Alternate History

Svensland (World of Lesnaya)

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Svensland is a historical region of North America encompassing the Great Lakes region of North America, generally considered to include the American states (OTL) of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and a small part of Minnesota, as well as Southern Ontario. It has been home to numerous political entities, including several Iroquois and Algonquian tribes and confederations, various colonial entities governed by France, Sweden and Britain, and, intermittently, several independent republics.

The modern Confederation of Svensland (which is not limited to the boundaries of the historical region of Svensland) is a major Swedish-speaking nation that arose out of a Swedish colonization effort in OTL northern Ohio in 1715, and went through a number of incarnations before finally settling in its current state. It is currently ranked high in standard-of-living indices, and in technological and societal advancement scores. It is particularly noted for its ethnic diversity, being divided into a number of semi-autonomous "territories" with different linguistic and cultural majorities.

Swedish Colonization

Starting in the early 1700’s, the French and British began posturing for control of the territories surrounding the Great Lakes in North America. While the French had the older claim, the British had stronger ‘’de facto’’ presence in the region, and better standing with many of the local native tribes. Fresh off the War of Spanish Succession, the French were looking to assert their position in Europe.

Meanwhile, Karl XII of Sweden had previously turned an offer of alliance in favor of continuing his war against Russia (the Great Northern War), but, with that war behind him, he was now interested in pursuing political alliances that would allow him to regain Sweden’s international trade (lost to Denmark in the late 1600’s).

The two nations signed the Treaty of Trelleborg (1714), in which they agreed to a number of economic and political arrangements. Sweden also purchased rights to colonize part of the island of Grenada and a strip of land along the southern coast of Lake Erie (northern OTL Ohio). A shipment of 500 settlers arrived in 1715 and founded the settlement of Ungstad on the site that would have become Cleveland. Less than three years later, the locals had modulated the name of the settlement to “Yngstad,” and were referring to the region as “Nymark.”

By 1720, four more groups of colonists had arrived, bringing the total populace to almost 2000. Of these, about 300 were Finns, and 500 more were either Estonians, Latvians, Ingrians or other minority groups. Immigrants from Sweden and its possessions would continue to arrive at a high rate.

Disagreements over how the colony was to be managed in 1726 led to the mass emigration of about 500 mostly Finnish colonists toward the west, where they started a settlement of their own on the west coast of Lake Erie (which was outside of the land allotted to Sweden by the Treaty of Trelleborg). The settlement was referred to as “Svorborg.” They later purchased the patch of land between Lake Erie and Lake Huron (south of Fort Detroit) from France, and named it “Svormark” (Territory of the Svors). The original colony of “Nymark” began to be known unofficially among the Svors as “Yngmark.”

It was at this time that the terms “Yng” and “Svor” came into common usage. The settlers of Yngstad were mostly ethnic Swedes, and spoke Swedish. The term “Yng” was used by the emigrant Finns to refer to those who stayed in the Yngstad region. The origin of the term “Svor” is obscure, but had become attached to the mostly Finnish group that would eventually leave Yngstad and Nymark. The Svors were famously able to foster good relations with the native Wyandot (Huron) Indians, and even assimilated many Wyandots into their colony.

Involvement in the Anglo-French conflicts

When Sven the Great took the throne of Sweden in 1726, he began to slowly reduce the amount of colonists sent to America, until, in 1731, he stopped it altogether. The total population of Nymark (including Svormark) was about 8000. In the same time, the inequitable treatment of Austria at the Conference of Belgrade led to the Bourbon-Habsburg Coalition between Austria and France, and the subsequent decline of Franco-Swedish relations. This also caused problems for the Yngs and Svors, who found themselves trapped between the French and British colonies, both of which were officially hostile toward them. The ultimate result was a three-way alliance between the Svors, Yngs and Indians in 1736, which was a self-preservation movement.

In reality, though, the Nymark and Svormark were relatively safe, since both the British and French colonies were keen to avoid war, and any motion by either side toward the Swedish and Finnish colonies would likely lead to war with the other side. In the 1740’s, the First Continental War raged across Europe, and saw Sweden and France as primary antagonists. This led to stronger Anglo-Swedish relations, and, in 1747, the break out of war between the British and French in North America, with the Yngs and Svors siding with the British.

The defeat of the French by the Anglo-Swedish alliance in 1751 led to the cession of all of New France. Negotiations with the French were not completed before the collapse of the French government in 1752, so the Yngs, Svors and British continued the discussions without France. With the death of Sven the Great in 1757, Sven II took over. Sven II that more interested in North America than his father, and took up the diplomatic talks with Britain. He managed to lay claim to the entire Great Lakes region, which was named “Svensland” after him. It was later divided into five territorial divisions that are somewhat similar to the boundaries between OTL states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois (although the Upper Peninsula and a small section of OTL Minnesota were merged with Wisconsin into the territory of Skogmark).

Republic of Svensland

The colony was organized into a petty republic of the Swedish Commonwealth in 1759. Rates of immigration from Sweden and its petty republics were extremely high, and the population reached 100,000 (excluding the Indians) by 1774. These immigrants included Swedes, Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Germans, Norwegians, Poles, Russians, Karelians and Nenets.

British and American Rule

With the outbreak of the Anglo-Swedish Wars in 1773, the British made the conquest of Svensland a major objective, which they had accomplished with relative ease by 1774. However, Sweden under Sven II (Sven the Immortal) eventually defeated the British in the Anglo-Swedish Wars in 1796, and the newly-formed United States of America quickly annexed Svensland in 1798.

Under the United States, Svensland was regarded as fertile territory for the creation of new states. Ohio was the first such state proposed. However, the American and Swedish (Yng) inhabitants of the proposed state could not come to an agreement about the management of the state (a particular sticking point being the language of official discourse). By 1806, the two sides had ceased attempting to negotiate, and the Americans (concentrated in the southern half of the proposed state, tried to get the southern part of the state ratified as a new state, with its capital at Cincinnati. The Yngs objected, but were ignored, and thus began the so-called “Ohio War.”

Ohio War

While the conflict is called the “Ohio War” by historians, many consider it inappropriate to call it an actual war. The bulk of the fighting consisted of Swedish mobs (“militias,” according to the Yngs) attacking and razing American settlements and homesteads in central and southern Ohio. By 1807, however, the Swedish mobs had organized behind a Stockholm-educated big-man, Sven Forsberg, who commanded the organized militia in an attack on the Cincinnati garrison in the only legitimate battle of the Ohio War, the Battle of Cincinnati. It was a decisive rout for the Yngs, who immediately sent an ultimatum to the United States, declaring all the former lands of Svensland as an independent nation.

Forsberg and other educated Yngs and Svors met to discuss the organization of their new nation, all the way waiting tensely for the result of the Siberian Crisis, which would determine whether or not the Svenslanders could rely on the promised support from Sweden. When the Siberian Crisis fell in Sweden’s favor, the United States abandoned any designs it may have had on invading Svensland, and the Confederated Republic of Svensland was born.

The Confederation comprised of five states (a concept taken from the USA): Yngmark (Ohio, Swedish-speaking), Svormark (OTL Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Finnish-speaking), Wabars (roughly Indiana, Swedish-speaking), Meskvaken (Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin, various Algonquian-speaking), and Kickapoa (roughly Illinois, Swedish-speaking). The overall official language of the Republic was Swedish.

The Confederation in America

Throughout the 1800's, Svensland incorporated more territories. Wendaten (OTL Southern Ontario, including Toronto, Swedish and Iroquois-speaking) was added in 1821; Skanadareå (most of the remainder of Ontario) in 1825; and Winnipeg (southern Manitoba and SW Ontario) in 1827.

The Confederation of Svensland created a number of problems for the United States. The compromises between states on the issue of slavery were hampered significantly by the lack of territory north of the Mason-Dixon line for further free states. Also, Svensland’s incorporation of Indians into its political structure made it an advocate for many native tribes, causing further obstacles for American westward expansion (although it did not prevent the Mormons from settling in OTL Utah in the 1840’s. The United States never annexed Texas, due to the complications of the slavery issue, and the western states of California and Oregon were also never formed.

Svensland tended to ally itself with the northern states more than the southern states, because of its disapproval of slavery. When the American Civil War broke out, this brought Svensland in on the side of the Union, but only when the Union agreed to sell the lands between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to Svensland. Svensland’s involvement in the Civil War consisted only of a campaign in Louisiana. The successful completion of this campaign resulted in the promise that the Republic of Texas would not join the Confederacy, and the partitioning of the state of Louisiana into three regions. The land west of the Mississippi and south of the Red River went to Texas, and the lands north of the Red River were incorporated into the State of Arkansas, which had lost its northern half to a newly-formed Indian Confederation that would eventually grow to include much of the Great Plains and the Northwest. A section of the boot of Louisiana that was east of the Mississippi River was annexed by the Republic of Florida, along with the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama.

Upon Svensland's entrance into the American Civil War, the Union sold the Iowa territory (OTL Iowa, Minnesota, and the parts of the Dakotas east of the Missouri River) to Svensland, and the states of Iowa (OTL Iowa), Skogland (roughly OTL Minnesota) and Dakota were created in the 1860's and 1870's. In the Svensland-Indian agreements following the Civil War, Missouri was divided between Svensland and the native tribes, with the portion north of the Missouri River being incorporated into the Republic of Svensland as the State of Nordmissouri.

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