Aragon is a large constitutional monarchy in southern Europe. It has borders with Castille, the Confederation of the Pyrennees, Armagnac, France, Auvergne, Arles and Orange. As well as its mainland property it administers the autonomous provinces of Sardinia and Sicily. It also owns a large portion of Australia; Queen Isabellas Land and an island in the Carib Sea; Hewanorra. The capital is Barcelona and its European population is around 15.5 million.
The Head of State is King Peter VIII.
The official languages are Catalan, Occitan, Aragonese, Castillian, Sardinian Italian and Sicilian Italian.
The currency is the Aragonese Real (AGR).
The landlocked province of Aragon was one of several Carolingian feudal estates clinging to the Pyrenees under the nominal authority of Navarre. Divided from Navarre in 1035 it would pick up several of its neighbouring territories thanks to a series of convoluted inheritances and underhanded diplomacy. Queen Petronilla's marriage to Count Ramon of Barcelona in 1137 united the two entities and would give it the base for future territorial gains. A constant state of warfare with the Islamic taifa states led to the occupation of the Balearic Isles in 1229 whilst Valencia was captured in 1238. Although it came to several agreements with Castille over the exact demarcation of their territory Aragon was still at war with its neighbour repeatedly. Meanwhile the kingdom was picking up more distant territory.
Rivalry between it and Aquitaine had spilled over into war several times but the area between the Pyrenees and Arles tended to pay fealty to Barcelona. This was sorely tested during the Cathar crusades or Albigensian War as Aquitaine and France were given papal blessing to root out the heresy in Occitania. As ultimate overlords Aragon rallied, not to the side of the heretics as such, but to the aid of its lords now under duress. Aragon soon earned a severe rebuke from the Pope but France was not as strong as they liked to make out. Mauled on their way south by Auvergne, they were utterly defeated by Aragon sealing its dominance over the area. A few generations of advantageous marriages made their authority complete. Meanwhile the Cathars were slowly pushed out and eventually into Armagnac where they would be extinguished in 1420.
Disputes between the corrupt Papacy and the Bezier kings in Sicily led them to invite Aragon into the area. The conquest of Naples would occupy the kings for 150 years or so. Conquering Corsica and Sardinia 1324 and adding Sicily (which also included Athens) in 1381 Aragon was soon master of the Mediterranean and for a century Catalan was the lingua franca from Cadiz to Cyprus while it could virtually dictate maritime law to other trading powers and cities. Its Greek provinces were captured by Italian nobles in 1388 but this was more than offset by the gain of Naples in 1422. The various provinces were organised as self-contained separate kingdoms and only held in personal union. Therefore when Joanna succeeded her father Peter IV in Aragon in 1423 the hazy succession laws allowed her cousin James to claim the Kingdom of Naples, another cousin Martin to claim Sicily and Sardinia, and a general revolt to break out in Majorca. Joanna's loyal nobles and her two sons would spend much of the next fifty years rebuilding the fleet and the treasury and subduing revolts on the mainland. For now the Italian possessions were lost but soon a long struggle to regain the lost territories was under way. As Italy torn itself apart in endless internecine warfare Aragon extended its claws into several states using them as proxies in its struggles against Naples, the Papacy and the Empire. Although the Manutan Wars did nothing concrete to regain the Italian territories (and in fact permanently lost Corsica to Genoa) the borders were extended to the Rhone at the expense of Arles.
With the Italian cities eagerly muscling in on Aragon's old Mediterranean trade it looked to the growing transatlantic routes to cover the shortfall. However, it was very much a junior partner in this venture and could never challenge its Iberian neighbours directly. Indeed until it annexed the Carib island of Hewanorra for itself in 1630 it exclusively used Leonese ports.
During the 16th century the kings consolidated power by annexing the remaining and revoking the regional parliaments. This provoked considerable revolt but the rewards soon became apparent. War with Castille in 1597-1599 virtually condemned its neighbour to a 17th century dogged by succession crises. By the eve of the Fifty Years War Aragon was the richest Iberian state and had most of Southern Francia in its pockets. Italy had shaken its grip after the 1613 Peace of Lodi, however, and now all the disparate states were allied to the Austrian Emperors. As the Bohemian revolt dragged the Schamalkaldic Empire into war against the Catholic Empire Aragon seized its chance and began to fund the Protestant armies. Eventually in 1622 it committed its own troops, invading Arles and starting a near half-century of violence across Occitania and Northern Italy. By 1630 it had regained Sardinia and Sicily though it was repeatedly frustrated in taking Corsica. Aragon's armies were well-led and well-supplied and although they moved back and forth it took until 1646 and the Battle of Dronero for the Aragonese to be comprehensively beaten. The victory persuaded the Emperor from making peace with the Aragonese, thereby lengthening the war for another two decades and ensuring his eventual defeat.
Into the Modern Age
By the terms of the Treaty of Copenhagen Aragon's ownership of Sardinia and Sicily was confirmed but relinquished all territory on the Eastern bank of the Rhone. But its economy was severely crippled, the crown utterly indebted to anyone who would lend it money and the country creaking and law-less from fifty years of under-investment. Thanks to these problems the next seventy years were a constant upheaval of collapsing governments, unstable monarchs (King James V was severely depressed by the chaos of government whilst his daughter Queen Catherine was quite probably insane by the time she succeeded) and endless revolts. That the country survived into the mid-18th century without imploding is regarded by many as a minor miracle and due entirely to the tireless efforts of several utterly dedicated prime ministers who covered for the crown's weaknesses in the 1710s and 1720s.
Finally settling down once more, a five-year war against Castille and Aquitaine (War of 1762-1767) appeared to seal Aragon's mastery of the Western Mediterranean, as well as ruining Aquitaine as a coherent state. The weakness of Castille was made all the more apparent after the severe revolts following 1816 'the Year without Summer'. While Castille and Leon's monarchies were overthrown by the revolts Aragon succeeded in crushing its own peasant revolts but it was still unsteady when it turned to face Castille in 1821 having built up a considerable alliance behind it. Aragon's army was comprehensively beaten at Cifuentes in March 1822 by the then unknown del Olmo and forced into retreat and dropped out of the war. A second attempt in 1823 to crush Castille led to the loss of Valencia and the Balearics and France had to put down republican revolts in the Occitaine to stop the rest of the country folding. Finally in 1828 Castille simply annexed Aragon. King John XII fled to Sicily and the survival of this royalist remnant was almost solely due to a timely alliance with Byzantium and the ceding of much territorial claims to Naples and other Italian states.
Aragon's time as part of Hispania was largely an unhappy one. Its cities were largely denuded of wealth to pay for the war, its fleet sacrificed at the Battle of Alderney against the Kalmar Union and its population used as cannon fodder. When Hispania and del Olmo finally fell in 1834 it eagerly re-embraced the monarchy and the sudden re-introduction of pre-revolution laws did not cause the revolts seen elsewhere in Europe, though a purge in the army ranks made it momentarily dependent on Byzantine and Imperial forces to keep order in Sicily and Sardinia.
During the late 19th and early 20th century Aragon spent a considerable amount of money and energy expanding its presence in South-East Asia and the Roasjoinn. Its sole presence in the Roasjoinn prior to the Iberian Revolution had been Ternate but this had been abandoned after the devastating eruption of Mount Camalana in 1775. Using the stand-off between Kalmar and Luxembourg it secured a large section of the North-Western Australian coast. Soon christened Queen Isabellas Land after King Peter VII's wife, the land that had been dismissed as worthless by Luxembourg early explorers soon paid dividends in huge mineral wealth. Emboldened, the government began authorising further military action leading to an ill-fated war with Kieta in 1903. Without proper support and in the face of considerable opposition from Kalmar and Brunei (which had been considering its own position there) the venture failed and led to the downfall of the long standing conservative Soler government and issued in a more permissive and liberal decade characterised by a flowering of the arts and culture. A less contentious war, though certainly over-zealously promoted by the newspapers, with Sunda over the neutrality of Alawaland led to the annexation of Sumba in 1928.
Aragon would also try to involve itself in Leifian matters, becoming a major player in the so-called Cotton Wars (1885-1920) assisting Apalacheeland and the Koasati Republic in winning their independence from Mvskokia. This did little to salvage Aragon's reputation in Europe but gave them considerable clout in Leifia.
Aragon is a constitutional monarchy governed by a bicameral States. Elections are held every four years. The current Head of State is King Peter VIII and his Prime Minister is Joaquin March.
Sardinia and Sicily have wide autonomy to set laws and taxes and there is often disagreement about the limits of Barcelona's power in the two provinces. They are also members of the Holy Roman Empire. Aragon itself has observer status at the Francian Parlement in Tours. An Aragonese motion to create a regional parliament for Iberia was enthusiastically received by Leon, the Confederation of the Pyrenees and Granada, but Castillian opposition and the civil war in Portugal has put pay to the idea.
Queen Isabellas Land
Queen Isabella's Land is a largely barren area of North-Western Australia which is bordered by Alawaland to the East and the Luxembourgoise colony of New Brabant to the South. To the North are the island kingdoms of Sunda and Samadura. It was claimed for Aragon during the standoff between Kalmar and Luxembourg in the 1860s and was confirmed by the Australia Treaty of 1868. It has received a large settlement of Sicilians looking for a better life and is the second largest diamond producer in the world. Gold and zinc are also mined in large quantities.
Also included within the state is the Sundanese island of Sumba, annexed in 1928 following Sunda's supposed breach of Alawaland's neutrality. The island is chiefly noted for its rich wildlife (finely represented in the large Sumban section of Barcelona Zoological Gardens) and its sugar and sandalwood industries. Rivalry with Luxembourg over the island of Cigne has been an occasional stumbling block to good relations but raising the issue of its status is now recognised as the last resort of failing government. Further attempts to expand Queen Isabella's Land into the Roasjoinn at the expense of Kieta and UMS were failures and caused considerable domestic upheaval both in Barcelona and in New Cervera.
Hewanorra had been a prosperous Carib Island during the 15th and 16th centuries with its kings presiding over a miniature empire. However, it was hard pressed by the European and Leifian powers as they pressed into the Carib islands and the extent of its reach shrank rapidly in the early 17th century. Eventually a hurricane in 1624 wrecked 90% of its fleet. Aragon made swift work of its army in 1630 and annexed the island, if only to save it falling to Luxembourg. The Hewanorra Treaty of 1645 rigidly codified the rights of the native population, especially the amount of land Aragonese settlers were permitted to claim and any infraction of the terms would lead to violent protests. During the 17th century there were three separate uprisings and by 1685 Aragon had stationed an army and a fleet permanently on the island, not only to dissuade violence but also to help eradicate the piracy blossoming in the Taino and Carib Seas. A small states was created to be overseen by Aragon's representative and the native line of rulers, demoted to Princes but still endowed with wide authority.
During the Iberian Revolution Hewanorra remained defiantly royalist even after Aragon itself was conquered and absorbed and the islanders repeatedly defied attempts by Madrid to impose its will.