Saturday, June 8, 2013
Before I enter this addition to An Alternate History of the Netherlands, I have to say that the editing process I finally started is nearing completion. It should be uploaded to kindle early next week.
Leading one of the companies into the battle was one Captain Frederick Henry van Oranje, heir to several thrones. Frederick Henry was born October 17, 1889, and even as a boy he was known as the adventurer prince. Of all the Princes of Orange, Frederick was the one who always managed to go to places in the palace at Delft and Recife that he was not supposed to visit. One time, at the age of six, he walked right into a meeting between the King and several Admirals, much to his father’s annoyance. His intellect went hand-in-hand with his curiosity. Frederick graduated from Delft University at the age of 18, and instead of putting his education to a practical use; the prince rewarded himself with a safari.
Between 1907 and 1909, Prince Frederick ventured across the Boer Republics on numerous hunts. Several specimens of elephants, lions and rhinoceros were shipped back to museums in the United Provinces as well as Brazil. One such rhino is still on display in the Natural History Museum in Salvador. His longest hunt occurred in 1908, when he and seventy other hunters started out in Luanda and ended four months later in Sofala. Unlike many European aristocrats who go on safari, Frederick was never afraid of getting his hands dirty or staring down danger. One episode involved a misfire in his rifle while facing down a charging Cape buffalo. While his fellow hunters took cover, he calmly cleared the cartridge, reloaded, took aim and brought down the buffalo. He later remarked that he was disheartened by the lack of confidence his comrade displayed, “they didn’t think I would get the buffalo be it got me.”
Africa was not the only continent Frederick traversed. For decades, Brazilians struggled to locate the true source of the Amazon. In 1911, Frederick led the 1911 Amazon Expedition up the Amazon and into northwestern Brazil. The true source of the Amazon was later discovered to be much further south, but that did not detour the prince. Though he failed to locate the true headwaters, he did establish contact with two previously unknown tribes and took time out of the year to climb Mt. Chimborazo, at the time considered to tallest mountain outside of Tibet.
Frederick planned to trek across Mughalstan and challenge Mt. Chomolungma in the summer of 1915, but tensions in Europe delayed his attempt to conquer the Tibetan peak. As soon as the Dutch Commonwealth entered the war, Frederick returned to the United Provinces and volunteered for service in the army. His birth and college education entitled him to officers’ rank and command of men. For the prince, the Great War was to be just another adventure, but the war had different plans.