreign nations become interested in staking a claim in Codman, a previously overlooked frigid island.

July-August 1984: Codman residents, finding it necessary to now form some sort of government to deal with this "Nuclear Rush," send leaders to meet in the small town of Fishhook (previously Vaenhall) for several weeks. Discussions frequently stall due to various Codmaners still seeing themselves as citizens of their old countries, but gradually a national identity arises as each faction realizes they cannot gain a sufficient majority to act solely on behalf of their own nation's interests.

August 16, 1984: A wide majority of the delegation agrees to The Codman Declarations, a loose document setting out a provisional republic which would decide upon major matters and conflicts. However, the most significant clause in the document expresses that although immigrants from all nations would continue to be welcome in Codman, "No foreign government, nor military, nor foreign faction, shall have its wills or wants carried out on Codman, through force or other effort, or they shall be met with equal force." The "Equal Force" clause, as it came to be known, was in response to growing fears that Codman would be invaded or otherwise claimed by another nation. It was, however, not an idle threat: a large majority of Codmaners were proficient with firearms and were very willing to defend their island. Although the Declarations were somewhat weak and vague, they were considered the first firm step towards a new national identity.

Codman is and shall be a free and self-governing Republic, welcoming of all peoples regardless of color, creed, or heritage. No foreign government, nor military, nor foreign faction, shall have its wills or wants carried out on Codman, through force or other effort, or they shall be met with equal force. The Republic shall have the full and final authority over the free lands upon which it has been rightly established ... We pledge our future to this; Codman shall henceforth be a free land.

-The Codman Declarations, 1984

Wind Energy Farm on the Northern Coast

1984-1990: Businesses enter Codman en masse, an effect the Codmaners had predicted and wanted to bring about. Within a few months, thousands of prospective miners, businessmen, engineers, and logistics personnel had capitalized on the newly discovered deposits. Soldotna World Energy, headquartered in Vancouver, Washington quickly becomes the chief processor and exporter of uranium, bringing with them many American and Canadian employees who begin to dominate the island's affairs and culture.

1990-2000: The influx of emigrants soon turns into millions as mineral deposits, oil, and vast lumber reserves are also discovered on the island. Secondary and tertiary industries develop rapidly, with many foreign investors deeply optimistic of the island's future prospects. The Codman Republic exponentially grows, but soon finds itself starving for law, order, and a common purpose.

Vancouvia: A Free Land for All

Grand Vancouvian Rail

March-July 2000: Leaders again join for a convention, this time in Vesuvius on the west coast, the de facto capital and center of commerce. Throughout the spring and summer, they discuss a new form of government, leading to the July 5th signing of a Constitution with a republican system of government, with ethical and intelligence requirements for running for Congress. The country's name is changed to Vancouvia, a reference to both the many Vancouverites who had emigrated to the island and quickly accelerated it onto the regional stage and the historical Vaenland nation. A new motto, flag, anthem, and military are formed. Charles Rochester, an active and well-respected central figure of the Codman Republic, is chosen to serve as Temporary President until four Senators can be elected, eventually stepping down in June, 2001. Finally, Vancouvia is a full-fledged nation.

November 1, 2000: The Vancouvian Special Forces is formed to serve as the spear of the Vancouvian military but quickly grows to be the main force of Vancouvian power projection.

December 25, 2000: The Vancouvian Espionage Organization is formed but suffers debacle after debacle, eventually becoming the intelligence branch of the military.

2000-2010: Vancouvia's regional influence grows dramatically. With substantial income from new, thriving industries, the Vancouvian Congress makes several purchases of military equipment, lowers corporate restrictions (which results in the foundation of numerous additional regional industries in Vancouvia), subsidizes research into green energy, and installs a massive multi-billion cove high-speed railway system. Old and abandoned cities are renamed and new cities are founded. The Lexington area cattle-basin becomes Vancouvia's meat and bread basket. The Vancouvian economy begins a shift towards service-based industries, with an emphasis on business services, information technology, and accounting.

Vancouvian Special Forces on Patrol in the I.D.

May 2015: A Vancouvian-led coalition invades Bhumidol in the Bhumidol Conflict in an effort to curb systematic human rights abuses. The Vancouvian Special Forces are deployed in their first major action, and prove to be highly effective in guerilla operations. Bhumidol capitulates after threats from the coalition navies, but neglects to significantly improve its human rights throughout the next few years.

October - December 2015: Vancouvia constructs the Camp Plymouth airbase on the International District's southeastern coast. What starts as a minor crackdown on criminal elements operating freely in the non-governed island spirals into a full blown occupation when Vancouvia temporarily absorbs the I.D. on September 4th. Soldiers from Miklania, Ostehaar, and Kamieniec podolski join Vancouvia in an occupation of the central City. Hundreds of Vancouvian soldiers become casualties in an increasingly bloody fight against resisting criminal groups. In late 2015, the occupation winds down and Vancouvia transfers control of the island over to a native Island Guard, also helping install a Council to govern the island as its own nation. Vancouvian troops stationed at Plymouth remain and help aid in the defense of the island.

January 2016: Vancouvia joins with Atnaia, Verdon, Ostehaar, Polar Svalbard, Keomora, Norstham, and Noronica in the Coalition of Free Nations.

November 2016 - Present: Vancouvia is thrust into a civil war conflict in San Javier when troops from various nations including Atnaia flock to the island. A Vancouvian rail company, working to build La Nueva Paz railroad since the early 2000s, comes under threat of attack and is supplemented by a team of engineers and a small escort group.

December 2016 - Present: Vancouvia unites with Noronica in the recapture of the Arván peninsula but greatly underestimates the defending force and is subject to extraordinary casualties in a blunderous aerial invasion of Alimenter. Although Noronica regains control of the peninsula, Vancouvian troops remain and assist in the occupation.

July 5th, 2013 in Vesuvius

Vancouvia, Vancouvia, go bold and true
Your windward eyes set upon the blue
Your skies are clear, your heart is pure
Your shimmering seas are our hearts' allure

Vancouvia, Vancouvia, a land of bliss
Your towering pines break through the mist
Your sandy shores bring forth the dawn
Your valleys' echoes are our song

-Our Land, Vancouvian National Anthem

The Free Lands of Vancouvia