Kingdom of Brittany and Duchy of AquitaineTimeline: The Once and Never Kings
OTL equivalent: Brittany, Aquitaine
Location of Brittany-Aquitaine in green.
|Official languages||Breton, Occitan|
|Regional Languages||French, Norman, Cornish|
|-||Breton inheritance of Aquitaine||1292|
The Kingdom of Brittany and Duchy of Aquitaine, Brittany-Aquitaine, Brittany, is a member of Francia, holding much of its Atlantic coast. It borders numerous other Francian states, including Normandy, Guyenne, Auvergne, and Anjou. It is divided by the County of Retz, which has lead to conflict with the small state and its allies.
Long subject to Viking raids, the kings of Brittany expelled them in the late ninth century. The Breton kings became closely associated with the Frankish kings, and were brought into Francia as Dukes. As central authority in Francia collapsed following the Capetian War, the Bretons were eager to assert their independence again, and to take a leading role in the empire.
But attempts to subjugate Maine, Anjou, and Retz militarily would only lead to embarrassing defeats. The rule of Alan IV would see the Dukes turn to marriage and diplomacy. While their intended targets (the lands of the House of Anjou), didn't pan out, they managed to inherit the Duchy of Aquitaine, having been divide into it and Guyenne as division of inheritance. Their rule in Aquitaine would be contested by Normandy and Burgundy. However, it was successfully defended.
However, the Aquitainians themselves were often displeased with their Breton overlords, and rebellions defined the early fifteenth century. When Breton explorers discovered Eriksbjod in 1461, many in the first waves of settlers in Brittany's new holdings in the Caribbean were from Aquitaine.
In another attempt to reject Breton rule, many in Aquitaine turned Lutheranism when the Reformation picked up steam (something the staunchly Catholic Breton rulers denounced). Divided from Brittany proper when the lands were split between the brothers of John of Brittany and Robert of Aquitaine, Lutheranism spread faster. Joining the Schmalkaldic League, it brought the religious strife plaguing the Holy Roman Empire to Francia. Despite the League's defeat in the Schmalkaldic War, it won religious freedom for Lutheran practitioners.
The death of the childless Duke John saw Aquitaine revert to Brittany proper in 1603. When the newly ascended zealotous Duke Robert tried to forcefully bring Aquitaine back to Catholicism in 1618, it revolted.
The revolt provoked a military response from the Protestant states of Francia and the Holy Roman Empire, starting the Forty Years War. The rebel Protestant forces in Aquitaine would fall in 1620, however, leaving Brittany to deal with the Aragonese armies. Southern Aquitaine would be ravaged by the war, and leave many towns deserted as a result. Thanks to it having to deal with Aragon, it would be unable to send forces westward, where Germany was proving to be the main battleground of the war (the the exception of a minor Swedish invasion in 1629). The Breton victory at the battle of Rodez in 1640 improved the Francian Catholic Leagues position greatly. But an attempted invasion of Aragonese Toulouse amounted to little. In the end, the Battle of Heilbronn, where Brittany was uninvolved, ushered the end of the war. Brittany's control of Aquitaine would be confirmed in the Peace of Hamburg, though it would have to tolerate Calvinism too as a result.
It's repeated holding of the Francian throne has allowed it to fulfill several ambitions within the Empire. First among them, King Peter was able to secure Brittany's ascension to a kingdom in 1749. There was much celebration in the former duchy when Peter was crowned the first King of Brittany in eight hundred years.
Brittany's aims to expand colonial possessions in the mainland New World continents would prove failures. It would shift to Africa and Asia, establishing a number of forts. It would also secure a large section of northeast Australia as its own, known as New Poitou.
Attempts to push into the East Indies only invited conflict from Ayutthaya and Brunei, leading to the confiscation of Breton trading forts in the area, and the loss of its protectorship over Aceh (which was happily annexed by Ayutthaya. A brief war with the Hanseatic Republic over their Caribbean islands also yielded no gains, and only lead to increased tensions.
There are two regional parliaments, one in Nantes for Brittany, and Poitiers for Aquitaine. Both have a good-sized degree of autonomy from each other, but are in the end still subservient to the general parliament that sits in the capital of Rennes. Both Brittany and Aquitaine are technically different states, and have been divided by split inheritance several times, but for all intents and purposes, they are a single state. Attempts to pass an "Act of Union" have been blocked by both Aquitainian and Breton legislators.
Brittany-Aquitaine is subdivided into 14 provinces, six Breton and eight Aquitainian. Despite having more provinces, Aquitaine is out populated by Brittany, a result of the massive depopulation it saw during the Forty Years War. Poitiers has repeatedly blocked legislation that would merge two Aquitainian provinces, and carve out a seventh Breton, thus making the two equal with seven provinces apiece.
It is undoubtedly the leading power in Francia, militarily, economically, and politically. Despite this, it is only recently that it has begun to routinely hold the Francian throne. The Bretons only electoral vote comes from the Duchy of Aquitaine, which has lead to the other electors snubbing it in favor of Auvergne, Bourbon, or Normandy. But within the last century, these and other common contenders have been over shadowed by Brittany's confidence in terms of its military power, as well as its leadership in the Francian Parliament.