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Monday, July 30, 2012

D'Argent in the 18th Century.

The Carriere family has ruled D'Argent since the Early 12th Century.  During that time they have broken the power of the local nobles, expanded the Duchy's trade established relations with many major courts and recruited talent form around Europe.

The Grand Duchy is nominally Catholic but has traditionally been tolerant of all religions as long as they obey national laws and allow those of other faiths to go about their own business. The current Duke and Duchess are only nominally devout and the Duchess grew up as an English protestant.

Argent of course means silver and the mountains of the Duchy have a number of mines though the extent of these veins is a closely guarded secret. Trade in wool, iron, and wine is the primary source of the Duchy's wealthy.  The Duchy must import some of its wheat and other food stuffs in most years usually from Italy or France.

The Duke's family have some holdings along the Rhine river in Germany bringing them into the sphere of the Holly Roman Empire. D'Argent mostly views the the Empire as a potential source of new territory though Italy is generally viewed as a better option for expansion. The Duke tries to play the Bourbons and the Hapsburg's off against each other. Relations with France are closer due to trade and familial ties but the Dukes frequently support Vienna in conflicts concerning the Turks.

Prussian, Hanover and Saxony are viewed as a potential friends or rival. Relations are distant and in the case of Prussia some what soured over land disputes in the Rhineland.

Bavarian and especially Piedmont are closer to home and while relations are generally good these nations have expansionary interest that conflict with D'Argent's.

D'Argent enjoys good relations with the Swiss and has recruiting rights in the cantons.

D'Argent has limited contact with Britain and the Netherlands but has hired out its troops to the Maritime powers at various times and though a number of Jacobins shelter in the service of the Duchy they are not active supporter of the Stuarts.  Most dealings with Britain take place as a result of the Duchy's relationship with Austria or France, though they do maintain an embassy in London.

Russia and the nations of Scandinavia are beyond there direct experience of the Duchy, though at least one member of the court Traces his linage to Sweden.

Spain's machinations in Italy make it a cause for concern to the Duchy and mar the other wise excellent relations they have with the Bourbon Family in general.