Does anyone know how Greece today views the Byzantines (Eastern Romans)? ITTL, will the Byzantines have a greater or lesser place in Greek history?

From what I know of Greeks who have immigrated to the United states, so this might not reflect the views of Greeks living in Greece, they have quite a bit of nostalgia for their byzantine past. In fact Greece is a very unique country as they relate to ancient Greeks as closely as most countries look at their 19th century roots today.

They do like the byzantine empire a lot, and are proud of how great it was, similar to how they feel about Alexander the great empire. The period they have the most nostalgia though is when they "held" constantinople. There is a huge amount of classic literature about the good years in the city without being ruled by the Turks and then how they had to leave their homes and history. So while the connection to the byzantines is there, what is really critical to the Greeks is constantinople itself, they might want more in this timeline, but the only thing they feel they NEED would be the holy city itself.
 
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Greetings and salutations everyone!

For those of you who were worried, I'm back (temporarily) and this timeline will definitely continue in the very near future; I even have the next few updates planned out and everything, I just have to write them down since I haven't been able to use a computer for the last two months.:biggrin: If anyone is interested in what I've been doing for the past few months, I joined the military and just completed Basic Training this week. It's something I've always wanted to do and something I finally convinced myself to do back in May, but it also meant being sequestered away from my family and my computer for nearly two months which really sucked. Now that I'm done with that though I should be able to return to posting here with some frequency in the relatively near future.


Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it and welcome aboard.




Sometime in the next week or two, hopefully sooner. :)

Congrats, @Earl Marshal...
 
Yah! What do you plan on doing in the army? Rangers, green berets, engineering?
@Earl Marshal congratulations for joining the military..i hope you join the officer school some day.if not i hope you learn many valuable lessons in the army as i did
Actually, I'm in the Air Force, not the Army, and my job is not nearly that cool or exciting.:p Either way thank you both!

Well, I hope you serve your country well @Earl Marshal.

One note of concern is are you going to be deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan though. I'm asking because of the potential for this: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AuthorExistenceFailure

(mostly because I heard that one fanfic writer had been killed while serving in Afghanistan, leaving his ongoing fanfics largely abandoned)
Fortunately my AFSC is not a combat related job, so my chances of being sent into harm's way are relatively low, but that being said, there is always that chance that the worst could happen and I end up on a "permanent" hiatus. I hope and pray that doesn't happen, but I knew full well that it was a risk going in and I'm at peace with that. Thankfully, I'm going to be in Technical training for the next few months, so I won't be going on deployment for quite some time and will be able to make a lot of progress on this timeline in that time.

Thank you!
 
Part 72: My Life for Éire
Part 72: My Life for Éire



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The Plight of Ireland
The British Empire was by far the Greatest Power of its day. Stretching from the cold Arctic expanses of Canada to the Falkland Islands of the South Atlantic Ocean, from the Cape of South Africa to India to a smattering of islands off the coast of China, it was truly a global spanning empire. The British Royal Navy remained the envy of the world with its vaunted wooden walls, its talented admirals, and its valiant sailors, while the British Army remained one of the finest and most disciplined fighting forces in the 19th Century with its adept soldiers, its impressive cadre of officers, and its state-of-the-art weaponry. The British financial market was the strongest and most prosperous in the world, with many British wares finding their way to every corner market across the world, generating great wealth for British merchants and businessmen. The British system of government was generally fair and responsive to the wants and needs of the people, and Britain's political leaders were usually capable and intelligent men who safeguarded British Hegemony with great gusto regardless of political party or ideological persuasion. And yet, in spite of this unquestioned prowess across the globe and internal stability, Britain was not without its fair share of problems from without and from within.

On the island of Ireland, a terrible famine had been afflicting the land and people for some two and a half years by the start of 1848. Phytophthora infestans, more commonly known as the Potato Blight was a mold that poisoned potatoes making them completely inedible, both cooked or raw. Entire crops of potatoes were rendered worthless in an instant once they became infected with the disease leaving many to wallow in poverty and suffer in starvation. Ireland wasn’t the only land hit by the blight as nearby Scotland would also suffer from repeated crop failures over the course of the late 1840's as would France, Northern Germany, and much of Scandinavia. However, the Irish were hit the hardest as they were almost entirely dependent upon the potato for sustenance unlike the Scots, the French, or the other peoples of Europe.

The development of this potato monoculture in Ireland was largely a result of the Irish people themselves who generally lived in poverty and relied upon cheap foodstuffs like potatoes to survive. This practice was promoted by British landlords in Ireland who effectively forced their tenants to work miniscule plots of land that were so small, that they were unable to turn a profit for the farmers working them. Thus, in order to survive, most peasant farmers were forced to cultivate potatoes to feed their families as potatoes could be grown quickly and cheaply by even the poorest of farmers. This situation was made worse by the enforcement of the Corn Laws throughout the British Isles which restricted the importation of foreign foodstuffs into Britain's ports in order to protect British farmers. While in theory this should have helped small farmers such as the Irish tenant farmers, it often made their situation worse as cheaper foreign foodstuffs were unable to be sold in Ireland, forcing them to rely on cheap native products like potatoes even more.

The relatively short-lived Wellington Ministry of 1833 to 1834, would attempt to address this issue in 1833, when it attempted to repeal the Corn Laws entirely, but to no avail as a coalition of Protectionist Tories and Whigs aligned to stop the Iron Duke's endeavors. Ultimately, Wellington would succeed in passing a much reduced package which finally permitted the importation of foreign foodstuffs, but with a sliding scale custom's duty determined by the price of domestic corn. If the price of British corn was lower than or equal to 48 Shillings (2.4 Pounds) per quarter, the duty on imported foods and grain would be 30 Shillings (1.5 Pounds). However, if the price of British corn increased beyond 66 Shillings (3.3 Pounds) the duty would only be three pence.[1] While this was a significant victory for Wellington and the Anti-Corn Law League, the Corn Laws still remained in effect, albeit an incredibly weakened state. Sadly the weakening of the Corn Laws would have no real impact on the Irish economy for several years as tradition, combined with societal tensions between the British landlords and Irish tenant farmers prevented any meaningful change.

Wellington would attempt to relieve this tension somewhat through the passage of the 1833 Roman Catholic Relief Act which overturned most of the harshest tenants of the Acts of Uniformity, the Test Acts, and the Penal Laws, endowing many tens of thousands of Catholics living in the British Empire with the right to vote and hold public office, including seats in Parliament, among other things. Despite strong opposition to this by many within the House of Lords and many in his own Tory Party, Wellington pushed ahead arguing that in the wake of the Parliament Reform Act of 1832, there was little justification for excluding the Catholics when the impoverished masses of Great Britain had been so recently enfranchised themselves. More importantly, in the wake of the failed Uprisings that had sprung up across Europe in 1830 and 1831, the British Government was reminded of latent nationalistic sentiments among certain segments of the Irish population who actively advocated for increased autonomy and, in some cases, complete independence.

Compelled to combat this, the House of Commons would pass the measure by a sizeable margin, owing to the changing nature of the British people who no longer held the hysterical hatred of Catholics that their forefathers had. Nevertheless, the issue remained a controversial, if necessary one which would sadly weaken Wellington’s grip on power and result in a number of attacks from within and without Parliament. Sadly, Wellington’s victories would be short lived as his Government would soon lose a vote of no confidence in mid 1834 prompting his resignation and a snap General Election which would see the Whigs return to power for the first time in nearly 50 years under the venerable Earl Grey.



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A Political Cartoon Attacking Wellington for his Support of the Catholics

The weakening of the Corn Laws and the implimentation of Catholic Emancipation would benefit the Irish to a significant degree, but the true source of tension in Ireland, desperately needed land reform, remained untouched and unquestioned in Parliament, resulting in continued animosity between both sides. Westminster considered Ireland a settled issue however, and refused to hear any complaints from Irish MPs during the Grey Ministry and subsequent Melbourne Ministry. This would change following the arrival of the Potato Blight in 1845 which quickly devastated the Emerald Isle, leaving hundreds of thousands starving and several thousand dead within a matter of weeks, exposing the inherent flaws of the present system.

The Whig Government under Lord Melbourne would respond slowly and with little impetus as they did not fully understand the severity of the situation at the time. Aside from minor charitable donations from concerned philanthropists in Government, there was little done to help the Irish in the last few months of 1845 and the beginning of 1846. The situation in Ireland steadily worsened during the Winter as many thousands of impoverished and starving Irish men, women, and children soon fell victim to a wide selection of diseases ranging from dysentary and cholera to influenza and typhus which killed tens of thousands. The famine had become a full scale humanitarian crisis which depopulated major cities, decimated small villages and wiped out whole families.

The Laissez Faire approach taken by the Melbourne Government to the ongoing famine in Ireland was not well received by the Irish who suffered immensely as a result, nor by many members of Parliament who saw this as an emerging issue of paramount concern. Melbourne's attempt to address the current humanitarian disaster in Ireland was waylaid by the collapse of the London Banking Bubble and subsequent Economic Recession of 1846 which ultimately proved fatal to his grip on power. When the 1846 Civil List was brought up for debate in the House of Commons it was voted down by an alarming margin of 223 to 278, a result which shocked and humiliated the British Prime Minister who promptly resigned from office, necessitating snap elections which would see the Tories return to power after more than a decade in the political wilderness.

Since Wellington’s ouster in 1834, leadership of the party had fallen to Wellington’s protégé, Sir Robert Peel who had served as Home Secretary for both Lord Liverpool and Wellington, and coincidently as Chief Secretary of Ireland from 1812 to 1818 under Liverpool. Peel’s control of the party was a tenuous one at best, as his personal beliefs often clashed with many of his peers namely over matters of Free Trade and Laborer’s rights. By all counts, Peel was more liberal in his own political persuasions than conservative, a fact that would lead him into conflict with his own party on numerous occasions. Chief among them was the debate over the Corn Laws which pitted Peel and his Free Trade supporters, both Tory and Whig, against many Protectionist Tories. However, with the ongoing famine in Ireland claiming lives by the hour, the issue of protecting large landowner’s assets lost much of its credibility in the eyes of the House of Commons which quickly passed Peel’s repeal bill through by a vote of 341 to 158. The House of Lords would offer sterner resistance to Peel’s repeal efforts than the Commons, but under the combined pressure of the Queen and the Prime Minister, they too would pass the bill into law, finally repealing the Corn Laws in early October 1846.

However, when combined with the ongoing economic recession in the mid to late 1840’s, the repeal of the Corn Laws left a noticeable hole in the British Government’s budget that needed to be filled somehow. To make up for the shortfall in revenue, Peel’s Ministry would reimplement Pitt the Younger’s old Napoleonic era Income Tax, along a progressive model. Like the Pitt the Younger’s Income tax, Peel’s income tax was intended to be a temporary measure to make up the disparity in Government spending until the economy recovered to its former level. The onset of the Irish Famine would necessitate more spending, however, not less, prompting the tax to effectively become a permanent fixture of the British Tax Code. This new influx of cash to the British Government would be a welcome boon for Pitt, albeit one that was begrudgingly accepted by Conservatives and the general public as necessary given the current crisis. To make use of this new money, Peel proposed using it for various infrastructure projects and development plans in addition to some much-needed humanitarian aid for the Irish who were still suffering from the effects of the Potato Famine.

The repeal of the Corn Laws in addition to the arrival of Government and foreign humanitarian aid would help to curtail the effects of the famine somewhat, but by the start of 1847, the situation in Ireland was still quite desperate. By this time, over a hundred thousand Irish men, women, and children had died of hunger or illness (moreso disease than hunger). Law and order on the island was slowly collapsing as many Irishmen took to brigandry to feed themselves and their families, while various activists and agitants took advantage of the situation to promote their causes of an independent Ireland. Making matters worse, the British agents on the ground in Ireland were either unwilling or unable to provide meaningful assistance to the Irish people due to the inadequacies of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Baron Heytesbury who continually disregarded the extremity of the famine. Seeking to correct this problem, Peel had Heytesbury reassigned and then turned to his old mentor Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington for help in redressing the administration of the Emerald Isle.

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Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (circa 1848)
Despite his advanced age, the Iron Duke accepted this glum task on the condition that be granted full authority to deal with the situation in whatever manner as he saw fit. Trusting Wellington's insight of the Irish people, Peel and the Tory Government agreed and within a fortnight, Wellington departed to assume what was to be his last post. In a short manner of time, Wellington would successfully "convince" Irish landlords to not export their local produce in foreign markets and instead sell it on the local market at affordable rates.[2] Similarly, the Ports of Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, and Derry among several others were opened to foreign imports. Finally, absentee landlords were compelled to sell their lands at discounted prices to their tenants and he sponsored public work programs to provide employment for needy Irishmen.

The effects of Wellington’s relief programs would take some time to take root, but by the Spring of 1848, promising signs of recovery had begun appearing across Ireland. Although the famine would continue to plague Ireland for another few months, by year's end most Irishmen could now provide for their families once more. In total, more than 370,000 Irish men, women, and children lost their lives between 1845 and 1849 as a result of starvation and disease. Additionally, over half a million Irish men, women, and children would emigrate abroad to England, Mainland Europe, or even the United States of America over the next few years in search of a better life for themselves and their families. All told, the Great Potato Famine of 1845 to 1848 would have lasting effects on Ireland and the United Kingdom for decades to come as entire communities had been wiped out, cities had been depopulated, and many families had been utterly devastated. The end of the Potato Famine in late-1848/early 1849 would not end the Irish Crisis, however.

As is naturally the case after such great catastrophes, public attention quickly shifted from fighting the famine and mourning the dead to finding someone to blame for this terrible tragedy that befell so many people. Many Irishmen, chief among them the Irish nationalist group Young Ireland, would blame the intransigent bureaucracy in London with worsening the effects of the famine. They would argue that the slow and, in many cases, ineffective response to the Potato Blight by the British Government resulted in needless death and suffering on the part of the Irish people and would in turn claim that had Ireland been able to manage its own land, control its own ports, and pass its own laws the death toll would have been much lower.

Peel’s government would in response declare that the Famine had been an unfortunate and unavoidable event that no one could have possibly foreseen. Moreover, the Peelite Ministry would suggest that his Government’s response to the famine had been handled admirably given the situation on the ground. Needless to say, the debate between the Irish Nationalists and British Government would continue to simmer for the next few months as neither side was willing to agree with the other. The Irish disidents wanted a more autonomous, if not entirely independent Republic of Ireland, while the British Government desired a return to the status quo ante bellum. The Irish Question would ultimately be shelved by the British Government as new developments in Europe and around the globe desperately required their utmost attention.

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Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The most immediate threat was the Qajari Empire of Persia, who in the Fall of 1847 invaded the neighboring Emirate of Afghanistan, capturing the fortress city of Herat in a manner of days, and defeating the Emirate’s rather feeble army in short order. Soon there after, much of the country fell before the ascendant Persian Army, whose years of drilling under French instruction had reforged them into a relatively potent fighting force more than capable of sweeping aside the ragtag bands of Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Aimaqi fighting against them. Although the Afghanis would continue to resist the Persian offensive throughout much of the Fall, by mid-November 1847 it was clear that the Qajari’s were on the verge of total victory in Afghanistan when the Afghani capital of Kabul finally capitulated to the Persians.

In response to these developments, the British Government would order their representatives on the ground in Tehran, Colonel Francis Farrant and Colonel Sir Justin Sheil, to demand the complete evacuation of Persian forces from Afghanistan and the restoration of the Afghani Emir Dost Mohammed Khan who had been forced into exile following the fall of Kabul. If these demands was not met by the Persian Government by the first of February 1848, then a state of war would exist between them. Negotiations would not progress far beyond the opening stages as the Persian Shahanshah Mohammad Shah Qajari remained cloistered away in his personal chambers, seen only by his closest aids and ministers. The official reason given to the British for Mohammed Shah’s seclusion during the Winter months was illness, which while certainly true as evidence by his untimely death a few months later, it was not the sole reasoning for his sudden disappearance from court.

The Persian King did not openly wish for war with Britain, but in his weakened state, Mohammed Shah fell under the increasing sway of his French advisors who continually goaded him to stand up to the British.[3] The leader of the French expedition, Colonel Henry Boissier would regale the King with tales of British cowardice and how they would retreat at the first sign of resistance. More than that, he promised Mohammed Shah continued shipments of weapons and supplies to Persia, further officers and advisors from France, and even direct military support by the French against Britain should Tehran go to war with them. While he had no means of actually achieving these promises, Boissier and his clique would succeed in convincing the Persian King that France would stand beside him if armed conflict emerged with Britain. The Persian Shahanshah took the bait, and summarily ordered the imprisonment of the British Chargés d'affaires under the pretense of sponsoring sedition against the Sun Throne and with that, the First Anglo-Persian War had officially begun.

It would be several days before news of this development reached Bombay, but when Viscount Hardinge learned of this transgression, he immediately sent word to Admiral Samuel Inglefield, ordering him to dispatch elements of the East Indies and China Station fleet into the Persian Gulf, while the Bombay Army under Lieutenant General Willoughby Cotton would simultaneously march into Afghanistan and push the Persians out.[4] Admiral Inglefield would comply, dispatching Captain Augustus Kruper and a dozen ships to raid the Iranian coast while General Cotton and 14,000 men (3,000 British and 11,000 Indian soldiers) advanced through the Hindu Kush into Afghanistan. The British would initially make good progress on land, “liberating” the border towns of Khost and Jalalabad in late March, before advancing on Kabul in early April which similarly fell before them after a brief six-day siege.

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British Soldiers at the Siege of Kabul

Here though their luck began to turn as a significant portion of the Persian garrison in the city managed to escape through the poor oversight and neglect of the British sentries. Nevertheless, the liberation of the Afghan Capital was considered a resounding victory for the British, which would only worsen their stigma for the Persian Army, an institution they believed to be decrepit and weak. After spending a week in Kabul resting and reorganizing, the British turned South towards the city of Kandahar where recent reports indicated other elements of the Persian Army had begun to muster to challenge them. However, this information would prove to be rather outdated by mid-April as the British would soon encounter the very same Persian army four days later near the village of Ghazni. While the battle of Ghazni was by no means a major engagement in the grand scheme of things, with few casualties on either side and little tactical or strategic gains, its impact on Persian morale was massive.

For many though, the skirmish would do much to dispel the myth of British invincibility in the eyes of the average Iranian soldier who had until know only ever known defeat and disgrace when battling against Europeans in recent decades. Even though they had fought only a small fragment of the British expeditionary force at Ghazni and would eventually be forced out of the town just three days later when General Cotton led the main British column against them, this one battle would embolden them to greater acts of resistance in the weeks and months to come. This feeling would be further reinforced several days later when General Cotton and his army of Indian Sepoys and British soldiers was forced back from Kandahar with moderate losses. Captain Kruper and the British naval squadron sent into the Persian Gulf would also experience a surprising amount of frustration as well from the Persian Navy in a series of engagements throughout late February and March.

Recognizing that they stood no chance against the indominable British Royal Navy on the open seas, the Persian fleet opted to stay within the Persian Gulf, choosing to concentrate all of their resources into the defense of the Strait of Hormuz. Captain Kruper and his squadron would attempt to break through this defense, but to his surprise he found the Persian fleet comprised of relatively modern warships of predominantly French making. Moreover, their naval officers and sailors, while still nowhere near as proficient as the British, they were deemed to be capable seamen and managed to hold their own against the Brits. Captain Kruper and his squadron would push forward against the Persian fleet on three separate occasions, once near Larak and at Bandar Abbas on two ocassions, all of which returned inconclusive results. These stalemates and minor victories on both land and sea by the Persians were considered great successes by Tehran and embarrassing setbacks for the British, yet these efforts by the Persians were all in vain.

Although the Qajari Shah had gone to war with Britain on the promise of French financial and military support, and that support was not immediately forthcoming. The French advisors and officers in the Persian court were not at liberty to actively assist their clients in their fight against the British despite their promises to the contrary, nor could France send meaningful military and material aid to their “ally” given their own war in Belgium against the Netherlands and Prussia. Understandably, this lack of support from France would severely strain the relationship between the two countries, a relationship that was soon made even worse following the ouster of the July Monarchy in France and its replacement with the short lived and much reviled Second French Republic, which would manage to completely alienate the Persian Shahanshah during its brief and troubled existence. The Qajaris would receive some meager assistance from the nearby Sikh Empire of Lahore, but by 1848, it was a mere shadow of its former strength and would soon succumb to British advances itself later that same year.

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British Forces defeat the Sikhs at the Battle of Gujrat

The Persian rank and file remained undaunted however, enabling them to pry a few more minor victories against the British on land, maintaining an impressive swath of occupied territory in Afghanistan. However, the war would not be decided on land, but at sea as the British Navy finally overwhelmed the beleaguered Persian Navy in early May and began raining fire upon the coastal cities of the Persian Gulf with near impunity. Iranian trade in the Gulf was almost immediately strangled to death as British ships blockaded their ports with ease and interdicted any Persian ship they could find. Soon after, British Royal Marines and sailors would make a landing near the city of Bandar Abbas and would successfully take the city after a fierce assault by the Marines. This was followed soon after by attacks on Bandar Bushehr, Bandar Shahpur, and Mohammerah, which all fell one after the other to the British over the course of the next month. With the coast now securely in British hands, the Iranian heartland came under imminent threat as well, with British and Indian raiders ravaging the Iranian countryside as far as Kerman and Shiraz in late August and September as the bulk of the Persian Army was hundreds of miles away in Afghanistan fighting General Cotton.

With his economy collapsing, his country’s heartland coming under direct assault, and no French assistance forthcoming, Mohammad Shah Qajari was forced to concede that the war was lost and that he would be best served making peace with the British while he still had some gains in Afghanistan to use as leverage in the negotiations to come. However when negotiations began in late October, 1848, the Qajari Shahanshah would be quickly dismayed when he discovered that the British Parliament did not seek a merciful peace and instead wished to make an example out of Mohammed Shah and the Persian Empire. There would be no debate, nor any compromises, the British would make their demands and the Persians would accept them unconditionally. If they resisted or hesitated in any manner, then the British would renew their offensive towards Tehran, effectively ending Persian independence as well as the Qajari Dynasty. With no other choice, Mohammed Shah reluctantly submitted to the British demands on the 11th of November, 1848, formally ending the Anglo-Persian War less than a year after it began.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Tehran, Mohammed Shah was forced to permanently expel his French advisors (a minor loss in his eyes as his relationship with France had soured significantly following the deposition of the July Monarchy and the rise of the Second Republic in France. Next, he was forced to abandon all his gains in Afghanistan despite continuing to hold much of the country which proved to be deeply unpopular with the Army who had fought valiantly and successfully, only to turn it over for nothing in return. Worse still, the remaining ships of the Persian navy were to be surrendered to the British in their entirety, with no compensation given. The Persian Government would release Colonel Farrant, Colonel Sheil, Frederick Currie, and all other British prisoners currently in their custody and the Persian Government would be forced to pay large indemnities to their former prisoners for their wrongful imprisonment. Finally, Mohammad Shah was forced to admit British Navy warships entry into the port cities of Mohammerah, Bandar Shahpur, Bandar Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Abadan indefinitely, while British merchant ships would receive favored nation status with the Persian Government and pay no duty fees at any Persian port. The terms were humiliating and would embitter the Persian people against the British for years to come and lead to renewed conflict in several years, but at present, peace was restored between them removing one issue for the British Government, but it was not the only issue plaguing the British Empire at this time.

Far to the West in the Mediterranean Sea, the Greeks of the Ionian Islands clamored for Enosis (Union) with the Kingdom of Greece. The Eptanesians had grown tired of continued British rule over the Ionian Islands and desired greater political and administrative ties with Greece. Matters would gradually escalate on the islands as prominent Greek politicians were arrested, while many others were forced into exile by the British Government. Understandably, these heavy-handed responses to popular sentiment sparked various riots on the streets of the islands that would last for the next several months. Under normal circumstances the revolts on the Ionian Islands posed little threat to the British, but in 1848 British assets in the region were rather sparse owing to the vast array of crises at the time. As a result, the British were unable to effectively resolve the situation immediately, allowing it to fester for many months to come. Ultimately, the violence would be quelled through a combination of police suppression and several political concessions, including the promise to begin talks with the Kingdom of Greece over the fate of the Ionian Islands in the near future.

Further to the West in Malta, a lack of investment by the British and the economic recessions of 1845 had left many of the Maltese people in a state of abject poverty. The situation was compounded further in 1846 when the British governor Sir Patrick Stuart outlawed public merriment on Sundays, including the famed Maltese Carnival after one British soldier was shot and killed for harassing a female reveler.[5] Unsurprisingly, anger towards British rule began to rise, enabling various actors to take advantage of this situation for their own nefarious schemes. Italian Nationalists from Sicily and Socialists from the University of Malta were the primary agitators of unrest in Valletta in early 1848 and would spark numerous protests and riots across the islands. These demonstrations would ultimately be put down rather quickly and violently, but several relatively minor concessions would be granted to the protestors in an attempt to regain the confidence of the people, namely the establishment of a local government with Maltese representatives and promises of greater financial investment in the islands by London.

To the South in Africa, a new conflict had emerged in the Cape Colony between the British colonists there and the Xhosa Kingdom, requiring additional men and resources be sent there. In East Asia, relations with the Qing remained incredibly strained following the recent conflict with them and mounting unrest in the country threatened British interests in China. More worryingly, the United States of America had begun aggrandizing itself against its neighbor, the Republic of Mexico, claiming vast swaths of Mexican territory in the name of “Manifest Destiny” causing some concern in both London and Montréal. Elsewhere in Europe, the Austrian Empire was at war with the states of the Italian Peninsula and later with their own Hungarian subjects, while Germany was in a state of anarchy and unrest as conservatives were thrown out of power in favor of liberals and nationalists. Russia had been thrown out of Poland and the Poles had reached out to Britain for aid, which many British grandees publicly supported sparking a quite a row with the Russian Government. But of all the crises facing the British Empire in 1848, French dominance of the Low Countries proved the most threatening.

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Xhosa Warriors Prepare for Battle against the British

Britain had been the leading power behind Belgium during its war for independence in 1830, but barely 18 years later, Britain had completely turned against the nascent Kingdom. Relations had generally been good, if a bit shaky between the two countries, but as the years progressed this relationship steadily deteriorated owing to financial and political conflicts between them. Competition over control of the lucrative linen industry along with other such trades would see the two kingdoms come to blows early on, as British merchants fought to bankrupt their Belgian rivals. They would be more successful than they envisioned as they had alarmingly pushed the young Belgian economy towards financial ruin leaving many tens of thousands impoverished, destitute, and homeless in Belgium prompting many to travel to Paris in search of employment in the French capital. Ever in need of more labor, the French gladly accepted these Belgian expats and moved to help their northern neighbor, sending advisors, dignitaries, and military officers to Belgium to sure up their economy as well as French influence in the country.

Fears in London of France ensnaring little Belgium terrified many British merchants, admirals, and politicians who had fought numerous wars with France in the past to prevent such an event from taking place. It is possible that relations between the two countries could have been mended, but the actions of King Otto von Wittelsbach and the predominantly Walloon Belgian Government scuttled any hopes of that as he quickly tied himself politically to the French via his marriage to Princess Clementine of France in 1836. Moreover, his rather antagonistic stance towards Britain’s economic policy certainly didn’t help matters either as he constantly berated the British ambassadors to Belgium over this, prompting eight men to resign from the post between 1831 and 1847 in protest of his abuse. British fears were soon compounded in September 1847, when the hapless Belgian King Otto was deposed by the Belgian Parliament in a swift coup. Many in Britain initially viewed this development with great joy as Otto had not been a friend of Westminster and Buckingham. However, this joy soon turned to dread as the ouster of Otto paved the way for the Francophile Walloons to take complete control of the country at the expense of the more Anglophilic Flemings who suffered immensely under the new regime. Soon rumors of a French annexation of Belgium began to emerge in British circles, prompting Westminster to take a more aggressive stance against this.

In response to this development, Britain would begin making amends with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, investing in their small country, providing them insight into Belgian defensive works, and covertly accepting their claims to the entirety of the Low Countries in the hopes of trading a Francophile Belgium for an Anglophile Netherlands. To that end they instigated unrest in Flanders, resulting in the Fleming revolt against the Walloons in late 1847, prompting the Netherlands to intervene on their behalf. This would in turn force France to war against the Netherlands in Belgium’s defense beginning what was later known as the Belgian War of 1848. This development placed Britain in a precarious situation, however, as Britain remained bound to the defense of Belgium by treaty and could not overtly act against it. To that end, Britain would officially join the war on the side of Belgium, but it did little to actively aid its nominal allies Belgium and France, choosing instead to work against them from the shadows.

To Britain’s disappointment, the Netherlands proved insufficient to counter France alone, forcing Britain to then turn towards the neighboring Kingdom of Prussia for assistance against France. Prussia would need little encouragement as the Francophobic Kronprinz Wilhelm and the many jingoist officers of the Prussian Army were itching for a fight against France and would successfully incite Prussia to war. The entrance of the Prussians into the conflict would bring the war to a relative balance, yet even the combined might of Prussia and the Netherlands could not defeat the French, forcing Britain to play its final card. To neuter French supremacy in the Low Countries, London would release the son of the Corsican Devil himself, Napoleon Franz upon France. Promising him recognition and friendship in return for a limit to French ambitions, the British Government gave their blessing and their backing to Napoleon Franz’ return to France.

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Napoleon Franz meets with Members of Parliament

Ultimately, the former Duke of Reichstadt would succeed, the War in Belgium would come to a swift end, and France would only gain the Walloon provinces in the South and East of Belgium, not the whole of the country as London had originally feared. With the end of the Belgian War of 1848 and the establishment of Napoleon Franz as Emperor of France, relations between Britain and France quickly rebounded. Thus by the Spring of 1849 it would have seemed that all was well with the British Empire, the Persians had been punished, France's continental ambitions had been mitigated, and the homeland was returning to peace, and yet the Irish Question remained.

For many it would have appeared that the issue of Irish autonomy had been quietly forgotten in Westminster after the end of the Potato Famine, however it was not to be a gathering of Charterists in London in late April, 1849 would return the matter to the fore of the public consciousness once again. The Charterists had long been a thorn in the side of the British Government; demanding an end to corruption and increased representation for the common man. Although most Charterists were generally peaceful in nature, choosing to push their cause through constitutional means there were those who used more violent means of achieving their goals. Many organized protests and sparked riots when their demands were not heeded, many even called for the persecution and harassment of various Members of Parliament, with some MP’s actually coming under physical attack by the Charterist mobs.

Therefore, the demonstrations on the 29th of April were to be handled with the utmost concern and security by the British Government who assembled a large number of policemen, constables, and soldiers to maintain the peace and control the mass of people. However, the disparity between the Government’s agents and the mob remained immense, forcing the Government to agree to a Charterist request to read their reforms aloud in the House of Commons. The day’s events would begin well as several Charterist leaders were escorted to Parliament where they delivered their list of demanded reforms to the Speaker of the House of Commons Charles Shaw-Lefevre, before being escorted back across the Thames to the main congregation area. Included in this delegation were several members of Young Ireland who called for increased autonomy for Ireland, the restoration of the Irish Parliament, and the improvement of tenant's rights.

Nothing would ultimately come of the Charterist Demonstration on the 29th of April, 1849 as it peacefully disbanded the following day, but it would serve as a catalyst for future debate and future reform. Perhaps most significantly, it coincided with the death of the Duke of Wellington who had passed away after being incapacitated by a sudden stroke. Although he had resigned from his office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in November 1848, little over a year and a half after he had assumed the post, the endeavor had left his weakened, both physically and mentally. The exhausted old Field Marshal would soldier on for another few months, but by the start of 1849 his health had begun to fail him. Sensing that his end was near, Wellington made an appeal to Parliament to seek a compromise with the Irish and preserve the Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Although he would not live to see it, his efforts would ultimately lead to the passage of the Irish Dominion Act of 1856, which delivered a modest degree of local autonomy upon Ireland and would help maintain the United Kingdom for years to come.

Next Time: Family Matters

Author's Note: After a long hiatus, I am please to announce that I am back to work on this timeline. Although I can't say for certain how frequent the updates for this timeline will be going forward, I will let you all know that I am committed to continuing this timeline until I finish it in one form or another.

[1] The duty rates are all slightly lower in this 1833 Corn Laws Act than their OTL counterpart the 1828 Corn Laws Act. My reasoning for this as follows; 1. the Anti-Corn Laws League only gained in strength as time progressed throughout the 1830’s and 1840’s, the British Economy is generally better in this timeline, and support for Free Trade had increased steadily in the Tory Party during the 1820’s and 1830’s as well. That being said there is still significant support for the Corn Laws in both the Tory and Whig parties.

[2] Astonishingly, Ireland was actually a net food exporter during the Great Potato Famine as many landlords in Ireland forced their tenants to sell their products to overseas markets while they themselves were forced to starve.

[3] Just a brief reminder since it has been a while; the July Monarchy still held power in France at this time and were relatively hostile to Britain. While I doubt, they would go to war with one another directly (even with the worse relations between them ITTL), I don’t think they would be above sponsoring proxies (the Netherlands, Prussia, and Persia) to fight the other on their behalf.

[4] The British East India Company was divided between three Presidencies which governed their respective parts of India. They were the Bombay Presidency, the Bengal Presidency, and the Madras Presidency. Each Presidency fielded their own armies, comprised primarily of native Indian soldiers or Sepoys, which were generally led by British officers and supported by British regiments. In this instance, they are sending a portion of the Bombay Presidency Army since it is the closest to Afghanistan and Persia.

[5] This is actually from OTL. According to accounts of the event, a British Officer attempted to grope a Maltese woman during Carnivale. Her father was understandably quite irate at the presumptuous British soldier and challenged him to a duel which resulted in the death of the British officer and sure enough the Girl’s Father was arrested for murder by the British. The people of Malta believed the Father was completely justified in his actions and innocent of any wrongdoing, while the British authorities sought to prosecute him and ultimately execute him. Eventually, the case was tried in a Maltese court and the man was declared innocent unsurprisingly.
 
Well, the United Kingdom would be preserved for "years to come" not indefinitely. Mwahahahahahah

Still, nice to see things work out a bit better for Ireland than in OTL. I wonder what powers the Dominion Act gives Ireland - do they recieve their own devolved Parliament? (If they do, i hope the Ascendancy doesn't manage to dominate it amd disenfranchise the vast majority of the Irish. If so, problems are going to arisr again, just aimed at a new target). Also, what's the status of land reform?
 
Home Rule that early? Wow, that’s amazing.
I might play around with the exact date a little bit, but there is a good reason why Home Rule is being discussed this early which I will reveal soon enough. Hint, it just so happens to coincide with some "minor" event in Eastern Europe that will be taking place around this time.

Well, the United Kingdom would be preserved for "years to come" not indefinitely. Mwahahahahahah

Still, nice to see things work out a bit better for Ireland than in OTL. I wonder what powers the Dominion Act gives Ireland - do they recieve their own devolved Parliament? (If they do, i hope the Ascendancy doesn't manage to dominate it amd disenfranchise the vast majority of the Irish. If so, problems are going to arisr again, just aimed at a new target). Also, what's the status of land reform?
Its also a better fate than my prior version of this update which saw Ireland fall into a worse famine and prolonged period of civil unrest. Land Reform is something that will be worked on slowly.

Also: so glad that this is back, and you've survived the beginning of your Air Force career :)
I'm glad to be back as well.
 
Great to see this thread back. Glad to see that the depopulation of Ireland has largely been avoided ITTL, so hopefully Ireland will actually be able to recover demographically from the famine in a reasonable amount of time. It will be interesting to see how the lower number of Irish immigrants in the United States alters its politics and economy going forwards, not to mention the change in religious demographics going forwards (many fewer Catholics).
 
Great to see you back @Earl Marshal! Definitely far better than the last go around of this update, and far more intriguing! I'm glad that Ireland isn't as depopulated, so it's demographics should be able to recover ITTL. Too bad Persia lost though, hopefully the Shah can get the country back on its feet, or someone else'll take the throne who will.
 
Great update, though it feels awkward to say so.

Glad to hear your doing all right with everything IRL though as well as a return here!
Awesome man, glade to see you're back.
Thank you, I'm glad to be back!

Great to see this thread back. Glad to see that the depopulation of Ireland has largely been avoided ITTL, so hopefully Ireland will actually be able to recover demographically from the famine in a reasonable amount of time. It will be interesting to see how the lower number of Irish immigrants in the United States alters its politics and economy going forwards, not to mention the change in religious demographics going forwards (many fewer Catholics).
Thank you! It will take some time, but the changes here will definitely impact the US, and Canada, in a big way. While I would still expect some emigration to occur during the Famine and in the decade following it, I would tend to believe that it would be much lower compared to OTL, especially if the British Government is making concerted efforts to improve the situation in Ireland.

It's also important to note that German migration to the Americas will be much lower ITTL thanks to the "successful" conversion of the German Confederacy into the German Empire, so really the 48ers in this timeline comprise a much smaller group of people than in OTL.

Great to see you back @Earl Marshal! Definitely far better than the last go around of this update, and far more intriguing! I'm glad that Ireland isn't as depopulated, so it's demographics should be able to recover ITTL. Too bad Persia lost though, hopefully the Shah can get the country back on its feet, or someone else'll take the throne who will.
Thank you, I definitely agree that this version is a more interesting take on the Great Famine than my previous attempt at it and will result in a far different world going forward. Persia may be down at the moment, but it isn't out and it will be back in the limelight sooner than you might think.
 
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