Alternate History

Fjallasay (The Kalmar Union)

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Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag of Fjallasay (The Kalmar Union).svg
Flag of Fjallasay
Country Vinland
Province Nor-Hafsvaedaland
Founded 1208
Mayor Olóf Birgirsson
Population 1,051,970  
Language Vinlandic

Fjallasay, is the largest city in Vinland and the largest city in Leifia (outside of Mexica). It is the capital of Nor-Hafsvaedaland Fylk. Situated on the island of Fjallasayja, which it shares with a couple of other towns it commands the upper reaches of the Breidurass. Surrounded by rapids the island is a natural blockade to free transit between the Fraeburt Votnum (OTL Great Lakes) and the Atlantic Ocean. The population is around 1.05 million and roughly 1 in 10 Vinlanders live in the city.

To the south and East of the city across the Breidurass is Abernakriga.

It is named after the island it occupies, literally mountain island in early Vinlandic. The Algonquin name for their original settlement was Hochelega which is still extant in the name of Hoklegámarkí parish and several street names.


Vinlandic explorers had visited Fjallasay in the 1040s during the early exploration of Leifia and recorded an Algonquin settlement on the island. This small village became a well-visited way station as trade with the Fraeburt Votnum increased. By 1208 the Norse had captured and fortified the village controlling the flow of trade. Goods coming down from the Votnum would have to be unloaded on one side of the island and then transported by wagon to ocean-going ships on the other. Toll revenue flooded the coffers of the city and the Vinlandic crown, while Danish ships lined up to take furs and other goods back to Europe.

Regularly besieged by various Algonquin tribes eager to oust the Vinlanders, by 1300 the growing town was ringed by stone walls and its earls were soon conquering Hafsvaedaland on behalf of the crown, settling newly annexed land with Icelandic and Greenlandic settlers. Rapidly expanding, the city soon had its own cathedral and the grand Ononglegakest was the summer residence of the Vinlandic queens. The Black Death would kill almost 40% of its population in 1340s with outbreaks reoccurring with worrying frequency and worship of pagan deities both Norse and Leifian alongside Christian doctrine became widespread. In 1388 the city became known to the wider world as diplomats from around North-East Leifia and Europe gathered to sign the peace treaty ending the Great Unami Revolt in the magnificent Kaupmatúrshaal. This would be Fjallasay's medieval high point and the highlight of Snaedis II's reign.

Fjallasay however would prove a trap to Snaedis II's daughter, Kristjana V. While the Queens usually travelled between Vinland's eastern and western provinces keeping the Althing in Isafjordhur happy by at least appearing to consult it occasionally, Kristjana however never left Fjallasay. Her decrees appeared more and more dictatorial and away from her gaze those Vinlanders in the East took her petitions for troops and taxes with little heed. Fjallasay cathedral became the seat of the Archbishop of Leifia in 1393 but this was accompanied with a threat of excommunication for Kristjana V who, like her predecessors had done little to curb the worship of pagan deities in Vinland and indeed within the cathedral itself. Vinland was soon in civil war as the forces of the west fought the east for control. The east slowly strangled off Fjallasay's economy by blockading the Breidurass downstream and by 1405 the city was starving and ridden with the plague. Overthrown by the Althing and her cousin Asdis II, Kristjana fled to Portuguese Verao only to be murdered. Asdis meanwhile carefully extracted the pagan rites from Vinland's churches and quietly moved away them away from the towns. (Though often not very far; the Fjallasay parish of Helhregnsa takes its name from Hel whose altar stood half a mile south of the old city walls until the advent of Lutheranism.)

During the Great Northern War Fjallasay was once again cut off from the rest of Vinland. By the time it was relieved in 1500 the city's population had once again fallen victim to hunger and plague, however the subsequent peace treaty once again confirmed its supremacy over Hafsvaedaland and the Votnum. A large fleet was built on the Votnum side of Fjallasay to control them and it proved devastatingly effective against Álengiamark's holdings in Ontario during the Leifian Wars of Religion. The war saw a large section of the city exiled for being Catholic, while the monastic communities dotted around the island found their land and buildings confiscated. Fjallasay's university is build on the site of an old Benedictine abbey and incorporates many of the old buildings.

The politics of the city were long dominated by the 'castle' party and the 'port' party, roughly those who lived around the Ononglegakest and those who depended on the port for jobs and influence respectively. As the city grew in size and wealth the city's government sank deeper and deeper into corruption and petty infighting between the two parties. In the 1700s riots, often related to inflated food prices, became almost a yearly occurrence just before the ice choked Breidurass melted and imports could resume. This kept Vinland's Althing from moving itself from isolated Isafjordhur, to Fjallasay, which by then was far and away the focus of Vinland's economy and population. However, despite the corruption and civil disobedience, the city blossomed. The Ononglegakest was rebuilt in a baroque style while the different city guilds built lavish meeting halls. The cathedral escaped the great fire of 1832 which destroyed much of the old city and remains the largest wooden stave church in Leifia.

Fjallasay Street (The Kalmar Union)

Hoklegákatur in Fjallasay

The construction of the Ontario Canal in 1873, bypassing the rapids to the south-east of the island meant vessels could now travel unimpeded between the Ontario Vatnin and the Atlantic. This and the completion of the Erie canal has greatly lessened the power of Fjallasay port as a political force and corruption has slowly been pushed out of Fjallasaysk politics. As railways links expand there is less demand to live in Fjallasay itself and its population has largely remained static for 50 years or so. It is due to be overtaken as Leifia's largest city by Kristjanaborg sometime in the next 20 years. Karantóborg is likely to overtake Fjallasay as Vinland's largest city at some point in the next century too and is already being touted as the probable new home for the Althing which has been regularly criticised for being remote and far from the growing Fylkír of Hafsvaedaland.

A proper large ship canal to link Erie and Ontario Vatnum, bypassing Godifloss and replacing the too-thin canal connecting Ontario and Karegnondí Vatnum, is under construction which will potentially reinvigorate Fjallasay's, and the entire Votnum region's economy but it is already almost a decade overdue and has caused the breakup of several governments as politicians struggle with the cost of the project.

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