Middle Kingdom

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History

The Society for Creative Anachronism was founded in Berkeley, California on May Day 1966. A group of individuals with shared medieval interests got together to give a departing friend a medieval-style going-away party. It consisted of participants in costume, a medieval feast and rather rudimentary fighting, culminating in a grand procession down Telegraph Avenue to protest the Twentieth Century. It is said that Diana Paxson, in whose yard that first event was held, contacted the Berkeley Police about the legality of such an event; the police, amazed that anyone in Berkeley at that time should contact them upon the legality of anything, could find nothing in the law to prohibit such an activity.

Which was fortunate. That first event was so popular that the participants (from the beginning, the group was geared toward participants rather than spectators, and medieval costume was required almost from the very beginning) made plans to hold regular medieval events. By July of that year, not only had a name been given the organization (by Marian Zimmer Bradley, who needed a name to put on an application form for use of a local park) but the basic procedures of the organization were well on their way to becoming tradition.

Many of the early members of the SCA were also members of science fiction fandom, and it was through Fandom that the early SCA spread. Within a year, it was incorporated and slowly began to extend itself beyond its old boundaries. In the summer of 1968, a group was formed in New York City. This became the nucleus of the East Kingdom (the West Kingdom had, of course, become the West Kingdom or, alternately, the Kingdom of the Mists).

Beginnings of the Midrealm

It is unknown where most of the founders of the MidRealm heard about the Society, although it is likely that most of them became aware of it through Fandom and 1968's Baycon World Science Fiction Convention. The first event was held on 4 July 1969, at Wilcon, a private science-fiction convention held at Wilmot Mountain, Wisconsin. At it, David Friedman--now known as Cariadoc of the Bow--won the tourney to become the first prince of the incipient Kingdom. The MidRealm was first known as the Barony (or Principality) Under the Mountain, a branch of the East Kingdom. But at the World Science Fiction Convention in St. Louis in 1969, Cariadoc was crowned King. The Middle Kingdom was born.

The kingdom was founded in 1970 (Anno societatus IV) in and around Chicago, and simultaneously in East Lansing, Michigan. The first king and leading figure of the early kingdom was Cariadoc of the Bow, later also the king of the East. At the first tournament, the branch was known as either the Barony or the Principality Under the Mountain, but was quickly promoted to kingdom status as the Kingdom of the Middle. The Middle was the third kingdom and the last to be named named after a general concept of region (West, East, Middle). The kingdom is also known as the Midrealm, the Middle Realm, simply the Middle or even just the Mid.

The Middle partook in various ways of the traditions of the West Kingdom and its neighbor the East Kingdom. The Middle is also known as one of the more unusual and independent kingdoms in the SCA, with many of its own unique traditions, not imitated by other kingdoms, a distinction it seems to share, perhaps, with Meridies. Generally regarded by SCA philosophers as part of the Oriental tradition and an outgrowth of the East Kingdom, though it is in many respects not very similar to its great rival and partner in the Pennsic Wars.

The first group centered around Chicago, for many of the early members were students at the University of Chicago. The branch was known as the Capital Province and, later, Tree-Girt-Sea. A second group had formed in East Lansing, Michigan but had not informed Chicago of its existence. It was known variously as the Lost Barony (because its registration papers had been lost) and as North Woods. By the time Chicago became aware of its existence, the East Lansing group had become an established branch; and differences between the personalities of the two groups formed much of early Kingdom politics.

For some time, the Middle Kingdom rested on a tripod formed by Tree-Girt-Sea, North Woods and a third group, founded in Ohio and called the Middle Marches. Other groups soon followed, and the Kingdom began to expand into Canada and Kentucky and across the Midwest.

In the beginning, the first branch in any state automatically became a barony, and early baronies such as Great Bear often found an insufficient foundation and failed. By 1972, this policy was changed, and requirements were published for advancement of a group to baronial status.

The Middle began to participate in the Pennsic Wars in 1972 with the East Kingdom, a tradition continued to today. The Border Raids conflicts with the Kingdom of Meridies began in 1976. 1976 also saw the 10th anniversary event of the SCA held in the Barony of Andelcrag.

Historic Range

At one time, the Middle was by a wide margin the largest kingdom in geographic scope, including the Midwest states, the Plains states, and the vast bulk of Canada. The Middle Kingdom has, at one point or another, consisted of all or parts of Alberta, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Ontario, Saskatchewan, South Dakota and Wisconsin, although some territories have been lost by treaty or the creation of a new Kingdom. It now consists primarily of the midwestern states of the U.S: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and small parts of Ontario, Iowa, and Kentucky.

The Middle has had three regions become principalities and then kingdoms in their own right: Calontir (1983), Ealdormere (1998) and Northshield (2004). Close ties and a feeling of kinship are shared with all three kingdoms.

Creation Order: 3
First Coronation: September 1969
Geography: The lower peninsula of Michigan and a small portion of Ontario (Pentamere); Illinois and a small portion of Iowa (Midlands); Indiana (Constellation); Ohio and most of Kentucky (Oaken).
Parent Kingdom: West Kingdom
Principalities: None at present.
Website: http://www.midrealm.org/
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