The Queendom of Vinland, Vinland is a large constitutional monarchy in the North of Leifia. It is administratively divided into ten Fylkír (districts) and two autonomous territories.
In the far west Vinland borders Military Japan and Lingit Aani. Its main northern provinces border Keewatin Terrtory, Algonquinland and Passamaquoddia. The inland Fylkíra of Hafsvaedaland, connected to the other Fylkír by the Breidurass River, border Atikamekwia, Ojibwe, Neshabek, Erie, Álengiamark and Abernakriga. The Fylkír of Lucayanaeyjar is an island group to the east of Aismark.
The capital is Isafjordhur. Its population is approximately ten million spread out among all Fylkir and territories.
The current head of state is Queen Kristjana IX. The official language is Vinlandic and is mostly mutually intelligible with Icelandic. Numerous Native Leifian languages are spoken and have local recognition in the Fylkír and counties.
The name Vinland is attributed to wild berries or 'grapes' found on Vinland Island by the early settlers and brought back to the already established colony of Greenland.
Vinland was discovered by the Greenlandic explorer Leif Ericsson in 1003 following tales from other Norse sailors. He spent the winter on the northern tip of Vinland island before returning home. It would be his family who would turn the island into a fully fledged colony.
The Vinlandnamabok is the main source for the early years of Vinland and it describes in detail the settlement of Vinland during the 11th century. Modelled on the Icelandic Landnamabok it details some 500 settlers, their original homes, place of settlement and their descendants. The history is not linear and the overall events and political growth of the colony need to be teased from various settler histories. The earliest versions were probably written in Iceland in the 1070s from testimony at the Althing, but the earliest surviving version dates from 1284 and was written in the monastery of St Peter & St Michael just off the southern coast of Vinlandaeyja. Many modern Vinlanders can trace their ancestry back to those mentioned in the Vinlandnamabok.
It was possibly originally intended to be an accompaniment to the widely distributed Encomium Hadfisae which would result in the canonisation of Queen Hafdis and the recognition of Vinland from the papacy. Indeed many of the events are related in almost exactly the same way in both accounts.
Haukr Karason left [Iceland] with his family and slaves on the second expedition of Freydis [Eiriksdottír]. He took a farm and land south of Groenvik and battled with Skraelings with Thorfinn [Karlsefni]. [He] argued with Gudrid and asked her to leave but also did not want Freydis to be [speaker] and supported Eirik [the Old] instead. Thorgil Haukrson took his father's farm splitting the cattle with his brothers. Olaf Haukrson argued with Snorri [Thorfinson] and settled on Ingolfursey with six other [families]. Gathar Haukrson married a [Cornish] woman named Esyld and was given the honour of lighting Hafdis' funeral pyre.
The entry goes on to describe the 17 sons of the three Haukrson brothers, their settlements and what their standing in the community was.
What is clear is that the original settlers were Greenlandic. Leif Ericsson's brothers Thorvald and Thorstein established the first real settlement at Thorshavn in 1007. Thorstein's widow Gudrid would remarry in Iceland and opened the way for the overpopulation of Iceland to begin moving westward. Meanwhile, Leif's sister Freydis did much the same, starting a settlement at Groenvik in 1011 and trading with Iceland, spreading the news. By 1015 a steady stream of Icelanders were appearing, either aligned to the families of Gudrid or Freydis, and the village of Isafjordhur had been founded. In 1016 Vinland had its first Althing. Modelled on Iceland's Althing, it was intended to bring the settlers together and discuss issues without resorting to the petty feuding of their homelands.
Relations between those who supported Gudrid and those that supported Freydis would come to dominate the Althing for several decades. First Gudrid, then her son Snorri came to represent the 'bad side' of Vinlandic politics, Snorri especially so, as he sought to monopolise trade to the colony. As he tightened his grip many Norse left Vinland and settled on the surrounding islands like Ingolfursey, Gudridsaeyjar and mainland Markland. Settlements on Kyreyja and Eikland followed in the 1060s as Cornish and Breton settlers also joined the steady flow of people from Iceland.
After Snorri's death in a Skraeling raid the dominance of the Ericsson family reasserted itself. Just as Freydis served as a speaker of the Althing so did her daughter Hafdis. She was picked in part, to calm the two sides of the deeply felt divide, but also part of a drive to ensure Vinland could never be monopolised in such a way again. Under her leadership the colony reconnected with the Skraelings, brought the breakaway settlements back under control and strengthened the rule of the Althing.
The first few encounters between Norse and Skraelings were violent. The Skraelings, surprised by settlers on their seasonal hunting grounds, attacked them as they would any other native tribe who intruded on their territory.
Different bands of Skraeling adopted different attitudes to the newcomers. Those on the East coast soon accepted the Norse. Those on the West stayed much more antagonistic. However, once it became clear that the Norse were not about to leave, and that they had foodstuffs and domesticated animals that were new and interesting, relations became much calmer. It was only when disease, unwittingly spread by the Norse, began to disrupt the old tribal systems that clashes once again started. The 1030s saw a wave of violence up and down the coasts as Snorri Thorfinnsson restricted livestock to his supporters, and trade to the Skraelings were prohibited.
By the 1040s, however, the Skraeling bands had been laid low by disease. Their remaining chiefs met with the Althing to discuss peace in 1040. The Norse were confirmed as rulers of the island and the Skraelings began to develop their own villages and farms. Comprehensive marriage between the Skraelings and the newcomers meant they ceased to be a recognisably separate people by the 1300s.
Relations with the Suderfolk farther south, however, would come to define Vinland's borders and the future of the Norse colonies.
The very earliest settlers of Vinland were Odinist, that is they still followed the old Norse religion with its multiple gods. As Christianity came to Iceland and Greenland so many Odinists travelled to Vinland to be free to follow their old beliefs. Iceland had received its first bishop in 1019 who immediately sent emissaries to Greenland and Vinland. Freydis quickly recognized that the future of the colony depended on good relations with Iceland, Scandinavia and the papacy, and accepted baptism from one of these emissaries in 1020. Thorshavn accepted Christianity alongside her and a small church was built there. However, there was no pressure from the Althing to convert and whilst the priests (and Freydis and Hafdis) certainly helped convert many, they never insisted on religious unity.
The exploits of Hafdis were collected in the Encomium Hafdisae, a history of the colony and Hafdis, that was probably intended to advertise the colony and its good ordered government. It read, however, like a Hagiography, deliberately set out to get Hadfis canonised by the pope. Whether intended or not, this worked. Pope Gregory VII canonised her in 1081. Possibly without relaising how isolated and small the colony was, He ordered a bishop to be sent to the colony with a crown. He intended to raise Hafdis's heirs to royalty. Though heavily debated by the Althing Thorey I was subsequently crowned Queen of Vinland in 1082 by the new bishop. Thorey's brothers and close male kin were styled Earls and granted land. Vinland's first wooden stave church would be built in Isafjordhur in 1087. The rule of the Eiriksson family, or more correctly (following the Vinlandic naming system) the Eiriksdottírs, has continued until the present day.
By 1100 Cluniac monks had begun to set up isolated monasteries, often funded by various European nobles, and in 1104 the monastery of St Peter & St Michael on the islands to the south of Vinland was established. These monks began experimenting with native crops eventually allowing maize, squash and potatoes to be grown by the Vinlanders.
Elsewhere, priests continued their quest to Christianise the native Leifians often with little success. Indeed they seem to have been more interested in the Leifians than the Vinlanders and Álengsk, as Christianity seems to have lapsed to a large degree during the mid-1100s.
The frequent plague epidemics, culminating in the Black Death, entrenched beliefs and encouraged many of the more frontier churches to begin to share their space with pagan religions. As long as the churches helped the settlement of the surrounding region the practice was largely overlooked. Representations of Odinist gods, especially Thor, Odin and Hel were commonplace throughout Vinland often forming side altars along the wings of the churches. Native Leifian gods, or totems representing them, often featured in the churches of Hafsvaedaland. Mexic gods appeared in the larger city churches once a significant trade had arisen.
By the 1080s most of the farmland of Vinlandaeyja had been claimed and settled in part. The yearly Althing was receiving representatives from 48 counties:
- 36 Vinlandaeyja counties
- Two Markland counties
- Two Ingolfursey counties
- One Gudridsaeyjar county
- Three Kyreyja counties
- Four Eikland counties
Eikland and Kyreyja would be the next areas to receive the greatest influx of settlers. Both virtually uninhabited apart from seasonal migrating hunters the settlers had ample land to claim and settle. The churches in Iceland and Vinland often sponsored settler-farmers hoping that the expanding colony could convert the heathens they came across. Also, the growing power of the Earls, as well as the exploding population, allowed them to claim vast tracts of mainland to be settled by their otherwise landless thralls and, importantly, back the settlements up with military force.
The seasonal hunters moving into Eikland and raids from the larger tribes beyond were effectively stopped in 1101 when the Eikveggur wall was raised along the narrow entrance to the province. This allowed a rapid settlement of the peninsula and its surrounding islands.
The closest major tribe, the Passamaquoddy were largely peaceful, unlike those to their south, and had often assisted the newcomers with defense. Queen Thorey I met with the Passamaquoddy King in 1104 on Kyreyja. There they pledged peace and assistance to one another. Thorey gave the king a horse as a gift and also began the process of teaching Norse methods of war and agriculture to the tribe, whilst also agreeing to patrol the Passamaquoddy coastline. In return the Passamaquoddy agreed to assist the Vinlanders to pacifying the lands to the south. Delegations to the Algonquin and the Abernaki soon followed. However, the warlike Wampanoags refused discussions with the Vinlanders and would often attempt to storm the Eikveggur.
Meanwhile, Vinlanders were exploring their surroundings. By 1045 they had sailed up the Breidurras (OTL St Lawrence River) as far as Godifoss (OTL Niagra), southward as far as Langaeyja (OTL Long Island), and up the coast of Markland into Issjo (OTL Hudson Bay). Non-church diplomatic expeditions back to mainland Europe were organised from the 1080s. By 1130 the entire eastern coast of Leifia had been explored down to Myrland (OTL Florida) while the Mexic and Tawantinsuyu had been contacted.
During the early 1100s settlers had begun to claim various outlying islands to the south of Eikland. These Austureyjar settlers were regularly attacked and ejected by the Wampanoags. The effort to protect Eikland slowly turned into a 'crusade' to forcibly pacify the Suderfolk. A secondary reason appeared in 1117 when Queen Snaedis I gave birth to twin daughters. The desire among both the Earls and the Althing to give them equal realms soon overrode the need to keep a defensible frontier.
With Passamaquoddy and Abernaki assistance Vinland carved out a territory among the Suderfolk. Christened 'Álengiamark' it became independent after the death of Snaedis I in 1131, though Vinland would have to continually intervene in its sister Queendom for many years to come.
As the supply of Álengsk heirs dried up in the 1180s Vinland was forced to mediate on the succession but was unable to prevent descent into civil war. Queen Iofridr was eventually forced into invading the queendom to secure her own rule, succeeding in 1199 to be crowned in St. Hafdiss. She allowed her daughter Eydis to be regent. On her death in 1201 the realms were split once more. The relationship almost immediately broke down as Eydis quarrelled with her sisters, Thorey II and Kristjana I, accusing Kristjana of the murder of Thorey in 1206 and was only dissuaded from an invasion by resurgent activity from Kanienmark.
To the West
As the two Norse states slowly reconciled themselves to rebuilding their relationships rather than forcing each other to submit, Vinland looked to the West for trade and expansion. Kristjana I had effectively destroyed the Earldoms as independent entities and banned the private construction of castles. This ensured - in complete contrast to the rapidly fortifying and splintering Álengiamark - that the peasantry enjoyed wide freedoms and resisted coalescing into villages and towns far longer than other 'western' nations (and attempting to change it would cause untold trouble for later rulers). It also unfortunately reduced tax incomes and the Althing had to look at other sources of revenue, chiefly by expanding into the farmland of the Breidurass.
Settlers continued to pour in from Scandinavia and although the adoption of the potato and improved sea fishing techniques allowed a much larger population to live on the marginal lands the Althing began to cast its eye around for further conquests away from Álengsk territory. The tribes of the Fraeburt Votnum (OTL Great Lakes) allowed seasonal trading 'ports' but no permanent settlements. Vinland looked to change this.
Vinlanders gained a foothold in the Breidurass by receiving the island of Konunglegursaey, opposite the Algonquin capital of Quebec, in 1112, as part of their alliance with Passamaquoddia. Settlement of Fjallasay island followed in 1208, fortified in the face of hostility from various neighboring tribes. From there Vinland could oppose the Aniyunwiyan Empire, then at the apex of its power, destroying its lake fleet and ensuring its own dominance on the lakes. Fjallasay also provided important toll revenue as it is located on a choke point of the Breidurass.
Vinland began to employ Icelandic troops to boost its own meager forces and campaigned repeatedly in the 'Hafsvaedaland' securing its grip. The 1282 Treaty of Mississuga confirmed their ownership of the region. At first this was tenuous and Vinland could project very little power on the ground. But as the settler forts multiplied and trade and farming flourished so the native tribes became more content with Vinlandic rule. Revolts still rocked the region however, especially after the Black Death destroyed decades of growth and stability. Vinland would be deep in defending its growing Hafsvaedaland cities when the Unami tribes revolted against Álengsk rule and was unable to assist them.
Concurrently, Vinland slowly took over control of Greenland as its ability to sustain itself as a independent colony began to falter under the strain of the Black Death and worsening weather conditions. Trade had also shifted southward as Portugal was making direct trips from Europe depriving the Greenlanders of trade and supplies. By 1370 Greenland's affairs were being run from Isafjordhur as a fief of the crown.
1388 saw the First Congress of Fjallasay convene in that city. Essentially a fortressed island, Fjallasay was probably the largest Leifian city outside of Mexica, and Snaedis II was keen to show it off to the world. The chance came with the end of the Great Unami Revolt.
There Snaedis II and her minsters carefully orchestrated the proceedings to promote Vinland as prosperous and good christian nation. While Álengiamark and its former Unami possessions were carefully separated and pacified, Vinland received recognition for its control of Greenland and Hafsvaedaland.
It had already reformed its Althing, making it a permanent institution rather than a occasional gathering, reorganising the counties for better representation and developing a second house to keep noble and church interference out of the main chamber. Fjallasay itself was rewarded in 1393 by being raised to an Archbishopric with control over all the Leifian bishops. This was the high point.
However, the newly arrived archbishop soon wrote back to Rome complaining of pagan gods being honoured within Fjallasay Cathedral itself (and indeed they were - the Odinist Hel having an extremely popular altar and the similarly morbid Mexic Coatlicue popular with travelling merchants from the far-south). The threat of excommunication hung over Queen Kristjana V and she began a very haphazard attempt to reform religious practice in Vinland. Widely disliked, apparently unwilling to leave the safety of Fjallasay and blindly ignoring the Althing she soon had a revolt on her hands.
Eikland and Vinland island rebelled in 1395, electing Kristjana's cousin Asdis as their queen. Europe and Álengiamark saw it as a clash between christianity and paganism and mostly refused to support Asdis. Asdis had control of the sea routes, however, and could slowly strangle off Kristjana's economy. The war enriched mercenary armies like those of Iceland and Erie, and, importantly, led to the rapid growth of Algonquin Quebec as a mercantile rival to the blockaded Fjallasay. When the Ohio successfully captured Hafsvaedaland in 1404 it led to Kristjana's downfall, and she fled, only to be murdered on Verao Island (OTL Bermuda), probably by Portuguese agents.
Once secure, Asdis attempted the same reforms Kristjana had tried but this time worked much more with the Althing and allowed the pagan rites to continue, just outside of church property this time, making them subject to the Althing rather than the crown. She also began moving Greenlanders to Hafsvaedaland to help settle the area.
The century that followed is often regarded as a quiet one. However, the calm that fell over Northeast Leifia was not repeated elsewhere and the Vinlandic armies were often busy campaigning as far as the Mississippi. Vinland joined the Kalmar Union alongside Álengiamark in 1434.
It was the calm before the storm however. The 16th century exploded in violence as Vinland was invaded by the now-wealthy and European-ised Algonquinland. The Great Northern War against Algonquinland was a badly-conducted blood-bath and was only concluded with the assistance of Denmark. It left Konunglegursaey a wasteland.
The spread of Lutheranism worried the Leifian states as much as it did the European ones. The Álengsk were more worried than most having already dealt harshly with heretical writings and paganism. In 1521 the Earl of Ontario was at the Diet of Worms representing all of North-east Leifia, and thoroughly condemned the teachings of Luther. However, it was already too late to stop the spread.
Lutheran tracts were already being imported from Iceland and other Kalmar states. A year later the first Leifian printing press was demonstrated in St Hafdiss and very soon vernacular bibles and Lutheran pamphlets were being being printed covertly. Queen Thorey IV succeeded the throne in 1523 and whilst her coronation was conducted with Catholic rites only three years later she felt the mood had changed enough to publicly embrace Lutheranism. By 1535 twelve of the thirteen Vinlandic earls would be Lutheran. Church land was secularised and given to mayors to administer on behalf of the Althing.
All this had a drastic effect on Leifian relations. Abernakriga, Kanienmark and Passamaquoddia soon followed Vinland's example. Álengiamark, Susquehanockland and Erie remained firmly and fanatically Catholic. The still pagan nations in the middle and to the west became ever more entrenched, unwilling to be pulled into either camp's orbit unless it really suited their wider aims.
Soon both sides had the resources of divided Europe backing their actions. The Protestants could rely on Kalmar and the Schmalkaldic League (Vinland had secretly joined the league in 1533) while the Catholics had the vast wealth of the Iberian nations behind them. When Álengiamark began a brutal repression of Quiripi Lutherans Vinland threw Álengsk Catholics out of Fjallasay. Vinlandic and Álengsk ships were soon firing on each other on Ontario Vatnin.
The Leifian Wars of Religion (1565-1574) saw Vinland head up a league of Protestant nations pitted against the Catholic nations. The war achieved nothing but the poisoning of Leifian relations for a century. Many people blame the length of the First Mexic-Leifia War on the fact Álengsk troops refused to fight alongside Vinlandic ones
To the South
Portugal had mostly had the 'southern route' to Leifia to itself since 1345. However by the late 1400s various other western countries were looking to force their way into the lucrative trans-Atlantic trade. The steady flow of Mexic silver, alongside Caobanan tobacco, was a powerful lure for the various powers. However, Portugal had already occupied the two most obvious mid-way staging posts; the Azores and Verao, so potential challengers were forced to capture secure ports at the other end, specifically in the Carib and Taino Islands. The seizure of Coabana by Granada in 1552 opened the floodgates. Vinland joined the scramble, too, occupying the westernmost Lucayan Islands and forcing Aismark at gunpoint to open itself up to Kalmar traders.
The histories of the native Lucayans record how they had been poorly ruled by several tyrannical kings so they had welcomed Vinlandic control with open arms knowing full well they would reap the benefits of transatlantic trade. Many Cornish-descended families settled there. From there Vinland was able to continue to compete for and enjoy the lucrative Mexic and Tawanitsuyu trade.
Meanwhile, the Althing had given chartered rights to two companies; the Northern Company and the Southern Company, tasked with handling trade. The Southern Company soon found itself in intense rivalry with Álengsk explorers to map the coastline of Tawantinland (OTL South America). In 1562 the explorer Magnus Snorrisson discovered the Alkafuglaeyjar. This claim intensified the rivalry with Leon which had been granted control of all South Atlantic islands by the pope in the Treaty of Quisqueyanos (which of course Lutheran Vinland did not recognise).
The Vinlandic claim would be reinforced by the movement of a large number of Icelandic settlers to the islands in 1578 and the next few decades would see several naval engagements as Leon attempted to force Vinland to abandon the islands. By 1603 Leon backed down and ceded its remaining claim to the islands.
In 1622 a vast Mexic army crossed the border river of Mets'ichi Chena and advanced toward the Mississippi. The Mexic had been regularly raiding the cities and nations between the Mets'ichi Chena to the Mississippi for fifty or so years but the force they now sent dwarfed all previous Leifian armies. With Europe embroiled in the beginning stages of the Fifty Years War and Tawantinsuyu in the throes of civil war Leifia was left to its own devices to deal with the threat. The tribal states of the southeast took the main brunt of the early fighting but the Vinlandic navy was instrumental in crippling its Mexic counterpart, meaning the full-strength Mexic armies could not safely cross the Mississippi. And when the Mexic force turned northward in 1623 Vinland and the other Northeastern states had fully mobilised their own forces.
The defense of the Fraeburt Votnum took 18 months but gave security to the North-east. The Battle of Kahoka in July of 1623 was a masterclass of the most modern warfare techniques but it wiped out the core of Vinland's army and left it exhausted. Though the army continued functioning right up until the 1632 Peace of Havna, the baton of premier Eastern Leifian military power had passed definitively to Álengiamark and Aniyunwiya.
Over a century later, the War of the League of Arcachon (1743-1752) was a different beast altogether. Primarily a naval war, the powerful Mexic navy began targeting Kalmar ships attempting to regain a dominance in the transatlantic trade which it had lost during the 17th century. Naval skirmishes were fought all the way from the Mexic to the Portuguese coasts. Mexica occupied Quisqueyanos in 1746 and from there planned to occupy Aismark and the rest of Myrland. This, however, drew in various European powers, most notably Portugal. A plan to invade Mexica by land was never fully-realised, however, and Mexica sued for peace after the fall of what would later be known as the King Rudolph Islands.
Vinlandic hubris would cause the next confrontation; the Vinlandic navy shelled the port of Tochpan attempting to cow the Mexic into reopening its ports to Vinlandic traders. Mexica, predictably, declared war on Vinland starting the Second Mexic-Leifia War (1774-1792). It pushed northward from the Inde lands swiftly overrunning the weak central states and even heading into Cree and Keewatin Territories. This had severe consequences as many of the eastern Leifian states and Kalmar states were beginning to rely on Nakotaland and its neighbours for supplies of wheat.
As a result of this 21 nations agreed an alliance with Vinland and declared war on Mexica. With better support and co-operation the coalition armies were able to secure the wheat producing lands in a huge campaign known as the 'Long March'. However, the Mexic armies were equally as well supported and the war was characterised by long marches across often hostile terrain as each side attempted to force the other into a dicisive pitched battle. The load was lightened by Chinese Leifia and its allies joining the war in 1790 but in reality it was famine that brought the war to a close as the armies had essentially destroyed the regular agricultural activity of most of the central Leifian states preventing the armies from conducting the war properly.
During the general 'Leifian Crisis' Mexica took advantage to swallow various unstable nations on its borders. In 1856 a group of Leifian nations led by Vinland finally delivered an ultimatum to Mexica warning them that no further border changes would be tolerated. Since then Mexica has largely preoccupied itself with the Tawantinsuyu border and Chinese Leifia, and the conflict in the south has largely frozen with both sides maintaining large forces on the borderlands.
Early Modern Vinland
In the wake of the Reformation in Vinland religious sentiment slowly hardened, culminating in the draconian policies of Freydis III. Puritanical thought almost completely wiped out all other religion and customs, while witchhunters scoured the land with impunity. The Althing eventually swung back to limiting royal power and most of Freydis III's extreme policies were undone by her daughter Greta I.
Conflict with Lakota over mastery of the plains to the west would lead to a whole raft of new states being setup and sponsored by Vinland. This quasi-empire with its potential agricultural wealth, alongside a considerable trading fleet, would help Vinland enter its so-called Golden Age.
This new-found manifested itself in a moneyed merchant class setting the pace for artwork, literature, and architecture as well as a willingness to send the army into foreign ventures. Serfdom would be abolished, near universal literacy achieved and religious freedoms confirmed.
This period of plenty would decline as its neighbours caught up, especially Álengiamark which, finally united under Herridr I, proved to be an economic powerhouse. Misguided attempts to course-correct would lead directly into the Second Mexic-Leifian War.
During the 1820s a general feeling of malaise hit Leifia. While Álengiamark struggled with financial ruin several other states overthrew their rulers and declared themselves republics.
For its part Vinland suffered a severe potato blight which struck the poorest farmers disproportionately. Almost half of Kyreyja and Eikland's population left their homes to move to the farmland and cities of Hafsvaedaland. The movement triggered a severe reaction from the previously dominant native peoples who found themselves suddenly outnumbered by the incomers. The Sauk revolt of 1824-5 was only defeated after several pitched battles and the burning of Saginaw. However, this was a localised revolt and unlike many of its neighbours Vinland never suffered a nationwide breakdown in law and order.
Instead it tried to restore order to its neighbors, beginning with the Vinlandic-Eriac War in 1835-6. While at home its politicians struggled to balance modernization and traditionalism without becoming too reactionary its armies were in action across Leifia; restoring regimes in Isanyathimark, Nitawahsinnanni, Baxojeyuh, Yesanland and Ugakhpaland. Aided by troops supplied by its European allies Vinland acted as guarantor for many regimes and indeed would eventually confront Mexica over its annexation of several faltering central Leifian states. The knowledge that Vinland would in effect step in if often autocratic monarchs ran into trouble stifled political development in many southern Leifian states and only make the eventual conflicts even more painful. Finally the doctrine fell apart as revolts and independence movements, followed by foreign support piled into Mvskokia during the Cotton Wars. How was Vinland meant to defend a regime which so blatantly ran contrary to the principles to which it adhered?
While the Cotton War raged in the south Vinland would wage a sporadic war with Japan over Lingit Aani (1904-1916) and has subsequently sponsored many projects meant to tie the many states together in the face of outside threats, preferring soft power over military shows of force.
Vinland built one of the first railway networks in Leifia having imported Danish-built locomotives in the early 1900s before building new designs more suited to the huge distances which needed to be covered. The Breidurass was first bridged upstream from Godifoss in 1923 physically linking Vinland with Álengiamark for the first time. The first crossing downstream of Godifoss was not until 1976, connecting Fjallasay with Abernakriga on the other side of the river. Vinland has been the driving force behind the Trans-Leifian railway which has done much to help the economy of the continent and tie the east and west coasts of Leifia together. Whilst this big project has largely been a success other projects like canal modernisation has been caught in spiralling costs.
The economy has been slowly geared toward an emerging welfare state which provides pensions for those no longer of working age, free healthcare for those who need it and basic housing for the destitute. This is supported by high taxes (some of the highest in Leifia) and while there have been some naysayers has already been shown to raise life expectancy.
Government & Politics
Vinland's Althing government is the template for many other Leifian states.
There are 559 members of the Althing, made up of a single representative from each county. These range from the vast but virtually empty Norrland and Greenland counties to the small but densely-populated sub-divisions of Fjallasay. The Prime Minister is Arnór Magnusson.
Vinland is divided into ten Fylkír. They are the top level administrative divisions. Below them are the counties.
List of Queens of Vinland Although the title of Queen is passed matrilinealy through the Eiriksdottír family the Althing has always had final say on their election. The right of election and of the firm split between the royal family's executive power and the Althing's legislative power was agreed as a condition of Thorey I's coronation and has reconfirmed various times since then.
Traditionally queens could be chosen from any of the front ranking female members of any of the Eiriksson earl families, though in practice they preferred to secure the succession of their closest relative. The Althing has only imposed its will three times, electing Asdis II in defiance of the then ruling queen Kristjana V, choosing the placid Thyri over her more tempestuous cousins in 1280 and electing the Alkafuglaeyjarsk Lára in 1790 when there were two other candidates much closer to home (though both were barely out of the cradle).
Compared to most European monarchies the royal family is not particularly ostentatious and the crown is not independently wealthy. Instead its funds are largely derived from the holdings of the Earl families.
Vinland maintains a standing army of 280,000, roughly the 4th largest in Leifia.
A large airship division is also maintained, with new improved versions being debuted almost every year.
The Vinlandic census of 2010 gave a current population of 9,794,100 with almost a third under the age of 15. Vinland has a large birth rate, currently at 4.8 and the life expectancy is around 63 years.
Most Vinlanders (76.8%) consider themselves Norse i.e. they have clear and often well-documented ancestry from Scandinavia. There is 3.1% who identify with other European nations, 5.7% with other Leifian nations and the remainder (14.4%) who identify with indigenous Vinlandic tribes such as the Sauk.
Most Vinlanders approve of the government's restrictions on immigration and a strict limit of 2500 citizenships are available each year. Migrants must meet certain requirements either in qualifications or being financially solvent. Most immigration comes from Kalmar nations.
It is mandatory for children to be schooled between the ages of seven and 14 and the government provides free schooling. Literacy rates are estimated at 85%. The government does not provide schools for higher education and therefore attendance is limited to those who can afford the fees. Specialist technical colleges subsidized by industry and the military are, however, available for those who can pass the rigorous entrance exams.
Vinlandic is a recognisably Nordic language mutually intelligible to Icelandic and Faroese, though less so to Danish or Svealandic. It absorbed a lot of native and Cornish words during the first century of settlement but its inherent grammar has not altered (unlike Álengsk).
The original languages of Vinland, Eikland, Markland and Lucayanaeyjar have disappeared and are only now present in place names. Elsewhere many native languages remain spoken in small pockets. They are officially recognised in various counties and schools are permitted to teach them as a second language.
The other large language of Vinland is Hafsvaedish. It is a hybrid of Vinlandic and various strands of Algonquin dialects and spoken by some 300,000 people in Sud-Hafsvaedaland.
Greenlandic or Kalaallisuut is term given to the native language of the Inuit Greenlanders and is not related to Nordic at all. The language of the Nordic Greenlanders is barely different to Icelandic and is recognised as a separate dialect. Both languages are given equal right alongside Vinlandic in the Fylk of Greenland.
Vinlandic names follow the old naming Norse system (also shared with Iceland and Álengiamark). Briefly, the child takes the father's name as its last name, appending -sson or -dottír depending on their sex. These do not alter with marriage as they do in most European countries.
Most forenames are Norse in origin though native names and more general European names are also popular and growing in usage.
Therefore, the Prime Minister is named Arnór Magnusson after his father Magnus Birgirsson. His sister, the well respected naturalist and philanthropist, is named Thyri Magnusdottír.
However, many familes who can trace their ancestry back to the original settlement (including the royal family) also use an overriding family name, often of that of their ancestral settler.
Hence Queen Kristjana IX's full name is Kristjana Arlín Sofía Svenný Elisiv Eiriksdottír Reynirsdottír.
This convention has become increasingly popular amongst newer settlers who often use the name of their first traceable Vinlandic ancestor to give their new family name. Hence the opposition leader Marteinn Koitsson Thorfinnsson can trace his ancestry back to the 19th century when his ancestor, Koit Uluots emigrated from Estonia.
Agriculture and Cuisine
Vinland shares many features with Iceland and other North-Eastern Leifian states when it comes to food.
The early settlers of the Eastern maritime Fylkír relied on three staples: Fish, Dairy and Lamb. Whilst most of the population lived by the coast and were farmholders they could afford to have a small flock of sheep, one or two cattle and a crop of wheat, fishing in the periods between harvesting. Livestock was generally more valuable alive than dead, to produce milk and cheese as well as wool and leather, but young rams and lame sheep were often killed for feasts. Horse, incredibly valuable in the early settlement period, was rarely eaten. More often seabirds were killed to provide meat.
Fish tended to be dried out and cured in smokehouses or pickled in lactic acid. Herbs and salt were little used but the discovery of chili on contact with the Mexica would provide a new flavour to otherwise plain dishes. Untold thousands of tonnes of dried chili were imported northward until the 1st Mexic-Leifian War disrupted supplies and a hardy variety was successfully growth in the North. Alternative sources of spice slowly appeared as first Portugal traded pepper and cloves, then in the late 1700s Vinland setup its own trading stations in Africa and India to feed demand.
Contact with the more settled tribes to the south introduced other crops to the Vinlandic garden; maize, squash and beans. In the early medieval period the climate was milder and wheat and vegetables could be grown easily. Before crop rotation was imported from Europe, these three crops would be farmed together in the traditional Abernaki way; the maize providing support for the beans, while the squash provided ground cover to stop weeds. To this mix was added potatoes brought up from Tawantinland. This hardy root vegetable could be grown almost anywhere and led to the first real population boom in Leifia. It was common for farmers to keep one or two sheep, goats or pigs and some geese or ducks, along with an ox to assist with ploughing. Large herds of cattle could only be afforded by the richest. The ishak became a popular farmed bird in Álengiamark, though never really caught on in Vinland.
As the medieval climate worsened agriculture became almost impossible on the island of Vinland, and the country as a whole began to rely more on Hafsvaedaland for wheat and other cereals. Trade between the two halves of Vinland became mainly food based, the interior providing cereals and fruit and vegetables, the maritime fylkír providing cured fish and meat.
Reindeer is a highly prized part of the Vinlandic diet. However, large-scale farming of semi-domesticated herds would not really take off until the mid-1750s. Even now Vinland imports most of its Reindeer meat from Keewatin, Cree, Ojibwe or Algonquinland which have large migratory herds. Beef is also mostly imported, largely from the central Leifian states on the plains. Vinland's herds are mainly dairy.
While at home, dark and dense rye or barley bread is traditional, lighter mass-produced wheat bread is steadily providing the backbone for another population boom. It is largely imported from Nakotaland and other plains nations.
Rum is Vinland's national drink, having become popular after the annexation of the Lucayanaeyjar, while even the smallest villages have a brewery making beer.
The Omsátriny Hátíd, literally 'Siege Feast', commemorates the relief of Fjallasay on 27th March 1500 during the Great Northern War. On the Friday closest to the anniversary Vinlandic families gather to celebrate the end of the war and the end of winter.
Traditionally the meal consists of lamb or reindeer meat, cured and flavoured with a blend of chili and spices, served with potatoes or squash and dark ryebread. A squash pie is the usual desert.
Flag & Coat of Arms
Vinland's flag, a blue and white Scandinavian Cross, was adopted in the early 15th century after Danish diplomats attended the 1st Congress of Fjallasay and presented various Danish symbols of state to Queen Snaedis II. Blue represents the Sea and the Briedurass, the white represents (variously) the people, the north or democracy.
The Coat of Arms show a lion on the Vinlandic colours. It is said to represent the grip Vinland has on Leifia to the West whilst looking over its shoulder to Scandinavia in the East. This dates from the 16th century when Vinland and Hordaland's conflicting interests in the North Atlantic were beginning to clash.