Ascendancy of Andrea
Freedom · Liberty · Progress

Unrest and Revolution

For the next several decades following the suppression of the Cruistians, life in Andrea seemed to be returning to normal. In the Northern half of the Empire all things foreign were rejected as mobs agitated by the agents of the emperor hounded out those who had done business with the foreigners. Under the direction of the Imperial Bureaucracy, an attempt to recapture the ideal of Shangal society was made. Art and poetry praising the ancestral ways were prominent, and innovation was discouraged. Ownership of firearms and swords was also prohibited, in attempt to prevent another civil war.

The exceptions to this were the frontier and the Velkora Duchy. Life on the southern frontier had always been hard, but new technologies imported from abroad made things somewhat easier for the inhabitants. As a result, there was a small population boom on the frontier, even as previously uninhabited lands were now being placed under cultivation. In Velkora, the Duke had only maintained minimal trade with the East, despite the open mandate granted him by the Emperor. When Duke Wearaxx died in 1211, his young grandson, Andros Velkora inherited his lands at the age of 17. By this time the Vekora lands had swelled to include the new farmland to the south as well as a region of the highlands captured by Duke Wearaxx during skirmishes with the aboriginals. Duke Andros had been well educated by Doranian tutors, and could see the potential of his Duchy.

In 1213, Duke Andros sent several trading missions abroad without the knowledge of the Emperor. While most of these proved fruitless, the missions to Monte Doria and Tuevan proved successful. As a result, Vekora became the center of trade with the Shangal Empire, and goods and ideas flowed into the Duchy. In 1223, Duke Andros founded the City of Androas (today Andrea City) to accommodate the increased trade. The city was designed as a modern Doranian city rather than a Shangal one, and experts were brought in to set up manufactories, mines and a small railroad. In 1225, bands of aboriginals began raiding the borders of the Duchy, attempting to reclaim the lands taken from them by Andros's grandfather. In response, Duke Andros lead a mixed force of Monte Dorian mercenaries and local militia men armed with imported weapons against them. The result was a spectacular success for Andros. Impressed with the Monte Dorian soldiers, he hired several to stay on and train a citizen militia that could guard the borders against future incursions. At the same time, he set up a war college (today Velkora College) to train future leaders. A young student in the artillery program by the name of Hui Wei (later General Wei, Director of Research and Procurement, 1244-1267) made several improvements to artillery that were later copied into personal firearms as well. The two primary contributions Wei made were the introduction of an early breechloading system and the use of interchangeable parts to improve maintenance.

By 1238, over 200,000 men had been trained by the program and were given rifles with the expectation that they defend the Duchy. During this time, the railroad had expanded to cover all of Velkora, numerous mines and manufactories had rendered the production of other parts of the Empire obsolete. Several neighboring Duchies had also copied the Velkoran reforms, with varying degrees of success. Not everyone was happy with the Duchy's success, however. The prosperity of Velkora and it's neighbors was causing hardship in the north. The skilled craftsmen of the Northern Duchies were being undersold by mass-produced goods from the south. The food which the north had long sold at great profit to the south was also no longer needed, as the new farming methods on the southern plains allowed the production of wheat and corn that was outselling Northern rice across the Empire. On July 18, 1238, Emperor Kai Sun Li decided to do something about the complains of the Northern Dukes. He issued an edict directing Duke Andros and the Southern Duchies to dismantle their factories, mines, and railroads, and return to the traditional and proper way of life.

Duke Andros sent a letter begging the Emperor to reconsider, telling him that the wealth of Velkora was the wealth of the Empire. He argued that the other Duchies could copy Velkora, and that poverty and injustice could be eliminated. In response, the Emperor sent his personal guard to arrest Duke Andros and to bring him back to Sangpan to be tried for treason. On September 4, 1238 3,000 Imperial Guard imprisoned Duke Andros in his Ducal palace. The next day, 50,000 militia men gathered and demanded his release. The Imperial Guard ordered them to disburse, and formed ranks to expel them. As the Imperial Guard closed on the protesters, a single shot rang out. Seven minutes later, all 3,000 guardsmen lay dead and the Andrean Revolution had begun.


(c)1999-2002 Andrew Gray