Alternative History
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The 13th century saw the devastation of Eurasia by the rising Mongol Empire, the closer internal integration of the Orthodox realms, more holy wars and several large-scale conflicts among the three major Christian churches.

Events

  1. King Ivan II of Croatia died on the 12th of January 1200, after ruling Croatia for 37 years. He left no living male heirs, as both his daughters, whom he married to influential Croatian nobles, could not inherit the throne, even though some in the realm were calling for the legalization of female succession. Vuk, the illegitimate son of Ivan I and half-brother to the deceased king, was proclaimed as the successor and was legalized by the Sabor - the Croatian parliament of nobles, as the rightful king and he was crowned later the same year. As he was the head of the still lay Brotherhood of St Sebastian, this did not sit well with certain elements within the nobility and coupled with his illegitimacy, led the second in the hierarchy of the Brotherhood, Borko Hrvatinac, to start to plot his downfall. He allied himself with Pribina Šubić, Lord of Bribir, who was the great-grandson of Bogdanac of Bribir and great-nephew of the late Queen-Consort Nada.
  2. The Bulgarian Empire, which achieved its independence from the Byzantines in the late 12th century, as it did in the OTL, started to engage the Hungarians for dominance over Wallachia, in 1201. The strengthening of the Bulgarians also meant that the Serbian Kingdom broke off from Byzantine overlordship, which brought the perks of independence, but left the realm much more exposed to Croatian invasion.
  3. King Vuk learns of the plan to topple him and sends both Borko Hrvatinac and Pribina Šubić into exile to Naples in 1203. However, they managed to acquire much support throughout the realm and, with German mercenaries and elements of the Brotherhood of St Sebastian which took up arms, they set sail from Otranto in early June of 1204, landing unopposed at Dubrovnik, which immediately sided with them. Trekking trough Croatia they gathered more and more support and met the forces of King Vuk near the city of Jajce, in central Bosnia. The Battle of Jajce saw the victory of the rebel forces and Vuk lost his life in the battle. The Croatian nobles who supported Vuk plead for peace and so the Sabor proclaimed that by the right of Nada Šubić's marriage to Ivan II, Pribina Šubić has acquired blood rights to the throne. Pribina was crowned on October 3rd, bringing an end to over three centuries of rule of the Trpimirović Dynasty over Croatia and ushering in the rule of the Šubić Dynasty. To strengthen his position Pribina reorganized the Brotherhood of St Sebastian into a military holy order - renamed the Order of St Sebastian, modeled on the Teutonic Order, and made his ally Borko as its first grand master. This holy order would become an influential political power in Croatia and beyond in the years to come.
  4. The Khwarezmian Empire invades Armenian Cilicia in late 1203 and within a month it conquers it entirely. This had two benefits for the Khwarezmians, first they managed to get rid of one of the Christian states at its borders, second this brought them direct control of lands not far from Iconium, the capital of the Anatolian Seljuks, who were their nominal vassals, so they could assert their dominance over the Seljuks better. This created a lot of Armenian refugees that fled Cilicia, some went to Byzantine territory, some went to the Kingdom of Jerusalem and some took the long trip and went to their fellow Miaphysite-controled territories in Egypt.
  5. Serbian armies besiege Hungarian-controlled Belgrade in June of 1204, but are forced to break the siege when the Sebastianite Knights start moving from Croatia to help their fellow Catholics. Stefan II of Serbia did, however, manage to capture several Hungarian forts on the Danube east of Belgrade and so the Serbians established a firm border on the river.
  6. Muhammad al-Nasir, Caliph of the Almohads decided to pursue a more aggressive policy towards the Iberian Kingdoms, since due to the Third Crusade, the Islamic Maghreb found itself separated from the rest of the Ummah. He invaded Castile with a large force of almost 40,000 men and on the 15th of September 1205 he managed to conquer the city of Toledo, dealing a symbolic and strategical shock to the Iberian realms and the rest of Europe. King Alfonso VIII pleaded to Pope Innocent III for assistance and so on Christmas Day of 1205 the Pope called the Fourth Crusade to reclaim Toledo and possibly end Moorish influence in Iberia. This presents a large deviation from the OTL, since in reality there never was a greater non-Iberian participation in the Reconquista.
  7. In 1206 Temujin ended the long process of unifying the many clans of the Mongols and the Khuruldai - the council of the Mongol chiefs, proclaimed him Genghis Khan - the sole ruler of the Mongolian planes, as happened in the OTL. Eurasia would soon burn. The following is a map of the political situation in Eurasia, superimposed on modern OTL borders, on the eve of the expansion of the Yeke Mongol Ulus.
    File:Map of Europe (No Names).png

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