Alternate History

Jakobina II of Vinland (The Kalmar Union)

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Jakobina II
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Jakobina II
Queen of Vinland
Reign 31st May, 1453 - 15th January, 1503
Predecessor Hafdis IV
Successor Kristjana VI
Spouse Pjetur Helgisson

Eskil Gyllenstierna

Issue Brynjar Pjetursson

Halfdan Pjetursson
Ingólfur Eskilsson
Asdis Eskilsdottír
Thorarinn Eskilsson

Full name
Jakobina Kristiansdottír
House Eiriksdottír
Father Kristian Hákonsson
Mother Hafdis Birgirsdottír
Born July, 1426
Died 15th January, 1503
Isafjordhur, Vinland

Jabokina II's long reign is usually thought of as a period of decline in Vinland's fortunes as it was slowly eclipsed by more dynamic neighbours leading ultimately to the end-of-century bloodbath of the Great Northern War. However it was at least peaceful and well-governed.

This stability did much to offset the continued cycle of famine and disease which plagued Vinland and most of Leifia. The population grew steadily, though mostly in the already populated areas of Hafsvaedaland and Eikland and much of rest of the country remained unchanged. The church grew in strength too and after generally towing the Althing line for the previous fifty years it once again appeared to 'go its own way', under papal pressure and a new set of bishops. The Italian-born Bishop of Vinland, Giovanni Piccolomini (Johann the Tuscan), was especially vigorous in defending church independence, and also at exporting wealth back to Rome. And while Jakobina did not confront the church directly it appears she was much aggrieved by its lack of support in the campaign to have her mother, Hafdis IV canonised. The church was also at the forefront of maintaining a feudal system in Vinland, suppressing and keeping a close guiding hand over trade. Although not abuses per say, it would lay the foundations of a sense of unjustness against the church and help speed the Reformation when it eventually crossed the Atlantic.

Jakobina's reign saw a strengthening of the Althing and government in general and this probably went a long way to prevent unrest caused by backward manorial traditions. The roving courts which had been formed way back in Iofridr's reign now became settled providing quick and consistent justice to the growing market towns and generally it appears lawlessness reduced, at least in the Norse-dominated areas. The less well integrated tribal lands adopted the reforms only slowly and this took a great deal of political capital which blunted the development of feudal structures. Indeed many towns found the grip the lords had over them lessen as local politics became less and less concentrated in the hands of single families.

While the actual governing of the country improved for much of her reign Vinland's economy declined and the taxes collected shrank. This was partially due to the strengthening of its neighbours, especially a resurgent Aniyunwiya which built its 'Second Empire' under the aegis of King Kullaakka, meaning Vinland could no longer dump produce southwards in times of plenty. Also the solidification of Scandinavia into the Kalmar Union reduced opportunities for Vinlandic merchants and cemented Danish hold over the Atlantic trade. Álengiamark appeared to receive all the benefits from the more southerly trade with Iberia as well. Finally, and in direct competition with Vinland in the Briedurass, Algonquinland had all but taken control over the fur trade out of the interior, a legacy of the Vinlandic Civil War.

Whereas previously the shores of the Breidurass between Quebec and Fjallasay had been divided up between various small Algonquin principalities all paying nominal fealty to Vinland, Abernakriga or Passamaquoddia, they now increasingly fell under the authority of Algonquinland. The Kings in Quebec used the dysfunction of Vinland during the Civil War and introspection afterwards to gradually take over the little states so that by the 1470s both shores of the Breidurass were under Quebec's direct control.

This naturally drew a reaction from the crown and Althing who channelled ever greater sums of the declining treasury into grand projects. The Eikveggur protecting the isthmus into Eikland was massively improved and forts were constructed along the Upper Breidurass between Karegnondí and Erie Votnum. The navy was strengthened with larger (though not necessarily better) ships being put into service and Leifia's first dry dock was constructed at Fjallasay. The earls, also hurt by falling taxes, began to urge for war to put Algonquinland in its place. Relations deteriorated quickly in the 1480s disrupting Fjallasay's trade as vessels could no longer be guaranteed safe harbour as they sailed upstream.

Finally in the summer of 1493 Algonquin troops tusselled with Vinlandic traders at Ottawa leading to a massacre of outlying Vinlandic settlements. In response Vinlandic shore forts fired on Algonquin ships as they entered Ontario Vatn. Vinland, Algonquinland and most of their neighbours were henceforth sucked into the Great Northern War, a eight year conflict which would eventually check Algonquin expansion and to a degree reassert Vinland's dominance. However for most of the war Vinland was split definitively in two, Konunglegursaey occupied, Fjallasay besieged and Hafsvaedaland ravaged. Vinland exited the war with a considerable chunk of Algonquin territory added to Nor-Hafsvaedaland but the country was saddled with huge debts and had to rebuild its navy and merchant fleets virtually from scratch.

Only four months after peace was signed Jakobina died. Her only daughter, Asdis, pre-deceased her without issue and it would be her granddaughter Kristjana Halfdansdottír who would succeed. Jakobina married twice; her first husband was Pjetur Helgisson, a minor Hafsvaedaland noble. Her second marked a return to foreign marriages as the Althing thought, quite rightly, that Vinland needed foreign support once more and in 1460 she married Eskil Gyllenstierna, a pro-Union Svealandic noble and the great-uncle of the future John IV.

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