Nyandai

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NYANDAI

Nyandai [njan ˈdaj] occupies the southern and eastern coast of the Nyan peninsula. It's the most advanced nation of Arcél's southern temperate zone, though it's outweighed in population, military power, and total wealth by Uytai. Its language is Nyanese, an Uyseʔic language. Its capital is Krantet on the southern coast.

The major cities along the coast, west to east, are Tloyne, Gondre, Krantet, Purnwun, Worso, Thethlim, and Thunswiʔ, plus Tsemeʔ on the island of the same name.

The northern half of the country was settled earlier, and was long independent as Čwam; during these periods I use the adjective Nyandainese for Nyandai proper, the southern tip of Nyan, and Nyanese for all the local Uyseʔic nations. In modern times there is no need to distinguish and Nyanese can be used for all purposes.

Etymology: Uyseʔ ‘lovely-land’, Uyseʔ Nyantai, Ver. Nyantai.

History

Origins

The original human inhabitants of the Nyanese coast were Dnetic hunter-gatherers. They were displaced by Uyram agriculturalists in the north staring around 600. By around 1100 the Uyram learned pastoralism and expanded into the highlands, pushing back the icëlani who had once roamed the entire interior. By 1200 the entire eastern coast had been settled.

The first kingdom to be organized was Čwam-- about 1240, though local legend invented a millennium of mythic history, matching the similar stories about Uytai. The kingdom was essentially a defensive alliance to forestall Uytainese conquest; the Nyanese monarchies were never as absolute as those of Uytai or Krwŋ.

Nyandai proper, at the south of the peninsula, was organized around 1450, largely because the nobles of the city of Krantet, a thousand kilometers from Uytai, resented even the very minimal taxes and troop levies of the Čwamese king. The settlers of Tsemeʔ island also chose their own king.

The collapse of Krwŋ removed the main constraint on Uytainese power. The Uytainese pauram had always maintained that the coastal kingdoms were their 'younger brothers' and should show proper deference. Their demands now became greater, and when Čwam resisted half the country was occupied (1815). In 1875 the Čwamese king proposed that his realm become a full vassal of Uytai; this so pleased the Uytainese emperor that he granted his new vassal the remainder of his traditional territory. Effective independence was a matter of waiting for Uytainese attention to drift elsewhere, as it did when Uytai started a war with the elcari.

The maritime focus

Nyan was a major source of wood and iron; by this time the Čwamese and Nyandainese ports were also making the best ships in the continent-- assisted by the fact that they had the best natural ports; those of Uytai were too shallow. Both nations sold ships to other nations, but also took over most of the south's carrying trade, and began exploring on their own account.

Čwam and Nyandai fought several wars in the 1900s, with no lasting impact except the Čwamese conquest of Tsemeʔ (1970).

By 2100 Nyanese ships had reached the , and by 2200 Neinuoi. Nyanese ships were originally light coast-hugging vessels, but these developed into small but fast and hardy ships that could cross gulfs of open ocean.

In 2054 the most important merchant families of Thethlim in Čwam forced concessions from the pauram (aided by the fact that he was heavily indebted to them). These amounted to autonomy for the city, which was henceforth governed by a ħolso or city council. Worso followed suit twenty years later, and Krantet in Nyandai in the early 2100s.

The Nyanese innovated in finance as well, creating kritsilwar or investment pools to finance trading expeditions; the entrepreneur Sleso is credited with inventing both the bank and the investment bubble. Later businessmen developed sophisticated accounting systems, insurance, and reserve banking.

Rise and fall of Čwam

Čwam was the larger and richer of the Nyanese nations, and felt the urge to flex its muscles. In 2280 it conquered the southern half of Phetai. The real prize, however, was Nyandai-- with increasing north-south trade, there was enormous profit in being the first port the other side reached. (Sleso had attempted to capitalize on this by building new ports on the western coast, and in the Bé it encouraged the settlement of Mauraŋ.) In 2309-12 Čwam invaded and annexed Nyandai.

Not long after Uytai was conquered by the Nyuam, a Mnesean tribe. Many Uytainese refugees came to Čwam and encouraged their hosts to liberate their homeland. In 2425 the operation was begun. It got off to a splendid start, as a huge fleet swarmed the coast and took Swiʔkyau.

The Nyuam counter-invaded, driving a huge force-- Uytainese infantry and Nyuam bowmen-- into the peninsula. The Čwamese learned that money had its limitations. They were able to purchase their freedom, at least, with a huge indemnity as well as the loss of Phetai.

But this encouraged Nyandai to rebel (2432-37). This was hitting Čwam where it hurt, and this war was long and bitter. But the Čwamese were unable to retake Krantet, and sullenly recognized its independence. They mounted a surprise attack twenty years later, failing once again and losing Tsemeʔ to boot.

In the 2500s the Nyanese developed distillation; the compact bottles made an excellent trade good, especially among the nomads, who had little resistance to alcohol. Freedom, some Uytainese maintained, was merely a matter of getting the nomads drunk enough.

Rise and fall of Nyandai

In the late 2600s the Fatħel, a conspiracy of Uytainese, approached the Nyanese asking for an alliance against the Gleŋ. Čwam didn't want to risk another counter-invasion, but Nyandai accepted. Nyanese ships took Pheʔ and Swiʔkyau (2672); within a decade Uytai was independent. As its reward Nyandai received the rule of lower Phetai.

Around 2820 Nyandai picked a quarrel with Čwam, and very nearly conquered all of it; the final siege of Thethlim was only abandoned when Uytai threatened to intervene. Still, this gave Nyandai a near-monopoly on the southernmost leg of the north-south trade. Many a southern ruler’s most anxious relationship was with his Nyanese banker.

In the 2900s Uytai recovered the tea highlands from the Gleŋ. They jacked up the price of tea, which caused a crash in Nyandai; many Nyanese banks failed or reduced their lending. This in turn caused a downturn in Uytai, which the Uytainese convinced themselves was due to Nyanese perfidy. As the usual Uytainese expedient for solving problems was military force, the emperor Murħrel invaded Nyandai (3010) and quickly conquered most of the country. The western region (Tloyne and Tsemeʔ rebelled, leaving Nyandai itself as little more than Krantet; all three countries sued for peace.

Murħrel expected to find vast spoils- but much of the wealth of Nyandai was virtual, as the banks lent out multiples of their gold reserves, and in the crash and the invasion this wealth had simply disappeared. The actual gold confiscated was barely enough to pay the army. The Uytainese did their best to harrass the bankers and merchants to pay more; all this of course severely set back Nyanese industry and development.

The emperor Hansye finally left the peninsula in 3104-- carefully reestablishing Čwam (and subsidizing Tloyne) to serve as a counterbalance to Nyandai. Hansye quietly hired Nyanese bankers to take charge of the Uytainese treasury, restoring financial solvency and thus, to some extent, damping down the clamor for more fundamental change. Nyandai reoccupied Tsemeʔ in 3146.

Fananaki occupation

In less than a century, however, the peninsula faced a new threat from an unexpected direction, the west. Tžuro settlers had established a colony called Fananak, which had taken over the Itseʔ valley with the aid of their frightening animal allies-- horses-- and a universalizing religion, Jippirasti.

The viceroy Manmuluz gobbled up Tloyne in 3260, and Čwam in 3274-79. That left only Nyandai, which was besieged in 3286. The city was impregnable by land, and Nyanese ships still controlled the seas and supplied the city. Manmuluz impatiently gave up the siege in 3291, concentrating instead on Phetai.

The Fananaki conquered Phetai, but this was the limit of their resources-- they failed in their attacks on Uytai, and then succumbed to civil war (3316). The Nyanese found themselves under a Fananaki military despotate.

The despotate was unable to prevent the Uytainese reconquest of Phetai, and then nearly succumbed to an invasion (3351-5) of a Dnetic tribe, the Ōkmisan, who had mastered the horse. The Nyanese took the opportunity to rebel, and by 3376 they had liberated the entire coast.

Modern times

The Nyanese saw no need any more for a monarchy; the liberated nation was set up as a republic.

The Nyanese were now facing competition from Ereláe, especially the Verdurians. To safeguard their eastern trade they established a forward base on Jebruk. The Verdurians were already using the island as a stopping point on the way to Téllinor, and friction continued. In 3438 the island was declared independent and its port open to all nations; the Nyanese could only console themselves with the thought that at least it wasn't a formal Verdurian colony, unlike Sitfi south of Neinuoi.

Still, Nyandai has gone further than any other southern state in understanding and integrating Ereláean knowledge, embracing novelties such as the printing press, telescopes and chronometers. It established an institute to study and translate Verdurian and Kebreni books— though these lean heavily toward those which sea captains happen to have on hand: works on medicine, navigation, or maritime law, religious works, novels.

Characteristic figures

  • Sleso, entrepreneur and scam artist