The Mississippi Empire was a large and powerful nation in Atlantic America. Starting as a security collective along the lower parts of the river, the Empire took its name from the river it began to expand along. By the time of the Commonwealth War, the Empire controlled the entire river up to Cairo, and much territory to the east and west. The Empire originally opposed the Imperial Commonwealth, but was coerced into defection. After the end of the war, the Empire was split into three successor kingdoms.
From the first trials of Noah Locke to the dissolution at the end of the Commonwealth War, the Mississippi Empire dominated and influenced the politics of Atlantic America for centuries.
Noah Locke didn’t set out to build an empire. In fact, he had no idea he was building a government at all. He saw himself as a peacemaker, moderating conflicts between communities and building a company of warriors to defend the lands. Even when the term Locke Combine became commonplace, he still saw his position as more religious than political.
It was Noah’s grandson, Sebastian Locke, who seized control of the territory and crowned himself king. This was less dramatic than it sounds, as he was king in all but name; this simply made his family’s rule legitimate.
Lords and Monarchy
When Sebastian Locke crowned himself king, there was no established system of nobility. His first act was to establish the College of Lords, elevating seven of his closest allies to the title of Lord and granting them each a depot and region to control. They were responsible for their own order, economy and one regiment of infantry, while Locke controlled a central area of his own and the mechanisms of government
The Combine grew over several monarchs, expanding through Mississippi and Louisiana. After the Combine gained control over the former city of New Orleans, the College of Lords elected to change the name from the Locke Combine to the Mississippi River Kingdom.
Mississippi River Kingdom
The Kingdom expanded in many directions, coming into conflict with other rising kingdoms, particularly the Santiago-family successor states in Texas and the Prophet cult in Arkansas. Expansion eastward, into Alabama, was done carefully, integrating the communities slowly to ensure a peaceful transition.
Conflict with the Texan states was fairly constant and led to a number of small border wars until the Arkansas Prophets grew to be more than just a nuisance. Over the course of years, the two nations grew closer through their combined efforts against the Prophets.
After the conquest of Arkansas and the absorption into Mississippi, a decision was made to unify the two families, Locke and Santiago. The Mississippi throne would not be allowed to claim any Texas territory, and neither could a Santiago family claim the Mississippi Throne, but the merging did finally bring peace to that region of Atlantic America.
The Decree of Ennoblement
As the territory of the kingdom grew, King Ferdinand the Gold decided it was necessary to divide the nobility into a hierarchy. This decision came on the heels of a number of conflicts within the College of Lords, as new members who controlled important territories clashed with established lords who lands were less prosperous.
The Decree of Ennoblement fixed a number of problems. It consolidated some of the older, smaller titles, moving some nobles into new lands in Arkansas and Alabama. It elevated important lords to dukes and earls, but also established the royal prerogative, wherein the king had final say over who inherited a title and could, if he so chose, grant the title to someone not of the same family, as a way of providing important titles to supporters.
The new system was not accepted without issue, as some families lost prestige or lands they had been in charge of for generations. Most of those who complained eventually complied, with a few diehards requiring physical force to remove them from their positions.
The Mississippi Empire
The Mississippi River Kingdom became the Mississippi Empire by decree of the College of Lords, after annexing Memphis and the lands of western Tennessee. Mississippi expansion slowed after that; there were internal troubles, smoothing out recent additions to the empire, and a naval arms race with the United Kingdom of Caribbean States that distracted the leadership for some time.
When Quebec threatened the Ohio city-states during the War of the Three Fools (2371-2377), Mississippi offered covert support in the form of money and weapons. Ideally, this would make the UCOV dependent on the empire for survival against its neighbors, particularly Quebec and Michigan. Instead, the UCOV turned into a regional power, able to fend for itself against any aggressive neighbors.
When the Imperial Commonwealth attempted to find allies among the nations of Atlantic America, they found few interested parties and none in a position of power. Mississippi was no exception, outright refusing to consider the offer. Mississippi became one of the founding members of the Lexington Organization in 2448, the defensive alliance of almost all Atlantic American nations. After Quebec shifted to a pro-Commonwealth stance in 2452, Mississippi became the primary major power of the LO.
When war broke out ion 2455, Mississippi troops became active in all theaters of the war. A field army fought the Quebecois and Commonwealth troops in New York, and Mississippi warships fought in the Atlantic. For the first year, the war went well.
At the battle of Bermuda in 2456, two-thirds of LO naval power is lost, including most of the Mississippi fleet. Emperor Sebastian VI was approached by Commonwealth agents, offering amnesty of a sorts if he would betray the Lexington Organization and assist the Commonwealth. Aware of the precarious situation, Emperor Sebastian agreed.
Mississippi switched allegiance on October 1st of 2456, invading their neighbors and releasing a wave of Quebecois and Commonwealth troops across Atlantic America. Mississippi troops moved through the Ohio Valley and into southern Iowa before winter shut down their offensives. Mississippi finished the conquest in 2457, fighting alongside Commonwealth troops through Iowa and Minnesota.
The victory was short-lived: the agreement between the Commonwealth and Emperor Sebastian forced the Mississippi Empire to be dissolved into three successor kingdoms, each ruled by a member of the Santiago-Locke family. Sebastian became the Margrave of Houston, still responsible for guiding his former empire into the world of the Commonwealth.
The ruling Emperor had immense power over the empire, not only the common population but the nobility as well. His rule was not limited by any constitution, and by tradition only a few matters had to be placed before the College of Lords, most having to do with the foreign policy of the empire. Against the Lords, the Emperor had several advantages, including approval over inheritance and include in the College itself.
The College of Lords was made up of the twenty most powerful lords in the Empire. By tradition is only dealt with foreign policy, though they did on occasion pass bills demanding the Emperor deal with one situation or another. The College met every third month, with its membership decided on by the emperor one week before hand.
At the local level, lords had complete control over their lands, able to enact any law they saw fit so long as it did not clash with the Emperor’s decree.
The Mississippi Army grew from a handful of regiments into a large and well-trained institution that successfully resisted the Commonwealth invasion, then led the conquest of Atlantic America when they changed sides. Regiments were grouped into Divisions, then into Corps and Army as necessary. When not organized for war, regiments would be set in home cantonments.
The Mississippi Regimental System
The Mississippi Regimental System refers to the naming convention of military regiments within the Mississippi Empire. The Mississippi Army doesn’t use numbers, so regimental names can get long.
When the first regiments were raised, they were done so at the expense and command of the early lords, or at the king (and then emperor’s) expense. As the army grew, addition unit were raised and given new names. Some efforts were made to number the regiments or put them in some sort of order, but these efforts failed. It was assumed and often argued that it would be insulting to number the regiments, giving precedence to those older regiments over newer, or the regiments of politically strong lords over the weaker.
Examples of Mississippi Regiments
- Emperor’s Own Sovereign Guard Regiment
- Duke of Memphis’ Select Gentleman’s Grenadier Regiment
- Earl of Rouge Heavy Armored Mechanized Regiment
- Baron of Mobile’s Honorable Regiment of Aviation Artillery
- Duke of New Orleans’s Garrison of Riverine Artillery Regiment
The Mississippi Navy was originally a riverine force, for patrolling and commanding the waters of the Mississippi River. During the 23rd Century it began to expand its deep-water fleet, to offset the growing power of the UKCS, expanding to a fleet of six battleships and supporting ships.
The Mississippi Navy suffered heavily during the Commonwealth War, and its destruction was a major factor in the Empire’s decision to change sides. What survived of the deep-water fleet was left to the Kingdom of Louisiana, while the river fleet was divided between all three successor kingdoms (Louisiana, Ohio and North Mississippi).
The Mississippi Air Force could be divided into two parts: the Squadrons of the Nobility and the Squadrons of the Emperor.
Squadrons of the Nobility were purely defensive, almost entirely fighter squadrons raised to defend cities. Some patrol or observation craft were also maintained.
Squadrons of the Emperor were offensive, including bomber and attack squadrons. These squadrons were organized into groups, used to support the army or navy as necessary.
Overall, the quality of the Mississippi Air Force was rather average. Until the Commonwealth there was no enemy who could threaten the empire in the air, and resources were usually spent on the cheaper to raise and maintain army and naval units.
Mississippi made a significant amount of wealth off river trade. Particularly once shipping recovered to a point where upriver agricultural output could be shipped across the Caribbean. Likewise, goods moving northward accounted for a sizable amount of income.
It was long a point of the Mississippi Empire to diversify their economy, to avoid reliance on foreign powers as little as possible. Memphis, Baton Rouge and Mobile were early locations for efforts of industrialization and technology development.