| This 1983: Doomsday page is a Proposal.
- For other details on this nation, see the main page for Verdigris.
Before the arrival of Europeans to the area, the region that would later become home to Verdigris housed the Osage tribe of Native Americans. The Osage were driven to this place from their ancestral home in the Ohio River Valley due to wars with the expansionist Iroquois. French explorers and fur traders later explored and founded trading posts in the region in the 1700s. This region was secured in the Louisiana Purchase by the young United States in 1803. However, it took a while before the area was more than a backwater wilderness in the Missouri territory.
In the 1850s, when Kansas became a territory, the northeastern part of what would become Verdigris was torn apart by "Bleeding Kansas", conflicts between pro and anti-slavery settlers. Kansas was admitted as a free state in 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, while the southern reaches of future Verdigris were under the control of the Cherokee and Osage tribes in the Indian Territory, which would later become Oklahoma. Indeed, most of the region remained territory of the Osage until after the Civil War, when large-scale homesteading in the area began, spurred on by war veterans and freedmen from the South. The Osage were forced to abandon their lands in Kansas east of the Verdigris River, and a border between Osage territory and land open to settlers was established there until 1869, when large-scale settling west of the river began.
Towns built on cattle ranching and later, mining of coal, clay, and eventually, oil and natural gas drilling began to spring up on both sides of the state border. The Shawnee Cattle Trail stretched through the area which would become Verdigris, kick starting the "Wild West" era of the history of the region in the 1870s, with a major shootout happening in 1892 in Coffeyville. Various industries based around petroleum refining grew the towns of the region until the 1950s-1960s, when changes in the oil industry drove many industrial workers to leave the towns to find work. Even the farmers in the region began to move to larger cities such as Kansas City, Tulsa, and Wichita with the general decline in small farming during this period.
All of this changed on September 25, 1983.
Around 7:00 PM local time, most people in rural southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma were eating dinner, finishing their harvest for the day, preparing for the upcoming work week, or watching television, namely the 1983 Emmy Awards. This was interrupted when emergency radio broadcasts stated that the Soviets had launched a nuclear barrage against the United States. There was very little time for preparation, and only a few managed to duck into a storm or fallout shelter before the first nukes began to fall, mere minutes after everyone heard of the attack. Over the next two hours, Soviet ICBMs rained upon major urban centers and military bases across the region. Residents of the towns of Independence, Coffeyville, Fredonia and Neodesha were treated to the sight of the neighboring town of Parsons destroyed in an atomic fireball. Over the course of approximately two hours, nuclear missiles detonated over various locales throughout Kansas and Oklahoma surrounding, but never quite reaching the plains directly east of the Flint Hills. When the dust settled, all in all, the following places surrounding the area were destroyed:
- Wichita, Kansas
- Kansas Army Ammunition Plant
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Ponca City, Oklahoma
- Vance Air Force Base
In the days following Doomsday, many people in the Verdigris Basin stayed underground in basements or storm shelters, or at least indoors due to fears over fallout. In the end, fallout exposure was minimal compared to the rest of the US due to the presence of the Flint Hills to the west of the towns of Independence, Coffeyville, and their smaller neighbors, which blocked most of the fallout carried on the eastbound winds, and the storm shelters that were almost ubiquitous due to the frequency of tornadoes in the region. When most people emerged from their hideaways, they entered a world forever changed by the destructive power of the atom.
After the bombs, the skies were dark and people panicked. Many left the towns in a fit of fear and most didn't return. After the hysteria were the riots. Riots were frequent and stores all across the Basin were looted by panicking civilians and though the few military members and the town governments desperately tried to keep order, little could be done to prevent the rampant shooting and looting and even some police and military were found threatening others at gunpoint, abandoning their duties to preserve themselves. The mobs and raiders eventually became more violent and the remaining towns in Southeastern Kansas devolved into violence with neighbor against neighbor in a desperate battle for supplies and safe ground. Very small towns such as Sycamore and Altoona were able to avoid this fate due to a strong sense of community and Neodesha managed to remain stable due to the town government forming a militia of loyalists and standardized rations for those that didn't leave in the first wave. Vigilante groups, fearing for their safety and the future of the communities took order into their own hands and motley groups of armed civilians, police, former officials, and military fought for the small towns and shot and expelled troublemakers and rioters. The towns of Fredonia and Independence were stabilized this way.
In response to Doomsday and its immediate after affects, a scouting party was sent out on October 3 by the town of Neodesha and reported near-total destruction to the immediate east and a wide swath of fallout and ruins surrounding the Verdigris Basin to the west. Indeed, only three of the original six scouts returned. Some surviving farms were found north of the Wilson County line, though they were scattered and devastated.
Preparations were made for refugees, and the worst was feared by the governments of the small towns, as the small medical facilities were extremely under equipped to handle the full brunt of refugees that were expected to arrive. In the weeks following Doomsday, refugees began to flow in from areas devastated by destruction and fallout and though the surviving town of Joplin and the fallout-filled area where Parsons once stood protected the Verdigris Basin from the full brunt of desperate refugees from the east, Independence, Coffeyville, Neodesha and Fredonia were exposed to the full brunt of desperate refugees from the environs of Wichita and Tulsa, located to the west and south, respectively.
In the end, the refugee crisis was not as bad as expected, as most refugees from Wichita didn't make it. Many Tulsan refugees from the south made it to the towns of Independence and Coffeyville, and told of another survivor haven in the Oklahoman city of Bartlesville. In the stable towns, as many refugees as possible were accommodated. Eventually though, decisions were made to adopt a policy valuing the lives of those already within two counties over those fleeing from others. One of the worst chapters in the history of what would become Verdigris ensued, with bridges over rivers destroyed, families separated and desperate refugees shot as the few surviving towns shut themselves off from the remnants of the outside world. Indeed, many hated the town governments for what they did and riots returned ensued in the weeks following Doomsday. Many refugees, though found refuge in the Flint Hills in neighboring Elk and Chautauqua counties and became semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, yet most fared little better than the first wave.
As the refugee crisis died down, a new one began to emerge. Food levels had been dangerously low ever since Doomsday, and the stockpiles that the stable towns had created were beginning to run out. Winter was coming fast and on November 24, 1983, coincidentally the day of Thanksgiving in the United States, the town governments of Fredonia, Independence, Neodesha, and the surrounding small towns met and agreed to unify into a nation known as Provisional Kansas as a measure to consolidate resources and establish a larger military force. The chaos in Coffeyville began to die down at this point with most residents fleeing north to the more stable town of Independence. These refugees finally pushed the tiny provisional nation almost to its breaking point, and draconian emergency measures were enacted to preserve the nation and its populace. Food was to be rationed heavily and guarded in stockpiles. To earn your food share, you had to work for the good of the nation, doing such jobs as hunting and fishing for food or chopping firewood. Parents were given slightly more food to feed very young children, but most parents either had to work extra or force their children to work to prevent them As expected these laws were heavily disliked, especially after a nuclear exchange that most believed was caused by a Communist nation. In fact, grumblings of Communism were heard amongst many residents, especially ones that were better-off before Doomsday.The measure, in fact, was what preserved the nation as a whole. Though many died over the first winter, especially the old, young and disabled, the unexpectedly warm weather caused by the nuclear exchange helped prevent deaths by extreme cold and allowed citizens to devote more time to gathering food and construction. Decent hunting was also had in the areas surrounding the nation, such as the Flint Hills, and fishing in the newly constructed Elk City Reservoir. At the end of the winter of 1983-84, the population of the areas claimed by Provisional Kansas (Montgomery and Wilson Counties) stood around 40,000, more than two-thirds, but less than three-quarters of the pre-Doomsday population.
On March 15, 1984, the town councils of Independence, Coffeyville, Neodesha, Fredonia, and various small towns scattered throughout Southeastern Kansas met in Independence to discuss the future of the nation. Quickly, a decision was made to unify the region further, with the surviving towns and farms surrounding Wilson and Montgomery County, particularly to the west joining the nation. The emergency measures put in place over the winter were also relaxed, eliminating the food rationing and stockpiling, and a more permanent government system was created, seeing that no major surviving communities had contacted them since Doomsday. The capital was also moved to Independence, which had since become the largest city in the nation due to the prolonged riots in Coffeyville and the presence of refugees, and a Provisional Governor was to be elected democratically to lead the nation. Jack Anderson, the former mayor of Coffeyville was elected several days later with a record voter turnout.
More well-equipped scouting parties were sent out to the north, south, and west (the east was too irradiated to proceed), and after a week, the northern party returned, going as far north as Burlington, before being forced to return due to radiation from the Topeka blast. They found that though the area was not completely devastated, many farmers completely abandoned their farms, taking their livestock. No survivor communities were reported, and bandits were widespread. Later that day, the southern party returned, telling of a survivor community in the small city of Bartlesville to the southwest of Coffeyville, in Oklahoma. Before Doomsday, Bartlesville was a bustling city of approximately 35,000, but Doomsday and a heavy batch of refugees from Tulsa had taken a toll on it, and its current population was now barely half of its pre-Doomsday population. Residents of Bartlesville were overjoyed to contact another organized survivor nation-state and trade convoys were to be sent by both nations almost immediately after the scouts returned. Beyond Bartlesville, little remained in Oklahoma, as they were closer to the Tulsa blast.
After five days, one member of the western party was spotted in the Flint Hills by a hunter. The man was marred by a huge gash on his torso, was bleeding heavily, and was hysterical. Immediately, he was sent to Independence for medical care. After receiving urgent medical care and resting for several days, he told of his entire party being captured by a group of mounted nomads who had vast herds of cattle. Slowly, party members were killed by the nomads, looking for good land to graze their herds and areas to plunder for supplies. The one surviving scout was let loose after telling of the Provisional Government of Southeast Kansas, but only after he received a deep gash while being tortured for secrets.
A militia of approximately 2000 troops that would later become the core of the standing army of Verdigris was quickly assembled and given surviving pre-Doomsday weapons and horses to patrol the borders of Provisional Kansas (PK) after the hostile Jackson Clan was discovered.
Small attacks on the area were not uncommon after Doomsday, but they were scattered and desperate attempts by individuals for food and supplies mostly. Until mid-1986, no major raids had been attempted by the nomads in the area, as they were too busy securing basic necessities to attempt bold and coordinated attacks. The knowledge that a successful nation lay to the east of the nomadic Jackson Clan, however emboldened them and sent them and their herds east. By the end of April though, Jackson horsemen were regularly encroaching on the western border of Verdigris, in the Flint Hills, with farms being burned and looted, despite the efforts of the militia. More troops were moved to the Flint Hills, makeshift fortifications were set up, and the stage was set for a major conflict.
That conflict came about on April 31, when an encounter at a watchtower in the Flint Hills between a group of four horsemen and a PK trooper in the watchtower turned deadly, when he was shot and killed and the tower was lit aflame. Remaining troops away from the western border were pulled from their stations hastily and moved to the Flint Hills to prevent clansmen from storming into the valley to the east of the Hills.
The entire mounted and armed Jackson Clan stormed through the Flint Hills, murdering and pillaging as they went. The Clan was stopped short by a mounted force of the PK militia who intercepted them at the eastern slopes of the Flint Hills. The battle that ensued was bloody, violent and chaotic, but the PK militia eventually triumphed due to better weapons and leadership. In the end, the entire 150 clansmen were either killed or taken prisoner, and the 200-strong militia force was whittled down to 100 men.
Following this event, a Swiss-style military system was implemented. Every male in the nation between the ages of 18 and 35 was considered a member of the reserves of the military, who would be mobilized in a time of true catastrophe for Provisional Kansas. The core militia was further subdivided into a fully-mounted Cavalry force and a Dragoon force that fights on foot and on horseback.
Besides the raid, the year of 1984 was much better than the disastrous 1983. The harvest was enough to feed the population, trade with Bartlesville was going well, and the two nations were growing closer together. As the area stabilized, several, more peaceful, nomadic clans made their way to the area near Provisional Kansas in the second half of the year. Though distrust was high at first, a mutually beneficial relationship developed where the clans promised to help protect Provisional Kansas and give them a portion of beef from their herds, while in return, supplies such as weapons and clothing that were made in the cities and farms were given to them. This prompted clans across Western Kansas to make a yearly stop on the fertile borders of Provisional Kansas. After the disastrous first winter and raid, Provisional Kansas' food and defense problems were both solved and the nation could concentrate on exploration and improving the lives of its civilians.
The winter of 1984-85 was spent redoing the hydro-dam on the Elk River to provide a limited source of electricity to inhabitants of the region. The power grid in the area was fried due to the EMP from the nuclear blasts, so the electricity from the dam was only able to be supplied for limited government and military functions.
Growth, Expansion, and Contact
Over the next few years, slow but steady population growth and expansion happened. Farms were established in places that were abandoned after Doomsday, and the area's agricultural output continued to increase. Electricity slowly became more available, yet its use was severely hampered by a lack of supplies to redo the electrical grid.
Expansion continued, particularly south of the old Kansas-Oklahoma state line and north of Fredonia. Though the town of South Coffeyville, one mile south of Coffeyville and straddling the Kansas-Oklahoma border was considered a part of Provisional Kansas, no other town south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border was considered a part of Provisional Kansas, though some farmers claimed land directly to the south of Coffeyville, in Oklahoma. The town of Chanute, to the north of Fredonia was re-inhabited in 1986, and Nowata, to the south of Coffeyville and the east of Bartlesville in 1987. It came as no surprise then when Bartlesville, Provisional Kansas' longtime trade partner, asked to join Provisional Kansas. Bartlesville's requests were accepted and Provisional Kansas became Provisional Kansas-Oklahoma.A small refugee community deep in Oklahoma known as Stillwater was discovered in 1989. Found between the ruins of Ponca City, Enid, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa, the radiation from the nuclear blasts of said cities helped "shelter" Stillwater, so to speak, from contact with other survivor states such as Provisional Kansas-Oklahoma. Trade was soon established, though later in the year, a hostile band of raiders operating from the former Osage Reservation threatened the convoys in the area. The military was moved in to pacify them, and a military base was established in the ex-raider haven of Pawhuska to protect trade in the region.
In early 1992, scouts rediscovered the newly-independent town of Joplin. Though Joplin was relatively close to Provisional Kansas-Oklahoma, lingering radiation from the blast over Parsons stopped exploration and expansion to the east dead in its tracks. Only through a longer route around the radiation from the north was Joplin discovered. Trade relations were not established, though close relations were, and rumors of yet more nations in the far southeast of Oklahoma reached the nation.