The Legacy of an Adventurer: A Mexican TL

Section 1
Hi, I'm new to the Alt History site and want to get my feet wet in TL writing by writing a TL about an obscure event and time that I feel would have... interesting effects on the history of North America, if not the world. All constructive criticism is welcome, and I hope I don't make a complete fool of myself. So.... sing in me Muse the story of silver, opportunism, and anger. The story of Don Guillén de Lamport (or, to go by his birthname, William Lamport).


The Beginning of a New Age


The streets were quiet, yet if something were to go amiss Captain Mendez wouldn't have heard it anyway: He was too busy fuming. He had gone to the Audiencia as a loyal citizen of Spain, in the hopes of exposing a radical and being rewarded for it, but he was ignored. The Inquisition would surely pay more attention and maybe they would recognize his greatness.

Or so he thought. One man in the Audiencia paid close attention to what he had to say and that man was a friend of the radical who Mendez was after and had alerted said radical to the leak.

As Mendez fumed through the streets, he didn't pay much attention to the man walking towards him. Walking was no crime in Mexico City. Grabbing a man and forcing him into a backalley might be considered a crime. Stabbing the man multiple times is surely a crime. Whispering "Viva la independencia, pinche esclavo" into his ear is definitely a capital crime.

In a room in the house of the friend, three people plotted. One was the snitch-who-snitched-on-a-snitch, he was the chief clerk of the government in Mexico city, a creole elite by the name of Fernando Carrillo, and a man who already protested Spanish tax and revenue schemes. The other was an indigenous man known as Don Ignacio, a nobleman among his people who came to Mexico City to petition the city against a Spanish official who abused the Indian laborers in the silver mines of Taxco. The other, the radical himself, was a well-educated Irishman who had originally gone to Spain to request Spanish aid to help liberate Ireland from England and was now planning to liberate New Spain from Spain. The man earned his fame under the name Gullén de Lamport, a translation of his birthname, William Lamport.

The three knew the depth of Spanish injustice in the colony, and they believed in Don Guillén's ideas about political sovereignty, reform, and equality. According to legend, Don Ignacio and Señor Carrillo were to first to recite the battle cry that would rock New Spain "Viva Don Guillén, nuestro emperador, nuestro rey, y nuestro libertador! Viva!"

Mexico City had seen a riot as recently as 1624. What surprised the authorities was the organization and the number of people involved. What a crowd they must have been: creoles, Indians, and mestizos who had had enough of Spanish rule and injustice. The next surprise must have been the direction the mob was going: towards the silver mines of Taxco. The Mexican War of Independence had begun.
 
Section 2
The First Few Moves

It had already been a few days since the mob entered Taxco and the citizens elected Guillén their emperor by acclamation in the plaza. Don Ignacio was overseeing the silver mines. The workers flocked to the revolution after Guillén promised them a fifth of their daily silver provided they gave the rest to the revolutionary mob that was soon to be the revolutionary army. The better conditions and promise of good pay seemed to make the workers more productive, whether that was personal greed or revolutionary fervor was wisely ignored. Guillén and Carrillo were overseeing the construction of a basic fort when a scout came to them, warning them of a militia en route to Taxco.

Guillén saddled a horse taken from a fleeing Spanish official and rode out with a small company carrying an olive branch. When the two forces met, the Spanish officer made the decision that began the doom of New Spain: He respected Guillén's intentions of a peaceful parley. Guillén stood before the creole militia and gave a speech concerning their second-class position in New Spain, despite the fact that they were children of this land moreso than Spain and that they and their fathers and grandfathers had probably never seen Spain. The commander said, "Men, fire" and was followed by Guillén saying, "Men, free yourselves." For a moment, nothing happened. Then a creole opened fire and killed the Spanish commander.

The first militia defected.


Guillén's strategy for winning the war was, in this historian's humble opinion, ingenious: he planned on uniting Indians, black slaves, and dissatisfied creoles and mestizos into an army, with the backbone of the army being converted creole militiamen; he wanted to seize as many silver mines and farms as possible to keep the army supplied and for bribes; and he planned to forge alliances with European powers with an interest in weakening Spain (particularly France and Portugal).

In order to make use of the silver, the revolutionaries needed a port and the two major ports in New Spain were Acapulco on the Pacific coast and Veracruz on the Gulf coast. Although Veracruz was the more desirable, the Spanish could easily recapture the city with naval support and troops from the Caribbean colonies. Acapulco was seen as the better option in terms of sustainability. Carrillo and a newly appointed creole commander set out with a small force to capture the port.

By the time the force arrived, the defenders of Acapulco had arranged a formidable defense and the revolutionaries had neither the equipment nor force of arms to assault the city and besieging a port without a naval blockade seemed pointless, so the revolutionaries accepted their first defeat and began the trek to Taxco. The trip had one benefit, however, the militiamen started explaining their training to the civilians and the hope was that they could train the others back in Taxco.

Guillén was preparing to lead a small force north to the mines in Zacatecas and Guanajuato when he received an interesting proposal.

During the personal union between Spain and Portugal, a Portuguese merchant community formed in Mexico City, and a significant number of these merchants were Crypto-Jews (practicing Jews who passed as Christian) or at least suspected of such and were under the terrorizing eye of the New Spanish Inquisition. Guillén wanted their support because in the short run they had money that he could use for supplies and bribes and in the long run they had contacts who could smuggle out silver and other valuables in exchange for guns and powder.

One of these Crypto-Jews figured that he was probably going to be seized and murdered by the Inquisition and have all his property and money taken from his family, so he, perhaps in jest, made Guillén an offer: take his daughter as a bride and lawful empress consort in exchange for everything he had to offer in support. Guillén accepted and married the now Empress Amelia.

In the midst of the ceremonies, the Viceroy in New Spain was preparing a second army. This one picked with more care to prevent another disaster.
 
Section 3
The War Really Starts

The first major battle of the war occurred at the Hacienda de Temixco. Viceroy Salvatierra lead an army of 1,000 soldiers, 400 horsemen, and two cannons against a small, makeshift fort that the rebels had made to protect Taxco. The rebel force numbered about 5,000, but they were poorly equipped. Salvatierra believed that a show of force would be enough to get them to flee. He ordered the cannons to fire and after the wooden wall was broken, he ordered a charge. As they charged, the Spanish force was pestered by musketeers, sling-shooters, archers, and (if the accounts are to be believed) crudely constructed spears. What the rebels lacked in weaponry, they more than made up for in audacity and spirit. One bishop who followed the Spanish army and was viewing from a distance was said to have said, "[The revolutionaries] fight as if possessed by a devil. There was one Indian on the battlements, a miner from the looks of him, who had a pickax and was repulsing our forces. One man managed to stab him three times with a sword, but the miner bashed his skull in, grabbed the sword, and continued to fight until his body finally gave way." The hacienda grew sugar cane that was refined at nearby mills, and from those mills, more rebels came out of hiding. Some went to secure the cannons while others attempted to surround the Spanish forces who were now fighting for every inch at the walls. The sheer weight of numbers was enough to defeat the Spanish and Viceroy Salvatierra was forced to flee. At the end of the battle, the rebels had seized 500 prisoners, 100 horses, and two cannons and that's not counting the other equipment taken from the fallen Spanish.

Guillén pressed his advantage and went to the now defenseless (at least in regards to an organized defense) Mexico City and was elected emperor via acclamation at the Zócalo. He moved in to the now abandoned palace with his empress and began his move towards the mines at Zacatecas and Guanajuato while Don Ignacio and a man named Martin Garatuza led a renewed offensive against Acapulco with their new cannons and equipment.

Focusing first on the mines, Guillén ran into a problem. Unlike the mines at Taxco, these mines were outside the densely populated areas of the old Aztec Empire, so most of the Indian laborers there were lured there with actual wages, but the workforce was augmented by black slaves. With an interpreter found at the hacienda, Guillén gave a speech that he gave repeatedly and that eventually sounded like this: "Why do you allow these Spanish to buy and sell you as if you were beasts? They unjustly sell you and unjustly buy you.... They commit a savage and cruel crime before God, and He will support us in seeking justice." It was at these mines that Guillén started a practice that has earned him a fair bit of controversy: He allowed the workers who pledged loyalty to the revolution to keep a fifth of whatever they produced, but virtually enslaved those who didn't, forced captured Spanish prisoners to work, and put them at the mercy of the "volunteers", sometimes putting chains removed from slaves onto wage laborers and claiming that they forfeited their right to freedom.

The Battle of Acapulco (which occurred in December 1642) was a bloody affair, the first time that the revolutionary victory came at a price, but it was a victory all the same and the men celebrated by capturing as many ships as they could. The victory emboldened the rebels: They had secured their first, true strategic victory that offered them much more than short-term gain and a pretty city as a base of operation. By 1645, the first revolutionary ship returned from Portuguese Brazil, having traded its silver and sugar for guns and powder.

By February 1643, Viceroy Salvatierra had formed a third army consisting of Spanish regulars and militiamen (in particular with troops from the Caribbean) in Veracruz. The severity and scope of the revolution was now understood, and everyone in New Spain new that they were seeing beginning of something. It was only a question of what.
 
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Sections 4-6
Sorry for the long hiatus. Had stuff to work through in real life, but I've got ideas on how to advance the timeline and am ready to resume this for the long haul. I promise to try to update semi-regularly. Swears-y. To make up for it, have a large update!

Section 4
Unlikely Heroes

Father Diego Rodriguez was a leading mathematics and astronomer at the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (renamed the University of the Mexican Empire by Emperor Guillén). He smuggled in precious books and knowledge from Protestant countries and discreetly discussed the ideas of Copernicus and Galileo with colleagues and students. He knew this would make him a prime target for the Inquisition, so he joined the Emperor both to save his life and to create a society where scientific progress and modernization could occur. He had even developed a method for improving the precision of clocks and how to use that improved precision to calculate precise geographical locations better than the Spanish. This technique made him and his students perfect commanders of artillery and the improved navigation aided troop movement.

Twenty years ago the Tepechuán tribe had led a massive revolt against the Spanish to protect their customs and religion. They largely failed because of lack of strong allies to back them. Seeing that Emperor Guillén had massive support and promised to respect the natives, they left their mountain holdings to join the Imperial Army.

Commander Martin Garatuza was a con man turned Imperial commander. He traveled through New Spain, making a living, and with the modus operandi of pretending to be a priest. He had been caught by the Inquisition in Oaxaca, but was freed following a popular revolt in favor of Guillén. He joined the army in time for the Battle of Acapulco and proved himself a capable leader. Don Ignacio recommended him for a command and he was later given command of an army and Fort Montagua.

Section 5
The First Battle of Veracruz

The time came to besiege Veracruz in March 1643. Emperor Guillén and Captain Diego Rodriguez themselves led the Imperial Army. Besieging a port without a blockade seemed hopeless and there were fears that the army there would only grow larger, so the two leaders decided that they needed to attack quickly. More importantly, the Spanish government had stationed the Barlovento Armada there to deter pirates. If they could capture the armada, they would finally have an imperial navy.

With the help of imperial-sympathetic merchants and slaves, they hatched a plan. Using small boats and holes in the loyalist defense, they would sneak in men taught navigation by Captain Rodriguez and these men would meet up with the merchant crewmen (no ships were allowed to leave Veracruz without the permission of Salvatierra, so the crews remained jobless and pro-imperial) and other imperials to capture the harbor. After enough were snuck in, to ease pressure and give them time to take the armada, Guillén would lead an assault on the loyalist position. With luck, they could capture the city and the armada, but Guillén considered the armada the prime objective.

On March 28, 1643, the battle began. One of the Imperials, a student of Captain Rodriguez from the university wrote to another student, "I led a group of roughly seventy men in front of maybe two or three boats. Sailors who used to carry gold and silver mined by slaves now stood with those slaves to take these boats in the name of Mexico and Guillén [....] A group of leashed dogs [slang for loyalists troops] came to stop us, but we managed to hold them off with help from the men on the boats. I pray to God and the Virgin that we may succeed today, for those boats are the key to a free Mexico, a Mexico where our gold is our gold, our silver our silver, and where no one need fear the Inquisition."

The battle was costly. Thousands of men on both sides were dead, but the loyalists were eventually caught in the center of the city and forced to surrender. Viceroy Salvatierre was forced to concede all authority in New Spain to Guillén. The war was not over, but the surrender was symbolic and shock the world.

Section 6
The Interlude and Birth of a Nation


upload_2017-7-26_20-6-46.png

First Imperial Flag (1644)


Spain was also facing problems in Europe with the Thirty Years' War, Franxo-Spanish War, and Catalan Rebellion all still underway, and the Portuguese Restoration War after King João IV of Portugal began his own revolution in May 1644. As a result, the revolution in Mexico was placed on the back-burner for the time being despite the fact that losing Mexico cut off access to a lot of New World wealth. This gave Emperor Guillén time to consolidate power and from a Cortez. For inspiration, he looked to the English Parliament. He established an Imperial Senate (Senado Imperial)(roughly equivalent to the House of Commons) where landed gentry and wealthy merchants could elect senators and a Noble Assembly (Asamblea Noble) (think House of Lords). While the Senate had limited suffrage, the Assembly was composed of the new nobility and the nobility was designed to have equal representation between Natives, blacks, creoles, and mestizos. Eventually, Guillén hoped the proportions wouldn't matter as Mexico unified, but he recognized the need for an equal body at present. Fernando Carrillo was made Duke of Puebla and chosen as Prime Minister. At this point, the Cortez only had the power to raise revenue through taxes and recommend actions through bills.

Emperor Guillén sent Commander Garatuza to the Montagua Valley in modern-day Guatemala to establish a fort there to protect from Spanish forces from New Granada. Likewise, he sent Don Ignacio (now Duke of Acapulco) to the Yucatan to fortify the city of Mérida.

His control was not yet absolute, but it was improving. He began trying to establish contact with France, Portugal, and the Catalan Republic. Cardinal Richelieu wasn't interested in helping and the death of Louis XIII cost the Mexican Empire their only supporter in the French court. King João IV of Portugal and the Principality of Catalonia agreed to trade arms and materiel between each other and "support each other in the glorious cause of freedom".

The Mexican Empire also used its new navy to protect ships trying to trade with English colonies and non-Spanish colonies in the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, the war was far from over.

 
Oh, good to see this updated.

So, it happened. Now to wait and see when Spain finally gets to put more effort on the matter.
 
Oh, good to see this updated.

So, it happened. Now to wait and see when Spain finally gets to put more effort on the matter.

With the Portuguese, Catalan, and French wars going on until the 1650's, it may be take a while and who knows what'll happen in the meantime. :openedeyewink:
 
I wonder how this will affect the rest of the Spanish Empire. The Philippines in particular is connected to Spain through Acapulco, so that has to figure into this.

Consider me interested. :p
 
With the Portuguese, Catalan, and French wars going on until the 1650's, it may be take a while and who knows what'll happen in the meantime. :openedeyewink:

Heh, certainly.

One thing they'd definitely be on the lookout is activity on Cuba, I'd guess. So long the Spanish hold it, it's a threat for any possible naval activity against them on the Atlantic side.
 
Section 7
Section 7
The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

As this time there was another former Spanish possession vying for independence: the Dutch Republic. The Dutch had had enjoyed de facto independence and were beginning to want to sue for peace, with the Spanish threat virtually eliminated and the cost of the war (financial that is) rising.

The Dutch West and East Indie Companies were given charters by the Republic that gave them the power to wage war and make treaties on their own, and they both eagerly sought an alliance with Mexico, especially as the WIC forces in occupied Brazil were expelled by a popular insurrection and fled to Veracruz as talks between the Mexican and West Indies began.

The East Indie Company was far more ambitious. It became clear in 1644 that a condition for peace would be the recognition of gains made by the Companies, and their attention turned to the Philippines. Originally their aim was to simply capture the annual Manila trade galleons, but the trade was interrupted as a result of the revolution in Mexico and capture of Acapulco. With the help of the admittedly still small and ill-prepared Mexican Armada of the West they planned to launch an expedition to take the Philippines. Emperor Guillén approve the expedition to give the sailors experience fighting and training by the Dutch.

The 1647 expedition was led by the Dutch Maarten Gerritsz de Vries and the Mexican Diego de la Vega. After a few indecisive battles at Puerto de Cavite and Manila, the Mexican and Dutch forces mostly harassed Spanish and Filipino shipping and coastal towns.

News of the expedition did, however, reach Felipe IV.
 
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Well, that's quite the bold move.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighty_Years'_War#Endgame_.281640.E2.80.931648.29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Puerto_de_Cavite


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_La_Naval_de_Manila

Not matter how big this timeline gets, I doubt I will find something more convenient for the sake of the narrative and future arcs than this. I gotta thank Timaeus for pointing my attention to the Philippines and, by extension, the Dutch.
 
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Sections 8-9
Section 8
The Goals and Son of the Revolution


In the final months of 1645, Guillén, with approval from the Cortez, issued two major decrees. The first was the formal ban of the slave trade in the Empire and a promise that any foreign slave who arrived in Mexico would be considered free and protected from man-hunters. (He would have formally ended slavery, but he still had several Spanish loyalist working the mines and fields.) The second was a promise of religious freedom and neutrality: the Empire would not favor one religion over another nor provide funding for any and promised that people could seek protection from "militant missionaries" (this would prove to be the oddest wording of any bill in Mexican history and provided legal headaches for centuries).

On March 2, 1646, Mexico City erupted in an impromptu festival and thousands of people waited outside the gates of the Imperial Palace (the former Viceroy Palace) to see if the rumor that had spread through the city like the first revolutionary fervor were true. In a window, some lucky visitors caught a glimpse of the Empress Amelia. She was smaller than she had been before.

Finally, on the top of the balcony came three figures: Emperor Guillén, Empress Amelia, and a small baby wrapped in blankets.

"People of Mexico, there is a heir to the revolution! I introduce you to Prince Guillén, first Prince of Mexico!"

Section 9
The Great Spanish Offensive

Felipe the Ill-Ruler
When word reached Felipe IV of the Mexican-Dutch attacks on the Philippines, he finally grasped the extent of the troubles in Mexico. The lose of the colony had severely affected Spain's finances, but it was still seen by the Spanish court as a problem that could be dealt with at leisure. If Guillén's forces were capable of launching an offensive, the idea that they could take all Spanish colonies in the Americas entered the Ill-Ruler's head. With the Dutch war dragging on without hope of success, he began suing for peace, a much easier task following the death of Frederick Henry and ascension of William II of Orange as stadtholder. He then began a "Mexico first" policy in regards to the revolution.

While the meetings were underway, Felipe arranged for 15,000 men from the Army of Flanders and 7,000 men from Extremadura (a front in the Portuguese war) to be prepared for a massive campaign. He envisioned a three-pronged assault, one in Yucatan, one in Veracruz, and another from New Granada. He would use the former two to secure control of Eastern Mexico and the third could go to Acapulco.

By 1649, the Armies of Cuba, the West Indies, and New Granada were in position for a 1650 offensive.

The Veracruz Offensive
Felipe was a supporter of the navy and wanted to start joint land and sea operations. This thinking was evident in his plan for the Second Battle of Veracruz, and to his credit it might have worked, if Mexico was fighting alone.

The Dutch West Indies Company was in a period of decline because of its various colonial failures (including the aforementioned failure in Brazil) and, although it did receive 1.5 million guilders from the East Indies Company, it also received money from Mexican investors and signed a treaty with Mexico that promised they and the VOC would be the only ones who could trade freely with Mexico. When the Spanish forces were amassing in Cuba, the WIC made a fateful decision: it joined the Mexican Armada of the Gulf. Because the seizing of Spanish ships was forbidden with the Peace of Westphalia (1648) that ended the Eighty Years' War, the WIC additions flew the Mexican flag and later claimed that they didn't know of the peace (probably a lie) and that their charter for making war and treaties hadn't been revoked (probably true).

The combined forces of the Empire and Company, aided by the forces in Fort San Juan de Ulúa and fireships (an idea borrowed from an earlier battle against a Spanish invasion force because the Mexican Navy had more ships as a result of conscripting merchant ships) tormented the Spanish fleet in Havana Harbor for seven days. Of particular importance was the emphasis on using fireships to attack transport ships. After the seven day battle, a force of about 3,000 Spaniards (roughly 1,000 drowned after their ships sank and another 4,000 remained in Cuba) landed north of Veracruz and were defeated at the Battle of Tampico in late April 1650.

The Yucatan Offensive
The 6,000 Spaniards assigned to the Army of the West Indies had better luck than their Cuban counterparts in that they landed successfully, but when they marched on the city of Mérida, Duke Ignacio of Acapulco led the Mexican forces there to a resounding victory in the Battle of Mérida on May 5, 1650 (which would later become an unofficial holiday in Mexico) and the Spanish forces, cut off from their ships as a result of fireship use, were forced to flee to the Puuc hills where they made a makeshift fort before being forced to surrender in July 1650 after the soldiers mutinied.

The Central American Offensive
8,000 men in the Army of New Granada, under the command of the Marquis de Leganés, left Bogotá and marched through the isthmus of Panama before fighting Commander Garatuza's men in Fort Montagua. Although they were successful in forcing Garatuza's men away from the fort after the First Battle of Montagua and injured the commander, they were later driven back when the remnants of the army joined forces with the Duke of Acapulco's army following the Puuc Hills siege and defeated them at the Battle of Villahermosa. They were forced to retreat to Fort Montagua, where they surrendered in August 1650.
 
Section 10
Section 10
International and Dynastic Legitimacy

Following the successful defeats of the Spanish and lobbying by the West and East Indie Companies, the Dutch Republic under the leadership of Johan de Witt recognized Emperor Guillén and the Mexican Empire as the de facto government in New Spain. King João IV of Portugal followed, as did the French government (Louis XIV was still a few months shy of his majority, but he and his regents Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin enjoyed the idea of weakening Spain). Following the Dutch recognition of Mexico, Guillén sent Miguel Islesias to act as the first Mexican ambassador to the Dutch Republic.

Miguel Iglesias
was a former student in the University of the Mexican Empire under Diego Rodriguez who was recommended for the position on account of his ability to speak French more-or-less fluently, speak decently, and study intently. During his first few months in Amsterdam, he had started penning his famous Commentaries on the Dutch (which would include information on the Dutch systems of stock exchanges and banking) and had taken a local Catholic girl as a mistress and was learning Dutch from her. When an official letter with the Emperor's personal seal arrived on his desk, he was mildly interested, but more focused on the question of marrying the girl. After he read the letter, the only word he could think to say was his equivalent of "Crap!"

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels was the widow of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, and, following his death and of her son William II of Orange, was the regent for the now powerless House of Orange by virtue of being the main guardian of her grandson William III. During her time as consort she was an advisor to the stadtholder and had openly participated in politics and received foreign diplomats during her husband's sickness in the 1640s. Described by contemporaries as intelligent, arrogant, and ambitious, she was surprised to see the Mexican diplomat in her parlor.

"Your Grace, I have a letter from my lord, Emperor Guillén of Mexico, asking me to hand you this letter."

Ambassador Iglesias handed her a letter.

"He has given me authority to represent him in negotiations for the betrothal."

"Your master expects me to give one of my daughters to the son of a Jew and mercenary?"

"No, my employer expects an alliance between a deposed dynasty with neither kingdom or army to a kingdom without a drop of royal blood. An alliance that can only be to the betterment of both houses."

There was a mutual opportunity, there was no doubt about that. The talks want on for six hours straight, but an agreement was soon reached: Her youngest daughter, Maria of Nassau (born in 1642) would be "off the market" without a formal promise of a betrothal. Prince Guillén would go to the Republic to be educated alongside the House of Nassau and if Amalia approved of the match when both reached adulthood, they would be married. It is believed that Amalia expected the young prince could be convinced to convert to the Reformed Church but modern historians doubt whether she even cared about the religious question (the very Catholic Felipe IV of Spain granted her land around Turnhout for her influence in the Peace of Westphalia), and Emperor Guillén was more than willing to pay for a proper European education for his son (he even instructed Ambassador Iglesias to arrange for it even if the talks broke down). In the event that the marriage was approved, instead of a dowry the Mexican Emperor would pay a bride price of 750,000 guilders in silver. (For his part in negotiating the deal, Miguel Iglesias would be appointed Chancellor of Mexico by a very grateful Guillén II.)

Below is a family portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst from 1647. Maria of Nassau is the young child holding her mother.
 
Sections 11-12
Section 11
The Ill-Ruler is Indecisive

The Spanish Offensive in Mexico was a large investment in resources and with the Spanish Empire already on the verge of a second bankruptcy in less than five years, something had to be done. But no one knew what. The Portuguese Restoration War was a stalemate that would only last longer after diverting soldiers and supplies to Mexico. The French, however, were vulnerable because of the events of the Fronde, so Felipe IV sent an army to siege the Catalan capital of Barcelona. The siege would result in a defeat of the French and capture of the city in late 1652. This crippled French involvement in the region and, although fighting still happened, there weren't any more pitched battles against France in Catalonia.

Still, what to do about Mexico? Send another army? That would take time to gather resources for another fleet and army. The final decision was to start preparing another invasion fleet and see how events played out in the meantime.

Section 12
The Liberator is Decisive

In 1653, Guillén authorized an invasion of Hispaniola. Hispaniola was, at the time, an impoverished island. Livestock and contraband trade had been the only source of income for the island, and Spain cracked down on the latter by forcing the settlers to move closer to Santo Domingo where half died. Suffice to say, the island capitulated quickly (especially as Guillén promised to free the slaves), but, with a population of only a few thousand, it was more symbolic than anything else. Still, Guillén took the chance to rename the island after his dynasty as Lamportiola (to this day the name only appears on Mexican maps and official documents). Coincidentally, in 1654 after the collapse of Dutch Brazil, Guillén, on the advice of several Jewish (formally Crypto-Jews) and his Jewish wife, allowed around 100 Jews who would have gone to Barbados to instead settle on Lamportiola where they brought expertise on growing coffee and sugar. These developments would not grow for some time, however.

Plans were made for an invasion of Puerto Rico, but dropped due to lack of interest. Puerto Rico was strategically important but economically marginal.


Early map of Lamportiola and Puerto Rico from `639
 
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