I mean, it's Corsica. The country is small enough for Theodore to have a roving capital, built around his person. Some administrative stuff at Corti perhaps, but residences elsewhere most certainly.

That’s a fair point. A “seasonal migration” would also make some sense - Corti in the summer, when the coasts are hot and malarial, and Ajaccio (or another coastal town) in the winter, when Corti is cold and snowy.

At some point one or more actual royal residences will presumably have to be built. The only building in Corsica which merits the name “palace” is the Governor’s Palace in Bastia, but as stated that’s probably not going to be the post-independence seat of government. Today, the palace is a national museum .

So like a Mediterranean Singapore.

Sort of? My understanding is that Theodore’s inspiration was probably Livorno, which was a rather insignificant coastal village in the Middle Ages but had exploded into a prosperous trade hub as a consequence of a liberal Medici program of public works, free trade, and religious tolerance. These policies attracted Jewish, Armenian, Greek, Dutch, English, and other communities who brought with them commercial contacts across Europe and the Mediterranean. In two centuries the city’s population grew from about 1,500 to nearly 35,000 (c. 1750). Livorno quickly replaced Pisa as Tuscany’s primary port and even began to rival Genoa's commercial power, to the point where in the 18th century the Genoese declared their own city a free port and experimented with loosening religious discrimination (particularly anti-Jewish laws) to try and keep up.

Theodore’s plan is basically “what if a whole country were Livorno?” To this end, he would develop ports, slash tariffs, abolish all restrictive religious laws, encourage immigration from absolutely everywhere, maintain (as much as possible) political neutrality to avoid embargos and ruinous wars, and thus create a prosperous multicultural free-trade paradise.

Of course there are very obvious problems with this vision. The Corsicans are a very conservative people. Their traditional culture is pastoralism and subsistence agriculture, not commerce. Theodore may be a secret Deist, but his subjects are extremely Catholic, and if they can’t even stand the Greeks (who are actually Catholic) then they’re unlikely to embrace the mass immigration of Jews and Protestants. Domestic producers of goods like olive oil and wine may benefit from the opening of Corsica, but they could also suffer from losing their primary market (Genoa) and facing increased foreign competition. The Medici were able to build up Livorno because they had all the resources of Tuscany to work with, but Theodore has no fortune (his "net worth" is negative) or other rich territories to fund development. For that reason Corsica will need foreign investment, but foreign capital spent at the ports may not filter back to the Corsican peasantry of the interior. Moreover, foreign capital almost inevitably comes hand in hand with diplomatic ensnarement, which will complicate efforts to keep Corsica out of war and avoid foreign domination.

Yikes! I had insofar been under the impression that malaria was primarily an issue from San Pellegrino to some distance north of Porto Vecchio. That such a fine port is effectively a desolate pit of disease every summer is a pity.

The main region of infestation is indeed the great eastern coastal plain. But malaria can be found on Corsica anywhere that’s coastal, flat, and well-watered, which includes most of its natural harbors. Porto Vecchio is especially marshy, and San Fiorenzo isn’t much better. The bays of Calvi and Ajaccio likewise have malaria issues, but the cities themselves don’t suffer as much for it because they’re on rocky points some distance from where the streams enter the bay.

Malaria really is the chief impediment to Corsican prosperity, as it not only retards the development of their most promising port cities but renders a majority of the country’s fertile lowland essentially unusable. For reference, here’s a modern land use map which gives you a pretty good idea of where the agricultural land is in Corsica:

6Dg76EY.jpg


The agricultural land of the eastern plain dwarfs the Balagna, yet in the 18th century that whole eastern strip from Bastia to Fiumorbo, as well as the valley centered around Porto Vecchio, is largely useless and has few permanent inhabitants. There is some farming on the eastern plain, but like Porto Vecchio itself it’s a seasonal affair - farmers in the western Castagniccia plant and harvest a few acres of crops in the off-season, while returning to the hills and sustaining themselves on chestnuts, pastoralism, etc. during the long summer. Such seasonal use represents only a very small fraction of the potential productivity of the region if the land was reclaimed and made suitable for people year-round.
 
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Gonna have to drain a lot of marshes, I guess.

How far away are we from people figuring out that draining marshes is a good way to keep malaria at bay? I think we're far far far away from people figuring out that mosquitoes are the vector of the disease.
 
How far away are we from people figuring out that draining marshes is a good way to keep malaria at bay? I think we're far far far away from people figuring out that mosquitoes are the vector of the disease.

The connection between malaria and wetlands was already understood, but the cause of the disease was generally attributed to "unhealthy air" (or "miasma") arising from the marshes, essentially the same theory posited by the ancient Romans. Thus, while the mosquito vector was not known, the way to stop the miasma - drain the wetlands - was in fact effective at addressing the real cause of the illness. The Roman physician Lancisi, for instance, published a work in 1717 called De Noxiis Paludum Effluviis (On the Noxious Effluvia of Marshes) in which he advised draining marshes as a means to fight malaria. So no conceptual leap is necessary for Theodore and the Corsicans to understand that marshes=malaria; this is well-established medical knowledge.

The efficacy of Cinchona bark, the "fever tree" from which quinine was derived, was also well-known by this time, although quinine itself wouldn't be isolated until 1820.
 
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The next chapter will be another "so how's Europe doing these days" update starring a lot of famous non-Corsicans, and it will be delayed until I figure out exactly how I want to tweak OTL north of the Alps.

The big event of 1745 was the sudden death of the emperor Karl VII Albrecht at the tender age of 47, which had the effect of suddenly ending the war in Germany (as France's original casus belli of gaining the imperial throne for Bavaria no longer applied). That was good news for Austria in Silesia, where they were able to concentrate on Prussia without any French or Bavarian forces in the theater (although Frederick ended up winning that war anyway), but bad news in Italy and the Netherlands, where France was now free to concentrate its forces.

Karl Albrecht was not a healthy man; his death was not a "oops I ate some bad mushrooms" moment like the death of Karl VI allegedly was. He had terrible gout and gallstones, and when he was autopsied he had lesions all over his internal organs. That said, with a POD 9 years prior, a somewhat earlier or later death for Karl Albrecht isn't at all out of the question. A later death might be better as far as Corsica is concerned, as it means France can't throw serious weight into the Italian theater (the original French plan for 1745 was to go whole hog in Germany while stalling in Italy and the Netherlands), but that then raises the question of whether Austria can really hang on in Germany when they're fighting not only the Prussians but Franco-Bavarian armies as well.

If Karl Albrecht even gets another 6 months, the results would be far-reaching. It would certainly butterfly both Hohenfriedberg and Fontenoy, among the most pivotal battles of the war, both of which occurred in early 1745; with a Franco-Bavarian army in Germany it's unlikely that the Austrians would be able to throw 70,000 men into Silesia, which averts Hohenfriedberg, and the presence of that same Franco-Bavarian army means that Maurice de Saxe gets fewer troops in the Netherlands, which averts or potentially changes the outcome of Fontenoy. But the other major issue involves Karl Albrecht's son, Max III of Bavaria. France initially tried to set him up as the new imperial candidate, but Max wasn't so sure and vacillated between peace and war. Before the French could do much, the Austrians came storming in to recently-liberated Bavaria, crushed the French forces there, captured the electorate, and compelled Max to sign a treaty in which he was restored to his territories in exchange for supporting Franz Stefan as emperor. Even if Karl Albrecht still dies in 1745, if he does so after the main French army in Germany has already advanced into Bavaria, young Max might be much more likely to bow to French pressure and maintain his claim (although he may not have the votes to actually realize that claim in 1745).

While that's an interesting scenario, it might go too far off the rails for this TL. I'd certainly like to read a "what if the Wittelsbachs managed to hold on to the empire" TL, but that turns the history of Europe on its head to the likely detriment of this focused project.
 
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This is where alt-history as historical exercise and alt-history as literature diverge. As a historical exercise the butterflies start flapping and all dice need to be rerolled, if anything there should have been some massive butterflies already flapping years and years ago. As literature the focus is on Corsica so to maintain that focus unless there's a chain of events that can be clearly traced back to Corsica (as with the shuffle of French generals) then the dice should land the same way. Of course as the TL persists the chains of events leading back to Corsica will get longer and longer and Europe will get altered more and more, but from a literary point of view I think it makes sense to take some DDT to the butterflies unless a chain of events leading back to Corsica can be established instead of just randomness.
 
I don't want to get too far into the general theory of alt-history here, but I will say that I do not necessarily object to some "randomness" in the sense of events not directly traceable to Corsican affairs at this point in the timeline. Indeed, I've already indulged in a few, like differing winds leading to different outcomes at Toulon and the Channel, and Lobkowitz catching the fever that killed so many of his men. My plan has basically been to gradually lift the "net," as it were, with diversions growing more pronounced as the years go on, and I've already been lifting it faster than I originally expected - I pronounced at the beginning of this TL that the WotAS would stay essentially the same but for Corsica, and yet I've already changed more than I expected to with the alternate 1744 Italian campaign.
 
This is where alt-history as historical exercise and alt-history as literature diverge. As a historical exercise the butterflies start flapping and all dice need to be rerolled, if anything there should have been some massive butterflies already flapping years and years ago. As literature the focus is on Corsica so to maintain that focus unless there's a chain of events that can be clearly traced back to Corsica (as with the shuffle of French generals) then the dice should land the same way. Of course as the TL persists the chains of events leading back to Corsica will get longer and longer and Europe will get altered more and more, but from a literary point of view I think it makes sense to take some DDT to the butterflies unless a chain of events leading back to Corsica can be established instead of just randomness.
Strictly speaking I would say a proper historical exercise doesn't reroll any dice if the goal is to compare only the differences resulting from the POD with OTL.
Assuming you want to apply the scientific method as best as possible that is. Even in thought experiments you want to minimise variables not expand them.
 
Strictly speaking I would say a proper historical exercise doesn't reroll any dice if the goal is to compare only the differences resulting from the POD with OTL.
Assuming you want to apply the scientific method as best as possible that is. Even in thought experiments you want to minimise variables not expand them.

There's actually three methods I would say you can take from a POD: a realistic one, a comparative one, and a literary one.

A realistic one you estimate butterflies as best as a human can, like Carp did with the winds (though in my opinion geographical and meteorological impacts are actually, in contrast to the original phrase, highly resistant to butterflies, as opposed to say human actions which are based on tiny electrical signals that a single atom out of place can nudge, never mind a whole separate interaction), but the POD will become dwarfed by much bigger PODs that occur just because of the roll of dice, in particular actions that were very unlikely to occur.

A comparative one you restrict the butterflies to anything not directly traceable, and even in scenarios where it is traceable you shore up the resistance of human minds/whatever you're comparing so it has to be a significant change.

A literary approach you ignore butterflies and causality unless it helps accomplish the goal of the story.

Most stories are a combination, especially as until we get universe simulators (and what a day for alt-history that'll be) the realistic approach is out of our reach.
 
@RMcD94 Agreed but I'd also add that we're not entirely sure what is "realistic" temporally since macroscopic events seem to be deterministic (albeit subject to chaos in the mathematical sense) while microscopic events appear probabilistic. And then there's emergent phenomena which we have no clue how they occur just that they do.
 
(although he may not have the votes to actually realize that claim in 1745).

Hell, seeing the Habsburg power effectively broken, even if they are still fighting for their lives, is it possible the electors just go open field and elect someone not Max or Franz in this scenario?
 
Is there any information on how probable Karl Albrecht's OTL death at that specific date and time was? Like has he survived similar or more severe bouts prior to that collapse? Did he arrive immediately at death's door or was it a prolonged affair with the option of a rally?
 
Y'know, I'm idly thinking about doing a Venice timeline that actually dovetails into a partial Habsburg-Screw. My vague idea was that after taking back Crete (and maybe Cyprus and Euboia) in the Morean War they involve themselves in the various later wars between Habsburg and Bourbon; eventually Austria swaps Lorraine and Belgium for Provence and also loses Trieste, Silesia, Tirol, Bohemia and Milan (sold to Venice, partitioned by Prussia and Saxony, ceded to Bavaria, ceded to Bavaria, and sold to Savoy, respectively). The follow up would be interesting- a rather intimidating (presumed) Franco-Spanish-Austrian alliance versus Bavaria-Prussia-England (and possibly Savoy-Venice?) axis. The net result of all this is Austria reduced to Hungary and the rump of Bohemia/Austria itself, Prussia and Bavaria staring daggers at each other over the German states and a super-strong France flexing its muscles over a collection of regional powers (Savoy-Provence under the Habsburgs, Savoyard Naples/Sicily, Northern Italy under Venice) cozying up to England out of fear. It would be fascinating to see how wildly that affects history- obviously no Napoleon, probably no Revolution either (well the American Revolution could still happen... or maybe not).
 
I think the question of how "off the rails" you want to take this TL depends in part on how far you're actually looking to take it. For example, were you planning to take a break from this great story once the WoAS was over and Theodore finally achieved sovereignty for his kingdom; or, along that same vein, to switch the "pace" of this TL and cover more picture stuff with several years a post?
 
I think the question of how "off the rails" you want to take this TL depends in part on how far you're actually looking to take it. For example, were you planning to take a break from this great story once the WoAS was over and Theodore finally achieved sovereignty for his kingdom; or, along that same vein, to switch the "pace" of this TL and cover more picture stuff with several years a post?

Indeed, the scope and purpose of the timeline, and what you want to tell with it, is ultimately what should determine how the changes are handled. The focus of this timeline is very much on Corsica; and unlike Sons of the Harlot Empress there are not (at least, barring Napoleon, which is a rather quixotic butterfly of mothra scale) any "major" changes fundamentally implied by an independent Corsica, at least not on the level that a unified medieval Italy suggests. On that level whatever changes you make I would suggest keeping them confined to obvious divergences (implied by Corsica's presence in the war) and/or aligned with the focus on Corsica- that is to say, those changes which have ramifications for the Italian theater.
 
In a selfish sense I'm fascinated to see how Carp could write an amazing timeline on a radically different WoAS, and indeed if he's intending to stop when Corsica becomes officially independent it's probably not too important to stay close to reality (since you only have to deal with butterflies for a shorter time), but the longer you go the harder work it is to keep a lid on everything, and the harder it is also to suspend the readers disbelief. You know if Hitler ends up speaking with Theodore the Xth for example (obviously Carp wouldn't write that but you get the point).
 
In a selfish sense I'm fascinated to see how Carp could write an amazing timeline on a radically different WoAS, and indeed if he's intending to stop when Corsica becomes officially independent it's probably not too important to stay close to reality (since you only have to deal with butterflies for a shorter time), but the longer you go the harder work it is to keep a lid on everything, and the harder it is also to suspend the readers disbelief. You know if Hitler ends up speaking with Theodore the Xth for example (obviously Carp wouldn't write that but you get the point).
Theodore will become a title just like Augustus among corsicans.
 
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