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Sigismund Heinrich II Van Vinkel
Sigismund Heinrich II
A portrait of Sigimund Heinrich II

Reign

1590 - 1598

Precessor

Gustav I (as Prince of Merlberg)

Successor

Heinrich II

Spouse

Alessia dei Rossi

Royal House

House Van Vinkel

Sigismund Heinrich II Van Vinkel was the third Prince of Merlberg, and first King of Tarajan from 1595 to his death three years later.

Early life and first campaign

The only son of Gustav I Van Vinkel (1578-1590) and Henriette de Witt, Sigismund Heinrich was extremely attracted by the figure of his grandfather, Sigismund Heinrich I, first Prince of Merlberg, since his childhood (spent almost entirely in the shadow of the Prince himself). He consequently developed a strong interest in statesmanship and military art, soon becoming one of the best known military and political leaders of his time.

In 1565, he was married to Alessia dei Rossi, representantive of a prestigious House of the Antanaresian city of Sessadraina. The marriage was combined by Sigismund Heinrich I in order to achieve better relations with the maritime republic in a period of increasing prestige for the House Van Vinkel.

He had a first occasion to demonstrate his skills in 1591, one year after his accession to his father throne in Merlberg, when he defeated Mathieu II Van Geldern, Duke of Eindhoven, thus marking the end of the independence of the Duchy, which submitted to the Van Vinkel as vassal.

The Himeraa Campaign

Sigimund Heinrich II 2

Sigismund Heinrich II at the second battle of Himeraa.

The submission of the most important House of Tarajan to the new Prince soon led to the birth of a new coalition among the members of the Landsraad, who asked to the Principality of Antanares for support. Their offensive was launched in 1594, one year after the conclusion of a two-years campaign Sigismund Heinrich had led in the Karabak region against the Ajanic remnants of the north. Sigismund was still recovering from the difficult campaign, residing in Astana, and thus he was separated from the core of his possessions when the combined Landsraad and Antanaresian forces laid siege to the fortress-town of Markenstadt, on the way to Merlberg.

With his enemies involved in the siege, the Prince rallied all the remaining allies of his House (House Van Leeuwen, De Witt and Van Sondenburg). The Landsraad forces left the siege to intercept him and the two armies met each other on the fields of the Second Battle of Himeraa (now Koenigscasteel). The result was a crushing defeat of the Landsraad and their Antanaresian allies: many lords died during the battle or were taken prisoners.

Birth of the Kingdom

The battle at Himeraa was a turnpoint in Tarajani history: it demonstrated the superiority reached by House Van Vinkel upon the other Houses of the Landsraad (although resistance by their part will last far longer), and it marked the end of the Antanaresian influence over the course of Tarajani politics.

It was the beginning of a new era: the end of the age of the lords, and the birth of an independent nation.

The 29th May 1595 Sigismund Heinrich II was acclaimed King of Tarajan. His coronation. however, will happen only two years later, the 16th April 1597 (although the 29th May will be since then the Day of the Kingdom, one of the most important celebrations in Tarajani culture).

Death

Paradoxically, Sigismund Heinrich's reign was to be the shortest in Tarajani history: he died the 31st January 1598, while preparing a new campaign against the Karabak region. Although many stories circulate since then about the causes of his death (some legends say he was poisoned by his wife Alessia because at Himeraa he had killed her lover, a noble Antanaresian fighting for the Landsraad) it is almost sure that he died by internal hemorrhage after a wound during an hunting party near Astana.

He was buried in the cathedral of Merlberg, the traditional graveyard of House Van Vinkel.

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