Grandelumiere, officially the Empire of Grandelumiere, is the second largest state within Europe, after Russian Tsardom, it's traditional enemy. Its territory expands from La Manche to the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Sea to the Alps. It also covers the Low Countries and parts of the southern Germanic territories. There is also territories held in the New World, spanning across the north of the continent, aptly named, New Grandelumiere.
The Government of the nation is one of an aristocratic elite, headed by an absolute monarch. The largest city in the Empire is Paris, however, the capital city is Dijon. Dijon is the historical capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, the predecessor state of the Empire. The Empire has a total population of 40,700,000.
Grandelumiere grew from Burgundy, annexing half of the Low Countries, southern states of the Holy Roman Empire, and France. Grandelumiere was struck in the 16th century with the Century of Death, a series of conflicts within the ruling family for the throne, and religious fanaticism.
Main articles: The history of Grandelumiere
The last Duc de Bourgogne (Duke of Burgundy), Philippe, died on the 21st of November, 1361. Charles, who was a member of House Lowell, had married a cousin of Philippe and thus claimed the ducal throne. He thus founded the branch of Lowell-Burgundy, which would go on to outlast it's parent house, House Lowell (which would die out in 1452, the last Lord Lowell would die in combat during the Decade of Strife, serving Marie's brother, Henri de Valois). France also laid claim to Bourgogne, under Jean II le Bon of France. Jean was a captive of the Hundred Years' War, however, and as a result was not present for the battles between the French knights and the Burgundians.
Dijon was put under siege for 2 weeks in mid-December, the furthest the French crept into Burgundy territory. They were repulsed by a relief group, which returned from the north to free Dijon. Most of the fighting took place on the front lines, led by the Comte de Nevers, a Vassal of the Duke. Many other knights battled under these lords and infantrymen served willingly to repulse the French. For the most part, these lords succeeded in keeping the French at bay but did not make many major gains.
Charles de Bourgogne had married Isabelle de France years before his claim to the Ducal throne. Isabelle, surprisingly to both sides, supported Charles. She had wanted more than to be a simple Lady of Lowell, and this gave her the opportunity to gain her own title.
For 2 more years, the fighting continued between the two sides until 24th of August, 1363, which was now named Empire Day (originally named Burgundian Day, and celebrated primarily in the Duchy of Burgundy). They elevated the Duchy of Burgundy to a Kingdom shortly thereafter, becoming the Kingdom of Grandelumiere. This name was in reference to God, as the Great Light, claiming God had led them to victory.
Wars continued between the two for a time after this, claiming new territory for Grandelumiere including, Bar, Belfort, Comtois, Forez, Langres, Lorraine, Lyon, Sancerre and Vosges.
In 1392, Marie I, who had married Louis de Baviera, was forced by the Dukes of her nation to make her husband co-sovereign, as they did not wish for a woman to rule them. This legislation made it law that, though women may indeed inherit the throne, they would be forced to take their husbands as co-sovereigns. In 1439, on the 76th anniversary of the Kingdom, Charles II proclaimed the Kingdom an Empire, crowning himself Emperor with the archbishops.
From 1442 until 1453, the Empire suffered a civil war between Marie II and her brother Henri, known as the Decade of Strife. Henri, the younger brother of Marie, wanted the throne and had encouraged nobles to support him in removing his sister and removing the laws on succession. This was only ended when Marie gave her brother Valois, Henri thus founded the House of Lowell-Valois. Just over a decade later, Marie's successor, Elisabeth, would rule as Paris was captured and annexed in 1466.
In 1497 under Louis V France would be completely defeated and subdued by the Grandelummierian forces under various knights and noblemen, bar some minor southern territories. The only major former French dominions left would be the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Duchy of Provence.
From 1499 until 1608 marked the Century of Death, a period of extreme volatility within the Empire as members of the ruling House, Lowell-Burgundy murdered their way to the throne, killing relatives in order to claim the position of sovereign. It started with Marie III who, at 14 years of age, had her father executed by noblemen, who hoped to control a young impressionable Empress. She also exercised religious fanaticism in the execution of the Jewish population.
Religious zealotry would overtake the nation, culminating in the Cardinal Louis, who would poison his 1st cousin once removed, Empress Marie V, who was only 13, to take the throne as Louis VII. He had held the position of Grand Inquisitor and Imperial Chancellor beforehand, and now as Emperor strengthened the Inquisition. His excessive zealotry saw to the death of thousands of non-Catholics during his reign until his nephew, the future Louis VIII had him executed in a coup. Louis VII was the last victim of the Century of Death, as Louis VIII died naturally of a stroke, and was succeeded by his son.
Empress Anne granted her younger brother, Louis Philippe, the Principality of Brittany, in order to avoid any further complications as had been faced between Marie II and her brother Henri, or a repeat of the Century of Death. Louis would go on to found House Lowell-Brittany.
The powerful Cardinal Vosges came to power in the mid 17th century until the early 18th century.
The 18th century was dominated by the rule of one sovereign, Louis XI, excluding a five-year period in which his sister, Sophie, acted as regent for the Empire. During this time there has been 2 rebellions, the second of which, lasted from 1741 until 1742. Dijon in this time was burnt down and rebuilt. In 1751, the Emperor would declare war on Savoy, resulting in the 5 Years War, which dragged on for some time until 1755, when the tide turned in favour of the Empire, and Savoy's mainland holdings were annexed. Soon after, Genoa was found to be sending diplomats to the Italian states to encourage support for the exiled Savoyards. In retaliation, the Imperial Forces invaded in 1757, taking Genoa with little trouble. However, the naval assault on Genovese Corsica proved difficult but would eventually be taken by force. The final war fought in the South East was the invasion of Switzerland. There is no known prior conflict between the two. Just prior to New Year, the Sun Emperor died and was followed by his grandson, Louis XII.
During the reigns of Louis XII, Louis XIII and Charles VIII, revolution was widespread, and the revolutionary army conquered much new territory. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was captured, along with much Germany States. Following the revolution, the Emperor Louis XIV was unwilling to restore these rich new territories and fought wars to maintain their hold.
Location and Borders
The Empire is on the west coast of continental Europe, bordering the Atlantic ocean to the immediate west, Spain to the south-west, the Mediterranean sea to the south, Austria in the east, the Holy Roman Empire stretching from the north-east. It is one of the largest nations of Europe, with only the Russia exceeding its size. The Empire lies in the temperate zone of Europe, suffering neither harsh summers nor winters.
It has many overseas colonies within the West Indies, the New World and Oriental territories. The main colonies are those of New Grandelumiere, in the northern American continent.
The mainland has numerous landscapes due to its size, from vast forests within the central body of the state to the mountainous regions, the Pyrenees and Alps, and coastal plains in the north and west.
There are many rivers within the state such as the Seine, Loire, Rhone etc.
The state is organised into a series of territories which are administered by their own regional nobility. These are organised between Baronies, Counties, Marquisates, Duchies and Principalities. There are several Imperial Cities which are exempt from control by the nobility and controlled by the state. The most notable being Dijon.
These territories are otherwise all aligned to a House. There are three Greater Houses, to which each has clientele Houses, which are Houses who serve their Lord. There are in all ninety-nine territories within the state.
Foreign colonies are either managed by viceroys, such as New Grandelumiere (which is officially named the Viceroyalty of New Grandelumiere) or overseen by trading companies, such as the West Brittany Trading Company.
The Empire of Grandelumiere is a traditionally absolute monarchy, with an elite aristocracy. The aristocracy take on positions within the government, which are exempt to commoners. Though the sovereign is the absolute monarch of the nation, the various nobles have the right to advise. Succession within the empire follows absolute primogeniture, meaning females are just as likely to inherit. First born children are automatically heirs.
The monarch is assisted by the Petit Conseil, literally Small Council, which is made up of several positions. These positions are all Chancellors who oversee various departments. The positions of the council are; Lord Chancellor of Court, Lord Chancellor of Defence, Lord Chancellor of Finance, Lord Chancellor of Foreign affairs, Lord Chancellor of Justice, Lord Chancellor of Labour, Imperial Chancellor, and Crown Cardinal.
Below the Petit Conseil is the Grand Conseil, literally Large Council. This council is made up of committees which work for the various Chancellors of the Petit Conseil, or those working for the Crown Cardinal.
The courts operate under the Inquisitorial System, whereby judges, both secular and ecclesiastic actively take part in investigating the case, and question both suspects and witnesses to gather facts. They may then base their findings and, if guilty, punishments based on this.
The law is heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, the single most powerful institution in the Empire. The Inquisition functions within the state and is actively involved in crimes against the church, such as heresy. Clerics are tried in ecclesiastic courts, trialled by other clerics.
Secular courts are administered by the Lord Chancellor of Justice, who appoints all judges. Judges oversee all non-heretical crimes, or crimes not involving clerics.
New laws are passed through by the Estates-General.
The Imperial Armed Forces of His/Her Majesty the Emperor/Empress are the military forces of the Empire, with the sovereign as the supreme commander of the forces. They consist of the Armée Impériale de Grandelumiere (Imperial Army of Grandelumiere)and the Marine Impériale de Grandelumiere (Imperial Navy of Grandelumiere).
The army is also responsible for law enforcement within the various cities and crowd control. There is no official police force and as such the army arrests those who break the law and patrol the streets.
The armed forces are overall seen to by the Lord Chancellor of Defence. The LCoD selects two members onto the Grand Conseil. These positions are the Maréchal Général des Armées de l'Empereur (Marshal General of the Armies of the Emperor) and the Grand-Amiral de la Marine de l'Empereur (Grand Admiral of the Navy of the Emperor).
The military contains a Commissariat, which is responsible for political propaganda within the army. Traditionally this post is held by clerics.
In addition to holding the commissariat, the Inquisition of Grandelumiere also holds the right to take authority over Imperial armed forces from generals in the case of persuing/arresting/punishing heretics.
Common citizens are all charged a flat tax of 30 livre d'or. In all, 80% of this revenue goes towards the state, while 20% of this goes to the Lord who owns the land.
There is a gabelle of salt, grain, wine and tea. The Catholic church collects tithes from the people to support itself.
The Empire has five major cities; Paris, Dijon, Nassau, Amsterdam and Lyon. However, the majority of the.population lives in rural areas of the empire.
The main language of the court is French, a romance language derived from Latin. However, Latin is used frequently by both the government and church. French is used encouraged within the colonies of the empire. French has been, from the 17th century, the main language of all European politics, and a major language for the educated classes to learn.
However, of the 27 million citizens, only roughly 3 million speak French natively. The remaining members speak various regional languages, such as German, Breton, Occitan, Alsatian etc.
The religion of the Empire is Catholic. This is the only legal religion of the Empire, for natives. Foreigners staying within the Empire are not forced to follow Catholicism. Protestant churches are outlawed like all other religions.
Historically, protestants have always been suppressed by the state, particularly during the Century of Death. Protestantism is considered one of the biggest threats to the crown as it stands, even in the current era, as the sovereign is anointed by the Catholic church. Those who reject Catholicism, reject their sovereign, is the official position of the sovereign.
The Church is the most important and powerful establishment within the Empire. It is exempt from taxation, has the right to collect tithes (a major tax), represent themselves in government and to anoint their sovereign. Grandelumiere's government is heavily influenced by the church.
The church sees to both education and health care in Grandelumiere. Clerics teach both commoners and nobles alike, and the poor and homeless are assisted by the monasteries and abbeys. Hospitals are essentially purely church run, except for surgeons.