Colonial Army (Themiclesia)

(Redirected from Themiclesian Port Corps)
Colonial Army
Active1321 (1321)–1805 (1805)
CountryThemiclesia
Typemainly land forces
Sizeup to 40,000
Part ofMinistry of Commerce
Nickname(s)Provincials
Motto(s)Secretary of State for Appropriations (to 1412)
Minister of the Left (to 1622)
Secretary of State for Commerce (1622–1798)
Secretary of State for the Navy (to 1805)
Mascot(s)Owl
Anniversaries16th day of 2nd month (lunisolar)
Engagements

The Colonial Army or Port Corps (阜人, pju’-njing) was a group of standing armies that Themiclesia maintained during the middle ages to the early 19th century to protect and enlarge her colonial possessions in both Meridia and Hemithea. The Colonial Army no longer exists, but parts of them have evolved into the Camian Army, Navy, Themiclesian Army, Marine Corps, and Customs Service, and other civil and military organizations.

The term "Port Corps" was coined by Casaterrans in the 17th century; while common in some circles, it is losing favour to the term "Colonial Army" as a functionally superior translation.

Name

The Colonial Army's name in Shinasthana is pju′-njing (阜人), which means "plateau people", referring to its habit of defending a settlement by digging a moat around it and then elevating the area within with the excavated soil.

The name Port Corps cannot be attributed to any single source, but Tyrannians may have given this name to the Colonial Army witnessing their "porting" from place to place by canoe or riverboat. The act of carrying a canoe overhead between bodies of water was called portage. Since the mid-20th century, the term "Colonial Army" was proposed as the more appropriate for this organization. While some scholars believe that these forces were too disparate to share a single title, Themiclesian administrative law nevertheless regarded them as legally part of the hierarchy organization, Pass Marshal (備塞尉, brjegh-segh-′judh), and there are deep similarities between the divergent parts of the same department.

History

Early history

Themiclesia's colonial activities, of both military and civilian character, occasioned the creation of the Colonial Army. Having established trading outposts along the coast and interior of Columbia during the 6th and 7th century, it was necessary to defend them against hostile groups. At this time, Themiclesia had no standing army. Since there were no Themiclesian settlers in the area, raising a militia for its defence was impracticable. The home militia was not sent to defend these outposts because militiamen generally expected to contribute service for only ten days to half a month per annum, and those tenanted to local gentry required them to work on fields at other times. Rather than stationing a large and expensive militia along the trade routes, the Department of Passes ordered the construction of a series of fortifications that would permit a smaller number of soldiers to defend (or at least maintain a defensible position in) an expansive area.

During the restored Meng dynasty, the Department of Passes maintained full control over these fortifications as part of its jurisdiction over trade routes and their control and taxation. Surviving records do not clarify who the earliest soldiers stationed in these fortifications were, but it is likely they were earliest professional soldiers to be fielded by Themiclesia. The fortifications were logistically grouped into the East, West, and South Divisions.[1] Each Division was paired with a circuit of the Navy for periodic refurbishments in men and supplies.

Early modern era

Around the 10th century, there were about 40 fortifications continental Columbia and the southern part of Nukkumaa. At the same time, Themiclesia's colonial activities also commenced in Portcullia and the northern coast of Meridia. Until the defeat of the Battle of Portcullia in 1323, the Department of Passes had four under-secretaries, which suggests that the Colonial Army was divided into four parts. At this point, the maintenance of trade routes had transmuted from a financial matter to a military one; however, matters relating to the Colonial Army were still read by the Secretary of State for Appropriations. In 1543, the Council of Correspondence created a new position over commerce (商部尚書, hme’-be’-djang’-st’ja), who managed the country's naval and overseas activities. Temporarily, this office was jointly held with that of the Minister of the Left and Foreign Secretary (左僕射祠部商部尚書), but since the 1600s Commerce has generally been a separate portfolio. While some authors translate this title as Navy Secretary in view of the fact that Themiclesia's naval fleets were under its responsibility, this is misleading, as the portfolio included civilian and financial affairs abroad.

18th century & Maverican Campaign

The 17th century had little in store for the Port Corps, but the following one was to stretch them to their limits and develop new roles in them. In 1680, the Gramuchi Empire of Maverica suddenly collapsed under Ostlandic rebellion. Themiclesia had, around 1600, concluded a treaty with the Gramuchi Empire to have condominium over what is today Maverica north of the Arantzean Mountains; however, the Gramuchi Empire exploited the Ostlandic settlers, prompting them to appeal for assistance from Themiclesia. Rather than going against treaty and outright supporting the Ostlandic rebels, Themiclesia committed to not helping the Gramuchi Empire in exchange for sovereignty over the part of Maverica north of Arantzean. Hailed as a diplomatic victory and bloodless conquest, amidst defeat left, right, and centre in Columbia, Themiclesia attempted to and was frustrated by establishing a form of government over the new territories. The locals being a creole society between Ostlandians and Gramuchans, customs prevented Themiclesia from using its normal, civil government over them. In a "remarkable example of parallel thinking", eight of seventeen camps of the Port Corps were sent to take control of the major towns in the area. The Port Corps seemed especially appropriate for this task as it resembled their canonical one of enforcing order in the Columbian wilderness two centuries ago.

Far from being a relaxation of tension as the Ostlandic colonists hoped, the Port Corps were ordered to collect an assortment of taxes and to enforce an alien regimen of laws that deeply disturbed the Ostlandic settlers. Though the Themiclesian court may have intended, eventually, to install civil government in the region, such plans were not announced locally. The precise cause for Themiclesia's reticence in restoring civil rule has been debated; one theory states that, due to the lack of acknowledged gentry (who were entitled to a range of privileges) in the region and the use of military force, tax collection was far simpler and more efficient. Such a view gains credence when considered together with the fact that the Port Corps was controlled, ultimately, by the Secretary of State for Appropriations.

Whatever the plans of the government, the Director of Markets, via the Port Corps he controlled, governed northern Maverica uninterrupted for 70 years. The refusal to translate the Penal Code and Administrative Orders, two fundamental legal codices into Ostlandic, had in the mean time created a class of Ostlandic and Gramuchan individuals literate in Shinasthana to voice local concerns. When petitions fell on deaf ears, local pamphlets began to circulate a combination of true and imagined actions by the Port Corps that led to public outrage. In 1757, this triggered a co-ordinated revolt with Ostlandians and Gramnucans in coalition, whereas the two had previously been in a state of tension. Through a variety of "low and evil devices", as described by Maverican historian R. G. Schlutz, such as taking civilians hostage in a walled city to hold the rebels outside at bay, while re-inforcements arrived, the Port Corps made alarming headway. When the rebels sought to seek the assistance of the Tyrannians, the South Sea Fleet immediately blockaded all port cities on the coastline; the Marine Corps also participated in this campaign by physically taking the port cities to prevent any egress. In 1759, the revolt was suppressed.

Before, however, the Themiclesian government was able to exact any veneance on the rebels, Paulus Gulstork, a Ostlandic-Gramuchan arrived at the capital city to find the war highly unpopular in Themiclesia. Through shrewd negotiations and information on the Prime Minister's opponents of the sanguine reality and the underhanded tactics employed by the Port Corps, the Themiclesian court's own friction came to a head in 1760. The Prime Minister was forced to resign to take responsibility for the "awful atrocity" of the war. When Gulstork further displayed the remains of who he claimed were "innocent children caught in the crossfire or deliberately killed to terrorize the locals", the court decided to execute the entire family of the resigned premier, whose inhumane acts were thought to have attracted divine punishment in the form of the drought. The Secretary of State for Appropriations (who actually directed the entire campaign) resigned and disapperaed from public life. The next prime minister further remitted 25 years of land tax from Maverica and guaranteed local government, by which the Port Corps lost its primary function.


Ranks

Prior to their merger with the Marines, the Port Corps possessed their own rank structure, which still reflected their use as a colonial force earlier in history.

Shinasthana Translation Typical duty Notes
Original Transliteration
阜正 pju′-tjengh Fort Principal General responsibility in fortification
阜典事 pju′-ten′-dzrje′ Master of the Fort Civil duties
阜長吏 pju′-drjang-rjegh Senior Clerk Supervision of armoury
阜人率 pju′-njing-srjudh Commander of the Fort Troops Senior commander of troops
僉領阜人 kljam-rjing′-pju′-njing Associate Commander Deputy of above
阜人卒帥 pju′-njing-s′ut-shwrjis Fort Captain Command of a 120-man unit
阜人隊長 pju′-njing-tuih-drjang′ Fort Squad Leader Command of the 30-man unit
阜長卒 pju′-drjang-s′ut Able Soldier Soldier with more than 6 years' experience
阜卒 pju′-s′ut Fort Soldier Ordinary soldier

Structure

Culture

As a matter of principle, many scholars accept that the culture of the Colonial Army can be gleamed from practices found in the Camian Army, which is the direct descendant of the independent Columbian branch of the Colonial Army. The consistent spirit of the Colonial Army, whether in the Meridian branch of the Columbian branch, is the celebration of their status as outcasts, exiles from the metrepole, particularly its complex and overbearing set of rules in decorum, ethical orthodoxy, or cultural expression. Some of the force's practices can be interpreted as opposites of what normal Themiclesians would be expected to do.

Uniforms

The uniforms of the Columbian Colonial Army are initially based on Themiclesian labour camp clothes, as its first soldiers were camp inmates who have accepted 20 years of military service in exchange for freedom. Inmates' clothes in Themiclesia was uniformly issued, contributing to its use as a military uniform when its members became soldiers. For cultural reasons, most Themiclesians did not wear solid black, and prisoners were thus issued solid black clothes to be distinguished in the event of escape. The cultural value of prisoners' clothes may be a conceptual extension of the force, as prisoners of a different condition. As these soldiers were not militiamen with normal, productive lives, the authorities issued clothes more extensively than did militia units, which were expected to furnish their own attire. Since the soldiers already wore black, many items were also issued in black, which became the force's emblematic colour. Black spread from clothing to footwear and hats, which were not black in inmates' garb: black boots and felt hats were preferred, even though other colours were available. Cultural historians have commented that the colour of unfreedom in Themiclesia became, ironically, the colour of freedom in her colonies.

The upper body garment of the Columbian branch consisted of a black, round-necked, knee-length tunic, opening on the wearer's right. This style flourished in Themiclesia for centuries; its simplicity rendered it appropriate for inmates' clothes, which were made by workshops employing inmates. Its popularity meant that similar tunics were donned by militiamen and the navy's marines, though the Colonial Army characteristically thrusts the tunic's skirt into their trousers, which may have been imitative of the Casaterran custom of tucking shirts into pantaloons. Such a practice was unusual in Themiclesia. The vest, which would be worn under the tunic in Themiclesia, is worn over it by the Colonial Army, a common practice during the 15th and 16th centuries. The sleeves of the tunic would be gathered up by a leather wrist guard. Two pairs of trousers were worn, the outer with an open crotch covered by overlapping panels, and the inner with a closed one. A belt wound over the wearer's waist, secured by a belt-buckle, and then loosely went around again, knotted at the back. Metal fittings on the belt allowed pouches holding money, shots, daggers, etc., to be suspended from it. The cap was felt, with an upturned rim. Boots were made of blackened leather, with leather laces around ankles.

The Meridian force, though originally wearing similar garments, quickly adapted to the tropical climate. They abandoned the vest, tunic, and outer trousers entirely. The inner trousers were cut to knee-length, while the under-tunic was also shortened to thigh-length. Additionally, the long sleeves of the under-tunic was also gathered up by a tape running from one sleeve through to another, then tied on the wearer's back. By varying the string's free length, sleeve length could be adjusted; at the tightest, the tunic resembled a sleeveless vest. The string was called a "tea tape", often worn by Themiclesians while making tea, that their baggy sleeves would not fall and interfere. Boots were discarded for sandals. Of what is not removed, the belt was preserved in full, as it was apparently quite useful for musketeers and swordsmen alike. Visiting Themiclesians on multiple occasions noted they appeared to be in undergarments.

Notes

  1. There is no relationship with the division as a modern military formation.

See also