A Concise History of North American Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry (part 1)

Discussion in 'Fictitious Stories' started by jason_els, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The first and oldest, Los Tres Calderas, was founded in 1577 in the Okefenokee Swamp. The school was established soon after the founding of St. Augustine and meant to serve the northern Spanish holdings in the New World. As the oldest school, it is also the smallest and serves most of the deep south and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean. Graduates of Tres Calderas are highly regarded for their knowledge of herbology and care of magical creatures. It is interesting to note that the Hogwarts gamekeeper, Rubius Hagrid, secretly studied there after being expelled from Hogwarts. The Dean of Students at the time was Nicholas Flammel, a close friend of Hogwart's late Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. As a result, Hagrid's very rare wand comes from St. Augustine and is made of wild Franklinia, and contains the hair of skunk ape.

    The second oldest school that serves the US isn't even in the United States! After the founding of Jamestown in 1607, the need for a school was established as King James I (of England) was adamantly intent on establishing a permanent British presence on the American mainland, but no suitable area could be found in the immediate area. Instead, the wreck of the supply ship sent from England, Sea Venture on the island of Bermuda in 1609, provided an answer.

    Off the shore of North America, 640 miles east of what is now Cape Hatteras and just a few short miles from Bermuda, the Isle of Devils proved a perfect spot, easily accessible from the entire coast of North America, uninhabited, and now near to the new muggle colony of Bermuda. Portugese and Spanish ships had stopped or wrecked on the Isle of Devils before but when the wizarding community saw the island, they decided to move all traces of previous muggle presence, particularly Spanish Rock, to the island of Bermuda. Muggle technology being what it was at the time, the disappearance of the island could be simply explained as a mistake by the earlier mariners who mistook Bermuda for another island.

    In 1615, Krakenhurst was founded by Wendolyn Brooks with a small faculty and just 3 students in tow. The first female to head a SoWW in the New World, Brooks worked tirelessly to assemble books, build a campus, and attract students. As time progressed, Krakenhurst was able to serve students from the English possessions in the Caribbean and, with the arrival of the pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620, the Plymouth colony. Eventually, Krakenhurst would come to serve students throughout the British colonies ranging from Barbados to Newfoundland. Of all the SoWWs in the New World, Krakenhurst is, by far, the most popular with students seeking study and a tan. Without question, Krakenhurst excels in the study of magical marine life. The Center for Merpeople and Human Relations is headquartered at the school; the Watery Languages instruction is considered the finest in the magic world; the school's research submarine named for its most famous alum, Jules Verne, has studied lake monsters around the world; and the school has managed to keep The Pelagic Bloops from physical discovery by muggles. While Krakenhurst has the reputation of a party school, the forms are most rigorous and Krakenhurst O-levels are notoriously difficult.

    While the school is excellent, its hiding charm has proven most problematic over the years. Hiding a campus on land is not nearly so difficult. Account must be taken of currents, tides, open sea weather patterns, ships, and even planes. The charm has failed from time to time and created tremendous difficulties for muggles, frequently causing boats and planes to completely disappear from the waters surrounding the school. In the early 1970s, experts were brought in from Gondolas Neri, the SoWW in Venice, Italy to stabilize the charm and it seems to have worked well so far.

    As an aside, wands from St. George's made of Bermuda Cedar are highly prized. Usually filled with such unique relics as Kraken teeth, Cahow feathers, Mer Hair, or Seamonster fins, the wands spark in a startling shade of turqoise and are especially useful in water spells but also, oddly enough, in personality charms. The lately retired master wizard, Gilderoy Lockhart, only used St. George's wands. Professor Flitwick of Hogwarts was said to be greatly suspicious of Lockhart because of his fondness for wands crafted in St. George's but as Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet has pointed out, Flitwick was likely simply envious of Lockhart's proficiency with them.
     
  2. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    While Los Tres Calderas and Krakenhurst served their respective needs well enough, the exploding population of the British colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America through the 1600s proved problematic. Students were coming to Krakenhurst from as far afield as Canada and even St. Helena, thousands of miles away. Expanding Krakenhurst was out of the question not because more island could not be created, but because the complex hiding charm would become even more unstable and less reliable. A mainland institution for the British territories would be necessary.

    The Plenipotentiary Committee on Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry met early in 1677 to decide the new location. While many on the committee favored the Virginia area, it was decided that the faster growing mid-Atlantic and New England colonies would be a better choice and also encroach less on what the Krakenhurst Board of Governors felt was its home territory. With much fanfare, and even more controversy, Raven Rook was opened in Salem, Massachusetts in early 1682. Never before had a school opened so close to a major population center without a natural barrier. Opponents said that such proximity to so many muggles would bring undue scrutiny, while proponents pointed out that magically hidden areas (such as Diagon Alley) had existed in the heart of muggle cities since time immemorial. They believed that the New World presented an opportunity for magic folk and muggles to live together openly and, when the time was right, Raven Rook could serve as a liaison between the two worlds, offering education to the wizarding world and muggles. In their minds, most of the inhabitants of the New World were shunned by their own societies and that common denominator would serve as a catalyst to enhance relations. As history would prove, that idea was disasterously premature.

    Raven Rook grew very quickly with funds donated by witches and wizards the world over. The new experiment captured the imaginations of even the naysayers and soon some of the finest professors from around the world were attracted to Raven Rook with it's large campus and hefty endowment. It was said at the time that an education at Raven Rook rivaled that of the more established schools such as Hogwarts or Beaux Batons and for a few short years, it did. Because of its unique charter, muggle studies was a core program, but divination and potions were heavily emphasized. These were believed to be the wizarding arts most understood by the muggle community and indeed, not a few muggles seem talented in these arts if only to a small degree.

    It all came to an end all to quickly and fatally. In 1688, the first contacts were established in the community of Salem. The Raven Rook apothecary began supplying potions and charms to the healers in the town on a trial basis. The efficacy of these items was stunning and word quickly spread of certain women within the town who had the ability to work miraculous cures. These cures and the attendant strange behaviors of the patients while the cures were taking effect, alarmed the community more than the diseases did. Immediately the muggle clergy became alarmed and a prominent Boston minister by the name of Cotton Mather published, Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions in 1689 sparking a religious backlash against the healers of Raven Rook. Those who were unaware of the Raven Rook school accused the healers of witchcraft and there began the Salem witch hysteria in 1692. Among the accused were Martha and Corey Giles, the Raven Rook caretaker, Tituba, a Los Calderas-trained witch, and John Proctor, the Raven Rook Headmaster, and his wife Elizabeth, a professor of divination.

    To secure the school and the witching world as a whole, aurors were sent from England and Bermuda to dispense memory charms amongst the muggles making the accusations. It was too little, too late. By the time they arrived, hundreds of muggles had become involved and the entire Massachusetts Bay area was afire with paranoia. Little could be done. Their wands taken, the witches and wizards were tried in muggle courts and sentenced to hang. Of the accused magic folk, all were hanged in 1692 save for Tituba who died in prison and Elizabeth Proctor whose execution was postponed owing to pregnancy. With Proctor dead, Raven Rook was closed, the buildings dissolved, and the students returned to the relative safety of Europe and Bermuda. Elizabeth Proctor was eventually released from prison after giving birth to her son, John Proctor III, and urged the Plenipotentiary Committee to allow her to re-establish a New England school, but her pleas fell on deaf ears and she spent the remainder of her life living with family.

    John Proctor III is a name renowned amongst magic folk to this day, nearly as famous as Harry Potter is now. Born with the magic powers of his parents, Proctor attended Los Calderas upon the petition of his mother who felt rebuked and abandoned by the British wizarding community years earlier. Upon graduation, Proctor took-up the profession of his parents and began teaching divination at Hogwarts for over 15 years. Dissatisfied with the state of colonial education, Proctor presented a proposal in 1730 to found a new school in the colonies to service its now burgeoning population of over half a million souls. It was agreed that narrow-minded New England would be avoided and a school would instead be created in the far more liberal-minded colony of New York. Various locations were considered but, in an unconventional move, it was decided to split the campus between two locations in case one location was compromised. Knowing the Plenipotentiary Committee was searching for a location, the highly respected and very wealthy Gardiner family offered their private island at the end of Long Island. It was there, in 1737, that The Lion Gardiner School, named after the benefactor's patriarch, was founded.

    Proctor's tenure as Headmaster at Lion Gardiner, while shortened by his premature death at age 52 in 1745, was spectacular. With the backing of the Gardiners, Proctor was able to build freely and expend vast sums acquiring an exceptional library. As a professor of divination, Proctor appreciated the art and went so far as hire pythias from the Oracular School at Delphi, Greece. With the commercial growth of the nearby cities in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maryland, Lion Gardiner was fortunate to receive the largess of many wealthy alumni. Much of that early money went to establish the second campus further upstate in what is now Millbrook, New York.

    The Millbrook campus was established shortly after Proctor's death by the new headmaster, Caleb Malfoy, a scion of the prominent British Malfoys. Nestled in the rolling hills of rich farmland, Millbrook was immediately successful. Lower form students study, "on the island," for their first four years then transfer to the Millbrook campus for their upper forms. The exception to this are those students who wish to study wand making at the school's Wandcrafting Institute on Fifth and A Half Avenue in New York city. Every witch or wizard worth their broomstick can spot a New York made wand. They are sleek, sometimes futuristic, and frequently made from the most exotic materials, but always elegant. Many New York wands are crafted with inlaid silver or electrum and many are made to be hidden in canes, umbrellas, walking sticks, fans, or other common items.

    Today Lion Gardiner, still with a Malfoy as its Headmaster, is arguably the most successful SoWW in North America. Students of any inclination can be assured that they will receive the finest instruction in any chosen field and the roles of remarkable witches and wizards are filled with Lion Gardiner graduates. Before his death, Proctor wanted to be sure that his parents' wishes of bringing the muggle and magical communities together would be fulfilled someday. The generations of Malfoys who have served as Headmaster have worked to honor that dream and, in 1931, the Millbrook campus was cautiously exposed to the outside world for the first time. Though it poses as a muggle prep school, the Millbrook campus is still a SoWW. With its large acreage, there are four Quidditch pitches and what is considered to be the finest magical creature zoo anywhere in the world today, even housing two dragons for veterinary study on rotational loan from various dragon aeries all over the world. The current Headmaster, Proctor Malfoy VI, who uses an alias in the muggle world, has worked tirelessly to emphasize muggle community service to his students and it is to the credit of he and his predecessors that a required course of Magical Ethics and Philosophy taught at the campus has been mirrored throughout the wizarding world.

    Early last year, Malfoy was honored with the prestigious, John Proctor Peace Prize for his work in mending relations between muggles and magic folk. While Malfoy has stated he feels tremendously honored by this prize, the gala dinner ball was tempered by the noted absence of his British cousins with whom, it is believed, there are lingering differences despite Proctor presenting his cousin Lucius with a very fine New York wand some years before.
     
  3. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    With three schools serving North America, the future of wizardry looked bright in the New World. In South America, the Spanish had erected Escuela En Las Nubes de los Gigantes just north of Machu Picchu in 1733, and the Portugese similarly established El Dorado along the banks of the Amazon in 1665. A need for another school arrived in 1763 when the Treaty of Paris ceded Florida, and therefore St. Augustine, to the British. Los Tres Calderas was no longer in Spanish possession.

    An immediate remedy was sought, and with the Spanish firmly established in Mexico and California, it was unilaterally decided by Spain that a school should be built. The establishment of the new school, La Escuela Nueva de los Estudios de Inquisitional, in Taos in 1764 was beset with problems. Spain's silver and gold was running out and few Spaniards were able to contribute to the new school. Without official sanction of the Plenipotentiary Committee, there would be no funds from that body to bankroll the school. More disturbing still was the obvious connection with the more subversive elements within the Spanish monarchy. A few of the wizards and witches of the day denounced the school and its squib headmaster, Martin Gui, a relative of the notorious Bernardo Gui, as forming the school in an effort to put muggle controls on the magical population. As a result, the school suffered not only poor enrollment, but a running deficit for nearly a century, excelling in very little.

    While the history of the school was tragic, the students certainly were not. Classes were few, books scarce, and there was plenty of free time to be had. Early students could see that a degree from Estudios Inquisitional would mean little to their careers unless they took matters into their own hands. The answer to their problems was right on their doorstep.

    One of the first great transfiguration professors of the New World, Stalking Jaguar of the Taos Pueblo, came to offer her services at the tottering school in 1799. While rejected by the school's administration who hadn't been able to attract a transfiguration teacher, some of the more progressive faculty arranged for Stalking Jaguar to secretly teach transfiguration using Native American methods. The results were simply stellar and other Native American teachers came from nearby tribes to work at the school. By 1808 the school was graduating some of the most remarkable witches and wizards. These graduates knew spells unknown to the Western magical world and had the unique talent of weather control as well as transfiguration spells matched only by the most proficient of conjurers. A graduate of the school, Iago de Santiago, collaborated with Stalking Jaguar to publish the seminal transfiguration tome, Transfigurations Del Mundo Nuevo, in 1822; a book still used in advanced transfiguration classes even today.

    Despite the unique and suddenly excellent quality of education, graduates of the Estudios did not tend to go on to positions of wealth. Instead they tended to become explorers, rangers, and teachers. Though Taos is leagues away from anything resembling a large body of water, Estudios graduates, with their ability to influence weather, were highly prized as officers aboard the huge number of merchant and military sailing ships plying the world at the time. The East India Company hired well over 200 graduates alone.

    Little change came to the school in 1847 when New Mexico was ceded to the United States save that the name was promptly changed to the more simple and amenable, Pueblo Del Thunderbirds. Though American students were now accepted, it was rare to see them. What did change the school, however, was the arrival of another woman. On December 14, 1868 a little woman dressed all in black crepe, riding in an enclosed landau, arrived at the school and was promptly admitted to the infirmary. There she remained in the Head Nurse's quarters for nearly a year, a silent figure only occasionally seen at the windows or heard weeping long into the night. Students did not know who she was nor did most of the faculty. The Headmistress of the era, the wizend Stalking Jaguar, kept silent.

    In time, however, the woman known only as Senora H, became a fixture of the school. A teacher of muggle studies, she retained her black crepe and pensive demeanor, but otherwise came to live within the school as any other faculty member. Senora H rose in regard among the students and faculty as time passed. Her earnest kindness and sharp mind were tempered by a melancholia that gave her a wisdom beyond her young years. As her fortunes improved, so did the school's. Within 8 months of her arrival an anonymous donor started donating thousands and then hundreds of thousands of galleons to the school. Senora H. seemed oblivious to the school's sudden wealth, but more than a few of the school's board members had a suspicion.

    In January of 1873, Stalking Jaguar passed away and the Board of Directors of the school began to seek a new Headmaster. Names such as Villareal, Hidalgo, and Casarosada were discussed, but before the first vote was taken, an owl arrived bearing a parchment sealed with the mark of Stalking Jaguar:
    January 8, 1873

    My Dear Senoras & Senors:

    The professor known to all of you as Senora H. came here long ago after I was contacted by her supporters in Mexico. They told to me a story of a dream she had of walking in the desert dressed in black. Senora H was lost, thirsty, nearly mad with grief, and in her wandering she came upon a jaguar who did not attack, but rather led her to a spring of fresh water. Her devoted subjects heard of me and asked me to take her in and care for her; cure her as the doctors in Europe could not. This I did and after much time, she lost her madness and came back into herself.

    Senora H was sent to me under darkness. A woman who said she loved Senora H would take her place in her homeland across the Atlantic and no one would know for her dearest friend in France would see to it.

    Now I too must ask you to keep a secret until the day of her rebirth comes. As some of you have suspected, Senora H is Empress Dowager Carlota Hapsburg of Mexico, widow of Emperor Maximilian, Archduchess of Austria. I reveal this to you only because it must not be revealed to the muggle world or war and strife will come upon our land. This I have foreseen.

    Too I have foreseen that she should be created Headmistress of my beloved Pueblo del Thunderbirds though she is a muggle. She is fair and kind, old though young. She will guide the school well.

    I have now departed this world. To you all and to my students, I offer you my greatest gratitude for a useful life.

    Your servant,
    SJ.​
    The directors were dumbstruck. Empress Carlota? Mad Carlota? Headmistress? Another muggle? Never again! Debate raged for days about what to do but as Director Hieronymous Weasley glibly pointed out, "Whether she does well or fails, the school will be rich." [see, minutes of same]. While doubtless the board felt obligated to Stalking Jaguar, not a few thought that Carlota's potential millions in donations would be worth a few years of mismanagement. They could always sack her later.

    Carlota proved them wrong and under her guidance, Pueblo del Thunderbirds became not only very rich, but also very respected. Carlota offered a balanced faculty of Native American and European instructors. Through the years as the school's fortunes increased she began to host the Occidental and Oriental Accidentals Conference bringing together those professors of traditional Eurasian magic and those teachers of shamanic and tribal magics, revolutionizing magic theory and practice throughout the world. After her death in 1927, the magic district's main street was renamed Avenida de la Reina in her honor and, most illustriously, a new student House was endowed in her name at Pueblo del Thunderbirds.

    The T-birds, as they call themselves, of today are still more likely to be found trekking through jungles, climbing mountains, or traveling the world in one way or another. Still the best transfigurists in the world, their skills are highly sought after in the creation of charmed devices. Though they tend to dress like muggles, alumni are easy to spot with their rough hewn wands made of Apache Pine, wrapped with sage, and topped by a round inlay of turquoise. These simple but beautiful wands are made at Pueblo del Thunderbirds itself and by international law, only graduates of the school may own one due to their powerful transfiguration and weather changing abilities. Over the years two wands have gone missing and despite great effort to find them, it is feared they have fallen into the hands of Death Eaters who are using them to change the climate of the entire world.
     
  4. SpoiledPrincess

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    You're squandering your talent on here :)
     
  5. lurker2008

    lurker2008 Member

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    Really enjoyed that thanks! :)
     
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