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Lesser Presidency of LaconiaTimeline: Days After Chaos
OTL equivalent: Laconia, New Hampshire
|Official languages||Lacian English|
|Ethnic groups||Winnipesaukee Lacian (Main)
|-||Meredith Bay War||1912 - 1913|
|-||War of the Lakes|
The Lesser Presidency of Laconia, also known simply as Laconia is a major nation in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire.
By the beginning of the twentieth century the nation of Laconia had established itself as one of the most powerful nations in the Lakes Region, with its capital city of Laconia becoming a center of trade and commerce in the south of Lake Winnipesaukee. In the Meredith Bay War the nation of Laconia managed to defeat its rival Meredith to the north, becoming the undisputed dominant naval power on the lake for years to come.
During the early half of the chaos the area that would later become the nation of Laconia was inhabited by a number of local tribes and settled groups from throughout southern and central New Hampshire. Due to its close proximity to trade routes and roads leading north from Concord, Laconia became a destination for many travelers fleeing the south. Within the city itself, the native population managed to establish successful fortifications early on, which helped to protect a growing population. Unlike many other cities in the region such as Meredith or Alton, the latter experiencing heavy fighting within its large native population. Because of the defensive nature of the city Laconia began its history with a large socio-economic divide. This preserved its independence and security from raiding tribes and hosts, but also led to a slower growing population. In Meredith for example the influx of refugees being accepted as citizens destabilized the city in its early years, but also gave rise to a heavy increase in population which allowed the city to rival Laconia in years to come. Alton however would be able to defend itself less favorably, and would suffer from conflict from years to come among hostile parties within the native population and the refugee settlers.
It is believed that in its early years Laconia turned many neighboring tribes away from its gates, leading to the settling of places around Meredith and further north. This may have also foreshadowed the future rivalry between Laconia and Meredith, as even from the beginning Laconia acquired many enemies in the form of hostile tribes which would sooner be accepted in Meredith than in the south. Laconia attracted trade from all over Lake Winnipesaukee, with its many citizens investing heavily in naval infrastructure. The city boasted a naval presence early on, which included many pre-chaos era innovations, since lost in battle before the end of the chaos. Settlemnent of the Paugus Bay and Opechee Bay outside Laconia's fortifications became common, with many hoping to use the valuable water ways to support themselves. Further away from the city proper farming communities also rose up, supporting the growing population.
It is believed that the name Laconia arose from the proto form of English spoken in the New Hampshire region prior to the collapse of the ancient empires that proceeded the chaos. The term first appears in official documents in the year 1868, in a document signed by Lambert I, the first documented ruler of Laconia.
By the 1870's the nation of Laconia had become an important trade nation, serving as an intermediary between Lake Winnipesaukee and trade routes running north to the west of Laconia's territory. Laconia had expanded along the shores of the Paugus Bay, as well as east into open land, establishing a sustainable agrarian society in the east mixed with maritime trade in the city.
Laconia's wealth however was being limited by a rival town to the north. At the mouth of the Paugus Bay all trade flowing into Laconia's ports were forced to go through the gates of Pendleton, which controlled the mouth of the bay with Lake Winnipesaukee. Pendleton was quickly growing to become a major trade city in its own right, rivaling Laconia, which was further away from the lake communities. With the ability to halt Laconian trade on the sea, Pendleton was seen as a major problem to Laconian dominance, and a large risk.
Hoping to end this uneasy relationship of catering to Pendleton's decrees, Lambert I organized Laconia's first army, calling forth the city's guard and a large number of levies. Nearby tribes which had settled within Laconia's domain were recruited from, while other tribes which had begun work on fields directly for Laconia were mobilized for battle. Armed with primitive weapons, the contingent was led by Lambert north from Laconia along the west coast of Paugus Bay. The army sought to neutralize Fort Weir, Pendleton's keep and fortification on the mouth of the bay. With the fort's fall, the city would surely fall, allowing Laconia to control the entire bay.
Pendleton learned of this assault as it approached the city, ordering a permanent cut off of trade to Laconia. This however did not matter, as within a few days the fort was besieged by Lambert and his army. After a three week siege the fort fell to Lambert's forces. The invading army immediately rushed into Pendleton itself, raiding much of the city. Pendleton would officially collapse, being annexed by Laconia. The nation's first organized military engagement was a success, and left Laconia with a valuable port city on Lake Winnipesaukee directly, beginning an economic boom in Laconia following its recovery from the war.
In 1878 Lambert I died and his realm was divided among his heirs. Rule of the nation of Laconia was divided between James and his elder brother, John, his surviving sons by his first wife. The city of Laconia itself fell under James' rule, while Pendleton and territory in the northeast was governed by John. Andrew, Lambert's son by his second wife, demanded a share in the inheritance, but was imprisoned by his two half brothers. In 1879 John would give up the throne, joining a monastery in the north, although it is unknown if he was pressured to make this decision. This left James as the sole ruler of Laconia.
Andrew would escape his imprisonment around the time of John's abdication, finding refuge with relatives of his mother on Lockes Island, where he then prepared to flee further north. Lockes Island was home to a tribe which had settled there several years earlier, possibly after being pushed off the mainland by hostile groups near Alton. Lockes Island had grown to become a decently sized trade nation in the south, trading with several other island nations to the north. At the time of Andrew's asylum however his relatives were pressed for ships, causing Andrew to stay on the island for some time.
James learned of Andrew's escape from his home in Laconia. Knowing that Andrew could flee north or even organize an army to contest his rule, James sought to use the opportunity to deal with Lockes Island, which had also arrogantly rivaled Laconia's trade in the early months following the rebuilding of Pendleton. An small naval force was gathered in Pendleton, mostly consisting of small galleys and cogs, used for transporting ground forces. James' personal army and a contingent of trained sailors in the north set sail for Lockes Island, prepared for an amphibious landing and invasion.
The tribesmen of Lockes Island had never before seen a naval force so large, and were unprepared to defend against such an attack. The group immediately gathered its able-bodied men to combat the landing forces, marching hastily to the shore. James' army stormed the beaches overwhelming the islanders. The vast navy also attacked several ships and buildings on the edge of the island, causing heavy damage to the defenders. With their morale and defenses shattered, the defenders of Locke Island fell to the invaders. Many on the island were slaughtered, and Andrew was captured and executed. Lockes Island would officially become a part of Laconia, a direct vassal of the Count of Pendleton, although taking note of the island's strategic value and distance from Laconia, would be governed by a local Laconian barony, almost autonomous from Laconian proper. The island's infrastructure would also be rebuilt, as James hoped to preserve its importance as a trade city. A fort was also constructed to defend the island from future attacks.
Over the course of the next few years Laconia would gain influence all around Lake Winnipesaukee, trading and interacting with nations in the region. It is during this time that Laconia first established a long lasting trade relationship with the nation of Holderness. Located in the northern end of Lake Winnispesaukee on Meredith's northern border, Holderness controlled the city of Central Harbor, one of the region's largest cities and ports.
War of the Stones
In 1900 while traveling James I came ill with disease. He was rushed to Laconia, but died shortly after arriving. The unexpected death of James I, aged only thirty nine, left the nation in crisis. James' only son, Edward, was only nine years old, meaning a regency would need to be created. Two days later however Edward was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
With no apparent heir ready to succeed James, various royal houses throughout the nation began fighting for control. The houses with the strongest claim to the throne would eventually come to the forefront. The House of Ahem, a wealthy and powerful family from northwest Laconia, led by Charles of Ahem, had the strongest claim, being cousins by marriage with the Belknap rulers. Another powerful family was House Stonedam, rulers of the island of the same name, led by Henry, father of James I's wife. The Stonedam's also owned large properties in Pendleton, which allowed them to appeal to inhabitants in the north.
On 9 April 1900 Henry Stonedam launched his navy from Stonedam for Pendleton. He arrived in the harbor the next day, and had his forces wait in the harbor. That night the city's nobles were gathered and voiced their support for either of the factions by throwing a bright or darkened granite stone into the lake, giving the war its namesake. The city voted in favor of joining Stonedam, and by next morning supporters of House Ahem had fled the city. The city raised its banner against Ahem, raising an army to march south on Laconia in the name of House Stonedam. Many in the region still opposed Stonedam, gathering forces to oppose him. One noble, Joseph Prescott, who owned a large amount of land south of Pendelton, openly opposed the surrender to Stonedam, and began gathering northerners who opposed him.
On 18 April when Henry Stonedam departed Pendleton by ship down the Paugus Bay, he was met by enemy forces near Prescott's manor. The forces opposed to Stonedam had gathered on the shores in loose formations, armed lightly, although supported by larger siege weapons smuggled out of Pendleton. Stonedam's opponents also had a small collection of riverboats which hid in the area before attacking. As Stonedam's navy proceeded down the river he found himself ambushed and under attack. His ships opened fire on the coast, hoping to not lose time advancing toward the unprepared city of Laconia. Targeted with flaming arrows, Stonedam lost several ships, and in some cases hand to hand combat ensued as boats met on the lakefront, or crashed onto the shore. Soldiers trapped on the beach found themselves abandoned as the navy pushed south, leaving the men washed up on the beaches in a fight for their lives against the coastal defenders.
Finally, with his navy south of his opponent's overall defensive lines, Stonedam ordered an amphibious landing on the shores. The towns on the coast were raided, and Prescott scrambled to retake the coast. Sensing that the experienced soldiers from Stonedam would overwhelm his smaller contingent, Prescott finally ordered a retreat, having accomplished his goal of delaying and harassing Stonedam. After leaving a destroyed coast behind, Stoneham continued south, the attack unable to stop him completely. The battle would become known as the Battle of Twin Lantern, named for the various signals Prescott's forces would use to communicate landings.
On 19 April Stonedam arrived at the mouth of the Paugus Bay, encountering the fortifications of the city of Laconia. The city was garrisoned with forces loyal to House Ahem, guarding the mouth of the bay. In the ensuing Battle of the Gates Stonedam launched his navy against the city walls, doing battle with the city's defenders. Stephen Ahem, Charles' brother, was placed in charge of the city's navy, but knowing that a charge single file into the Paugus Bay would end in disaster, Stephen ordered his larger navy to wait on the other side of the gates in Opechee Bay. This decision would ensure that none of Stonedam's forces got through the gate, but would also lead to Stonedam ordering a landing further north on the west bank of the bay.
Charles road out with a large army to meet Stonedam, doing battle on the shore. The invaders soon surrounded and outnumbered the army, and Charles was killed. The defending army panicked and fled, allowing Stonedam to take the city gates. With the mouth of Opechee secured, Stonedam's navy entered the bay, but were trapped by Stephen Ahem's forces. Stonedam would suffer a huge defeat at the Battle of the Opechee, losing a large portion of his naval forces.