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Jeroni Sunyer (The Kalmar Union)

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Jeroni Sunyer
Timeline: The Kalmar Union

Jeroni Sunyer (The Kalmar Union)
Portrait of Jeroni Sunyer

Born: 20th December, 1699
Zaragoza, Aragon
Died: 3rd May, 1761
Romonan, Ohlonemark
Profession: Soldier, Politician

Jeroni Sunyer was an Aragonese born general, chiefly remembered as a military commander during the long 2nd Patwin-Ohlone War (See Wars of Patwin Partition).

Born in 1699 in Zaragoza, Aragon, Jeroni was the third son of Joao Sunyer and Isabella Serrano. The Sunyers were a military family; Jeroni's paternal great-grandfather and both grandfathers served in the Aragonese army during the Fifty Years War. His own father served prominently during the Sardinian Revolt of 1702. Joao retired on a substantial army pension in 1711 to the Carib island of Hewanorra taking his family to start a new life on a small banana plantation. Unfortunately on the voyage to their new home Isabella, and Jeroni's two brothers died.

Joao took a new wife, a half Carib woman, Violante Rey, but it appears she actively disliked both Jeroni and his sister Mariana. When old enough Jeroni joined the island's marines, rising quickly, thanks to his family's name and efficient dealings with an ever-expanding threat of piracy, to lieutenant.

In 1722 Joao died leaving Jeroni the plantation. Now reasonably wealthy he proposed to a local heiress, Lorenza Torrente, but she rejected him. Embarrassed, he resigned from the marines and left the island, signing the farm over to his beloved sister. He meandered for several years around the Carib Islands before heading southwards. He was instrumental in the in 1727 civil war in Tamoioland. There he was given command of a small force which held off a large Tawantin army long enough for the pretender to secure his rule.

Falling out of favour slightly with the new regime which was sidelining the foreigners who had helped bring it to power, he met several prominent Aragonese merchants in Guaibimpáraitaq. Giving them access to figures in the Tamoio government they related news of other Iberian expats settling around the Leifian and Tawantinland coast and the military opportunities available to an ambitious man like himself. He would marry one of them, a young and shy girl named Catarina. In 1729 he took up their offer and travelled to the Ohlone capital of Romonan finding a small but developing city with a tiny Aragonese/Aquitanian community living on the quayside.

The Ohlensk victory during the 1st Patwin-Ohlone War (1721-1723) had given them a certain breathing space which had allowed a consolidation of their territory and a modernisation program to begin. Forts were being built or improved on its borders, a small navy was started and wide flat roads were spreading out from the capital. As a man with military experience Jeroni was enlisted as a military planner. He improved the organisation of the army, giving the men a uniform and drilling them at a specially built barracks to the south-west of Romanan.

His links with Aragon secured several artillery pieces at an admittedly high price whilst a small cavalry force was trained by his aide Olju Muwek. On April 1734 Ohlonemark declared war on several of the small independent chiefdoms that lay to their south beginning the 2nd Patwin-Ohlone War. Jeroni was angry that he had not been given enough time to finish his reforms but was given charge of a small brigade of 500-700 men and charged with defending the northern coast. Jeroni realised the best way to help was to provide a new front to the war and ignoring official orders moved his brigade over the straits and began seizing Patwin (see Chinese Leifia) towns there. This initiative was more successful than expected. His superiors, including the Ohlone King were soon providing him with more men. With most of their forces in the south facing Ohlonemark's main army there was little the Patwin could do and in 1736 Natinixwa joined in the general land-grab.

The main thrust of Jeroni's slow moving army was blunted by the Battle of Senel on September 1737, in which the Patwin League finally provided some resistance. His superiors meanwhile had already decided to bring him back south to direct the war from a central position. Muwek took over command of the Army of the North and, with his field of operations becoming limited, lapsed into lengthy sieges of Lingyu and Kabinapek. To the south the campaign to conquer the independent statelets was nearing completion. The final Esselen fortress fell on Christmas Day 1737. The Chumash Kingdom lay virtually undefended to the south but Jeroni ordered the army to pull back; the Yokuts had broken through the cordon to the west and threatened the Ohlone heartland. Jeroni once again took personal command of the army pushing the Yokuts back and conquering their capital in the summer of 1738. Lingyu and Kabinapek fell soon after. The Patwins sued for peace and Natinixwa retired, happy with its gains. The war did not end however, the Patwins may have capitulated but their nominal vassals forming the remainder of the Patwin League did not.

For much of 1739 Ohlone troops were rested and resupplied, fortifications thrown up on the new borders and territory was parcelled out. Jeroni was rewarded with two fine farms at Erío and Síako and took over a cinnabar mine in Esselenmark which would make him considerably wealthy. Then after the harvests Jeroni made a initial probing attack into Kidütökaland. Bad weather hampered the army's progress and they effectively gave up and returned home by mid-November, however it galvanised the outlying states and throughout much of 1740-46 the army was harassed constantly. He tried to apply the same principles he had used as a marine in the Carib Seas, regular shows of force to disuade banditry but the opposing forces simply melted away when the main Ohlone army advanced. Small patrols and isolated settlements were constantly picked on. Even as in 1743 when most of Kidütökaland was under Ohlone control the resistance of the populace, often armed with only bows and arrows, was feroious. Occasionally Jeroni or others managed to force a pitched battle at which the Ohlone army could confidently win, but these were few and far between. The Battle of Tuvi, an engagement on 3rd February 1744, was almost the exception as several thousand men on both sides clashed in driving rain. The Ohlone host were victorious but Jeroni was injured by a stray musketball.

Finally, demoralised by the constant harassment in the mountains and stumped as how to pursue the war further, several army chiefs including Jeroni asked the Ohlone king to sign peace with the League in Autumn of 1747 Ohlonemark gave certain areas back to the Patwin and Yokut states but held on to their earlier gains. Still suffering from his wound Jeroni retired from the army soon after the peace but was convinced to take a more relaxed role as Minister of the Armed Forces in the Ohlone government.

Homelife

Flush with the riches from his lands and mining interests Jeroni embarked on a series of building projects. A school in his name was completed in 1756 which taught science and humanities to Ohlones and European settlers alike. A fine new dock graced the western end of the Romonan quayside in 1757 which allowed larger ships access to the city. A year later his grand villa in Romonan was completed and he retired from government to enjoy it better. The war, and the continuing pace of modernisation, had raised the country's profile and Romonan was beginning to gain a multi-cultural flavour as a slow trickle Iberian and Scandinavian settlers joined Chinese and North-West Leifians in the slowly growing city. Jeroni was called back into government in 1760 as 'Minister of the Exterior' in charge of relations between the foreign settlers and their new country but he had no real interest in the job and abandoned it after 9 months. His health was failing anyway. He would die in 1761 having given his consent to the plans for the grand cathedral of St. Anthony. On the building's completion in 1843 he was reburied there.

Sunyer had met with the Álengsk of Snjorjamark (see Atsukriga) several times in order to arrange an alliance in the 1740s but was struck by their venality. "I have never met such a disagreeable host of lords in my life. They care little for their serfs, for that is what the populace are, and spend all their energies extracting more wealth from the ground, drinking and looking for the next whore to bed." Despite this general dislike for them he married Thorey Magnussdottír, an Snjorjamark Álengsk in 1746 after the death of his first wife. He did however use them as an example of how not to treat a workforce. On his farms at Erío and Síako, and his villa in Romonan he ensured his staff were well treated and had some say in how the estates were run, for example which crops to sow that year. For this, some thinkers have identified him as some kind of proto-Syndicalist. More likely he had little flair for farming and was unused to the climate so let those who knew better have final say. At one point he attempted to introduce bananas to Ohlonemark but this unsurprisingly failed. Another foreign crop brought over flourished however. One of his Aragonese trader friends noticed the similarity of the soils of the Síako Valley to those back home in Europe. Intrigued, Jeroni imported several vines and started a vineyard. Though they would never produce wine during his tenure at the farm the descendants of these vines are now spread throughout Chinese Leifia, Esselenmark and Chumashmark. The Chumash word for wine, Suné, pays testament to his influence.

Jeroni had 5 children with his two wives and adopted the two children of his sister after her death in 1755. These 7 children, plus the school in Romonan, were made trustees of the Sunyer fortune. Garcia and Mariano proved to be wastrels and squandered their shares. The farms were lost in the 3rd Patwin-Ohlone War and the mines in Esselenmark were lost after it was given independence in 1803. The children of Luis and Helene had already diversified the family's portfolio however, moving into shipping and also mining operations in Ktunaxa, Ichshkiinmark and Keewatin Territory. Helene's daughter Heitdís Reventlow would become well-known as a respected author in Álengiamark.

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