Thorey VII
Thorey VII
Queen of Vinland
Reign 27th March, 1694 - 18th June, 1712
Predecessor Thorey VI
Successor Eyfinna I
Born 31st March, 1677
Fjallasay, Nor-Hafsvaedaland Fylk, Vinland
Died 18th June, 1712
Leir, Nor-Hafsvaedaland Fylk, Vinland
Spouse Tokamah of Abernakriga
Full name
Thorey Jobstsdottír
House Eiriksdottír
Father Jobst of Meerzisch
Mother Thorey VI

Thorey VII was Queen of Vinland at the turn of the 18th century. Her short reign is usually recognised as part of the 'Vinlandic Golden Age'.

Born in 1677 Thorey was the eldest daughter of Thorey VI and Jobst of Meerzisch. She was 4 days shy of her 17th birthday when Thorey VI died following a traumatic and complicated birth in 1694.

Her youth hid a sharp and thoughtful mind, and both she and her sister Eyfinna were tutored by their elder half-sister Eleanore Lúxemborg, who in turn was in correspondence with thinkers and philosophers from Vinland and Europe.

Emancipation

Following the retreat from Freydis I's dictatorial style of governing the Althing had largely taken the initiative to install a permanent parliamentary-style government on Vinland. The crown still held considerable power however and there were some in the Althing who looked to further weaken the crown's ability to interfere with the chamber's business. Thorey VI's death seemed like a perfect opportunity to enact some of these aims, and they argued, 'with a young inexperienced monarch about to take the throne wouldn't it prudent to ensure the law is in the hands of more experienced politicians?'

These plans were not kept secret for long and Thorey, fresh from her coronation, set out for Isafjordhur to stamp her authority on the country. It seemed to Thorey and Eleanore the obvious solution was to champion the rights of the masses over the vested interests of the powers that be, appealing to the people to support the monarchy.

As was her right Thorey was given the floor of the Althing on 1st June 1694. The actual text has been lost and dramatists tend to amplify a lofty rhetoric though the diary of Speaker Benedikt Magnusson relates:

'the Queen, this girl, regaled in silk and jewels, has stunned men three times her age with her ideas. She has made many look like fools and they will not forget, but maybe they will forgive. A benevolent monarch has the people on their side and freedom is a benevolence of the highest order.

Essentially Thorey, with her speech, abolished serfdom in Vinland. Actual slavery was rare in Vinland; occasionally merchants had been paid in slaves by the tribes they traded with along the African coast, and most labour be it on farms or in nascent industry was performed by serfs. These serfs would be bound to a lord or employer for a term, in a contract known as a visturband. Once the term was up the serf could renegotiate (to an extent) or find a new employer. In the maritime provinces these visturbands tended to be short but in the farm lands of the Hafsvaedaland they were long, often for life with whole families bound to them as well. There was little hope in changing employer or striking a better deal and there was virtually no recourse for complaint if the employer was a tyrant either. What Thorey proposed was the eradication of these long-term visturbands. Not the complete removal of them, as both parties had something to gain from the one-year guarantees, but a much needed reform ensuring the entire population could benefit from the rising prosperity of the country.

Crucially Thorey and Eleanore understood the role of the media in all this. Eleanore herself wrote a pamphlet that was delivered to be printed and distributed on the day of Thorey's address to the Althing. Whatever objections the Althing may have had, and they certainly did, were rendered moot by the simultaneous promises given to the entire country. Predictions of disaster from some notable skeptics did not come true; demand for food was growing with the expanding population and those lords refusing to give better terms of employment were soon made examples of. Landowners still made more than enough money from renting out land to their newly freed serfs.

Golden Age

As Thorey's reign progressed the prosperity of Vinland was beginning to become evident not only to itself but also to foreign travellers, who marvelled at the grand merchant houses being erected along the dockyards of Fjallasay filled with ornate and luxurious items or the sheer number of ships plying the Breiduras and Fraeburt Votnum

As the populace explored its new-found freedoms the church moved in to provide what employers had (or were meant to have) provided; namely education and health. The provision of this was regulated by newly established parish boards which helped set modest targets for literacy and numeracy alongside bible studies. The upshot of this was that within a generation perhaps 60% of Vinlanders were literate.

Of course religion was not entirely uniform across Vinland. Whilst most were Lutheran the new Dutch incomers were Calvinists and there were pockets of Catholicism reappearing on the fringes of Sud-Hafsvaedaland. These were soon setting up their own churches and education structures. There was of course a backlash to this. In the cities and larger towns the Lutherans and various laws were passed outlawing the preaching of non-Lutheran religion within a number of miles of the town centres. This led to a wave of outlying villages becoming renowned 'dissenter' hotspots. Some dissenter villages became cultural hubs as they attracted philosophers, artists and authors.

Abroad, the expanded trading fleet continued to grow, so much so that merchants and ship captains were forced to hire crew from Europe to fill the ships. A trade station at Banten in the Javanese kingdom of Sunda was established in 1698 to help funnel spices from across the archipelago.

Military Reform

Whilst Vinland stayed peaceful during Thorey's reign she was not a naive pacifist. Her reign is marked by a significant round of fortress building, not only on Vinland borders which were lengthy and porous but on strategic points too. The forts built along the Wawetanoog Channels proved vital 200 years later during the Vinlandic-Eriac War.

Moreover Vinland's generals were beginning to take note of developments in Europe especially the organisation and professionalism of the smaller Kalmar states rather the massive but undisciplined forces used on the continent proper. Aware that Vinland's population could no longer keep up with Aniyunwiya say, or even Álengiamark, it was a necessity that professionalism be prized over sheer numbers. The retired Svealandic general, Vilhelm Westerlund, was employed to reform the army. The newly established church parish boards were given the job of recruitment. Full meritocratic officer advancement was perhaps a step too far for the Althing to accept for now

Meanwhile many of the newly liberated states on the western Leifian plain were happy to supply military service in return for the continued help Vinland was supplying in improving and developing infrastructure. This 'Vestúrmannar corps' was mostly comprised of the new-style dragoons which had proven vital in the First Lakota War. This in no way lessened the charge that Vinland was simply building an empire but Thorey made it clear in the huge amount of correspondence that she and Eleanor wrote that Vinland had no territorial ambitions, at least not in Leifia anyway.

Indíanivik

Vinland and Tawantinsuyu had been trading with the tribes of southern Africa (Bantu, Xhosa and Khoikhoi) since the early 1600s but as they were semi-nomadic herders trade was limited and there was no permanent presence. Mostly European and Leifian ships used the bay of Algoa (as the Portuguese had christened it) as a rest stop to take on fresh water before tackling the Atlantic or Indian oceans. By the late 1600s ships tended to stop at Kaapstad where independent Dutch settlers had started a relatively successful farmer colony and could provide more than just water to resupply ships.

In 1693 several Fjallasay merchants, seeing the potential for profits in starting a similar settlement formed the Indíanivik Company to settle and develop the Algoa Bay area. They would receive royal backing from Thorey VI shortly before she died and the Indíanivik Company was incorporated with initial plans to settle 10 families and all they would need to build a thriving port.

Thorey's abolition of serfdom hit the expedition immediately as the farmers and laborers due to be transported argued they were no longer tied to the Company's long-term contracts. Most would agree to a 3-year visterbands rather than the 15-year ones originally set out but this harmed the long-term growth of the colony. A small village was erected but the lack of long-term settlers hampered its growth and it could barely feed itself let alone supply passing ships adequately. Besides this the colony was almost immediately plunged into a feud with Kaapstad who felt there was no room for any competition in the region.


Family and Succession

Thorey VII would die in 1712 of tuberculosis. Her brief marriage to Tokamah of Abernakriga had been childless and the succession would fall to her sister Eyfinna.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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