File:Locator Pali.pngLocation of Palissandria
|Largest City||Nuova Lucca|
Palissandria is a country on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas. It borders Equador to the east and south and Guiana to the west. Palissandria is unique in South America due to it's history as a colony of the Italian nation of Tuscany as well as it's heavily creolized culture.
Prior to the arrival of the first Europeans, there was no written history in the territory. It was originally inhabited by a number of Native American peoples, among them the Kalina (Caribs), Arawak, Galibi, Palikur, Teko, Wayampi (also known as Oyampi), and Wayana. The first Europeans arrived in the expeditions of Christopher Columbus, shortly before 1500.
The Thornton Expedition
In 1608 a Tuscan expedition under Captain Robert Thornton, an Englishman, was sent out by Ferdinando I of Tuscany to explore northern Brazil and the Amazon River and prepare for the establishment of a settlement in northern coastal South America, which would serve as a base to export Brazilian wood to Renaissance Italy. The area that Thornton considered as a possible site of a Tuscan colony now lies in modern Palissandria, near modern-day Nuova Lucca.
Sailing from Livorno in September 1608, Thornton returned to the same port in the end of June 1609, reportedly completing the voyage without losing a man. He brought back with him to Tuscany five or six natives, most of whom died of smallpox. Only one lived on at the Medici court for several years, and learned to speak Tuscan. The natives often talked about the richness and fertility of their native land, speaking of a country rich in silver and gold. Thornton himself corroborated these reports, and asserted that the country was rich in rosewood, wild sugar canes, white pepper, balsam, cotton and many other kinds of merchandise which would form an abundant commerce for the Tuscans.
However, once back in Tuscany, Thornton found that Ferdinando I had died, and that his successor Cosimo II was uninterested in the establishment of a colony. Thornton was ready to sail back to the area between the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in the summer of 1609 with Italian settlers from Livorno and Lucca, but the project was scrapped
Failure of French colonialism
In 1624, the French attempted to settle in the area but were forced to abandon it in the face of hostility from the Portuguese, who viewed it as a violation of the Treaty of Tordesillas. However, French settlers returned in 1630 and in 1643 managed to establish a settlement called Cayenne along with some small-scale plantations. This second attempt would again be abandoned following Amerindian attacks. In 1658, the Dutch West Indies Company seized French territory to establish the Dutch colony of Cayenne. The French returned once more in 1664, and founded a second settlement at Sinnamary (this was attacked by the Dutch in 1665). In 1667, the English seized the area. Following the Treaty of Breda on 31 July 1667, the area was given back to France. The Dutch briefly occupied it for a period in 1676. Over the next nearly one hundred years French presence in the region was tenuous at best with frequent raids by natives. The primary French settlement in the region Cayenne was destroyed in a British raid in 1752 during the American Theatre of the Great Silesian War.
In 1761 the French effort to colonize Guiana utterly failed with extremely high morality amongst settlers (mostly due to the numerous tropical diseases and harsh climate) leading to the vast majority of remaining colonists leaving for Saint-Domingue.
Beginnings of Palissandria
Starting in the late 1750's in the aftermath of French defeat in the Great Silesian War, Italian merchants started to become integral as middle men & financiers of French colonial ambitions in and around the Americas as taxes were raised on the colonies, French merchants & the third estate in general. This allowed Italian merchants a niche to provide direct investment in colonial ventures. In the 1760's Tuscan & Ligurian merchants were granted contracts by the cash-strapped French government to take over resource extraction, mostly abandoned planation land-grants & native contracts in Guiana. These contracts with the French government were wildly profitable for the Tuscan & Ligurian merchants who kept input costs low by heavily utilizing the labor of African slaves & native envoys. Several successful tobacco plantations & rosewood gathering enterprises were set up in this period.
After decades of financial hardships in 1788, the French government announced that the national treasury was empty. This along with the volatile political climate of France at the time caused the collection of Tuscan, Ligurian & Corsican merchants with contracts in the region to start to coalesce into a consortium. In between 1788 and 1793 seeing that the French position in the colony was very weak a collection this consortium started to discuss the future of their interest in the colony and decided that French rule was both unstable & un-needed. In 1793 after Philip VII's Flight to New France during the French revolution this consortium approached Philip VII and offered to purchase the rights to colonize what was at the time French Guiana. After Auguste Spiga declared the establishment of the 1st French Republic in May 1794, Philip Vll started to consider the offer of the Italian merchants and finally sold the rights to colonize Guiana in September of that year. During the Augustine wars, French forces captured the merchant settlements sitting on what was formerly Cayenne, but abandoned their position only a few months later to protect Saint-Domingue. In 1805 the consortium of Italian merchants approached the King of Tuscany with an offer to be benefactor of the colony to give their claims further legitimacy. In 1814 the Treaty of Vienna was signed and Britain backed up Tuscan claims on former French Guiana (now re-named Palissandria) in an effort to further weaken the French position in South America & the Caribbean.
In the aftermath of the Tuscan claim on the colony solidified, the former consortium of Italian merchants was re-organized into the 'Tuscan West Indies company' which ran the colony near-autonomously from the Tuscan government.
Palissandria in the 19th century
In 1816, the Tuscan West Indies Company established a permanent settlement where Cayenne used to be: Nuova Lucca. The still-preserved structures of the former French colonial investments were renovated and gave advantage to the colonial efforts of the company.
The first wave of Italian colonists who came to South America was composed of six hundred people from Tuscany and around two hundred from other Italian states. This resulted in the rapid growth of Nuova Lucca and a vertiginous rise in the Italian population proportional to the small number of French colonists.
The Tuscan West Indies Company managed to put Tuscany among the colonial powers by developing an economy based on sugar plantations and the extractivism of the Drogas do Sertão (spices, nuts, and fruits of the Amazon). The workforce for such activities was composed mostly of slaves bought in the Brasilian markets of Belém and São Luís.
The Palissandro Insurgency of 1884:
In the late 19th century, inspired by the several successful movements for independence across South America, secret societies formed with the goal of bringing independence from Tuscany. The main of those societies was born in Nouvo Lucca in 1882: the Palissandro Order (name attributed due to the brownish and purple on their vests). Led by the revolutionary Matteo Garibaldi.
Composed of men of the upper classes of colonial society, the only ones able to study politics abroad, especially in France, Britain, and also Colombia, the order planned to wage war against the Tuscan West Indies Company and establish a republican regime in the former colony. On October 14th, a full-on revolt started by surprise in Nuova Lucca. In a few days, the city fell, and the Tuscan West Indies Company moved their headquarters to Oiapoque, where reinforcements from Europe were called. On November 2nd, the Palissandro Republic was created with Garibaldi as president.
The newly established republic developed a fairly liberal constitution and, after less than a month of existence, was recognized by major South American nations, such as Colombia, Peru, and Equador, which supported the revolutionaries.
The dream of an independent Palissandria lasted short. In 1885, reinforcements from Europe were able to shift the tides of the conflict on Tuscany's behalf. On March 21st, Nuova Lucca was retaken. This moment is considered the end of the insurgency, but fighting would end only in June. Many members of the Palissandro Order and supporters of the republic managed to escape to Equador and Colombia. Garibaldi was captured by Tuscan forces and sentenced to hanging on April 1st.
In response to the insurgency, Tuscany decided it was necessary to exert more centralized control over the colony by dismantling the Tuscan West Indies Company. Beyond this point, the colony became directly controlled by a General Governor appointed by Florence.