Gull Flag Revolution
The period of time known as the Gull Flag Revolution is generally considered to coincide with Iansisle’s Corporate Yoke. However, the start of the Revolution - the Grand Street Massacre - actually preceded the Yoke by more than a fortnight.
Start of the Revolution
The Massacre occurred on 5 December 1951 when Royal Mining and Manufacturing instigators hid among striking workers in RM&M’s Grand Street Steel Works and fired into units of the King’s IV Rifles, which was keeping an eye on the proceedings. The soldiers returned fire and forty-seven unarmed workers were gunned down. The leader of the strike, Lawrence Madders, was arrested and exiled to the Divine Imperium on pain of death. On 21 December, RM&M and other forces occupied Jameston Place and took control of the government.
However, the corporates plan backfired; the increasingly violent breaking of strikes led many of Ianapalis’ underclasses to take up arms, until the capital city had essentially to be occupied. However, resistance was disorganized in the beginning and the corporate forces had gained the upper hand by April 1952, despite some slight news leaks to the outside world.
Sometime in late April or early May 1952, the government of the Divine Imperium learned of the troubles in Ianapalis. It was decided that Madders, currently living there in exile, would prove a perfect catalyst to force the ultimate demise of the Grand Empire of the Shield. In a scene reminiscent of Lenin’s sealed train, Madders was shipped back to Ianapalis and left to his own devices.
Lawrence Madders, despite his pretensions, was not the leader the revolution needed. His time away from the Shield had seen him become increasingly radical; many local leaders distrusted his republican and anti-royalist agenda. Even in these dark hours, the revolutionaries harbored loyalties to the crown and identified only the corporations as evil. The revolution continued to lose momentum.
More news did escape the political blockade, however, especially after crown-loyalist the Earl of Inswick had his son try to smuggle a message to President Jeff Williams of Larkinia. Although Williams’ subsequent trip to Dûn Ádien proved inconclusive, the news did resonate with Charles Bradsworth, former soapbox orator and current Ambassador to the Alliance of the New Highlands.
As soon as rumors to the extent of the disturbances on the Shield reached the Alliance Headquarters in Golden Agate, Bradsworth formulated a plan. On 4 June 1952, Bradsworth gave his assistant a falsified document, sealed with a forged copy of Lord Inswick’s ring, that reported Iansisle wished to cancel its duties as a member of the Alliance. In the resulting confusion, Bradsworth slipped back to Ianapalis.
Bradsworth’s famed mellifluous oratory and his conservative stance (compared to Madders, at least) soon won much support among the other revolutionary leaders. Soon, most had united under Bradsworth’s chosen banner - a crudely drawn, white, spread-winged gull soaring over a green shield on a red background with the Latin inscription ‘RESPUBLICA CLIPEI’ underneath - and the movement began to gather headway.
3 August 1952 would prove to be the key date; with the (now called) Gull Flaggers threatening Sarawak Street, the corporates made the decision to pull out of Ianapalis. Bradsworth’s forces swarmed in the wake of the withdrawing troops and had soon occupied the entire western half of the city.
Meanwhile, a party under Sir Richard Tri had attempted to rescue High King James III from where the corporates had stashed him in #5 Jameston Place. However, Sir Richard was killed in a duel with William Ashtonbury, a Company officer attempting to move the High King out of the city, and the party was delayed long enough for Bradsworth’s forces to breach the last-stand corporate forces holding Sarawak Street.
James and the remainder of the party attempted to reach the harbor, where the battleship Princess Royal had appeared and was disembarking her company of marines, but they were cutoff by Bradsworth and taken deeper into the city. Rather than renew hostilities, however, Bradsworth decided to negotiate with the Princess Royal’s commander, Sir James Redford, who had the reputation of the most liberal officer in the fleet.
The United Kingdom
Late in the night on 3 August - some say it was technically 4 August - Bradsworth, James, and Redford struck a compromise. The old Grand Empire was to be disbanded, those responsible for the Corporate Yoke arrested and their companies nationalized, and a constitution to be drafted; however, the monarchy and peerage would be retained, with James remaining as nominal head of state. The Grand Empire was restyled the ‘United Kingdom of the Shield’ and Bradsworth almost unanimously declared Premier-Interim - something which doubtlessly vexed the only nay vote, Lawrence Madders, to no end.
Soon after formation, the United Kingdom of Iansisle made an alliance with the Republic of Weshield and demanded the repatriation of certain corporate criminals from the Kingdom of Thortraia. Thortraia refused, leading the United Kingdom to invade. Weshield, which had promised to help, betrayed the United Kingdom and went on an aggressive campaign into Mansford which culminated in the Massacre at Shieldend. Nonetheless, with the help of Colonel Nicodemo Ranalte and the assassination of Weshieldian president Todd Andrews, the United Kingdom annexed Thortraia, staved off an assualt by Weshield, and annexed the Republic as well. The United Kingdom now included all of the Shield except for tiny Wyclyfe and the sparsely populated Javian Kingdom of the Foothills.
The wars spooked the Javian Kingdom, which made peace overtures to Effit, the only Tilsitian country capable of challenging the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, although the Pater was amenable to peace, he was soon assassinated by an Old Guard senator who launched a massive campaign to conquer Gadsan. The Gadsani irregulars and militia fought bravely, but were not able to stem the Effitian flood; Gadsan was forced to turn to the United Kingdom for aid. The United Kingdom promptly annexed Gadsan and dispatched Field Marshal Sir George Pennyman with the Army of the Jaizar to hold back the Effitians.
The war, now known as the Fourth Effitian Invasion, went badly at first. Pennyman was forced to make a strategic retreat which abandoned the Gadsani capital of Lakeriverwood to the Effitians. The Gadsanis blamed the loss of their city on Pennyman, claiming that the old line had been defensible, and screamed at the United Kingdom's War Office to remove him. Director of War Lawrence Madders obliged, bringing Pennyman up on charges of cowardice and treason. The court-martial found him guilty and he was hanged in Gull Flag Square. The execution signaled the start of a large purge of aristocratic officers in the Iansislean Army.
The purges spooked King James, who dispatched his family on a East Gallagaman to Knootoss and then rode north to the Javian Kingdom, intending to raise an army of Foothillsmen, topple the government, and remove Madders from power.
The Birth of the Republic
The flight made James even less popular in Iansisle. The United Kingdom was abolished and a new Gull Flag Republic declared. He was now seen as a tyrant and traitor, and almost a foreign invader riding with a barbarian host. A second Army of the Daldon was raised to meet the Foothillsmen. Under the command of now-Brigadier Nicodemo Ranalte, the new army met James' force on the field at the Wonwich Gap. The royalists shattered, fleeing to the town of Ducksbury. James himself was captured and brought back to Ianapalis to stand trial. The verdict found him guilty of, among other things, kidnapping, murder, and high treason.
Charles Bradsworth urged moderation in the sentencing of James, advocating an exile to Larkinia. Madders wouldn't hear of anything less than the death sentence. Finally, the sentence was put to a national referendum. In the vitriolic climate, more than 73% of the vote advocated death. James died on the gallows of Gull Flag Square. His death was the first in a more broad Terror perpetuated by Lawrence Madders.
Bradsworth saw the vote as a national vote of no-confidence in his Premiership and retired immediately in favor of his old friend, Benjamin Rinehart.
The Radical Republic and the End of the Revolution
After Bradsworth's departure, Rinehart proved unable to control the National Assembly and a months-long power struggle developed between Rinehart with his Moderates on one side and Madders with his Radicals on the other. During this time, Madders executed dozens of aristocrats on trumped-up charges. Meanwhile, Iansisle's economic crisis deepened. Inflation ran out of control, unemployment skyrocketed, and the Shield found itself facing famine. Food riots in eastern Ianapalis even started taking on a royalist character.
Madders used Nicodemo Ranalte and the army to smash the food riots, then intended to turn them on the Assembly. At the last second, however, Ranalte arrested Madders in the Cupodìnolian Reaction. Ranalte also demanded that a new constitution be written, one which provided for a strong president. In the next elections, Ranalte was promptly elected president. The Reaction is generally seen as the end of the Revolution; however, no one can say what will come next.