Mauritania, Christian Sharifate of

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Foundation: 1755-date
Capital: Sayyida Ifni in Idjil
Religion: Orange Catholic

By Martin Helsdon


A successor state to the Christian Emirate of Lybia, which gave rise to the Al’Haggar Confederation which became the Kel Al’Haggar Fedyakin.

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1755 - 1756 T213
AEIC: While the Titus and the Andronicus were actually built for export to the Emirate of Mauritania (nee Lybia), the other four – with Albanian crews through and through – were destined for the China and Amerikan sea-lanes.

The grain broker side of the house also saw a huge improvement in business as the factors laboring in Nikolas’ counting-houses shipped thousands of tons of wheat, rye, corn and barley the length and breadth of the Hussite world. Mauritania, Denmark, the Commonwealth, the Knights of Tabor, Arnor and the Southern League all became stitched together by Albanian shipping.

Swedish-Russia: Dame Mironoff also announced a ‘settlement treaty’ with the Emirate of Mauritania, wherein the area around Bir El Khazaim (which was being evacuated by the Swedish settlers there) would be granted to the Emirate.

Mauritania: Lybian (Mauritanian) scouts watched with interest from the dune ridges as a long column of sun-burned Swedes marched away north from Bir-el-Khazaim and the town of Neymoskva. Soon, the desert riders hoped, all the lands there around would be their domain. Jafir the Goat arrived soon after, at the head of a mighty force of six hundred men, to take control of the area in the name of “Berber self-determination.”

Rumors reached Ameur of an outbreak of the plague in the pest-ridden fortress maintained by the French at Leutetia in Herero province. Scouts sent to check on the town found everyone dead – and did not enter! – later, enormous flocks of carrion birds were observed fluttering over the town.

Early in ’55 a Danish squadron arrived off Sayyida Ifni and set ashore a grim old priest named Father Karl Mohaim, who was taken to see the boy Ameur immediately. Sitting in a room high in the citadel, looking out over the azure brilliance of the bay, the old man studied the slim young man very carefully.

An oval face like Claudia’s, but strong bones… he thought, trying to empty his mind of preconceptions. Hair, blue-black like Skikda – but with the brow-line of the maternal grand-father who cannot be named, and that same thin disdainful nose; those direct, staring green eyes: so like those of the old Emir, the paternal grandfather who is dead. Mohaim became troubled. Very like… very like…

“See this?” he asked. From the folds of his habit, the old priest lifted a green metal cube about fifteen centimeters on a side. He turned the cube and the boy drew back – very slightly – at the sight of one side black and empty as the void of night.

“Put your hand within the box,” Mohaim said…

The next day, the Danish fleet departed. Ameur did not relate what had transpired between him and the old priest.

When not putting up with nosy Danish priests, the sharif traveled to the Azores to welcome the arrival of a pair of Albanian clipper-ships to the beautiful islands and make nice with the merchants. Thereafter he took quite some time returning home, but did improve his tan.

The prince had asked the sheikhs of the Arguin and the Wadan to go south and talk peaceably with the sheikh of the Adawarans while he was away in the Azores. Unfortunately, none of their men wished to remain behind (“We’ll get lonely,” they wailed, “all the women here look at us funny!”) so everyone rode south in a huge mob. The arrival of nearly 90,000 Berber warriors caused a very great deal of excitement among the Adawarans, who could only muster 46,000 of their own riders.

After several weeks of maneuvering about in the desert, a parley was struck and all three men – grizzled old bandits each of them – met at an oasis near Aoun-el-Atros to settle matters. After lengthy discussion of their respective parentage, families and martial skills, the sheikh of the Adwaghost put down a cup of very bitter coffee, stared the two northerners straight in the eye and said: “What about this boy? Does he know the ways of the desert?”

“Like one born to the sand,” the Wadanite chief answered.

The Arguin lord nodded. “Rides like a thrown lance.”

“Hmmm… well, perhaps he can lead us to glory, then.”

All three chieftains smiled, thinking of the riches of Vastmark or Carthage or even Mixteca.

“Aye! To glory!”

A day later, a scout galloped into camp, djellaba flapping behind him like a dusty white tail. He swung down before the tents of the three chieftains and bent his head to the sand in a proper saalam. “My lords! I have seen the Catholic dogs marching up from the south with a strong force… including ships of the air!”

Vastmark: Prince Jason’s army entered the desolate plains with high hopes and jaunty banners. After a month of hiking, however, everyone was growing bored and tired. There was nothing in these lands but sand, scratchy bushes, long barren ridges and the tracks of an inordinate number of nomads… but not a single Berber could be found.

After two months of marching about, one of the zeppelins flashed an alert to the prince – leading his army from the van, as ever -- tribesmen sighted. Many tribesmen! A party of Seguan scouts were sent forward and soon they returned in haste to report a vast army of Berbers – more desert-rats than anyone had ever seen – were sweeping around the Vastmarki army in a huge crescent…

Forewarned, Prince Jason immediately retired to the south. Guided by his airship scouts, he was able to deftly extract his army from the trap and the Europeans marched back home as fast as humanly possible… the Berber crescent closed on nothing … only dusty ground and muddled footprints.

The three sheikhs considered the signs, listened to the reports of their scouts and thought long and hard about the matter of the flying sausages and how far a man could see in this land of rock and sand if he stood on a high place. The Berber armies faded away into the sand, vanishing to the north.

An embassy from the Sisters of the Rose arrived in Minden by way of Senegal, looked around, consulted their maps and then gave up and had tea. Apparently someone had told them the province was Lencolar – which was very far from the truth.

1757 - 1758 T214
Norsktrad: Recent customers included the Duchy of the Three Isles, the Islamic Union (two Freyja-class cargo zeppelins) and the Sharifate of Mauritania (though it’s not entirely clear if Delgado knew how much trouble that would cause…).

11 November, the skies above Nouadi-Hibou, 1757: The maiden voyage of the Maud’Dib met a violent and fateful end. To avoid the harmattan, a dire desert haze, the airship sailed at night. But on this flight, the crew of the airship was to learn there were far worse dangers than poor visibility.

Shortly before the end of her patrol the Maud’Dib spotted the dim lights of her destination. The darkness sheltered unrecognized violence.

Three rockets arced upwards with an actinic glare. Timeless, the rockets seemed forever suspended. Yet there was no hope for the zeppelin. She burst apart in a brilliant display, showering sparks across the sleeping city of Nouadi-hibou.

Fragmentary remains of the gondola plunged earthwards. The canvas of the airship billowed about the fallen ship, its broken frame jagged like a maw full of teeth. Fire rapidly consumed what remained. Drifting sand hid the wreckage by daylight.

A lone man watched the carnage from a rooftop. The insurgent nodded with little apparent emotion.

Later that morning, Saguia el Hamra, Mauritania: Magda awoke with a start.

Gathering her black woolen nightshift about her, she crawled upon her knees to the mouth of the tent. Surrounded by all that mattered to her, Magda was still troubled. She had yet to learn of the treacherous fate that befell the crew of the Maud’dib.

About her in the dry riverbed the many tents of the sheyk were pitched. Here, at this isolated location the desert peoples came for prayer and meditation. No mosque or cathedral could burn with the simple hard truths of the desert.

Her brow furrowed, Magda gazed across the encampment, seeking the Prince. She had given so much to find the heir and she feared for his safety even now. While searching Magda’s pupils dilated, black within black.

There was the tent of the Prince, little different from those of the people he served. This tent was different, for inside lay the precious Book: the final and penultimate actualization of the faith, of the word of God.

Once again, her gaze shifted. In the sky she found what she sought.

There, glowing like a false dawn, a vision. The luminous figure above her was the Saint Sayyida.

“Tireless servant of Libya -- behold!” commanded the glowing woman. The saint unsheathed her falchion; it shone with all the colors of the sun.

“There has been a great war in heaven” spoke the saint. “My angels and I have fought against the wurm, although we have not yet prevailed.”

“The ancient serpent has been hurled down upon the earth, where he stalks all man with great wrath. Do not love your life so much that you shrink from righteousness!”

Awakening to her booming voice, and the unexpected dawn, many tribesmen rose from their tents saw the Saint filling the sky. Every heart rejoiced and was also filled with righteous fury. In this way the jihad began.

Mauritania: Scrambling to catch up with their southern rivals, the Mauritanians (with certain technical assistances provided by the Albanian East India Company) undertook to begin construction of a large telescope and observatory complex on the slopes of Mount Agua de Pau in the Azores.

In May of ’58, a pair of Islamic Union airships arrived at Sayyida Infi with a crew of hung-over airmen (still recovering from the wedding celebrations in Augostina). After providing the locals (why were they wearing those orange robes?) with the aircraft and training manuals, the Union men took ship back for the east. These ships now joined two Viking-class airships lately provided by Norsk Aer.

Similarly, the Albanian East India Company delivered another pair of Racer-class clipper ships to the Sharifate naval base at Noor al Senussi on the Azores. The two new ships joined a previous pair which was also undergoing sea trails and working up crews.

Adrar and the city of St. Athanasius are ceded to the Sharifate by the Emperor of Swedish-Russia in exchange for a general peace treaty in the region, but only once the Swedish citizens were evacuated. At the end of ‘58, the battered ‘militarist’ government announced the lapsing of the Exarchate of Inner Afriqa. A small monument in St. Georges went up; a schmaltzy statue of a family pulling a handcart with an angel watching overhead. Rump administration will be maintained to continue occupation of the Neymoskva fortress. As the Swedes withdrew, Mauritanian settlers under Ameur’s direct command entered both Bir-El-Khazaim and Adrar, settling them to (1/6) and (1/3) respectively.

A lone emissary of the Jesuit Order arrived in Sayyida Infi in early ’57, bearing letters and gifts from the Vicar-Lieutenant in London to the sharif Ameur. Unfortunately for his mission, Father Odrade had arrived too late. Events had already swept past any hope of control. He was lucky to slip out of the city alive, given the near-hysterical fervor gripping the Mauretanian public.

The news of the vision experienced by Magda and the three Sheykhs in Idjil rippled across Mauritania like a cleansing breath of air. Everywhere, copies of the Book (recently discovered by the Three Prophets) appeared, and in those pages the common people found laid out the truth of god, stripped of conflict and unmuddied by age and poor translations. Here was a faith appealing to Moslem, Catholic and Hussite alike, a unity where there had been only rancor, a path to God through darkness.

By the end of ’58, borne up on a blazing fire of renewed faith, all of the provinces directly controlled by Mauritania had embraced the new ‘Orange’ Catholic Ecumenical church.

Not all of the zealots were content to remain at home, however, the hosts of the Wadan and the Arguin turned north. Peaceful relations had long obtained with the Vastmark in the south and the Swedes in the north (particularly since the Swedes were abandoning their Afriqan possessions and returning home). The Carthaginians, however, were widely reputed to be behind the destruction of the airship Muad’dib and the trouble down in Dakar. They, then, would be the first to feel the martial fire accompanying the purification of the soul…

The eruption of the Mauritanian hordes into Zirid caught the local government by surprise. 80,000 rabid Berbers stormed across the mountains under an unfamiliar religious banner and proclaimed that the ‘true emir’ had returned – Ameur of Lybia reclaimed his lost patrimony – and a new faith was borne in the world, one to reconcile the division of all churches.

Zirid – undefended and unfortified – fell with barely a shot. The jihadis swept east at top speed into Cheliff. Hamilcar’s government in Augostina, meantime, had hurried all of the wedding guests out of the country and gathered all the troops they could to hand. Captain Ahqat was dispatched to gather up some garrisons in Egypt and everyone cursed the wild foreign adventures which had sent the vast bulk of the Carthaginian army overseas…

While Hamilcar regrouped, the jihadis roared through Cheliff (and were welcomed into Nador with open arms) and into Algeria. Oran would not surrender – as it happened there were a huge number of railway engineers and their work-crews in the town, and Captain al’Hus had dashed from the capital with a squadron of men-of-war to secure the town. Those worthies taunted the jihadis and threw trash over the walls. Ignoring the resolute city (other than to leave a screening force to watch the garrison), the sheykhs of Wadan and Adawara pressed on into Kabilya by the end of ‘58. Still, they met no resistance.

Hamilcar had too few soldiers to hand (only slightly more than five thousand) to stand up against the jihadis in the open field. So he sent newly-married Isketerol to command the garrison of Al-Rhemish and prepared to defend Tunisia itself with fresh levies. The only troubling note came with news many provincial leaders had acclaimed the ‘return of the emir’ and wide-spread conversions to the faith of the Book were occurring.

Mali Ax: A careful watch was maintained on the northern frontiers (considerable sums were wagered, lost and won on the matter of which way the Mauritanians would go…) and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the war-storm broke to the north rather than the south. The cozying up of the Vastmark with the Sharif did not go unnoticed, however, and was cause for considerable grumbling.

1759 – 1760 T215
AEIC: The grain market at Naxos was also very, very busy, handling transactions between Mauritania, Carthage, the Southern League, Arnor and the Knights of Mount Tabor.

An Ancient Crusader Fortress, Atlas Mountains, AD 1759: The nuptial chambers were vast. Candles broke the darkness, and the sudden cry of a lady broke the silence.

“Oh!” whispered Chani.

Her fingers traced an old scar upon the Prince’s back.

Ameur pulled himself upon an elbow. “What is it?” asked the Prince.

“The brand -- on your back.”

Ameur scowled. “Oh that. I’ve always been ashamed of that.”

Chani’s elfin features grew cloudy and she pulled away. Owning slaves, there’s the shame. Not being branded like one.”

Rebuked, the Prince nodded his head. Moments passed in silence.

Finally overcome by curiosity, Chani continued -- “Why a cavalry mark? Why a Danish cavalry mark?”

The Prince shook his head pensively. “I don’t know. I can’t remember.” And then with sadness “I don’t even remember my parents.”

Chani said, forgivingly “Whatever they’ve done, it’s not too late to make amends.”

“You always were the strong one,” said the Prince.

Carthage: Embattled, Hamilcar ordered a mass mobilization of the entire country to fend off the onslaught of the Al’Haggar. Large numbers of mercenaries were hired and nearly 23,000 men put under arms. Leaders scattered in all directions, seeking to gather up garrisons to march to the defense of Augostina. The appearance of Islander warships off shore, however, caused a panic in Tunisia, as everyone expected an invasion force to follow...

Missionaries dispatched into Kabilya were met with unceasing and unrelenting hostility on the part of the newly convert Orangists. The same could not be said of OC preachers and holy-men slipping the other way in Tunisia and Augostina. Even as Hamilcar was struggling to muster an army to clash with Al’Haggar, Tunisia itself became Orange Catholic and the religion was spreading like wildfire in Augostina itself.

Carthaginian Officers Mess, New Oran, AD 1760: “Ingrates!” spat Colonel Harko. “Why can’t the blasted Berbers leave well enough alone?” His jowls quivered with indignation.

Hasdrubal, the uncle of Harko, had been implicated a few years back for his seditious activities against Spain. Despite the dishonor of his family, Harko found more than a few listeners among the officers in the hall that day. Although coarse, he said what some officers believed but none would say out loud.

“We freed them from slavery – what more could they possibly want from us?”

Harko ate richly, and with his fingers. He stuffed a whole roasted songbird, with saffron, into his mouth. He wiped his greasy fingers on his shirt, leaving a yellow smear.

Crunching delicate bones between his teeth, he continued further: “They should eek what ever meager living they can find out of the pan and graben. It’s a far better life than they ever had.”

Harko’s red mustache bristled with indignation. The hall was briefly silent with discomfiture.

Al-Haggar: Sometimes a brilliant plan can fail because the tools at hand are too weak to bear the stress of execution. While Ameur himself remained in the desert fastnesses of the south, moving like a ghost among the dune seas, his messengers took orders to the sheikhs of the Wadan and the Adawara, who were then in Kabilya, preparing to assail Tunisia itself – and they were ordered to vanish into the south, slipping over the Atlas into the great desert, leaving Hamilcar’s modern army grasping at air.

Unfortunately, the Wadanite sheikh refused to abandon the rich lands he had so recently seized and the Adawaran chief remained to argue with him. So they were still bickering and arguing and their troops were starting to insult one another when the Carthaginian fleet and army stormed out of Tunisia, determined to smack them a hard one in the head.

Almost immediately the Carthaginian fleet was intercepted by the Islander blockading force and Hamilcar (who was in direct command of his ships) was engaged in a vigorous gun-duel with the Ducal ships under Barsaki off Ras-el-Hadid. This time the Carthaginian crews were slightly superior to the Islanders, but Hamilcar’s sixty-odd ships were still outnumbered by the Islanders (who didn’t have their captured Frankish steam cruisers in play, those had been sent back to Malta for crewing) but still had 116 ships of the line to batter the four Carthaginian cruisers into scrap metal and trash up the rest of the Hussite fleet.

Admiral Saarkabal was killed and Hamilcar badly wounded. The emir only barely escaped in a steam-launch back to Augostina.

At the same time, general Eshmenuzar’s forces clashed with the jihadis at Azzaba and (particularly with the Wadan and the Adawarans still quarreling) smashed the Al’Haggar. The nomads fled east and Eshmenuzar pursued vigorously. With his airships quartering the sky, the jihadis were forced to battle again at Siqad and defeated again. Then they scattered and the Carthaginians started hunting them in earnest. By the end of ’59, Kabilya and Algeria had been recaptured. In ’60, Eshmenuzar plowed through Cheliff and Zirid and into Merrakesh.

Which was Swedish territory. The war suddenly got bigger. At the end of the year, Eshmeuzar’s army had thrown up siege lines around the city of Grassland and were shelling the port on a daily basis.

Editor's Note: The Al’Haggar thread continues at Al’Haggar.

Mauritania: More jihadis gathered in the south, where Magda had her hands full just keeping the Sharifate on an even keel. The Sisters of the Rose set up shop in the capital, opening a Hospital to tend to the sick and infirm. They did not seem fazed at all by the tenets of the Orangists, accepting their claims with equanimity.

Great France: The cities of New Marseilles and Artica expanded. Public baths were provided by Francois’ privy purse for many towns throughout the land, including such remote outposts and Novo Ghent in Mapuche and Novo Lyon on the coast of Mauritania.

1761 – 1762 T216
Norsktrad: Continuing to draw a raised eyebrow from the Catholic crowned heads of Europe (at least those not on the ‘dole’), the banking arm of the Company disbursed substantial sums to the Jesuits, the Spanish, the Swedes, Vastmark, as well as Al’Haggar and Mauritania (as peace had been successfully concluded with the Orangist Berbers).

Captain Kristján Thórdarson was dispatched to the south, both to represent the Company as host and facilitator of the peace negotiations between Al’Haggar, Mauritania and Carthage which were taking place at the Company offices in St. Pauls, Islas Canaris. His pair of clipperships were also escorting the steam-powered cutters intended for Afriqan hands, which proved quite amusing to the sailing crews.

Mauritania: Magda was happy to sign the treaty with the Carthaginians and see to getting the economy of the Sharifate back into some kind of healthy shape.

The Treaty of St. Pauls

In the shadow of Mount Teide, delegates from Carthage, Al’Haggar and Mauritania gathered at the Mali-Ax city of St. Pauls in the Canary Islands, off the West Afriqan coast.

Despite the accommodation and facilities provided by the Mixtec diplomatic service, the different parties kept their distance until the conference sessions were set to begin. Ambassador Stilicho conferred with his aide, Adnan Khalaf, Duke of Qasfah, and silently watched the arrival of Prince Ameur of Al’Haggar, surrounded by his orange-garbed tribesmen. On the same ship Magda of Mauritania had arrived, and she briefly paused to greet a delegation from the Sisters of the Rose.

In the cool of the following morning, the conference began. Slowly over days of wrangling and private debate the Treaty of St. Paul, named for the host city, was hammered out.

All parties agreed that all hostilities, including military movements, and intelligence and religious operations of all types directed at any of the treaty nations would cease, until such a time as the agreements were broken. Prince Ameur insisted that Carthage, in regaining all territories owned by that state four years previously by diplomatic means, would not seek to convert or punish those citizens who had adopted the Orange Catholic faith. In return he vouched to relinquish all claim to the territories ceased by the Jihad, including the city of Nador, once the peace was secure. Magda requested, and received assurances that her cousin Jafar (commonly known as “the Goat”), languishing in prison would be released and returned to Sayyida Ifni.

In return for the security of the western Carthaginian provinces and borders, Ambassador Stilicho recognized the oases and grasslands bordering and within the Sahara as the domain of the Al’Haggar. After further wrangling, the desert uplands of Al'Hauts were acknowledged as belonging to Al’Haggar, but with the proviso of the construction of a fortress of the Carthaginian Desert Legion. Carthage would also withdraw from the Swedish-Russian Exarchy of Afriqa.

All parties now studied the maps of North Afriqa, and the borders of Carthage, Al’Haggar and Mauritania were carefully delineated after a number of modifications. All agreed to recognize these borders. The provision of a trade city caused some mild rancor, but at last Carthage was granted a lease on the city of Nuadihbou lasting no less than twenty years. Al’Haggar demanded a reciprocal city, but the arguments ended inconclusively, until in return it was agreed that Carthage would send moneys to Al’Haggar and Mauritania for the same minimum of twenty years.

The Nörsktrad representative Kristján Thórdarson offered a one-off payment to the two Saharan nations to sweeten the deal. A heavy iron-bound crate was provided to the Al’Haggar and Mauritanian delegations.

Before the final signatures were put to the treaty, Mali-Ax and Nörsktrad agreed, acting as monitors and arbiters, to investigate any future violations of the treaty.

1763 – 1764 T217
Kel Al’Haggar Fedyakin: Pursuant to the peace treaty, Ameur formally relinquished his claims to Cheliff,

Kabilya and the city of Nador. Further, a new sense of mission had consumed his mind and the Mouse betook himself into the desert to meditate, returning renewed. “The time of the Storm is upon us. We must be fleet of foot, unburdened, as the sand drifts across the face of the world.” He dispatched messengers with papers, granting the territories of Adrar, Al’Hauts, Awlil, the Azores (as well as Noor al Senussi), Bir-el-Khazaim and even Neymoskva to the Sharifate of Mauritania (who had held them all very recently…)

Mauritania: The Sharifate expanded again, to the east, taking into Magda’s protection all of the lands once held by the Al’Haggar. In unexpected exchange, however, the Shekyh of the Arguin led his jihadis east to fight alongside his son-in-law Ameur against the heretics and unbelievers. And true to the Mouse’s promise, the Mauritanians began to labor in the deserts of Arguin to make the land blossom and fill with green.

The French outpost at Novo Lyon in Mauritania proper was very busy, with the huge fleet and army encamped there receiving a shipment of NorskTek airships, which were immediately crewed and put into training service.

1765 – 1766 T218
Mauritania: An unexpected side effect of the movements of peoples through the sub-Rif deserts was the discovery of gold deposits in northern Adrar, which led to a flood of people (including many Swedes and Russians who had been getting bored in the refugee camps at St. Georges) back into the region. The abandoned city of St. Anathasius, as a result, resounded with life again.

Great France: He also dispatched letters to the northerly coast of Afriqa, where (as chance would have it), most of his army and fleet were lolling about in the Mauritanian sun.

1767 – 1768 T219
Mauritania: With her domain relieved of Ameur and his violent swings of mood, Governor Magda devoted her time to overseeing the worthy project of reclaiming the Arguin coast from the clutches of the desert sands.

1769-1770 T220
Mauritania: In a strange mirror of fate, within weeks of the Orangist prophet falling in the Middle East, the middle-aged Magda also succumbed to a wasting sickness which soon claimed her life. Leaving no clear successor, a violent dispute between Governor Sardar and the aged Jafir the Goat was only quelled by Sardar securing the support of the jihadi soldiers stationed in Sayyida Ifni. Jafir, grudgingly, accepted Sardar's leadership, though the governor was quick to anoint one of his sons as heir to the Sharifate.

The Govenors

  • Sardar ibn Sakir 1769-date
  • Magda 1759-1769

The Emirs

  • Ameur bin Skikda 1753-1758

The Players

  • Downing Hayes
  • Scott Cunningham
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