History & Geography Edit
The Empire is one of the youngest realms in game, having been founded in 2620 by the Marquess of Jamaica only 46 years before the game starts. Empress Portia spent many years bringing much of the region together under her control, ruled from Kingston on the island of Jamaica, which to this day remains the capital of the Empire. After decades of conquest and consolidation, the Empress is now aging and unable to bear further children. Powerful regional despots on Cuba and Hispaniola and on scattered islands far to the east of the capital, see a change coming, and a succession crisis is now inevitable. The Empire, weakly centralised and the fruit almost solely of conquest and persuasion, is under Elective Monarchy rules. With the son and heir of Portia being a cruel and harsh fratricide unlikely to hold onto the crown for very long, imminent insurrection by the various Marquises eager for independence seems likely on the game's start.
The Empire is a widely spread polity made up primarily of islands. Pretty much all of the islands in the Caribbeans answer to the Empress, save from Trinidad and Tobago, Tortuga and several others. Various small Brethren polities, particularly in the Leeward Antilles, retain control of their affairs far from the immediate gaze of the Empress. The Empire also retains several inland footholes on the mainland however, the legacy of years of successful imperial expansion. The Republic of Miami, controlling the wealthy southern portions of Florida, and the Marquisate of Belize, a colony perched on the edge of the kingdom of Yucatàn, are the two primary mainland regions.
The geography of the realm normally makes it a terrible target for an invasion, due to the massive cost of a fleet capable to transport an army worthy of this name. That being said, organized raiding parties find the Empire a very tempting target, with the Empire typically hard-pressed to respond to devastating raids. The presence of many Brethren islands in the area makes eliminating these nests an immediate priority for the Empress. The geography of the kingdom makes defending its footholds difficult, especially if they rebel, making it clear to all that the Empire's days as a unified and powerful realm are numbered. Very quickly at least several duchies are expected to throw off the yoke of Jamaican control.
Religious uniformity is a distant dream, with many vassals non-Rastafarian. This ever-present reality consistently damages relation between the Empress and her vassals, necessitating continuous. Vassals tend to either belong to mainland religions, or are beholden to their traditional practices such as Hoodoo on the island of Hispaniola. House Garley in Cuba, for example, is Americanist.
Despite the intrinsic weaknesses present in a polity held together almost entirely by Empress Portia's powerful personaltiy and force of arms, her powerful army and her fleet discourages any immediate foreign aggresion, with only the HCC being able to stand against her. This may protect her from conventional invasion, but not from the certain raids of the Brethren who see the Empire as a beast too large to defend itself from quick onslaughts.
Vassals and Enemies Edit
As is usually the case with powerful empires, the true enemy lies within. Portia's vassals have long chafed under her pro-Rastafarian policies and have had to "grin and bear it" for the sake of the great amount of war loot flowing to the islands. With expansion stalled, the traditional alliances that have held the various regional despots together are falling apart, and now civil war seems inevitable.
The Marquises of Cuba are powerful, and it may be in the Empress' interests to attempt to block one of them from seizing enough control of the island to get any ideas of independence. Haiti and Dominica are very dangerous and independence-minded, with them an obvious starting point for rebellion upon scenting any weakness by Portia or her heirs. Puerto Rico, with its wealthy trading capital of San Juan, could represent yet another starting point for rebellion.
Miami has been useful for the Empire, wealth flowing in from its vast trading networks and enriching the coffers of Jamaica. The Republic is slowly becoming a massive liability however. Constant raids from the dangerous pirates of the Tampa bay, the tribals of the north and the threat of the Confederacy are turning the Cubano merchants that made Miami prosperous more insular, and by extension, away from the Empire. Independence revolt is now an ever-present risk.
The Marquisate of Belize, once a useful staging ground for raids into Central America during the Zenith Period of the Caribbean Empire, is now nothing more than a massive target for the powerful Neo-Mayan kingdom in the area, and an expanding Moskita. Portia's instalment of a distant relation, intended to ensure the colony's loyalty in the face of imperial factionalism, has now become a threat to her rule.
The territories of the Lesser Antilleian east no longer see the Empress as all powerful. As she grows weaker they may increasingly see her infirmity as a chance to assert control for themselves or for one of the petty rulers of the islands to claim the throne itself. The potential for Portia's son the "Stepping Razor" to gain the throne may just push them over the edge sooner rather than later.
Overseas, threats once seen as distant are slowly coming to haunt the Empire.
The kingdoms of Central America such as Yucatan and Moskita are slowly growing in strength, and if one of them gains primacy the risk to the Empire's holdings could be great indeed. Whisperings of the growing strength of a Panamanian warlord give many at court in Kingston cause for concern.
The Holy Columbian Confederacy to the north of the Empire is mighty indeed. Portia's policy of preserving the independence of the Americanist petty kingdoms and the tribal folk of the Mouse to act as buffers between wealthy Miami and the Evangelist empire has long served the Empire well. With imperial politics in the Confederacy now turning towards overseas expansion, conflict between the Caribbean and Algernon seems no longer a distant possibility. The pirates of the Seminole on the Florida peninsula represent a minor nuisance that if left unchecked could threaten the flow of trade into Portia's coffers.
The horselords of Los Llanos in Venuezela have expanded greatly in recent years from their homeland on the plains, and their movement onto the wealthy coast risks plunging the entire region into conflict. Whether or not the wars in Venuezela cause the growth of a strong and centralised power, and certain risk to Portia's Empire, the loss of small, easily raidable polities from which tribute can be exacted is sure to contribute to the Caribbean's slow fragmentation. The maritime Republic of Cartagena may represent a threat in itself towards the Empire's strangehold over the trade routes that flow east.
Overall the main threat to the Empire comes from the fragmented nature of its rule. Breakup seems almost inevitable, and it will take a strong family to hold the various pieces together.
The imperial AI is mainly defensive. The extension of the realm and wich foothold resisted the course of time will give hints of what they will do next. Normally, the Emperors will go after Brethren nests, first of all Tortuga, and indipendent islands, showing an almost complete lack of interest for the mainland, wisely enough. In particular, they will never try to expand in Yucatàn, this doesn't impede them from landing in the lands of whoever is attacking the Marquisate with impressive stacks and equally large fleets. The fact that you have to invade other islands to rise the warscore to 100 makes everything more difficult.
The Caraibic Spring Edit
There is an event though that will always happen, will always suceed, and that is going to stop the Empire for centuries: the Caraibic Spring. The explosive mix of religiuos disunity as well as geographical makes a massive indipendence league pop up. Usually, these vassals will join:
- Republic of Miami: 100% guaranteed, probably they are the ones who found the faction
- Marquisate of Haiti
- Marquisate of Santa Dominica
- Marquisate of Santo Domingo
Some of the marquisates of Cuba will probably join as well.
The rebel Lords are extremely likely to suceed in their attempt, significantly weakening the Empire. Sometimes, other kingdoms will attack as well, with the victim being most of the time Belize, either by the hands of Yucatàn or by a Honduras on the rise. The Empire is not critically partitioned though, usually the Emperor strikes back against the Lords who joined the rebellion soon after, because the truce is with the leader of the faction, not with the backers. Eventual rebels of Cuba are the first in the firing line, followed by the Marquisate of Haiti. All of the others listed above are likely to stand for a century atleast, effectively stopping the Emperor from turning his wrath against any other.