Jelgava was a kingdom in northeastern Derlavai, sharing a land border with Algarve through the Bratanu Mountains. The kingdom had a warm climate and its subtropical northern coast was a popular holiday destination. When the Derlavaian War broke out, Jelgava was ruled by the tyrannical King Donalitu from the capital Balvi.
Ancient Jelgava was part of the Kaunian Empire. In later centuries Jelgavan rulers worked to keep the Algarvian kingdoms disunited. Jelgavan sailors participated in explorations of the equatorial seas and established colonies in Siaulia. On one island the Jelgavans repeatedly defeated a tribe of warriors, whose menfolk committed mass suicide as a result.
Jelgava was one of several nations that fought in the Six Years' War as part of an anti-Algarvian coalition. In the last months of the war, Jelgavan forces managed to ravage northwestern Algarve.
The Derlavaian War
Stalemate and Defeat
Jelgava, along with Valmiera, Sibiu and Forthweg, declared war upon Algarve when the latter nation reoccupied the Duchy of Bari. Intending to link up with the Forthwegians across northern Algarve, the Jelgavan army fought its way through the foothills of the Bratanu Mountains and at one point threatened Tricarico on the plains below. However its advance was hampered by determined Algarvian resistance and the army's lackluster leadership; comprised entirely of nobles, the Jelgavan officer corps proved tactically fossilized and had few charismatic leaders.
After its allies were defeated one by one, Jelgava was defeated in the second year of the war. In an unexpected masterstroke, the Algarvians used dragons to transport troops over the mountains, cutting off the Jelgavan army from its homeland. In the ensuing panic Jelgava's forces disintegrated as the common soldiers, disgusted by their nobles' incompetence, simply deserted or mutinied. The country was swiftly conquered by Algarve and King Donalitu narrowly escaped to Lagoas.
The Algarvians were initially greeted with goodwill by Jelgava's commoners; Jelgavan tailor Talsu remarked that if the Algarvians had "put down the nobles and walked small themselves," they would won its people over in short order. Instead, the King Mezentio of Algarve installed his brother Mainardo as King of Jelgava while the Algarvian occupiers behaved arrogantly and brutally. In addition, Donalitu's much-feared spies and torturers found ready employment with Jelgava's new masters, infuriating the Jelgavan people further.
As well as crushing acts of defiance and rebellion, the Algarvians practiced cultural genocide by destroying monuments dating back to the Kaunian Empire. Such acts only spurred many Jelgavans to learn of their heritage and classical language in a way they had not before. Overt resistance remained on a small scale, however, and was easily dealt with.
Aside from occasional long-range dragon raids at night, and harboring an ungrateful Donalitu in exile, Lagoas and Kuusamo were unable to directly aid Jelgava during the middle portion of the war. That changed with the advent of the massive dragon carrier Habakkuk.
In the final year of the war, a joint Kuusaman/Lagoan invasion force was assembled in eastern Kuusamo. A successful deception operation convinced Algarve that the fleet was to be sent against Gyongyos. In fact, the islanders intended to bypass Valmiera, which was well-prepared against any landings, and reenter Derlavai via Jelgava.
In the summer the massive fleet, supported by Habakkuk's dragons, landed its troops on the poorly-defended Jelgavan beaches; the denuded Algarvian garrison fought hard but was simply unable to hold the islanders back. With the aid of many Jelgavans, Kuusaman and Lagoan troops were able to liberate the country by winter.
Donalitu reclaimed his throne, and despite the warm welcome from his citizenry (whose suffering under the Algarvians had made Donalitu seem mild), behaved just as tyrannically as he had before the war. Kuusamo, with its more liberal government, was unable to change the nature of Donalitu's regime but it did intervene to protect common citizens where it could and provided some with safe haven in Kuusamo itself.
Society and People
Being of Kaunian stock, Jelgavans were slim, blonde and blue-eyed. Their national dress consisted of trousers and tunics. Male facial hair tended towards slender moustaches rather than the more ostentatious Algarvian styles.
The king and nobility ran a brutal authoritarian regime, with dissidents vanishing into the royal dungeons and spies seemingly everywhere. The spies and torturers cared little which regime they served - be it Donalitu's or Mainardo's - and many worked throughout the whole war despite two changes in government.
"Jelgava" is a city in Latvia, and many of the names of characters and places in the Kingdom of Jelgava are Latvian.
Perhaps uniquely among the kingdoms in the Darkness series, Jelgava's role in the storyline does not appear to fit into the World War II metaphor which is the series' overall focus. Rather, Jelgava appears to be based on Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Parallels include: that Algarvian forces have to cross a mountain range to enter Jelgava much as French forces had to cross the Pyrenees; that Mezentio places his brother on the Jelgavan throne just as Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne; and that Donalitu enacts an absolutist and repressive rule upon his return to the throne, much as the restored Bourbon ruler Ferdinand VII did in 1814.