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The Kingdom of Hordaland, Hordaland, is a small constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe. It is bordered by Lade to the North, Denmark to the South and Svealand to the East. The capital is Bergen and the population is around 1.1 million.
The official language is Norwegian.
The Head of State is King Haakon XI.
The currency is the Hordalandic Krone (HOK).
Hordaland was one the successor states to Harald Fairhair's Norway which broke apart in the mid 900s under the constant fighting between Harald's sons. Like the other Scandinavian countries Hordaland's early history is dominated by a succession of vaguely related kings, each spending almost all of their reigns stamping out claims from rivals. A brief reunion with Viken in the 960s led to the interference of Denmark at which point all claim to the whole of Norway effectively became moot. The last real display of power southward was Magnus I's brief control of Hordaland, Viken and Denmark.
Whilst Lade looked to the North and East and Viken and Denmark looked southward, Hordaland looked to the west for riches and power. To this end it exploited the already strong links between Hordaland and the Norse that had settled in Britannia and Eire. Magnus II Barefoot received the crown of Man and defeated the King of Munster in battle in 1103 making Dublin and the other Irish kingdoms his vassals. Sigurd I the Crusader made the kingdom strong and wealthy as well as making Orkney a integral part of the Hordaland state, only to have his children destroy it all in a pointless civil war. It would take the long reign of the Orcadian grandson of Sigurd I, Haakon V Haraldsson, to restore order to the kingdom, shrugging off the intrigues of its neighbours, mostly by simply outliving them all.
Knowing full well Hordaland could no longer challenge Viken, Denmark or Svealand for Scandinavian dominance, the Hordalandic kings turned their attention elsewhere. Olaf IV spend much of his reign propping the Scottish kingdom up to stop Anglia reaching ever-northward and supported it convertly all through the Long Scottish War (1212-1290).
Hordaland readily signed up to the Kalmar Union in 1431 but it constricted its activities. By 1510 Olaf VII felt it was time to make a move to claim the whole North Atlantic. Denmark was distracted by the War of Anglian Succession and constant revolt elsewhere meant it was forced to give way in other areas. Olaf had already subjugated the Faroes in 1499 and in the summer of 1510 began blockading Iceland in an attempt to force it into submission. However, Vinland knew that if it let Iceland fall it would most likely be next. Deploying irregulars to help defend Icelandic settlements and making skillful use of its navy it would force Hordaland into abandoning the plan. In a way the move was too late anyway as most of the valuable trade had moved southward now that Portugal had opened up a direct route to Leifia and Mexica. Olaf VII would have to pay fealty to Christopher II of Denmark for the displeasure he caused and Hordaland's army was soon in action on continental Europe, where the 'wild and uncivilised' troops had a certain shock value.
In 1521 Hordaland inherited the Kingdom of Man and from that point on attempted to ensure the Irish kingdoms' subordination, though its clumsy attempts to impose Lutheranism on the island failed repeatedly. The revolt of Leinister in 1564 effectively ended Hordaland's ability to directly control Ireland. Though Irish were conscripted in large numbers for Hordaland's armies during the Fifty Years War, it was not an enthusiastic participant, preferring to concentrate on a long, expensive and ultimately fruitless struggle with Wessex for domination of the Manx Sea, Ireland and Wales, a process that lasted almost 200 years. Even after Wessex's slight defeat in the Wessex-Kalmar War (1681-1701) Hordaland continued to struggle with the rebellious Irish and by 1783 was bankrupt and buckling under its own weight. The answer was the 'Accommodation'. Initially meant to simply give Man and the Orkneys autonomy the rapidly unraveling Hordalandic finances meant they were given outright independence. The Faroes, meanwhile, stuck by the mainland.
Relegated to the second tier of Kalmar powers (some might say it was long overdue) once it had suitably adjusted Hordaland channeled its energies into trade using the good practices fostered in the Faroes as an example. Although it was not involved in the scramble for Australia by 1900 it had a spread of trading posts from Sao Nicolau in the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands to Alor in the Eastern Sunda Islands. Whether Hordaland actually owns Alor outright (as the locals have no independent government institutions of their own) is subject to various disputes between Hordaland and the regional powers.
Hordaland is governed by a single chamber Storting. Elections are held every six years. King Haakon XI is the head of state though has little real power. Oyvind Foss is the current Prime Minister.
The Faroes are a group of islands midway between Shetland and Iceland. They have been continually inhabited since around 600 AD, firstly by Irish monks, then Norse settlers spreading westward out of Hordaland and Viken.
Nominally independent it paid fealty to whoever could protect its economy. In this way it drifted through periods of Hordalandic and Orcadian influence. Hordaland definitively took control of the Faroes in 1499, under the pretext of defending them from Wessexian adventurers who were intercepting ships. While Olaf VII saw them as little more than a stepping stone to Iceland his successors were more kind and would often step in to eject corrupt officials. By the 1540s the islands were being run almost as a trade league as Hordaland was eager to muscle in on Leifian trade. While isolated Iceland suffered famine and volcanic disruption the Faroes benefited from its closer relationship with Europe. Under a succession of able merchant-governors who carefully balanced the needs of the population with Hordaland's ever increasing desire for transatlantic wealth Torshavn grew into a relatively wealthy depot for Vinlandic and Álengsk goods ready to be taken to the continent.
Whilst not able to compete directly with the likes of Bristol or Antwerp Faroese goods nevertheless became a byword for quality niche products. In turn the merchants spent their money investing in quality Hordalandic ships, and expanded the college attached to Torshavn 'cathedral' until it became a respected centre of learning. Eventually it would be Faroese traders who would lead Hordaland's expansion into other markets such as Africa and India. This is why many of the trading posts' flags and coats of arms feature the Faroese ram rather than the Hordalandic sword.