Framptonia - Factbook
The natural geography of Framptonia
The area of Framptonia is a low lying area in Central Europe, lying on the North and Eastern shores of the Northern Central Sea. It forms the land mass of the Sovereign State of The Federal Democratic Republics of Framptonia, most commonly known simply as Framptonia. The extent of the area can be seen on this map, Framptonia being the area indicated by the number 22
Framptonia shares a Western border with Kryuland and a small border at its Northern extremity with Poland-Lythuania. It has an extensive Eastern seaboard on the North Central Sea and the land to the South and North is largely uninhabited.
The Western Carpathian mountain range sweeps through the Southern area of Framptonia stretching from the South East to the North West and dominating the South Western area of the region. A small area to the south of this mountain range falls within the sovereignty of Framptonia, but this area is sparsely inhabited.
The area of Framptonia to the North of the Western Carpathian mountain range is a low lying area being the delta of several rivers that flow into the Northern Central Sea. Most of this area lies either at, below or only a metre or two above sea level, with the consequence that the rivers only drain slowly into the sea. This makes the whole area naturally marshy and prone to tidal flooding. The marshy lowlands, known as The Fens provide a habitat to a large variety of wildlife, many of which are considered to be rare elsewhere.
The coastal marshes of Framptonia
In the last two centuries, the land has been extensively drained, producing very fertile agricultural land. However the historically inhospitable nature of The Fens still results in the area being sparsely populated, a characteristic maintained by the isolation of the area and lack of significant infrastructure.
The Fens contain comparatively very few trees and the only area of substantial woodland habitat lies in the pocket of land to the South of the Western Carpathians.
The four rivers flowing into the Northern Central Sea through Framptonia comprise of the Witham, the Welland, the Nene and the Great Ouse. These are all fairly extensive waterways, though their length was historically extended by their meandering through the The Fens. As The Fens were drained, the rivers were made more navigable and the local settlements of Bogthorpe, Scalding, Scumthorpe and Scudness developed into trading ports.
A brief history of Framptonia - Part 1 - up to the mid 17th Century
The three distinct areas of Framptonia have all historically been only sparsely populated.
In the seventh century a Christian mystic, Bogwulf, fleeing persecution from his native Holland, washed ashore having been shipwrecked in the Northern Central Sea. He was taken in by a family of wildfowlers in the marshy extremities of the landmass and so avoided death. As others followed him, he established a small monastery on slight knoll in the marsh and this eventually became known as Bogthorpe.
The Monastery at Bogthorpe, though nominally Christian acted as a stringent protectorate of the waterways flowing The Fens and charged significant tariffs to people using them as trading routes. Through this mechanism Bogthorpe attained significant wealth and sister monasteries and abbeys were established at suitable trading points throughout the Fens. the wealth generated by the religious establishments encouraged population growth and the small communities gradually began to drain the land around their locations. this was not a major draining of the area and in effect each area became an island within the marshes, each island connected by a series of causeways along which other communities began to develop.
The hold of the human population on the Fens remained tenuous however, and their occupation remained precarious. The were regular tidal surges causing widespread flooding and loss of life. After being overwhelmed by the sea several times in only forty years, the monastery at Sewershead was abandoned and following a temporary rise in sea levels disappeared into the sea entirely never to be recovered.
Throughout the middle ages, the Fenland communities flourished becoming major trading ports within the region. Attempts were repeatedly made to straighten and dredge the rivers, but with only limited success. The improvements made were repeatedly destroyed by tidal flooding.
After a period of relative affluence, the arrival of the bubonic plague in the thirteenth century had a dramatic and fortune turning effect upon the region. Whilst the mortality rate was similar to that in other areas of the continent, the loss of 40% of the population meant that there was insufficient labour to maintain the sea defences. As a consequence the defences fell into disrepair and were overwhelmed on a more frequent basis. At the same time the major wool producers were finding alternative trade routes and the importance of Bogthorpe declined in real and relative terms.
A brief history of Framptonia - Part II - the tumultuous years 1685 to 1707
The role of Willem of Orange
The major years of upheaval in Framptonia were the consequence of events far from Framptonia and in which Framptonia had no influence or involvement.
On 10th June 1688, Mary of Modena the wife of James II of England gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart. James II was a protestant King, but was suspected by many of his subjects of being a Roman Catholic and had pro-Catholic leanings and tolerances. His wife was a Catholic and his son would be brought up as a Catholic. James Francis Edward Stuart had a protestant half-sister, by the first marriage of his father. His sister Mary was married to Willem III Prince of Orange. Until the birth of her brother, Mary had been the heir to the English throne.
Seven leading English protestants wrote to Willem inviting him to land a force in England to safeguard the future of Protestantism. The text of the letter can be found here. The seven correspondents were the Earls of Danby, Shrewsbury and Devonshire, Viscount Lumley, the Bishop of London, a MP Henry Sydney and Edward Russell (a naval officer and son of a Lord).
Willem invaded England on 5th November 1688 and met very little opposition. James II was deposed and fled to France with his son. Willem and his wife Mary were crowned as joint monarchs, being William III and Mary II.
Their reign was short lived however, as the Kings of France and Spain combined forces and after less than a year had invaded England and reinstated James II as Monarch. Large numbers of leading English protestants who had fought with Willem, fled into exile in Holland, where Willem remained the head of state. Many others were executed as traitors and heretics.
Willem's reputation both at home and overseas was severely damaged by his defeat. Additionally there was much unrest within the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and much complaint about the consequences of an influx of over 100,000 English Protestants into a country with a population of fewer than 1 million native residents. Willem's solution was to fund the colonisation of Framptonia by the displaced Englishmen and women. He chose Framptonia because of its geographical similarity to the Netherlands and because there was no recognisable authority within Framptonia. There were settlements at Bogthorpe, Scudness, Clingfinn and Scalding, but these were tiny and unconnected. Outside these settlements, people lived in small family groupings.
The colonising force was lead by Edward Russell, one of the seven signatories of the letter of invitation to Willem to invade England. The force entered Framptonia overland on 1st May 1691 and declared Framptonia as being a colony in the possession of the Willem III Stadtholder of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Edward Russell was declared the Royal Governor and Captain General of the colony.
Edward Russell - 1st Captain General of Framptonia
The colonising forces had no need to undertake any military operations against the residents of Framptonia, as there was no recognised administrative body and no organised military bodies against which to fight. They simply established camps in close proximity to already existing communities and assumed control. Dutch engineers set about repairing the existing sea defences, which had become dilapidated and derelict and began the wholesale drainage of large elements of the Fens. The modern age of Framptonia had begun.
The years of Dutch rule (1691-1707)
The thirteen years of Dutch rule, whist brief were the formative years of the modern state of Framptonia.
Russell brought with him the Dutch engineer Hans van Bocht, who immediately settled into the work of draining the Fens. Willem had given no thought to how this new colony might benefit its mother Country and he gave Russell a free hand in deciding on how it should be governed. Russell set himself as the sole arbiter of law in Framptonia. He raised funds for the Treasury of Framptonia by selling the freeholds of the new reclaimed land to either the wealthy English protestants, or to Dutch immigrants, who were fleeing the lack of opportunity that they perceived in their homeland. The populations of English and Dutch immigrants were roughly equal in numbers and Russell determined that the freeholds in the Northern seaboard areas would be sold to English settlers, whilst that in the Southern areas to Dutch farmers. The English ignored the native Framptonians and built their settlements and farms with no regard for the indigenous population. The Dutch however saw the natives as a potential source of labour and drew many into their farmsteads, but the relationship was more akin to master and slave than to employer and employee.
The native Framptonians fared badly irrespective of whether they found themselves in areas controlled by the English or the Dutch. The English gave them the freedom to carry on their lives as they wished, but at the same time removed the availability of natural resources from them. The Dutch provided them with a degree of food shelter and security, but removed all personal freedom by placing them in servitude. Those Framptonians who were able moved inland into the barren foothills of the Western Carpathians and some passed through the mountains to the plains to the South. These decisions and movements, three centuries ago have lead to the three Federal Democratic Republics which make up the modern day nation of Framptonia. The three Republics being Lindsey, on the northern half of the Eastern seaboard, New Holland on the southern half of the Eastern seaboard and Kesteven being the inland areas to the West of the two seaboard Republics and comprising the foothills of the Western Carpathian mountain range, the mountains themselves and an area of the plain to the South of the mountains.
Under the relaxed suzerainty of Willem and the astute administration of Russell, Framptonia gained steadily in strength and wealth. With the dredging of its rivers and the abundance of produce from the fertile reclaimed land, Framptonia found itself once again at the centre of major trade and commerce routes. Under the auspices of Russell, the relative wealth and status of the region returned to that which it had enjoyed in the early middle ages, some five hundred years earlier.
The cosy and comfortable existence for Framptonia came to an abrupt end in 1702 with the death of Willem III and his succession as Prince of Orange by his cousin John William Friso, who was young and inexperienced. Whereas Willem had been relaxed about the minor role Framptonia played in Dutch affairs and the lack of any significant economic return from the investment placed in it, his cousin was much less concerned about the reputational advantage it gave the motherland and more concerned about using it for economic and commercial advantage.
John felt that his cousin had been far to lenient in his dealings with Russell. By selecting an area for colonisation so similar to the Netherlands and with no firm discussion about tribute payments, the colony had effectively become a competitor rather than a contributor to the Dutch economy. John felt it even more galling that the Dutch Treasury had funded the colony's establishment.
In 1705 John recalled Russell to The Netherlands to discuss his plans for the colony. The audience appears to have been an unmitigated disaster from the viewpoint of both parties. The Prince was looking for reparations and when Russell realised this he felt that John was seeking to renege on his cousin's agreement. The Prince was astounded to discover that Russell, who had been Captain-General of his country's major colony containing many Dutch citizens for more than ten years, spoke not a single word of Dutch. The only way he could speak with Russell was either through a translator, or by speaking to him in English. Legend has it that in fury he shouted at his translator in Dutch, "He forgets who is the Prince and who is the bloody subject. It is outrageous that a Prince must conduct the affairs of his Country in a foreign language."
The ill heated interview ended in misunderstanding, with the Prince understanding that Russell would return to Framptonia to establish a means of supporting the Prince's Treasury. Russell left believing that he could simply ignore the demands of the Prince and carry on running his little fiefdom. Russell returned to Framptonia and carried on the administration of Framptonia as if his interview with the Prince had never happened.
In March 1707, John sent Frank Breugel to Framptonia with sixty four Dutch marines and a sealed missive to Russell instructing him to relinquish his Governorship and return to the Netherlands. When Breugel arrived in Framptonia he found that Russell had left Bogthorpe and gone 'up country' to the recently established military base at Limpdom in the foothills of the Carpathians. Breugel took up residence in the Governor's House and sent a message to Russell to return to Bogthorpe immediately. Russell was deliberately dilatory in returning to Bogthorpe, but on his return Breugel immediately placed him under arrest and placed him under the guard of two of his marines in the military prison in Bogthorpe.
Unfortunately for Breugel, he had totally misjudged the loyalty of the other members of the administration to Russell. In the Court of the Prince of Orange, Russell was assumed to be a loose cannon with little or few supporters. The Governor of the military prison in Bogthorpe, Lucius Bareham was an old friend of Russell's father and, via one the English prison guards, Russell was easily and quickly able to get a message to him outlining the coup d'etat that Breugel was executing on behalf of his Prince.
Bareham immediately traversed the streets of Bogthorpe in the dark of night, rousing the leading Englishmen of the colony. Charles Middleton, a Major in the local militia, commanded a group of his men who seized the Governor's House, taking Breugel by surprise as he and most of his men slept. The two Dutch guards at the military prison were overpowered and Russell was released.
Breugel and the two most senior officers of the marine corps disappeared and were most probably executed, though Russell strongly denied this and claimed they had escaped. The remaining marines were initially imprisoned, but soon released and encouraged to join the local militia groups in defence of Framptonia.
The day after being released from the military prison, Russell addressed a crowd in the marketplace at Bogthorpe and announced that Framptonia would no longer recognise the authority of Dutch Princes. The independent state of Framptonia was born.
A brief history of Framptonia - Part III - the years of tyranny, syphilis and invasion 1707 to 1815
On 26th March 1707, Edward Russell declared Framptonia a Kingdom with himself as King Edward. He ruled in the style of the medieval monarchs of England. By the standards of the time, he saw himself as an enlightened King and hoped to be a benevolent leader. In practice he was autocratic and haughty.
Despite marrying twice to much younger women of child bearing ages and having numerous mistresses, King Edward failed to father any children. This is believed to be as a consequence of contracting syphilis as a young naval officer, leading to impotence.
During his reign, many of the economic advantages that Framptonians had enjoyed under the nominal Dutch reign were frittered away by Edward and his advisors. As a result the living standards declined, both in real and absolute terms and the population became rapidly discontented. Edward's response was to use harsh punitive measures as a deterrent, but these had little affect beyond disaffecting his subjects further.
On 26th November 1727, King Edward died from complications caused by his suffering tertiary syphilis. His passing was little mourned within Framptonia, but neither did it generate any relief for his subjects. Before his death, Edward had nominated his second wife, Catherine's nephew as his heir. Catherine was the youngest sister of Lucius Bareham, the prison Governor who had assisted Edward in escaping from Dutch imprisonment and Edward was the Godfather to his only son Thomas, who at the time of Edward's death was only twelve years old.
Thomas was crowned King on 3rd December 1727 in accordance with the wishes of Edward , but his Aunt Catherine was established as his regent until he reached the age of maturity.
In February 1728 it became apparent that Catherine was pregnant. She claimed that the Edward was the father of the unborn child and that the child was therefore the legitimate heir to the throne. Her claim seems unlikely, especially with hindsight as her daughter Elizabeth was born on 22nd September 1728, nearly ten months after the death of her purported father. Towards the end of his life, Edward had been incapacitated by his illness and is unlikely to have fathered his young wife's child, which was probably conceived after his death.
Catherine's pregnancy placed Lucius Bareham in a difficult position. If he accepted that Edward was the unborn child's father, then his son Thomas would have to relinquish the throne. If he wished to support his son's claim to the throne, then he had to impugn the honour and integrity of his sister. in the event he prevaricated and made no decision until the child was born and was confirmed to be a girl. At this point, Lucius agreed to allow Elizabeth to become the heir to the throne, but on the condition that she was betrothed to her cousin Thomas. Catherine readily agreed and remained the regent, but this time for her daughter Elizabeth.
The Dowager Queen and Regent Catherine
Elizabeth was a sickly baby and was born blind. This is an indication that her mother Catherine had contracted syphilis from Edward and had passed the disease to her daughter in the womb.
In July 1730, Catherine remarried to a young subaltern from the Framptonia Militia. Lieutenant Roberto Hovis was ten years Catherine's junior and had been present at Court since prior to Edward's death. It seems likely that Hovis was the father of Elizabeth. Lucius Bareham initially opposed the marriage, but for some reason before its consecration had altered his opinion and gave away his sister at the ceremony.
In July 1732, Catherine gave birth to another daughter Antonia Mary. Again the child was sickly, but unlike her elder sister was not blind. Over the next five years Catherine was to give birth to three further children, one of whom was still born and the other two failed to live beyond ten weeks. The effects of Edward Russell's philandering when still a lowly Lieutenant in the Royal Navy was still having an extreme effect upon the Framptonian Royal Family some sixty years later.
In 1734, the date for the marriage of Queen Elizabeth to Thomas Bareham was set for 22 September 1744, the Queen's 16th birthday, some ten years in advance. Unfortunately the Queen did not live to see her wedding day and died of typhoid on 31st July 1742. This threw the Kingdom into a further constitutional crisis.
Lucius Bareham argued that as the bloodline of King Edward had been extinguished, then his son Thomas should assume the throne. Thomas had achieved the age of maturity by this time and already been crowned King at his coronation thirteen years earlier. Catherine argued that she and her daughter Antonia were the closest blood relatives of the late Queen Elizabeth and that therefore the Crown should pass to one of them. She argued that her surviving daughter should become Queen.
The debate was fractious and appeared to be declining slowly into a state of civil war. Just as war appeared inevitable, Lucius Bareham was incapacitated in a riding accident. As Lucius' life slipped away, so did the prospects of Thomas being accepted as King. From his death bed, Lucius negotiated a settlement with Catherine. Thomas refused a betrothal to Antonia, as he was now 27 years old and the prospect of being betrothed to a ten year old girl was not one that appealed to him. Lucius Bareham on his deathbed was made the First Duke of Eloe and granted ownership of all the Crown possessions in both Lindsey and New Holland. The title of Duke of Eloe was the first and only hereditary title awarded in Framptonia and has remained so to the present day. In effect, the Bareham's were made into a second Royal Family, but without any constitutional power.
Catherine proved to be a more humane and enlightened regent than her late husband had proved to be a King. During both her Regencies, she showed herself to be a good judge of the character of men and surrounded herself with able and loyal advisors. She soon realised that there were more decisions to be made than she had the time or capabilities to achieve. Catherine felt the weight of the nation upon her shoulders.
It was her husband Roberto, who made the suggestion to her that lead eventuality to the tripartite federality of Framptonia. On the advise of Roberto, she appointed 12 Aldermen in each major settlement of Framptonia to govern and administer on behalf of her and Queen Antonia. The Aldermen were initially chosen with great care to ensure their loyalty to Queen and Country. They were exclusively English speaking, even in the predominantly Dutch speaking areas of the South of the Country.
On her ascension to throne on her eighteenth birthday Queen Antonia publicly thanked her mother for her years of wise stewardship, before promising to govern the Country for the benefit of all Framptonians, whether English, Dutch or indigenous Framptonian. The mention of the indigenous population was extremely disquieting to many, as these were of the Roman Catholic faith and had been treated by previous rulers (including even under the Regency of Catherine) as lower subjects. The Dutch farmers (known as Boers, from the Dutch word for farmer) were particularly displeased. In New Holland they had ransacked the monasteries and religious communities that had existed from the time of Bogwulf and enslaved the natives. Many of the Boers began their grand trek southwards, out of the realm of Framptonia and into the stateless areas.
Queen Antonia's policy of delegating the administration of the towns to her twelve became the historical basis on which the current tripartite Republic is based. From the twelve aldermen in each town, Queen Antonia selected one to act as the Magistratus or town judge. This adlerman was required to organise the municipal courts and to preside over the trials. The twelve aldermen were required to decide between themselves one of them to be Alderman Majorus, which was later shortened to the English word Mayor.
In 1765, Queen Antonia inaugrated the Parliament of Mayors, whereby the Mayors of the Framptonian Towns became responsible for the decision making of the entire state. The Parliament of Mayors was required by Queen Antonia to elect and an Aldeman Primus Majorus, which later became shortened to Prime Minister.
In 1782, the Parliament of Mayors passed the first Electoral Reform Act, which meant that election of Aldermen to the Town Councils was undertaken by a straight vote of the male freeholders of each town. However, Aldermen were elected for an unspecified term, which usually meant for their lifetime. Elections were infrequent, as they only occurred upon the vacation of an Alderman from his seat.
In 1802, the small moves towards democracy were suddenly and dramatically brought to an abrupt end, when Framptonia was invaded without warning or justification by the French Imperial Army under Napoleon Bonaparte. There was little attempt at defence as the French forces were significantly stronger than the weak Framptonia militias.
Queen Antonia fled over the Western Carpathian mountains and sought refuge in new monastery of St Bogwulf, where she died two years later. She had never married and died childless. The Royal bloodline had died out, though in all likelihood it had died out previously on the death of King Edward.
Bonaparte installed Jean-Pierre de Gustain as their Gouverneur-Generale. De Gustain set about dismantling the embryonic democracy, dismantling the Parliament of Mayors and local town councils of Aldermen. Framptonia remained at peace, but under French rule, until the collapse of Napoleon's French Empire on the field of Waterloo in 1815.