|Queen of Vinland|
|Reign||1st December, 1647 - 3rd June, 1681|
|Born||7th November, 1619 |
Málrakkhrepháll, Nor-Hafsvaedaland, Vinland
|Died||3rd June, 1681 |
Haukfjall, Sud-Hafsvaedaland, Vinland
Greta I was queen of Vinland during the latter half of the 17th century. Her reign would mostly be taken up with rolling back the repressive dogma of her mother's puritanical politics.
As Freydis III's reign petered out into squabbles with the Althing over the limits of its power she began to manouevre her daughter Greta into the limelight to ensure a continuation of her legacy. That Greta appeared uninterested in government, let alone the kind of long-planned machinations which fuelled Freydis' politics, soon became apparent. When Freydis fell ill in 1645 she would retire from frontline politics for the rest of her reign leaving power in the hands of Greta. For a time the Althing showed some respect but once Freydis died in 1647 the brakes were taken off.
With an outbreak of plague in the Hafsvaedalands as a backdrop, the Althing began a series of heated and occasionally violent debates. Freydis had governed partially through religious fear but the Puritan faction in the Althing was losing its grip as many localities returned more moderate representatives. With religious fervour loosening, several recent and extreme rulings were reversed and some of the most hated witchfinders were tried and executed. Non-conformity would henceforth be punished by expulsion rather than death. Theatres reopened in the towns and revivals of the older classic plays became instant successes, as did bawdier new productions. Art remained a little moribund and it would take an influx of Flemish emigres in the 1660s for Vinlandic art to really recover lost ground. Many households still stuck to the austere Puritan styles but imports of silk, porcelain and exotic woods from Tawantinland and India slowly spread a new desire for fineries through society.
The loosening of Freydis' policies had more personal benefits for Greta too. Her first husband Benedict Jóhannesson, was chosen by her mother and Greta supposedly detested the 'dogmatic pedant'. He would die in 1648 and Greta, now free to marry whomever she pleased, was soon wed to one of Christian II of Hordaland's sons, Valdemar Kristjansson. This marriage would be more harmonious and the gregarious Valdemar was well-liked by the Vinlandic nobles, even if he never completely got to grips with the finer points of Vinlandic grammar.
By the early 1670s the reach of the Lakota Empire was beginning to be felt along Vinland's trade routes to the West. Unlike Álengiamark which actually sought to impose military control on its trade routes, Vinland had long left its trade in the hands of the local tribal nations. This however generally relied on the tribes staying peaceful and when the Ojibwe and Isanyathi tribes were taken over by the Lakota in the mid-1640s tensions would repeatedly surface. The rights of Vinlandic traders to freely pass through this newly acquired empire would be challenged and . Complaints to the Althing would slowly build up, along with the complete annihilation of an Anabaptist sect migrating to Ktunaxa by a Lakota war-party in 1671. The First Vinland-Lakota War (1676-1681) would be the long-overdue result though it was the threat to Neshabek's continued independence which would be the real trigger.
The Vinlandic army, led by Ojibwe scouts duly invaded the Lakota empire and quickly occupied the few permanent towns, cities and fortresses of the northern plains. The Lakotan army, mostly cavalry, denied them a battle however and could move much quicker around the arena than the lumbering infantry-based Vinlandic army. It would take several years of harassment and embarrassing losses before Isafjordhur provided the funds for a mercenary army, drawn from various Plains Tribes to respond in kind. Slowly the Lakotan cavalry advantage faded and with options disappearing the Lakotan high command sued for peace in 1681, though a treaty would take two years to hammer out thanks to the disintegration of the Ochangaran-Mamaceqtawia Union which disrupted communications.
Nakotaland, Ojibwe, Haanininland, Apsaalookriga and Baxojeyuh were all released as sovereign states in the closing peace talks. Vinlandic engineers, traders and administrators poured into the area expanding its area of economic (if not so much military) influence considerably. Greta's successors would continue to press the Lakota and prop up the new states which were carved out of the faltering empire.
Greta would die in 1681 and was succeeded by her eldest surviving daughter Thorey.
If Greta persists in Vinland's national conscious it is mostly due to the extraordinary Gretasbók, a vast collection of folktales and myths drawn from all around Vinland. Greta was supposedly given inspiration by the tales told by the tutor to one or more of her children and so she sought to collate that which had largely been repressed during the reign of Freydis. The movement of royal story-collectors through the country provoked unhappy memories of the witchfinders, however once it became clear the collectors were firmly on the side of the peasantry rather than the lords tensions dissipated. The actual book runs to several volumes; detailing any story, from fragments to complete myths; in a systematic tour of Vinland's counties. Modern versions tend to be cut down only to a score or so of the complete tales though the full version is a fascinating journey through early modern Vinland, from ghost stories in the growing cities, tall-tales told in sailors' inns, rural fables and sites, stones etc. of the Huldrfolk (hidden people), the fox-tailed Hýldrár of Markland, witchcraft in the Hafsvaedaland, leftover parts of Odinist rites or the indigenous religious practices of the Leifian peoples.