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Vinlandic Civil War (The Kalmar Union)

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Vinlandic Civil War
Battle of Báratvomurám
Battle of Báratvomurám, 28th May 1399

July, 1395


December, 1405


Vinland, Algonquinland


Althing victory


Royal forces
Kristjana V

Asdis II

Casualties and Losses

The Vinlandic Civil War was at its heart a struggle over the very nature of Vinlandic government. Picking up where the Peasant's revolt of 1367-68 had left off it pitted the monarchy against the weak and de-fanged Althing.


The reign of Snaedis II had slowly altered the balance of power within Vinland. The three branches of government; the monarchy, the earls and the Althing, had spent almost the entire course of Vinlandic history defining themselves against each other, acting in concert to keep each other in check. Usually this had manifested itself as the queen and the Althing combining forces to keep the earls in their place. However during Snaedis' reign the earls had effectively handed power to the monarch. Thanks to the crisis presented by the Peasant's Revolt Snaedis had reduced the Althing to a captive assembly. Her appointees to speaker were her men, no less adept, but loyal and obliging.

Even so the earls and the Althing, diminished as it was, appeared to adhere to the new status quo. Snaedis II, like her forebears before her, travelled incessantly visiting all corners of her realm bestowing prestige and titles on her lords, alms to her subjects and importantly fulfilling her obligations as 'speaker' at the Midsummer Althing in Isafjordhur. Her daughter Kristjana V did none of this. In fact until the very last month of her nominal reign she did not leave Fjallasay at all. Instead she merely sent lackeys and bailiffs to enforce her laws, laws she did not apparently feel it worth passing through the Althing to give them a sheen of consensus. Her appointees to the role of speaker were not in the same leagues as those Snaedis had promoted and as such her control of the Althing shrank whilst her earls, perfectly capable of visiting Fjallasay though they were, lapsed into bad habits.

While the religious situation in Vinland had improved, with more priests in the countryside and a reformed set of bishoprics, the very fact that the papacy had woken up to the potential for Leifia made it more subject to their scrutiny. Snaedis II had got off lightly when the reforms to the Bishopric of Vinland were made, she had set dressed the towns and cities to blindly impress the more cultured Europeans. When papal legates were present for Kristjana's coronation however they could not help but notice the blatant veneration of pagan figures in the churches of Fjallasay. Word soon reached back to the pope and the reaction was instant: eradicate paganism or face excommunication. For a pious god-fearing lady such as Kristjana this was serious stuff indeed and almost immediately she embarked on the project. Unfortunately, as before, this did not entail much recourse to the Althing and they were soon hearing complaints. Freemen petitioned about seizures of land. Lords mentioned the crown taking extra skat (taxes) from their serfs as almost a paganism tax. Many tribes in the Hafsvaedaland had not officially adopted Christianity and soon found themselves victimised. Even clergy, whose parishes happened to have a tree or even a rock associated with Odinist rituals were being beaten up.

In April 1395 after an armed gang brandishing the royal standard broke into Frotumyndunísjór chapel on Eikland, killing three clergy and burning the building, the Althing, backed by the Earls of Eikland and Markland, called a halt to the cleansing. The silence from Fjallasay was ominous and when, three months later, Kristjana was heard to be raising an army in the west the Althing retaliated in kind. It ordered levies to be raised from the maritime counties and sent delegates to Iceland to ask for mercenaries. Finally they denounced Kristjana herself and elected a new queen: Asdis II. The civil war had begun.

The War

For much of the war's ten-year duration the hostilities took the form of a stand off in the Breiduras. From their forward positions on Konunglersaey the Althing could control the passage of trade out of the Breiduras, which they did, liberally confiscating goods carried by ships loyal to Kristjana. When land-based battles occurred they mainly took place on the Algonquin shores of the Breiduras. Each hoped to reach Fjallasay or Konunglersaey by land, capture it and force an end to the war and there were brief bursts of small, intense battles. In 1399 the Althing reached Báratvomurám, only forty miles from Fjallasay before being defeated and driven off by the Earls of Nor-Saukland and St. Katrinsmark. The closest Kristjana's forces got was Djúptkláttyn (now the Abernaki-Passamaquoddia border in 1400. However neither side had the manpower to really make a dent. Although the Althing would come to have the larger fleet it could not approach Fjallasay directly thanks to the walls the city had built over the previous centuries. Mercenary companies criss-crossed Eikland too and often it appeared they were fighting their own miniature wars. This provided a powerful distraction as clearing the fylk of royalist armies took precious men and funds out of the main arena. Equally mercenaries reaching into the Hafsvaedaland occupied Kristjana's armies, though could not threaten Fjallasay directly.

Reaction elsewhere also defined operations. Those in Europe who cared to have an interest in the affairs of the Leifians regarded the conflict as a struggle between the forces of Christianity and those of Paganism. Pope Boniface IX, overlooking the fact it was his orders which had brought the conflict about, urged crusade against the 'heathens of Vinland'. It was only through careful and repeatedly diplomacy on the Althing's behalf highlighting the issue of good government and playing down the religious aspect which prevented European nations from intervening. Difference of opinion between Viken-Svealand and Denmark may have certainly stopped Scandinavia from providing support to either side.

Possibly most crucial however was the position of Álengiamark. In retaliation for Vinland's non-involvement in the Great Unami Revolt in the 1380s which all but ruined the Álengsk state, they barely lifted a finger to assist either, at least not officially. Both Asthurdur II and Elin IV, whilst never having much control outside the 'Royal Domain' appeared to distrust Kristjana inherently and continued to find excuses (of which there were many) to avoid campaigning for her. However many of the separate Álengsk lords and cities were more than happy to offer their services for money, raiding Eikland, or the Hafsvaedaland, with glee.

During the war money was sapped out of Vinland into the hands of mercenaries and trading rivals. The Althing made heavy use of Icelandic mercenaries whilst calling on Abernaki and eastern Álengsk lords. Kristjana used the Ohio, Atikamekwia and again Álengsk lords to seize the lands belonging to her enemies in the Hafsvaedaland.


In late 1405 the Ohio tribe, annoyed that Kristjana had neglected to pay them that year for their service, captured key towns in the Western Hafsvaedaland and, crossing the frozen Breiduras, threatened the poorly defended Norse towns. With her still loyal earls either cut off from funds or now under severe pressure and a reliable ally now turned against her Kristjana felt the mood changing. With her husband and four children, she fled Fjallasay in December 1405 apparently cloaked in ermine against the snow. Bribing their way to the Álengsk coast they arrived in Portuguese Verao in April.

With no figurehead the remaining earls lost confidence and retreated to their forts. They would in due course pay homage to Asdis and the Althing and in turn their lands were confirmed, putting a stop to the anarchy. Captured, Kristjana's close advisors were unceremoniously beheaded and their heads displayed on Fjallasay's western walls. And once the Brieduras had melted the two halves of Vinland jointly campaigned against the Ohio, restoring land to the earls and the previous borders.

Meanwhile the Portuguese were wondering what to do with their guests. The island had not yet been officially settled by the Portuguese (and would not be until 1487). The islanders were mostly the descendants of old shipwrecked crews and were, to a large degree dependent on the good will of Álengiamark and Vinland. With such an infamous guest on their shores the governors of the island did not know what to do. Fearful that Vinland would invade, Kristjana would be murdered on 23rd. Sources reported that her family and advisors were also killed however it became a persistent myth that Princess Freydis survived the purge and made it to Portugal or perhaps Ireland.


As the dust settled over the country the spectre of excommunication reared its head once more. Asdis took a more nuanced line this time. Yes churches and chapels should be cleared of pagan objects, but pagan traditions could continue. Pushed outside of the towns or off church land any land owned by was confiscated and made crown land. The mayors of this new land were promoted to the upper house of the Althing making them properly sanctioned and applicable to law. A further law a year later forbade any pagan temple from having a door or a roof and this would slowly wither away the numbers of pagan adherents.

With the political situation in Vinland now settled much of north-east Leifia entered a sustained period of peace. The Eriac call this period 'the breath'. The various virtually independent statelets of Álengiamark continued to fight amongst themselves but otherwise much of the north-east's military power was directed toward the Fraeburt Votnum and Mississippi; where there was opportunities for money and glory in the ashes of the fracturing Aniyunwiyan Empire.

The regular passage of opposing armies destroyed the coherence of the small Algonquin states between the Hafsvaedalands and Algonquinland proper. As the war entered its final years Quebec set out to unify its neighbours by conquest and by 1410 had captured the entire Breiduras between Fjallasay and Konunglersaey. Not only that but the blockade of Fjallasay ships had led Quebec to effectively take over the entire Breiduras fur trade as Algonquin ships were allowed to pass through the Althing's cordon. This new-found confidence would eventually lead to the Great Northern War (1493-1501) which would end the century of peace.

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