The period of Demesne Faeland (pr. dɪˈmeɪn) refers to the roughly two centuries in which British rule in the Faelish Isles was consolidated until eventually toppled during the Faelish War of Independence. Beginning with the War of the Spanish Succession, the British saw fit to charter a Royal Company to establish trading posts and production facilities on the island, thus beginning the second phase of the colonization and exploitation of the islands. Noted for its brutish treatment of the locals and indiscriminate exploitation of resources, the Company was disliked by nearly all inhabitants, including the older English settlements along the The Shore.
With the conclusion of the Seven Years War, British interests in the Isles grew until, eventually, the Company was displaced as a governing entity, succeeded by direct crown rule that was collectively referred to as the Demesne ("Domain", also Demesene Valania).
British Faeland —or British Valania— are the modern academic terms for the period of British colonial rule in the Faelish Isles after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. The term Faelish Demesne can also refer to the Kingdom of Faeland itself or the entire island under British rule. This included areas directly administered by Britain, as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the paramountcy of the British Crown, and protectorate republics with formal independence.
The Company Period
Main Article: Company Rule in Faeland
Early Company Period
At the dawn of the 17th century, Spain dominated trade with Faeland and France was actively exploring the eastern seaboard of the island. The English were in dire need of timber for their blossoming navy, and saw fit to fortify and expand trading outposts and shipbuilding facilities in Faeland to achieve this end. In order to avoid direct conflict, the English Biscayne Company (later the British Biscayne Company) was chartered to complete the task.
The English Biscayne Company (hereafter, the Company) was founded in 1608, as The Company of Shipbuilders of London Trading into the Faelish Isles. It gained a foothold in Faeland in 1609 after Táeschirt Kingdom king Mehail granted it the rights to establish a mill and trading post in the port of Toashir on the northern coast. In 1623, after receiving similar permission from the Diuchill ruler farther south, a second mill was established in Westmouth founded on the shores of Lake Athlóa. Two decades later, the Company established a presence on the western coast as well; and established a trading post near what is now Faeland City. During this time other companies—established by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Danish—were similarly expanding in the region; and the English Company's unremarkable beginnings along the coast offered no clues as to what would become a lengthy presence on the Faelish mainland.
The Company had de facto control over a few regions, but were not officially independent until after mercenary victory in the 1693 Battle of Lake Margaret. This consolidated the Company's power, and forced the English settlers to appoint its agents as revenue collectors; this effectively made The Shore a dominion of the Company, and on par with interior holdings. The Company thus became the de facto ruler of much of the interior, as well as the coastal plain. It also proceeded by degrees to expand its dominions around Lake Athlóa and Faeland City. The Anglo-Vellaberi Wars (1699–1702) and the Anglo-Foalnáh Wars (1715–1729) left it in control of much of central Faeland north of Valaduria.
The proliferation of the Company's power chiefly took two forms. The first of these was the outright annexation of native states and subsequent direct governance of the underlying regions, which collectively came to comprise British Faeland. The annexed regions included the northern kingdoms and central kingdoms of Táeschirt, Diuchill, and Carthus. And in the central south regions: Foalnáh, Vellaberi, Robochti, and Fragarach.
The second form of asserting power involved treaties in which Faelish rulers acknowledged the Company's hegemony in return for limited internal autonomy. Since the Company operated under financial constraints, it had to set up political underpinnings for its rule. The most important such support came from the subsidiary alliances with princes during the first years of Company rule. In the early 18th century, the territories of these princes accounted for two-thirds of Faeland. When a Faelish ruler, who was able to secure his territory, wanted to enter such an alliance, the Company welcomed it as an economical method of indirect rule, which did not involve the economic costs of direct administration or the political costs of gaining the support of alien subjects. In return, the Company undertook the "defense of these subordinate allies and treated them with traditional respect and marks of honor." Subsidiary alliances created the princely states of the central and eastern hinterlands. Prominent among the princely states were: Oswaeg, Landamaer, Vracosa, Tamillard, and Cimmer; as well as some political fictions: the North Face League, the Lakes Agency, and the Confederation of Central Faeland.
Zenith and Twilight
As the 18th century drew to a close, European mercantile and military power had already begun to fade and the Company had moved in to fill the vacuum. They seized Chofer Bay in 1767, establishing their second headquarters outside of London.
At the north and south ends of the island the Company was opposed by a league of cities (Pentapolis) and an established Spanish presence, respectively, which were highly developed and not receptive to exploitation.
Like the Elizabethan English settlers before them, the Company initially had little interest in the hinterlands, preferring the coastal regions. As one of their first tasks they tried to resolve a troublesome border dispute between the inland princedoms of ___ and ___ to the west of the colony's frontier. In 1771 the company persuaded about 5,000 middle-class British immigrants (most of them "in trade") to leave Great Britain behind and settle on tracts of land between the feuding groups with the idea of providing a buffer zone. The plan was singularly unsuccessful. Within three years, almost half of these settlers had retreated to the towns, notably Faeland City, to pursue the jobs they had held in Britain.
While doing nothing to resolve the border dispute, this influx of settlers solidified the company presence in the area (now on both coasts), thus fracturing the relative unity of the Faelish English. Where the early English settlers and their ideas had before gone largely unchallenged along The Shore, now Faeland had two distinct British groups with two distinct goals. A pattern soon emerged whereby "English-settlers" wished to oust the Company, and thus became more desiring of crown presence where before they had been content to live peacefully on the island in small shipping towns; and the Company-settlers became highly urbanised, and dominated politics, trade, finance, mining, and manufacturing, leaving the established English relegated to their farms.
The gap between the Company settlers and the English further widened when the company began to tax all "native inhabitants" equally. A move that made Faels and resident English roughly the same class of subject, distinct from Company settlers.
The Faelish Demesne
Main article: Colonial Faeland
Unlike The East India Company, the British Biscayne Company slowly faded from political prominence due to the encroachment of the crown's eminent domain, as well as their own unpopularity. The haphazard and byzantine complexity of the transfer of power and the resulting labyrinth were much of the reason that, following the rebellion of the 19th century, the British government were eventually ousted.
Just prior to the establishment of imperial rule was the Six Colonies period, the apex of pre-British dominated colonialism in Faeland. Beginning in 1755, King George II of Great Britain established six military wards, or "Colonies" on the island in anticipation of the coming war with France (who along with her allies had some small presence in Faeland). The wards were the Hanover Shore Colony, New Cornwall, Upper & Lower Faeland, New Cyclades & New Macedon Colony, New West Wales, and the Five Cities Territory. This was the first time that British Regulars had been stationed in Faeland, thus planting the seeds of the destruction of the Company's rule. While fighting was limited during the Seven Years' War, the Regulars were often involved in settling disputes between the so-called Old English settlers, natives, and Companymen, complicated by the fact that no jurisdictional limits were set down for any of the participants.
However, historians often mark the beginning of Demesne Faeland (hereafter referred to as "the Demesne") with the founding of Georgetown in 1785, and the appointment of the first Viceroy, William Daubs, who retained authority in the Hanover Shore Colony, and appointed Lieutenant Governors to the remaining four colonies (the so-called Five Cities Territory was treated as a Protectorate and quartered no British overlord.
Very rapidly the system's flaws came to light, as the relative independence of the Latin Coast caused many natives to chafe, especially the French-speaking settlers of the Argenteau and North Face regions. And, of course, the long established presence of Company troops and institutions in the west, central, and northern lands made the colonial boundaries largely arbitrary and ineffective. Within a year of appointment, all the governors had returned to Georgetown to operate as absentees or found other uses within the budding colonial administration.
Because of the severely limited affective scope of the Viceroy, The Shore itself became a new haven for merchants and expatriates from across the British Empire (often referred to at this time as the Brutish Empire). Within half a decade there was already discontent with the autocratic powers of the Viceroy and demands for better government and union with the British crown. King George III therefore in 1791 granted a parliament to Georgetown, answerable to London and supreme across the island. Ernest Augustus, 20 year old son of the King, was created the 1st Duke of Faeland, although he did not visit the island until after the Napoleonic Wars.
The Duchy: 1791-1804
Main Article: Duchy of Faeland
Although brief, the period of the Duchy of Faeland was, technically speaking, the only time the entirety of the Faelish Isles have been united under a single government. Namely the Parliament of Georgetown and the Duke.
In practice, however, Georgetown functioned almost as a city-state, with unitary authority descending from the capital to the smaller towns of the Shore. While the Duke was recognized to be the supreme landholder, the lack of activity and pre-existing institutions made the practical application of such authority impossible, and in any event Ernest Augustus did little to make his presence felt other than doling out pieces of his "estate" to nobles to whom he was indebted.
Like the wanton and reckless seizure of land carried out by the Company before, nobles holding deed and title from the Duke appeared on the island and set about claiming entire swaths of land, seemingly out of nowhere. When this conflicted with existing claims and deeds, the nobility was not remiss to send for troops and/or money to buy local mercenaries to enforce their claims. The resident landed aristocracy of all stripes soon grew to resent the Duchy and his vassals, although some locals fell in with the new elite to save their own estates. If there was any order to the manner in which properties of the hinterland were seized, it was in the targeting of established plantations and fortifications. Even when townships and cities fell within their jurisdictions, many nobles were keen to let them enjoy some degree of autonomy.
By the mid to late 1790s, Republicanism in France had long since boiled over into the Reign of Terror. The increasing British presence along The Shore, coupled with the state of the rampaging nobility in the hinterlands, had Georgetown clamoring for constitutional separation from the Duchy. Fear gripped the populace–as it did most of Europe–that similar social upheavals would happen in their own country.
Parliament itself wanted Union with the United Kingdom, and this was largely supported by the growing American Loyalist population who had immigrated and settled in the relatively less settled regions south of the Shore (indeed, Hanover was founded in honor of King George).
In 1802, following the news of the English-Irish Acts of Union, the Faelandic Parliament took matters into their own hands and followed suit. They declared a Kingdom of Faeland, encompassing the entire island, and hailed the King of Great Britain as its sovereign.
Without similar legislation from Westminster, of course, this status caused some legal irregularities. In a sense, the local government had overstepped their bounds and indeed usurped for themselves the right to hand over lordship of the island from the Duke. Theoretically, of course, the King was sovereign regardless, but in practice the Faelish Isles were an extraterritorial possession of the Royal family, governed by a subsidiary parliament beneath the United Kingdom's parliament.
The Duke did not argue his case, although on several occasions his vassals sent emissaries to both Parliament and the Court, calling for an official reprimand and veto of the action.
The social climate of the time, however, prevailed, and after two years an agreement was reached, amicable to all sides. Both Westminster and the Crown would rather see a concord than republicanism, so in 1804 both the House of Commons and House of Lords ratified the Acts and counter-legislated. The settlement called for the creation of a Kingdom of Faeland, to be united with the crown of Great Britain. It's territories consisted of The Shore, called Lito, and several peripheral islands. The remaining territories fell under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Faeland, whose territories within and without the borders of the Kingdom would remain intact.
Immediately following the enactment, a commission was sent to the Isles with the purposes of preparing a report on governmental reorganization for the Duchy and the surrounding territories.
Coinciding with British deployment into the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars, detachments of Sir Arthur Wellesley's force arrived in Vila do Infante to peacefully occupy the city and prevent French infiltration. Thus effectively began the British rule of the long-standing Portuguese colony.
Main article: Protectorate League of Faeland
Following the Phelps-Heyward Commission in 1807, London finally passed the "Act for Sounde [sic] Government of the Faelish Territories" (1839). Although the relationships were still complicated, the existing polities on the island were formally organized and scheduled. The terms of the Act broke Faeland into two distinct political entities whose jurisdictions, aside from the Duke's landholdings, did not overlap. These were the Kingdom of Faeland, a proprietary colony/viceroyalty of the British Crown (not a part of the U.K. per se and akin to other dependencies), and the Demesne Faeland: an amalgam over which the Duchy was created as direct suzerain, subordinate of course to the crown.
The polities subordinate to the Duchy were the Romanian Legacy (Pentapolis; i.e. modern Vhallonesia & Sânts-Nemhora), the Associate of Valaduria (today's Valadurian Republic), the Curacy of Aroes-Villa (linked for administrative purposes), the North Face League, Rumanha Mandate, the Saxon Presidency, the Crowns-Concert of Westfald and Suffold, the Lakes Agency and the Rhomines Agency, the Almuhr Residency, the Aoláin Valley Secretariat (Lake Athlóa), the Confederation of Central Faeland in the Great Faelish Plain, the Ferraione Obligate, "Northwest Provinces" in the Dhíall, the Crown Colony of Faeland City, the Captaincies of Sea (mostly in the Vinesene Archipelago but also elsewhere), the Presidency of Glanco-Angelina, the Trucial Cities of the Paedine Hills, and the Lake Margaret Colony.
Any smaller political entities not falling under other jurisdictions fell under a Lord-Governorship of Faeland, who was appointed by the Duke of Faeland and ratified by the UK Parliament. Later, a ministry was created in London called the Faelish Office, charged with the overall liaise and governance of the islands.
"Leave Alnia to the Sea, lest she lead to the flames." - Faelish ranger/outlaw to a colonial policeman during interrogation, c. 1867