Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Wars of Wine and Cheese

A brief history of The Duchy of Fromagere and the Counties of Weinpfalz


The branches of the family tree of European royalty and nobility cross and scrape like a badly pruned thorn. No more was this friction felt than between the rulers of the neighbouring lands of Fromagere and Weinpfalz.

Exhausted by the wars of religion the fortunate geography and hardworking population of Fromagere ensured that their towns, churches and palaces were rebuilt swiftly. Silver livres, gold marks and pounds sterling rolled in as the barges full of butter and cheese made their way up the navigable Rhine. The flower of Baroque bloomed magnificently in the principle city of Roquefort and more than one Bach enjoyed the massive organ of its cathedral.

The three counties Of Lower, Middle and Upper Weinpfalz however found the latter half of the seventeenth century less fruitful. With many vineyards abandoned in the thirty years war combined with the sudden popularity of beer the wine business was not flourishing. Not until the wars against Louis XIV did Weinpfalz discover its most profitable business – mercenaries. The hardy little men bred in the harsh hills proved indomitable soldiers and soon found favour in the armies of Marlborough and Eugene. At the beginning of 1709 one in five of the adult male population were under arms by the end of 1709 one in five of the adult male population were under the Flanders soil. The body of Count Mittelwein was borne home on the one remaining gun carriage and the beautiful Countess Wilhelmina became Regent to her one year old son.

Not one to miss an opportunity the sly Duke of Fromagere thought this an ideal opportunity to annex the border town of Spatlesse and it’s rather pleasant water meadows that lay across the Weinbach, the natural border between Fromagere and Weinpfalz. His attempts at annexing Wilhelmina were less successful.

As always only a generation passed before the drums of war rolled along the Rhine Valley and old warhorse Eugene recalled the marshal nature of the Weiners. Once again Imperial gold rolled into the coffers and the little army of Weinpfalz marched along the roads of Europe. March and counter march, but little fighting ensued and while the soldiers trained the young Count, along with Erbprinz of Prussia, followed in the wake of Eugene listening and learning. And once, from the tower of Wachausel espied the standard of Fromagere amongst the ranks of the French enemy.

In 1735 most of the soldiers returned home, Lorraine was given to Stanislas and a new king crowned in Poland.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting premise. Of course my support goes to the makers of wine over cheese.

    Welcome to the Eighteenth Century, sir.

    -- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein