I wonder if there are any relations between the Princes of Monaco and the Kings of Corsica, after all the Grimaldi were in many respects the Neuhoffs of the previous century who before the 1600s treaties with France and Spain granting them princely sovereignty were merely Lords of Monaco, upjumped nobles like the baronial Theodore and Frederick, descendants from the like corsair kings of the Rock of Monaco detaching themselves from Genoa off and on until it actually stuck.

Well, the Prince of Monaco was involved in some capacity in the Treaty of Monaco, albeit merely to provide his good offices and the use of his palace. Thus Monaco was technically one of the first states (with France and Genoa) to formally recognize Corsican independence. The prince, however, mostly resides in Paris and doesn't concern himself much with bilateral Corsican relations; Monaco's foreign policy is basically outsourced to France. Some of Corsica's naval officers, including Admiral Lorenzo himself, have sailed under the Monegasque flag in the past; Monaco's flag (alongside the Corsican flag ITTL) was often used as a flag of convenience by Christian corsairs, particularly in the mid-18th century when the Pope was under a lot of pressure to crack down on abuses of the Maltese flag.

They also share the same patroness: Saint Devota is venerated in both Monaco and Corsica. According to legend, Devota was a Corsican but her body was smuggled to Monaco and interred in a chapel there, which still exists.

If I may make a suggestion regarding the Napoleon Question (unless you are set on ending the TL in the 1790s), the easiest answer is to invent another Napoleon. Create an ahistorical character (maybe a Breton?) who fills the same role. It may seem like cheating, but it would allow the timeline to continue with its focus on Corsica.

I am indeed set on ending the TL around 1790. That doesn't mean I won't ever write anything more in this "universe" - perhaps I'll attempt it one day - but for now I don't really want to tackle constructing a whole alternate French revolution. Even leaving aside my policy thus far on "butterflies," I've already messed with the timeline in enough ways (e.g. the fall of Prussia) that even if an alt-Napoleon were to materialize on the scene, the story just couldn't be the same as OTL.

I do like the idea of a Breton Napoleon, though - that's amusing. Perhaps a Frenchman of German descent like Kellerman would also be a suitable "outsider" in such a story.
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It seems a little premature to start asking this now, but do you have any projects like SotHE and KTC planned for after the main branch of the timeline comes to a close?

Well whatever it is I'm sure it'll be amazing. The depth of research here is just astounding, in a way that wasn't really possible for SotHE due to having a lot more sources.
It seems a little premature to start asking this now, but do you have any projects like SotHE and KTC planned for after the main branch of the timeline comes to a close?

A SotHE "relaunch" is in the works, and has about a dozen chapters already written (or at least 90%+ written). I promised myself I wouldn't even consider starting it in earnest until KTC was finished. I don't know if I'll start that immediately when I'm done here or do something else first, but it's definitely a thing.

In the process of writing and researching KTC I've come across a lot of 18th century European scenarios that would be interesting, like a Habsburg collapse in the 1740s, Sardinian participation in the SYW, or a "Grand Palatinate" arising from a successful Bavaria-Netherlands swap, although for some reason I always seem to come back to medieval Italy. I've had an idea for a medieval unified Sardinia TL that has been kicking around since before KTC even started but hasn't really ever gotten past the preliminary stages because the sources are so thin.

I think I'd enjoy writing an "encore" of KTC covering an alt-French Revolution and its effects on Corsica in both war and peace (of a shorter duration than original KTC, perhaps 1790s-00s), but as stated I don't really want to do the sort of research that would require right now. Perhaps I'll seek out a collaborator for that project one day.

I also have a pile of sources and some test recordings for a one-shot podcast on the (historical) Corsican Revolution that I've thought about pursuing (my revenge against Mike Duncan for skipping it in his Revolutions series), but who knows whether I'll ever get around to it.
King Theodore merch when?

"King Theodore of Corsica" was one of many nicknames for gin in 18th century England, although as far as I know Theodore himself did not partake. As a result, every now and then you come across some boutique gin distiller who names a product after him.


(this is not a product endorsement)
Is Corsica known for any spirits or wine?

It'd be cool to have the Neuhoffs set up a royal Vinter or something.
The Corsicans do sell produce from the balagna to Dutch traders if I remember correctly. Plus with some of the jesuits staying in Corsica from the expulsions in Spain. Maybe a royal vinter could be set up to help fund the state. Maybe a shared enterprise with the Dutch businessmen? Overall very intriguing.


Allegorical print of America and Britain, 1781

The American War of Independence was a demonstration of the limits of British naval power. Undoubtedly the British Navy remained an extremely formidable force, and they had won their share of victories. Faced with a global war against the Bourbon powers and their own American subjects, however, this force was simply spread too thin. The Bourbons never seriously entertained another assault on England after the Battle of Land’s End, but that defeat had so shocked the British that they committed far more of their ships than necessary to the defense of their home waters. Even Britain’s prodigious shipbuilding capacity could not keep up with the needs of the Navy, which scrambled to defend Britain’s holdings in India, the Mediterranean, and the West Indies while simultaneously attempting to blockade the North American coast, guard the sea lanes from enemy privateers, and maintain a huge battle fleet in the Channel. It simply could not be done, and the consequence was defeat.

Yet the victors derived surprisingly little benefit from their exertions. The territories which changed hands as a consequence of the war were barely visible on a map. Spain recovered Minorca and drove the British from Belize, but failed to take Gibraltar despite a grueling siege. France and Britain returned to the status quo ante bellum in America, with Britain returning Saint-Jean (which they had captured early in the war) in exchange for the reversion of French advances in the Caribbean. France’s only actual territorial gains were the Tabarka concession and the port of Cuddalore in India, which had been captured in 1781. Of course France had not entered the war for the sake of territory, but to break Britain’s mercantilist grip on their North American colonies, which was successful: the Americans won their independence, opening their markets and manufactures to the rest of the world. If the French had expected that the political divide between Britain and the colonies would also cause an economic divide, however, they were to be disappointed. The Anglo-American trade relationship recovered quickly, and the gains realized by French merchants were limited.

Although the birth of the United States of America was the most historically significant outcome of the war, the consequences which were most immediately relevant to the Kingdom of Corsica were British cessions in the Mediterranean. The loss of Minorca was the hardest blow to British power, for while Gibraltar was clearly a more defensible position, Port Mahon had a better harbor and was superior as a naval base. Minorca was a self-sustaining community with its own population, unlike the barren rock of Gibraltar which was entirely dependent upon imports in both war and peace. Britain’s ability to project naval power into the Mediterranean was thus significantly curtailed, along with their ability to effectively blockade France’s Mediterranean coast if the two powers were to find themselves at war again.

It was the cession of Tabarka, however, which caused the most consternation in Corsica. The English had no coral fishermen, and the Barbary Company thus relied on skilled foreigners - chiefly Corsicans - to exploit the Tunisian reefs. While the Corsicans were initially required to sell all their coral to the Company at established rates, they covertly “repatriated” significant amounts of coral to sell on their own for better prices at Ajaccio and Livorno. In an effort to curtail this smuggling the Company decided to meet the corallieri halfway and consented to allow them to legally retain a portion of their catch to dispose of as they saw fit. Plans to teach Englishmen to take the place of the Corsicans and other Italian corallieri never got off the ground, leaving Corsican fishermen in control of the Tunisian reefs for the foreseeable future.

The French, however, operated quite differently. Their equivalent of the Barbary Company was the Compagnie Royale d'Afrique, which had been mostly driven out of Tunisia during the 1740s and banned from the region entirely in 1760, relegating them to operations in Algeria. Unlike the Barbary Company, the CRA had plenty of experienced Provençal coral fishermen at its disposal and had no need for the Corsicans. Some Corso-Tabarchini sought employment with the CRA, but the French monopolists were even less tolerant of smuggling than the British and had no need to offer the Corsicans concessions. If the Corsicans did not like how the CRA did business, they were easily replaced with Provençals. The Corsican population of Tabarka fell steadily after 1783 as corallieri abandoned the island.

Many Corsicans continued fishing in Tunisian waters anyway, but this was increasingly fraught with danger. French patrols were the least of their concerns, for in 1782 the new Bey of Tunis, Hammuda ibn Ali, broke off nearly half a century of cordial relations and declared war on Corsica. This was somewhat less alarming than it might seem: a “declaration of war” from a Barbary state was merely a statement of intent to plunder, formal notification that one’s ships were now fair game. “War” of this kind was the default state of affairs between the Barbary states and the Christian kingdoms, abridged only temporarily by treaties in which the Christians agreed to pay protection money. By this standard, Corsica had been “at war” with Algiers and Tripoli for the entirety of its independent existence.

The bey’s decision to abrogate the long peace between Corsica and Tunis was made in the context of the American War. With the great powers distracted, the Mediterranean was ripe for plundering. Middling naval powers like Denmark-Norway could guard their own convoys or pay tribute in exchange for peace, but anyone else faced dire peril. Hammuda knew that Corsica did not have the strength to protect its own shipping, and his corsair captains were clamoring for more targets to make the most of this piratical golden age. The bey was willing to reestablish peace if Corsica was willing to pay for it, but at the moment Corsica could not even pay its creditors. Corsican corallieri used false flags for protection, hoping that the ensign of Britain or France would make any would-be pirates think again, but such a ruse would not stand up to close scrutiny. Between 1782 and 1787 more than 300 Corsicans were captured by corsairs, chiefly Tunisians. A few fortunate individuals were able to buy their freedom, but most were poor sailors who could expect nothing better than to spend the last few years of their lives chained to a rowing bench.


Hammuda ibn Ali, Bey of Tunis

Although the decline of “Corsican Tabarka” was entirely predictable in the event of a French victory, King Theodore II nevertheless felt betrayed. As far as Tabarka went, he had no legal leg to stand on - the island had never been Corsican territory - but as far back as 1779 he had expressed his hopes to the French envoy that Corsica, being a faithful friend of the Bourbons, might merit some consideration with respect to its interests in the Tunisian reefs. Had the French merely ignored him, that would have been bad enough, but in 1785 the CRA purchased the coral fishing rights to the Galite Isles from Genoa - the very same rights which the French had refused to give Corsica in the Treaty of Poggio Imperiale. At the time the French had argued a technicality, claiming that it was a bilateral matter between Genoa and Tunis, but it now seemed as though they had thwarted Corsica’s ambitions just so they could seize the rights for themselves. Of course the French foreign ministry and the CRA were two different entities, but to Theo it was impossible to see this as anything other than French perfidy and further proof that Corsica’s rights were not taken seriously at Versailles.

This was music to the ears of Sir Matthew Beckford, Britain’s longtime envoy in Bastia, who believed that the road to the recovery of Britain’s strength in the Mediterranean ran through Corsica. The island had several good natural harbors, and Ajaccio, Calvi, and San Fiorenzo all offered excellent bases from which to menace the coast of France and cut off French trade with the Levant. Pasquale Paoli, a known Anglophile, was now head of the Corsican government, and the king’s view of France had soured considerably. While Beckford acknowledged in his reports that the government’s policy had generally been to reject peacetime subsidies, which were always unpopular with the electorate, he noted that Corsican goodwill could be very cheaply bought and cultivating a relationship now could yield a decisive strategic advantage in the future.

The British government, however, was not presently of a mind to take advantage of this. The new ministry which took power in the wake of the Treaty of Paris set its sights on reconciliation rather than revenge, and mere months after the end of the war British diplomats were sounding out their French counterparts as to the possibility of a return to the Anglo-French alliance of the early 18th century. Their argument was that France and Britain, by wasting their strength and resources in repeated wars for limited gains, had allowed the “eastern powers” - Russia and Austria - to become unacceptably strong. With the French army working hand in glove with the British navy (and British finances), these two powers could give the law to Europe and restore the balance of power.

Britain’s concerns reflected the changing dynamics of European politics. One of the consequences of the Prussian War was the apparent division of Europe into two “systems” - a Western System, dominated by the Anglo-Bourbon rivalry, and an Eastern System, characterized by the complicated web of interests between Russia, Austria, and the Turks, with Poland, Brandenburg, and Saxony playing secondary roles. Before 1760 these theaters had been closely intertwined, but the breakup of the Anglo-Austrian alliance, the chastisement of Prussia, and France’s increasing financial constraints had greatly diminished the ability of the western powers to influence the course of events in central and eastern Europe. Britain had initially supported Russia in its war against the Ottomans, believing that the Russians might prove a useful counterbalance to France in the Mediterranean, but they had repented of this error before the war was over - Emperor Pyotr’s crushing victories over the Turks at sea, his sweeping conquests on the Black Sea littoral, and rumors of a Russian-backed “Archipelago principality” surprised and frightened them. France, for its part, had always seen Russia as a strategic opponent given France’s traditional friendship with the Turks, the Poles, and the Swedes, but Versailles simply lacked the money to continue its old policy of bolstering these states with lavish subsidies while simultaneously preparing itself for another showdown with Britain.

Austria, too, was a concern for both powers. British politicians had long clung to the idea of returning to the “old system” of the Anglo-Austrian alliance against France which had collapsed in the 50s, but it had become clear to most that this was no longer practical. The ambitions of Emperor Joseph II to expand both the influence and territory of the House of Habsburg within the Empire were quite clear: He was known to be in talks with the Elector Palatine over his possible inheritance of Bavaria, had negotiated a defensive alliance with Denmark-Norway to contain the ambitions of a presumed Russo-Brandenburg axis, and had made threatening noises about free trade and navigation against the Dutch. British diplomats warned that Joseph and Pyotr might seek to resolve the tensions between them by carving up Poland, Turkish Europe, or both. The French shared these concerns, and many French statesmen viewed the treaty with their old Habsburg enemy as a mésalliance. As long as Britain was France’s primary rival, it made sense to avoid continental entanglements and bury the hatchet with Austria, but if war with Britain was no longer anticipated then the Franco-Austrian alliance was nothing more than a license for Joseph to do as he wished in central Europe.

While the proffered Anglo-French alliance did not immediately materialize, Britain’s diplomatic posture meant that any attempt to pull Corsica into a strategic relationship would undermine their own foreign policy. A British presence on Corsica would do nothing to check the ambitions of Austria or Russia; indeed, its only possible object would be the containment of France, and this was not a signal London wished to send at a time when they were trying to assure the French of their pacific intentions. There were certainly dissenting voices in Parliament who doubted the possibility of any permanent cross-channel détente and supported the idea of shoring up Britain’s strategic position against France, but for now they were in the minority.

Corsican foreign policy was also undergoing a sea change. The fall of the Matra ministry and Chancellor Paoli’s purge of the gigliati from the cabinet had already driven the Francophile faction from power, but now the growing resentments of King Theodore - along with his wife’s pro-Spanish sympathies - had made such views unfashionable at court as well. The question before the ministers of the Council of State was no longer whether France was a threat to Corsica, but rather what should be done about the threat which they posed. “Felix respublica,” declared the foreign minister, referring to America, “to be born so far from the rapacious courts of Europe!”

Chancellor Paoli held a cautious but straightforwardly Anglophile position on foreign policy. Confident in the resilience of Britain’s financial and military structures, he argued that Britain would soon recover from this defeat, and their retention of Gibraltar meant that they still had the ability and interest to exert themselves in Corsica’s neighborhood. Far from being a slavish advocate of the English, Paoli emphasized that the kingdom should not sacrifice its sovereignty or territory to obtain Britain’s favor, and he had no desire to make an overt enemy of France. In Paoli’s estimation, however, the best hedge against French interference was friendship with France’s rival, and the only great power which had the capacity to shield Corsica against France’s navy.

The opposing view was most ably articulated by Foreign Minister Giovan Francesco Cuneo d’Ornano. Cuneo d’Ornano did not oppose establishing cordial relations with the British, but he was skeptical of the depth of their commitment to Italian affairs and viewed Britain chiefly as a commercial partner like Denmark or the Netherlands rather than a guarantor of Corsican security. Contrary to Paoli, he argued that the safest way of warding off France was not to cozy up to her enemies, but her friends. To this end, Cuneo d’Ornano prioritized the maintenance of close ties with Spain and sought to repair relations with Austria which had been strained by the Coral War. Although Emperor Joseph had chosen to remain out of the fray, Corsica’s aggression had annoyed Vienna. The Corsicans had assaulted a notional imperial subject, but more importantly they had nearly triggered a larger conflagration between Sardinia and Genoa and had given France the opportunity to insert itself as the arbiter of Italian affairs, which was not necessarily in Austria’s interest.

The difference between these views was in some sense a matter of degree, and Paoli and Cuneo d’Ornano were in agreement more often than they were opposed. Corsica’s acquisition of the British frigate Nightingale in 1785 was facilitated by Cuneo d’Ornano, while Cuneo d’Ornano’s plan to conduct “dynastic diplomacy” by convincing the king to allow his brother Carlo, the Duke of Sartena, to seek a position in the Austrian army was supported by Paoli. The British government’s failure to reciprocate Paoli’s interest in a strategic relationship, however, meant the victory of Cuneo d’Ornano’s position by default. The chancellor increasingly concentrated his attention on his plans for domestic reforms, leaving the “Maestro della Pace” with considerable latitude to direct the kingdom’s foreign relations as he saw fit - at least, as long as he retained the king’s confidence.

Relations with the new American state which emerged in 1784 were low on the minister’s list of priorities. Officially, the Kingdom of Corsica recognized the United States of America mere days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, when the recently-appointed Corsican envoy to France Marquis Antonio Maria d’Ornano informed the American delegation in Paris that Corsican free ports were “open to the ships and commerce of the American States.” American relations, however, were not deemed important enough to merit the considerable cost of sending official representation across the Atlantic. Yet despite the great distance between them, these two revolutionary countries did share a dilemma which would eventually bring them into common cause. Just as the cession of Tabarka had stripped Corsican fishermen of the protection of the British flag, America’s independence meant they could no longer rely upon that flag to protect them against the Barbary corsairs. Neither state was able - or willing - to pay tribute in exchange for peace, and that left force as the only answer.
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Regarding the Bavarian Succession, I'd add that TTL has a much higher chance for Joseph to settle the issue to his satisfaction.
The Saxons have Poland to worry about and therefore cannot risk confronting him, while Brandenburg has a much less strong leadership and a lot less of prestige to do anything, not to mention, even worse relations with the Saxons.
Joseph has less motive to force the issue since Silesia has been regained, so I would imagine that the War of the Bavarian Succession is not fought ITTL, but he'd be a lot better positioned to get something at a time of his choosing. Yes, being more flexible would help, and he was... not.
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Regarding the Bavarian Succession, I'd add that TTL has a much higher chance for Joseph to settle the issue to his satisfaction.
The Saxons have Poland to worry about and therefore cannot risk confronting him, while Brandenburg has a much less strong leadership and a lot less of prestige to do anything, not to mention, even worse relations with the Saxons.
Joseph has less motive to force the issue since Silesia has been regained, so I would imagine that the War of the Bavarian Succession is not fought ITTL, but he'd be a lot better positioned to get something at a time of his choosing. Yes, being more flexible would help, and he was... not.
I'm pretty sure Saxony is no longer ruling Poland
The Elector Palatine has not inherited Bavaria yet ITTL?

IOTL, Max Joseph died of smallpox at the age of 50; there's no particular reason he has to die at that same time in a TL which begins when he's nine years old. In fact he was younger than his heir, Charles Theodore of the Palatinate. The Bavarian succession crisis is inevitable, but it hasn't happened yet.

Regarding the Bavarian Succession, I'd add that TTL has a much higher chance for Joseph to settle the issue to his satisfaction.
The Saxons have Poland to worry about and therefore cannot risk confronting him, while Brandenburg has a much less strong leadership and a lot less of prestige to do anything, not to mention, even worse relations with the Saxons.
Joseph has less motive to force the issue since Silesia has been regained, so I would imagine that the War of the Bavarian Succession is not fought ITTL, but he'd be a lot better positioned to get something at a time of his choosing. Yes, being more flexible would help, and he was... not.

A few considerations:
- Saxony does not in fact have Poland to worry about, as they lost control of it after the death of Friedrich Christian in 1777. Poland is presently ruled by King Casimir V (Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski). Saxony is thus likely to oppose the Bavarian plan, although you are correct that relations with Brandenburg are not good.
- Our Joseph II, being born some years after the POD, is not necessarily the Joseph II. There may be some similarities but he is not obligated to act in exactly the same manner as his OTL counterpart.
- Austria, having retained Silesia, is already stronger within the empire than it was historically, and thus the acquisition of Bavaria may represent even more of a threat to other powers than it historically did.
- France and Britain are likely to be at peace when the succession eventually happens, as the American rebellion is already resolved, and thus may be more active in opposing the move.

None of this guarantees a "War of the Bavarian Succession," but it may be worth keeping in mind. It's possible to imagine a situation in which Russia, Britain, and France all line up against Joseph either militarily or diplomatically, which might make him think twice. Austria doesn't really have any friends in this situation; even the alliance with Denmark is a defensive alliance, and the Danes may weasel out of it if they're facing pressure from Russia, Brandenburg, and Britain all at once.