It would be interesting if the Tlingit kingdom ended up accidentally conquering their way into a small empire. A probably weak and decentralized empire, but still one that could add some prestige even if it's only in name.
They do go on to have a fairly large state. Without to many spoilers they become major players in the region for some time.
 
Maybe i havent paid attention, but about the economy of Tlingit, which are the main occupations, agriculture, resouces? I mean, Tlingit cant survive only with fish and whales.
 
Maybe i havent paid attention, but about the economy of Tlingit, which are the main occupations, agriculture, resouces? I mean, Tlingit cant survive only with fish and whales.
It's not something I have really touched on yet. I need to make a post on the economy of the region actually.
 
Well you mentioned barely the introduction of buckwheat and rye during the japanese period - grains with lower requirements than others, specially rye with its antifreeze capabilities. The thing is, the limited land and time to cultivate and all the contenders for land, outside and inside Tlingit Kingdom.

Im sure the japanese trade includes besides minerals, fish and their treatment for long travels, being salted or smoked, both of them found easily. Pottery is out of the question. Fabrics well, i guess the game and fish will supply the skins needed for now, unless theres other source.
 
Well you mentioned barely the introduction of buckwheat and rye during the japanese period - grains with lower requirements than others, specially rye with its antifreeze capabilities. The thing is, the limited land and time to cultivate and all the contenders for land, outside and inside Tlingit Kingdom.

Im sure the japanese trade includes besides minerals, fish and their treatment for long travels, being salted or smoked, both of them found easily. Pottery is out of the question. Fabrics well, i guess the game and fish will supply the skins needed for now, unless theres other source.
I now realize agriculture in general needs an article devoted to it. I am adding to the list.
 
Of course i excluded rice for obvious reasons. I think the greatest impact in vegetables production would be thanks to chinese and japanese colonists. But which grain and vegetable fits, and to which extent, is outside my scope.

I remember even some timelines here with natives experimenting with tubers and roots, or even domesticating local fauna, to some extent.
 
Of course i excluded rice for obvious reasons. I think the greatest impact in vegetables production would be thanks to chinese and japanese colonists. But which grain and vegetable fits, and to which extent, is outside my scope.

I remember even some timelines here with natives experimenting with tubers and roots, or even domesticating local fauna, to some extent.
Local produce does play a major role. Especially when the spice gets going.
 
So a few quick things.
1) I am starting a new job, my first since the pandemic started. Expect the dates of updates to change around a bit from Thursday/Friday to Monday.

2) I am going to try my hand at some maps. At the moment I am thinking of making a digital version of the hand drawn one which appears at the beginning of the this TL, but I will also likely make ones showing the development of the Japanese city states and Tlingit migration. Don't expect them immediately, but it is something I am working on.

3) A question for you readers, I have been working on updates to the timeline at the moment. With the Tlingit invasion coming along nicely. However I have had a few questions about topics such as agriculture, trade and settlement.
What I want to know if that if anyone is opposed to me making a few quick posts explaining this before moving on in the timeline. Just showing what is being grown, how Alyska fits into Japanese thinking, and general culture.
 
So I am going to have an update out later today detailing the Tlingit conquest of the south, or at least attempted conquest. After that I have decided to take a break from the TL itself and instead focus on some in world explanations. Things like how the cities feed themselves, what crops are grown, and what native Alyskan herbs, spices, and plants are eaten. The economy of the city states will also be explored as by this point they have grown far beyond their fishing settlement roots.
 
Ch.04.05 Northern Storm, part two
News of the Tlingit invasion was slow to reach the larger city states in the south. While the northern cities knew almost immediately that they were being threatened the state of Japanese politics at the time, and the lingering aftermath of the Onin war meant that most of the Diamyo in the region were more than happy to leave their neighbors to their fates. Believing that the foreign invaders would exhaust themselves long before they reached their territories.

There was also the issue in the northern cities that many of the local lords would rather save their resources to defend themselves against the Tlingit than band together to defend their neighbors.

Thus Ainxiou quickly devoured many of the outlying Japanese cities. Making rapid progress due to the limited military forces most settlements possessed. The Tlingit king did not only take cities by force, offering them generous terms of surrender if they chose to do so without a fight. Demanding a hefty price and men to add to his forces, but afterwards promising to take only limited amounts of tribute from cities which did not resist.

Some cities took the king up on his offer. Many smaller settlements judging that Tlingit sovereignty would be preferable to control by one of the larger cities which had previously been expanding their influence and control in the region.

Those cities that failed to surrender were quickly overrun and sacked. Anything of value was carried away and the leaders of the village or city were executed. The Tlingit army, while not especially well organized or equipped for sieges, was quite successful, largely due to the small size of the cities they attacked early in their campaigns.

It was only as summer entered its full swing and the Tlingit army reached the outskirts of the territory controlled by Arai that the larger Diamyo in the south began to take the Tlingit threat seriously. With Arai itself calling for aide in July and mobilizing its own military forces. While the Japanese nobles debated if they would come to the aide of the city the Tlingit began to draw down their army. Sending some troops home and establishing garrisons in the towns they had seized and generally preparing for the coming winter, planning to resume their conquest in the next year. Ainxiou not wanting to get involved in a lengthy siege during the winter months. This would give the Japanese several months to come together and draw a plan.
 
Ch.04.06 the lines are drawn
As the winter of 1494 dawned and the snow began to fall throughout the country the two opposing forces, Japanese and Tlingit, began to prepare for the next spring which both anticipated would involve significant aggression on the part of the kingdom.

The Japanese Response
Already in fall of 94 the city of Arai had called for aide from the neighboring city states to the south. The largest city in the region Aria had already seen much of its tribute states annexed by the Tlingit army, with some scouts even being allegedly sighted in the fields around the city.

Their calls for aide initially fell on deaf ears, however as it became ever more apparent that the invasion was a serious matter that threatened them all many of the neighboring lords agreed to a meeting in the city to make a plan to oppose the invaders.

Due to the harsh winter conditions and poor local roads many representatives traveled by ship to the city, some taking time to sail north to observe areas under Tlingit control. During the next several months almost a dozen settlements would hammer out what would become known as the winters alliance, signing the first treaty of Arai in February 1495.

This alliance placed the defense of Arai as its first priority. With the southern partners in the alliance agreeing to send what forces they could to help the city, while Arai paid for the troops and was in overall command of the effort. It was agreed that the alliance would end as soon as the Tlingit had been pushed back, and that no effort would be made by Arai to retake territory lost to the Tlingit with alliance troops.

Opponents eliminated
While the Japanese were working together Ainxiou found himself embroiled in a crisis. While he had managed to secure the resources and money which had motivated the entire invasion many of the nobles within the kingdom had grown to oppose the king, viewing the new lands he had conquered and the resourced he now had as a threat to their own power.

The nobles gathered in Axaa and demanded that the conquered territories be divided among them, rather than be under the authority of the king himself. They argued that since they had participated in the attack they deserved some of the rewards rather than be just paid for their troops. When the king refused to listen to their demands a group of nobles, many of them considered the most powerful in the kingdom, signed a letter demanding that he abdicate the throne.

While reliable sources remain few and far between tradition says that Ainxiou held a meeting with his lords in March of 1495, ostensibly to explain himself and smooth things over. Once assembled in the great hall of the city the king demanded that the nobles divide themselves into those who supported his authority and those that did not.

Once the room had been divided, apparently almost evenly, Ainxiou had the doors locked and ordered his guards to slaughter his opponents. Legend says he then sent the severed heads of these men back to their houses as a warning to their heirs about the dangers of opposing the king.

Up until this point the Tlingit kingdom had not been an absolute monarchy, with the nobility having a significant say in matters of state. Votes had been often held during the reign of Ainxiou the first, and for the first years of his reign Ainxiou the second had continued this democratic process. Needing the nobles on side before he took action. Now with all those who opposed him dead the new king seemed poised to bring the kingdom into a new era of absolutism.
 
OK so now that the war has reached a good stopping point I am going to write a few articles on aspects of Alyska not touched on by, or mentioned only in passing in the TL proper. I plan on making three broad articles over the next few weeks touching on 1) the economy of the Japanese colonies, 2) the growth of population in the region, and 3) the development of cities (this last one will have some maps hopefully to show the expansion of Japanese settlement as well as key native settlements) After that I want to make a TL summary giving a quick description of events so far.

Let me know what you think of that, as well as potentially what other topics you would like to know more about.
 
Economic development in Alyska

Early Years, 1300-1420

Initial Japanese interest in Alyska revolved around the rich fishing waters along the coast. And many of the initial settlements in the region revolved around this industry. In the very early days of Japanese colonization settlements were only temporary and served as a location where fishing ships could offload and prepare their catch for transport back to Japan, or effect any needed repairs.

Eventually proper warehouses were established as merchants relocated to Alyska proper. Once there they would buy catch directly from the fishing boats and store it before selling to merchant ships which made the long voyage back to Japan once or twice a year. This allowed the fishing fleet to base itself permanently in Alyska rather than traveling back and forth each year, permitting them to spend more time on the fishing grounds and less in transit.

The fishermen that now came to live full time in Alyska still needed to buy practically everything but fish from the merchant ships which traveled back and forth from Japan. This included food, clothing, medicine and tools. But soon some farmers began to establish themselves outside the small fishing villages. Selling their surplus to the fishing fleet at lower cost than their Japanese equivalents. Artisans soon followed, selling their goods to both the fishing fleet and farmers, and eventually to the native villages scattered throughout the country.

Alyska soon became a place where many of the less fortunate in Japan went to start over. Land being much more readily available for those not lucky enough to inherit property from their fathers. Alyska also attracted criminals and wanted men, those cast off from Japanese society at large. It also attracted many native peoples who saw life with the Japanese superior to their own more basic means of life.

It is estimated that by the end of the first quarter of the fifteenth century that the Japanese population in Alyska totaled almost fifty thousand, fully half of which were born there rather than Japan. Although growth was slow during this time there was growth.

During the latter stage of this period Alyska had grown ever more important, with the fishing fleet diversifying and spreading out into other forms of prey. Hunting the whales which made the area their summer homes for the oily blubber. Whaling would play a major role in the economy of the region for centuries and later would fuel the early Alyskan colonial ventures in the greater Pacific.

Expansion, 1420-1490
The first age of Ronin was brought to an end by an invasion by the Ashikaga Shogunate which was largely motivated by the disruption of trade with the region caused by the Ronins fighting amongst themselves. Following the conquest and the edict of Kyoto Alyska was opened up to settlers to an even greater scale. With the Ashikaga and Diamyo viewing the area as an means of alleviating overpopulation in Japan itself. Aside from poor farmers and merchants several lesser sons of the Japanese nobility would come to settle in the region and carve out their own fiefdoms.

As the population in Alyska grew, with immigration peaking around 1460, trade gradually fell off between the Japanese in Alyska and the home islands. With Alyska self sufficient in most ways merchants from Japan had little incentive to make the long voyage over, and Alyskan goods were found largely distasteful to the Japanese, of lower quality than domestically available or Chinese products.

Alsyak continued to grow however, with the local economy of the region growing thanks to the development of trade between the various city states and outside native peoples. Trade with Japan had never been terribly great in its scale, immigration being the key incentive for people to make the journey to the cold Alyskan shores. And as Japan itself plunged into a period of warlordism and infighting what trade there was petered out. The economy stagnated, a process accelerated as the city states geared up to fight one another and abandoned trade between themselves.

In future trade would pick up once more, with various domestic Alyskan herbs and crops coming to carve a niche for themselves in the Japanese and wider Asian market. In fact Alyskan spices would play a key role in the growth of the region and would be what would eventually attract the attention of the Europeans to the region. But this is still far ahead in the future and will be dealt with when we get there
 
Population growth
Pre contact

In the millennia prior to the arrival of the first Japanese to Alyska the local population of the region hovered well below one hundred thousand. With the relatively low population density of the region due largely to the fact that hunter gathering, the main means native peoples used to support themselves, did not permit a massive number of people to live in close proximity.

The farther north you went the smaller and more spread out the population become, while the more south you went the inverse was true. This was due to the more temperate weather in the south and less hospitable, and with fewer resources.

It is easy to assume that nothing had changed in the thousands of years humans had lived in the region. But this was not true as the inhabitants, not just in Alyska, but in the whole of the Americas, had endured significant changes in their way of life. With the disappearance of many species of megafauna and last ice age causing major changes to life in the region.

Japanese growth
In the first centuries since their arrival the population remained relatively small in Japanese settled areas, though it did grow significantly throughout the first century of their arrival. While we have no records, and it would not be until 1540 that a census would be taken (the first Arai census) it is estimated that between 1350 and 1450 the population grew from ten thousand to as large as one hundred thousand.

By the start of the Senso war, after several decades of the Ashikaga shogunate sending many Japanese to Alyska the population had again exploded, more than doubling.

During the fighting which typified the end of Ashikaga rule in Alyska the population would continue to expand. With the various wars seemingly driving this explosion of population. By the 1550s the population would have again more than doubled, reaching a quarter of a million and only growing from there after the rise of the Tokugawa in the Japanese home islands.
 
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