|Puget Sound War|
The Puget Sound War was a military conflict between the United Republic of Illu'a and the Federal Kingdom of Lower Columbia. Illu'a started the war to put an end to human rights abuses in the Puget Sound region, which Lower Columbia had recently conquered. After a failed invasion of the region and a naval battle that prevented an invasion of Illu'a Island, the warring nations signed a treaty that forbade Lower Columbia from committing similar acts against its people.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Covert war, 1895-96
- 3 Invasion of Puget Sound, 1896-97
- 4 Lower Columbian invasion attempt, 1898
- 5 End and aftermath
Conquest of the Puget Sound region
In 1884, King Tristan of Lower Columbia began making plans for an invasion of the coastal regions immediately north of the Lower Columbian heartland, from Olympia in the south, along the coast of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula, to the fjordlands across from Vancouver Island. These regions were first settled in the mid-to-late 17th century by descendants of both Lower Columbian and Illu'an pioneers, but the inhabitants did not receive Edward du Loup as their king when the Lower Columbian monarchy was established in 1712. Instead, they organized themselves as the Republic of Puget and Fraser in 1813. Tristan believed that it was the will of God for him to bring the Republic under his authority and promoted the planned invasion as such. Often in his speeches on the subject, Tristan would tell his audiences that the conquest of such a heavily populated nation would bring Lower Columbia "greater glory" than it had achieved under previous kings. The populace agreed with his message and pressured their Parliamentary representatives to approve the king's proposed declaration of war.
At the same time, Tristan directed the generals of the Lower Columbian army to increase troop numbers on the kingdom's border with Puget and Fraser, confident that Parliament would declare war. Between September 1884 and March 1885, the army's presence on the border increased eightfold, from about 30,000 troops to almost a quarter of a million. Drills became more frequent and intense, with a greater emphasis on urban warfare. Extra cannons were manufactured and shipped to forts on the border, and more soldiers were trained in their effective use. However, this mobilization went mostly unnoticed by the Lower Columbian people until war was officially declared.
On March 19, 1885, the Federal Assembly approved King Tristan's war declaration. The Council of States followed suit on March 23, and the declaration was signed at the royal palace that afternoon. Telegrams were sent from the offices of the Ministry of War to the border forts immediately, and most of the troops that would take part in the first wave of the invasion were ready to depart by 19:00 hours. The first troops to cross the border into the target region left Lower Columbian soil at approximately 20:45, headed for the town of Shelton, northwest of Olympia. Other units crossed the border in the passes through the Cascade Range soon thereafter, marching towards the port cities of Puget Sound. Warships began sailing from Port Nyhaven and Tongue Point Naval Base around sunset.
The plan of the invasion called for troops to proceed from the border to the coast, isolating the port cities while the Royal Navy enforced a blockade of Puget Sound. It was expected that once the port cities were surrounded and cut off from supplies, they would surrender. However, the inhabitants of the cities proved to be more resistant than King Tristan had supposed. When Lower Columbian infantrymen arrived on the outskirts of Olympia, local residents began firing upon the encampments. The attacks continued until the soldiers erected a palisade around their camp. After two weeks of cannonfire, the soldiers entered the city, fighting house to house for another week. Finally, on April 24, 1885, the last resistance fighters surrendered to the Royal Army, and the Lower Columbian flag was raised over Olympia City Hall.
As news of the invasion traveled, Puget and Fraser's government in Vancouver scrambled to mobilize its forces against the Lower Columbian troops. The Republic's army was placed under the command of General Alexei Sharapovo. Numerous battles and skirmishes in the countryside dramatically slowed down the troops' advance toward the coast of Puget Sound. Their progress was further slowed by the Republic Army's vigorous defense of the many small towns in the inland regions; instead of simply walking into a town, as had been expected, battles raged for days before the towns would surrender. At last, though, the numbers of Lower Columbian infantry surrounding a town would become too great for the enemy soldiers to withstand.
The battles for Tacoma and Seattle proved to be similar to the battle for Olympia, but with the addition of warships barraging the cities from the sea. With Olympia in Lower Columbian hands, the Royal Navy had a place where ships could be resupplied without having to return to the ports in the Columbia River estuary. Despite the added naval support, these larger cities were more resistant to attacks, with the result that their sieges lasted much longer. It was not until Tacoma had been under fire for two months that ground forces were able to enter the city, and Seattle held out against the invaders for a full six months before it was breached. Even so, the Republic's remaining troops continued to fight in the streets of Seattle for almost a month before the city's lack of food and ammunition forced them to surrender, on September 29, 1886.
With the capital of tyhe southern part of Puget and Fraser occupied, much of the army retreated across the sound into the dense rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula. Kendall responded by sending one of the army divisions that had taken part in the first phase of the invasion onto the peninsula. The Olympic Campaign, as it would later be called, would take three years to complete, as the Royal Army searched through the forests and mountains to hunt down every last enemy soldier in the region. They first secured the coastal cities on all three sides of the peninsula, then worked their way inland. The search for Puget-Fraserian infantrymen was difficult and long, as the soldiers knew the forests and were skilled in surviving on their resources. It was not until the peninsula had been completely searched that the invasion was declared over.
Meanwhile, the remaining divisions continued to advance up the coast toward Vancouver. Fighting remained fierce against the remnants of the Republic Army who had stayed in the area after the fall of Seattle, who still had Sharapovo commanding them. Nevertheless, the Lower Columbian forces made steady, if slow, progress northwards, capturing Everett in the winter of 1887, Anacortes in the following spring, and Bellingham in late October. By Christmas, the troops had arrived in the Fraser Valley, on the doorstep of Vancouver. They set up their winter camp outside Surrey, where they remained until Easter 1888. The generals leading the invasion forces then split the troops: a third of them proceeded up the Fraser River into the interior, capturing Abbotsford and Chilliwack along the way, while the remainder headed downriver to the coast in preparation for the siege of Vancouver itself.
That siege of the capital began after Richmond was captured in June 1888. In addition to being the capital of the Republic, Vancouver was also another large city, though not quite as large as Seattle at the time, so the troops settled in for what they expected to be a long siege. However, inside the city, the government was debating whether to fight back or surrender. Sharapovo was in the city during the siege, and he made his whereabouts known to the president of the republic. Eventually, the Puget-Fraserian Congress and the president agreed to surrender and hand over Sharapovo to Lower Columbian custody. The white flag was hoisted on July 13, 1888, but Sharapovo attempted to flee into the fjordlands northwest of Vancouver when he found out about the terms of the surrender. He was, however, prevented from leaving the city when the ferryboat that crossed Burrard Inlet sank on its way back to downtown Vancouver, trapping him.
Representatives of the Congress and president met with Lower Columbian generals after the surrender to make a deal that would prevent further bloodshed. They ceded the remainder of the republic to the kingdom and promised to send word to the locals to accept their new rulers, while the invasion forces in the Fraser Valley returned home. Meanwhile, Alexei Sharapovo was taken to Kendall, convicted of treason, and executed on August 30, 1888. With the most populated areas of the old republic now firmly under the king's control, the main part of the invasion was declared finished. The whole war ended on May 18, 1889, when the last resistance fighter in the Olympic Mountains was captured. The new territories were divided into three states, along the same lines as the provinces of the former republic, with the province of Puget joining the existing state of Rainier, which was renamed Puget in recognition of its new center of population.