|Queen of Vinland|
|Reign||26th May, 1523 - 17th November, 1560|
|Spouse||William of Hesse|
|Born|| 24th February, 1510 |
Svidimýs, Kyreyja, Vinland
|Died|| 17th November, 1560 |
Thorey IV's reign is chiefly remembered for Vinland's embrace and widespread adoption of Lutheranism, rejecting Papal authority and indeed by the end, confiscating virtually all church property. Many even insist Thorey's coronation was the first Lutheran coronation, but this is over-emphasising her own conversion. While the religious situation obviously effected Vinland greatly her reign also saw it broaden its horizons, bringing trade and exploration under the aegis of the crown and sending troops to fight in Europe for the first time.
Kristjana VI died in 1523 with no daughters. Her thirteen year old niece Thorey was chosen by the Althing to succeed her. Though she was crowned with the usual rites in the time-honoured Vinlandic coronation oaths, including the line 'will uphold the sanctity of the one true church' it soon became clear she was thinking of a different church.
Though the Álengsk delegates, speaking on the behalf of all Leifia, had rejected the Lutheran heresy at the Diet of Worms in 1521 it did nothing to halt the spread of the ideas. The next four years saw the adoption of the printing press in Leifia, and Luther's 91 Theses, Erasmus, Hus's De Ecclesia and Irronsson's vernacular Bible were instantly popular. The conversion of several priests and the saying of mass in the vernacular rather than the virtually understandable Latin made instant converts. It was however only in 1526 when Thorey, now sixteen, made a public display of her new faith that the sea change could be felt. Lutherans could express their views much more openly and soon outnumbered those still clinging to Catholicism. This of course drew instant reaction from Rome which condemned the scene and pamphlets flooded Europe condemning the 'queen seduced by the devil' and the heathen Vinlanders. Its Catholic neighbours were equally appalled but had their own issues to deal with, struggling to suppress their own Protestant populations.
The breaking up of clerical power was attractive in more ways than one. Since the end of the Great Northern War Vinland had struggled to put its finances on a even keel. While the earls and lesser nobles frustrated attempts to levy taxes, the church did its utmost to block even the most modest tax on church property. In 1529, exasperated by the church's intransigence, and equally mindful of the general population's Lutheran majority Thorey broke with her previously loyal Catholic chancellor Aron Tómasson. Tómasson was stripped of the Bishopric of Vinland (causing papal outrage) and Thorey was re-crowned by the new Lutheran bishop, Jóhann Jóhannsson. With a nod to the Althing Thorey and her new, very Lutheran chancellor Svend Haukarsson began to implement Luther's idea of 'Two Kingdoms'. At a stroke the Althing threw the various clerical ministers from its assembly and removed them from any local government positions. Henceforth Vinland would be ruled 'by good Vinlanders not by the Pope in Rome'.
It was followed soon after by Vinland's secret alliance with the Schmalkaldic League in Germany. While Thorey could hardly promise the league any real concrete assistance against the Catholic princes of the Empire it no doubt provided a boost to the cause as well as helping push Denmark and Kalmar towards supporting it. The alliance was reciprocated with marriage, with Philip I the Good of Hesse sending his young cousin William. This injection of a staunchly Lutheran European marriage helped push the remaining earls over to the Protestant side and by 1535 twelve of the thirteen Vinlandic earls professed Lutheranism (only the Earls of Pyronaber held out). In time a Vinlandic-Icelandic would see action in Germany. At the Battle of Muhlberg in Electoral Saxony in April 1547 Vinlandic troops were present and although not in enough number to decisively tip the battle (which the Protestants won anyway) were distinguished enough. Thorey was heartily toasted alongside the other Protestant lords in the peace discussions which followed and banners captured from the fleeing Imperial army were sent back to Leifia, Álengiamark eventually buying them back for 'the Emperor's honour' at considerable expense.
In her later years Thorey appeared to retreat more into quiet contemplation and courtly and family life. Her presence at the Althing, almost constant during the great trials and redistributions of the 1530s began to wane and the levers of government entrusted more in the hands of her great chancellors; Haukarsson, Kári Thórarinnsson and Thorvaldur Dagursson. The eradication of the clerical seats in the Althing's 'Upper House'† helped the Althing regain a level of control of Vinland's finances and plough through the land reforms which dissolved the monastic lands. Almost a third of the dissolved church land passed into the hands of the crown, with the rest going to the earls and the 'commons'; a vastly popular measure effectively expanding the free lands available for peasants. By the 1550s Vinland appeared united and wealthy. Of course pockets of Catholicism remained but actual persecution of Catholics was limited only to the most prominent nobles who refused to pledge their fealty to Thorey and the Althing. It would be left to her successors to begin the real bloodbath.
Flush from the profits of this land-grab the Althing setup two trading companies in 1547. While not supplanting the existing merchants happily making their profits it allowed others to invest in ships and crews, pooling the still significant risks of long-distance sailing. The establishment of 'Northern Company' and the 'Southern Company' were a belated attempt to regain a hold on trade which had long fallen in the hands of Denmark, Álengiamark or the Iberian nations. Of course a major side-effect of this was a renewed interest in exploration. The ships of the Northern Company, as well as tasked with gaining a presence in the European ports (and in time West Africa), set about probing the North-West Passage. The Southern Company meanwhile ventured into Mexic and Tawantinsuyu ports (and eventually India) and soon entered into a rivalry with Álengiamark over mapping the Tawantinland coastline. While profits were middling for many decades it would eventually lead to a general prosperity and a burgeoning middle class. The skills learned in outfitting this new merchant fleet also helped raise the standard of the navy.
And it was perfect timing to join in the 'scramble' for the Taino islands as Europe turned its full attention to securing the rich Mexic-Europe trade. In 1553 Vinland invaded the Lucayan Islands, ousting the weak and corrupt petty kings and established a protectorate on the edge of the valuable Taino Sea. Several families, typically from the still Catholic Earl of Pyronaber's lands, would settle on the islands, and though the settlement was not a complete success the islands have remained firmly Vinlandic.
Thorey died in 1560 after several years of bad health. Her loving marriage to William of Hesse or 'Vilhjálmur Hessesson' as he was known, produced nine children with seven surviving into adulthood. Her eldest daughter Kristjana controversially married the prominent and unrepentant Catholic nobleman Kjartan Kristófersson and Thorey effectively disowned her. Kristjana would garner little support for her own claim to the throne. Instead her second daughter Asdis was quickly proclaimed queen after she affirmed her Lutheran beliefs in front of a packed Althing session.
†The Upper House was literally that, a gallery level above the old debating chamber from which the lords in attendance could shout down to the speaker and the 'commons'.