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Cotton Wars (The Kalmar Union)

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The Cotton Wars
Battle of Lundys Lane
Battle of Ayaaxi, January 1910
Beginning:

1885

End:

1920

Place:

South-East Leifia

Outcome:

Treaty of Kristiansted

Combatants

(1885-1892)
Flag of Mvskokia (The Kalmar Union).svgMvskokian Loyalists


(1894-1896)
Flag of Mvskokia (The Kalmar Union).svgMvskokia


(1896-1901)
25pxChikashsha
Flag of Inokia (The Kalmar Union).svgInokia
Flag of Mvskokia (The Kalmar Union).svgMvskokia


(1903-1911)
Flag of Mvskokia (The Kalmar Union).svgMvskokia
Flag of Yesanland (The Kalmar Union)Yesanland
Flag of Caalusa (The Kalmar Union).svgCaalusa
25pxCatawbaland
Flag of Chahtaland (The Kalmar Union).svgChahtaland (after 1911)








(1918-1920)
Flag of Chahtaland (The Kalmar Union).svgChahtaland

(1885-1892)
Flag of Mvskokia (The Kalmar Union).svgMvskokian Reformers


(1894-1896)
25pxChikashsha


(1896-1901)
Flag of Ugakhpaland (The Kalmar Union).svgUgakhpaland
25pxCaddoa
Flag of Tunica (The Kalmar Union).svgTunica


(1903-1917)
Flag of Chahtaland (The Kalmar Union).svgChahtaland (until 1911)
Flag of Ugakhpaland (The Kalmar Union).svgUgakhpaland
25pxCaddoa
Flag of Tunica (The Kalmar Union).svgTunica
25pxUtina
Flag of Miccosukeeland (The Kalmar Union)Miccosukeeland
Flag of Aniyunwiya (The Kalmar Union).svgAniyunwiya(1904-1905)
Flag of the Kalmar UnionKalmar Union
Flag of Aragon (The Kalmar Union).svgAragon
Pavillon royal de la FranceFrance
Flag of Biloxiland (The Kalmar Union)Biloxiland
25pxApalacheeland
Flag of Chitimachanc (The Kalmar Union).svgChitimachanc


(1918-1920)
Flag of Natchezland (The Kalmar Union).svgNatchezland
25pxOfolandain
25pxHoumaland
Flag of Kweshland (The Kalmar Union).svgKweshland
Flag of Ishakane (The Kalmar Union).svgIshakane

Commanders
Strength
Casualties and Losses

The trampled rights of our brothers and sisters can not be ignored for much longer. It is on their shoulders that our country has grown in recent years. It is only fair that they be given something in return - Secoffee Sehoy, Mvskokian Reformist Politician.

The fight must not be avoided, it is to be grasped as if it is our only chance - Taboca Shanublee, Chahtan General.

The generals lament one soldier's death if by a bullet, but shrug their shoulders if it is three hundred by disease - Jenny Gråbøl, Danish nurse.

The Cotton Wars were a series of conflicts which convulsed the Mvskokian Kingdom leading to its breakup and the independence of several new states. Leifians tend to call each of the separate conflicts by their individual names however in Europe the name Cotton Wars has become a standard catch-all for the series of battles, reflecting in many ways the overlapping nature of the wars and spiraling European involvement.

Background

Following the collapse of Aniyunwiyan and Yesan dominance in the 16th centuries much of the southeast of Leifia had fallen under Mvskokian dominance. The southeast had always been an area of constantly shifting kingdoms and allegiances but by 1600 the Mvskokian kings had managed to forge an alliance of sorts (sometimes referred to as the 'Muscogee League') mostly as a way of blunting attacks from Yesanland. After the anarchy which followed the end of the First Mexic-Leifian War Mvskokia slowly turned this League into its vassal, all but annexing much of the southeast. While the individual tribal nations making up this confederation retained various powers in practice they became little more than provinces of the Mvskokian kingdom.

The more northerly powers, still wary over Mexic ambition, were mostly happy to allow this to happen. A large, strong kingdom in the southeast was better than a plethora of small unstable regimes. And indeed Mvskokia built a reasonably stable state. Its army was not integrated however and remained divided on 'tribal' lines drawn from the provinces. Despite this, and accusations of being the 'weak link', Mvskokia distinguished itself during the Second Mexic-Leifian War and various other conflicts.

Mvskokia 1885 (The Kalmar Union)

The extent of Mvskokia in 1885 (modern borders shown)

This stability allowed an significant expansion in farmlands in the southeast, and soon the Mvskokians found that their rich soil and long hot summers made perfect for growing cotton. With its easy access to the markets of the Atlantic the Mvskokian ports soon boomed with the cotton trade. In 1860 the Mvskokian inventor Ssiquoya Utiyu invented the 'Cotton Engine'. This machine, first hand-cranked then hitched to water-mills and eventually steam engines, automatically removed seeds from cotton bales. This had been a labour intensive time-consuming job and Utiyu had hoped this would free up a significant portion of the poor labouring classes.

However actually the invention simply allowed more labourers to be put into the fields leading to a sudden expansion in the size and intensity of cotton farming. Cotton, already a large industry in Mvskokia, soon underpinned the entire economy with almost two-thirds of the population directly employed on the plantations and other cash crops such as indigo, tobacco and rice were largely sidelined. The chase for ever greater profits inevitably led many unscrupulous land owners (who were mostly Mvskokian even when the surrounding populace were not) to strip their workers of rights. Whilst outright slavery was rare (and in most areas illegal) serfdom, mostly abolished or on its way out in the rest of Leifia, was stubbornly held onto in Mvskokia. The average Mvskokian farm labourer in 1880 lived in a small village owned by plantation owner who charged for living costs, owned the shops and even charged for education. Families would be kept in a circle of debt whilst the land owners lived in luxury. By the early 1880s the smell of revolution hung in the air.

During the Leifian Crisis several of the northern states, most notably Vinland, had spent their energies restoring monarchical regimes across Leifia. Some of these campaigns were motivated to protect their own interests and borders, but some of the later campaigns were purely ideological; i.e. they were expressly done to maintain the status quo. Some of this was a block on the expansion of Mexica which used the crisis to swallow several small and faltering states. The rulers of Mvskokia were in no doubt that they too would be guaranteed by this, after all, they maintained a large and prosperous state which formed a considerable block on Mexic ambition. Plus with a considerable share of the world's cotton production, which in turn underpinned North Leifian and European textile production, Mvskokia assumed that world opinion would not stand for disruption for too long.

They had not reckoned on a general change of heart in Vinland and Álengiamark whose appetite for foreign intervention was sapped by the bloodiness of the Yesanland Revolutionary War (1847-1850) and the success of isolationist politics in the following decades. Meanwhile the other large power of eastern Leifia; Aniyunwiya, was equally adverse to destablising their own internal politics with ill-advised military expeditions.

The Early Cotton Wars (1885-1901)

From 1880 onwards Mvskokia was rocked a series of peasant revolts. This was in part a symptom of overproduction with the price of cotton falling rapidly. Dedicated to the export of cotton the Mvskokian economy had singularly ignored building its own industrial base and the unemployed could not be absorbed so easily. The revolts tended to be localised, often only affecting a few plantations at a time and if the landowners could not rely on their own forces to quash dissent the Mvskokian army could be called upon to react relatively quickly.

Menawa high resolution

King Hollata III, in traditional Mvskokian dress.

This broke down in August 1884 after a dispute over 'shop debts' i.e. the debt owed by a worker to the village store led to a revolt in the Wedowee area which would eventually consume much of 'Koasatiland'. The landowner militia was utterly outclassed and their weapons were taken by the peasants. The army was similarly bogged down on the Mississippi 'Delta' area and was slow to bring its superior firepower to bear. Although the revolt would be quelled by the spring of 1885 it provided a much needed shock to the system of Mvskokian government. Reform was needed but its implementation proved decisive. The relatively closed Royal chamber worked on a proposal to end the monopoly of village shops ending the scandal of shop debts. This was accepted as a necessary measure by many of the landowners but rejected by a outspoken majority who feared for their incomes in a time of falling prices. Over the summer tensions between the two parties simmered but then in October King Hollata III publicly rejected the proposals.

The Reformist party were in effect outlawed, emptying the royal chamber at a stroke and Hollata assumed dictatorial powers over the state. The Reformists suddenly found their cause echoed in other parts of Mvskokia which bristled against the autocratic tendencies of the monarchy. They would have rather have a reformed agricultural sector than an over-powerful central monarchy. It did not take long for the two sides to take up arms.

Civil War (1885-1892)

On 3rd November 1885 Secoffee Sehoy, backed by the local councils of Chikashsha, Koasatiland and Albaamahaland declared war against Hollata III. Sehoy had sold his allies on a swift advance to Mabila capturing Hollata which would then allow terms to be dictated. He actually found that the first advance was swiftly broken thanks to a lack of artillery and by mid-1886 Albaamahaland faced invasion and occupation from loyalist Chahtan forces.

However the Reformists dug themselves in and repelled loyalist attacks. Calls for Aniyuwiya or Inokia to intervene from the north fell on deaf ears, in fact they were more than happy to take up trade with the rebelling areas, supplying arms and food in return for cotton. Queen Svenný III of Vinland publicly, and rather undiplomatically, rebuked Hollata for resisting modernity and progress. In the Reformist areas, especially in Chikashsha, large numbers of the indentured peasant classes were conscripted to the army, expressly with the promise their rights would be extended and reformed. With an army actually fighting in essence for its own liberation it is no wonder the smaller Reformist army proved itself more adept and resilient than the Loyalist one. However much of the fighting was little more than skirmishes with either side carrying out raids and burning crops. Large-scale engagements followed the example of the Second Mexic-Leifian War in that they were avoided at all costs unless one side or the other could guarantee they had superiority either in numbers or a good tactical position. When they did occur they tended to be on the Reformist's terms, such as at the Battle of Tunstunuggee in July 1889 which shattered the western Mvskokian army and allowed the Reformists to reoccupy Albaamahaland, however the eastern army swiftly blocked off any further advance.

Despite the Reformist's limited successes their leadership was disintegrating. Sehoy, compromised by his steadfast hold on the idea of an undivided Mvskokian state, was pushed out in February 1888. Most Mvskokians had followed his example and by the eve of Tunstunuggee the army was virtually run by Chikashshans. With the formally enslaved population now basking in rights far beyond those in the rest of Mvskokia (even if they were suspended for the war) it appeared as if the two sides would be irreconcilable. Indeed on 1st January 1890 the Reformist leadership did what many foreign observers had long-predicted and declared outright independence. The Loyalist side was beginning to see its support wavering in the cities of the Mexic Gulf and western-most extremities and increasingly its own politicians advocated the limited reformist policies which had been rejected at the beginning of the civil war. In 1892 therefore, with an eye to close the war as quickly as possible it agreed to Chikashshan independence.

For its part Chikashsha embraced the peace with open arms, it seemed a good deal and many in its own leadership were beginning to voice concerns over how long an attritional war could be prolonged, especially with a peasant army chewing at the bit to have the promises made fulfilled. Importantly however they agreed to give up Alabaamaland and Kaosatiland which were soon overrun. While this made sense to the Chikashshans it was received with outrage amongst the Koasati and Alabaamans and the 'Great Betrayal' would sour relations almost permanently.

Chikashshan Independence (1892-1894)

Chikashshan Independence 1892 (The Kalmar Union)

Chikashsha (orange) as at independence in 1892

Peace was met with jubilation. A republic was proclaimed and, as had been promised, the peasants were freed. The previously big, profitable farms were soon divided up into hundreds of small parcels for them and this was spurred by the fact the previous Mvskokian landowners had largely fled or sold up during the war. While this satisfied the populace's desires in actuality it was a disaster. Much of the peasantry only had the skills to tend and harvest a cotton crop when what was really needed was a much broader agricultural base. The smaller farms and lower bargaining power that came with it left prices in the hands of a small merchant minority, often foreign. The retreating Mvskokian landowners had taken their family fortunes along with them and the flight of capital meant the economy quickly imploded. The already over-extended treasury, unable to levy taxes on the impoverished population for fear of stoking revolt, was spent on importing food.

Mvskokia meanwhile attempted to wrest back the cotton monopoly even in areas it no longer directly controlled. It attempted to renegotiate various trade treaties with European powers forcing them to buy only from Mvskokian merchants. The logic was, that if Mvskokia could still dictate cotton prices it could maintain a strangle hold over Chikashsha's shattered economy. It was a ham-fisted effort however and it only helped boost the cotton trade out of India and Caliphate Egypt which, though providing a 'lesser' product in that their cotton was not of Mvskokia's previous standard, had started to make up for the shortfall. Mvskokia no longer had the internal authority to close their ports or force foreign merchants into those kind of deals like Japan or China to a large degree had.

Mvskokian-Chikashshan War (1894-1896)

Border disputes between the two countries did not take long to arise, as did the calls of displaced landowners who urged the crown to reconquer and restore their lands. Several watered down policies had lessened the burden on the poorest farm workers throughout much of Mvskokia lessening revolt and nascent revolutionary zeal and the idea of now snuffing out Chikashshan independence with its potentially destabilising, and spreadable ideas, appealed to many.

In July 1894, citing an incident on the borders, Mvskokia declared war. Vinland again criticised the government of Mvskokia but did not intervene, it had run down its stocks of cotton during the previous conflict and many politicians feared what a general blockade on Mvskokian produce would do to the economy. Luxembourg, whom had been contracted to modernise Mvskokia's army, also issued a statement of criticism against 'war-hungry generals too interested in glory before the army was ready for it', but continued to provide arms and instruction. Luxembourg continued to take payment for its arms and know-how but steadfastly refused to get involved in the wars themselves, a stance many of Luxembourg's own war-hungry generals have bitterly regretted since.

Despite the bankrupt nature of the Chikashshan state its army conducted itself well. Probably fired up by propaganda suggesting their rights would be stripped if Mvskokia reconquered them they resisted the advance admirably. The Mvskokian army had modern Luxembourgois arms but often no instruction to use them strategically and the advance was further hampered by a mutiny within the army. The war wheezed on until the spring of 1896 when a Mvskokian force managed to capture two border fortresses. Finally convinced they needed to have a breathing space to allow the army reforms to take place Mvskokia agreed to peace discussions. At the Peace of Impichchaachaaha, signed in the new Chikashshan capital the two states agreed to the previous border and to dismantle certain fortresses along the new line. In addition Chikashsha agreed to pay a considerable amount of money to recompense those Mvskokian landowners it had displaced (in the event it would never pay this and the debt was eventually forgiven in 1978). And as a way of formally inducting the country into the Leifian group of counties Inokia signed an alliance with it, promising trade rights and aid to return the economy to prosperity. Chikashshan prosperity would however have to wait.

Mississippi War (1896-1901)

With the Chikashshan forces now dispersing back their farms neighbouring Ugakhpaland seized its chance to grab territory on the Mississippi, specifically the fortress of Yancopin which would give them a commanding presence on the river. The surprise attack worked well to begin with however its forces were more used to the ebb and flow tactics of the plains and became unruly when faced with long sieges or even substantial fixed resistance. Added to this Inokia had made good on its promise to the Chikashshan, duly mustering an army and invaded Ugakhpaland from the north.

In turn Caddoa and Tunica responded to Ugakhpan calls for assistance and at the Battle of Kicpahat on 8th May 1897 prevented Ugakhpaland from being overrun. Then Chikashsha pointed to a clause in the Peace of Impichchaachaaha which effectively made Mvskokia liable for their respective borders and with international attention on them Mvskokia felt it could only honour its own peace terms. In autumn of 1897 it therefore mobilised two divisions of its western army to come to the aid of a state it had only defeated the previous year. Many in eastern Mvskokia, including those who had championed the Mvskokian-Chikashshan War, thought the whole affair a farce and suggested they assist Ugakhpaland in carving up the country, but international pressure from the likes of Luxembourg, kept the Mvskokian government from going back on its word. It did however provoke revolt in Koasati and Albaamahaland who now felt doubly betrayed.

Hence by the end of the year the western Mvskokian army sat on the borders of Tunica. Despite its numerical superiority the army was stretched dangerously by the mobility of the Caddoan and Tunican cavalry which constantly probed for soft spots. Sabotage of Mississippi flood levies in early 1898 further disrupted the Mvskokian war-effort as well as damaging a large area of farmland. The Luxembourgois arms had not reached the western armies so the generals were not distracted by trying to adapt to new strategies but still the army was hampered by reliance on being overwhelmingly drawn from the peasantry. Caddoa and Tunica relied on a more professional army which though smaller was better paid and better trained.

The two forces met several times through the course of 1898 and 1899. Where the Mvskokian forces could dictate the terms of the engagements its larger numbers could normally win the day but elsewhere the 'Northern Alliance' dominated the battlefields sapping energy and running down those units who fled. Slowly the Western fortresses fell to the Northern Alliance and soon the road was open to the Gulf. As Caddoans sat outside the gates of Yagenichito and Tunicans outside Nanih Waiya (both cities could probably hold out against them for years) Mvskokia decided to sue for peace.

End of Mississippi War 1901

Mvskokia and Chikashsha at the end of the Missisippi War, 1901

The parties eventually met at Ayaaxi in the spring of 1901 to forge a peace. Despite Yancopin holding out for most of the war it was awarded to Ugakhpaland. This of course outraged the Chikashshans who had called on Mvskokia to protect its borders not hand them away.

Further downstream politicians and local army chiefs in the still nominally Mvskokian Chahtaland were fuming. It appeared to them that the Mvskokian command had allowed Chahtan troops to bear the brunt of the fighting with little or no assistance from Mvskokia itself. Drawing together like-minded officers the Chahtan general Taboca Shanublee began planning for independence, secretly buying arms and cannon from Aragon.

Later Cotton Wars (1903-1920)

The Mississippi War had convinced many that Mvskokia was ripe for collapse with its neighbours well-placed to take advantage. Ugakhpalan, Tunica and Caddoa formalised their alliance in 1902. Tunica especially thought it should have access to the sea and many of the tribes in western Mvskokia spoke Tunican dialects. Ideas of a 'Greater Tunica' had begun spreading a few decades before and fuelled irredentalist feeling. However Mvskokia had not really fully mobilised the eastern army, relying (perhaps unwisely) on the still fully mobilised southern and western divisions. Its army restructuring was advancing well and it still held a considerable navy which for obvious reasons had never really been tested during the wars. There was a long-term plan to upgrade many fortresses and it had also taken time to sign proper alliances rather than rely on vague half-dreamt promises. In this respect by 1903 it was allied directly with Caalusa, Catawbaland and Yesanland.

Well aware of vultures circling, the Mvskokian spy machine went into overdrive, poking its nose into any foreign business or internal society it could find. Although not particularly subtle it yielded results and on 19th October a raid on a warehouse in Nanih Waiya uncovered a stash of cannon; an Aragonese shipment which should, officially, have been spices from West Africa. Mvskokia denounced those plotting against it but failed to capture Shanublee or many of his accolates. Although aware his plans had been disrupted, Shanublee and his group felt they had little choice but to start their rebellion now they had been exposed and on 2nd November seized the armory, the prison and the fortress of the Chahtan capital, Nanih Waiya. A week later the whole city and its port had fallen and messengers had reported back that half the Chahtan army had rallied to Shanublee's command and were poised to capture several other cities.

Western army divisions loyal to Mvskokia, often in the non-Chahtan areas such as Biloxiland, rejected Shanublee's entreaties to join the rebellion. Undoubtedly this was probably due to fears of repercussions; they had seen, and indeed been a part of, the Mvskokian armies attacks on Chikashshan farmers only a few years earlier. Also swapping Mvskokian rule for probable Chahtan rule was of little interest either, especially when most of the officer classes had some sort of interest in maintaining the status quo.

Even so, by the end of the year Shanublee and the Chahtan army were in control of a broad swathe of western Mvskokia, principally between the Mississippi and the Coosa Rivers. Seeing their opportunity Tunica, Caddoa and Ugakhpaland had too declared war against Mvskokia and had begun advancing into the more western fringes. Aniyunwiya also declared war, citing infractions to Coyaha's neutrality, an uneasy lie as impoverished Coyaha had never been overtly neutral and much of its adult male population relied on service in the Mvskokian army for employment. Their intervention forced the conflict's most northerly battle at Kuwandatalunyi in May 1904 but otherwise provided little more than a distraction as it never made any attempt to support the Chahtans. It and Mvskokia would sign a cease-fire in December 1905 after months of low-level skirmishes.

While the remodelled and well-provisioned eastern Mvskokian army lumbered into action against Chahtaland its navy aided the resupply of still loyal ports and its allies were called upon to assist. If Shanublee had been forced into playing his hand before he had wished then the Eastern Mvskokian army soon showed it had been pushed into action before it was ready too. Its first encounter with the Chahtan army at Ohatchee in February 1904 was a bloody failure but it did make the Chahtan army pause in its eastward march. Further to the west both it, Tunica and Caddoa had made good progress with taking much of the remaining Mvskokian land and by January 1905 the Chahtan, Caddoan and Tunican diplomats had carved the region up between them, Chahtanland taking the lion's share. Vast numbers of prisoners of war were either conscripted into the victorious armies or put to work building roads or other badly needed infrastructure.

For the next four years Chahtaland and Mvskokia pounded each other remorselessly. With its relatively strong fleet Mvskokia could continue resupplying the still loyal fortress cities on the Gulf and occasionally tried to break out into southern Chahtan-held territory. Other than that the two armies faced each other over the Coosa River with Alabaamahaland and Koasati on the western bank taking much of the brunt of the fighting. Both sides remained evenly matched with Mvskokia continuing to take delivery of Luxembourgois arms and Chahtaland taking Aragonese shipments, though now out in the open. The fighting slowly turned into a war of attrition as both sides built a networks of temporary defenses such as trenches and dug-in artillery posts which stopped the speedy capture of territory and made advancing punitively expensive in manpower.

The cotton trade virtually ceased however as farm labourers were pressed into the army or redirected into food production. What cotton was produced, and it was still valuable enough to export in moderate quantities, either went northwards into Inokia and Aniyunwiya and then on to the manufacturing centres of Vinland and Álengiamark or out across the Atlantic through the ports of Cusabo or Icelandic Rolegurfolkland.

Chaos (1909-1920)

It had slowly become apparent to many that this conflict was much more intractable than the previous wars and governments woke up to the possibility of a long period of cotton being in short supply. Previously the consumer nations had relied on substantial stockpiles of cotton, or other less desirable sources, to see them through the years of restricted supply. This was soon no longer an option and 'Cotton Famines' soon struck the manufacturing towns of Denmark, Anglia, Wessex and the Rhineland hurting the European economies and provoking riots.

On 1st May 1909 the Kalmar Union sent a message to Mvskokia that it would seize a gulf port to turn it into a 'Free City' to hopefully restart a neutral trade once more. Aragon had the same idea at much the same time, as did France and Wessex, but all four parties refused to invest their energies in the same scheme, therefore immediately invalidating the 'neutrality' of a Free City. Within the Holy Roman Empire no one decision could be reached in the Diet, with blame pointed at the disinterest of Emperor William II even though the lack of cotton was damaging many economies and so individual states would soon be allying themselves to Kalmar, France or Aragon in the hope of aiding the war, securing advantageous positions in the cotton trade or even providing military glory to the often small entities.

Don Miguel Ricardo de Alava by William Salter cropped

José Tieno, General of the Aragonese forces in Leifia.

Aragon landed a substantial force in the lower reaches of the Mississippi in Chitimacha territory on 4th August with Danish and Gothenlandic forces landing in Biloxiland five weeks later. Both armies found themselves utterly outnumbered, unable to force a siege and their supply lines harassed by the Mvskokian navy. Both them, and the French who landed on the other side of the Mississippi, were soon locked into a desperate fight to maintain their positions, assaulted equally by Mvskokian loyalists and Chahtan separatists and decimated by disease. Ayaaxi finally fell to the beleaguered Kalmar force in February 1910 after months of shelling and reinforcements soon tripled the garrison. Aragon and France's attacks on Yagenichito and Wabachito dragged on until late summer after which France installed a Chitimacha government over the city, declared it a Free Port and promptly left; the French public, never entirely convinced by the arguments for war, had turned decisively against it. Wessex had planned to land at Wabachito but France's withdrawal effectively scuppered this plan. The subsequent diplomatic fallout briefly threatened to spill out into an European war. Aragon held on to Yagenichito but would transfer much of its energies into a second front further east and eventually it would hand the city over to Svealand, Finland and Hordaland, forming a second Kalmar force in the region.

In its new eastern front Aragon hoped to knock Mvskokia out of the war and here it made more of an impact than on the Mississippi delta. The Aragonese general Tieno seized several Apalachee fortresses before meeting the well-prepared Mvskokian army on open country on 17th October 1911. Though Tieno won the battle he was forced to fall back to secure his supply lines. Even so the victory proved decisive to Mvskokia's eastern neighbours and the following month both Miccosukeeland and the Utinan Federation declared war, hoping to capitalise on the Aragonese presence and expand their borders at the cost of Mvskokia. Both Caalusa and Yesanland finally honoured their alliances with Mvskokia to check these and although neither were the fighting forces they had once been (the Yesan army especially showed its shortcomings after decades of neglect and under-funding) they kept the Aragonese from mounting a breakout. Tieno complained bitterly that he could not co-ordinate operations with the Utinans who 'promise action in the morning and change their minds by lunchtime'.

Even so by the end of 1911 most of the European forces had some sort of territorial holding, apart from the Danish-Gothenlandic army was still pinned down around Ayaaxi having spent two miserable years trying to extend their holding beyond the city. Most of their energies had been focused on areas still loyal to Mvskokia but had occasionally been engaged by pro-Chahtan militias. This would change suddenly however as on 1st December 1911 Mvskokia and Chahtanland unexpectedly made peace.

Chahtan Independence Dec 1911 (The Kalmar Union)

Independence of Chahtaland (in green), December 1911. European presence marked in red.

Negotiations had been going on in secret for months. The peace effectively divided Mvskokia in two. The western half was transferred in full to the new state of Chahtaland in return for promises not to maintain a navy and a large sum of money, while Mvskokia held on to eastern half. Shanublee quickly greeted the news by promoting himself to 'Prince'.

This of course caused convulsions in several Gulf cities which had remained loyal to Mvskokia but now apparently had been handed over without consultation to Chahtaland. Danish-held Ayaaxi promptly ent a strongly worded note to Shanublee refusing to accept his authority. The Mvskokian-led Biloxi army which had resisted the Danish advances for so long now welcomed them with open arms, explaining they held even less kinship with the Chahtans than the Mvskokians and asking them to help build a Biloxiland state. Favourable trade deals were dangled in front of the Kalmar emissaries as added incentive. Similar conversations were held between the Aragonese in Apalacheeland and the Svealanders in Chitimachanc. On 7th January 1912 Aragon and the Kalmar Union officially declared war on Chahtaland, and were joined shortly afterwards by Caddoa and Tunica who wished to revise the borders of the 1905 peace in their favour.

This new alliance did not have the best start after the Miccosukee army, quietly campaigning in eastern Mvskokia for years was trapped and virtually destroyed by the Mvskokian-Yesan army. A siege of Rolegurfolkland was started, then abandoned after the Kalmar navy shelled the besiegers from the shoreline. Elsewhere though Kalmar troops had more success but were limited in their ability to follow up on victories as they still suffered problems of reinforcements and supply difficulties. Increasingly Mvskokia relied on unconventional weapons to stop or delay further increases in Kalmar and Aragonese strength on the continent.

The Mvskokian submarine Camhcáka prevented the landing of Kalmar and German troops in Nanih Waiya for two months in 1914 until it was blown out of the water by the Álengsk ship Hundr. And when it was now clear for the landing the Chahtan garrison had trebled leading to an eight-month campaign to capture the city instead of the two months planned for. Meanwhile the Mvskokian navy also deployed thousands of 'mines' on the rivers and port approaches, a scheme which although condemned as immoral by many, would destroy many Kalmar and Aragonese vessels and force the two powers to take a more careful approach to the war at sea. The generals operating in Leifia would often complain the navy was not quick enough in providing reinforcements or tactical shelling of targets but governments were loathe to sacrifice capital ships when they comprised such a massive investment in time and money.

Gradually however the tactical advantages of a larger navy and superior arms began to tip the balance in favour of Aragon and Kalmar. Though in some areas they still remaining penned up against the coast elsewhere they had free reign of the countries. Ayaaxi remained as far the Danes could get in Biloxiland but to the West the Svealandic-led force had broken out of Chitimachanc and captured the important fortresses of Minuse and Jenzenaque which then allowed Caddoa and Tunica almost free reign of northern Chahtaland.

Napadka

Aragonese bombardment of Okalusa, February 1916

In early 1916 Aragon too had 'broken out' of Apalacheeland seized what coast Mvskokia held before crushing an army in Alabaamahaland. It was a total rout compounded by King Hollata's death in February 1917, but the Mvskokian government held out, not believing the reports of troop movements until the Aragonese army sat outside of the capital. The Treaty of Issa signed in August was a devasting blow to Mvskokian pride. Not only did they have to cede land to Utina and Miccosukeeland but were forced to grant independence to Apalacheeland, Albaamahaland and Koasati. They also agreed to respect any territorial changes made to Chahtaland.

It would take a second attempt on capturing Nanih Waiya in late 1917, this time bombarded by the Kalmar navy and approached by Svealanders from the west and Danes from the east, for Chahtaland to capitulate. Expecting the same kind of treatment as Mvskokia Shanublee abdicated in favour of his son Tullockchish I. The Kalmar delegation however only insisted on independence for Biloxiland and Chitmachanc. Caddoa and Tunica duly took some land but were denied the fortresses of Minuse and Jenzenaque, which in any case had tasted a year or two under Scandinavian rule and were now plotting total independence. One final round of revolt remained.

Chahtan Disintegration (1918-1920)

While Mvskokia had been reduced to a Mvskokian core and had largely had its non-aligned tribal areas forcibly wrested from it, the new Chahtaland still had a large number of non-Chahtan peoples in it. In fact it is fair to assume the Chahtan people were outnumbered. Such a union was not going to last long, especially with the Chahtan army ruined and the state bankrupt. Therefore when Jenzenaque revolted in June 1918 after the Chahtan force billeted in the city were accused of overreaching their power (and apparently its captain raping one of the mayor's daughters) it was of little surprise to anyone.

The revolt of Natchezian Jenzenaque was followed in quick succession by Ofolander Minuse, a broad swathe of Houmaland and far in the west the Kwesh people, who many believed to have been stirred up by Mexic spies. The game was plainly up however Tullockchish II ordered a fighting withdrawal which was meant to give the rebels a bloody nose and hopefully dissuade others from rebelling. Only in Kweshland was a real fight given. It was still in many countries interest to have a moderately strong state on Mexica's border rather than some kind of weak puppet and Tullockchish briefly had the backing of several neighbouring states.

But even this became untenable once another border region, Ishakane, took up arms. Again Tullockchish II ordered in the army but he was overstretched. Aniyunwiya, waking from its periodic slumbers and backed by Vinland and Álengiamark, offered to broker the peace. Chahtaland assumed it would have to give independence to some areas, autonomy to others, but in the end the delegates generally ceded to the rebels wishes. The reasoning was that if the rebels and their respective new independent homelands were welcomed into the family of Leifian nations they would have less reason to rely on a connection to Mexica.

Finally with virtually all fighting having ceased the final Treaty of Kristiansted, signed in September 1920 in the capital of the Danish Taino Islands, collected the points of the previous treaties, fixed the new borders ironing out any potential future flash points and had several European countries guarantee the new states.

Aftermath

Treaty of Kristiansted 1920 (The Kalmar Union)

South East Leifia after the Treaty of Kristiansted, 1920

The flurry of peace treaties which wound down the war from 1917 to 1920 left a thoroughly changed south-east Leifia.

Instead of a single Mvskokia, or even Mvskokia, Chahtanland and Chikashsha, there were now thirteen states. And from the tiny Natchezland to the precariously positioned Kweshland most were in need of swift aid to stablise their economies, restart trade and maintain constitutional rule. Kalmar largely abdicated from this role; its continued military presence in the Gulf had already drawn veiled threats from Mexica which had stayed remarkably quiet during the wars (probably a result of internal upheaval) but was now making itself felt along the new frontiers. It only really involved itself in Miccosukeeland and that was mostly driven by neighbouring Iceland. Most of the other states were assisted by Aragon.

As a champion of several of the newly created states Aragon found its prestige in Leifia much improved with Aragonese assistance being sought to build or rebuild institutions in several areas. Burnished by the military successes This appeared to embolden the Aragonese government to revisit military ventures in the Roasjoinn region, culminating in a successful war against Sunda in 1928.

The cotton trade, the driver of the whole conflict to begin with, suffered considerably thanks to the war. Even by 1930 output was near a third of the 19th century highpoint and other sources for cotton had been nurtured in various locations around the world. It would take until 1970 before old productivity had been restored, though this was mostly due to a more mechanised production system. Ironically, Mvskokian plantations with their newly freed peasants, maintained a high production, leading many historians to suggest if King Hollota had been more amenable at the beginning perhaps Mvskokia may not have disintegrated with such violence.

The 'Cotton Famines' which drove European involvement did not go away. They fed civil strife in the industrial towns leading to greater political awareness amongst the working classes which fed into trade unionism, or eventually Syndicalism. Production would eventually settle at a lower level whilst states felt an ever greater responsibility for their citizens and the great welfare projects that characterised Northern European society in the second half of the 20th century began to be planned and implemented.

The chaotic final years of the conflict also proved to be the first war that was covered comprehensively by newspapers. Journalists bunkered down with the armies and employed a network of runners and messengers to file their reports. While the Gulf coast may have been under partial blockade news still filtered out through Rolgerfolkland and several European newspapers employed clippers, normally used to speed tea, coffee and spice shipments from India and East Africa, to cross the Atlantic in record time to bring the freshest news from the frontlines. Photography was still in its earliest experiments so 'missed' the war but sketch artists (both on the frontlines and at home) were heavily employed to render the war in pictures. This independent and often quite honest reporting forged public opinion with some newspapers taking a patriotic line or others becoming criticial of the war's conduct.

Millais - Vanessa, 1868

Jenny Gråbøl, Danish nurse during the later Cotton Wars

With criticism over the conduct of the war coming from newspapers and their own forces, the participating governments were also concerned with the state of their armed forces, in terms of command, supplies and welfare of the combatants. The failure of many operations led by officers of noble birth led the end of the practice of commissions being bought and sold. Whilst already the norm in Svealand and Finland, the other Kalmar nations soon made meritocratic promotion in the army standard practice.

Disease, always a major factor in wars, accounted for almost two-thirds of deaths of soldiers as the armies succumbed to malaria, dysentry and typhoid in the horrible conditions. The death toll would probably have been even worse had it not been for the pioneering efforts of nurses such as the Danish Jenny Gråbøl, the Aragonese Lluïsa Rusiñol and the Miccosukee doctor Kinhag Hatche. Both Gråbøl and Rusiñol would be feted as heroines on their return to Europe and were much involved in reforming their respective domestic healthcare systems.

The war also had an effect on the Kalmar Union. Anglia, perhaps the most populous of the union, utterly failed to lift a finger arguing it was not a defensive war therefore there was no call for a general mobilization though its nominal navy, integrated with the Kalmar fleet saw a great deal of action. This only cemented its isolationist stance within the union. The Leifian members also were notable by their absence; Vinland was at war with Japan over Lingit Aani for much of the Kalmar intervention so was excused, Álengiamark had the problem that most of its politicians were pro-unity and saw no reason to assist in its demise. Though relations between all members have definitely improved it looked almost as if the Union would be reduced to its Scandinavian core once more. The assistance given by various German states to Kalmar also led to a renewed Danish interest in re-engaging with the Holy Roman Empire, something not always appreciated by Austria or Luxembourg.

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