K how vabule are the island thought like how much of a diffrence would it make in the greek economy like I feel like they would want even more than that
It should include Corfu. Technically it should also include Sazan island off Vlore in Albania, which I'd personally have fun with in the early 20th century.

Sazan seems pretty useless and marginal from a Wiki browse? Unless you mean it’ll be fun in terms of Albanian-Greek disputes!
Exactly! Throw in a little Italy for good measure.

Okay, you’re right, more competing claims make more fun.

What else can Greece take just to irritate other nations? Mostly useless areas that are more propaganda than anything

Cyrenaica before oil, for instance. Maybe an invasion of Two Sicilies and Greece takes over the handful of Griko-speaking villages down there?

(I’m just messing around, Sazan actually seems like it could be a useful naval base. That’s how the Soviets used it)
Part 57: The Sun Throne and the Tricolour
Part 57: The Sun Throne and the Tricolour


The Persian Embassy to the French King Louis XIV

The fractious nature of the Ottoman Empire was a trait it shared with its eastern neighbor, the Sublime State of Persia who was embroiled in their own prolonged period of upheaval and reform. By the start of the 1840’s, Persia was no longer the global power it had once been under Shah Abbas the Great, whose reign in the late 16th Century saved the embattled Iranian kingdom from civil war and foreign invasion. Nor was it the equal of the brilliant Nader Shah whose talents as a military commander turned the troubled state into a global superpower for one brief moment in history.

No, the Persian state of the 19th Century was a kingdom riddled with ailments and illnesses ranging from rampant corruption and administrative inefficiency in the Government to economic stagnation and domestic instability across the countryside. The Persian Army had been thoroughly degraded by prolonged bouts of infighting and it had been greatly demoralized in disastrous wars against the Ottoman and Russian Empire. The Persian Navy had also been diminished by disrepair and disuse over the years enabling foreign powers like Britain to occupy prominent ports along the Persian Gulf coast from which they extracted great wealth and great influence over the Tehrani Court. Most troublesome of all however was the territorial collapse of the Persian State itself, as it would see nearly half of its lands stripped away from it in the span of a few short years.

During the chaos of the 18th Century, many of the petty Kingdoms, Principalities, Emirates, and Khanates of Transcaucasia had broken free of Persian suzerainty. This development was simply unacceptable to the Persian government who had lorded over the region since ancient times, as severing Transcaucasia from Iran was akin to losing Fars or Khorasan. Upon seizing the throne in 1794, the patriarch of the Qajar Dynasty, Agha Mohammad Shah Qajar began a series of raids into Transcaucasia to reverse these loses through whatever means necessary. While Agha Mohammad would ultimately succeed in recouping Karabakh, Yerevan, Ganja, Shirvan, and Kartli-Kakheti through force or coercion, his ruthless subjugation of the Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti would put the Sublime State at odds with the Russian Empire who claimed the mountainous kingdom as their protectorate and vassal thanks to the 1783 Treaty of Georgievsk.[1]

The invasion and occupation of the Georgian kingdom was a clear violation of the Treaty and prompted the Russians to invade and occupy the region themselves in 1801. This act of aggression combined with a Russian attack on the city of Ganja in 1803 would ultimately spark the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813. Despite the disparity in size and resources between the two, the conflict would be a close fought affair as much of the Russian Empire’s attention and resources were focused to the West in the Wars against France and the Corsican Devil, Napoleon Bonaparte. Utilizing the Russo-Persian War to his advantage, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France dispatched an envoy to the Persian court in a bid to bring the Persians into an alliance against his many adversaries.

To gain their support, Napoleon promised considerable aid to the Persians in their present war against Russia, sending them weapons and military advisors, and he agreed to honor all their claims in Georgia. As a sign of good faith, Napoleon would also convince his Ottoman allies to move against the Russians as well, sparking the Russo-Ottoman War of 1806. In return, Napoleon asked that Agha Mohammad’s successor, Fat’h-Ali Shah Qajar abandon his alliance with the British and join the French. Fat’h-Ali Shah Qajar agreed to the arrangement and the two sides signed the Treaty of Finckenstein, establishing the Franco-Persian Alliance in May 1807. Napoleon sought to leverage his support against Russia, as a means of striking against British India by means of his new Persian ally, however the subsequent peace between France and Russia would make such an arrangement unnecessary.


Persian Envoys meet with Emperor Napoleon

Less than two months after signing the Treaty of Finckenstein, the Franco-Persian Alliance would be effectively undercut when Emperor Napoleon made peace with the Russian Empire at the end of the War of the Fourth Coalition. The resulting Treaty of Tilsit, established an alliance between the two Empires, straining the French alliance with the Persians. More damning was Napoleon’s decision to recall the military advisors he had dispatched to Tehran only weeks before, an act which was in direct contradiction to the earlier Treaty of Finckenstein. Despite these issues, Napoleon would attempt to maintain the alliance for some time but would ultimately be forced to abandon the alliance after the Persians openly denounced his rapprochement with the Russians and began approaching the British themselves in turn.

Although the Russians were still distracted by their war with the Ottoman Empire (the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812), they began a series of offensives against the Persian armies, pushing southward towards the banks of the Aras River. Nevertheless, the war with Persia remained a hard-fought affair that would drag on for additional six years before Russian arms would finally carry the day at Aslanduz and Lenkaran. With these great victories in hand, the Persians were finally forced to make peace with their Russian adversaries. The ensuing Treaty of Gulistan would see the provinces of Kartli-Kakheti, Baku, Dagestan, Derbent, Ganja, Quba, and Shirvan formally ceded to the Russian Empire, while Russia would return all captured territory South of the Aras River. The Persians were also forbidden from posting military vessels on the Caspian Sea and the Persian state was forced to open its markets to Russian goods which greatly destabilized the already fragile Persian economy.

Angered by the unjustness of the treaty and spurred on at the insistence of British agents in Tehran, who promised them military and financial aid in their cause; the Persians would provoke the Russians into fighting another war with Russia in 1826. Despite fielding more soldiers in the conflict than their Russian opponents, the Persian armies were completely and utterly outmatched by their adversaries. They were thoroughly outclassed in both weaponry and leadership which would cost them battle after battle in the war and their will to fight and general morale was severally lacking. Overwhelmed, the Persians were quickly forced to sue for peace, a peace that would see the Sublime State lose Mughan, Nakhchivan, Orbudand, Talysh, and Yerevan to Russia. By themselves, these defeats against the Russians were embarrassing enough, yet the Qajar Dynasty would suffer an even more humiliating series of defeats at the hands of the lowly Afghanis over the same period.

Like the petty kingdoms of Transcaucasian, the lands of Afghanistan had broken free from the Persian Empire following the death of the Great Nader Shah in 1747. Nader Shah had recognized the prowess of the Abdali tribe of Afghanistan and utilized them in his campaigns against the Mughals and Ottomans. However, the assassination of their patron in 1747 would bring an end to the Abdali’s prominence in the Mashhad Court with many being imprisoned or sent into exile. Even their commander, Ahmad Khan Abdali was forced to flee to his ancestral homeland of Afghanistan where he sought sanctuary and a safe refuge from his many rivals. Despite being a young man in his mid-twenties, Ahmad Khan Abdali was a talented leader who had held the personal favor of the former Afsharid Shah and his lineage as the son of the Abdali chieftain would earn him a great deal of support among the magnates and tribal chieftains of Afghanistan.[2] With their backing, Ahmad Khan Abdali was named Emperor of Afghanistan and declared the independence of the Durrani Empire from Persia.


Ahmad Shah Durrani, Founder of the Afghan Durrani Empire

Nevertheless, Ahmad Shah Durrani was still in a tenuous position and his declaration of independence would have likely ended in disaster were the Persians not distracted by their own petty infighting. Using this opportunity, Ahmad Shah quickly established himself in his new Empire and subdued his remaining opponents within Afghanistan before striking Southeast towards the rich lands of India. There Ahmad Shah would win a series of great victories against the decrepit Mughal Empire, claiming the regions of Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, and Delhi for his growing Empire. He would even manage to sack the Mughal Capital of Delhi in 1757, making off with a vast horde of gold, silver, jewels, and other fine wares. Ahmad Shah would also win a great victory against the ascendant Maratha Empire at Panipat in 1761, ending their aspirations of conquering Afghanistan.

However, the Durrani Empire’s fortunes would begin to wane almost immediately after the 3rd Battle of Panipat as Ahmad Shah was forced to abandon Delhi and much of Punjab to the Maratha Empire. While the Afghans remained a formidable power in the region for the remainder of Ahmad Shah’s life, their decline would accelerate soon after his death in 1772 and within 54 years, the Empire had fallen completely. Even still, the Afghanis remained a potent foe for the troubled Sublime State of Persia in the years ahead who would try on four separate occasions to regain their loss provinces.

The first attempt to reconquer Afghanistan came in 1805. During a brief stalemate in the War with Russia, Fat’h-Ali Shah Qajar would attempt to reconquer Afghanistan only to be stopped at the city of Herat. Unable to capture the city and with the Russians ramping up for a great offensive in 1806, Fat’h-Ali Shah was soon forced to lift the siege after only a few months. When the war against Russia finally concluded in 1813, Fat’h-Ali began preparing for a second invasion of Afghanistan that would finally commence in late 1816 after several delays. While the Persians would successfully capture the city of Herat on this attempt, their invasion was stopped soon after by the British who threatened war with the Persians if they did not relinquish all their gains and withdraw across the border. Not wishing to provoke a conflict with the British so soon after fighting the Russians, Fat’h-Ali Shah acquiesced to their demands and ended his campaign against Afghanistan.

A third attempt would take place one year later when the British were distracted by a war with the Maratha Empire in 1817. Believing that the conflict would drag on for years, Fat’h-Ali Shah would order the invasion of Afghanistan once more. Under the command of his own son Mohammad Vali Mirza, the Qajar army would quickly advance into Afghanistan in early 1818, seeking to conquer the region and present the British with a fait-accompli before they could respond. However, in their haste the Persians became blind to the lurking Afghan army which ambushed Mohammad Vali and his men near the town of Ghurian. The Persians were quickly defeated in a humiliating display and forced to retreat back to Persian territory ending the invasion in its tracks. Complicating matters was the abrupt end of the war in India, which freed British resources in the region and enabled them to intervene in Afghanistan should the need present itself. Ultimately, Fat’h-Ali Shah was compelled to give up on his ambition to reconquer Afghanistan, leaving the matter to his grandson and heir, Mohammad Mirza who would make his attempt nearly twenty years later in 1837.


Mohammad Shah Qajar, Shananshah of the Sublime State of Persia

Following the death of his Grandfather in October 1834, Mohammad Mirza ascended to the Sun Throne as Mohammad Shah Qajar. Almost immediately however, the new Shah would be faced with an existential crisis as his ambitious uncle Ali Mirza and a small group of rivals would successfully seize control of the Royal court, usurp the throne, and imprison Mohammad in a gilded cage plunging the state into yet another crisis. Ali’s rule over Persia would not last long, however, as his tyrannical nature and the illegitimacy of his ascension would lead many to oppose him and within the span of 47 days he was ousted from power by elements of the Persian government loyal to Mohammad Shah. Nevertheless, the entire episode had underscored how weak the Shah’s position had become and how many enemies lurked within his government.

Fearing internal dissent in every corner, Mohammad Shah turned towards foreign advisors for aid. However, unlike his Grandfather, Mohammad Shah was not keen on maintaining the “alliance” with Britain that had formed following the Napoleonic Wars. He had learned through experience that the British Government was perfidious in nature and that the alliance between them worked only to the benefit of the British. They had been less than forthcoming in providing aid in their recent war against Russia in 1826 and they continually opposed Persian efforts to reclaim Afghanistan or their ports along the Gulf coast which were under Omani and British control. They even threatened their so-called ally with war if they did not do as they were instructed. In truth the relationship was more akin to a master and a slave, rather than an alliance between two friends.

It was at this point that Mohammad Shah began turning to their rival in the region, the Russian Empire. Despite being the architect of two disastrous wars against Persia, the young Shah was impressed by the great strength and prowess of Russia and sought to emulate it in his own realm. He invited Russian advisors, officers, and dignitaries to help modernize and reorganize his government and military, with the most famous, or rather infamous of these individuals being the lead Russian envoy to Tehran, Count Ivan Simonich.

Simonich would carefully and methodically worm his way into the grace of the impressionable young Shah, while his silver tongue and keen intellect would allow him to steadily gain great influence over the Persian court. At Simonich’s counsel, Mohammad Shah established a proper army regiment comprised of Russian and Polish deserters, adventurers, and mercenaries (the Bogatyr Battalion). Most daring of all however, Count Simonich would successfully convince Mohammad Shah to invade Afghanistan once again in November 1837. It had been Mohammad Shah’s desire to regain the lost provinces of Afghanistan, but his decision to act on this ambition now, was driven solely by Simonich and his compatriots Samson Makintsev and Yevstafii Skryplev.[3]

Crossing the border in late November, the Persian Army would quickly advance on the city of Herat and besiege the city for the third time in nearly thirty years. Yet despite his best efforts, the city would continue to resist him for nearly 8 long months. By the start of June 1838, Count Simonich’s influence over the Shah had grown so great that he had become the de facto commander of the Persian army besieging Herat and began openly leading the Iranians with expert precision and authority on the field of battle. However, before he could make any significant progress against the city, the British ambassador to Tehran Sir John McNeill moved to intercede on his government’s behalf.

Threatening the Persians with war if they took the city of Herat, McNeil would also manage to convince the Shah to delay a number of prepared assaults upon the city citing unverified reports which claimed an absurdly large garrison within the city. Moreover, he openly challenged Simonich’s authority before the Shah and his soldiers, greatly reducing Persian morale and diminishing their efficiency in constructing their siege works. Lastly, he sent several dispatches to the Russian Government in St. Petersburg accusing Count Simonich of overstepping his authority as an envoy of the Russian Empire and to Simonich’s eternal misfortune, the ploy worked as he would soon receive a message from his superiors in Russia demanding his immediate return for questioning.

In desperation and frustration, Simonich ordered an immediate assault against Herat’s walls which nearly succeeded despite the suddenness and unpreparedness of the Persian army to make such an attack. The Afghans defending the city’s walls were similarly caught off guard and were initially driven from their posts in some points, but after regrouping they would make a valorous counterattack and repelled the attacking Persians in a magnificent charge. With the assault ending in a bloody failure, Simonich was ultimately forced to return to Russia in shame lest he provoke any further repercussions. However, the departure of Simonich would not end the siege of Herat as it would continue aimlessly for several more days, but with his Russian advisers recalled, the British becoming increasingly bellicose against the Persian State, and his troops in low morale and despair, Mohammad Shah ultimately abandoned the siege of Herat in early July and left for home.


The Departure of Simonich and the Russian Soldiers

The 1838 Siege of Herat was an embarrassment to Mohammad Shah as his forces had failed to take the city despite fielding well over 40,000 men against a force less than half their size. Moreover, the entire venture had ruined his relations with Britain as they openly challenged the Persian Shah undermining his authority and legitimacy. More insulting was the unbridled hypocacy of the British as they subsequently invaded Afghanistan themselves after threatening Persia with War over their invasion only weeks before. It was clear to Mohammad Shah that a confrontation with the British would likely take place were he to move against Afghanistan once again, but with his Russian advisers recalled or disgraced Mohammad Shah was forced to look elsewhere for aid. The British were clearly antagonistic towards the Qajar Shah, and the German Powers of Austria and Prussia were either unwilling or unable to provide any meaningful assistance at this time, which left the Kingdom of France as his only option.

In the Fall of 1838, Mohammad Shah dispatched his deputy Mirza Hosein Khan to Paris where he soon gained an audience with the French King Louis-Phillipe requesting that a military mission be sent to Persia to reform and reorganize the Persian military. The French King, eager to expand his state’s influence into new lands, readily agreed to the request and dispatched a team of 8 instructors and engineers, 1 gunsmith, and 1 glassblower, under the command of Captain Henry Boissier in the Spring of 1839. The company would arrive in the small port town of Bushehr in late August ready to begin their work for the Persian Shah. While the French would make some progress in reorganizing the Persian armed forces, their efforts were handicapped by the Shah who remained under the lingering influence of his Russian advisors. This conflict of interests resulted in many French instructors going unpaid for their services to the Persian court. Ultimately, with his men still in arrears, Captain Boissier and his company would depart from Tehran for France the following Spring effectively ending the French military mission to Persia after a few months.

While the military mission was a disappointing failure by all accounts, there were several important cultural and economic benefits that emerged from the endeavor. The French diplomat Eugene Bore had traveled to Persia alongside Captain Boissier and his men in 1839 and managed to successfully convince Mohammad Shah to issue a Farman permitting the establishment of French schools and Lazarist churches across Persia for the native Chaldean Christians. This concession by the Persian Shah helped amend the frayed relations between the two states and laid the groundwork for later cooperation between them in the years ahead. In 1844, the Persian court permitted a French scientific expedition to explore the ancient ruins, to chart the topography, and research the botany of Persia. In 1845, Mohammad Shah would appoint the French doctor Ernest Cloquet as his personal Physician, providing the French with a direct connection to the Shah. Despite the peaceful manner of these endeavors, the renewal in Franco-Persian relations during the mid-1840’s was driven primarily by French revanchism.

Following the utter humiliation of the Kingdom of France in the Second Syrian War at the hands of the British, the French Government began efforts to repay their perceived slight against the British through whatever means possible. While they were certainly not interested in provoking a direct conflict with Britain themselves, the French Government almost certainly wished to bloody their nose and chasten them, just as the British had done to them. Given their close proximity to British India, Persia was a perfect ally for such an ambition. As such, King Louis-Phillipe and the French Government dispatched a series of envoys to Tehran in 1842 and 1844, suggesting the renewal of relations between the two states and the expansion of the earlier military mission beyond the 11 men dispatched in 1839. Mohammad Shah, having completely fallen out with his Russian aides in the intervening years and becoming increasingly agitated by the continued British interference in his state’s internal affairs, readily agreed to the French suggestions in late August 1844.

Within months, a company of 38 officers, engineers, instructors, gunsmiths, glassblowers, and blacksmiths under the command of Captain Ernest Courtot de Cissey arrived in the Persian port of Bandar Bushehr, in full view of the British Consulate. While they would only be in Persia for four years, their effects on the Persian armed forces were remarkable. They drilled Persian soldiers in the modern art of warfare, they schooled Persian officers in the tactics and maneuvers of the West, they supplied the Persian army with new rifles and cannons, and they provided the Persian navy with French built warships. By the Spring of 1847, Mohammad Shah felt confident in his army’s abilities to fight on an even footing with their adversaries, whomever they may be, and began preparing for his long awaited second invasion of Afghanistan. He needn't wait long as events in Europe would soon provide Mohammad Shah with just such an opportunity he desired.

Next Time: A Prelude to Revolution

[1] In 1783, fearing the subjugation of his kingdom at the hands of the Persians or the Turks, King Erekle signed the Treaty of Georgievsk which established Kartli-Kakheti as a protectorate of the Russian Empire. Despite this agreement, when Erekle called on Russia to help him against Agha Mohammad and the Persians in 1795, the Russians ignored his pleas for help and left him to his fate. However, they used his oath of loyalty to their advantage, using his ousting as a casus belli to annex the region in 1801.

[2] The Abdali were a confederacy of Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan, second only to their rivals the Ghizilids in size and strength.

[3] Samson Makintsev and Yevstafii Skryplev were Russian soldiers who deserted the Russian Army for Persia during the Russo-Persian Wars. Together with Simonich, they established the Bogatyr Battalion which was a unit of Russian deserters, who would fight in the Russo-Persian Wars, and the Invasions of Afghanistan. But upon the conclusion of the 1838 Siege of Herat they were forced to return to Russia.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sazan_Island the island it preety useless the didn't even put troops on the island in otl to claim it unitl 1912 it was ceded to them in 1864 otl so the island has no vavlue

It's the little things in life, you know. Italy used it as a toe in the door when it tried to occupy southern Albania in 1916-20. I'd like to have Greeks there instead, because yeah, I have a little Megali Idea going on ...
How much of a boost would it be to have the ionan island be added to greece, how much of a boost would that be, does that include corfu?
Well the Ionian Islands were and still are among the wealthiest regions in Greece due to their prominent placement along important trade routes in the Ionian, Adriatic, and Mediterranean Seas. They also boast a prominent agriculture industry and they possess a large population around 200,000, so they would definitely be a solid acquisition for Greece.

The Ionian Islands as of the 1840's include the islands of Corfu, Cephalonia, Cythera, Ithaca, Paxos, Leucas, Zakynthos, the Diapontia islands, and a few other neighboring islands.
Okay, you’re right, more competing claims make more fun.

What else can Greece take just to irritate other nations? Mostly useless areas that are more propaganda than anything

Cyrenaica before oil, for instance. Maybe an invasion of Two Sicilies and Greece takes over the handful of Griko-speaking villages down there?

(I’m just messing around, Sazan actually seems like it could be a useful naval base. That’s how the Soviets used it)
Why not include Greek Baktria or Alexandria while we're at it.:p
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So this was mostly OTL set-up, but still really interesting to read. And I am curious to see how the second Persian invasion of Afghanistan goes.

If Persia does remain an independent, potent nation ITTL, that will be a major thorn in the side of the British. Persia is in an excellent location to interfere with British influence in the Middle East...

Why not include Greek Baktria or Alexandria while we're at it.:p

I wouldn’t exactly call Alexandria unimportant or peripheral :p

Baktria would be nice, of course, but Greece has to actually be able to reach there first! Greek Cilicia, Greek Armenia, Greek Caspian Sea, Greek Turkmenistan, then Greek Baktria!
So this was mostly OTL set-up, but still really interesting to read. And I am curious to see how the second Persian invasion of Afghanistan goes.

If Persia does remain an independent, potent nation ITTL, that will be a major thorn in the side of the British. Persia is in an excellent location to interfere with British influence in the Middle East...

Yes, most of the events covered in this update were from OTL, baring the last two paragraphs which focus on the renewed Franco-Persian Alliance. Given the fact that a greater divide exists between Britain and France in this timeline, I think it would make sense that France would seek to find avenues of expanding their influence into other regions, particularly regions that are of great importance to Britain. But for now the focus will be shifting back to Europe for some time.

I wouldn’t exactly call Alexandria unimportant or peripheral :p

Baktria would be nice, of course, but Greece has to actually be able to reach there first! Greek Cilicia, Greek Armenia, Greek Caspian Sea, Greek Turkmenistan, then Greek Baktria!
Why stop there, Greek Lydia, Greek Pontus, Greek Syria, and Greek Mesopotamia would surely be nice as well!XD
I like how the ripples are spreading, and I wonder what's gonna happen with the Persian invasion of Afghanistan...

Good update, BTW...
Maybe will even see a mass revolt in the balkans of serbes Bulgarians and other groups if the initial advance against the succeed ottomans then we could see some of the great powers to get involved or force the ottomans to go to a peace accord to force them to give these states rights
Maybe will even see a mass revolt in the balkans of serbes Bulgarians and other groups if the initial advance against the succeed ottomans then we could see some of the great powers to get involved or force the ottomans to go to a peace accord to force them to give these states rights

While this is probably inevitable, I think the ottomans still need to lose at least one more major war until they weaken to this point. Maybe with a total loss of Egypt, it would prompt mass rebellions across the Balkans and Mesopotamia.

On the other hand, with this slightly early reforming ottoman it might mean they manage to hold off the rebellions longer. But as long as they remain a predominantly Turkish nation I cant see them surviving the incoming waves of nationalism.
What could be kind of neat is for the Georgians to gain independence at some point, presumably in the aftermath of a Russian defeat, and become close allies with a (hopefully) still growing Greece. I could definitely see the other great powers making a point of propping the nation up to prevent the spread of Russian influence in Persia.