War of the Arucian
|War of the Arucian|
Combattimento della cannoniera Aquila, 1910
Aquinas Treaty Powers
|Commanders and leaders|
Jean-Charles de Hénin-Liétard
Bernhart zu Sayn-Wittgenstein
Denis de Vite
Piet van Kyl
P.W. van Rensburg
Percival R. Fairfax
Flaminio di Pirajno
|Casualties and losses|
TBA killed in action
TBA died of wounds
TBA died of disease
TBA killed in action
TBA died of wounds
TBA died of disease
20,000 killed or wounded
2,000 killed in action
3,000 died of disease
The War of the Arucian was a conflict fought in the Asterias from 1883 to 1884. The war was fought between the allied nations of Marirana and Aucuria on one side, and the Gaullican dominions of Satucin and Sanslumière (along with Nuvania) on the other. Up until the Great War it was considered the largest and bloodiest war in the Asterias, and it remains a major episode in cross-Arucian relations.
The acrimonious divergence of foreign policy between Gaullica and its imperial dominions in the Asterias prompted by the 1875 Voclain crisis caused administrations in the New World to conclude that these dominions, particularly Satucin, had assumed the status of quasi-independent states. The ensuing shift in diplomatic attitudes towards these states led to certain countries to reassert their long-held territorial claims to Gaullican territory; Marirana had claimed sovereignty over the Îles de Claude (Etrurian: Isoles di Smeraldo) since the colonial era (which controlled access to the Arucian Strait), and Vilcasuamanas eagerly hoped to exploit disputed land in the Scythian rainforest. After the Dominion of Satucin unilaterally took over Gaullica's responsibilities on the Claudian Isles, Mariranan King Pietro Ferdinando added a secret protocol to the Pacifico-Petrosiumas Treaty of 1880, forming a clandestine alliance with Vilcasuamanas against Satucin.
War broke out in 1883, with Marirana accusing Satucin of violating Gaullican treaty obligations and calling on Aucuria to honor the alliance with a declaration of war. In two simultaneous victories, the Nazionale Marina successfully knocked out the small Satucine Naval Service, and a Vilcasuamanian fleet surprised and destroyed the Royal Gaullican Navy fleet at Découverte, allowing for a swift occupation of the Gaullican dependency of Sanslumière. This, however, inadvertently triggered the Gaullica's own secret treaty with the Estmerish dominion of Nuvania, which had long had designs on the rich saltpeter deposits of the western mountains. Nuvania's entry into the war in late 1883 led to a chaotic Vilcasuamanian retreat from Satucin, which allowed the dominion to concentrate its effort on regaining control of the straits. The Gaullican South Vehemens Squadron arrived in the Arucian in late 1883, throwing the antiquated allied navies into disarray and allowing for the catastrophic destruction of the Mariranan fleet in January 1884. With naval control of the Arucian secured, Vilcasuamanas was forced to withdraw from Sanslumière, and Gaullica prepared to mount an invasion of Marirana proper.
A Gallo-Satucine expeditionary force was able to land in the coastal provinces of Ritaldi and Vittico, occupying them by the summer of 1884. As the imperial armies neared Aquinas, King Pietro Ferdinando was ousted by General Joaquim Durão, who hastily sued for peace. Now alone in the conflict, Aucuria faced the combined might of Nuvania and the Gaullican Empire, as well as fearing that Estmere might intervene on behalf of its self-governing colony. Similar instability in Aucuria led to the collapse of Chancellor Mikalojus Žasinas' government. The new military government pledged to continue the fight, declaring a "war of national preservation", but failed to repel the Nuvanian invaders at Uamadžukos. Faced with the imminent collapse of social order, Chancellor Girenas Silvistravičius was forced to sign the Treaty of Soleil Couchant, officially ending hostilities.
The war is commonly regarded as a failed attempt to decisively realign the geopolitical dynamics of Asteria, with both allies hoping to take a dominant role in their respective continent. Political figures in the allied countries characterized it as an attempt to confront continued Euclean imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, which was widely seen as a malicious anachronism by the independent Asterian states of the late-19th century. The defeat of the allies, however, caused drastic consequences: Marirana reformed into the Fourth Republic ousting the monarchy for the final time, while Vilcasuamanas was thrown into a period of civil war that would not end until the restoration of civilian rule in 1888. As for the victors, both Satucin and Nuvania made substantial territorial gains, particularly at the expense of Vilcasuamanas, that would contribute to the turn-of-the-century economic boom in these countries. The victory gave Nuvania the impetus to conclusively declare their independence from Estmere, which had been criticized for failing to defend their self-governing colony. Conversely, however, the Verlois Conference of 1885 restored the strong imperial relationship between Gaullica and its dominions in the Asterias, establishing the principle of "self-government in one nation" which would not be seriously challenged until the Great War.
- 1 Background
- 2 Course of the war
- 3 Aftermath and consequences
The Asterias were plagued by widespread border conflicts between the different states and the colonial powers; many of the territorial disputes originated from the initial colonization and exploration of the continent, which had never been subject to a clear demarcation by the colonial powers. Even attempts to at official demarcation were unsuccessful, as rarely were disputes bilateral in nature — three or four different nations often had overlapping claims of differing natures.
Marirana and Vilcasuamanas were the only two independent republics on the Arucian Sea, having successfully rebelled against Poveglia in 1714 and Ruttland in 1793, respectively. Both had long-standing territorial claims over territory nominally claimed by the Empire of Gaullica. Marirana held the Îles de Claude (Etrurian: Isoles di Smeraldo, consisting of the modern-day Satucine provinces of Parane and Îles d'Emeraude, as well as the Gaullican Îles Malouines) were rightfully Mariranan, stemming from a series of Poveglian landings in the 17th century they held were dubiously codified in the text of the Treaty of Savona. Vilcasuamanas, for its part, argued that the transfer of the remote, unexploited Rorime region (Ruttish: Rorimas) by Ruttland to Gaullican Satucin, after the crushing of the Weranic Revolution, was unlawful.
Gaullica, for its part, claimed that the Kupliauskas Voivodeship of Vilcasuamanas (which had also been transferred after the Weranic Revolution, but remained occupied by ethnic Rutts) was legally Satucine, and further eyed the Sitija Territory (Gaullican: Ouest Scythie) for its vast, unexploited rainforests. Estmere claimed the Leopoldos Voivodeship as part of their dependency of Nuvania, based on conflicting interpretations of the course of the Aporimakas River (Hennish: Aboremaak). Both Estmere and Gaullica were largely uninterested in pursuing these claims, though their self-governing colonies agitated for action to be taken.
With the exception of Leopoldos (Weranic-speaking) and the Îles de Claude, the disputed territories were largely scarcely populated, settled by indigenous tribes with little allegiance to either party and in some cases were outright hostile to both. Thus, joint survey expeditions to officially demarcate boundaries were costly and, with little political willpower by the Euclean powers, unlikely to produce meaningful results. Nevertheless, both Marirana and Vilcasuamanas refused to individually submit their claims to international arbitration, fearing that the Euclean arbitrators would be biased in their decisions.
Break in Gaullican imperial relations
As a result of the Amicable War, the 1846 Articles of Union had transformed Satucin from several squabbling colonies into a united dominion capable of challenging Gaullica's authority in the Asterias. Politics in Satucin largely centred around two parties, the Xofelles, and the Bauzaires. The Xofelles, led by Adrien Garreau, were the successors of the fédéralistes and sought further autonomy for Satucin, as well as further confederation with the Îles de Claude, which they argued had been unfairly kept from the Union.
Gaullica, under the policy of Chief Minister Voclain, sought to restrict the autonomy of Satucin and protect its personal control over the Arucian Straits. The Voclain crisis of 1875 occurred when Voclain attempted to move the Viceroy of Satucin, Maxime de Lisle, from Verlois to Gatôn. Garreau refused to allow de Lisle entry, and wrote directly to Albert III requesting a viceroy of imperial birth and political neutrality. Voclain responded by redirecting de Lisle to Parane in the Îles de Claude, and having de Lisle officially dissolve Satucin's parliament.
With the Bauzaires boycotting parliament, Garreau found himself with a majority and used it to authorise an annexation of the Îles de Claude. The garrisons of Parane mutinied in favour of Satucin, while those of Îles d'Emeraude and Îles des Saints resisted for a short time. Voclain was prepared to send an invasion force, and the Vendéens, the militias staunchly loyal to Gaullica, were ready to launch a civil war, until Albert III intervened. The young monarch appeased Garreau by promising a viceroy of imperial blood in the future, and of a conference to settle issues to be held in the future. In return Garreau was to rescind the annexation of the Claudian Isles and remove the Satucine garrisons.
While Garreau rescinded his annexation of the Claudian Isles, he failed to return military or political control over to the governor. The crisis had been averted, but Garreau's refusal to adhere to the terms of the agreement prevented the holding of the conference and kept tensions between Verlois and Gatôn high. This situation was monitored closely by the independent powers of the Asterias, all of which were opposed to continued Gaullican influence in the hemisphere and sought to exploit the aftermath to draw the Empire further apart.
Aquinas Treaty of Defensive Alliance
Throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, bilateral relations between Marirana and Vilcasuamanas oscillated between reluctant cooperation and hostility, as they struggled to establish hegemony over the Arucian Sea. By the mid-19th century, however, both powers noted a seeming decline in the power projection capabilities of Euclean colonial powers, which were largely preoccupied with events occurring on the continent rather than colonial affairs — a state compounded by disaffection bred by the Voclain crisis.
Relations with Gaullica and its dependencies were poor for both nations. In addition to boundary disputes, a failed conservative rebellion in Vilcasuamanas led by Anicetas Navickis (a follower of exiled Unitarian Chancellor Elfegas Grigucevičius) was launched from Satucine Pasau in 1876, allegedly with Gaullican support. This led to exacerbated tensions between the two that had reached a peak by the late 1870s.
Mariana and Vilcasuamanas signed the Treaty of Defensive Alliance in Aquinas in the year 1880. The treaty was the culmination of years of rapprochement between the two powers that had started with the liberal reforms of Mariranan President Ricardo Fisichella, which had done much to temper the hostility of the liberal regime in Vilcasuamanas. In the initial treaty, neither Gaullica nor its dominions were specifically named.
Chancellor Laimis Petrosiumas had intended the treaty to be purely defensive, but he was convinced by Mariranan President Fortunato Pacifico for the need of a "contingency" of preemptive war against the Gaullican dominions, should either Satucin or the Îles de Claude independently pursue "reckless" foreign policies that could endanger both nations' privileged trading positions in the Arucian. A secret protocol was added to the treaty, calling on each nation to wage war against the Gaullican dominions "should the threat of Euclean intervention into Asterian affairs be imminent".
Crisis and outbreak of war
Course of the war
From the signing of the Treaty of Defensive Alliance in 1880, the understanding between the two allies had been that naval superiority early on was critical in ensuring Gaullican willingness to come to the negotiating table; this meant decisively knocking out the Royal Gaullican Navy elements in the Asterias, as well as the small colonial Satucine Naval Service.
The Marina Nazionale of Marirana blockaded the port of Arac in the Claudines on the 12th of March, bottling up the flotilla of antiquated Gaullican ironclads. One Gaullican ship, the Satucine-crewed gunboat Avenard successfully ran the blockade on the night of 20 March, escaping into the open Arucian. The escape of the Avenard caused chaos in the Arucian as it turned to commerce raiding, preying on undefended allied shipping.
Vilcasuamanas entered the war on the 13th of March, 1884. The day after, the Vilcasuamanian Navy inflicted a crushing defeat on the Royal Gaullican Navy Arucian Squadron, which was anchored in Découverte, Sanslumière. Led by the flagship Olimpija, a Weranian-built ship which was one of three protected cruisers in the Arucian, the Vilcasuamanians surprised the Gaullican fleet, which had been heavily damaged during the Great Arucian hurricane of 1882. In a four-hour engagement, the Vilcasuamanians defeated the crippled squadron of Gaullican gunboats. With Vilcasuamanian commander Admiral Vacys Macinskas landing marines on the heights overlooking the city, Gaullican Rear Admiral Toussaint de Noyon chose to scuttle his remaining ships rather than allow their capture.
The allies had expected Gaullica, unwilling to expend significant resources in the defense of an estranged dominion, to sue for peace once its naval capabilities in the Arucian were shattered. Faced with the loss of their most potent Asterian naval force at Découverte and the blockade of their second-most at Arac, some factions in the Gaullican government and Foreign Ministry, urged a negotiated settlement. However, the successful and much-publicized exploits of the Avenard had added to the popular fervor within Satucin, and Satucine lobbyists in the Colonial Ministry pressured the King, Albert III, to take action to secure the Asterian dominions. Concurring, Albert deployed the South Vehemens Squadron from its base at Nouvel Anglet; under Admiral Jean-Baptiste Hérisson, they left port on 29 April.
The rogue Avenard, along with the rest of the makeshift Satucine Naval Service, began to take its toll on Arucian commerce; by July it had sunk five allied ships and captured a further three. The allied navies, which could not afford a further depletion in strength with the approaching Gaullican Vehemens Squadron, hatched a plan to destroy the Avenard and its escorts. In an engagement off the coast of Falaise, the Avenard was finally captured by the Marina Nazionale on July 25th, 1883, by the gunboat Aquila. However, the armored frigate Ammiraglio Bianco, the flagship of the Mariranan Navy, ran aground during the engagement, a major blow to a force already lacking in offensive strength.
By mid-August, the South Vehemens Squadron had entered the Arucian. Admiral Hérisson received the surrender of the Vilcasuamanian occupation force on Sanslumière Island (which had been invaded and occupied in April) without firing a shot, restoring Olivier Gouronne to the position of Civil Governor. The capitulation to the vastly superior force raised alarm in the allied capitals, and Admiral Vacys Macinskas ordered the dispersal of the Vilcasuamanian Navy on 1 September.
The Mariranan Navy, however, still hoped to draw the Gaullicans into a decisive battle; still operating one protected cruiser and several gunboats and torpedo boats, Admiral Dio Chiarello intended to surprise the South Vehemens Squadron at the Sant'Amanzio Straits. However, Hérisson detected the plan through monitoring the wireless transmissions of civilian freighters, and adjusted his approach accordingly; coupled with an intelligence failure that led Chiarello to believe he was less outgunned than he actually was, the Marina Nazionale was near-annihilated at the Battle of Sant'Amanzio, on 20 September. The remaining allied naval forces in the Arucian were now scattered and easy prey for the swift and powerful light cruisers of the Gaullican Navy.