Gernikako Arbola: A Basque AAR - Chapter 1: Of Diseases and Friends

Author: Kravock
Published: 2018-05-09

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Gernikako Arbola: A Basque AAR

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Gernikako Arbola: A Basque AAR - Introduction

Images: 10, author: Kravock, published: 2018-05-06

With the elections well underway, Vasconia faced an oubtreak of cholera. Although the liberal government did everything in its power to combat it, the terrible illness ended the life of an estimated 55,000 people over the course of the next month. Many political observers considered it the last nail in the coffin of the ongoing administration, and the Alderdi Jeltzale had no problem in using it as an electoral weapon, foreshadowing a change in government.
On July 3rd, 1836 the elections were concluded. The Jeltzale-Monarkiko coalition won the election, and Miguel Antonio Zumalakarregi Imatz became the fifth Lehendakari of the Republic.
Pictured: Miguel Antonio Zumalakarregi Imatz

The Fifth Lehendakari was 60 when he was elected. He hailed from Idiazabal, a town in the province of Gipuzkoa (In game, inside Bilbao). In our timeline, he fought against the French in the Peninsular war, and later went on to become a liberal politician and Minister of Justice in Spain.

On our alternate timeline, he embraced the Republic of New Phoenicia, working as a local politician in his hometown. Although a liberal, his views went on to become more conservative as time went on, later founding the Alderdi Jeltzalea, now in the Republic of Vasconia. Although very competent as a politician, he never managed to surpass Garat in popularity, only getting elected after his death.

In both our and the alternate timeline (From now on, AltT), his younger brother Tomás fought as a Carlist general in the Spanish First Carlist War. In the AltT, Miguel and Tomás had a falling out regarding basque nationalism and republicanism, and their relationship soured to the point of not being in speaking terms.
The first measure taken by the Conservative government was a recruitment campaign, encouraging young and unemployed men to enlist in the Basque National Army. Although Spain was in the middle of a civil war (the First Carlist War), it was an ever-present threat. Vasconia and Spain maintained a cold, albeit peaceful relationship, especially now that a liberal government was in charge. However, the Kingdom still maintained that the basque territories rightfully belonged to them.

The aim of the recruitment campaign was to plant the seed of an army in order to better defend the country and to negotiate alliances more easily with third parties.
Vasconia's Upper House saw an overwhelming Jeltzale majority. As a Republic, Vasconia was quite liberal for its time, allowing citizens (Only Basques) to vote if they met a wealth requirement, and the electorate wished to protect their form of government against too much liberalism, which they also perceived a dangerous.
On February, 1837, a Cholera outbreak begun in the city of Pamplona (Iruña). God, seemingly, did not favour the young nation, and punished it with two consecutive outbreaks of terrible illnesses.

The province of Navarre (Pamplona, In-game) was quarantined. Zumalakarregi's government reacted to this news by funding medical investigations and offering good conditions to foreign doctors, with the aim of founding a Medical College.

(OOC: RNG Jesus is not on my side. To counteract this, I'll give myself a natality boost when the College is founded)
The first Regiment of the newly formed Euskal Ejertzito Nazionala (Basque National Army) finished its training on the 5th of June, 1837. Trained by the British, and equipped with arms bought from them too, the regiment was led by the also British trained Antonio Aranzadi. Coming from a minor aristocratic family, Aranzadi had received a superb education in all maters related to administration, and was thus a master in keeping his troops efficient.
A Military Alliance was signed with the United Kingdom a few weeks later. It was the latest step in the relationship between this two nations, which had begun with the UK guaranteeing the independence of the Republic, and was later strengthened by a free trade agreement.

The treaty also included a provision that allowed British troops to enter and be stationed in Basque territory, and their fleets to use the Basque ports. With the help of British capital, a small naval base begun construction near Bilbo, estimated to finish in 1840.

Lehendakari Zumalakarregi was quoted, calling the treaty 'a clear symbol of the union between the British and Basque peoples, and representative of our ally's commitment to freedom and prosperity in Europe and beyond'.
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On July 28, 1938, the first stone of the first Basque factory was set. A group of wealthy merchants and local businessmen pooled their capital and, with funding from the central government, founded a company called Durangoko Jantzi (Clothes of Durango). Buying a plot, they begun construction of a large textile factory.

Pictured: an artistic sketch of said factory.
That same year, the project that was proposed on February of the previous year was completed. The Basque College of Medicine was founded in Bilbo, an institution that would unite the best medical minds of the country and train the doctors of the future. The first Rector of the College was Celestino Otxoa. Two days later, Queen Victoria was crowned.

Note: I've given myself a demographic boost with event 14680, as suggested by u/Scarred_Ballsack
On May, 1839 a mold known by the scientific name of Phytophtora Infestans begun to spread on the province of Pamplona (Navarre). Although the province was seeing a population boom after the 1937 and 1938 epidemics, it killed thousands of people and led to both internal and external migrations, aside from placing a higher strain on the Republic's finances, that had to import more food.
The College of Medicine did not take long to produce advancements. Chemotherapy was brought to Vasconia on August, 1839, and some of the best minds of the College began to run tests on its effectiveness in combating the potato blight, but it proved ineffective.
The Ejertzito Nazionala performed a series of military parades through the country on the month of November, to raise the spirits of their countrymen. Although a small force, foreign correspondents noted the proffesionalism and discipline of the Basque Army, which gained admiration across the civilized world for a brief period of time.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anton Ibarra, led a diplomatic mission to the Kingdom of Portugal. Also allies of the United Kingdom, the Portuguese were the only other nation in the Iberian Peninsula aside from Vasconia and Spain (And Andorra, little more than a dot in the map). After some weeks of negotiation, an Alliance was signed between the Basque and Portuguese nations. promising to help each other in times of need. With this alliance, Vasconia gained another ally against Spain.
On June, 1840, the Naval Base that had begun construction with the signing of the Basque-British alliance finished its construction. It would prove to be useful in the future.
Elections started on July 2, 1840. The Jeltzale Party of Zumalakarregi had proven themselves to be capable leaders of the country. Although the last four years had been tumultuous, they were able to steer the country and take important decisions that strengthened the republic more than the last decade of Liberal administration.

Political pundits all over the country agreed that it was very likely that Zumalakarregi would be elected for a second term.

And with this, we finish another chapter in the history of this nation. In case you missed it, here's the introduction to this AAR: https://imgur.com/a/IIWLZWg

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