Lincoln Lives: How a failed assassination changed the course of a Nation and a newly freed people

Chapter 8: Birth of a Nation

Chapter 8: Birth of a Nation​

If you ask an American about important events in 1893, most will easily tell you of the Oklahoma rebellion. Unfortunately, most cannot remember this happened under President Cleveland. As he was starting his second term in 1893, the last cattle drive through Oklahoma was starting. What happened during this drive would forever change the United States and Oklahoma. During a stop just inside the Oklahoma territory, a drunken brawl escalated into outright threats. Several of the cowboys guiding the cattle had families that lost land in the panhandle after the civil war when it was given to Oklahoma for resettlement of slaves. Although the land their families on was bought and not taken, it still left bitter feelings among the cowboys and Texans as a whole. The cowboys tired of throwing punches ended up pulling guns and a small battle erupted. When it was over 5 cowboys were dead, 3 more wounded and 12 black citizens were dead and 8 wounded. The remaining cowboys fled with their cattle back to Texas. The governor of Oklahoma immediately called up territorial militia, while Texas called up its’ Rangers and militia. There was a standoff for 2 weeks before both were ordered to stand down by the President, who sent in full US Marine regiment to the area to restore order and keep the two sides separated. A month later, an independent investigation by a Congressional committee would find the cowboys guilty of starting the fight but none were ever prosecuted and so the deaths of the civilians went unpunished.

This was the final trigger to push for open rebellion, though for the most part it was bloodless. On Christmas Eve 1893, the territorial legislature held a special session where the passed a resolution ordering their borders officially closed to all the states, with only the territory of Sequoyah being allowed trade. This situation exacerbated a small recession in the territory but the people had grown tired of the aggression and mistreatment by the whites of surrounding states. While race relations had improved throughout most of the country post-war, those next to the solidly black majority Oklahoma, were still very bitter and angry at their presence. The special session also called for a territorial plebiscite the following June, in honor of Juneteenth, it was to be held on June 19th, 1894. There were two choices; push for statehood or independence. This put the President and Congress in a bind as they essentially had open rebellion within the US for the second time in under 50 years but it was only a single territory and frankly, most Americans at the time paid little attention to the territory of former slaves. The President convinced the territorial government to reopen its’ border and follow US laws with the promise to allow the vote to go on as a compromise. He felt that six months was enough time for heads to cool and he was sure the outcome would be statehood; he was wrong. On June 20th, 1894, newspapers across the United States reported 89% had voted for independence. Now all eyes were on Washington, what would the President and Congress do?

In the end, there was a slight majority in favor of letting them go, especially among southern Democrats, who had a strong dislike of free and equal negroes. The President ended up proposing to Congress a solution. In recent years, oil had been found in the Sequoyah territory causing the Oklahoma territory to begin searching in their land, striking oil in late 1893(AN #1) in Oklahoma City. The President offered to recognize the new nation for essentially what amounted to a payoff(or blackmail, depending on point of view); the new nation would offer 10% of gross revenue from oil sales until January 1st, 1920, basically 25 year plan to buy their independence. In return, Oklahoma would become a free and sovereign nation. Congress narrowly agreed and sent the proposal over to the territorial government. It was voted on and agreed on August 21st, 1894. The official date of the nation's independence would be June 19th, 1895. While many Oklahomans were happy to be free of a nation that despised them, others were unhappy about continued exploitation with the compromise regarding oil sales. Modern historians also look poorly on this but no one can question the positive outcome for black residents of the soon to be Republic of New Africa. In the years to come, they would essentially become the North American version of Switzerland, maintaining neutrality through two world wars and becoming a tax and investment haven for wealthy US citizens. Thanks initially to oil revenue and then eventually banking revenue in the Black Wall Street of Oklahoma City (AN #2), the Republic of New Africa would not only have the highest standard of living among any black majority nation, it would even surpass the US in standard of living per capita in 1978. It eventually became an odd mix of libertarian business ideals mixed with socialist public policies, providing all citizens with national healthcare and education, giving students a choice of trade schools, community colleges or 4 years colleges and universities to attend at no cost to them. While there would be hard times early on, the money earned during war years helped them avoid the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, often describe as muddling through, using its wealth to help it survive the Dust Bowl. This is one of the instances where, regardless of how it was achieved, the two nations truly were better off a part and relations in modern times have never been better.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, while many did not mind losing the territory itself due to its current occupants, many did not like how easily they were let go and the Republicans made them pay in 1896. William McKinley would win the Presidency and the GOP would hold all open Senate seats while picking up 6, including 2 from the new state of Utah (admitted on Jan 4, 1896 as the 45th state), giving them 50 seats. The House would see the GOP improve on their majority, grabbing 270 seats. When the new Congress would open session in March of 1897, the first item was two statehood proposals. While Oklahoma wanted to leave, Santo Domingo and Nicaragua thought it time to join and officially applied for statehood. The new congress seeing how unhappy the citizens were in losing Oklahoma decided, in spite of their concerns with the sizeable minority and catholic populations, to accept them both. The two states were welcomed into the Union on January 6th 1898 for Nicaragua (46th state) and January 7th for Santo Domingo, though Santo Domingo decided to follow the likes of Pennsylvania and Virginia by only calling itself a commonwealth instead of state and it decided to change its name to honor its native people by choosing a name from one of the Taino peoples Cacicazgos(AN #3). So was born the Commonwealth of Maguana, 47th state in the Union. Special elections were held by the new state legislatures soon after and chose 4 new Senators, all Republicans, pushing the GOP advantage to 54 seats in the Senate. The happy times with the new states was not to last as just one month later, a crisis would unfold.

On February 15th, 1898, the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. There was an immediate outcry and accusations tossed at Spain, many immediately demanding retributions. President McKinley tried negotiating with Spain over the incident, with Spain denying any responsibility and refusing compensation. So, on April 25th the US Congress voted for war with Spain. The support was not unanimous, however, as some were not convinced Spain was guilty and others, like Senators Teller and Platt wanted to amend the declaration with a statement ensuring they would not annex Cuba. This was not due to any altruistic reasons, rather, both men feared Cuban sugar competing with other sugar companies within the US(AN #4). This made no sense to most, as the US already had additional sugar sources in Nicaragua and Maguana and so was easily defeated. The majority wanted both revenge for the Maine but also to protect their interests in the Caribbean. The war would be, to date, the shortest duration in US history (AN #5). Led mostly by the nations militia and volunteers due to the small military the US kept at the time, people like future President Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders would fight as volunteers for the US. The US would end up capturing Santiago, Cuba, by July 17th and Spain would sue for peace within a month. During that month on August 6th, further explosive news rocked the US as a report in the New York times showed the United Kingdom had given funding and supplies to Spain as a way to retaliate for US interference in British Columbia. This greatly heightened tensions and while the UK did not officially confirm this, they did privately offer an apology to the President and ceased all loans and supply shipments to Spain, helping push Spain to end the war on terms favorable to the United States. With news that the US had destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Philippines, Spain finally agreed to an armistice on August 16th. On February 6th, 1899, the Treaty of Paris is ratified by the U.S. Senate. Under the treaty, the U.S. acquires control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam and the Northern Marianas (which was to be home to a small Asiatic fleet to protect merchant shipping to the Far East). All of which become territories of the United States. These would be the last land acquisitions that would become US states(AN #6), at least as of the year 2020. The US turned down the chance to buy the Philippines due to the growing Caribbean footprint, as they needed to focus on integrating the new territory there, as well as to begin construction of the Nicaraguan canal. This also helped calm some of the anti-imperialist arguments that have popped up in the Senate recently. Plus, there were concerns voiced privately that the Philippine insurgents were not worth the price when Cuba was much closer and easier to deal with. Spain would end up selling the Philippines to Japan, whom had tried to acquire them 5 years earlier. The German Empire tried to buy it but they had taken the Marianas by force after the US took Guam, they evacuated after the US bought the islands and Spain refused to offer Philippines to them because of that. Guam and the Marianas would become combined into a single territory and would eventually become a state in 1978 with Puerto Rico joining in 2017. Cuba would join during the 1930s as a way to ensure more funding to fight the Great Depression.

As the century was closing out, the President was assured of re-election, though a new VP was to be chosen as a way to keep him out of the spot light, his name was Teddy Roosevelt, governor of New York and hero of the brief Spanish-American war. This however, was secondary at the moment to a project long in the works and finally starting after the failure of the French to build a canal in Panama. In May 1899, the US completed an in-depth geological and biological survey of Nicaraguan possible canal routes and made a former recommendation to Congress including the approximate price for building at $138 Million in 1899 dollars. The Congress approved by overwhelming majority in both houses and construction would break ground the following March, it would finish in 1911 and would be needed very quickly for a growing US Fleet to utilize. The 1890s had been a chaotic decade but they ended on the high note for the United States as they once again flexed their growing might and assured themselves of US hegemony in North America and soon the Caribbean.

Authors Notes:
Before I get to the ANs from the story, just my own perspective on the war. With the larger GOP majority in Congress plus the influence of Nicaragua and Maguana delegations, they were more easily able to get support for the war and defeat the Teller amendment, as many of those who still spoke Spanish as a primary language knew they could exploit Cuba and Puerto Rico fairly easily from a business standpoint as they new the language and culture.

1 - Oil originally struck here in 1920s.
2 - In OTL, the Black Wall Street was in Tulsa, but in this TL that is in Sequoyah, simply moved it to Oklahoma City.
3 - Cacicazgos are basically small communities or chiefdoms, there were 5 on the island of Hispaniola when Columbus arrived.
4 - This was an actual reason in OTL, both men were trying to protect the US sugar industry. I threw it in here just for a little fun, I know it really doesn’t make sense in this new TL but I wanted to include to bring light to the fact Teller didn’t care about annexing Cuba, he only cared about business interests.
5 - In OTL there were other conflicts listed as shorter but between butterflying a couple away and the others not being officially declared war, I’m stating this as the shortest US war.
6 - Emphasis on “states”, there may be more territories and or commonwealths (like OTL Northern Marianas), to be determined... :evilsmile:
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Chapter 9: Death of a President

Chapter 9: Death of a President

President McKinley was enjoying the start of this second term as President, doing a tour around different parts of the country and basically enjoying the spoils of a successful first term that saw large economic growth and a short but successful war against Spain. It was against this backdrop that tragedy would strike. While visiting The Temple of Music in Buffalo, on September 6th, 1901, the President was greeting visitors when Leon Czolgosz pulled a hidden pistol and shot the President. Initially it appeared that the President would live, so much so that his Vice President left on a trip a few days later. However, the President took a turn for the worst and early on the 14th of September, died. Roosevelt would take the oath of office later that day and begin his return to DC. One of the earliest foreign dignitaries he hosted at the White House was the Ambassador from Oklahoma, Booker T. Washington, who was hoping to strengthen ties between his new nation and old one.

Under Roosevelt, a large shift was to occur in how the government interacted with big business. It was during McKinley’s last months in office that the company US Steel was formed after JP Morgan bought out Carnegie’s steel operations, making Andrew Carnegie the richest man. Companies like this, Standard Oil, and others would soon be targeted by the Roosevelt administration for trust busting. During the remainder of his first term, several key events happened in the US business world. In 1903, both Ford Motor Company and Harley Davidson were formed. The same year also saw the Wright Brothers launch a successful, first powered manned flight at Kitty Hawk, though some still debate this as the first manned flight even to this day. Teddy would go on to push reforms like Elkins Act, to prevent railroads from rewarding favored companies and restore equal access to, especially to family farmers. His outdoor spirt led him to push for the Reclamation Service to work with the Department of the Interior to help manage water supplies, especially for drinking and farm irrigation out west. The Antiquities act allowed a President to create national monuments and conserve land. He also helped mediate the Coal Strike of 1902, working with the Union to improve pay and working conditions for coal miners. He would also get a policy win with the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and Meat Inspection Act, both widely accredited to influence of Urban Sinclair's “The Jungle”. The President would win second term in 1904 and push full steam ahead with reforms now that he had what he saw as a mandate from the people.

However, 1903 nearly saw another war break out as the European powers or Great Britain, Germany, and Italy began blockading Venezuela of non-payment on debt owed. President Roosevelt, still upset over British involvement in the Spanish-American war dispatched a naval squadron with orders to break the blockade. While the ships of the Royal Navy and German High Seas fleet were superior to the ones sent by the Americans, they were hesitant to get into a shooting war. London and Berlin had been notified before the fleet left the US of their intentions and the governments agreed to stand down and instead come to Washington DC, with the US acting as mediator between the aggrieved parties and Venezuela. While a deal was worked out in the end, tensions remained high between the US and the UK. Germany, while not happy with having to stand down to the Americans, eventually got over it since they and Italy had been able to get a fair settlement out of the mediation. This incident, along with the Presidents experience during the recent war, showed him and Congress that some changes were needed to ensure US security and ability to respond to crisis. This ended up with the Militia Act of 1903 that reorganized the militia system into the US National Guard. Initially the act would limit the NG only to US territory but that would be removed in just a few years. The goal was to provide a steady, trained reserve without the cost and burden of a large standing army. It would prove it’s worth within a decade of its founding. The President did end up with a very public diplomatic victory when he helped negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese war of 1905, it even landed him the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, Peace was not always on his mind. In just 3 years from the Venezuela Crisis, the launching of a new style of battleship, the HMS Dreadnought, would prompt President Roosevelt to push through Congress a Two Ocean navy act. He used the recent British meddling in the Spanish-American war as well as the Venezuela Crisis of his first term just 3 years earlier to hammer home the need to protect US territories from Guam, to Hawai’i in the Pacific, and Maguana, Puerto Rico, and Cuba in the Caribbean, as well as the east and west coasts of mainland US from possible hostile navies. Though it was clear to all the “hostile” navy that was most feared was the Royal Navy. With what was officially called the Naval Act of 1906, the President secured the largest peace time military expansion bill in US history, creating an Atlantic and Pacific fleet. Highlights include; 2 – Battleships (Dreadnoughts) per year through 1920 for a total of 28, 12 – Battlecruisers, 40 - submarines, 100 destroyers, and numerous other support vessels including some for the newly created US Coast Guard, which was the US Marine Revenue Cutter(AN#1) service prior to this. It was established just prior to the Naval Act being passed. Congress would later pass another Naval Act in 1914 to speed up construction and add further ships due to the outbreak of war in Europe treating naval construction as if it was on a war footing already, by Spring of 1916 there would be 20 completed Battleships and 14 more either under construction or planned, as well as 6 completed Battlecruisers. One major addition though, was doubling of the Destroyers ordered due to the early success seen by U-boats against the UK, to ensure they had adequate protection against submarines in any future conflict.

As the President’s second term was nearing an end he had a decision to make, run again and break the two term tradition or step way. In the end, he decided to run again as he wanted to ensure his domestic policies and naval buildup did not get sidetracked under another President. While some did initially complain, he successfully framed the race as his true second term, as he simply finished his predecessors' term in 1904. President Roosevelt would win by an even larger margin, proving a third term was possible, the only change being his new running mate Charles Evans Hughes, whom the President viewed as his successor. The man many thought would succeed Roosevelt, William Taft, would end up getting his dream job when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Teddy would have several SCOTUS picks during his time as President and solidified his progressive policies by ensuring likeminded judges were appointed. While President Roosevelt would not have as many notable achievements in his last term as in the first two, he did pass several key pieces of legislation. This includes the income tax via the 16th amendment, which was ratified in 1913, the Federal Reserve Act of 1911 (AN#2), the 17th amendment on Direct Election of Senators, ratified in 1913, and the 18th amendment granting women the right to vote, ratified in 1914(AN#3). Progressives revere Teddy Roosevelt to this day for his pioneering workers rights, restrictions on corporations with trust busting, and protecting the environment. His last trip outside the country as President came when he opened Nicaraguan canal in the summer of 1911. The canal would become a financial boon for both the state and the nation.

In November 1912, Charles Evans Hughes would win election with Charles Fairbanks as VP. President Hughes would ensure the naval buildup would continue as he believed maintaining peace through preparedness. He would manage to not only get a second Naval Act passed (listed above), at the same time he would get congress to agree to an expansion of the Army, though it was still an all-volunteer force, to 300K men. Years later, that proved to be a stroke of good luck, as they would already have the capacity for building up arms and munitions, especially the new air arm it authorized, as well as the new curious invention; the tank. This proved to be needed sooner than hoped though, as during his run for re-election the Royal Navy blockade of Germany and their seizure of neutral shipping headed to neutral ports finally came to a head. At the end of 1915, President Hughes had warned the UK that if they did not cease interdicting legal, neutral trading vessels, he would start sending the USN as escorts. On May 31st, 1916 just before the GOP convention, the Royal Navy attempted to stop a USN led convoy of merchant ships heading to the Netherlands. The USN ignored RN attempts to stop for boarding causing the RN to fire what was supposed to be warning shots. Whether through error or on purpose, one of the shots hit the USS North Carolina (ACR-12). The USN signaled the merchants to make best speed to port while they turned to face the Royal Navy. In the end, the North Carolina took several more shots and the remaining crew had to abandon ship, sinking just outside Netherlands territorial waters. Several ships on both sides were damaged, including the USS Texas (BB-25), which had been sent along as a show of force. The Texas outgunned the RN vessels that were present but the RN had better marksmanship with their guns and it showed. Both forces eventually disengaged and retreated, with the other USN ships picking up survivors of the North Carolina. The ships would then turn and make for US waters at best possible speed. Fortunately, the navy had included a new tanker ship, designed to help refuel oil fired ships at sea and this allowed the USN vessels to make it back to US waters. Of course, this was more due to the RN not pursuing as they were unsure how to proceed since they technically were not at war, it was a mistake they would come to regret.

The GOP convention was delayed a week so that the President could address Congress at the Capitol. On June 1st, after an address by President Hughes who outlined not only the incident with the North Carolina but also other grievances against the United Kingdom, the US Congress voted for war against the United Kingdom and her Dominion’s with 80 voting for war in the Senate and 373 in the House, not surprisingly the entire North Carolina delegation voted in favor of war. The United States was going to war but not as a Central Power but what would be called a co-belligerent alongside Germany after they signed an agreement for resupplying naval vessels in their ports. The other Entente powers, including Japan, decided against backing the United Kingdom, as they were concerned with the recent rearmament undertaken by the US and their sheer industrial potential, not to mention the bleeding of almost two years of war. The Great War in Europe had now turned into a true World War, and Canada was about to bear the brunt of US anger in North America, while the Royal Navy would soon find out that the USN and the HSF make a deadly match, described in the Daily Mirror the day the war ended as a “match made in Hell, which is what Cardiff, Newport, and Southampton currently look like...” President Hughes would go on to win a second term in a landslide, as Americans gave their President a war time boost, buoyed by early victories in the war which will be discussed further in the next chapter. The Great War had now become and American War, a three sided affair with far reaching impact still felt to this day.

1 – Coast Guard originally created in 1915 in OTL.
2 – Was originally passed in 1913.
3 – originally passed in 1919.
I would think that due to the large distances that Armored Cars would be developed faster than tanks.
True but Patton really helped pioneer that, going after Pancho Villa, but no Villa or Mexican revolution in this TL (at least not as of this point) due to the changes that happened post Civil War with France being allowed to stay longer unimpeded.
This is just review of a few brief facts left out in case anyone is wondering and a few sneak peaks at the next chapter;
First off, 3 New States added to the Union prior to war;
  • 27 January 1912 – New Mexico becomes 48th state of the union.
  • 14 February 1912 – Arizona becomes 49th state of the union.
  • 6 June 1914 - Sequoyah becomes the 50th state of the union.

    Next, a key reminder that Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are separated from BC thanks to purchases by US after the Civil War, which means large amounts of farmland that OTL could be used to feed them and the UK during the Great War now belong to the US.

    Speaking of BC, do not forget in a prior update I mentioned how they were getting restless in how the UK was treating them, that comes in to play soon, and the UK will not be happy.

    In this TL, like OTL, German Samoa was taken early in the war, that plays a part in the next chapter regarding the negotiations for port access for resupply that was briefly mentioned in the last chapter.

    Also, for the Dreadnought class battleships, as I stated they had 20 done by the start of the war, this is using the OTL classes of battleship meaning we have the first of the two Tennessee class ships already in operation, the other (California) is undergoing sea trials. The next 4 being built are what was OTL Colorado class but has been renamed the North Carolina class to honor the recently lost ship. Even with wartime construction, it wont be ready until postwar but look up the Colorado class if you want specs. What this does mean though is that Super-Dreadnought class ships are online in the USN as of this time.

    Also, a thank you for those that have read and contributed to the conversation. I had this TL in my head for a while but only planned to take it to the Great War so I will be ending after that. I simply don't have the mindset and dedication to do a proper, well thought out TL with so many butterflies as this one created once you get so far out from the POD. I just hope people will appreciate the differences in this versus other Lincoln Lives TLs, especially with the Great War not simply being the US joining early or joining the CP instead, with the 3 way war being more intriguing to me personally which is why I went that route. So 1 or 2 chapters left max, thanks again!​
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Well, this looks like it's going to be an interesting war. I can't remember coming across a timeline where America entered the war against Britain before, and am eagerly awaiting the results :)
Well, this looks like it's going to be an interesting war. I can't remember coming across a timeline where America entered the war against Britain before, and am eagerly awaiting the results :)
Thanks! The TLs I usually see the US against Britain are some weird Ameriwank where they align with Germany without any reason just to curb stomb the UK. Granted, the UK will not be getting off well here but its for pissing off the US multiple times over the last half century. I had purposely laid out the tension between them early on because I wanted to see a 3 way great war. Because in my mind, the US (despite their clear empire-like expansion) still views themselves as opponents of imperialism and wouldn't want to align with ANY imperial nation, hence the agreement I mentioned between the US and Germany on using each others ports rather then becoming Allies. In fact, in OTL the US didn't join the Entente as they were co-belligerents which is partially where I got the idea from here.
Isn't Sequoyah filled with mostly Native Americans? I don't think early 1900 US is going to allow them to vote or form their own state.
Yes it is mostly natives, but the ones that were considered civilized. In OTL, they did try to form one but was shot down, however, the racial climate is different in this TL with not only the majority black Oklahoma / Republic of New Africa next door, there is also larger latin american mix thanks to Nicaragua and what used to be Santo Domingo in the mix. Those two becoming states paved the way for Sequoyah because how well they worked out.
Due to the declaration of war on the Empire, I suspect the United States is now in the market for new real estate. At least 2 million square miles north of the 49th Parallel, perhaps?
America being a co-belligerent alongside Germany and not as another member Central Power just made this timeline for me, brilliant, gud job.
Canada is screwed, and if the Pacific squadron is in the Northern Marianas; Malaysia, Hongkong, and Singapore and Oceana can be threatened.
Theodore Roosevelt is even even more of a great president.
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Why didn't I think of reading this earlier? I love the idea of an independent Oklahoma. Nicaragua was a plot twist for sure. But Charles Hughes winning the presidency in 1912 and America becoming a co-belligerent in the first World War instead of a Central Powers member sold this for me. Watched.
Due to the declaration of war on the Empire, I suspect the United States is now in the market for new real estate. At least 2 million square miles north of the 49th Parallel, perhaps?
Actually, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Canada will not be annexed by the US at any point once they had acquired the former Rupert's Land and Northwest territories but there will be changes coming for sure!

EDIT: Forgot to mention, dont forget there is other UK territory a bit lower in this hemisphere. ;)
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Why didn't I think of reading this earlier? I love the idea of an independent Oklahoma. Nicaragua was a plot twist for sure. But Charles Hughes winning the presidency in 1912 and America becoming a co-belligerent in the first World War instead of a Central Powers member sold this for me. Watched.
Thanks, appreciate the support!
America being a co-belligerent alongside Germany and not as another member Central Power just made this timeline for me, brilliant, gud job.
Canada is screwed, and if the Pacific squadron is in the Northern Marianas; Malaysia, Hongkong, and Singapore and Oceana can be threatened.
Theodore Roosevelt is even even more of a great president.
Yes, I have a plan for the Pacific, but with Japan staying away from the Americans since they didn't want to risk the Philippines (plus in this TL they were the ones that bought them and had to put down the revolts), probably wont be any more than raiding parties in SE Asia, Oceania though... :rolleyes: