Bergonian History

The Colonial Era -- 1496-1780


Bergonia had the great misfortune of being "discovered" by Columbus on his third voyage.  When he presented to Ferdinand and Isabella a glass vase, a copper water faucet, a silver writing set, a mirror in a gold frame, and five surely "slaves" he obtained in Bergonia (fishermen he kidnapped), he won accolades.  

Afterwards Bergonia suffered hideous killing plagues, and then came the Europeans in great numbers.  First came conquistadors, then missionaries, and finally a wave of settlers.  France, Britain and Portugal divided Bergonia among themselves and established colonies along the coast.  Catholic missionaries penetrated Bergonia's interiors.

Meanwhile, the atrei population fell to a low of approximately ten-eleven million in 1650 before it started to rebound.  Many native institutions crashed, and cultural bonds dissolved.




Early 1500s:   Europeans adventurers arrive

Spanish and Portuguese adventurers came westward over the ocean looking for gold and fortune, but the ones who came to Bergonia met far more sophisticated, resilient foes than others found in Mexico and Peru.  While the Bergonians in 1492 had no firearms or horses, they had iron swords and armor.  They did not mistake the conquistadors for deities, and in fact suspected that they were dealing with inferior creatures because the newcomers smelled so bad (Europeans did not bath in those days, while Bergonians were punctilious about their personal hygiene).

The Bergonians in 1492 had no one vulnerable center of power, as did the Inca and Aztec imperial regimes.  Instead Bergonia consisted of numerous states and city-states, each with its own army and militias.  The Bergonians did not lose heart when the Europeans attacked, and at first very few of them rushed to join the newcomers.  In the 1500s the Spanish conquistadors and subsequent French and English adventurers had just fair success at conquest, succeeding only in planting beachheads along the coasts. However, they soon benefited from an unseen ally-- disease.

1540-1620:   Disease abets the European cause

The very literate Bergonians recorded the first cases of smallpox in 1533.  In 1540 the first epidemic broke out in Comleta.  Smallpox, bubonic plague and other Eurasian diseases decimated the atrei-- the native population-- reducing it from an estimated total of 65 million in 1540 to a mere 16 million in 1620.  In the early 1600s Europeans traveling throughout Bergonia found cities with only a sixth of the houses occupied, hundreds of villages completely abandoned, temples filled with cobwebs, and fields overgrown. The numbers do not tell the whole story.  The Airileife ("eye-ri-lay'-feh") --a Nacateca term meaning "universal catastrophe"-- so utterly demoralized the native people that it wrecked havoc on their culture and society.  

More details on the deadly plagues.

Europeans plant colonies along the coast

The depopulation cleared the land for European settlers. Portugal planted colonies on the east coast, England on the south, and France on the north. French Huguenots fled Catholic persecution and settled in Pasiana, and English dissenters found refuge in the south. A number of Danes and Swedes founded fishing villages in the northwest, and even a few Jews and Arabs fleeing from Spain came to Bergonia and wandered as traders. 

After the English realized that the surviving Bergonians had too much pride to work as slaves, they imported black slaves for their new cotton plantations, but many of the slaves-- unlike those in America-- found that they could flee inland to areas still controlled by native republics.

Christian Proselytization

Jesuits, Franciscans and other Catholic missionaries from Spain and France penetrated the inland regions.  The Jesuits from France and Portugal wandered from their coastal bases and wandered all over Bergonia's interior teaching the word of God.  Only the Jesuits had the fearless willingness to penetrate the Ifuno plateau region and mix and live with the atrei, even donning the native dress, including the baggy trousers and long tunics. 

The missionaries made thousands of converts among the demoralized populace.  Many atrei were receptive.  Miradi explained to humankind that God was within and that sin was also real within, but Miradi in this time of sorrows seemed too distant in comparison to Christianity, which showed how God deeply loves humankind.  But other survivors fiercely clung onto the Miradi faith.

The Jesuits were particularly delighted in how literate the atrei were, and they responded by learning the native languages.  The Jesuits translated the Bible into Minidun in 1645, Pasan in 1647 and Nacateca in 1559, and by 1620 they were printing tracts and catechisms into the native tongues.

In 1675 the Jesuits established their first university at Ceveron at the mouth of the Escondi river in Porguguese controlled country.  In 1689 a great university and mission was established in Ligsa, just outside the pale of Portuguese settlement.  These universities educated atrei men in the European classics as well as proper theology, and they turned out thousands of priests.  Both universities still function proudly today, although both have had difficult and tenuous histories, with bouts of near apostasy among faculty, financial ruin, fire, and military attack from atrei reactionaries.  In French controlled country the Jesuits built a string of missions across the Ifuno plain, hundreds of miles beyond the extent of French settlement.  A network of universities was functioning by 1650.

An archbisopric was established in the Portuguese colonial city of Santo Spirito, but in 1709 the archbishopric was moved to the larger city of Barcelos, where the Portuguese governor had his capitol.  The next year the archbishop commenced the construction of a magnificent cathedral.  MArble was floated down the Escondi river on barges from a quarry located 160 miles west in the high hills of Sansan.  This cathedral stands to this day as a beautiful example of  __ architecture, then predominant in Portugal.  The atrei were astounded by the size and strange decorous beauty of the cathedral, and many came walking on journeys from all over Amota to see it and the other sights of Barcelos.  One priest wrote in his journal, "We easily confuse the natives' awe of this cathedral for the proper awe of God.  How stimulated these people are by the sensual." 

Bergonians for centuries had been known to make journeys for purely pleasurable purposes, such as to take in the sights or enjoy a different climate.  Even peasants had been known to sling a pack on their backs and set off on what the Australians would later call a "walkabout."  Indeed in classical Bergonia the phenomena of what we in the 21st Century call "tourism" existed.

Late 1500s:  European domination

The European domination of Bergonia was almost as much like the (much later) English takeover of India as it was like European colonizing of the Americas.  In the Americas there was little equity between the colonizer and the subject natives, the one sociologically and technically far more advanced, the other ravaged by disease.  India was more technologically advanced than the Aztecs or Incas (with metallurgy & gunpowder) and almost as advanced as the European intruders.  Bergonians suffered from two critical differences in military capacity-- the lack of gunpowder and the lake of horses, but by the mid-1600s those differences had largely disappeared.  The plagues of course dealt a horrific blow to Bergonian abilities to resist conquest, but although Berg culture suffered a serious maiming, its integrity nevertheless survived-- quite a difference from the Americas where the integrity of native cultures collapsed.

The Europeans got much stiffer military resistance from the Bergonians than from most native Americans.  All throughout the waves of plagues, Bergonians still managed military resistance in many places.  The journals of explorers, conquistadors and administrators contain critical meditations on the stubborn temperament of the atrei, noting their intractability ("...they learn nothing from beatings other than a brutish hate"), open hostility ("never a day without a sneer...") and natural tendency to rebel ("every day I fear could be the day").  

Of course the European powers used natives to fight natives, as they did in the Americas, in India and in nearly every other colonial conquest.  Their Bergonian armies largely consisted of Christianized atrei, though they sometimes relied on hiring mercenaries ("the most treacherous beasts any Christian will ever encounter").  As in India, the Europeans remained content with allowing self-government to a certain number of provinces, most of these in the interior.  The benefit of direct conquest did not for the Europeans justify the cost.  The atrei dictators of these interior regions saved the Europeans the trouble of administering every square inch of the island-continent, and they largely did as they were told.  But all the coastal areas where Europeans settled, and most certainly all the seaports, came under the direct control of colonial governors.

 By 1580 the three European powers had fairly well divided Bergonia and set up colonial regimes.  




French Bergonia:


The settlers who came from France included few peasants, for most peasants were bound to the land and could not emigrate.  Nobles had little reason to leave their great estates for a strange land where French rule was tenuous, although some did, typically the younger sons, the dishonored, and the adventurous.  Most of the people who came to northern Bergonian from France were middle class who had the means, the self-reliance and the desire to seek opportunity overseas.  They fled the antiquated feudal guild restrictions on trade, and the unfair tax burdens.


A great number of the settlers were refugee Huguenots, whom the Crown at times allowed exit out of France.  Also among the settlers were thousands of Jansenists.  This movement took its name fro the founder Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638), and professed to follow the teachings of St. Augustine.  They practiced meditation and other prescribed devotional practices.  They started a convent center at Port-Royal Des Champs near Versailles, tolerated by the Crown, and earned a great reputation.  The Jansenists had a role in the Fronde Rebellion.  The Jesuits opposed them and finally so did Luois 14th, who in 1704 destroyed Port-Royal.  In 1713 the Pope issued the Bull Unigenitus which condemned the movement.  Thereafter a great number of Jansenists were permitted to leave France and take sail for Bergonia.  The Huguenots and Jansenits settled at first almost exclusively in Pasiana.  In 1724 the Jansenist founded a new university in a town they named Port-Royal.  


The French crown chartered four colonies, Pasiana, Comleta, Goninbad and Clacupo Bay.  A governor appointed by the King headed each one of the colonies and each had near dictatorial powers within his boundaries.  He could impose certain taxes, raise and pay armies and appoint commanders, and he could direct armies sent from France.  This effectively meant that Frnech forces in Bergonia had four separate territorial commands.  The navy existed under a unified command, with forts in all the harbors where its ships harbored.


The Governors of course was charged with protecting the interests of the Church.  Each governor appointed intendants who governed all civil matters and collected taxes.  Intendants were powerful in their own right, but they reported to the governor who usually could remove them at will.  While they could organize constabularies, the intendants never held any military powers.


In fact the governors had tremendous practical limitations on their powers, and they were in many areas able to rule only with diplomacy, bargaining and prudent military forays.  The basic tool of French rule ended up being the charter.  The governor was able to exert direct control over certain limited areas, mainly along the coasts, and beyond these areas the intendants ruled only with charters with cities and towns.  These charters came about because of the atrei's desire to avoid French military attack, but also because of their hope for French trade and support.  Some of the French towns themselves, particularly those with Huguenot majorities.  The French governors allowed many locals to raise militias in addition to the constabularies.  The militias became almost as much trouble as they were worth; they feuded and fought with each other, and too often they refused the governor's orders they found inconvenient.


European economic imperialism-- oceanic trade and mercantilism:


Ocean Trade:  All three European powers tried to chain the economies of their Bergonian colonies with their national economies back home.  Their laws forbade the people within their colonial zones from trading with any other European national.  Neither the British, the French nor the Portuguese allowed each other's ships, or ships from Spain or Holland, to trade in their ports.  Enforcement of these policies were largely successful, although a great deal of smuggling took place along Bergonia's long coast.


Inland trade was another matter.  Long before Columbus came to curse the land, Bergonia had evolved into a single cohesive trade unit, containing several regional economies each with its own mineral, agricultural or manufactured specialties for trade.  The fist impulse of the colonial masters was to forbid trade over their colonial borders.  As an example the British controlled the cotton producing regions and shipped the cotton back home where English factories wove cloth, denying it to its traditional markets in the rest of Bergonia. Then English merchants shipped the cloth back to the Bergonian colonies where the atrei had to buy it.  Of course the English cloth cost far more than cloth would have cost if the cotton had remained in Bergonian for weaving.  Moreover, the cost of cotton goods in French and Portuguese Bergonia was artificially high.  The restrictions of artificial borders were commonly defied, and colonial forces dashed about chasing smugglers.


British Bergonia produced for the homeland cotton, sugar, tobacco, fruit, fine woods, and precious stones.  England sent to Bergonia indentured labor for work on plantations, finished textiles and manufactured goods.  The British were generally very efficient in exploiting their colonial possessions without desiccating them.

French and Portuguese colonialists expropriated for their homelands gold, silver, precious stones, furs, linen fabric, fine wool, and quality wood, without trading anything back to the colony in return.  At the same time, both France and Portugal encouraged the development of local agricultural and urban economies that would benefit the imperial regime through the remission of taxes.


European cultural imperialism-- a matter of race, religion and class:


When the Europeans conquered new cities and towns, they often learned right away the limitations of their power.  Many towns surrendered only after negotiations.  The inhabitants refused to allow themselves to be trussed up, branded, tied, or beaten as were many Indians in the Americas (particularly in Spanish colonies), and they would rebel, even suicidally, against such tortures, and so the Europeans swiftly gave up on enslaving the Bergonians, but rather learned to be content with milder forms of exploitation.  Bergonian peasants labored as they had for centuries before, but now many had European overlords.  European nobles and soldiers ran the cities, but most natives went about their business as laborers, dock hands, messengers, weavers, craftsmen, librarians and engineers. The Europeans found that they had conquered but not fully subjugated.  They found that submissive atrei would often spring into violent opposition if they went too far-- particularly with attempts to infringe on Miradi temples or the libraries.   


In the Americas every native temple was shut and destroyed, while in India, Vietnam and other Asian countries the European conquerors had to suffer the native religions.  Temples and mosques remained open in India while the British ruled, and the French tolerated Buddhism in Indochina even as they succeeded in converting a sizeable fraction to Catholicism.  Likewise, the atrei fought every attempt to shut down their Miradi temples.  Many temples were shuttered, burned, or given over to Christian missions, especially in the coastal areas, but the big majority of temples in the interior survived.  In 1606 the French shut down the Miradi capital of Chambolet and disbursed all the priests & priestesses.  In response the Ifuno Plateau region began roiling with revolt.  Beginning in 1612 Miradi priests led peasant rebellions.  French colonial authorities were harried and harassed along the roads, then turned away, and the atrei began attacking colonial institutions, including churches and missions.  The worst of these outbreaks occurred in what is now Sefaieri and rural Cuecha.  The Governor of Comleta allowed the resumption of the __ in 1636.  Thereafter there was a decidedly greater tolerance by the French for Miradi religious institutions and activity.  Still, it was not until the 1720s that any of the colonial governments officially allowed the construction of any new Miradi temples and facilities.


In the coastal areas directly controlled by the three powers, whites held all power.  Wherever Europeans lived they built their own clubs, stores and schools. Every city had a European quarter.  Atrei were often not allowed to go into these neighborhoods, or enter European clubs, hotels, restaurants or businesses, except as servants or workers.  


The white colonial governments relied on bodies of Christianized atrei and sherei (mestizo) for bureaucratic functions and skilled labor.  Bergonians in this way learned how to use printing presses.  The colonial armies likewise were commanded by whites, but the enlisted soldier was usually a Christianized atrei or sherei. The sons and daughters of Christianized atrei filled the missions, monasteries and convents, but only a few sherei made it high into the church hierarchy.  The European colonists would hardly ever take a servant into their homes or onto their estates who was not a Christian.


All three of the colonial powers in varying degrees regulated who could work in different occupations according to race and religion.  Religion was the way for an atrei to overcome the race barrier.  These rules allowed Christianized sherei and atrei to practice as advocates before the colonial courts, and even to act as judges in cases involving non-whites.  There were even stupid attempts by the colonials to suppress any attempts by Miradi atrei to practice medicine, pharmacy, accounting and engineering, but practical need trumped the racist impulse, and capable atrei of both religions came to dominate these professions.  


Because Britain, France & Portugal controlled Bergonia's port cities, they controlled all export and import.  Having carved up Bergonia, they tried to control the flow of overland trade between their respective colonies.  At first only white traders could legally engage in such trade, but the Europeans could not control all economic exchange, and many Miradi atrei engaged in local trade and trade in common commodities like grains and cloth.   The colonial authorities relaxed the barriers, first to admit sherei, and then to admit Christianized atrei.  The efforts of the colonial governments to monopolize all mining for gold, silver, precious stones and lead likewise only partially succeeded.  


Just as before Columbus, the iregemi class dominated the peasantry.  They lived richly by exacting a share of the harvest.  In the areas directly controlled by Britain, France and Spain the iregemi were almost all whites, with a small minority of sherei.  In the interior most of the iregemi were atrei, and many of these local lords were Miradi.


Of course all the city laborers, warehousemen, barge workers, dockworkers, miners and loggers, and craftsmen, as well as the bulk of the peasantry and herders, were atrei, and mostly Miradi.  This was the servile class of colonial society, a class without rights.  Colonial laws restricted what capitalists would later call "labor mobility" by prohibiting a man from leaving his employ without his master's consent.  This of course virtually rendered the bulk of atrei into a kind of slavery, although they often had the pride of their own homes, came and went from the master's premises, and attended Miradi temple services.  All the peasants were bound to the land, and thus bound to the iregemi who owned the land.  There was no slavery of the sort where men could be sold, or where families could be torn apart, but sometimes skilled craftsmen and artisans had binding contracts that could legally be sold between businesses.  



1650-1750-- the native population rebounds:


In 1620 the atrei (native) population bottomed out-- approximately 11 million.  By 1700 native numbers and energy rebounded, at first slowly but then more rapidly, even while the three European states consolidated political and military control over the entire island.   


The subsequent history of Bergonia is the story of how the native population reasserted itself and retook control of their country and culture.  History does tell a story of how the two cultures battled, but also tells how the two cultures traded, communed and combined to make things dear to everyone. 


In the 1600s native Bergonians formed their own Christian churches.  They learned European styles of art, dress and manners, but practiced them with distinctly Bergonian accents and twists.  Likewise European settlers adopted many native customs.   The European Calendar replaced the traditional Bergonian calendar, the seven day Christian week  replaced the six day Miradi week in areas where Christians dominated, and the natives began using the Roman alphabet to write their own languages..  


In the coastal areas the three colonial regimes imposed order very thoroughly.  These areas were entirely placated and subjugated by Britain, France and Spain.  The land in these areas was divided and deeded according to European grants and law.  The police on all levels ultimately answered to the colonial governor.  Europeans had explicit legal superiority in these areas. 


By contrast  colonial control over the interior of Bergonia was far more tenuous.  The Interior was rather wild and wooly, a place where a man could escape and disappear, where outlaws, fugitives and adventurers proliferated.  The colonial regimes had garrisons in most of the cities in the interior, but their grip was conditional and sometimes quite ineffective.  Colonial administrators and military commanders dominated the interior only by cajoling, hiring or threatening the local mayors, chiefs and iregemi.  In the large cities the European colonial administration had to contend with a thousand legitimate interests, some resolutely anti-European in outlook if not in deeds, as well as with smugglers, extortionists, thieves and beggars.  Bandits and outlaws lived in the hills among the shepherds.  European adventurers and fugitives wandered the interior.  One could be free, in a hardscrabble, chaotic fashion, to organize a gang of smugglers, a brothel, a cult or a school.  


During this time the atrei population rebounded with rapid growth.   Most of this growth occurred on the Ifuno Plateau, a region penetrated by only a few thousand European colonists.  By 1766 the Ifuno was home to perhaps ten million people, nearly all atrei, and about 40% of Bergonia's total population.  Here atrei, not Europeans, comprised the upper class of Iregemi planters and traders (though most of them had adopted European dress-- copper-brown faces under tri-corner hats, and powdered wigs in some extremes cases of affectation ).  They were about evenly divided between Catholic and Miradi, though the bulk of the Ifuno peasantry who labored under their domination were Miradi.  They generally had little regard for the British, and had generally preferred the French, who generally offered better terms.  This development paralleled French alliances with Indians against the British in North America.  During the Seven Years War the French had given arms to some of the atrei warlords, and other warlords had hired their own gunsmiths to make arms themselves.  After the war many of the Iregemi planters maintained their own militia forces Armed militias under control of local strongmen in the Ifuno would plague the next one hundred years of Bergonian history.


Indeed there were a number of small states in the interior (largely in southwest-central Berg-- see map below) that remained independent.  They had furiously resisted the British in the 1600s, but after the British adjusted borders with them to their liking, the British placated them with treaties.  


1756-1763:   The Seven Year War-- Britain conquers almost all Bergonia:

One could say that the Seven Years War (known parochially in US history as the French & Indian War) was perhaps the first truly world war, since Britain and France fought each other in Asia, North America and Bergonia, as well as on the high seas.  Simultaneously on the Continent, Britain's ally, Prussia, fought Austria and Russia, which had sided with France. 

France had generally appointed smart. capable men to serve as its four colonial governors, and afforded them great discretionary powers.  They succeeded in cultivating alliances with the remaining independent states in southwest-central Bergonia.  The governors directed the French military effort against the British in Bergonia.  Together the French colonial armies and the independent Bergonians invaded the English territory in southern Bergonia, virtually overrunning all Pueoi. 

But in all the other theaters of the world war the English prevailed, and the French were forced to surrender.  In the 1763 Treaty of Paris, France had to surrender her Bergonian, Canadian and Indian territories.  

After 1763, the British held exclusive sway over Bergonia, and ran all its ports.  A Crown commission established seven colonies with seven governors, and a unified system of tariffs and tolls.  Of course British merchants and traders obtained all the valuable licenses and commissions, and British traders held monopolies in major areas. The British protected the French and Spanish settler populations, and maintained a set of laws that discriminated against all atrei and mixed-race.  But there were many atrei and mixed-race individuals engaging in the professions, and making money as traders, manufacturers and iregemi.




Map of Colonial Bergonia

See Detailed Map of Bergonia, 700-1500 AD

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