Revised Draft Intro - Please Review

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SirGarnet
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Revised Draft Intro - Please Review

Post by SirGarnet » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:53 am

Sorry I couldn't finish it last night - still needs reading and proofing.

This Companion focuses on regions not covered in the earlier volumes – what was to Europeans the New World of the Americas and the unknown lands of sub-Saharan Africa, together with the overseas colonial armies and adventurers in these regions. Th, remote from Europe and indeed unknown or little understood by Europeans at the beginning of our period. – represented on maps as blank space marked terra incognita (unknown lands), or imaginatively illustrated. Indeed, some of these armies were unknown to Europeans even in 1700, but are within the scope of coverage. Some cover the forces of a single empire or tribe, but many of the lists embrace groups of tribes with armies of similar composition and tactics, even if otherwise culturally diverse.

[What these armies tend to share historically is challenges – of resources, thinly-spread manpower, terrain, technology, or tactics, or more than one of these.]

Most of this book is about the armies of the Americas. American battles could involve large armies of tens of thousands of men in densely populated regions (Inca population was estimated at 10 million), but many important battles involved much smaller forces.
As discussed on pages 15 and 162 of the rules, we represents each army as a coherent whole for the right shape and feel, allowing scaling up or down for "what if" encounters as well as representation of both small and large historical scenarios. As an example, Conquistador-led armies at times had a few hundred Spanish and tens of thousands of native auxiliaries, but several battle groups of Conquistadors are allowed because this effectively represents their significance in those armies.

The Aztecs and their neighbours and the Incas fielded disciplined and organized armies, and the Iroquois were noted for their sophisticated field and siege tactics, although tribal forces as a rule to tended to be weak in logistical planning. The more irregular tribal forces were warriors by experience and often by continual raiding of their neighbours. Indians facing firearms quickly learned their advantages and weaknesses, and for many tribes the constraints on their adoption were availability and shortage of powder for large-scale military use. The Iroquois, for example, adapted to facing musket volleys by throwing themselves to the ground when the command to fire was given, and against Europeans shifted from close to loose formations. Firearms were a major advantage fighting other Indians without them, particularly with the added psychological impact of lack of prior experience facing them.

The technical gap during the period of these rules was significant and increasing, but it was nothing like the gulf in relative military capabilities in the 19th and 20th centuries, and Western-style armies could still face a challenge against organized native forces under good leadership. Western firearms and use of the horse were widely adopted as far as circumstances allowed, as well as hand weapons of iron and steel. Body armour was an advantage in the early 1500s, but in the 1600s it was falling into disuse in Europe and also in America. Field of Glory Renaissance troop classifications of troops are based on fighting style, not specific equipment. Consideration is given to engagements between armies within a single list book or theme, but also to "what if" matches against anachronistic opponents.

Troop quality is rated based on aggressiveness and fighting spirit as well as effect on historical adversaries, which is why the Spanish conquistador battle groups leading armies of native auxiliaries are routinely rated as Superior (these battle groups may be disproportionately large relative to their actual numbers, but this is to represent their historical effect in the early conquests).

The armies of the colonial powers faced their own challenges. With few regular troops in the colonies, armies had to rely upon local leaders, the militia and native auxiliaries for support. Militia formed to meet the need for defence not provided by the crown, but often resisted distant or offensive campaigns. Financing and logistics were often ad hoc. When the army did take the field, conventional tactics appropriate for sieges and open field battles against similar opponents could prove unsuitable for American terrain and tactics of the native focusing on economy of force in irregular harassment and ambushes against the European opponent.

The pike and shot formations that were valuable against mounted assault had little use against Indians in their own terrain. The faults of the matchlock were particularly evident in the Americas, and the colonists were quick to adopt the flintlock and store the pikes against need.

[Though should they have the option in the list as they did reserve them for use in confrontations where they would be useful?]

Portugal was the early leader in exploration, already probing around Africa to the east well before Columbus discovered the New World and claimed it for Spain. The new lands were unexplored but potentially vast, and to protect Portugal’s share and its eastern trade the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, based on a Papal settlement, set the line of longitude that divided the world in two, to Spain the lands to the west and to Portugal the east. As it turned out, this gave Portugal eastern Brazil and Spain everything to the west, but did achieve the Portuguese goal of keeping Spain away from Africa, at least for a time. [With the Reformation, of course, the Protestant maritime powers, the English and the Dutch, paid no heed to the Treaty, and France joined somewhat later.]

The Americas were generally a more hospitable climate with obvious resources, gold and silver conspicuous upon first landing [and more conquerable/trickable/manipulable inhabitants, at least early on when the Spanish did not appear to be a serious threat, but I don’t know whether to put that here – it’s touched upon later re the Conquistadors in particular]. These lists include native peoples from the Pacific Northwest to the Caribbean and down to those who halted the Spanish advance southward in Chile, and appropriate lists (notably the Tlaxcalan) include the Conquistadores, who were generally present in modest numbers as the leading elements of armies composed of native allies or auxiliaries. They also include the later armies of the European colonial powers and their colonies, often including a mix of some European regular troops, militia formed from settlers of European origin, and native auxiliaries.

Of the early expeditions in the New World, the spectacular and profitable success of the Spanish Conquistadors against the Aztec and then the Inca empires most durably stirred the interest and ambition of European adventurers and monarchs dreaming of glory and undiscovered new lands with more cities of gold and silver. However, one should not underestimate the religious, political and social importance of missionary work. Although some used it as a justification for their deeds, seeking to save souls was a passionate cause for many Europeans in the Old World as well as the Americas. This served to expand influence and control to marginal areas where there was initially only costs without economic benefit, and sometimes conflict.

Within 30 years after Columbus set foot on Hispaniola in 1492, most of Central and South America other than Brazil was under Spanish hegemony. The conquests of the Aztec and Inca empires were dramatic and improbable, and the obvious historical and military “what ifs” remain intriguing today. Spanish rule was not a light burden, and the tide of incremental expansion and consolidation until about 1560 included some hard fighting both in initial conquests and subsequent revolts. Some tribes were found too strong or their territory of too little value to subdue, and the rump Inca empire of Manco in Peru endured until 1572. There was also armed conflict between rival Spanish leaders –in Mexico in 1520 when Cortes refused to be relieved of command, and for several years after 1537 in Peru –Amagro was executed, and Pizarro died in continued fighting.

Maintaining control became New Spain's primary challenge, against incursions by European powers or neighbouring tribes and revolts, and the borders expanded to Argentina and Chile to the south and California to the north. The Spanish treasure fleets, laden with silver and gold, were legendary and a key support for Spanish ambitions in Europe (and incidentally created inflation that disrupted the established economic and social order). Resources for maintaining and expanding Spanish rule were grudgingly allocated.

The wealth of the lands around the Caribbean, to which Spain initially laid claim, was the focus of rivalry in the Americas through the 17th century, including the Spanish, English, French and Dutch. Wars in this region were shaped by developments in Europe, and territories were captured and returned or ceded usually based on decisions made thousands of miles away. In addition to the lure of gold and silver, periodically shipped in treasure fleets to Spain, the sugar islands of the Caribbean were increasing in economic importance. With myriad islands and inlets for shelter, pirates and state-sponsored privateers, called buccaneers, prospered in these episodic struggles.

Compared with the Caribbean, North America was a sideshow. The long history of Anglo-French conflict in North America began during this period. English raids on French Canada began in 1613, preceding serious English settlement on the Atlantic coast. Quebec was captured in 1629 (returned upon peace) and Acadia was repeatedly raided or occupied. The Dutch also settled, expelling a Swedish settlement after a short campaign, but after the First Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54 and the Second of 1664-67 yielded New Netherlands (now New York) to England, though briefly recapturing their territories in the War of 1673-74.

This left France opposed to England, but surrounded by a constellation of Indian tribes, varying widely in numbers and strength and which continued to raid and war against each other, often founded on hereditary hatreds. This environment was fertile ground for the rougher kind of diplomatic game, in which the weaker players could be displaced or eliminated. Among the Indians, the powerful and politically advanced Iroquois were the most important, and it was a fateful day for the future of North America in 1609 when the French fired upon them at first contact. The Iroquois became long-term allies of the Dutch and later English and inveterate opponents of the French. French-Huron and French-Algonquin armies attempted to push the Iroquois borderlands south in 1609 and 1616, and the Iroquois and French fought a series of wars – in 1642-53, 1665-66 and 1684-89, which then continued alongside the War of the League of Augsburg (known in colonial fashion as King William’s War), and again in the 18th century.

Beyond the ripple effects of Spanish, French or English settlement and trade, Indian tribes in the rest of North America continued much as before. There were feuds and alliances, skirmishes, raids, displacements of tribes and occasional massacres as tribes waxed and waned. Tribes in different regions tended to use different methods of fighting suitable to their resources, environment and culture. Horses penetrated the interior even when the Spanish did not, and wrought the greatest changes for the tribes of the vast Great Plains, affecting not only their style of fighting but their culture.

In addition to the New World, this book also covers Africa. The part of Africa familiar to Europeans since ancient times was North Africa – the rest was terra incognita. After the fall of the Mamelukes of Egypt by the Ottoman Empire in 1517, the piratical Muslim states of the North African “Barbary Coast” saw a resurgence of Algiers with some Ottoman aid. Tunis was acquired by the Ottomans, then held by the Spanish until retaken in 1574 and held by the janissaries under nominal Ottoman authority. At the Battle of the Three Kings in 1578 (see page 111), Portugal received a dramatic setback that deferred European control of the region for more than two centuries. Over the next century the Spanish and Portuguese were forced out of many of their outposts in North Africa. An interesting side note is the transfer of Tangier from Portugal to Britain in 1662, only to be abandoned later to Morocco in 1684.

A great barrier between the Mediterranean states and the bulk of Africa was the Sahara, either uninhabitable desert of controlled by largely nomadic tribes such as the Tuareg. Caravan trade routes and Barbary Coast slaver raids crossed to the south, but generally there was little north-south contact. One great exception which illustrates the situation was the Moroccan expedition of 1591 against the Songhay that captured Timbuktu, and the later expedition against the Hausa. The lack of financial benefits led Morocco to withdraw in 1618, leaving its colonists behind.

Generally warfare in the sub-Saharan interior, across the broad band of largely open country that stretches across Africa through the Sahel, towards the Nile, was among the local powers. The empires of Songhay, Hausa and later Bornu were the three major powers at this time, the first in general decline, the last rising during this period. There were also a number of other, smaller states. North of the jungles of the coast, the relatively open east-west topography of this area facilitated trade, exchange of ideas, and warfare, as the jungles along the coast to the south did not.

Some of these African armies may seem to have a medieval character in terms of arms and organization. The nobility were often mounted, with common foot soldiers, and their arms of lance, spear, bow and sword are familiar ones in the 15th century or earlier. They did lag technical developments in Europe or the Ottoman Empire but through their trade ties were in time made aware of them and their advantages. Over time, based on the resources available, they acquired firearms. The Mossi, like the Steppe peoples of eastern Europe, provide a different sort of experience.

Europeans settled little more than coastal bases in sub-Saharan Africa during this period. Except for South Africa, which was temperate and sparsely settled, Africa was useful for trade outposts but unsuitable for colonization – the environment was unhealthy for Europeans, and the natives were often numerous, warlike and without the vulnerability to European diseases of the American peoples, and the lure of great wealth in the interior was absent. African outposts were primarily established as waystations to the riches of India and China. Although the Portuguese were the first to realize the importance of seapower supported by a chain of naval bases on the coasts and islands in order to displace the Arab-controlled coastal trader and establish and maintain trade primacy in the Indian Ocean. This was supported by a colonial army to protect the bases and intervene to advantage in local affairs, such as tipping the balance in favour of Christian Ethiopia in 1541 (the armies of the Horn of Africa appear in “Colonies and Conquest”).

The 16th century Portuguese trade monopoly in the Indian Ocean was broken from 1601 with the arrival of the Dutch and the English, who were not hesitant to use military as well as economic power. Portugal lost Ormuz and most of their remaining east African bases to the Omanis between 1622-1650, also being expelled from Ethiopia, but recaptured some of these later. They were also defeated by the English in a series of naval battles through 1630, and lost many bases on both African coasts and in the Indian Ocean to the Dutch from 1641 to 1663 (the Portuguese recovered some of these later). The Dutch in turn had several of their bases captured during the war of 1664-65 by the more powerful English. The French did not join the India trade until 1666, sowing the seeds for major wars in India in the next century, but 40 years earlier had established a post in Senegal that would be a base for future expansion. The ongoing trade wars of this period provide a fruitful arena for historical and “what if” scenarios including European, African, and Arab forces or mercenaries.

The western coast of Africa saw increasing trade in the 1600s, driven chiefly by the new markets in the Americas for the long-established African slave trade with the Barbary Coast and coastal traders in east Africa.

[Conclusion that ties it all together?]

youngr
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Post by youngr » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:31 am

Mike said:

In addition to the New World, this book also covers Africa. The part of Africa familiar to Europeans since ancient times was North Africa – the rest was terra incognita.

[Note: much was familar to the Arabs and Ottomans however]

SNIP

A great barrier between the Mediterranean states and the bulk of Africa was the Sahara, either uninhabitable desert of controlled by largely nomadic tribes such as the Tuareg. Caravan trade routes and Barbary Coast slaver raids crossed to the south, but generally there was little north-south contact. One great exception which illustrates the situation was the Moroccan expedition of 1591 against the Songhay that captured Timbuktu, and the later expedition against the Hausa. The lack of financial benefits led Morocco to withdraw in 1618, leaving its colonists behind.

[There was regular contact between North African states and those south of the Sahara since medieval times. e.g. Bornu had diplomatic relations with Tunis. Barbary horses had been sold in exchange for slaves for centuries]

Generally warfare in the sub-Saharan interior, across the broad band of largely open country that stretches across Africa through the Sahel, towards the Nile, was among the local powers. The empires of Songhay, Hausa and later Bornu were the three major powers at this time, the first in general decline, the last rising during this period. There were also a number of other, smaller states. North of the jungles of the coast, the relatively open east-west topography of this area facilitated trade, exchange of ideas, and warfare, as the jungles along the coast to the south did not.

[The Hausa were not a major power but a number of city states that fought sometimes with or against each other]

[There is some evidence that there was a fair bit of trade between the west African forest and Sahel states to the north. Hope this helps

Cheers

Richard]

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:57 am

Great stuff Mike, thanks. Thanks also Richard.

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