Zamastan War of Independence

Zamastan War of Independence
Haitian Revolution.jpg
DateJuly 17th, 1802 - October 28th, 1804
Location
Result
  • Skith abandons colonies in Zamastan
  • Creation of the Republic of Zamastan
  • Tomias Hapson becomes President
Belligerents
  • National Zamastan Liberation Front
  • Empire of Skith
  • Commanders and leaders
    General Tomias Hapson
    General Avi Taures
    General Henry Tiller
    General Thomas Pétion
    Commander Jean Diarline
    King Hang Almarez II
    Governor Chico Pisano
    General John Grouseworth
    General Robert Graves Eufalua
    General Murk Acumby
    Major General Girden Forbes
    Commodore Mirro Loring
    Admiral Gyle Parker
    Strength
    • 178,000
  • 294,000
  • Casualties and losses
  • 25,608 Dead, 66,094 Injured, 403 Captured
  • 13,435 Dead, 52,000 Injured, 1,000 Captured
  • The Zamastan War of Independence, also known as the Revolution of 1804 or the Zamastan Slave Uprising of 1802 successful anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection by self-liberated slaves against Skithan colonial rule in Zamah St'an, now the sovereign nation of Zamastan. The war began on July 17th, 1802, and ended on October 28th, 1804 with the formation of the Republic of Zamastan, and the appointment of Tomias Hapson as the first President of Zamastan. It involved rebelling colonists, enslaved Catica First Nations, and Skithan participants—with the ex-slave Tomias Hapson and the abolitionist Avi Taures emerging as Zamastan's most charismatic heroes and one of the most symbolic historical partnerships. The event is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of the world.

    Colonial Era

    Slave economy in Zamah St'an

    Much of West Euronian economic development in the 18th century was contingent on Adula's demand for sugar, coffee, tobacco, and fruits. Plantation owners produced sugar and coffee as a commodity crop from cultivation of sugar cane and coffee trees, which required extensive labor. Zamah St'an also had extensive strawberry, cocoa, and indigo plantations, but these were smaller and less profitable than the sugar and coffee plantations. The commodity crops were traded for Hespian goods.

    Starting in the 1730s, Skith engineers constructed complex irrigation systems to increase sugarcane production. By the 1740s Zamah St'an had become one of the largest suppliers of the world's sugar. Sugar production depended on extensive manual labor provided by enslaved Catica First Nations people in the harsh colonial plantation economy. Zamah St'an was the most profitable Skith colony in the world, indeed one of the most profitable of all the Euronian colonies in the 18th century. An average of 600 ships engaged every year in shipping products from Tofino to Skithiana.

    Slavery sustained sugar production under harsh conditions, including the unhealthy climate of the east Olympic Ocean, where diseases such as malaria and yellow fever caused high mortality. In 1787 alone, the Skithans imported about 80,000 slaves from Hespia into Zamah St'an. The death rate from yellow fever was such that at least 50% of the slaves died within a year of arriving, so the masters preferred to work their slaves as hard as possible while providing with them with the barest minimum of food and shelter. They calculated that it was better to get the most work out of their slaves with the lowest possible expense possible, since they were probably going to die of yellow fever anyway. The death rate was so high that polyandry – one woman being married to several men at the same time – developed as a common form of marriage among the slaves. As slaves had no legal rights, rape by masters, their unmarried sons, or white overseers was a common occurrence on the plantations.

    Slave Revolts

    Skithan colonists and slaves frequently came into violent conflict. Zamah St'an was a society seething with hatred. The historian Paul Mikandal wrote: "Whites, natives and blacks loathed each other. The poor whites couldn't stand the rich whites, the rich whites despised the poor whites, the middle-class whites were jealous of the aristocratic whites, the whites born in Skith looked down upon the locally born whites, natives envied the whites, despised the blacks and were despised by the whites; free slaves brutalized those who were still slaves, Zamah St'an born blacks regarded those from Hespia as savages. Everyone-quite rightly-lived in terror of everyone else ... Zamah St'an was hell, but Zamah St'an was rich". Many of these conflicts involved slaves who had escaped the plantations. Many runaway slaves—called Fleeons—hid on the margins of large plantations, living off the land and what they could steal from their former masters. Others fled to towns, to blend in with urban slaves and freed slaves who often migrated to those areas for work. If caught, these runaway slaves would be severely and violently punished. However, some masters tolerated petit marronages, or short-term absences from plantations, knowing these allowed release of tensions.

    The larger groups of runaway slaves who lived in the hillside woods away from white control often conducted violent raids on the island's sugar and coffee plantations. Although the numbers in these bands grew large (sometimes into the thousands), they generally lacked the leadership and strategy to accomplish large-scale objectives. The first effective maroon leader to emerge was the charismatic Francis Jonelson, who succeeded in unifying the black resistance. A Church of Zian priest, Jonelson inspired his people by drawing on native traditions and religions, while combining the widely accepted Christian beliefs. He united the Fleeon bands and also established a network of secret organizations among plantation slaves, leading a rebellion from 1751 through 1757. Although Jonelson was captured by the Skithan and burned at the stake in 1758, large armed fleeon bands persisted in raids and harassment after his death.

    Hapson and Taures

    Tomias Hapson, a slave working the plantations on the outskirts of Tofino, met Avi Taures, an abolitionist, while running errands for his slave master. Taures convinced Hapson to flee into the mountains east of Tofino to join a covertly growing army of freed slaves and like-minded abolitionists. While the time of their meeting is unknown, it is believed that it was during the winter months of 1801-1802, because Hapson at some point in the spring of 1802 stole a sword and rifle from his slave master and fled to the mountains.

    From April to July of 1802, Hapson trained alongside his fellow recruits in guerrilla warfare. Avi Taures saw the potential and pure adrenaline of rebellion from Hapson, and decided to place him in charge of half of the makeshift army. Over 23,000 individuals had gathered in the makeshift war camps 24 miles from the city of Tofino, all unknown to the colonizers. Hapson planned for his first attack to be made on munitions facilities around the Tofino settlement. The goal was to steal weapons and lower the morale of the Skithan colonizers.

    Raid of Tofino Royal Munitions

    On July 17th, 1802, Tomias Hapson and Avi Taures' forces led a raid on the Tofino Royal Munitions - a Skithan arsenal in the city of Tofino, and took over the arsenal. Hapson and Taures' men defeated by a company of Skithan Marines, led by First Lieutenant Pammai Ren. Colonel Maxwell E. Geni was in overall command of the operation to retake the arsenal. The battle began to expand across the city as firearms and cannons were taken from the munitions facility by the rebels. By the night, Hapson's forces captured the watershed district of Tofino and had created two routes out of the city to get the supplies to the greater rebel forces.

    Over 300 Skithan soldiers and colonists were killed during the fighting, and the rebels lost over 100 men. Tomias Hapson and Avi Taures recruited several thousand slaves, Skithan, and native colonists.

    First Stages of the War

    The plantation owners of Zamah St'an had long feared such a revolt, and were well armed with some defensive preparations. But within weeks, the number of slaves who joined the revolt reached some 50,000. Within the next two months, as the violence escalated, the slaves killed 2,000 colonists and burned or destroyed 180 sugar plantations and hundreds of coffee and indigo plantations. At least 900 coffee plantations were destroyed, and the total damage inflicted over the next two weeks amounted to 2 million ziapets.

    Tomias Hapson and Avi Taures, along with a self-created rebel leader named Henry Tiller, united rebellious forces under the National Zamastan Liberation Front. This unified rebel army cemented the seeds of what would become the Zamastanian Armed Forces

    Winter of 1802

    In September 1802, organized militias of Skithan soldiers and loyalists struck back against Hapson's forces and slave plantations, killing about 600 people.

    Though demanding freedom from slavery, the rebels did not demand independence from Skith at this point. Some of the rebel leaders professed to be fighting for Tomias Hapson and Avi Taures, who they believed had issued a decree freeing the slaves on behalf of King Almarez II. As such, they were demanding their rights as Skithan citizens which been granted by the king. However, once this miscommunication was discovered, the rebels began to demand independence entirely. Hapson and Taures rallied behind these aspirations, and the mutiny quickly became a revolution for statehood rather than just reform.

    Blockade of Zamah St'an (1803)

    With King Almarez's inability to send the requested massive reinforcements after the outbreak of war, the Skith Navy immediately dispatched a squadron under Admiral John Grouseworth from Skith to cruise in the region, seeking to eliminate communication between the rebel outposts and to capture or destroy the rebel skiffs based in the colony. The Blockade of Zamah St'an cut the rebel forces out from reinforcements and supplies from other coastal regions by water routes. Trapped to the coast and mountains and unable to maneuver via the ocean, Hapson almost lost interest in commanding his army.

    The Skith Navy squadrons soon blockaded the rebel-held ports of Kelowna and Providence on the Northern coast of the colony. By the summer of 1803, Zamah St'an had been almost completely overrun by rebel forces under the command of Jean Diarline. In the north of the country, the rebel forces were isolated in the two large ports of Providence and Lower Tariel and a few smaller settlements.

    On 28 May, the squadron encountered a rebel convoy from Kelowna, capturing one ship although the other escaped. Two days later an independently sailing frigate was chased down and captured in the same waters. On 24 June another Skith squadron intercepted the main rebel squadron from Kelowna, which was attempting to break past the blockade and reach the southern shore near White Rock. The Skithans, led by Commodore Mirro Loring gave chase, but one rebel ship of the line and a frigate escaped.

    1803 Offensive

    Northern Campaign

    The Skithan General John Grouseworth received orders to abandon Kelowna and fortify Providence following several escapes by rebel ships leaving the port. On June 18, the Skithan army departed Kelowna and moved north towards Providence, with the reinvigorated rebels in intercepting them. The two armies fought at Bonmuth Court House on June 28, with the rebels holding the field, greatly boosting morale and confidence.

    Scan of engraving
    Battle of Bonmuth

    Attempts to Capture the South

    Crucial in any Skithan attempt to gain control of the colony was the possession of a southern port to bring in supplies and men. To this end, the Skithans organized an expedition to establish a strong post somewhere in the southern end of the colony, and sent military leaders to recruit Loyalists in Jade Harbor. The expedition's departure from Skith was significantly delayed, and the Loyalist force that was recruited to meet it was decisively defeated in the Battle of Jason's Creek Bridge in late February 1803. In June 1803, Skith Governor Chico Pisano led an assault on Fort Crystal Green, which guarded Jade Harbor.

    Pisano had failed to order a complete reconnaissance of the area. His 2,200 men force was landed on Sliver Island (adjacent to Crystal Green Island on which the fort was positioned), and they found the channel dividing the two islands too deep to ford. Instead of re-embarking on his boats, he relied on the expedition's naval forces to reduce the fort, which became known after the war as Fort Gultrie. However, the firepower of the Skith ships was unable to make an impression on the spongy palmetto logs that formed the majority of the fort's defenses, and the bombardment failed in its objective. It was a humiliating failure, and Pisano called off his campaign in the south. Pisano blamed his troops for the failure of the assault.

    Capturing the Governor's Mansion

    On September 3rd, 1804, the Zamastan War of Independence officially marked its turning point when Hapson and a division of about 50 of his loyal soldiers (a diverse group consisting of natives and freed slaves, as well as mutinied Skithan soldiers who shared ideals with the rebels) initiated a surprise midnight attack on the Governor's Mansion in Tofino. Chico Pisano, who was appointed by King Almarez II as his replacement as Governor of the colony, had recently taken up residence there. Hapson and Taures' men surrounded the building and strategically made their way towards Pisano's living quarters after breaking their way into the massive residence. Having been provided with substantial weaponry via the many Skithan soldiers who had defected to the NZLF, Taures's group of guerrilla fighters were surprisingly well-equipped for the operation and even more importantly, most had intense passion for their cause. Not only were the Skithan fighters motivated by the moral disagreements they had with the occupation of Zamah St'an, but also because it was widely known that soldiers for the Kingdom were not treated much differently than mere peasants back in their homeland. Once they had outlived their usefulness in times of war, they were given lowly jobs back in Skith and given little to no recognition or compensation for risking their lives in the name of their country. Many believed they would be better off assisting Hapson and Taures in their cause and earning the colony its independence, which in turn would create a place where they could create a more desirable society for themselves.

    Tomias Hapson and a group of freed-slaves storm the Royal Governed Mayor's Home in Tofino during the Great Purge

    Hapson's decision to conduct the assault on the Governor's Mansion in the middle of the night paid off for the NZLF, as they were met with relatively light resistance from Governor Pisano's bodyguards, all of whom were armed and told to be ready for war to break out but were not anticipating the first target to be Governor Pisano. Some were half-asleep as Hapson and his men made their way from hallway to hallway, room to room in search of Pisano; the guards were taken out with very light losses to Hapson's forces with one two of his men sustaining moderate but not life-threatening injuries. Once the NZLF team reached Pisano's living quarters and broke the door down after hearing movement inside, they encountered an almost trembling Governor who had managed to arm himself after hearing the commotion throughout the residence. He froze for a moment as he eyed the dozen or so men who stood in his doorway, all with their weapons aimed squarely at him. He made a last-ditch effort to raise his weapon and fire but was gunned down and killed before he was able to fire a single round in their direction.

    Final Stage

    Battle of White Rock (1804)

    Contemporary painting
    The beginning of the Skithan bombardment of White Rock

    At the point of discovering Governor Pisano had been killed, King Almarez II decided to reinforce failure by launching what he called "the great push" to conquer Zamah St'an and the extension of rebel-held territory in the mountains, sending out the largest expedition Skith had yet mounted in its history, a force of about 80,000 men to be carried in 200 ships. Mikandal wrote that the aim of Skith's Empire in the first expedition had been to destroy "the power of the rebels in these pestilent mountains... only to discover when it was too late, that they practically destroyed the Skithan army".

    General Murk Acumby, the commander of the forces committed to the "great push", hesitated over which area to attack when he arrived in Zamah St'an on October 17th, 1804. He dispatched a force under Major General Girden Forbes to Tofino. Forbes's attempt to take the rebel-held city of White Rock ended in disaster. The rebels had built a deep defensive ditch with palisades, while Forbes had neglected to bring along heavy artillery. The rebel commander, General Thomas Pétion, proved to be an excellent artilleryman, who used the guns of his fort to sink two of the three ships-of-the-line under Admiral Gyle Parker in the harbor, before turning his guns to the Skithan forces; a rebel sortie led to a Skith rout and Forbes retreating back to Tofino. As more ships arrived with Skith troops, more soldiers died of yellow fever. Ultimately, 10,000 Skithan soldiers arrived in Zamah St'an, but besides for some skirmishing near Wingerton, the Skith remained put in Tofino and other coastal enclaves.

    Skithan Counter-attacks

    The government of Skith attracted much criticism about the mounting costs of the colonization of Zamah St'an. On October 21st, 1804, General Robert Graves Eufalua arrived to replace Forbes with orders to pull back forces. As the human and financial costs of the expedition mounted, people in Skith demanded a withdrawal from Zamah St'an, which was devouring money and soldiers, while failing to produce the expected profits.

    Eufalua used the new Skithan troops to push back the rebels under Hapson, but in a counter-offensive, Hapson and Taures stopped the offensive. Hapson retook the fortress at Mirebalais. On 24th October 1804, Hapson attacked Camp Island Fort in an assault that was noted for its professionalism as it for its ferocity. Under a storm of artillery, the rebels placed ladders on the walls and were driven back after four times, with heavy losses. Even though Hapson had been defeated, the Skithans were astonished that he had turned a group of former slaves with no military experience into troops whose skills were the equal of a Hespian conventional army.

    Skith Abandons the Colonies

    Three weeks following the storming of the Governor's mansion, the King of Skith ordered a halt on all shipments and settlement travel to and from the island colonies. On October 26th, 1804, Eufalua met with Hapson to agree to an armistice, and on the 27th, the Skith had left Tofino. Skithan morale had collapsed with the news that Hapson and Taures had taken Tofino, and Eufalua decided to abandon all of Zamah St'an, writing that the expedition had become such a complete disaster that withdrawal was the only sensible thing to do, even through he did not have the authority to do so. The Free State of Zamah St'an was established on October 28th, 1804, as the Skithan forces retreated. Tomias Hapson took the self-title as the de-facto President, while Avi Taures and Henry Tiller shared joint control of the Armed Forces and started spreading news across the colony of the Skithan retreat.

    Aftermath

    Casualties

    The total loss of life throughout the conflict is largely unknown. As was typical in wars of the era, diseases such as smallpox claimed more lives than battle. Between 1802 and 1804, a smallpox epidemic broke out throughout Euronia, killing 240 people in Providence alone. Historians suggests that Hapson's decision to have his troops inoculated against the disease was one of his most important decisions.

    Between 25,000 and 40,000 rebels died during active military service. Of these, approximately 13,800 were killed in battle, while at least 17,000 died from disease. The majority of the latter died while prisoners of war of the Skith Empire, mostly in the prison ships in Tofino. If the upper limit of 40,000 is accepted as the total net loss for the rebels, it would make the conflict proportionally deadlier than the Parabocan War. Uncertainty arises from the difficulties in accurately calculating the number of those who succumbed to disease, as it is estimated at least 10,000 died in 1802 alone. The number of rebels seriously wounded or disabled by the war has been estimated from 8,500 to 25,000.

    Skithan returns in 1805 listed 13,633 rank and file deaths across the Skithan Royal Armed Forces. A table from 1804 puts total Skith Army deaths at 9,372 soldiers killed in battle across the colony. In 1806, a Skithan lieutenant compiled a detailed list of 205 Skithan officers killed in action during the war, encompassing the colony as a whole. Extrapolations based upon this list puts Skithan Army losses in the area of at least 4,000 killed or died of wounds.

    Logistics

    Logistical organization of early nineteenth century armies was chaotic at best, and the Skithan Army was no exception. No logistical corps existed in the modern sense; while on campaign in foreign territories such as Zamah St'an, horses, wagons, and drivers were frequently requisitioned from the locals, often by impressment or by hire. No centrally organized medical corps existed. It was common for surgeons to have no formal medical education, and no diploma or entry examination was required. Nurses sometimes were apprentices to surgeons, but many were drafted from the women who followed the army. Army surgeons and doctors were poorly paid and were regarded as social inferiors to other officers.

    The heavy personal equipment and wool uniform of the regular infantrymen were wholly unsuitable for combat in Zamah St'an, and the outfit was especially ill-suited to comfort and agile movement. During the Battle of Bonmuth in late June 1803, the temperature exceeded 100°F (37.8°C) and is said to have claimed more lives through heat stroke than through actual combat. The standard-issue firearm of the Skith Army was the Land Pattern Musket. Some officers preferred their troops to fire careful, measured shots (around two per minute), rather than rapid firing. A bayonet made firing difficult, as its cumbersome shape hampered ramming down the charge into the barrel. Skithan troops had a tendency to fire impetuously, resulting in inaccurate fire. Many commanders instead encouraged bayonet charges to break up enemy formations, which was a preferred tactic in many Hespian armies at the time.

    Contemporary painting
    Skithan foot soldier, armed with a musket

    Every battalion in Zamah St'an had organized its own rifle company by the end of the war. Flintlocks were heavily dependent on the weather; high winds could blow the gunpowder from the flash pan, while heavy rain could soak the paper cartridge, ruining the powder and rendering the musket unable to fire. Furthermore, flints used in Skith muskets were of notoriously poor quality; they could only be fired around six times before requiring resharpening, while rebel flints could fire sixty. This led to a common expression among the Skith: "Rebel flint was as good as a glass of grog".

    Provisioning troops and sailors proved to be an immense challenge, as the majority of food stores had to be shipped overseas from Skith. The need to maintain Loyalist support prevented the Army from living off the land. Other factors also impeded this option; the countryside was too sparsely populated and the inhabitants were largely hostile or indifferent, the network of roads and bridges over mountainous terrain was poorly developed, and the area which the Skith controlled was so limited that foraging parties were frequently in danger of being ambushed. Food supplies were frequently in bad condition. The climate was also against the Skith in the southern colony, where the intense summer heat of the open plains and swamps caused food supplies to sour and spoil.

    Life at sea was little better. Sailors and passengers were issued a daily food ration, largely consisting of hardtack and beer. The hardtack was often infested by weevils and was so tough that it earned the nicknames "molar breakers" and "worm castles", and it sometimes had to be broken up with cannon shot. Meat supplies often spoiled on long voyages. The lack of fresh fruit and vegetables gave rise to scurvy, one of the biggest killers at sea.