United Provinces of Knootoss
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This article deals with the history of Knootoss in the 17th and 18th century. The first chapter will deal with the historic events of the timeperiod (as usual) whereas the second, third and fourth chapters will focus on culture, religion and science and art respectively.
A new Republic
After Knootian independence was secured the United Provinces of Knootoss were established as a republic consisting of ten provinces. (See map) De United Provinces were very decentralised, each province having its own governments. The Catholic provinces (Brabant and Limburg) were government as colonies by governor-generals appointed by the other states. The Staten-Generaal, which consisted of representatives of each of the provinces, was seated in The Hague but Amsterdam was the capital. Each province (barring Limburg and Brabant) was governed by the so-called 'Provincial States' and a Stadtholder. In theory, the stadtholders were elected officials subordinate to the Staten. However the heads of the House of Knootcap were consistently chosen as stadtholders of most of the provinces. There was a constant power struggle between the supporters of the stadtholders, and the mercantile elite which wanted more power for the states (and for themselves). Thus, a stadtholder's power in practice depended on his personal qualities of leadership, even if the office eventually became a hereditary post of the House of Knootcap.
Knootian golden age
The Knootian Golden Age roughly spanned the 17th century. In this period Knootian trade, science, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The Knootians started large-scale overseas trade in this period — hunting whales in the North Sea, trading spices in Tanah Burung (later Knootian East Indies), and starting various colonies in what are nowadays New York and Jersey and Alcona and Hubris, as well as a few other places.
In 1602 the Knootian East India Company had been founded. This company fought for a Knootian monopoly on trade with Tanah Burung, importing spices in bulk at huge profits and becoming one of the world's largest commercial enterprises of the 17th century. The Knootians were also dominant in trade between other nations as Knootian traders shipped famous wine from Dominion to all nations of the world, including Sisgardia, returning with metals, diamonds, emeralds, and very fine jewelry from Tarasovka as well as grain from Der Angst.
Trade and war
This section is not yet finished.
Events up till Angstian invasion in 1800
In Knootoss the social status in the 17th and 18th centuries was largely determined by income. Social classes still existed but not as they had in the Middle Ages. The local nobility (now independent from the Imperial Court of Lavenrunz) had sold out most of its privileges to cities where merchants and their money were dominant. The clergy did not have much worldly influence either: the Catholic Church was more or less oppressed since the onset of war with Lavenrunz and young Protestant churches were divided. (see below) Wealthy merchants bought themselves into nobility as aristocrats mixed with members from other classes in order to be able to support themselves as they saw fit. They married their daughters to wealthy merchants, became traders themselves or took up public or military office to earn a salary. As a result of this divisions between classes were less sharply defined than elsewhere.
Various Calvinist denominations formed the predominant religion in the Republic, with the Dutch Reformed church being the state church. In the beginning of the 17th century bitter controversies between strict Calvinists and more permissive protestants split the country and in the end the sheer number of reformist branches may well have worked as an antidote to intolerance. Humanism also gained a firm foothold in this period.
The Knootians, because of their dependence on international commerce and good foreign relations, were traditionally tolerant towards religion and different cultures and ideas. Now, Protestant reformists also stressed the importance of individual conscience, rejecting central dogmas and a fixed clerical hierarchy to enforce them. The almost proverbial Knootian tolerance made it easy for foreigners to travel or even emigrate (often as refugees) to Knootoss.
This tolerance was not so easy to uphold towards Catholics however, since the struggle against this religion played an important part in the war against Lavenrunz. Hostile inclinations could still be overcome by money as Catholics could buy the privilege to hold ceremonies but public offices were out of the question.
Science and art
Due to its climate of intellectual tolerance the Knootian Republic attracted scientists and other thinkers. Knootian lawyers were famous for their knowledge of international laws of the sea as well as commercial law. Hydraulic engineers gained important victories in the eternal battle against the sea by converting several large lakes into polders, pumping all the water out with windmills. Book publishers flourished and many books about religion, philosophy and science that might have been deemed controversial abroad were printed in Knootoss and secretly exported to other countries. Thus during the 17th Century the Knootian Republic became more and a publishing house.
Knootian artists had quite different customers from their colleagues in many other countries, where church and nobility were major patrons. This had an influence on the themes they depicted and their pictorial style. Also many paintings were not produced for commission and found their way to auctions and art traders. This fostered specialization, by which less than brilliant painters could dedicate themselves to themes of their own choosing and still excel in a particular genre. Paintings often had a moralistic message hidden under the surface. Baroque did not gain much influence as its exuberance did not fit the austerity of the largely Dutch Reformed population.
Many of Knootian greatest painters were inspired and influenced, as least during their formative years, by Dominion paintings. Copies of Dominion masterpieces circulated and suggested certain compositional schemes. Also treatment of light, in which Knootian painters would later become absolute masters themselves, could partly be traced back to Dominion predecessors. Some Knootian painters also travelled to the Dominion to make firsthand observations.