|Queen of Vinland|
|Reign||8th May, 1603 - 21st October, 1617|
|Born||14th February, 1577 |
Baenílokdjúpufjarthar, Nor-Hafsvaedaland Fylk
|Died||21st October, 1617 |
Rutjörthvik, Nor-Hafsvaedaland Fylk, Vinland
Maídis ruled over Vinland during the early years of the 17th century. Her reign is sometimes regarded as 'the Idyll' or the 'Golden Age' of Vinlandic power in Leifia, before the strains of war and religious intolerance hobbled the country during the reigns of her daughters.
Inheriting a peaceful and prosperous Vinland from her mother, Maídis was frequently pressured by various interested groups, even within her own family, to solve the myriad issues which Snaedis III had essentially ignored. Maídis too seemed to duck many issues, most notably the proliferation of religious sects, even commenting that the non-conformist newcomers were better behaved (they presumably had to be) than the Catholics or Pagans. No effort was made to restrict their practices or deny European emigrés permission to settle and build their own communities. She would spend most of her reign in Fjallasay which also served to distance the court from the Althing and the nobles.
Her reign began with a puniative war against Neshabek to the west. the Neshabek state had grown rapidly to encompass a considerable part of what is modern Ojibwe and a flurry of letters between Kalkaska and Isafjordhur seemed to make it clear that Neshabek were not going to just protect the Vinland's trade routes just because the Ojibwe faithfully had. It is now assumed that the threat was overstated and perhaps even faked by nobles eager to bolster Vinland's power west of the Fraeburt Votnum. Neshabek's defeat during the short war would push it indirectly toward a protracted civil war which thoroughly ruined it as a functioning entity. This willingness to defend the western trade routes, without caring much for the consequences for its opponents would foreshadow the involvement of Vinland in the affairs of the nations on the for centuries to come. At home however, the Althing, and especially its financially prudent Speaker, Daníel Tómasson, could not help but note that it paid for an army of 3,000 men but only 2,000 arrived.
Under the aegis of one of her favourites, Rigsmarsk Mattias Baldursson, Earl of Markland, the army was slightly reorganised. While the nobles retained command, irrespective of their sometimes questionable ability, the actual job of raising militias was taken out of their hands and given to dedicated officers of the crown. This removed one of the nobility's revenue streams as they could usually pocket a portion of the payments for themselves but meant that Vinland could now field a slightly larger army. This was obviously far from a creating a 'modern' army but an important step nonetheless. Meanwhile Italian and German gunners and armorers brought the army up to standard, if not quite with Europe but with developments in Aniyunwiya and Álengiamark.
In 1610 Maídis and her Chancellor began a sale of crown land, mostly land previously confiscated from the catholic church. This would inject a considerable amount of capital into the Vinlandic treasury and pay for projects such as her substantial remodelling of the royal palace in Fjallasay. However, no one seriously addressed the continuing problems of corruption and the dilution of the nobility thanks to the land sale stirred up resentment amongst the more established earls and lords. The various schismatic religious groups arriving from Europe certainly took advantage of this sale too, seeing the opportunity to get out from under the noses of lords and manage their own affairs, both spiritual and temporal.
In summer 1616, Vinland took control of the island of Thyrnaraejya/Manidoowaaling in Karegnondí Vatn. The island had been part of the Neshabek realm but as the kingdom fell into civil war it took the opportunity to revolt, forming their own republic in 1613. However, this venture soon faltered thanks to famine, and the local leaders sought the 'good government of Maídis, Queen of the Vinlanders'. Under the terms of the treaty the island became Crown land and split into two counties to be represented at the Althing but terms stipulated no Vinlandic settlement or sale to any other party; hence it has essentially retained its own culture and the Neshabek language to the present day. Vinland's ownership of the island would only be finally ratified in 1838 when Neshabek was made a Vinlandic protectorate.
Her reign also saw the planting of a 'factory' trade station on the West African coast to facilitate trade with the local Ewe people, then split into various sub-kingdoms. This part of the coast had no natural harbour which hampered its development but it did avoid the already established Portuguese forts to the west and the east. 'Maídisshofn' would last for 30 years until destroyed by the Kpalíme Ewe in 1641.
Whilst Vinland quietly boomed, behind the scenes the political manoeuvering was substantial. Irked by the re-organisation of the army, the land-sale and religious matters the nobles largely buried any differences they had with each other to form a block on any further reforms which they felt might hurt their interests, which included tackling the corruption surrounding taxes on the Breidurass or reforming the 'empty' counties to balance the growing but virtually unrepresented cities. Meanwhile, the Althing was, like the clergy, becoming more beholden to the Puritanical elements in Vinlandic society.
Married and widowed twice even before she took the throne Maídis presided over a fractured family as each of her successive husbands side-lined the previous children. Her eldest children, Thorey and Sigurjón had their court in Karantóborg, which was described by some as a 'merry court'; where feasts and theatre were the order of the day. Their half-sister Freydis was extremely serious and stubborn by contrast and found like-minded support amongst the clergy, now beginning to be dominated by Puritans, presiding over an austere court at Málrakkhrepháll near Kastalinnur. Maídis was pushed into her fourth marriage to Johan Leijonhufvud by a clique of nobles in 1612 and her children from her third marriage were packed off to Hvilirábey. The nobles hoped to be able to control the naive Svealandic prince but he does not appear to have made any lasting impression on domestic policy. Instead his influence helped foster a more open co-operation between Vinlandic and Svealandic merchants in Africa,India and south-east Asia.