1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 45

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 45

Chapter 16

Luebeck, USE naval base

“Look! There’s the admiral!” Kristina pointed excitedly to a figure standing on the dock toward which the Union of Kalmar was slowly moving. “He came down to meet us himself.”

Prince Ulrik nodded sagely. That seemed wiser, under the circumstances, than stating openly that he’d have been astonished if the admiral hadn’t come down to greet them in person as soon as they arrived. Merely as a matter of protocol, being the heir apparent to his own nation as well as two others, the princess outranked the admiral by a considerable margin.

Still, she was only eight years old — no, nine now, he reminded himself. Her birthday was still a few days away, on December 18, but Kristina was already referring to herself as nine years old in the same manner in which she’d say the sun and the moon were in the sky. A fact, an established truth, a philosophical and ethical axiom.

You contradicted her at your peril. In less than a week, it would be true anyway, so why not accept the inevitable? If ever there lived a prince who was the diametric opposite of Don Quixote, it was Ulrik of Denmark — a land that was almost entirely flat, windy, and had plenty of windmills going about their useful business. What sort of fool would want to knock one down?

Ulrik had assumed that Simpson would greet them at the dock, but his purpose in doing so remained to be seen. From the very pleased expression on Kristina’s face, it was obvious the princess simply assumed that Simpson was there to extend a welcome. Ulrik, on the other hand, would not be at all surprised if the American admiral had come down to order them to steam right back out of the harbor.

He could enforce such orders, too, if it came to that. Simpson had seen to it that his naval base in Luebeck would not suffer the same ignominious fate as the ironclads had visited on Copenhagen and Hamburg. In the year and a half that had passed since Denmark’s capitulation, the admiral had overseen the creation of a ship-building and armaments industrial complex in Luebeck. It might be better to say, he’d completed what Gustav Adolf had begun during the months the emperor had stayed in Luebeck while it was being besieged by the Ostend armies.

Some of the fruits of that project were quite visible from the deck of the Union of Kalmar: a battery of four guns positioned behind thick fortifications that commanded the entire harbor. From a distance, their precise size couldn’t be determined. At a guess, Ulrik thought they probably didn’t quite match the Union of Kalmar’s ten-inch main guns. But they didn’t really need to, either. At this range, rifled eight-inch guns firing explosive shells could destroy the ironclad long before its own fire could do much damage to the harbor’s fortifications. Even six-inch guns would probably manage the job.

It wouldn’t come to that, of course. If Simpson ordered them to steam out of Luebeck, Ulrik would not argue the matter. He’d do it and head north for Copenhagen.

He really wanted to avoid that option, though, if at all possible. He and Kristina would certainly be safe from Oxenstierna in Copenhagen. But Ulrik was almost as anxious to stay out of his father’s grasp as he was to stay out of the Swedish chancellor’s.

Rather to Ulrik’s surprise and certainly to his relief, King Christian IV of Denmark had kept what the Americans called a low profile since the beginning of the political crisis produced by Gustav Adolf’s incapacitation. Why? The prince didn’t know, he could only guess. He wouldn’t have been astonished if his mercurial father had been reckless enough to announce that he was dissolving the Union of Kalmar and reasserting Denmark’s complete independence.

Thankfully, he hadn’t. At a guess, because Christian was a very intelligent man, beneath the grandiose ambitions and consumption of alcohol. He could even be shrewd, from time to time. Perhaps he’d calculated that the crisis was just as likely to enhance Denmark’s status as diminish it — which was Ulrik’s own assessment — and so it would be wiser to let things unfold for a while without meddling.

If Ulrik and Kristina had to seek refuge in Copenhagen, however, he thought his father’s prudence would fly right out the window and head south for the winter. The temptation would be too great. Christian could…

God only knew what might come to his mind, especially when he was drunk. Declaring himself the new ruler of the Union of Kalmar would be almost certain. Gustav Adolf had had his wits addled two months ago and there was no sign of recovery.

Long enough! Long live the new High King!

A few tankards later, the blessed parent might decide his offspring should now be declared the regent of the USE on the grounds that her father’s incapacity had made Kristina the rightful empress — but since she was a mere child, could not rule on her own behalf, and who was the most suitable person to become regent other than the prince to whom she was betrothed?

Unless, of course — let’s say, three tankards later — the king of Denmark decided that his son Ulrik was after all a mere stripling — but twenty-four years of age; pfah! barely weaned — and so Christian himself should assume the burden of regency.

The worst of such schemes is that they would actually work… for a while. No matter who won the civil war in the USE that Oxenstierna and Wilhelm Wettin seemed determined to precipitate, both the USE and Sweden would be greatly weakened. In the case of Sweden, quite possibly weakened enough that Denmark could regain its former dominance of Scandinavia.

Scandinavians! Ulrik supposed it was inevitable that people were parochial, and found it hard to see the world except through their own lenses and prisms. Still, even allowing for that natural bias, did Scandinavian princes have to set the standard for myopic stupidity? Couldn’t they at least strive for the status of mere dullards?

There were today a total of perhaps five million people in all of the Scandinavian lands. There was nothing close to what the Americans would consider a real census, to be sure, but for these purposes the figure was accurate enough. Say, two million each in Denmark and Sweden, and a half million each in Norway and Finland.

There were already at least fifteen million Germans.

And the disparity would simply get worse, as time passed. Ulrik had taken the opportunity on one of his visits to Grantville to look up the figures for himself in one of their “almanacs.” According to the latest almanac in their possession, that of the year 1999 — the Ring of Fire had happened in May of 2000, by their reckoning — the population of Germany had been slightly over eighty million people. It was the most populous nation in Europe outside of gigantic Russia.

That same year, Denmark had a little more than five million people; Sweden was the largest of the Scandinavian countries with almost nine million; Norway, four and a half million; and Finland was about the same as Denmark. In other words, in less than four centuries a three-to-one population disparity would becomes four-to-one.

And that was the least of it. The German lands were rich; the Scandinavian, poor, outside of a few important resources such as iron. And petroleum, at a much later date when technology had advanced far enough to drill for oil in the sea beds.

But the one critical resource that was lacking in Scandinavia — was lacking today; would be lacking centuries from now; would always be lacking short of a great climatic transformation — was arable soil. The Scandinavian lands had and would always have a much smaller population than the Germanies. That was a reality dictated by nature, not by any human factor that might be subject to change.

The historical end result was inevitable. It had been inevitable in the world the Americans came from; it was just as inevitable in this one. The Germanies were the center of gravity of Europe. Not Denmark, not Sweden — not even France. Only the Russias would emerge as a true counter-weight, once they were united. But Russia was too far to the east to really dominate European political affairs. It was almost as much an Asian country as a European one.

So what sort of madman would imagine that a Scandinavian ruler could maintain his control of the Germans for more than a few years?

A rhetorical question, of course. Two answers sprang immediately forward: His own father and Gustav II Adolf. If Ulrik could round up a Lapp chieftain somewhere in northern Finland, they’d make the same claim.

Well, maybe not. They had the advantage of being illiterate.

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39 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 45

  1. Peter says:

    I am more and more impressed with Ulrik. He is going to be a major player in the game. I am also wondering how he’s going to handle the years until Kristina matures and they can marry. Regardless of his moral inclinations, I can’t see him being able to manage celibacy for seven to ten years. That could get very dicey.

  2. VernonNemitz says:

    Given the fuss that Kristina made regarding boarding the ironclad, I’m surprised there is no mention of any difficulties associated with the crossing just made. Not even one risky swell? :)

  3. Jeff Ehlers says:

    I’m starting to wonder if Gustav might not recover after all. Remember, for better or for worse, Gustav precipitated part of this crisis by being too greedy in going after Poland.

    If Gustav dies or is permanently incapacitated, who takes over as head of state in the USE? Katrina and Ulrik. And Ulrik’s demonstrating himself to be quite savvy when it comes to actual political realities on the ground (unlike Wilhelm, who has probably blown his foot off by now).

    What if Katrina abdicates from her position as heir of the Union of Kalmar (in favor of becoming the titular head of state in Germany), presuming Gustav dies? Christian would then become the legal ruler of both Sweden and Denmark. You no longer have a land-hungry king provoking wars with Poland and who knows who else before the USE matures and stabilizes.

  4. jeff bybee says:

    @1 why 7 to 10 years till they marry? in our own colonial time girls as young as 8 married ( acording to ellan goodman boston globe) marie antonet married the last king of france at 14 because of the political sitiuation I would be suprized if they wait longer than her 12th or 13th birth day … but thats still beyond the scope of this book.

    one other thing I was wondering how long will this series last? at the rate books are comming out I don’t think it will last much beyond 1642. I sure hope the authors live long and write fast

  5. robert says:

    @3 Think again. Only one person can truly prevent the mess that is coming, or at least rectify the damage.

  6. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @5: Wanna bet?

    Don’t get too fixated on Gustav as being the best way for the USE to recover. And certainly don’t get fixated on the idea that this mess, as you put it, needs to be prevented or rectified. That seems an awfully lot like whistling in the dark to me. Flint has shown no reluctance to kill major and popular characters off if the story is better for it; why would Gustav be an exception?

    Basically, I’m not saying it will happen. But I also am not ruling it out.

  7. johan says:

    It seems Ulrik is turning into quite the Pan-Scandinavian. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

    And I must say I really don’t like the title “High King”. It’s more of a celtic title and doesn’t really work in Swedish atleast. In the sense that the first Union of Kalmar had a rank higher than King it was “Arch King” (Ärkekung in swedish), so that word has more of a precedent.

  8. dave o says:

    #3 & 6 In snippet 30, Gustav has begun to say things which make sense. This sure looks like he’s beginning to recover to me. It’s just an assumption on my part, but I don’t think the USE can achieve stability even after the civil war without an adult monarch as chief of state. Do you really think Flint is headed toward something like the 3rd French Republic, with irreconcilable factions fighting it out?

  9. Bret Hooper says:

    @7 I agree with Dave O. Gus will recover at least enough to resume his duties as King, but not before Ulrik and Kristina have become at least obviously soon-to-be-major players. That is clearly the way toward the requisite happy ending. And Kristina, Gretchen, Becky, Amalie, and Julie McKay, if they ever get together, would sure be a wonderful combo. Too bad Wallenstein is on his way out; He could easily, I think, be turned by Mike into a real force for good.

  10. laclongquan says:

    This snippet is not actually the whole chapter. If you read the sample chapter in webscription you’ll see that each snip is about 30-50% of one chapter. So dont be fret that no line describe the voyage.

  11. PeterZ says:

    In some ways Gus has to recover, otherwise Eric has to really re-consider the direction the CoCs are going. Think about it. If Ulrik and Kristina save the USE’s bacon from a nasty civil war(assuming one doesn’t happen anyway), that would derail a true republic for 2-3 generations. Those two would provide a legitamacy that even CoC members would find difficult to argue against successfully.

    Ulrik and kristina would be sound arguments that the aristocracy is not worthless afterall. That they have their share of morons and shortsighted power addicts, sure, but they also have true statesmen willing to lead a nation and not just rule it.

    If Gus recovers and remains King for some time, the population of the Germanies will have someone with decreased capacity as their exemplerar for aristicratic rule. The primary image is one of deficiency and not vibrancy. Mike as the “Prince of Gemany” would be in his prime being compared against Gus in his infirmed decline. This would be a more fertile ground to transition into a true republic within Mike’s lifetime rather than Baruc’s children’s lifetimes.

  12. Jan B says:

    #3: That she isn’t old enough to rule also means she is not old enough to abdicate.

  13. Nicole Pennington says:

    @4: The question is not when they marry, but when they have sex sufficiently to keep Ulrik contented. As long as Kristina is undeveloped, it is arguably better than they don’t marry, so Ulrik’s dalliances are not technically adultery. Without reliable birth control or modern obstetrics, the issue is not just when she can, ahem, accomodate him, but when she can safely give birth. And given the later puberty of the era (in Scandanavia, even royals have a limited diet in winter), that’s a few years down the line.

  14. robert says:

    In this series’ time Kristina will marry Ulrik and they will reign for a long time. I said reign–rule is not in the cards. My prediction, anyway. No abdications, no sailing off to convents (did she sail or was that just the movie), no conversion to Catholicism. Happily ever after and all that.

    Meanwhile, in Britain, Julie McKay and the gang that didn’t leave are…

  15. morgulknight says:

    Regarding ‘fixating’ on Gustav Adolf, that’s a natural response to being raised in a culture which embraces the “Great Man” theory of history without even being consciously aware of it. It’s also a natural reaction to fans of the series who’ve grown fond of Gustav Adolf as characterized by Eric Flint et al (for an interesting if academic take on that phenomenon, look up “What’s Hecuba to Him?: Fictional Events and Actual Emotions” by Eva Dadlez. Full disclosure: Dr. Dadlez’s husband was my humanities professor as an undergrad).
    As for when Gustav will fully recover, well, I still don’t see Mr. Flint making things that easy for the good guys. No, I’m thinking the coming civil war is going to be protracted and brutal, and I don’t think we’ve seen the last major character death in this series. Nor am I prepared to speculate on who of the ‘A-list’ cast buys it next. I know it probably won’t happen, but having recently worked my way through most of the “Hammer’s Slammers” stories, I’d almost like to see a Flint-Drake collaboration for the USE Civil War.

  16. dave o says:

    #14 I don’t think that it has anything to do with the Great Man theory of history.The traditional political powers in german lands has been completely upset. The Emperor is gone, the ruling Archbishops are gone, the Duke of Saxony is gone, Brandenburg is gone. What’s left is Austria, without the imperial prestige and orienting itself to the Balkens, Bavaria, which could well collapse soon and the ruling nobles who supports G2A. It’s clear to me that Flint is heading in the direction of a unified Germany, or perhaps an empire which includes Scandinavia. A cobbled together state, and by this I include the both the USE and the Union of Kalmar needs a focus of loyalty. The best one around is G2A, who put both states together. If Kristina were older, she would make a good second choice, but she isn’t. The COC can’t provide the focus: it’s too radical for a lot of the population, and it has factions who disagree. The same is true of the FOJ party. And for Mike, the Prince of Germany.

    And please, please keep Drake at least a million miles away from this series.

  17. morgulknight says:

    @15, actually I was referring to the fixation on Gustav in the discussion thread, not within the story. I probably could have phrased that more clearly.

  18. ET1swaw says:

    King Christian has restrained himself, Wow.
    Now we just have to worry about Prince Christian. His youngest brother is betrothed to Kristina (possibly the High King (or Archking if you want more correct) of the Kalmar Union). His middle brother is the Administrator of Westphalia Province (larger than Denmark without its outliers (Norway, Iceland, and the present-day OTL Swedish lands that still belong to Denmark NTL) and working for ‘Prince’ as a title. His eldest half-sister (by morgantic marriage, not counting illegitimate siblings) is betrothed to an American. He is married to the youngest of 3 daughters of the Late Elector of Saxony. And he is the eldest son and heir to the D-N-I (Denmark-Norway-Iceland and Danish owned parts of Sweden) throne (but that throne is technically electoral at this time (NOT primogeniture, passed as in England: father to eldest son)), decreased in his eyes to a subordinate position in the Union of Kalmar.
    Kristine (and by association Ulrich)is beloved by the lower Estates in the USE. Ulrich is the ‘National Hero’ in D-N-I. Both are higher in the graces of the populace than even G2A, with the exception of in Sweden. Their reign under 2 of the 3 crowns is fairly assured. Their rule is not. Just look at OTL Kristina: above and beyond the Crown powers forcedbly returned by G2A to the Nobility (orchestrated by Axel and looked to increase by Pers Brahe and his faction (one of the few things agreed on OTL by the opposed factions)); the continued alienation of Crown assets (land and monopoly grants restricted by later law to nobility only) to appease her nobles; the loss of Swedish Prussia; the additional restrictions on the Monarch enshrined in OTL 1634 Intrument of Government (written by Axel); and the continuation/escalation of Sweden in the TYW. Prince Christian, if he inherits, definately won’t be ruled by his little brother. And the USE is already a parlimentary system albeit one allowing the Monarch some (but not all) political control. G2A even now faces restrictions in Sweden and her Dominions (difference between OTL and NTL policies is NOT canon AFAIK).
    Axel’s attempt to subordinate the USE to Sweden as another Dominion can not help but backfire. Especially with the OTL religious policy (no non-Lutheran public worship and by 1686 non-orthodox-Lutherans are exiled/executed (mostly Lutheran heritics executed/imprisoned-for-life)). The Dominions of Ingria and Karelia each have a lesser population than the city of Magdeburg or even Hamburg ATT. The Dominions of Estonia, Livonia, and Swedish Prussia also have a lesser population than their surroundings due to Swedish rule. All previous Dominions increased population density greatly (at a much greater rate than Scandinavia) once no longer Swedish ruled (even Karelia).

  19. Pul Ess says:

    #17: The Norwegian and Danish thrones are separate – ChrIV just happens to sit on both. The Danish succession is elective (in practice limited to the sons of ChrIV, but as far as I understand, not by law). The Norwegian succession is primogeniture – Prince Christian _is_ the Crown Prince of Norway. Iceland by law is ruled by the king of Denmark, but has (as does Norway) a separate parliament. Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Bohuslen are simply parts of Denmark – no more Swedish than Sjælland, Jylland or Fyn. I’m not sure about the exact status of Gotland or Ösel, both also nominally Danish.

  20. Kristina’s age.

    Actually, there is an anomaly here that the European readers can answer. My mother’s parents were Austro-Hungarian, and they had been brought up on the doctrine that the answer to ‘how old are you’ was a number N meaning you are in the Nth year, e.g,. a newborn is 1 — in its first year. I have no idea how Swedes do this, but if Kristina is approaching her American ninth birthday then she under that process would say she is ten.

  21. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Believe me, I wouldn’t mind at all if Gustav recovered fully and was at the helm again. But I think we have to seriously consider the possibility that he either won’t recover at all (one sensible sentence doesn’t necessarily indicate a recovery), or his recovery will be protracted enough that he won’t effectively be at the helm. Or at least, we shouldn’t discount them either.

    And of course Kristina wouldn’t abdicate until she was older. But if she were to grow up in the USE (because of a protracted stand-off between Oxenstierna and the CoCs/USE army), I think it would be far more likely that she would be willing to abdicate.

    I also don’t think Flint is going to push for the USE becoming a “proper” republic. For starters, part of the reason the USA was able to make it as a federalized republic was because there never really was a landed nobility in America to begin with. That isn’t the case in Germany, and short of fighting a long, protracted civil war between various factions, there’s no way to get rid of the landed nobility in order to create a “by the people” republic (and even then, it would just turn Germany back into the Germanies). So I think the USE is going to become some kind of hybrid republic.

  22. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @20 – Jeff Ehlers

    No tradition of landed nobility in America to begin with?

    While I agree that there was no formal landed nobility in America, the plantation system in the American South was pretty close to the Germanic feudal system. Whites were arguably the Adel, Hochadel, and Nideradel, while African slaves and freed black African immigrants were in the role of peasants (free blacks) and serfs/slaves (all other Africans). The natives, especially the Cherokee, tried to integrate Southern society, but that ended in disaster for them when President Andrew Jackson implemented the “Trail of Tears”. Thereafter, such natives as survived in the South were largely relegated to roles as peasants and serfs.

    While I would very much like to see G2A recover and wreak havoc on the plans of AO and WW, I have considered that EF will leave G2A out of this either completely or until all the factions are fully committed. My hope is that G2A recovers.

  23. tim says:

    Sentence that reads= In other words, in less than four centuries a three-to-one population disparity would becomes four-to-one.

    Would becomes? Either would by itself, or would become. Blasted spellchecker! Repeat after me= “Spellcheckers are no substitute for proofreading, spellcheckers are no substitute for proofreading.” Continue until all publishers and printers get their acts back together.

    As for Kristina marrying Ulrik at age 8- yes, it could happen, back then it did happen, along with uncles marrying their nieces. However, I can already hear the up-timers screaming in fury if that happens. “What the goat rope is going on! Never mind about how she’s only married & the marriage won’t be consummated for years to come, 8 or 9 is too blasted young! And as for that pervert Ulrik–we have the death penalty, let’s use it!”

  24. MikeyMikeMikey says:

    @23 The up-timers are still a minority. Even with all of the changes they introduced, no one’s going to seriously take anyone of them suggesting that they have Ulrik executed for being a pervert for doing what’s common political practice among his ilk for the time. Especially since it would be stupid for them to actually demand the death penalty be applied to someone engaged to Kristina, already acknowledged as being quite fond of the up-timers. Why in the world would they alienate one of their political allies by demanding the death of her betrothed (who she’s grown quite fond of) just because they have to idiotically cling to their up-time values without considering the consequences? A big theme in the series is how values of BOTH the up-timers and down-timers have to come to some sort of workable compromise, and not to try and brutally shoehorn new values over old ones all at once (especially not when doing so would alienate them from the down-timers instead of winning them over).

  25. geoA says:

    @22

    There has been landed nobility in America, especially the parts settled by Spain and France. ~~~~

  26. geoA says:

    ~~~~
    Seigneurs for France

    And Dons for Spain (IIRC)

    AND Britain had some landed nobility with noble titles in the Americas
    ~~~~

  27. Willem Meijer says:

    If Kristina and Ulrik have oficially become engaged the idea of the two of them spliting up would be a major scandal. I do not know the 17th century Lutheran position on this, but to Calvinists and RC’s the promise of mariage was a very binding thing, breaking it without good cause (infidelity of the other party) would cause a scandal, if not littigation. I know this is a bit out of the time-line, but re-read the Pickwick Papers for a nice ‘breach of promise’-lawsuit. If Ulrik is wise he will tie a knot you-know-where, or be very discreet doing you-know-what. For my part EF could have aged Kristina a bit but his will is our law.

  28. dave o says:

    Aren’t Ulric and Kristina ALREADY betrothed? And doesn’t betrothal in the 17th century give the same ‘rights’ as marriage? All but the very most prudish up-timers must have learned this by now. And accepted it. Their own culture is more accepting of youthful marriage with all that implies than down-time Germany’s to begin with.

    As for Ulric and his urges, he’s smart enough to observe Kristina’s reaction to dalliance among the people who surround her and behave accordingly. This is the 17th century, not Victorian England, and attitudes toward sex were very different. My guess is that Kristina will want some discretion from Ulric, but not utter chastity. But it’s probably five to eight years before it’s much of an issue for her.

  29. ET1swaw says:

    @25: Aging Kristina or youthening Ulrich are ‘verbotten’. EF has stipulated historical accuracy for pre-ROF events and historic viability for everything else. Yes Ulrich and Eddie Cantrell’s fiance died OTL, but butterfly effect can be used to explain it. Changing a historical fact or concensus of character for historical persons is not done!

  30. PeterZ says:

    @22 One of the wonderful things about the Ring of fire is that the precursors to that “Foul American Institution” may never happen. Certainly Mike will do whatever in his power to ensure it never happens. Without it the legal segration explicit in slavery goes poof. Plantations and the aristocratic traditions of the antebellum south goes poof as well. That segragation was an extension of the legal distinctions between aristocrats and commoners. Wealth disparity is one thing. If everyone has access to wealth or the opportunity to become wealthy, that disparity is tolerable. The legal discrimination between classes of citizens will always cause a bleeding ulcer in any society that has a strong American (read USA) cultural component.

    That’s why I brought up the CoCs reactions to a real deferral of any transition to a repiblic. They have become the standard bearers for that egalitarian streak. How will such passionate egalitarians react to deferring what they see as a fundemental truth, if ulrik and Kristina finagle a stable consitutional monarchy with a legally acknowledged aristocracy?

  31. Greg Eatroff says:

    Sure a Scandinavian monarch can rule Germany more than a few years… just like a Manchurian monarch ruled China. As long as the ruling elite is willing to see its cultural identity shift over the next few generations they can lock in pretty solidly. If they work very hard to maintain their status as outsiders will Germany prove impossible to hold, but I doubt that will happen. Ulrik and Kristina both seem far too pragmatic for that.

    And as for people blaming GA for the war with Poland, remember who sent troops across the border first.

  32. robert says:

    @30 Indeed. Without the English colonization of the South there would likely be no slavery–of course the growing of cotton to supply the English textile industry was a crucial underpinning of slavery. But the slave trade, as carried out on British and Dutch vessels, was no small contributor. Let’s see how political changes in England (go Julie, go Cromwell), the settlement of North America, and the changes in the Dutch political situation effect slavery, and the rapid introduction of the cotton gin and new harvesting methods, too.

    We must not forget Haiti (even now), which does not speak well of the possible slavery-free French settlement of North America.

  33. dave o says:

    #30 Peter: Gretchen has shown herself to be entirely pragmatic about dealing with the powers that be. More basically, I don’t see the COC caring that much about political equality. Social equality is a different issue. See Napoleon: he pushed the career(s) open to the talents, and also created a whole bunch of nobles. I think the COC would be willing to tolerate the nobility as long as they had no noxious privileges. Probably most people in the USE, COC included, are conservative in the classic sense: they are suspicious of change, and won’t tolerate much. This doesn’t prevent them from wanting to get rid of recognized abuses. Upsetting the whole of traditional society is more than they can stand.

    #31 Greg: I think its at least possible that Ulric and Kristina and their heirs could rule over both the USE and the Union of Kalmar. No more unlikely than ruling over England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. It might not last forever, but for however long this series run, why not?

  34. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @30 and @32: OTL there is already slavey in the Americas, in Spanish and Portugese colonies and at least soem slave ships already landed (and corgoes sold) in Virginia.

    While I will call the ‘peculiar instuitution’ of the southern USA as many foul names as you like, it is a mistake to think that it was the first or leading or longest lasting example of slavery in the Western Hemisphere (Brazilian slaves were not emancipated until the 1880’s or so, IIRC).

    The good news from Eric’s point of view is that slavery in the new world is still a fluid institution, not yet as hardened as it would become in later centuries. So he has a lot of room to make changes.

  35. PeterZ says:

    @34 In my paraphrase I may have attributed more blame to Americans for slavery than I intended. I brought it up to discount any belief that there was any significant atristocratic sentiment in what would have become the USA.

    #33 Dave O, that is likely true about Gretchen. It may not be true for the majority of CoC members. I would suggest that being garaunteed a seat in parliment based on birth alone may be viewed as noxious. I tend towards conservative views and I find that idea noxious. CoC rank and file might have more passionate views on the subject than I do. I am not saying they will persuade a majority or even a small plurality of downtimers on the subject. Only that this is a potential cause for friction with the CoCs.

  36. TyranA says:

    Given what I’ve read about Christian IV, I think he’s “in character,” so to speak. If he reads the historical evaluation of his last years as monarch, what better way to go out than to lapse into retirement and let his son become Acting King, more or less, of Kalmar? He will have secured his legacy and his family’s legacy, and it gives him more time to explore other pursuits such as flying.

    I really like Flint’s Ulrik. It’s a shame the real Ulrik died in 1634, because from what I’ve read, he really would have made a decent ruler. I think that this version of Princess Kristina will also be kept in check better than the historical one–hopefully this universe’s version of Descartes does die from pneumonia, either!

  37. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @22: Being similar to a feudal system is not the same as being landed nobility, which was my point.

    @25: I believe you mean parts of the Americas (aka North and South America), rather than parts of America (aka the United States).

  38. tim says:

    Sentence that reads= In other words, in less than four centuries a three-to-one population disparity would becomes four-to-one.

    Would becomes? Either would by itself, or would become.

    My apologies, I have to correct my own words– it is not would by itself, it is either would become or becomes four-to-one.

    As for the death penalty–alas, mere text cannot convey facial nuances and voice tones; The idea wasn’t that uptimers would seriously call for Ulrik’s death, just that the thought of Ulrik and Kristina getting married when she’s only 9 would not go over well; it’s one of those things where you know it’s not necessarily wrong, where what it looks like isn’t what it is, but you have to remind yourself of that!

  39. Greg Eatroff says:

    @ 34: There are Africans in British North America in the 1630s, but not slaves. The first blacks in the English colonies were treated as indentured servants. Massachusetts legalized black slavery in the 1640s, Virginia around 1660, though black indentured servitude had been shifting into de facto slavery for a while by then.

    Since in the 1632niverse the French picked up the English colonies in ’33 or so, black slavery doesn’t yet exist in them. I doubt the French would be shy about introducing it, though.

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