Versailles Palace, a marvel of Baroque architecture, was built by Greger I of Arendaal, Emperor of the North as a monument to the magnificence of the Aren lands

This is the story of how the Aren ran around being Vikings and then sailed home and became Social Democrats. The Timeline below provides a brief history of Arendaal's past (for information of the country's rulers, see Monarchs of Arendaal and [ Royal Genealogical Tree]


Unification of Arendaal (710 CE)Edit

Dark Age fortress in northern Arendaal

Nordic tribes thrived in Arendaal as early as 5,000 years ago. They lived in loosely formed kingships, passing their time trading and occasionally warring, while bards recorded the semi-mythological exploits of the region’s inhabitants in the famous '“Norse Sagas.

The Kingdom of Arendaal was founded in 710 by King Gustav I. For his coronation, he chose the city of Kronstad and established Emyn Arnen as the country's capital. The tale of unification soon became legendary, and thus dreadfully romanticized by medieval authors. They presented it as a love story: a marriage proposal eliciting rejection and scorn from the beautiful Alienore of Neustria. She refused, so they tell us, to marry Gustav "before he was king over all the Aren".

Kapétien Dynasty and Royal MarriagesEdit

The marriage of Karl I and Bruunhilda of Swabia (Wiese), the first famous royal dynastic marriage

King Gustav I founded the Kapétien Dynasty, which remains the ruling dynasty of Arendaal to this day. Though many Houses have ruled the country, they have all been descended from the original Kapétiens. Their power has derived from political prowess, efficient government, military strength and, significantly, the famous Royal Marriage Alliances between Arendaal and foreign powers. In 724, Gustav I’s son, Karl I, married Bruunhilda of Swabia (Wiese), marking the first in a long line of such ties. The practice became so prolific that foreign rulers have consistently sought to marry Aren Royals to legitimize their own status, giving rise to the oft quoted saying: "Let others make war, you, happy Arendaal, marry."

Vikings (8th – 10th centuries) and the foundation of NormandieEdit

Vikings came from Scanian nations like Arendaal

The wars of unification were fought against powerful jarls (noblemen) who resented the new claims of taxation over their lands by the conquering King of Arendaal. These warriors were the first Aren Vikings who raided Europe in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries aboard swift wooden long ships.

The Vikings pillaged far afield, either bringing their newly found wealth back to Arendaal or founding settlements abroad. One such settlement was Normandie, which existed as an independent duchy until 1066, when it was incorporated into the Aren Kingdom following the Norman Invasion.

Medieval Arendaal (8th - 15th centuries) Edit

Cathedrals like Notre Dame de Emyn Arnen and Kronstad Cathedral are among the most famous in the world

The Medieval era in Arendaal refers to the period between 710, when Gustav I established the Kingdom, and 1408 when Niklaas III, the first Renaissance King, was crowned.

In 955, women became able to inherit the Aren throne with the ascent of the country’s first Queen Regent, Svea I. The success of her rule ensured that women could reign in their own right if they had no brothers living (in 1497 this law was amended to allow the eldest child of a monarch to reign regardless of their gender, thus bringing Marguerite I to the throne).

Christianity in Arendaal (1020) Edit

In 1020, King Matthias I (Saint Matthias) declared Arendaal a Christian Kingdom -the famous Baptism of the North. He constructed Kronstad Cathedral in the same city which his ancestor Gustav I had selected for his own coronation. It is here that every subsequent Aren Monarch has been crowned.

Matthias also cemented the first political alliance with Europe's Catholic powers by marrying Anna Maria of Swabia (Wiese), daughter of the Holy Germanic Emperor. In turn, the couple’s daughters, Eliska, Queen of Montelimar and Vanja, Duchess of Franken, would also marry the rulers of prominent Christian states. By the 12th century, although virtually the entire population was Christian, decrees were instituted to protect other faiths, mostly Jewish and Sami.

Norman Invasion (1066) Edit

Duke Ragnvald of Normandie’s conquest of Arendaal

In 1065, the death of Queen Leonor I of Arendaal plunged the country into a succession crisis. With her three infant daughters too young to rule, Leonor’s throne was quickly claimed by a distant cousin, Sven II. But across the seas, another prince with an even more tenuous claim to the crown took the opportunity to invade the Kingdom.

Duke Reynaud of Normandie (known as Ragnvald in Norse), a Viking settlement in Germania, altered the course of Aren History with his successful invasion of Arendaal in 1066. Dubbed Ragnvald the Conqueror, he introduced fundamental changes, such as a more coherent continental form of feudalism, and forever bound Arendaal to its European neighbours. His reign, which imposed Frankish culture on the Kingdom, shifted it closer than ever before to the Franks in terms of language and culture. The French influence is clear, for instance, in the names given by Ragnvald to Aren territories like Norse Lorraine and Champagne.

Ragnvald’s heir Niklaas II married Princess Alix, a daughter of Leonor I, to unite the Norman and Aren bloodlines. Having this in his favour, and since his father had subdued rebellions ruthlessly, Niklaas presided over a prosperous period. Closer ties to states like Montelimar and Franken flourished. The Aren influence also thrived in the Franconian court, cemented by the marriage of Niklaas II's son Ragnvald II to Isaabelle, daughter of the Duke of Franken, and of Niklaas’ daughter, Kaisa to the famous warrior Knut Knýtling, founder of Franken’s current ruling house, the House of Knýtling.

By the 12th century, Arendaal was one of the most centralized and well-ruled territories in all of Europe. The prosperity of the 12th century Renaissance was a time of booming commerce and intellectual revitalization that paved the way for the Renaissance of the 15th century and the scientific developments of the 17th.

The Black Death (1310 - 1350)Edit

The first half of the fourteenth century was the darkest epoch in Aren history. Between 1310 and 1350, outbreaks of the Bubonic plague ravaged the country. The pandemic killed over a quarter, perhaps even a third, of the country's populace. In their panic, the Aren Kings closed off port cities to visiting ships for fear of the disease. Such was the devastation wrought that it came to be known as the Black Death.

First Union of Bergen (1350 - 1424)Edit

Between 1350 and 1424, the first Union of Bergen united he Kingdoms of Arendaal and Suionia under a single monarch, beginning with Edvard II of Arendaal and ending with Niklaas III (a [[History of Arendaal# Second Union of Bergen and Aren Rule in Suionia (1812-1956)|second series of unions]] would last from 1812 to 1956).

The Union came about when Edvard II, the only son of Queen Regent Gisela I and the King of Suionia, inherited both his parents’ thrones. While neither country forfeited its independence, in practical terms they were not autonomous because a common monarch had sovereignty over both. The highly prosperous Union was finally dissolved when Suionian nobles broke away after the death of Niklaas III in 1424.

Renaissance Arendaal (15th century)Edit

Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" (1487)

The Renaissance in Arendaal is traditionally dated between 1408 and 1608; that is, between the coronation of King Niklaas III and the death of Queen Adeliza I. The rulers of the era encouraged learning, promoted trade, and acted as patrons to artists, intellectuals, scientists, engineers and architects. They also forged strong ties with southern Europe, so much so that many of Arendaal’s most prolific Renaissance figures were of southern descent, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Botticelli.

The new liberal flavour of the period was clearly illustrated in 1497, when King Harald III declared that his eldest child, Marguerite I, would succeed him instead of her younger brother Rurik II, as “women had as much right to the crown as men.”

Aren Influence in the Holy Germanic EmpireEdit

Arendaal's influence in the politics of the Holy Germanic Empire (encompassing the modern states of Wiese, Franken, Wendmark, and others), and vice versa, was especially pronounced during the Renaissance thanks to lucrative trading ties and prominent royal marriage alliances.

The role famously played by Madeleine of Arendaal, Holy Germanic Empress, wife of Emperor Heinrich V/VI, is especially illustrative of this trend. While Kasia of Arendaal (wife of Knut Knýtling) is revered as the founding mother of the House of Knýtling, Madeleine is hailed as the force which helped bring Franken the Imperial throne. Her husband, Heinrich "the Franconian", was to become the first of three Knýtling Emperors (i.e., from Franken instead of Wiese). His formidable wife played a prominent role throughout his reign, both as a patroness of the arts and as an able political supporter. Madeleine is also credited with convincing her power-hungry and ambitious grandson Nikolaus, who assumed the regency for his nephew Jakob I, to remove Jakob for the good of the dynasty. Interestingly, Madeleine's elder sister, Sigrid, had also been Holy Germanic Empress as the wife of Heinrich's predecessor, Emperor Victor the Bold of Saxony (Wiese).

Imperial Arendaal (16th and 17th centuries)Edit

Protestant Reformation (1530s – 1560s)Edit

Battle during the Aren Wars of Religion

The 16th century was a time of prosperity marred by intense religious strife. The Renaissance had popularized a new world view, prompting individualistic reform movements that revolted against medieval scholasticism. By the 1530s, Protestant Christianity had gained immense popularity in Arendaal. Simmering tensions between the Reformed Faith and Catholicism soon erupted into full-scale conflict during the Aren Wars of Religion (1545-1560).

The fervently Catholic rulers Katherine I and Bjorn III brutally suppressed Protestants, whose cause was taken up by their nephew, Kristian II. After defeating the forces of his uncle Bjorn III, Kristian declared Arendaal a Protestant nation. Although he instituted Acts for the Preservation of Religious Freedoms, religious tensions would persist until the mid-17th century. By the 1690s, only 30% of the populace adhered to the Catholic faith (25% as of 2012).

Arendaal immediately emerged as one of the foremost Protestant states in Europe. To consolidate its position, Kristian’s successor, Adeliza I was married to Robert of Franken, thereby cementing the strongest Protestant alliance of the age.

Empire of the North (1560 - 1735)Edit

With his ascent in 1560, Kristian II of Arendaal founded the Empire of the North, which would come to rule much of northern Europe before its dissolution in 1735. At its peak, the Empire encompassed Arendaal, Suionia (1560), the Duchy of Treviso in Potenza (1570), Ormssex-Colne (part of Engellex) (1693) and Cantingy (via Suionia). It backed Protestant causes in Havenshire and Engellex, and, as a staunch ally of Franken, fought in a series of wars against the Empire of Wiese.

Kristian II was crowned Emperor in 1560 in Svealand, then part of Suionia, the centre of Protestantism in Scania. The Protestant clergy of Northern Europe hailed him the Great Emperor, whose unification of the north would act as a bulwark against Catholic imperial ambitions. Kristian promptly negotiated a treaty with the Regent of the young King of Suionia, nephew of his wife Frederika, whereby the Suionia became part of the Empire, with its King becoming a vassal of the Emperor. In effect, Suionia enjoyed a high level of autonomy, exercising control over its colonial possessions and exploratory voyages. It was heavily involved in the Empire’s trade ventures and furnished the Imperial army with steadfast military support. Suionia also remained the beacon of northern Protestantism, with the Emperors of the North relying on the Suionian clergy to take the lead in religious affairs.


Map of the Empire of the North at its height

The Empire supported the Protestant cause of Frederico the Wise of Potenza during the Twenty Years' War (1555 - 1575), and warred with other Potenzan duchies over control of territory during the lifetime of Emperor Sven IV and his formidable opponent Gomberto di Mercurio. During the 1642-1644 War of the Roses, whereby the Holy Germanic Empire became the Wieser Empire, Northern Emperor Magnus II supported the cause of Isabella I of Wiese, in the hopes that she would prove a weak ruler. Unfortunately for him, she emerged a formidable leader. Emperor Greger I allied himself with Franken against her during the German-German War (1666 - 1672). It was only in the 1720s that amicable relations between Wiese and the North were re-established, with the marriage of Heloise of Arendaal to Emperor Karl I of Wiese.

Adelizan Golden Age and the KNH (1570 - 1608) Edit

Emperess Adeliza I, one of the greatest Monarchs in Aren history

The reign of Adeliza I, Empress of the North is considered a "Golden Age" - the last glittering epoch of Aren Renaissance. While religious tensions were not fully resolved until much later, the era marked the calmest point in religious relations since the 1530s. Adeliza’s reign is most nostalgically remembered for the flowering of poetry. Aren theatre became world famous, its most acclaimed dramatist none other than William Shakespeare, the son of a Breotish merchant. His prominence demonstrates the important role of English speaking immigrants in Arendaal during the 16-19th centuries.

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated 16th century writer in Arendaal

The Adelizan Age also saw a tremendous increase in foreign trade and shipping ventures once the Kunglig Nordiska Handelsföretag (KNH) trading company was founded in 1575 with royal patronage. The KNH quickly developed a monopoly over trade entering northern Europe and established trading posts across the globe. Even today, it remains one of the most important companies in Europe.

Baroque Arendaal (17th century)Edit

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

The Baroque Era witnessed the resolution of religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics, the expansion of trade through the KNH and great scientific achievements. Progress was exemplified by grandeur, intended to show foreign powers that the Empire of the North was the most magnificent in existence. There was a tremendous outburst of talent of every kind, and in artists, authors, musicians, generals, thinkers, and men of science, Arendaal was incomparably rich. These virtuosos blossomed at the court of the Sun King, Emperor Greger I, centred on the resplendent Versailles Palace, where the fashions for courts across Europe were set.

Arendaal’s contributions to the Scientific Revolution, the rapid scientific progress of the 17th century, were immense, boasting figures like Johannes Kepler. Artists like Vermeer, Rubens and Rembrandt made Aren Baroque painting celebrated throughout Europe. While the Renaissance had yielded the beautiful Villa d'Nord, Norseland Chateau, and the Chateau de Champagne, the Baroque era produced architectural marvels like the Palace of Versailles and Trondheim Chateau. Music too saw one of its brightest epochs, with composers like the German Bach and the Aren Handel, while opera was established as a musical genre thanks to Claudio Monteverdi and Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre.

Aren Enlightenment (18th century)Edit

Beatrix I declined the title of Empress of the North

In 1715, the House of Nareath a branch of the Kapetien Dynasty came to the throne with the coronation of Gustav V (the current King Edvard V is of the same House). Virtually every Nareath ruler was seen as a friend to Enlightenment thinkers, whose liberal optimism was tempered by the realistic recognition of the need for major reforms.

Dissolution of the Empire of the North (1735) Edit

In 1732, Emperor Gustav V of the North became involved in a long protracted war against x. Mobilizing all his resources for the great “southern campaign”, he grew lax with the Empire’s territories.

When Gustav V died in 1735, the state of Imperial finances was in such disarray that his successor Beatrix I opted not to press the Empire’s claims either in the north or south. She declined to be crowned Empress of the North, ruling instead as Queen Regent of Arendaal. This shrewd move allowed Arendaal’s KNH to retain their trading posts in former Imperial territories, thus securing the country’s wealth from trade.

Rococo Arts and the Musical Kingdom: Mozart, Haydn, BeethovenEdit

Mozart, one of the most famous Aren composers

Some of the most celebrated composers of the Classical period of western music were from Arendaal, earning it the epithet: "The Musical Kingdom". The best known include Mozart, Haydn (a Wieser composer who worked in Arendaal) and Beethoven. The most noted Royal patron of music in this period was Edvard IV, the "musical king".

Revolution of Light (1790 - 1800) Edit

By the close of the century, Hathor III’s decidedly conservative attitudes proved the necessary catalyst to transform calls for change into full scale action. In late 1790, his dissolution of parliament sparked a mass uprising.

Karl V, known as the father of modern Arendaal

The moderate reform party during the Revolution of Light was led by Karl V, a nephew of Hathor III. In 1800, after a decade-long struggle, the revolutionary forces were successful in deposing Hathor. Karl V was crowned on April 14th (now Arendaal's National Day), and introduced the Declaration on the Rights of All Citizens and Peoples, by which Arendaal was affirmed as a secular parliamentary democracy with limited suffrage (for individuals of both genders with a certain level of income). New laws affirmed the principles of equality, liberty and justice that the Revolution had used as its rallying cry, and made the Monarchy answerable to an elected Parliament. For his pains, Karl V is known affectionately as the "father of his people".

The Industrial Age (19th century)Edit

Second Union of Bergen and Aren Rule in Suionia (1812-1905)Edit

1812 saw Suionia become a dual monarchy with Arendaal once more, united under a single monarch: Karl V of Arendaal. This second union of the crowns would last until 1905, and was seen in conservative circles as a renewal of the [[History of Arendaal#First Union of Bergen (1350 - 1424)|First Union of Bergen]] (1350-1424). While real power in Suionia was based in the Riksdag, it was the Aren King who signed laws into being.

Universal Suffrage (1851) and the Industrial RevolutionEdit

"Le Moulin de la Galette" by Aren artist Renoir

With the likes of Queen Louisa I supporting calls for the extension of the vote, limited suffrage (extant since 1800) was replaced by universal suffrage in 1851. The mid-nineteenth century also saw the final major restriction in the power of the Monarchy. Although it was relegated to a largely ceremonial role, however, a number of royal veto powers were retained and remain in place today.

Technological and economic progress gained momentum in the 19th century, with the rapid expansion of industry and the continued success of the KNH turning Aren cities into hubs of international trade. In the arts, impressionism and Post-Impressionism came to the fore in the work of Renoir, Seurat, Van Gogh and Chagall. Literature was dominated alternatively by the movements of Romanticism and Realism, while composers like the Wieser Johann Strauss II became celebrated in Arendaal.

Suionian Independence (1905)Edit

Despite the cultural affinity between the Aren and Suionians, the Suionian parliament proclaimed independence from Arendaal in 1905, shortly after the death of Queen Louisa I. Her son, Prince Kristian I of Arendaal was crowned King of Suionia, thus providing continuity in spite of the end of the Second Union of Bergen.

Modern Arendaal (20th century) Edit

Queen Freya I waving to crowds in 1920

The 1920s and 1930s came to be known as the jazz age, a thoroughly modern, wild, and romantic era. The film industry boomed and 'oriental' influence in fashion became pronounced. However, a depression preceding the early 1940s beset the country with financial troubles, and relief works had to be set up for the very poorest at the instigation of Freya I. It was only in the late 1940s that the economy fully recovered.

Aren film stars of the 1940s

The banking system, well-respected since the 19th century, is now a global leader. The particularities of “no-strings-attached” banking appealed to the foreign elite, who deposited large sums in Aren banks. Arendaal's parliament played a central role in recovery by founding Royal StatOil in 1945. The Aren Monarchy bought shares in the company, exponentially increasing their private wealth (today their share is so large that they are not supported by tax revenue). Following the oil boom, liberal governments established an extensive social welfare system, the cornerstone of modern Aren society, providing free healthcare and education to all citizens and residents. Being historically open to immigration, Arendaal has welcomed immigrants throughout the 20th century, whose influence in the country’s cultural, social and political life has been pronounced.

The education system is among the best in the world, with the University of Emyn Arnen consistently ranked among Europe’s leading academic institutions. The banking, oil and natural gas, and medical and scientific research sectors are especially strong, while the entertainment and luxury goods industries boast famous brands like Chanel, Cartier Diamonds, the Ritz Hotels and Moet et Chandon.

See AlsoEdit

Template:Culture of Arendaal

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