|Notable Individuals:||King Brandon Windmeyer|
|Notable events:||First Shore War; Second Shore War|
The area that the Kingdom of Highland would come to inhabit has a history that dates back all the way to some of the most important events in the western hemisphere. Explorer Henry Hudson landed his vessel in the area when he arrived in the New World in the early 1600s, and some of the earliest American colonists settled down in the area. During the American Revolution, the Continental Army, led by General George Washington, attacked and defeated the British Army at the Battle of Monmouth.
Mostly farmland, the area developed into a summer vacation getaway in the late 1800s and early 1900s thanks to its relative proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia, along with the rest of the Jersey Shore. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the morphed into a kitschy weekend destination as economies waned and waxed. In particular, the fortunes of the area were dependent on Atlantic City, the largest destination on the Jersey Shore. When the economy and political situation in Atlantic City were positive, the rest of the shore prospered. When the economy and political situation in the city were negative, the rest of the shore suffered.
In 2077, when the bombs fell, nuclear warheads targeted the Jersey Shore, but the area escaped relatively unscathed. Dating back to the Cold War of the 1950s, the area had been home to numerous military installations with airstrips, air defense radar and surface-to-air missile sites to form a missile shield to protect the New York City metropolitan area from the threat of attack. Though most were decommissioned and/or destroyed when the Cold War ended, the U.S. government revived the missile shield program in the lead up to the Great War. Because the military had minimal warning, the missile shield was not as effective as it could have been, but the area was spared from utter devastation because of it.
Birth of a Nation
When the nuclear flames died down, and humanity began rebuilding itself, the typical model applied: those with the most guns made the rules. In this case, remnants of the U.S. military had the most guns, so they became the de facto leaders of the area as those who lived looked to begin rebuilding. From Camp Evans- a military installation in the former Wall Township- the military began attempting to rebuild society. As the adages say, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, the genuine effort by the military to restore law and order eventually developed into a group of bullies oppressing those they could, because they could.
Chief among those bullies was a man by the name of Major Jack Gillespie, one of the highest military leaders at Camp Evans that survived. He assumed power just as the military remnants began abusing their power, and Gillespie expedited that. By the turn of the 22nd century, Gillespie was known simply as “The General”, having given himself a promotion, and those that opposed him were silenced. Having consolidated power around the Jersey Shore, Gillespie ruled the Boardwalk Empire with an iron fist.
Not all that lived in the Boardwalk Empire were content to live under The General’s brutality, or serve under him. Sensing this, and no friend of Gillespie, Atlantic City secretly began funding a rebellion movement in 2153 that was fomenting in the north led by a man named Blake Windmeyer. Windmeyer began small, inconveniencing the militia loyal to The General and winning the hearts and minds of men and women living in the northern reaches of the Boardwalk Empire. Biding his time over roughly four years of low-key and passive rebellion, he and his movement received important news from representatives from Atlantic City in 2157- unbeknownst to The General or his militia, a handful of functional Nike missiles remained in Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook and could possibly be used against the Gillespie and his forces.
It took almost four years, but in 2160, Windmeyer and his rebellion movement seized the fort in Sandy Hook and took control of the missiles that lay dormant underneath it. The rebellion movement was able to hold out against their enemies long enough to gain access to the missiles and activate them. Late in the year, the dormant Nike missiles rose from their launchers for the first time in almost a century and fired, pummeling Fort Evans to the south. In one swoop, Blake Windmeyer took out General Jack Gillespie and most of those closest to him.
The First and Second Shore Wars
Taking control of the chaos and the regional vacuum of power, he and his forces marched south from Sandy Hook that next spring, under the banner of “Highland”. Over the next five years, the forces of Highland and the remaining forces of The General skirmished all over the Jersey Shore. By 2165, when the First Shore War ended, the Highland had a firm grip on the majority of the northern shore.
In 2199, the Second Shore War began. In the wake of the First Shore War, Highland consolidated its power and went from a rag-tag group of militia fighting against a stronger enemy into an actual nation responsible for those living within its borders. Over the next thirty years, the leaders of Highland become sufficiently proficient in ruling an actual nation, and by the turn of the 23rd century were ready to expand.
Though Highland’s push south into the territories that were the Boardwalk Empire- now ruled by various rival gangs- was initially successful, the march soon ran into major problems. Certain faction leaders in the fragments of the Boardwalk Empire had alliances with the Jäger Pirates on the south shore of Shaolin. The pirates flanked the forces of Highland from the sea and attacked while the gangs from the former Boardwalk Empire defended their territory in the south. Highland was hard pressed to defend itself on two sides, and needed to call on their alliance with Atlantic City to the south to keep its territorial integrity intact. The Second Shore War ended more or less in a stalemate, with Highland retreating back to its borders after suffering what can only be described as a massive blunder.
Blake Windmeyer was never the same after his defeat in the Second Shore War. More and more, he allowed important decisions to be decided by the Highland Council, a parliamentary body made up of important individuals living within Highland, and his son, Bryan. Finally, in 2219, he died. Bryan Windmeyer, succeeded his father, making the nation a kingdom.
The reign of King Bryan marked an era of prosperity for the kingdom. While raiders in the south periodically harassed the nation, there were no major conflicts of any kind during the time he ruled. Trade pacts between Atlantic City, Brick City, the Federal Republic of Libeteria, and other regional settlements. In 2262, King Bryan Windmeyer died, and his son, Brandon, succeeded him. Brandon, the third king of Highland, has thus far followed in his father’s footsteps, continuing the era of Pax Highlandia.
Because of its location on New Jersey’s shore, Highland’s economy is heavily tied to the sea. Unlike the Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is mostly unspoiled by radiation and chemicals that have leaked out of nearby refineries. As such, fishing is one of the main facets of the Highlandian economy. The most common catches include fluke, bluefish, striped bass, and whiting, which are either consumed domestically or exported to nearby locations in New Jersey or New York. Clamming is another activity that Highland relies on.
The seat of power in the Kingdom of Highland is Nevasink, a bluff in what used to be the borough of Highlands that is home to the Twin Lights, a pair of historic lighthouses. King Brandon Windmeyer and the Highlandian royal family reside in the settlement.
Though the king has absolute power in theory, a system of checks and balances does exist in the Highland Council, a parliamentary body made up of important individuals- merchants, ranchers, farmers, and mercenaries, among others- living within the kingdom. If the Highland Council votes against a specific action of the king, it is customary for the king to change his course of action.
The Kingdom of Highland stretches out roughly 40 square miles along the New Jersey coast adjacent to Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, in what was once the boroughs and townships of Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Keansburg, Middletown, and Sandy Hook in Monmouth County. Power has been consolidated on the barrier island of Sandy Hook and Highlands, and radiates outward to varying levels of authority.
Highland maintains cordial relationships with Brick City to the northwest, Atlantic City to the south, and the Federal Republic of Libeteria to the northeast. These settlements buy foodstuffs and other goods from the kingdom, providing mutually beneficial and mostly peaceful interactions. Like so many other things in the kingdom, trade is generally conducted on the high seas, with vessels sailing to and from trade locales, instead of on land caravans. When land caravans are seen as a safer alternative to trade on the high seas, or when the location in question is land bound, Garden State Shipping is generally used as a middleman to ship the goods out.
Like any other settlement in the various wastes across the ruins of America, raiders sometimes pose a problem for Highland. The vestiges of the Boardwalk Empire, now various gangs and raider groups living on the Atlantic coastline, regularly cause problems for the Kingdom- especially those groups that had connections to the leaders of the Boardwalk Empire. Trapped between the regional powers of Atlantic City and Highland, the raiders usually turn north rather than south, as Highland is generally seen as the easier target of the two. The Jäger Pirates from the southern shores of Shaolin (Staten Island) regularly butt heads with the kingdom in the Atlantic Ocean, attacking trade vessels and periodically raising the coastline.
Followers of Einstein, a cult in Princeton, some 50 miles away regularly skirmish with the kingdom’s forces. The doctrine of the Followers calls for them to seize Pre-War technology for religious reasons, and the AT&T Labs Research Facility located in the far southwestern reaches of the kingdom is a regular target. The Kingdom does not use the facility for anything in particular, but defends the location from the Followers to preserve its territorial integrity.