In my short story “Wakpala”, Charlie Redfeather tells a story about her ancestor and his part in stopping an incursion into Lakota Territory by the U.S. military in the 19th century. One of the things we’ve been conscientious about in our world building has been creating a believable history. It is important to note that the history of the Americas diverges sharply from ours.
In the Perfect Coven world, western expansion by the Europeans was stopped at the Mississippi River, and most of the continent is held by The People’s Confederacy. The People’s Confederacy is a loose joining by the various native tribes, which hold and administer their own territories. There is a central government, with a council leadership and a congress made up of individuals from the separate nations within the Confederacy.
The big difference in this world, of course, is magic. While there was still a technology advantage to the Europeans, in the sphere of Witchery, the People excelled in war magicks.
There are a couple of factors that come in to play:
European Witchery took a serious hit during the Middle Ages. The numerous plagues of those years decimated the Witch Clans as well as the Ortho population. The Black Death, in particular, was responsible for the end of many powerful clans. Also, the Black Death caused the death of the strongest and most powerful Witches, seeming to drive them mad before their deaths. The surviving clans became reclusive, hiding in their enclaves to wait out the sickness and madness of the age. As a result, they lost a great deal of their political power, and Orthos were ready to assume it.
The chaos of the Middle Ages led to internecine war between Witches and Orthos, as both sides tried to position themselves and seize power and influence as the world emerged from The Middle Ages. The sectarian violence lasted over 300 years and well into the discovery of the “New World.”
On PCEarth, the Puritans were Orthos who were looking for a new start and a land with no Witchery. They landed on the North American continent shortly after the eastern seaboard natives suffered a plague of their own. Due to the hexern nature of the illness, the tribes who normally lived in the area had declared the lands quarantined and healthy individuals had withdrawn to allow the disease time to fade and die. This left the northeastern seaboard in particular sparsely occupied and open to colonization and occupation.
As British and French interests began to expand into the West, they ran into the borders of the Quarantine lands, which were guarded by warriors and witches of the indigenous tribes. The French were able to negotiate with the tribes they encountered and expanded into the Ohio Valley, building forts and settlements along the border. This expansion conflicted with claims of the British colonies, and eventually led to open warfare with the tribes allying with the French. The tribes who held territory in the colonized and disputed areas called a council and hammered out the beginnings of The People’s Confederacy. United, the People rallied and with warriors and witches defeated the British and pushed the border back to the east.
The Spanish arrived in the New World full of the zeal of the Inquisition and an anti-witchcraft campaign. In PCEarth, they turned their attention exclusively to Central and South America, and lost what territory they held in North America pretty early on.
The indigenous populations of Central and South American were dominated by the Aztec, Maya and Inca, all of which had a strong tradition of death cults and devil worship. The most powerful nobles of the courts were witches. It appeared that the main Witchery available throughout Central and South America was that of Augery, which was used to summon the powerful devils they worshiped. The efforts of the Spanish Empire to wipe out Witchery in the New World were inadvertently aided by the indigenous tribes, as they sacrificed any person who showed signs of a talent other than Augery.
All three sects were decimated by epidemics of Old World diseases introduced by the Spanish – measles and small pox. The Aztecs, in particular, were affected by hexern ridden hemorrhagic fever. It is believed that the populace exposed themselves to the disease in hopes of becoming one with their gods, as a person who was hexern ridden was considered to be a holy prophet possessed by the gods. By the end of the 17th century, 80-90% of the indigenous peoples of Central and South America were dead.
James says: Wow. This world of ours keeps getting more and more complex. Not only are we creating stories set in a setting comparable to the world in which we live, but we are building a rich history for our world and its people. Plagues, wars, religious uprisings, invasion of foreign lands, insanity….. We’ve got it all. This world is becoming a beautiful tapestry.
Sid says: The history of PCEarth is as deep, rich, diverse, and complex as our own. We are working to build a living, breathing, vibrant world for our witches, orthos, and supernaturals – so much so that I don’t know how we’re going to leave it when this series is over. Perhaps I’ll get my wish, and M. and J. will agree to do a historical series next!
That said, this piece on the colonization of America has me wondering about the Roanoke Colony. What could have happened to them in PCEarth? Or is it a mystery even there? Perhaps someday we will find out.