Meerpelt is a colony of the Grand Duchy of Kleef in Everique. For much of its existence, Meerpelt was a long, narrow colony, squeezed between Varre, a colony of Morante, to the northeast and Ulrikas, a colony of Sverike, to the southwest. Meerpelt followed the valley of Maurits' River and had but a single port at Zollhaven. The recent conquest of Ulrikas has expanded the colony's borders, giving it additional access to the sea and fertile farmland.
Guilders from Kleef founded the colony in 1556 to gain access to the fur trade that was enriching the Saronnan investors. The Kleefish aligned with the Liranequois, building Beverwijck at the point where Maurits' River ceases to be navigable. The guilders provided cheap trade goods to the Liranequois, as well as muskets and gunpowder. The Kleefish encouraged the Liranequois to harass the Saronnans in Aradie at every opportunity so that Beverwijck would become the destination of choice for furs coming out of the Lakelands. In 1631, colonists from Meerpelt captured Sherbourg during the War of Marbled Insults, but they were forced to return it two years later as part of the peace treaty.
The past 50 years have been extremely prosperous for Meerpelt. The town of Zollhaven has grown exponentially due to its incredible natural harbor. Shipbuilding has become one of its primary trades. Kleef is poorly situated for lumber with most of their forests already harvested. The vast forests of Everique are full of prime trees, which the Kleefish are felling to build their fleet. In 1678, Kleef went to war with Sverike in the Second War under the Northern Crown. The colonists in Meerpelt seized the opportunity and conquered the Sverikan colony of Ulrikas. It's been an uneasy occupation, and the Kleefish have been forced to allow the Sverikans to retain some self rule to keep the peace.
Meerpelt faces a number of growing threats. The steadily encroaching Morantine from the north is a concern to the Kleefish. They are trying to direct the Morantine territorial ambitions toward Aradie. Also, the conquest of Ulrikas puts Meerpelt dangerously close to the great Minaquas tribe, who were aligned with the Sverikans and foes of the Liranequois. Meerpelt has not fortified its holdings, relying upon extensive gift giving to the tribes to ensure peaceful relations. Sverike has not forgotten their lost colony in Everique and intends to reclaim it at the first opportunity, and possibly conquer Zollhaven for Kleef's temerity.« Return to the Almanac Index