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The Fraeburt Votnum, Anglian: Græt Meres, are a system of huge freshwater bodies of water in Northern Leifia. They are hugely important to the nations that surround them, providing easy passage and trading links. From the Northwest clockwise, the nations with shorelines on one or more of the Vatnum are: Ojibwe, Atikamekwia, Vinland, Six Nations, Álengiamark, Erie, Inokian Confederation, Neshabek, Ochangaramark, and Mamaceqtawia. Although all nations maintain friendly relations there is a not inconsiderable naval presence.
The early Vinlandic explorers had travelled as far as the Godifoss by 1045. Dragging their boats overland they had mapped out the upper lakes fully by 1200, almost exactly at the point they began to take over Fjallasay, opening the gates to their western expansion. Technologically behind the nations of the North-East the locals were unable to effectively stop the Norse intrusion. But with the Vinlanders' advent the tribes of the region received livestock, agricultural techniques and iron which kickstarted the growth of nations.
The order of descend of the lakes is as follows:
- Animbiigoong (OTL Lake Nipigon)
- Gichigamí (OTL Lake Superior)
- Mishigamí (OTL Lake Michigan)
- Karegnondí (OTL Lake Huron)
- Wawetanoog (OTL Lake St. Clair)
- Godifoss (OTL Niagra Falls)
- Breidurass (OTL St Lawrence River/Gulf of St. Lawrence)
As Ontario Votn is a lot lower than Erie and free passage is blocked by the falls at Godifoss several canals have been built over the years to assist with the passage of trade. The most successful of these has been the great Erie Canal linking Erie to the Atlantic via Álengsk, Six Nation and Kanien'gehaga territory which has hugely helped raise the tonnage of trade being moved eastwards and boosted the growth of Kristjanaborg. Vinland has built several other canals to assist passage from Fjallasay and Ontario to the upper lakes but a large modern canal linking Ontario and Karegnondí is still awaiting completion.