Down the Parallel Road: An Afsharid Persia Timeline

Secondary European Powers - Late 18th Century
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Frederick Cregan: A History of Modern Europe

Spain in the 18th Century

The 18th century in Spain had seen some measure of recovery from her decline in the 17th century. Under the reforming Charles III, Spain’s economy and government underwent reform, and the power of the Catholic Church was curbed. In Spain’s only major war of his reign, she performed rather admirably, managing to occupy Portugal and inflicting a number of defeats on Britain in the Americas. Although Spain was still considered to be one of Europe’s lesser powers, she was still a power to be taken into consideration by more powerful nations, and France considered her to be perhaps her closest ally. This was further encouraged by the signing of the “Bourbon Covenant” which promised aid and cooperation between France and Spain.


Internally, Spain saw the removal of many of the restrictive “Ancien Regime” internal barriers to trade. Spain was still less of a nation and more a conglomeration of smaller states locked in a personal union, divided by language and law. Charles III did much to unify the country and standardise Spanish law across the nation, though the crowns of Castile and Aragon remained distinctive. Nevertheless, the rationalisation of the law encouraged economic growth, with Catalonia in particular entering a state of proto-industrialisation by the end of the 18th century. Despite these advances however, Spain remained a country of contrasts, largely dominated by peasants of varying levels of prosperity. While smallholding peasants in Castile and Leon largely did well from the improving agricultural practices of the 18th century, the landless labourers of Andalucía saw no benefits.


Externally, Spain focused less on the conquest of new territories and more on the reform of her existing and extensive overseas possessions. Spanish colonies provided little for the homeland in terms of markets and goods such as sugar and tobacco. King Charles instituted a raft of reforms designed to clarify the legal status of slaves and encourage the growth of plantation economies in areas such as Cuba, and to this end the Spanish saw some degree of success. In Cuba itself, the colony went from being a net drain on the Spanish treasury to a great asset, as the production of sugar, tobacco and coffee made the island one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean. On the mainland of the Americas, the administration was reformed to increase the power of the Spanish crown, and educated Spaniards were placed high into the administrations of the Viceroyalties, though this had the effect of disenfranchising the local elites and increasing resentment against the Spanish crown.


Spain wisely stayed neutral in the Franco-British War of 1775-1777, acting as a mediator in the conflict while protecting her own interest around the world. Charles III died in 1787, and had died being seen as perhaps the greatest king Spain had in many years. He was succeeded by his son Ferdinand, who had less of an interest in Enlightenment reforms and a much stronger religious conviction than his father had. The curbing of the power of the Catholic Church that had taken place under Charles was partially reversed, though many administrative reforms had been kept. Although the Spanish economy continued to prosper, especially in the 1790s as much of the rest of Europe became embroiled in war, resentments continued to build up in parts of the Spanish Colonial Empire as local elites were increasingly side lined by administrators from Spain itself. The famous Spanish historian Hernando Castro noted that although Spain was looking increasingly powerful and prosperous, ‘Her navy and army were suffering from the rot of peace and neglect, her policies toward the Americas marked by complacency”. Spain appeared to be profiting from the storms of the 1790s but her own problems appeared to be looming.

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Sweden in the 18th Century

Sweden in the 18th century had been marked by the decline of absolutism and the rise of the Swedish parliament and its two dominant factions, the Hats and the Caps. The former were pro-French, and solidly anti-Russian while the latter preferred to seek accommodation with Russia. The Hats were discredited somewhat by a run of Swedish defeats in the course of the 18th century, and by the 1770s the Caps were firmly in control of Swedish politics. It seemed as though Sweden had resigned herself to standing aside while Russia made a bid for supremacy in Northern and Eastern Europe, but this was not to be. With the Russian annexation of Polish territory in 1780 and the subsequent Austro-Prussian war of 1783-84, the Hats found themselves once again on the ascendency as fears of Russian expansion came to a head.


On top of her traditional alliance with France, Sweden found it increasingly expedient to join Austria in a coalition to protect the territorial integrity of Poland, which was seen as a key bulwark against Russian Expansion. While France was increasingly beset by internal conflict as well as conflict with the United Kingdom, Austria took on France’s role as the guarantor of European stability. For a weakened nation like Sweden, this made her an ideal partner. Charles Gustav IV adroitly manoeuvred in Parliament to gain general approval for his alliance with Austria, which he did not frame as a move away from the traditional alliance with France. The Caps of the Swedish Parliament however were still unsatisfied that the policy was an anti-Russian one, and chafed under the impression that Sweden had just changed one master for the other in her quest for Empire.


Sweden’s performance in the Great Eastern War that followed left a lot to be desired. She had just about managed to hold the line in Finland, though lost a major fortress. Her biggest gain in the war was the splitting of Norway from Denmark. This meant that Sweden was no longer faced with a potential competitor on her Western flank, and indeed became more interested in cooperation with Norway. In an attempt to win favour with the British, who had established themselves as the most prominent great power in the Scandinavian Peninsula. Sweden endeavoured to form friendly relationships with the newly independent Norway mainly as a way of shoring up her own international position, which had still been left precarious following the Great Eastern War.


Following the Great Eastern War, Sweden’s main priority was keeping the Russians out of Finland. A chain of forts along the border were intended as a statement of Sweden’s undiminished determination to keep Finland out of Russian hands, though she now increasingly had to contend with a growth of discontent within Finland itself. Although still too primitive to be called a nationalism, a sense of a Finnish identity, separate from that of Sweden had emerged in the course of the 18th century. It had only been the harsh nature of Russian administration in the parts of Finland that she did rule that had persuaded many Finns that domination by Sweden was preferable to that of Europe’s. Going into the 19th century, there was still no significant sign of Finnish discontent with Swedish rule, though among the new Finnish-speaking chattering classes of towns like Åbo and Helsingfors, there was the wish for more autonomy in Finland, and less of the tight control of their cousins across the water of the Gulf of Bothnia.


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Italy in the 18th Century


Italy in the 18th century was something of a strange beast. Divided between 12 states, with many more dialects. Indeed, it was less a country than a “clumsy geographic expression”, as the French King Henri V referred to it as. Following the end of the war of Austrian Succession in 1748, Italy saw a long period of relative peace and prosperity. However, despite the general growth of population, it was characterised by other Europeans as a place that was declining. Phrases from contemporary literature surrounding Italy characterise it as a “Place of beautiful cities that are in terminal decline” or a “Garden inhabited by ill-educated beggars and the lowest levels of humanity”. The lack of powerful and dynamic states in Italy further contributed to this impression, whether it was the reactionary Papal States, or the timid Venetian government.


With weak government control, Italy increasingly became a land filled with beggars and brigands. The fact that there were almost no real roads worthy of the name, combined with the sheer volume of brigands, especially in the centre and south of the country, meant that the growth of trade that took part in other areas of Europe did not take place in Italy. Indeed, it has been estimated that per-capita income dropped in the 18th century as harvests remained unreliable and the population grew from around 13 million to 17 million. Italy was an overwhelmingly agricultural nation, and what manufacturing had existed in the past generally atrophied, as Italy increasingly became drawn into the sphere of Austria.


However, there was one exception to the general image of malaise seen in Italy. In 1788, an ambitious nobleman who’s birth name was Giuseppe Bianco, but who is known to history as the Count of Asti, became the Prime Minister of Sardinia-Piedmont. A man who mixed an interest in the enlightenment philosophy with an aristocratic disdain for the idea of accountable government, he embarked upon an ambitious program of reform within Piedmont. He wanted to emulate what he saw as the ruler who had managed to distil the ideas of the enlightenment into good governance, Frederick the Great of Prussia. Although Frederick’s ambitions of power had met an ignoble end in the Ten Years War, Asti still thought that there were useful lessons that could be learned from his rule. Like Frederick, he attempted to reform the Piedmontese military, economy and government.


His reforms took much in the way of effort to undertake. He found himself having to spend years building up the personal connections necessary to make his reforms a reality, though the results were seemingly worthwhile. The countryside was patrolled by Carabinieri, based on the French Gendarmes, which reduced levels of brigandage. The increase of agricultural production was made a priority as well, and by 1805 had resulted in a Piedmont that was significantly more prosperous on a per-capita basis than much of the rest of Italy. However, in terms of politics, Asti had failed to create a class of bureaucrats dedicated to improving the state of Piedmont. Corruption and nepotism remained entrenched in the Piedmontese Civil Service which reduced the efficiency of Piedmont as a state.

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Author's Notes - A bit of a dry update, but I think it's important to see the background for changes in the 19th century, though without Jacobinism and the French Revolution/Napoleon, things in all of these places will be greatly different. Next update will focus on parts of Asia not covered yet, and then it's back to the future! Or back to the 19th century at the vary latest.
 
Unfortunately real life is catching up with me so updates have been a bit slow in coming. I am in the process of writing the next one, but I'll probably only be able to publish it on Thursday or so. I'll also be travelling the week after so things might be a bit disrupted. Hopefully things can get back on track after that though.
 
Unfortunately real life is catching up with me so updates have been a bit slow in coming. I am in the process of writing the next one, but I'll probably only be able to publish it on Thursday or so. I'll also be travelling the week after so things might be a bit disrupted. Hopefully things can get back on track after that though.

No rush, its been very detailed and great thus far.:)
 
Asia - Late 18th Century
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Lajos Csapó; A History of Chinese Civilization


A Question of Stagnation?

The Campbell Embassy of 1792 is often seen as the last hurrah of China’s dominant perception of itself. After weeks of entertaining the British Embassy lead by William Campbell, the Qianlong Emperor ultimately decided that British Manufactures were not desired by China, and that there was nothing that the British could offer that the Chinese wanted. China remained a country that was largely closed to Europeans, their main outlet being the port of Canton (Guangzhou) from which Chinese manufactures flooded onto the world market, causing a concerting movement of bullion from Europe into China. Campbell noted that although China’s enormous population and vast wealth gave it an intimidating presence, he argued that under poor leadership, the country may well break apart. This view contrasted with those of people like Voltaire, who compared Chinese Civilization favourably to European Civilization.


Indeed, looking at China from a certain perspective in the 18th century seems to suggest that it was China rather than Europe that was on the cusp of world domination. In the 50 years from 1740 to 1790, China’s population more than doubled from 140 million to 301 million. Areas such as the Yangtze Valley became ever more commercially integrated, and prior to the Industrial Revolution it was this area that was the world’s workshop. Vast new areas came under cultivation and the introduction of new world crops powered the growth of China’s population and economy. Wise policies on the part of the Qing Government augmented this, enabling China to reach new levels of prosperity. When compared with the strife and displacement seen on many parts of the European Continent, one could certainly assume China was on the surer road to prosperity.


However, it was not just in the economic sphere that China seemed to excel in. Unlike European powers such as Russia and France, China was the 18th century power that seemed to take on all comers and eliminate all challenges to its security. The Qing had defeated the last serious remnants of Han resistance in the 17th century, and in the 18th century augmented China with vast conquests in the West, destroying peoples such as the Dzungars and bringing much of Inner Asia under China’s sway. It was the Qing that finally eliminated the threat to the Steppes, expanding the Middle Kingdom deep into Mongolia. And it was not just Nomads that the Chinese triumphed over. Although China’s wars against Dai Nam and the Burmese were ultimately unsuccessful, China won a great victory against the greatest Muslim power of the 18th century, that of Afsharid Persia. The Banner Armies proved superior to Persia’s armies, and prevented a Persian takeover of the Muslim West of China. Victories such as these reinforced China’s sense of superiority, and assured its security.


However, this picture of great strength and prosperity was underlay by the growing problems that would haunt China in the 19th century. During his travels through China, Campbell noted both China’s immense wealthy, but also its potential vulnerability. He reckoned that the forts defending Guangzhou could easily be levelled by European gunnery, and that the merchant fleet could be sunk by a handful of frigates. The military weakness of China vs that of the Europeans was already apparent to some, but at this juncture war was not desired due to the value of trade with China. British control of trade between India and China made the East India Company very wealthy indeed. The minds of those in the East India Company that desired expansion still dreamed of enforcing the submission of various Indian states such as Bengal and the Marathas rather than a war with China. China may have fallen behind in terms of military technology and organization, but she was far from any European power.


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Mark Huntington; Studies in Indian History - An Anthology

The Destruction of Mysore


The Sultanate of Mysore had been perhaps one of the most dynamic kingdoms in India. Its rulers had an army that was technologically the equal of the British East India Company’s, and during the reigns of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, had reformed the state into perhaps the most advanced in South Asia. Why was it that the British East India Company was able to conquer this thriving state? Traditionally the conquest was painted as the inevitable result of the racial inferiority of the Indian peoples by British scholars, while subsequent Indian writers often identified sectarian tensions as the main force in bringing down Mysore. However, more recent scholarship has dismissed many of these arguments, and a general consensus has built that it was actually a number of factors that led to the triumph of the British over Mysore.


By the 1960s the idea of Britain’s racial superiority as the main cause of Britain’s victory was falling increasingly out of favour even in the United Kingdom. Gordon Hopkinson’s epic tome “The Definitive History of India” had pointed out that the majority of the East India Company’s army were Indian Sepoys rather than recruits from Britain itself. In most major engagements after the 1780’s, the British had superior numbers to those of Mysore thanks to the aid of Indian allies, and by the final assault on Mysore in 1800, the East India Company’s army had almost double the troops that Mysore did. Thus it was not the superior military organization or technology that won the wars for the British, but rather her superior numbers.


These numbers had been augmented by Britain’s earlier victories against France in the Carnatic. Following the Ten Years War, it had briefly seemed with the victory of France’s allies in Bengal that it would be France rather than Britain who would become the dominant European power in India. However, in the subsequent war, the British managed to push the French territorial presence out of India altogether, leaving France’s influence on the continent only in the form of advisors and “factories”. With the exception of the Dutch in Ceylon, the British were left as the main European influence on the subcontinent, and the East India Company’s territories expanded to make it one of the largest powers on the southern half of the subcontinent. In addition to this, the growing British trade presence elsewhere in India meant that the revenues of the company now began to pull ahead of her Indian competitors. No matter how well-managed the tax revenue systems of Mysore, she could not compete with a trading power which possessed continental trading links. This money gave the British in India an increasingly important advantage over her competitors.


Ultimately, as the 18h century turned to the 19th, the states of India increasingly conducted their foreign trade through the British. Perhaps in Mysore more than other areas, the Hindu merchant families saw the British as a useful counterbalance to their Muslim rulers, many of whom raised much of their taxes by placing a heavy burden on the Hindu population. The old Mysore Muslim tale of a traitorous Hindu allowing the British into the fortress of Seringapatam has long been proven to be a myth, but there was indeed much in the way of tension between the Muslim rulers of Mysore and their largely Hindu populace that the British East India Company was only too happy to capitalise on as she aimed to break resistance in the Kingdom. Even if Tipu Sultan had avoided death at Seringapatam than perhaps the best that Mysore could have hoped for was a steady breakdown of the societal consensus as well as the decline of its economy in the face of European manufactures and control of trade.


Can Mysore’s downfall be seen as the harbinger of Europe’s domination of India and the rest of Asia? Or must its fate be examined separately? Certainly, almost no other Indian state saw the breakdown of institutions that Mysore did. Even the name of Mysore was erased from all except history books, testament perhaps to the fear that Tipu Sultan had inflicted on the British in India, but also of the increasing power of Europeans in Asia. Although its destruction may have had few parallels in history, the strength which had been demonstrated by the British in the war that led to her doom was to be a tale repeated for a long time after Mysore was wiped from the map.


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Enver Mehmetoglu; Perfumed Land: South East Asian History Reconsidered

The Rise of the Tan Hop Dynasty


Much as the rise of the rise of the Thonburi dynasty in Siam had partly had its origins in the drastic defeat of Ayutthaya at the hands of the Burmese, the rise of the Tan Hop dynasty in Vietnam had its roots in the defeat of the Nguyen Dynasty at the hands of the Siamese. The Vietnamese failure in the war, combined with the high levels of taxation and government corruption found in many parts of Vietnam at the time led to the a rebellion led by two bothers form the village of Tan Hop. With a strong base of support amongst the peasantry of Vietnam, the rebellion began to spread from beyond the province of Quang Tri, and threatened the Nguyen capital of Hue city. With the unseating of the Nguyen dynasty, the Tan Hop dynasty was formed, and was now assailed by the Trinh.

However, the Trinh dynasty suffered from many of the same weaknesses that had afflicted the Nguyen, and after a short campaign their armies were on the retreat. In 1788 the Tan Hop army had conquered the North of Vietnam, and fended off a Chinese attempt to establish supremacy in the North. The two Tan Hop brothers agreed to rule as co-emperors, though following the death of one of the brothers by tuberculosis, Anh Dung ruled as sole emperor. During his reign, he encouraged the growth of foreign trade, inviting both the French and the British to set up trading posts in Gia Dinh on the Mekong Delta. The increase in trade with the outside world brought wealth that was used to fund Emperor Anh Dung’s renewed war against Siam, which was fought bravely but which ended inconclusively in 1804.


Emperor Anh Dung focused heavily on land reform as well, remembering his own humble roots end encouraging the distribution of land to peasants, resulting in a Vietnam in which the land was held in large part by small-holding peasants. As well as this he encouraged linguistic and cultural reforms, attacking those nobles which were deemed to be too sympathetic to the view of Vietnam as a “Chinese nation”. Anh Dung preferred instead to focus on the assimilation of smaller ethnic groups in his own country, such as the Hmong and the Cham, and in campaigns resembling those of China’s bloody wars against the Miao people, embarked on campaigns to bring the hill people to heel. In this endeavour however he experienced limited success, managing to enforce the supremacy of the Vietnamese people in the valleys, but leaving the jungles and hills largely to speakers of different languages.

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Author's Notes - This took a bit longer than I would have liked to. I'm off to Prague on Wednesday so I'll try and squeeze another update in before then but then the next update probably won't come for around to weeks or something like that. I just wanted to give a bit of a view on other areas that haven't been covered (especially China and South East Asia). Australia's history has diverged due to the later American break off and this of course will have a great impact, but we won't explore that until the nineteenth century, which will begin properly next update!
 
These numbers had been augmented by Britain’s earlier victories against France in the Carnatic. Following the Ten Years War, it had briefly seemed with the victory of France’s allies in Bengal that it would be France rather than Britain who would become the dominant European power in India. However, in the subsequent war, the British managed to push the French territorial presence out of India altogether, leaving France’s influence on the continent only in the form of advisors and “factories”. With the exception of the Dutch in Ceylon, the British were left as the main European influence on the subcontinent, and the East India Company’s territories expanded to make it one of the largest powers on the southern half of the subcontinent. In addition to this, the growing British trade presence elsewhere in India meant that the revenues of the company now began to pull ahead of her Indian competitors. No matter how well-managed the tax revenue systems of Mysore, she could not compete with a trading power which possessed continental trading links. This money gave the British in India an increasingly important advantage over her competitors.


Ultimately, as the 18h century turned to the 19th, the states of India increasingly conducted their foreign trade through the British. Perhaps in Mysore more than other areas, the Hindu merchant families saw the British as a useful counterbalance to their Muslim rulers, many of whom raised much of their taxes by placing a heavy burden on the Hindu population. The old Mysore Muslim tale of a traitorous Hindu allowing the British into the fortress of Seringapatam has long been proven to be a myth, but there was indeed much in the way of tension between the Muslim rulers of Mysore and their largely Hindu populace that the British East India Company was only too happy to capitalise on as she aimed to break resistance in the Kingdom. Even if Tipu Sultan had avoided death at Seringapatam than perhaps the best that Mysore could have hoped for was a steady breakdown of the societal consensus as well as the decline of its economy in the face of European manufactures and control of trade.


Can Mysore’s downfall be seen as the harbinger of Europe’s domination of India and the rest of Asia? Or must its fate be examined separately? Certainly, almost no other Indian state saw the breakdown of institutions that Mysore did. Even the name of Mysore was erased from all except history books, testament perhaps to the fear that Tipu Sultan had inflicted on the British in India, but also of the increasing power of Europeans in Asia. Although its destruction may have had few parallels in history, the strength which had been demonstrated by the British in the war that led to her doom was to be a tale repeated for a long time after Mysore was wiped from the map.

I alway knew that the British would come to rule the Dravidian speaking regions of India in this timeline.
 
The Dawn of the 19th Century
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The Dawn of the 19th Century

1801 is often the date chosen by most historians as the turn of the long 18th century to the long 19th century. It has survived the critique of the concept as a “Eurocentric” one, as it comes close enough to significant historical events elsewhere in the world. It was the year following the abdication of Shah Rukh of Persia, as well as the year of the death of the venerable Qianlong Emperor in China, both of which seemed to herald the end of the “Golden Ages” of each empire respectively. It would be a century which would see the world upside down, as ancient empires were humiliated by upstarts, and when societies around the world were thrown into tumult caused by shifting economic, social and political patterns. The 18th century had already seen an enormous amount of change in the world, yet this would be overshadowed by the dramatic change of the 19th century.


In Europe, the turn of the century saw great change and chaos in many parts of the continent. 1801 marked the end of the Great Eastern War, which had seen Eastern and Central Europe wracked by the conflict between the Austrians and their allies and the Russians. The conflict had not settled the question of supremacy in Eastern Europe, though it had left all of its combatants exhausted, shaken and vulnerable. In France, a war between the King and the majority of his population ended in the exile of one king and the rise of King Henri V of France, a king who promised meaningful reform and change in France. Although they had largely avoided the conflict seen elsewhere, Italy and Iberia had both experienced the effects of the Enlightenment and the economic changes of the 18th century, and their futures looked uncertain as well as the ideas of nationalism and liberalism began to be circulated among the learned classes of both places.


However, it was Britain that appeared to be experiencing the most profound changes of all. A revolution that had begun in the hills of Derbyshire had spread across much of Northern and Central England by 1801. This was not a revolution of political ideas, but one of economics. The “Industrial Revolution” was already beginning to revolutionise the United Kingdom, with cities such as Birmingham and Manchester blooming into great centres of industry, producing more goods than cities elsewhere in the world many times their size. The Shudehill Mill built in 1782 would prove to be the beginning of an economic revolution whose effects are still being felt today. Although pre-industrial societies had seen moderate improvements in productivity, the sheer increase in production and wealth brought by industrialisation would change the face of our world forever. Certainly, when looked through these lenses, changes elsewhere prior to the 19th century seem almost immaterial.


Asia in the 18th century had seen huge amounts of population growth both in Asia and Europe. Between 1700 and 1801, India’s population had increased by around 60 million, China’s had increased by 232 million, and even less densely populated areas such as Persia had grown from 10 to 28 million. The growth had been stimulated by an increase in trade, the influx and wide adoption of new world crops such as potatoes and in many places, the imposition of government policies aimed to help farmers. Areas such as Central Asia saw an increase in irrigation and an influx of settlers, as the Chinese aimed to colonize areas conquered in the West, and the Persians aimed to settle Central Asia with the inhabitants of the increasingly crowded “Old Persia”. However, by the dawn of the 19th century, much of the suitable land for agriculture was already under cultivation. Japan had experienced a resource-shortage slowdown earlier on in the 18th century, and it appeared that now it was time for Persia and China to experience the same. Although China had virgin lands suitable for settlement, the Qing Government was loath to allow the settlement of Han Chinese in these areas.


If the 18th century saw the beginnings of the foundation of a real world economy, as well as the diffusion of the New World crops that would be so crucial in supporting record-breaking population growth, then it was the 19th century that the world truly became “modern” in. Technology raced ahead, threatening to leave the ponderous behind, the world economy became truly integrated and European power made its presence felt in nearly every corner of the globe. More than any other, the 19th century truly deserves the moniker “The Century of Revolutions” as more than politics was impacted. For the first time since the Agrarian Revolution, the way that people lived their lives saw a massive change. Even a few decades into the 19th century, it was clear that the world would never be the same again.

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Author's Notes - This will be it from me for a week or so! I'll be off touring the remains of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so I wanted to set the stage for the 19th century. The pace will be quite a bit slower than that of the 18th century, and the focus will be quite global, though Persia will still get more attention than most regions. Just as our own was, the 19th century of this TL will have enormous ramifications for the course of world history.
 
The Rise (again) of France
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James Hamlin; Great Power Politics in Europe, 1700 to 2000


The Revival of France

The Latter half of the 18th century saw the loss of France’s status as the “Arbiter of the European Continent” The Ten Years War had been costly enough, though her defeat in the Franco-British War of 1775-1777 had left her bankrupt and her prestige destroyed. As internal chaos mounted in the 1780s culminating in the French Civil War, France ceased to become a meaningful influence on European affairs. This had led to a great shift in the balance of power on the European Continent, as many weaker powers that had been protected by France such as Poland and the Ottoman Empire found themselves under threat. Poland was invaded by Russia which triggered the Great Eastern War, a conflict that was marked by the lack of French influence in it. Following the conflict, it was Austria that established herself as the “Arbiter of Europe”, with a large army, support from Britain and the loyalty of “retainer states” such as Bavaria and Saxony.


It was into this international situation that France emerged out of unrest in 1801. King Henry V appeared to be chastised by the forces of liberal reform in his own country, and ruling a nation that was far less of a power than it had been half a century before. Contemporary wisdom held that France was one of the lesser members of the great powers, and that it would take time before she could make her presence felt on the European continent once again. However, this underestimated both the devastation that had been seen in much of Central Europe during the Great Eastern War, as well as France’s capacity for recovery. The reform of the French Estates General had left France with a system of government that somewhat resembled Great Britain’s, with the exception that the French King maintained tighter control of his prerogatives than the British King.


King Henry had to contend with the fact that more liberal minded Frenchmen felt that process of reform had some way to go, and that the power of the king would have to be curbed further with a more restrictive constitution alongside a more powerful Estates General. Henry was sympathetic to the ideas of enlightenment, at least as long as they didn’t intrude on his kingly prerogatives. However, rather than his father, Henry was more practical. He was aware that France could not be coerced into obedience. Rather, his policies were aimed at winning the support of people through a program of modernization at home and glory seeking wars abroad. In light of increased troop numbers elsewhere in Europe, Henry requested the Estates General for an increase in taxation on the nobility in order to fund an increase in size of the French army.


The nobility, of course, had become accustomed to the low level of taxation that they had enjoyed in the 18th century, when the large majority of the tax burden had fell on the commons, in exchange for the political domination of the monarch. The world of course had changed, and Henry wanted to position himself between the nobility and the commons, exploiting enmity between the two for his own gains. In order to secure the taxes in the Estates General, he resorted to intimidation, bribery and the general spectre of revolution to coerce the members of the First Estate to acquiesce to his demands for further taxation. The members of the Second Estates of course were happy to cooperate with the king in his attempt to reduce the financial privileges of the nobility. Rather than raise taxes on the commons, the king instead borrowed, which reduced much of the anxiety that surrounded the military build-up.


The vast majority of the new money entering the French budget would be spent on the army. Between 1801 and 1807, the size of the French army was increased from 210,000 to a colossal 430,000. Many of the promotions made were from “New Men”, hailing not just from the traditional aristocracy but from the lower ranks of society to who had proven themselves in the French Civil War. Under the leadership of men such as Dumont and Gerard, the French army attempted to digest the lessons of the Great Eastern War. The ratio of artillery to men was increased, from 2 per 1,000 in 1801 to around 3.5 per 1,000 by 1807. The “Dubois” shell, which was a fused shell filled with musket balls and gunpowder, designed to cut down infantry by the dozens with each shell was used by French artillery. The Russian manoeuvre tactics and “Storm Columns” were further refined in order to ensure that well drilled French soldiers could easily transition between firing lines and shock columns designed to overwhelm the enemy when appropriate.


These developments had not been noticed in the rest of Europe, whose eyes were still largely turned east. The questions that dominated the minds of British, Austrian and Russian policy makers was whether Poland’s reforms could turn her into a serious power that could be reckoned with, whether Saxon-Prussian tensions would lead to war and whether the Russians would turn south toward the Ottoman Empire. Even the usually astute Earl of Derby’s attentions were concentrated on mounting tensions with colonists in North America rather than the swift military build-up in France. Austria’s Archduke Charles, the “Mule”, only turned his attention west with the advent of the revolt in the Southern Netherlands against the centralisation reforms of the Chancellor, ironically designed to pull Austria together. France’s request for the Austrians to use restraint when dealing with the French speaking Walloons.


Rather than attacking outright, King Henry and his able First Minister, Jean d'Harcourt, worked to build the right diplomatic background for a war with Austria. First, they attempted to establish the interest of other European nations in the conflict. The French Ambassador in London appeared to request British mediation, but was rebuffed with statements that attentions were focused on the Americas. Russia for her part had lessened her interest in the European continent for the time being, and was hungrily eying the decaying Ottoman Empire to the south. Thus, France had only to worry about Austria’s “retainer states” in Germany and Italy. Alone, Austria could call upon some 300,000 men, but this would be augmented to as much as 460,000 in times of war by the armies of smaller states in Italy and the Holy Roman Empire. While not enough to swamp France in numbers, it could be enough to decide a war. Thus, France’s military strategy was one focused on defeating these forces in detail.


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Alois Scheibel; Warfare and Society in 19th Century Europe

The Franco-Austrian War of 1807


If the Russians introduced modern warfare to Europe in the Great Eastern War, then the French perfected it in their wars of expansion. The Russian’s had launched their great gamble for European supremacy in an ill-thought out war with vague goals and a hostile coalition arrayed against them. The French for their part, had a solid objective and timed their play for supremacy perfectly. When the great revolt in the Southern Netherlands broke out in 1806, Europe was in turmoil. The Russians were struggling to recover from their costly war, the British had their eyes turned to their rebellious colonies in North America. Meanwhile, Austria had slipped into the position of “Arbiter of Europe” almost by default, buttressed by allies in Italy and the Holy Roman Empire. However, this seeming giant’s feet was made from clay, its supremacy vulnerable to the jealousies of small powers that would be exploited brilliantly by Henri V and his ministers.


The French had been in communication with the ambitious Prime Minister of Piedmont, The Count of Asti, since 1805. There had been a secret meeting between Asti and a number of French ministers in Nizza concerning a future war against Austria. If Piedmont’s army of 43,000 could be turned against Austria rather than France, this would be a game-changer in any future war. Asti was keen on the idea of establishing Piedmont as a serious player in European politics, and the French offer of Lombardy and Mantua in exchange for Savoy seemed to be a good deal. Although the loss of Savoy would involve its 400,000 inhabitants becoming French, this would be more than balanced by the gain of 2,000,000 new citizens, which would make Piedmont as populous as Saxony, transforming her into one of the most powerful of Europe’s secondary powers.


In Germany, there was less scope for gaining local allies however. Prussia was far too exhausted from her involvement in the Great Eastern War to commit herself, even for the promise of Silesia. The only German power that could be persuaded was Bavaria, who swore herself to neutrality in the case of war. This was a source of immense frustration to King Henri, who had previously seen Germany as a place of possible allies. His view began to shift to a more predatory outlook on Germany, as he saw it as a possible area of French domination and influence. His Chief Minister at the time lamented that the King’s increasing hatred of the Germans would make things very difficult for France in the future when attempting to deal with the small German states individually.


France’s Casus Belli would be the Austrian treatment of rebels in the Southern Netherlands. The rebellion had been triggered by the administrative reforms of Joseph II and the raising of taxes during and after the Great Eastern War. Austria responded harshly, dispatching 88,000 troops under Duke Drašković to suppress the rebellion. Although the rebels fought bravely, the Austrians had mostly restored order in the provinces toward the end of 1807, though continued to keep troops in the area as an occupation force. The harshness with which the rebels were dealt with by the Austrians led to protests from France, especially in regards to the persecution of the French speaking Walloons. These protests fell on deaf ears, and France began mobilizing in an attempt to force Austria to back down. When she refused to do so, France declared war on Austria in the May of 1808.


Initially, there was little to suggest that France would see any great success in the war. A French army of 116,000 under the command of Gerard slowly lumbered into the Netherlands, becoming caught up in a war of protracted sieges. The main French force of 141,000 was deployed near Metz, awaiting a thrust by the Austrians from Germany, and a smaller French force of 57,000 was sent into Provence to counter any attack from Italy. However, Austrian plans were similarly cautious, deploying the bulk of their army into Germany to meet any French attack there, and sending 36,000 under Lichnowsky to defend Austria’s allies in Italy. Neither power was confident enough to try and launch a knockout blow against the other, and seemed confident to fight an 18th century war of attrition and sieges.


However, Henri V was not satisfied with this. He purged his military in the October of 1808, replacing some aristocratic generals with more promising generals from lower in the officer corps. Figures such as Fontaine, Vasseur and Bruneau saw themselves promoted to generals, and the bold François Devaux was made Marshall of France’s armies. Devaux formulated a plan. He would launch a thrust in April at the remaining Austrian forces in the Netherlands, in an attempt to fool the Austrians into believing that the main thrust would be there. However, French troops would also hook into Germany, surrounding Austrian troops in Württemberg and pushing onto the Austrian crown lands. Meanwhile, the French force in Provence would join with the army of Piedmont and take Lombardy. This was an ambitious plan that would attempt to take on much more of the lessons of Russia’s initial offensive into Poland in the Great Eastern War.


The French army in the Netherlands was defeated at the Battle of Wavre, seeming to conform to the Austrian expectation that French efforts would be devoted to defeating Austrian forces in the Netherlands. However, as the French were beaten back at Wavre, a large French army commanded by Fontaine marched into the Palatinate, defeating small numbers of local troops who had come to defend it. However, Prince Schwarzenberg in Württemberg, caught wind of this, and attempted to intercept the French before they got too close to the Habsburg Crown lands. Prince Schwarzenberg elected to pull back to Bavaria rather than try and confront the French as they approached Wurzburg, aware that his own numerical inferiority would put him at a disadvantage. However, the Bavarians treated his move onto their territory as an act of war, and opposed him militarily as he attempted to march to Ingolstadt. Although the Austrians defeated the Bavarians handily at the Battle of Schrobenhausen, the battle was one they could ill afford with the French marching toward them.


Despite their exhaustion, the Austrians managed to defeat the French IV Corps, which had advanced too far ahead of the main army, at the battle of Eichstätt, but three more Corps under Fontaine were on their way, and at the Battle of Ingolstadt, the Austrians were decisively defeated and Schwarzenberg mortally wounded. The remains of his army limped back to Austria while more bad news came from the Italian front, where the inadequately sized Austrian army was smashed at the battles of Siziano, Cremona and Castellucchio. The greatest moment of shame for the Austrians in Italy was when the great fortress city of Mantua surrendered without a siege. By the end of 1808, Austria’s situation was desperate. The Habsburg Crown Lands were assailed by almost 300,000 Frenchmen, with only around 100,000 Austrian troops left to defend them. Although the situation in the Netherlands was stable for the moment, it seemed likely that the French would overwhelm her defences there in the coming year. Reluctantly, the Austrians capitulated on the 10th of November 1808.

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Author's note - I'm back from my travels now, and I have a spicy new update! France has now recovered from her poor luck at the end of the 18th century and has adopted, at least to a limited extent, a constitutional system. The fact that Liberalism made its impact like this and not in the terror of the revolution may be the most significant change yet, and this will naturally change the way the 19th century plays out greatly. On top of the ideological change, the fact that France has regained her preemptive status that she held in the earlier 18th century will change the power-political situation in Europe. Next update it is back to Persia and the Middle East though!
 
Beginning of the 19th Century in Persia and the Ottoman Empire
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Ruhollah Mirzamohammadi; In the Shadows of the Shahs -Persia in the Islamic Period to the Modern Day


The Dawn of the 19th Century in Persia

With the accession of Shah Abbas in 1800, there was some hope that Persia’s power would once again be revived. Although her prestige had fallen internationally, the last years of Reza Shah’s reign as well as Shah Rukh’s reign had seen a continued growth internally. The colonization of the Amu Darya valley with Persian settlers was well underway, providing new areas where cash crops were cultivated, which fed into Persia’s growing cottage industries. Exports, especially of Persian Carpets, were booming and leaving Persia with a considerable trade surplus. However, following the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1775, Persia had ceased to interact much on an official level with the outside world. Although foreign traders were active inside Persia (with as many as 1000 Europeans active in Persia in 1800), Persia withdrew from the world diplomatic system that she appeared to be drawn into during the Ten Years War. Shah Rukh made no attempts to prevent the rise of Maratha supremacy in India.


Abbas had ambitions of foreign wars as the Crown Prince. However, it was to be the increasingly contentious internal politics of Persia that were to prevent him from taking a more assertive foreign policy. Even as he was crowned Shah, he had to contend with a revived rebellion in Dagestan, that had managed to resist all attempts to suppress it militarily. This was joined by rebellions amongst the Afghans and Uzbeks in 1804 and 1806 respectively, caused by the encroachment of Persian settlers and increased taxation. These represented a significant drain for the army of Persia, which was already significantly smaller than it had been under Nader Shah. With the growth of armies in Europe and the atrophying of its own, Persia no longer possessed one of the largest armies in the world. Her standing army of approximately 175,000 was more similar in size to that of Spain’s than to the first rank of European powers.


With these limitations, no longer did Persia have the ability to embark on offensive wars of conquest against her neighbours. The abortive campaign against the Sikhs in the Punjab was the closest thing that Persia had, though she found that the armies of India had caught up in terms of effectiveness. Thus Abbas, rather than spending tax revenue on increasing the size of his armies, funded the building of mosques, infrastructure and the maintenance of irrigation. Stopped from crusading against enemies abroad, he instead turned toward the religious minorities of his own country. Although the Christians and Jews of the Empire enjoyed relative peace and toleration, the same could not be said of the Shia’ minority.


These were the remains of the former Shia’ majority of the country, who had not followed Nader Shah in his attempts to merge the Jafari’ school of Shia’ Islam to the Sunni mainstream. They made up around 20% of Persia’s population, concentrated mainly in the Arabic-speaking lands of Southern Iraq, the area around the cities of Qom and Rey, and the Bamiyan valley of Eastern Persia. Although a minority, the Shia’ had been particularly encouraged by the reign of Shah Rukh, who was in private a Shia’ Muslim. He had tolerated the Shia’ Muslims officially, but with his abdication came the return of persecutions. The increasing burden of these persecutions as well as taxes eventually led to the Great Shia’ Rebellion of 1807, two years after the death of Shah Rukh. It began with the punishment of a senior Ayatollah in Qom, who was flogged for allegedly spreading propaganda against the Shah. When he later died from his injuries, the people of Qom took up arms against Shah Abbas.


Before he was able to mobilize the troops to crush the revolt, news had spread to neighbouring Rey, and soon enough to Southern Mesopotamia and Bamiyan. All of these locations rose up in revolt, yet for the most part there was little co-ordination between the three separate revolts. Although all had the same end goal of imposing a Shia’ government on the country, there was no attempt to cooperate. This allowed the Shah to rally anti-Shia’ elements of the country such as the Afghans under his banner, and to crush the rebels one by one. Although resistance continued for years in more isolated areas such as the Marshlands of Iraq, the Great Shia’ Rebellion was crushed within a year. Nevertheless, confidence in the government to keep order was shaken. In many of the areas that had been affected, banditry and other symptoms of the decline of law and order began to be seen.


Despite these traumas, and Persia’s lack of prestige internationally, the population kept expanding quite rapidly thanks to government investment in agriculture, the import of new crops from the Americas, and the general atmosphere of peace. By 1810, much of the fertile land in Central Asia had been populated by Persian settlers, turning the region into a majority Iranian area for the first time in a thousand years. The marginalisation of Turkic peoples such as the Uzbeks had both positive and negative effects for Persia, reducing acts of tribal violence such as slave raiding, but also depriving the government of a useful source of irregular cavalry troops. Nevertheless, the economic dividends of the colonization of Central Asia were more than worth it. Cotton grown along the Amu Darya helped increase Persian production of textiles and the region become important not only for its production but as a useful point for trade between Western China and the rest of the world.


However, while growth in Persian agricultural and industrial production was large in total terms, though this was not mirrored in terms of per capita production. Between 1750 and 1780, Persian per capita income grew by around 15% overall, though between 1780 and 1810 income increased by only around 4%. As the new farmland that was taken under cultivation was increasingly marginal, this meant that per capita gains were increasingly slim. In terms of industry, there were few improvements on existing implements, and no sign whatsoever of a turn to fossil fuel power sources. Indeed, following the seizure of all forested land in Persia as land owned by the king, wood as a power source was increasingly rare, and animal dung was most commonly used as a fuel for home consumption. A British observer, a merchant based in Bandar Abbas named Godfrey Harrison noted negatively on the living conditions of the average Persian at the time. “In the cities dwelling in tenements some three stories high can be common, often with families confined to a single room. In the country conditions are scarcely better, with the population sharing their small mud houses with their livestock”.


Persia had evolved from the Safavid pattern of a half nomadic, half settled Empire as she was under the Safavids into one that was a predominantly settled empire, ruled over by a bureaucracy answerable only to the Shah. However, this should be seen of the context of development in Europe. The Persia of 1800 had a per-capita industrialization level of less than half of Great Britain’s. She was not a particularly poor region in the world, but nor was her development keeping pace with that of Europe’s. Persia would grow increasingly backward in the 19th century, and would be subject to the same violent forces of change as the other large Asian nations.


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Gerhard Schneider; Osman's Children - A History of the Ottoman Empire

The Turn of the 19th Century

At the turn of the 19th century the situation appeared to be improving for the Ottoman Empire. Though she had been much reduced territorially, this had been offset with a great increase in the machinery of the Ottoman Government. The Empire was closely governed, there were no figures in the Empire to challenge the primacy of the Sultan and the international situation was bright in its outlook. The greatest powers in Europe and the Middle East, France and Persia respectively, both had an interest in preserving the status quo in the Ottoman Empire, and the Sultan Ahmed IV had used this protection wisely, building up the “Ordu-i-Cedid”. While smaller than the armies of the European great powers, the Ottoman army was well trained and equipped. In 1808, the new Sultan Osman IV even standardised his artillery along European lines.


However, this progress had produced tensions. The growing power of European Empires had influenced the Christians within the Empire, who had been living as subordinates to the Muslim population of the Empire. While the Ottoman Empire had been the terror of Europe, their secondary position in society had seemed only natural, but in the light of the weakness of the Empire, especially in the face of Orthodox Russia, Christian resentment began to grow. The Russians had supported previous rebellions on the part of the Serbs and the Greeks, though by the 19th century the Bulgarians had also joined these nations in opposition to Ottoman rule. Although nationalism as an idea was found only in a small minority of Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians, with the spread of literacy came the popularization of the idea that these nations had their own destinies separate to that of the Ottoman dynasty. Nationalism would soon be as great a threat to the Ottomans as foreign powers were.


The previously protected position of the Ottoman Empire was thrown in jeopardy by the Franco-Russian agreement of 1808, in which Russia recognised France’s gains in Western Europe in exchange for a free hand against France’s erstwhile ally in Turkey. Russia desired expansion to the south, viewing the newly isolated Ottoman Empire as easier prey than Poland, who was backed strongly by Austria. The Ottomans were not able to detect Russian designs on the Empire until the Russians declared war on the Empire on the 17th of May 1809. Russia pounced on the unprepared Empire, launching a lightning strike against the Empire and her allies in Moldavia, Crimea and Circassia. In Crimea, the Russian military was highly successful, in the space of two weeks defeating two Turco-Crimean armies and laying siege to Bakhchysarai for a week before its capture. In little over a month, the main block to Russian naval ambitions in the Black Sea was now gone.


However, in Circassia and Moldavia, the Russians had more problems. The Circassians fiercely resisted the invasion of the Russians, launching guerrilla attacks on Russian forces, and even annihilating a Russian column in an ambush at Sary-Tyuz. The mountain people of the Caucasus had given grief to many a conqueror before, but the added religious dimension of the conflict in Circassia ensured that the Russians would suffer for a long time trying to conquer the mountainous region. In Moldavia, early Russian successes were cut short when the Ottoman army decisively defeated the Russians in an attempt to seize the 18th century fortress of Bender. The Russian army now had to wait for reinforcements while an Ottoman army gathered near the town of Jassy. When the Russians finally captured Bender in the August of 1809, they now had an Ottoman army of around 80,000 blocking their way to Jassy. At the Battle of Kishinev, three Russian corps of about 110,000 men altogether hammered the Ottomans. Casualties on both sides were around 10,000 dead, wounded and missing, though the Ottomans fell back.


The Ottoman Commander Ibrahim Pasha pulled back to a forest about a day’s march behind, and prepared to hold the position against a Russian assault. The casualties of the Battle of Kishinev would have destroyed the old Ottoman army, yet the Ordu-i-Cedid could take them in its stride. However, at the Battle of the Straseni Forest, the Ottoman forces were smashed. Falling all the way back to Bulgaria, the Ottomans left the way open for Russia to occupy the Danubian principalities. A Russian fleet sailed into the Bosporus and shelled Ottoman forts protecting Constantinople. The following spring, the Russians renewed the assault, capturing Varna and forcing the Ottomans to capitulate.


Although the earlier part of the war seemed to have vindicated the reforms made by the Ottoman Empire, the final sad battles of the war seemed to confirm that the Ottoman Empire could no longer be considered among the great powers of the world. In the Treaty of Bucharest, the Russians gained the Crimea, Circassia and part of Moldavia, which was referred to as Bessarabia. While the Ottomans had lost no directly controlled territory, she suffered the loss of important vassals as well as a great loss of prestige. After the loss of the Russo-Turkish war of 1808, the reform project in the Ottoman Empire was given even more motivation, and would take on a new pace with the Edict of the Porte, which announced that the Ottoman Empire was to take even more inspiration from the countries of Western Europe.

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Author's Note - I'm not sure what area people want covered next update. I am working on a map of the world, but I am trying to make it a good one so patience please. I think an African-focused update is in order soon, but I'm curious to see what other people want covered too.
 
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Although the earlier part of the war seemed to have vindicated the reforms made by the Ottoman Empire, the final sad battles of the war seemed to confirm that the Ottoman Empire could no longer be considered among the great powers of the world. In the Treaty of Bucharest, the Russians gained the Crimea, Circassia and part of Moldavia, which was referred to as Bessarabia. While the Ottomans had lost no directly controlled territory, she suffered the loss of important vassals as well as a great loss of prestige. After the loss of the Russo-Turkish war of 1808, the reform project in the Ottoman Empire was given even more motivation, and would take on a new pace with the Edict of the Porte, which announced that the Ottoman Empire was to take even more inspiration from the countries of Western Europe.
*sigh* Is there ANY timeline where the Ottomans don't get screwed over by everyone in the end?
 
*sigh* Is there ANY timeline where the Ottomans don't get screwed over by everyone in the end?

That whould need a way bigger and stronger Ottoman Empire as we had in OTL, or one that is much like Japan OTL willing to modernise and industrialise much sooner. Whatever it is I whould be interested in reading such a timeline!
 
That whould need a way bigger and stronger Ottoman Empire as we had in OTL, or one that is much like Japan OTL willing to modernise and industrialise much sooner. Whatever it is I whould be interested in reading such a timeline!
The honorable Mr. Nassirisimo himself did one called With the Crescent Above Us. It's quite good, and got really far in history, up to the 1960s.
 
What's going on in the Americas?
Well, I decieded to write an update for the Americas, so you will find out about North America soon enough at least.
This sounds like a good TL so far. Keep it up!!!
Many thanks!
Maybe you could cover Iberia next. Or Indochina. Or indonesia.
I've decided to cover North America, though those areas will be covered in the next few updates.
*sigh* Is there ANY timeline where the Ottomans don't get screwed over by everyone in the end?
The Ottomans were destined to fall since Osman first stepped out of his yurt and thought "I should build an intercontinental Empire" ;)
That whould need a way bigger and stronger Ottoman Empire as we had in OTL, or one that is much like Japan OTL willing to modernise and industrialise much sooner. Whatever it is I whould be interested in reading such a timeline!
Well, the problem wasn't so much a willingness to enact modernizing reforms (the Ottomans would be the second in the world after the Russians) but a lack of resources. The Ottoman Empire by the 19th century was rather more sparsely populated than Europe, Japan or China which made economic progress rather hard. Indeed, for much of the 19th century there would be significant nomadic populations in the Empire, and industry tended to be controlled by the guilds. But that's for another time perhaps.
An update on Egypt and Africa would be nice.
Coming soon! Especially interesting goings-on in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Seconded. Also, more about India and the rise of the Marathas. How's my region (Punjab) doing?
India outside of the British dominated South really needs some love. Rest assured, I will give her some love in the not too distant future!
The honorable Mr. Nassirisimo himself did one called With the Crescent Above Us. It's quite good, and got really far in history, up to the 1960s.
I'm glad that my old timeline is still mentioned.
 
India outside of the British dominated South really needs some love. Rest assured, I will give her some love in the not too distant future!

Well I am certainly interested in seeing how the development of the subcontinent is going, specifically the Sikhs since I want to see how the Misl has developed without the holocausts of 1746 and 1762. Along with the the British Rule of Southern India, and how it contrasts with OTL's eastern origins.

I'm glad that my old timeline is still mentioned.

Besides being a bit of a turkish wank, I found it to be interesting.
 
The Independence and Fall of America
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Thomas Taylor; A History of the Anglophone Peoples of America


The Dawn of the American Revolution

The Anglo-French war of 1775-1777 was launched in part to appease the concerns of Britain’s growing North American colonies. The colonists were fearful of what they saw as French encroachment, as well as the building of French forts in areas such as the Ohio Valley, which the colonists saw as land ripe for future expansion. However, while the Thirteen Colonies gained from the war, the land gained was relatively insignificant, and French forts and allies continued to dominate much of the North American continent. With the British failing to remove the French from North America, while keeping many lands elsewhere in the world for themselves, many colonists now began to think that association with Britain was in fact detrimental to the interests of the colonies.


Through the 1780s and ‘90s, tensions grew between the two main political factions of the Thirteen Colonies, the Patriots and the Loyalists. The patriots were mainly made of the Yeomanry farmers, who were more interested in agricultural expansion rather than the encouragement of trade, while the Loyalists tended to be merchants and those with much closer ties to the mother country. Despite this, the leaders of both factions were pulled from the aristocracy. The first real crisis came in 1783 with the “Tariff War”. Tensions had built regarding Great Britain’s tariffs on American trade with other nations. The Crown argued that the monies raised guaranteed protection from the French, whereas the Colonists saw it as an unfair burden which restricted the prosperity of their country. Scuffles between Patriots and Loyalists became commonplace, and militias from both sides were involved in a number of skirmishes, which saw British soldiers deployed to keep order. This move was seen as the imposition of an occupation force by many Patriots however.


Ultimately the “Tariff War” was ended by compromise. The Crown promised an end to many of the hated tariffs, and allowed the individual colonies a measure of self-government in Colonial Congresses. However, any hope of quashing any desire for separation was momentary, and by the 1790s these Congresses tended to be dominated by men affiliated with the Patriots. Republican ideas propagated by thinkers such as Thomas Paine became increasingly commonplace, and many Patriots began to articulate a desire for a greater amount of autonomy. Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most prominent leader of the Patriots, noted that the population of the colonies was roughly on par with that of England’s, and argued for a nation governed not by a corrupt elite, but an idealistic republic built on yeoman farmers. This was an idea that appealed to many Americans, who associated the United Kingdom’s political system with corruption.


Tensions and demands for autonomy continued to build until they came to a head in 1801, with a formal request on the part of all Colonial Congresses for an American Parliament, similar to the recently abolished Irish one. For those in the United Kingdom who desired a strong and united Empire, this was nothing less than treason. Had not Britain defended the American colonists against the French? Had not her naval superiority allowed many in the colonies to grow extremely rich? The Earl of Derby wanted some kind of accommodation with the colonists, though ultimately pressure from the King as well as the Tories in parliament meant that he could pass along little in the way of concessions. The request for a parliament was not formally declined until 1802, but once the decision had been made, there was no going back. The congresses of the colonies began to enact legislation which they did not have the prerogative for. Increasingly, these congresses acted less as local governments and more as their own independent government.

This was of great concern to the British, who now began to find themselves confronted with American colonies who were rapidly moving away from them in practice as well as spiritually. British troops stationed near the city of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts marched into the city and in the name of the king dissolved the Congress “until such time as traitorous elements can be found”. This had the intention of intimidating the colonists, but instead had the effect of galvanising opposition to the British. Even “Soft Loyalists” were outraged at the seemingly arbitrary use of force, and called upon London to pull their troops back to their garrison. London’s response came a few months later in the form of thousands of reinforcements. The British commander in North America, William Montagu, The Duke of Manchester, reasoned that dissolving each Congress would be enough to scatter resistance to the British, and began marching through the Thirteen Colonies with his growing army.


The first true battle of the war took place at Norwich in Connecticut. A British division encountered a few hastily drawn together regiments of militia defending a simple redoubt near the town. The British were beaten back in their first attempt to storm the redoubt, though succeeded on the second attempt with heavy losses. The assault had been made hastily with little artillery preparation, but nevertheless, the fact that the militia had manage to beat back redcoats in battle gave an enormous amount of courage to the Americans, and the Congresses of the 13 Colonies called for the people to rise up and help the war effort as best they could. The British managed to capture Hartford a week after the Battle of Norwich. They now advanced to New York, the most populous city in the colonies. If the British could capture the city, they could then progress to Philadelphia, the preliminary capital of America, giving them an advantage in defeating the rebellion.


The elderly George Washington, a hero of the Anglo-French war of 1775, organized the 1st American Army near New York, and having gathered an impressive army of around 30,000 men, marched to meet the similarly sized British army marching from Connecticut. The Americans were defeated at Stamford, but retreated in good order to Yonkers, a town close to New York. In a battle that mirrored those that had taken place in Eastern Europe during the Great Eastern War, the American artillery battered the oncoming British forces, who were surprised at the intensity of the bombardment. However, the artillery barrage was not as effective as could have been due to the inexperience of the Americans, though it proved enough to weaken the British assault. The Americans beat back the British attack, albeit with the tragic loss of General George Washington, and forced them out of New York. The Revolution was saved, though the British still held much of the North East, and an expeditionary force was en-route for the more sympathetic south.


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Karl Moser; Collapse - An Examination of State Failure

The Aborted States of America


Following the Battle of Yonkers, the outcome of the war seemed to lean toward the side of the Americans. From now, it was not about whether the British would be able to restore control to her colonies, but on what terms their independence would be. There was the hope amongst the British that more loyalist areas of the Colonies would be allowed to stay with the mother country, and it was to this end that the British launched an invasion of the Southern Colonies. Landing near Savannah, the British quickly overran much of Georgia and South Carolina, where the dominant land-owning classes had some sympathy with the Loyalist cause due to the rhetoric of the Patriots. Nevertheless, following the inconclusive Battle of Jacksonville and the failure to press into North Carolina, it appeared that the British position in the Southern Colonies was not strong enough either.


After years of exhausting fighting, the British agreed to an armistice at the end of 1808, and the Treaty of Philadelphia was signed on the 15th of March 1809, bringing an end to the American War of Independence. Britain had ran enormous debts in exchange for the loss of her most prosperous colonies, and indeed pulled out of the war partially due to the worrying advance of French power on the European continent. Britain was now pushed entirely out of the North American continent at a time when they were becoming ever more economically important to her. Exports of cotton from the Southern States went to feed her growing cotton industries in Lancashire, which were fuelling the industrial revolution. The importance of cotton to both nations though would prove to be one of the main contributors to the downfall of the 1809 agreement.


The 1809 agreement itself was a rather weak one, drawn up to try and appease the increasingly disparate interests of the new States. The main arguments were between those who had previously been loyalists, and who wanted the focus of American energies to be on trade with Europe and the wider world, and those who saw the new Republic as a chance to build a society of genuinely free peoples. Generally speaking, the economic and social models of the Northern and Southern States gave the rift a geographic dimension. The small-holding Northern States, many of whom banned slavery upon independence, saw slavery as a part of a wider system that would replicate the corruption and oppression of Britain itself, whereas the Southern States, which were dominated by a slave-owning aristocracy, saw the importance of the slave-based cotton trade to the new nation’s economy. Ultimately, it was decided to have a binary system of Slave States and Free States, enshrined in a constitution which required a wide consent to amend.


This satisfied no one, leaving the Southern States fearful that one day the growing Northern States would seek to abrogate the terms of the constitution by force. In the North, there was the fear that the institution of slavery and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a corrupt merchant class would lead to the erosion of freedom for the free Northern States. For much of the short history of the United States, this conflict dominated the political discourse. The first proper election of 1812 saw a heightening of the tension between the North and South that culminated in the victory of John Blake, a slave owning politician from Virginia, who vowed to protect the property rights of slave-holders throughout the country. The attempted imposition of slavery on the North through a legal loophole proved too much for many Northerners, and Pennsylvania seceded from the United States within a few months of John Blake’s inauguration as President. A week later, Pennsylvania was followed by New York, and by the end of 1813, the former Northern States of the United States had seceded, to form the “North American Republic”.


John Blake’s response to this was a reluctant acceptance. The United States lacked any real army, and the militias of the North were more than a match for any force that could be fielded by the South. The Treaty of Baltimore, brokered by the French, confirmed that the division of the United States was permanent. The rump of the United States in the Southern States restyled itself as the “Federal Republic of America”. This suited both nations who were free to embark on their nation building projects as saw fit, but most of all this benefitted the French, who could secure their still lightly-populated North American

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Author's Notes - A look at the short-lived United States. Broken up early the two halves will go in quite different directions, so the history of OTL's United States will be, well, unrecognizable. This of course will have an impact on Latin America as it sees what happened to the United States as it eyes its own independence. Next update I plan to devote to Latin America and Iberia.
 
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