The Illyrian Palatinate was a minor Periphery power, located near the Circinus Federation and the late Lothian League. A collection of four worlds it was later, like the Lothian League, annexed by the expanding Marian Hegemony which managed to occupy its capital world, Illyria.
|Time period:||mid-24th century - 3063|
|Military:||The Arms of Thor, Cavanaugh's Cavalry|
The Illyrian Palatinate was founded in the mid 24th century by groups of Scandinavian colonists sent out during the colonization waves spurred into action by the breakup of the old Terran Hegemony into what would be later considered the Successor States. Ruled by an oligarchy of rich trading families, the Palatinate survived through modest trade with the Free Worlds League, primarily in iron ore and processed steel. and the government of the Palatinate consisted of various scions of powerful oligarchic merchant houses that elected the leader of the government from amongst their own members.
Over the years, the Palatinate expanded across another three worlds from its original capital. The Palatinate was relatively tranquil and peaceful until the 3030s, when the longtime leader of the Circinus Federation died of old age and his son, "Little Bob" McIntyre, began to make belligerent overtures to the Palatinate government. An assault was planned by the Federation in 3033, but was cancelled due to false intelligence gathered on the strength of the Palatinate's defenses.
The Palatinate military consisted of a minuscule trading fleet and several companies of BattleMechs, mostly mercenaries and officers who had fled the Inner Sphere for one reason or another. However a substantial supplement to the Palatinate's revenues were large sums of cash earned from staging annual MechWarrior games, in which contestants battle to the death for salvaged BattleMechs and spare parts.
A full assault in 3034 by the Circinans was rebuffed in a grinding war by the newly-contracted mercenary unit, the Arms of Thor. This unit's two battalions of assault 'Mechs destroyed the invading Circinans and routed them from the Palatinate territory.
As a direct consequence of this invasion, the leader of the Palatinate, Administrator Ernest Wick, began to train and equip more militia forces as well as hire more mercenaries. To help finance this buildup of forces, he increased sales of iron ore and steel to the Free Worlds League, and opened up trade links with the more technologically advanced Lothian League in an effort to acquire new technology for planetary defenses. However, as no further Circinan attack ocurred, the Illyrian people began to hope that the worst was over.
However, between the years of 3049 and 3051, the Clan Invasion devastated the Free Rasalhague Republic, and numerous refugee ships headed towards the Palatinate. In 3052, hardly a day went by without a Rasalhagese refugee ship landing in the Palatinate. This influx of refugees almost completely overwhelmed the Palatinate's food production capabilities, and threatened the normally secure people with starvation. To counter the mounting food shortages, Administrator Wick authorized even more steel shipments to the Free Worlds League, who needed it for the production of more BattleMechs to counter the Clans. Although these shipments helped to alleviate the problem, food and housing shortages still persisted, and even grew even when Marian raids came close to destroying the Lothian League in 3053 and 3054.
In desperation, Administrator Wick appealed to the nations of the Inner Sphere for relief money, and warned that the displaced Rasalhaguese would move back into the Inner Sphere nations without an incentive to stay in the Palatinate. The Federated Commonwealth and the Draconis Combine took the cue, and sent large sums of money to the Illyrian government earmarked for "refugee aid". Administrator Wick used part of the money to beef up its military against any invaders; which was a poignant move after the Marian conquest of the Lothian League in 3055.
Fearing that Caesar O'Reilly of the Marian Hegemony would target the Palatinate next, Administrator Wick made an unprecedented public declaration. In order to resist the expected assault of the Marian Legions and guarantee the safety of every Illyrian citizen, Wick asserted, the Palatinate must gear up for total defense.
As part of this effort, the Administrator announced, the Palatinate government would begin construction of bases on all Illyrian worlds. Modeled on the Castles Brian of the Star League era, these bases would be used to stockpile supplies and house several platoons of guerrilla fighters. As an added inducement for the citizens to agree to build the bases, Administrator Wick announced that all construction workers would be provided with free housing for themselves and their families-longhouse-style dormitories on site at first, and permanent homes as fast as Palatinate contractors could build them.
Legions of citizens - both natives and former Rasalhagians - took the Administrator up on his offer. By the end of 3057, the bases were complete, and construction of residential housing was proceeding slowly but steadily, financed largely by money from the Combine and the Commonwealth.
The Palatinate was dissolved when the heir to the throne of the Marian Hegemony, Julius O'Reilly invaded the small nation with two legions of elite Hegemony troops in 3063. Although the Arms and Cavanaugh's Cavalry defended admirably against the Marians, they were slowly driven back to the capital world. Partially because of this, Cavanaugh's Cavalry struck a deal with Julius in which they would stand down in exchange for a fee and a position in the Marian military. Berefit of their support, the Arms were crushed in a final battle that netted considerable salvage for O'Reilly's troops. The Palatinate quickly surrendered.
O'Reilly left a small garrison of troops in the Palatinate's territory, but instead of appointing a governor left the Palatinate worlds under the nominal control of the traditional ruling families. The Palatinate was granted senatorial and voting rights sometime during Julius' rule.
The Palatinate's primary military unit from the time of the Circinan invasion up to the fall of the Illyrian nation was the Arms of Thor, a two-battalion mercenary unit composed solely of Assault 'Mechs. They served the Illyrian government in a decades-long contract up until their destruction at the hands of Hegemony troops during the 3063 invasion of the Palatinate.
In addition to the Arms, various planetary militias and smaller mercenary units were hired and trained for the defense of the Palatinate. One of them, Cavanaugh's Cavalry, served as the Illyrian planetary guard from 3058 until their betrayal of the Palatinate.
The Palatinate's best ally was the Free Worlds League, as they were their primary source of income during the whole existence of the Palatinate. They, along with the Lothian League in later years, provided the primary markets for Illyrian steel and iron; the FWL providing foodstuffs and the Lothians providing technology.
The Palatinate also made relations with the small Niops Association, who had expressed interest in so-called "exploratory talks" with the Palatinate. These talks never saw any further results due to the Palatinate's conquest by the Marian Hegemony.
- Commerce Is All