Kingdom of WessexTimeline: The Once and Never Kings
OTL equivalent: Wessex
Location of Wessex (in green).
|Regional Languages||Welsh, Cornish|
|-||Battle of Assandum||1016|
|-||War of Wessexian Succession||1032-1037|
The Kingdom of Wessex, also known as the Second Kingdom of Wessex or simply Wessex, is a medium-sized monarchy in the southern English region on the island of Albion. It shares a border with Jórvík to the east, and with Gwynnedd to the northwest.
Wessex is divided into 21 counties. The capital Winchester is located in the county of Hampshire.
The original Kingdom of Wessex, so-called "The First Kingdom", was one of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the Heptarchy. The sole survivor of the viking invasions, Wessex conquered the English region during the reign of Alfred the Great. Alfred would then be crowned the first King of England (or King of the Anglo-Saxons, as he went by).
The Second Kingdom of Wessex came about from the 1015 - 1016 Danish Invasion of England, lead by Cnut, who became king of England after the death of his father, Sweyn Forkbeard, who conquered it. Though Cnut and his viking army would be expelled by King Æthelred.
Æthelred's son and successor, Edmund, would lead the defense of England during Cnuts invasion. His commanded the armies competently, earning him the cognomen "Ironside". His defense would be defeated though when he lost the Battle of Assandum. Following the battle, Edmund and Cnut agreed to divide England, to be reunited upon the death of either of them: Wessex to Edmund, the Danelaw to Cnut.
An assassination attempt on Edmund in November of 1016 effectively ended any hope of peaceful reunion, at least on the death of Edmund. Wessex would prepare for the next war with the Danes with various expeditions into Wales and Eire, with various degrees of success. When Edmund did die, his son Edward was crowned King of Wessex in defiance of Cnut. The subsequent war would end in the death of Cnut, his army shattered and demoralized, and his North Sea Empire falling apart in succession crises. The peace with Cnuts oldest son Harald would confirm the division of Wessex and the Danelaw (now known as Jórvík).
Wessex would then begin a campaign of expansion into the Welsh petty kingdoms, starting with Gwent, who submitted during the later years of Edmund II's reign. Edward was distracted from this due to the new Danish invasion during his reign. His successor, Edgar II, would renew it, conquering Ergyng and Glywysing in a 1062 - 1064 expedition. Alfred II would subdue Gwyr and Brycheiniog during his rule, and began to make preparations for the conquest of Deheubarth. These preparations would trigger an alliance, lead by Gwynnedd, consisting of most of the remaining Welsh states to resist further Saxon advances.
Alfred's son Robert would be the one to face this alliance. While the peace after the three year war would give up Deheubarth to Wessex, succeeding kings became more wary of the Welsh alliance. Edward V would shift focus to Eire, though his invasion of Leinster proved to be a disaster.
With further Welsh-Irish campaigns seemingly going nowhere, Edgar III would father the modern focus of Wessex: undermining Jórvík in the Albionic Isles. Jórvík had found an ally in the Kingdom of Dublin, a sister Viking kingdom, but found itself largely isolated from the Gaelic states, despite a one-time alliance with Gwynnedd that fell apart after a few years.
Wessex would support Scotland in its war of independence covertly at first, but joined its side outright after Christopher Longshanks executed the Scottish knight Sir William Wallace. Wessex's invasion of southern Jórvík would help turn the tide of the war, and it would win Essex for its contribution. The cooperation would also win Wessex a secure alliance in Albion, which would be solidified when Brittany launched an invasion during one of its tenures as Frankish Emperor.
Aside from occasional Welsh and Cornish revolts, Wessex managed to keep a remarkable amount of internal stability through to the fifteenth century. That stability was shattered in 1449, when King Edward VI died. Edward VI was the last monarch of the House of Winchester, the primary cadet branch of the House of Wessex, and launched a succession crisis between the two other branches: the House of Newport and the House of Dorset. In what would be termed the War of the Dragons, the two house fought fervently for nineteen years, as the claimants and their heirs were crowned, usurped then crowned again. It was only after the death of the last Newport claimant, Edmund V, that the House of Dorset solidified their rule.
Wessex would nearly disintegrate under the weight of the Reformation. Indeed, civil war would ravage not only Wessex, but Jórvík and Scotland as well. However, Wessex would remain the sole Catholic state in Albion.
Joining the Catholic side of the Forty Years War with Scotland to counter Jórvíks joining the Protestants. London would be besieged several times as Protestant armies tried to force their way to Winchester to install a friendly, Protestant King. This strategy would be abandoned by 1626, as the walls of London held every time. Wessex's own invasions, often trying to be coordinated with those of Scotland, would also go nowhere fast, only making so far as Norfolk in 1645. The borders of the three main Albionic combatants (Wessex, Scotland, and Jórvík), would stay relatively unchanged when the Peace of Hamburg finally ended the war.
Its policy of challenging Jorvik whenever possible would extend to the New World and India throughout the late-fifteenth, then into the sixteenth centuries. The forts of Williamstown in the Miccosukee Peninsula (OTL Miami, Florida), followed by New Kent in the Caribbean (OTL Greneda) would be set up to counter nearby Jorvikish presences. King Henry VI would secure the establishment of forts in India, allowing Wessex to enter into the Indian trade.
The Kingdoms of Jórvík and Wessex would be joined for the first time in six and a half centuries with the dual inheritance of both kingdoms by Richard III. While he was a Catholic, upon his coronation in York (which had been reverted to its Latinized name), he made his inaugural speech to the Jorvikian parliament (in nigh-perfect East Anglian, so as to not need a translator) promising that his faith would not drive his policies in either kingdom. He also acknowledged that he held no ambitions of re-creating the Kingdom of England, recognizing the vastly different paths both state had taken through history. Nevertheless, Richard was and is regarded as a fine King in both states, and is noted as either "Richard the Unifier" or "Richard the Magnificent" in them (the latter referring to his successful military campaigns, and he is also regarded as the greatest pre-Napoleone general).
The death of Richard lead to Jorvik (the ascent marks dropped in an attempt to "Albionize" it) being divided from Wessex with the two divided between the brothers of Richard and Henry. Initially it appeared that Wessex would intervene when Henry's catholic rule was being disputed, but any chance of it ended with the Luxembourgish Invasion.
Wessex eagerly joined Scotland's side when it contested the succession of the Kingdom of Man and the Isles in 1761. In the ensuing succession war, Wessex and Scotland fought an opposing alliance of Jorvik, Dublin (which had initially secured the succession), and several Irish states. Despite the ground armies outnumbered by the combined total of their enemies, Wessex's navy, expanded over the course of the last century, defeated any attempt by the Irish and Dublinnic to land troops in Albion. After the death of King Edward VI in the unsuccessful siege of Lancaster, a peace was sued for after twelve years of war. In the peace agreed to, the Kingdom of Man was dissolved and partitioned between Scotland and Dublin. And while words were had after Jorvik was sold previously Manx land on mainland Albion, the was no enthusiasm for renewed hostilities, and so it was accepted.
Wessex's navy would be again used to great effect during the Napoleonic Wars, when it, commanded by Admiral Robert Keoben, lead a Coalition fleet in the decisive victory of the Battle of Formemtera. It army, then as now considered second only to Prussia in training and discipline, defeated Napoleone himself at the Battle of Alencon, halting his advance on Brittany and Normandy, before liberating Paris in 1863.
Despite Wessex's considerable part in turning the tide against Napoleone, it was snubbed for compensation at the behest of the other major powers. Since then it has come to resent the other aligned powers of Francia, the Holy Roman Empire, Denmark, and Aragon. As such, it has been courting favor with Castile, Svealand, and Poland, all traditional rivals of those Wessex has come to disdain. The marked increase in its naval budget also concerns many about its growing militarism.
Wessex is a unitary state, divided into 21 counties, each with seats in the Winchester Parliament depending on its population.
Like the monarch, Wessex fosters a suitably powerful nobility. While they don't have the privileges their predecessors had, they enjoy far reaching powers to exercise their authority. Most, however, do not let the power go to their heads, and many have a distinct sense of duty to the people. The prime minister of Wessex has tended to be a member of the nobility.