The Colonization of Bermudia and Meridonia (collectively, the New World) was the settlement of the New World by European and Middle Eastern nations, and the related displacement of much of the two continents' indigenous population. The main initial colonizers were Castile, Portugal, Venice, Anglia and Burgundy; they were later joined by the Sultanate of Rumelia, Scotland, and Aragon. Colonization triggered massive biological, ethnic and political changes both in Europe and the Americas; today, much of the Americas is made up of colonial successor states, although the region's indigenous peoples continue to rule a number of relatively powerful polities.
Although European states initially dominated colonization, an increasingly powerful Rumelian Sultanate was drawn into the Western Hemisphere by the promise of attacking wealthy Castilian and Burgundian treasure ships returning from the mines of Meridonia. The Castilian conquest of Granada in 1550, and the consequent expulsion of the Iberian peninsula's Morisco and Jewish populations, led to a massive diaspora which sustained the first large-scale Muslim settlements in Columbia; these settlers were later joined by North African corsairs and Turks. By 1630 the Rumelians had nearly gained naval domination over both the Carib and Mediterranean Seas. This enabled the indigenous population to resist more effectively, playing off rival colonizers, and Christian and Muslim powers, against one another. An era of chaotic, often four-or-five sided colonial wars followed, in which various Christian and Muslim colonists and indigenous tribes fought one another in a series of struggles for dominion in both continents, in a series of conflicts which sometimes mirrored and sometimes ignored the simultaneous conflicts in the Mediterranean.
By 1750, Anglia, Burgundy and Castile had seemingly defeated their rivals and assumed dominance of the New World, but often their defeated rivals' colonies were able to assume an independent existence and beat off attempts at conquest. Meanwhile, the indigenous spiritual leader Negushwa assembled a confederation of tribes and, in alliance with the defeated Moriscos, launched the Columbian Jihad in Bermudia, which the victorious powers only defeated with immense difficulty. The expense of these conflicts led to a series of colonial revolts in Bermudia, which eventually spread to Meridonia. Only Anglia was able to retain significant colonial possessions against this revolutionary fervour, although the Venetian colony of Scutari effectively replaced Venice following the Habsburg conquest of the Republic in 1770.
Initial Phases (1489 - 1550)
The discovery of the New World occurred in 1489, after a Castilian galleon captain named Juan Bermudez, trying to avoid corsairs around the North African coast by sailing far west was blown off course and, almost accidentally, reached the coast of Florida. Further expeditions, several led by Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, who had long theorized about such a continent, established its considerable size and wealth; rumours of gold were influential in driving initial Castilian settlement of Cuba and Hispaniola. Several states, including Portugal and Burgundy, founded small forts along the Atlantic coast further north to act as resupply bases for their ships going to Asia, viewing the route as safer than the more direct one which exposed them to piracy near North Africa. The discovery of gold and wealthy states with a large potential for exploitation launched an orgy of colonization, beginning with the conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521. This, and the resultant flow of gold to Europe, in turn drew in North African corsairs, who reached the New World in 1530 and founded states north of the Spanish colonies; other states, like Anglia, Aragon and Venice, were also drawn in by a mixture of rivalry and commercial opportunity.
Castilian settlements on the island of Hispaniola, and later on Cuba, were the first established. Castile's status as the most successful colonizing power was affirmed by its conquest of the Aztecs in 1521, although the Portugese and Burgundians had, by the same time, founded less prosperous colonies in the southern continent, as part of their developing rivalry over the spice trade. The Portugese colony of Santa Cruz and the Burgundian colony of Nieuw Vlaanderen swiftly became profitable based on the production of sugar and the export of brazilwood; the two powers' rivalry rapidly drove inland expansion, although the Burgundian colony was less successful, partly because the Burgundian duke was wary of his Dutch vassals accumulating too much external territory and declined to support their endeavours. Both powers also sought to find a southward passage around the continent to reach the Pacific, hoping to gain an avenue of swift communication with the Indies. By 1521, they had gained extensive, if still fairly light, control over parts of the coast of what was, following the publication of maps by Bermudez and Columbus, widely referred to as Meridonia, while the northern continent became referred to as Bermudia.
This early success drew in new colonial participants. Anglia, a commercial and military rival of both Burgundy and Castile, sought its own colonies. Anglian exploration was initially driven by the Italian explorers Jean Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazanno, but the mercantile community of the recently united kingdom was swiftly drawn in. Settlements were founded along the coast of two major Columbian estuaries, Chesapeake Bay and the more northerly Saint Lawrence River, which Cabot named after the saint upon whose feast day he arrived. The Anglian crown rapidly shut out Italian influence, however; it saw these new territories as a means of rewarding ambitious commoners without giving them excessive noble status, and of disposing of inconvenient illegitimate noble children. Under William III, heir of Henry V, much of the northeastern coast was granted in fief to newly ennobled Anglians; many of the new territories were used as compensation to former French nobles disadvantaged by the English conquest. Colonial expansion was initially spearheaded by Thomas Cromwell, a highly intelligent commoner who was granted a lordship near the St. Lawrence in 1518. Due to his success in expanding the King's domains, he was ennobled Earl of Laurence in 1530. This northerly colony, Acadia, was initially more successful, but the more salubrious environment of the Chesapeake region, plus the immense profits of tobacco cultivation there, led this more southerly colony - named Versania after da Verrazanno - to develop more rapidly. By 1550, Versania and Acadia controlled sizeable chunks of the eastern coast south of the St. Lawrence, separated only by the powerful Iroquois Confederacy, which made settlement of the intervening region difficult. Inconveniently, also, the Burgundians constructed a fort at the excellent harbour of New Antwerp in between the two Anglian colonies.
But the relative success of these colonizers drew in hostile Old World powers eager to limit the expansion of their power. Scotland continued its foreign policy of attempting to counterbalance Anglia by allying with its enemies, in order to maintain its own independence. Scottish expeditions reached the St. Lawrence in 1542, spearheaded by the Lords of the Isles, who, after the humiliating Scottish naval defeat at the Battle of Laxey in 1510 had been attempting to transition their traditional galley fleets into larger oceangoing ships. John Dubh Maclean, a second son of a Scottish lord on the Isle of Mull, and Oliver Sinclair, the son of a disgraced former courtier of the deposed James I, led these initial expeditions. Although Cromwell blocked Scottish colonial efforts and, through skillful diplomacy with the Iroquois, prevented any native-Scottish alliance, his death in 1545 meant that succeeding Anglian governors were less diplomatically skillful. They allied more closely with the Huron, but failed to prevent their allies' defeat at the hands of the Iroquois, who displaced them in much of the Upper St. Lawrence Valley. Increasingly cognizant of the English threat, the Iroquois allied with the Scottish at Hochelaga in 1552. With Iroquois aid, the Scottish were able to settle the northern coast of the St. Lawrence, which the Anglians had rejected as too rocky, cold and infertile. To the fishermen, peasantry and even nobility of western Scotland, however, it had a greater appeal, and Scottish settlement developed relatively swiftly, around the settlement of St. Brennan at the mouth of the Saguenay River, and its northerly counterpart of Duart on the Atlantic coast.
Meanwhile, the corsairs of northern Africa and Granada, with the backing of their Rumelian, moved out into the Atlantic, pursuing Castilian commerce as it shifted westward. Increasingly, they too were forced to transition their fleets from galleys into the caravels and galleons used by the Iberian powers to sail the Atlantic. Their control of Gibraltar gave them extensive control of commerce in the Mediterranean and provided the wealth to sustain massive westward expeditions. In 1540 an expedition under the Rumelian admirals Hayreddin and Oruc (called "Barbarossa"), reached the Carib Sea, where it sacked Santo Domingo on Hispaniola and captured the Castilian treasure fleet. Oruc attempted to base himself in the Bahamas, cutting the route between Castilian Mexico and the Atlantic, but the Castilians expelled him with a massive expedition, with Portugese cooperation, in 1542, killing him. The Iberian powers also launched an invasion of Granada, overrunning the country in 1550, although an attempted siege of Gibraltar failed. They began a program of expulsion against Granada's Arab inhabitants, which was later extended to the former Muslim "morisco" inhabitants of the entire peninsula (although Aragon declined to join in as enthusiastically).
Oruc's brother Hayreddin took advantage of this; taking in the expelled Moriscos and Granadans, he redirected their ire across the Atlantic, where they provided the numbers necessary to establish and sustain bases for raiding the Castilians. In 1553 Hayreddin founded the colony of "Gharnatah Jadida" (New Granada, although it was rapidly corrupted to Gharnajada) in the peninsula to the north of the Bahamas, while he settled others in Mostanqia the barren, marshy coast northeast of Mexico, fortifying the island the Castilians called the "Isla de Malhado". The twin colonies grew swiftly, as Arabs and Moriscos attracted by the profits of piracy against the Castilians crossed the Atlantic. After Hayreddin's death in 1560, the Sultanate of Rumelia asserted closer control over North Africa and these western territories, appointing Salah Reis, a Rumelian naval officer, as Pasha of Gharnajada. It was difficult for Rumelia to wield any effective control, however, and Salah's authority effectively depended on his military reputation and acuity. His contingents of regular Rumelian troops, especially artillerists, did enable the Gharnajadans and Mostanqi to effectively push the Castilians out of Cuba by 1560; their attacks made continued settlement effectively untenable. Salah also led an expedition to seize Trinidad in 1565; the island became a heavily garrisoned base that eased attacks on the southern route out of the Carib Sea.
By maintaining good relations with the Sultanate, Venice was also able to engage in colonization. With the increasingly powerful Rumelians posing an increasing future threat to Venetian commerce in the Mediterranean, and the necessary appeasement becoming ever more difficult, the Venetians decided to diversify their territorial holdings and commercial focus. They took advantage of the involvement of Italian mariners in the early exploration of the Americas, leveraging this expertise by hiring dozens of Italians with experience in past voyages. They hired Giovanni da Verrazanno, who had led exploratory voyages for Anglia in past years, to lead a series of voyages sponsored by a consortium of Venetian merchant families to the new continent. In 1560, he founded the colony of Scutari (named after the recently lost Venetian colony of Shkodra, in Albania), well south of the nearby Anglian colonies at the mouth of the Savannah River. The Venetians had difficulty finding Venetians willing to emigrate, so they relied on more desperate groups, such as the expelled populations of lost colonies like Scutari, members of minority Italian religious sects like the Waldensians, illegitimate children of nobles or commoners seeking advancement, and Croats and Albanians fleeing the Serb and Ottoman-dominated Balkans. The Venetian colony's relative weakness also meant that the nearby indigenous population found it less of a threat, however, which contributed to better relations, which were also eased by the relatively accepting Venetian attitude toward foreigners, inculcated by decades of extensive trade.