History of the Amerikaens Free State
This page describes the history of the Amerikaens Free State in more detail.
Pre-Spanish rule and the Establishment of the Voortrekker Republics (1799-1830)
Throughout 1800-1830, the various Boer settlements that dotted the west coast region had started to form their independent governments and began managing their own internal affairs. By 1835, five Voortrekker republics had formed, namely: Voorlandt (founded 1803, the first Boer republic), Kimoeenim Republic (founded 1812, named after the river where it sat on), Westerzee Republic (founded 1821). Goudlandt (broke off from the Westerzee Republic in 1845 after gold had been discovered), and New Orange (1847, the least populated of the five settlements).
New Spain authorities had multiple attempts in the 1820s to discourage the Dutch freebooters from settling there, including organized raids carried out by the natives. However, these were unsuccessful as the Voortrekkers managed to repel them each time.
From 1830 to 1840, New Spain decided to take more militaristic actions and began exercising their claims to the area militarily. New Spain invaded the Boer Republics one-by-one. The period was known as the Boer annexation period. The Boer Republics had no unified government or standing army, and they were easily conquered by the New Spain army. The fledgling Kingdom of the Netherlands did not want to get in a military conflict with Spain and took no action.
The Treaty of Santa Maria was signed in 1840. The 5 Republics became autonomous provinces in New Spain (and later Mexico). Over the next decades, the Dutch boers experienced rapid Catholicization and Hispanicization, and creating a new dialect of the Amerikaens language known as "Boer Amerikaens", which heavily borrows vocabulary from the Spanish language. Code-switching is common, especially within the younger generation in the present-day. In writing, the spelling of most words adopted from Spanish is retained, with exceptions for older words such as Kommestas (How are you; from Spanish 'cómo estás').
The Gold Rush of 1846, and the Goudlandt Rebellion
Gold was discovered in the southern region of the Westerzee Republic in 1845. This attracted many settlers in the area and made the small settlement of Meeuwÿck grow to a large town (the town was renamed to Goudhaven, translating to "Gold Port" in the Amerikaans dialect, known in Spanish as Puerto de Oro).
However, this rush had also attracted the Royal Dutch Tussenland Company's attention, which wished to exploit the gold-rich area. After the company's diplomatic attempts to partake in the gold rush were denied by the conservative Westerzee Republic, the company resorted to other dirty means.
They incited and supported a capitalist rebellion in Goudlandt, resulting in the secession of the Republic of Goudlandt from the Westerzee Republic (although still under the suzerainty of New Spain) in 1846. This new republic had allowed merchants working for the Dutch Tussenland company to set up shop in Goudlandt, bringing in a profit. This move, however, had upset the Spanish.
Gold-smuggling, and 2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855)Second Dutch-Spanish War. During the war, New Spain occupied key forts in the Dutch unincorporated territories of Acansa (Dutch: Opdamslandt) and Misuri (Dutch: Mizoerie). In the resulting treaty, these regions were officially ceded to New Spain as three new provinces: Misuri del Norte, Misuri del Sur, and Acansa.
Period Under New Spain (1830-1875) and the Mexican Empire (1875-1903)
The Boers enjoyed partial self-rule during its time under New Spain. It was throughout these periods that the Dutch Boer Culture became heavily influenced by Hispanic elements. Under New Spain, Protestantism was not outlawed. However, to promote Catholicism, Spain built schools in the Amerikaner towns ran by Catholic missionaries to help spread the religion. In 1875, the Boer Regions fell under the fledgling Mexican Empire. It was during this time that the Boers experienced religious persecution (specifically during the periods between 1880 and 1890, until these restrictions were relaxed due to unrest). Eventually, private worship was allowed but the Catholic Church had been placed in special status under Mexican rule. More efforts were made by the Mexican empire to consolidate her power, such as removing certain guarantees and freedoms from the Voors.
The Dutch-Mexican War (1901-1903), and the Creation of the Amerikaanse Free State
Since the 1850s, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was still struggling to rise out of the ashes of the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855) and the Canton War (or the Third Anglo-Dutch War; 1850-1855) fought primarily in North America and in Asia. The wars caused a massive loss of Dutch territory and prestige. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was forced to cede the territories of Acansa and Mizoerie to the Spanish, give the Afro-Amerikaner revolutionaries in South Tussenland their independence, and pay monetary concessions to Britain and Spain. As a result, Tussenland became landlocked and economic ruin devastated the colony. Rampant political unrest led to the Tussenland Revolts of 1859-1861, which transformed Tussenland into a federation of four autonomous states. By the 1870s, the Dutch economy started to recover. In the next thirty years, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was gradually able to rebuild itself, modernize its military and navy, and restore its economy. When the Mexican Empire declared independence in 1881, the Netherlands sought to exploit the fragile nature of the new state and eventually reclaim territory and prestige lost half a decade ago.
When the Mexico started centralizing their empire and reducing the autonomy of the Amerikaners in the Boer provinces, the Kingdom of the Netherlands used this as one of the pretexts for war: to liberate their kin on the west. The war resulted in a Dutch victory. After the war, the Kingdom of the Netherlands wanted to annex the Boer regions to the Federation of Tussenland (then a Dutch colony). The southern three provinces (New Orange, Goudlandt, and Voorland) outright rejected this proposal, and chose to stay within the Mexican empire, as the inhabitants of the region identified closer to Mexico than the Netherlands (highly Catholicized Amerikaner population).
The Northern Boers identified more with the Dutch than the Mexicans and were invited to join the Federation of Tussenland as two new provinces. They rejected the offer, citing cultural differences as a result of 75 years of Hispanic influence. There was also opposition within Tussenland against their entry. The provinces of Irokesenland and Westerzee feared that two new Amerikaner-dominated provinces would upset the political balance and threaten Tussenland’s cosmopolitan nature. As a compromise, borders were redrawn and the independent Amerikaens Free State was created.
Post Independence Political Situation
The political situation after the independence of the AFS was shaky after their independence. It is important to remember that before being a single sovereign state in 1903, the AFS consisted of two distinct semi-autonomous provinces within the Mexican Empire: Westerzee (not to be confused with the province of Westerzee, Tussenland) hugging the pacific coast, and Kiemoeënim. They both had different legal systems. Westerzee had more democratic institutions like the Algemenhofs (created in 1870, also known as the Cortes-Generales, or the General Courts). Kiemoeënim had no democratic legislative apparatus and instead had the Council of the People. Three-fourths of the seats were appointed by the governor and the other fourth by the Mexican resident delegate.
The seeds of independence were sown in 1894 when the separatist coalition party named the Amerikaner Integrity League (Amerikaens: Amerikaens Integriteytsbond) won the majority of seats in the Westerzee General Courts and denounced the increasing proselytization and encroachment of the Mexican Empire against the Protestant Amerikaners. Meanwhile, in Kimoeenim, the province was led by a pro-Mexican governor despite the majority Protestant population, which led to calls for a more democratic government.
When the Dutch-Mexican War erupted in 1901, the Dutch already had secret agreements with Westerzee's leader, Dirck Goudpaerdt, promising him independence from Mexico if they supported the Dutch. During the war, the central authority of Kiemoeënim had disintegrated due to being cut off from the Mexicans. In its place, three regional factions had formed in the population centers of the north, south, and east (which later became the AFS provinces of Kiemoeënim (retaining the old name), Bovenlandt, and Centraelia).
After the war, the Dutch facilitated dialogue between the four provinces (plus Westerzee) to draft a new constitution. An initial draft was finished in 1903, but due to conflicting interests between the provinces, a finished constitution would not be adopted until late 1904. Dirck Goudpaerdt became the first President of the AFS, and the country's official legislative body was the unicameral Algemenhof.
Corruption, controversial policies, and the rift between the AFS and Tussenland
By 1905, the independence of the Dutch colony of Tussenland resulted in lessened support from the Dutch. President Dirck Goudpaerdt was quick to dialogue with the new government of Tussenland, which had received them warmly. Goudpaerdt's party, the Amerikaens Integriteytsbond, dominated the AFS politics in the early 20th century. However, Goudpaerdt knew that the rift between the Catholics and Protestants threatened the nation. As a proactive measure, the Algemenhof pursued policies that united both groups but alienated the Native Americans. Throughout 1910-1915, thousands of native Americans who refused to be placed in reservations and enrolled in the AFS Tax System were deported to Opdamslandt or even killed, a move which Tussenland did not oppose due to their government's similar policies in their own country.
Rule of President Philippus Goudpaerdt
Upon the death of the President in 1914, his son, Philippus Goudpaerdt, won the presidency and was appointed the leader of the Amerikaens Integrity party. Philippus Goudpaerdt was a traditional Venerationist in his beliefs, and abhorred vice and alcohol. He put laws against debauchery in place, and outlawed the sale of alcohol in the AFS, for "the preservation of both Protestant and Catholic" values.
Kidnapping of Gertruydt Ubincks, and severed international relations
In 1921, amid Philippus Goudpaerdt's second term, shreds of evidence of his father's corruption and embezzlement came to light. The Amerikaens Integrity party was heavily implicated in these pieces of evidence. Incriminating evidence told of the extensive pocketing of AFS tax money and monetary aid by the Goudpaerdts. Philippus Goudpaerdt denounced the accusations as a political smear against his party and the nation. Despite this evidence, the majority of the population was not convinced and continued to support Goudpaerdt.
The party ordered the arrest of Barent Ubincks, a member of the opposition and a known critic of the Goudpaerdt administration, who they believed was behind the accusations. Upon hearing the news, Ubincks fled to Tussenland, which had granted him political asylum. Goudpaerdt was angered by Tussenland's decision to protect Ubincks. He demanded Ubinck's extradition but was rejected by Tussenland. As a response, Goudpaerdt's agents located and kidnapped Ubincks' wife, Gertruydt, which had earlier fled to Nueva Orañe (formerly the Boer Republic of New Orange, now part of the Mexican Empire) and briefly worked as a telephony switchboard operator. The Mexican and Tussenlander governments had no knowledge of this until a month later (March 1923) when Goudpaerdt demanded the extradition of Ubincks and used their capture of Gertruydt as leverage. The case was highly publicized throughout North America. Several American governments branded the AFS as a rogue state and Philippus Goudpaerdt a "barbarian."
Although his wife was taken hostage, Ubincks was advised by Tussenland not to return and cave into the rogue state's tactics. He would remain in asylum in Tussenland for two years, until 1923 when he finally returned and was arrested. It was reported that Gertruydt Ubincks had been subject to torture, with Goudpaerdt believing she was a spy working for either Tussenland or Mexico. Gertruydt Ubincks was released in the same year in poor medical condition. The reveal of her poor situation had made the populace disillusioned with the Goudpaerdt government. This resulted in peaceful protest marches in the capital Tuynswÿck and other parts of the AFS, calling for compensations to the Ubincks and demanding the government be held accountable. As a result, Goudpaerdt released Barent Ubincks and even allowed him to run for the upcoming 1926 elections.
Throughout the rest of his term, the government of Philippus Goudpaerdt became a pariah among the liberal republican governments of North America. While its neighbors were experiencing the benefits of globalization and international ties, the AFS progressed backward due to its corrupt, repressive, and isolationist government.
1926 General Elections, Electoral Fraud, and the 1926 Electoral Protests
In March 1925, Barent Ubincks announced his intention to run as President in the 1926 General Elections. This time, he had garnered more support from the public, entirely unlike the situation ten years ago when he first released incriminating evidence against the Goudpaerdts in 1914. Two months later, his wife, Gertruydt, died due to the injuries she suffered. This bolstered Barent Ubincks' popularity even more. The elections were held peacefully in February 1926 and were watched by international observers (Tussenland, Mexico, Spain, etc.). When the results were tallied, the official tallying body announced Ubincks as the winner of the elections. His party, the Amerikaner People's Party (Amerikaens: Volckspartÿ), had won half of the seats on the Algemenhof. However, the official state press released contradictory results, declaring Goudpaerdt winning a third term. The AFS government ordered newspapers within the AFS to publish Goudpaerdt's Victory, while international presses released news of Ubincks' victory. This left the population of the AFS in a state of confusion. As a result, Goudpaerdt was inaugurated in the capital Tuynswyck, while Ubincks held a separate inauguration in his native Centraelia.
This again resulted in protests against the Goudpaerdt government, which was more violent than the protests earlier in 1923. Supporters of Ubincks stormed the capitol building, forcing Goudpaerdt to flee north to Tussenland. Tussenland authorities arrested Goudpaerdt upon setting foot in Tussenland, and he was transported to the Daesemus National jail. By September 1926, Barent Ubinck's government was recognized by foreign nations as the legitimate government of the AFS.
Ubincks continued to use the death of his wife as a reminder of the Goudpaerdt family's corruption and cruelty. The constitution was appended to bar presidents from running for a second consecutive term. Despite this legislation, there was no rule made against political families/dynasties. In the 1932 elections, Ubincks' son, Gerald Ubincks, won the presidency.