Chapter 19: The War Crosses the Pond
  • ~ Chapter 19: The War Crosses the Pond ~

    Spain’s entry into the war marked a turning point for the balance of naval power. The Spanish fleet possessed 26 ships of the line in the main fleet commanded by José de Córdoba y Ramos [1], enough to crush the 15 ships of the line that the British Mediterranean Fleet possessed, and the British retreated from the islands of Elba and Corsica fearing to get bottled up in the Mediterranean if the Spanish captured Gibraltar, allowing the French to take over both islands. The Spanish did not lay siege to Gibraltar, but instead preferred to use their navy more offensively despite being at a disadvantage in the greater scheme of things. The Spanish lacked any semblance of coordination with the French fleet which would have allowed them to gain superiority, and as the French fleet focused mostly in the North Atlantic, the Spanish focused on the Central Atlantic.

    The most relevant engagement of the Anglo-Spanish war was the Battle of Cape Saint Vincent in 1797, where Admiral John Jervis managed to defeat the Spanish in a close engagement, but his inferiority in ships and the notable improvement in defences of the Spanish vessels prevented a fatal outcome for the Spanish navy. The Royal Navy lost 2 vessels while the Spanish lost the same number plus another one captured [2]. The British goal of establishing a blockade on the Spanish fleet failed to bear fruit, which changed British war plans as they could not attack the Spanish colonies at will. The Royal Navy attempted to blockade Cádiz nevertheless in April 1797 but were repulsed by strategically placed gunboats commanded by José de Mazarredo. Recently promoted Admiral Horatio Nelson then decided to sail for Tenerife, hoping to capture the large quantity of spices in the Príncipe de Asturias that had recently arrived on the island. The attempted capture of Tenerife was another disaster for the Royal Navy, with the British suffering over 500 casualties compared to a meager Spanish 70. Nelson himself was hurt by a musket ball which fractured his humerus at multiple points, leaving him left-handed for the rest of his life.

    Nelson Tenerife.jpg

    Nelson wounded at Tenerife

    The remaining British vessels close to Cádiz were not enough to stop the Spanish from breaking the blockade and the Royal Navy was dispersed, with those forces joining back with Nelson’s fleet and sailing back to Britain for repairs. In the Caribbean, Henry Harvey’s fleet [3] temporarily captured the island of Trinidad before in a rare show of cooperation a Franco-Spanish fleet took the island back. Further British raids in the Caribbean only succeeded at capturing Dominica, and in 1798 Harvey’s fleet had to sail north to counter the fleet of the Union of Atlantic States that had recently declared war on the United Kingdom.

    The Northwestern War, also known as the War of 1798, proved that American forces had fallen behind their European counterparts. The first actions of the war involved a Union siege of the British forts on Lake Ontario and its vicinity, succeeding at capturing Fort Oswegatchie in the Saint Lawrence River, followed by the fall of Fort Ontario in April 1798. Fort Niagara would prove to be a much tougher nut to crack as the British fleet delivered supplies to the garrison, impeding the Atlantics from capturing the fort quickly. Further west, the Union mounted an attack on Fort Miami on the Maumee River, however the native tribes of the area proved very hostile to Union encroachment and conducted a series of guerrilla raids that hampered the Atlantic advance and delayed them until August 1798, giving the British enough time to fortify improve the fortifications, so general Arthur Saint Clair had to lay siege to Fort Miami. On September 23 he sent a scout expedition to locate nearby Indian warriors, encountering a mostly Shawnee force at Fallen Timbers [4], defeating the Indians and clearing the lower Maumee River out of resistance.

    Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada Peter Russell was ignorant of prior actions taken in Upper Canada as when the prior governor John Graves Simcoe departed in 1796 he took most of the paperwork with him [5], so Russell was now the commander of Upper Canada and having almost no military experience, he opted for a defensive posture, pumping more soldiers to the forts already in British control. The command of military operations then fell upon Peter Hunter, who acted as commander of the military forces of Upper and Lower Canada. As Lower Canada was protected by the existence of New England as a sovereign nation, he moved these forces to the upper Saint Lawrence, and after waiting for the spring of next year to arrive, he marched south with his 20,000 strong army in May 1799.

    Fallen Timbers.jpg

    Atlantic troops fighting natives and redcoats at Fallen Timbers, 1798

    Hunter assaulted Fort au Fer on May 27 after a three-day siege, opening the way south to Lake Champlain, then defeating an Atlantic army mostly composed of New Yorkers [6] at the Battle of Plattsburgh on June 3 and proceeding to march further south, mostly following Burgoyne’s steps during the Saratoga Campaign, reaching Fort Ticonderoga two weeks later and laying siege to it. On the sea, the British dispatched a fleet under John Duckworth to blockade the ports of New York and Philadelphia, often exchanging fire against the forts on the coast as the pitiful Union navy retreated behind their protection, only performing ocasional sorties that did not achieve much success. The Atlantic fleet also suffered defeats at lakes Erie and Ontario. The Union attempted to cross the Niagara river and take Fort Erie in Upper Canada, but the attack was repulsed.

    Fort Ticonderoga fell on September 23 and Hunter decided to stop offensive operations and wait for the next campaign season, hoping to receive reinforcements from Canada and maybe a landing in New York or Long Island. These were unlikely, as the United Kingdom considered the UAS as an annoyance compared to the massive threat posed by the Franco-Spanish alliance, and thus barely committed any forces to North America as there were more pressing needs elsewhere. The British were still determined to teach a lesson to their former colonists and planned a landing somewhere in 1800. For the rest of 1799, the war in the Ohio Country was mostly static, with the only major change being the fall of Fort Miami to Atlantic forces in November. The Union tried to mediate with other Columbian nations for support, but the Southern nations were anti-French given their abolition of slavery (which could set a dangerous precedent) among other reasons such as French attacks on neutral American ships, an act that led to Maryland and South Carolina declaring war on France [7].

    Thus, when Hunter remused the march in April 1800, the Union of Atlantic States found itself in a dire situation. On paper, Union forces were numerically superior, albeit slightly, but the average soldier was nothing but a glorified conscript with only a few weeks of training, compared to the (mostly) professional soldiers the British had, not taking into account their Indian allies. Hopes for a victory returned when Hunter was given a bloody nose by James Livingston at Kingsbury on May 2, but quickly deteriorated when the Royal Navy intensified their attacks on Union ports, landing a contingent of troops at Fort Billingsport [8] and capturing the fort at night with most of the garrison being asleep. With the batteries protecting Philadelphia disarmed, the British crossed the river and stormed the Federal capital of Philadelphia on June 23 1800, with the government fleeing west to Wayne and parts of the city being torched by the British, who occupied the capital for the duration of the war.

    Burning of Philadelphia.jpg

    The Burning of Philadelphia

    Only days later, Hunter would defeat Livingston at Greenwich, quickly going south and isolating the Union garrison at Saratoga, capturing Albany on July 16. In the Northwest, Atlantic forces were more successful, laying siege to Fort Detroit and clearing the Ohio Country out of Indian presence. However, their victories in the west could not compensate for the defeats in the east, and a federal government alarmed at the news of British forces landing in Staten Island, opted to capitulate. The British were not interested in a harsh peace, and in the Treaty of Westminster of 1801 the Union of Atlantic States renounced all claims to the Northwestern Territory, with the border being set at the Maumee River, keeping the state of Ohio. The Union was also forced to repeal their 1795 Treaty of Alliance with the French Republic and prevented from trading with the French or their allies for the duration of the war, as well as giving up part of their fleet to a Royal Navy in need of vessels. The colonials had defied their former masters, and they had been crushed.

    [1] - Spanish losses during the American Revolutionary War were higher, but thanks to naval reforms in the prior decades the Spanish fleet is better prepared than IOTL.

    [2] - IOTL losses were 4 captured Spanish vessels and no British ships. ITTL the ship Santísima Trinidad isn’t as badly damaged as IOTL so it will be ready again in a couple years instead of the eight it took IOTL.

    [3] - Abercromby is fighting in Ireland.

    [4] - Which is pretty close to the location of Fort Miami, or at least the OTL Battle of Fallen Timbers was.

    [5] - As in our Timeline.

    [6] - Despite the existence of a Federal Army most army units are composed exclusively of recruits from any given state.

    [7] - But not declaring war on Spain or the UAS.

    [8] - At the time there were no other forts in the Delaware river.

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    Chapter 20: The Rise of the Small Corporal
  • ~ Chapter 20: The Rise of the Small Corporal ~

    Despite the defeat of the Union of Atlantic States, it had done enough for the Franco-Spanish alliance, distracting the British fleet from launching further operations in the Mediterranean in 1798, with the French fleet commanded by François-Paul Brueys d’Aigalliers, departing Toulon on May 15 1798 without any opposition [1], as Nelson was still preparing a fleet in the Caribbean to deal with the new North American combatant. The fleet reached Malta after some complications, and then Alexandria on June 30 1798. Napoleon insisted that the harbour of Alexandria was too shallow for the big warships, so d’Aigalliers moved to Aboukir Bay expecting a British force to arrive, but as it did not the French expanded the harbour of Alexandria through the summer. The French conquest of Egypt was fast, with Napoleon marching his army through the desert to a location close to the Pyramids, obtaining a decisive victory there and capturing Cairo. The French force of 40,000 men then dispersed across Egypt, with Napoleon himself exploring the possibility of building a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea, before deciding to march north and conquer the Near East.

    The British fleet finally appeared under Admiral Thomas Hardy in November after avoiding a Spanish fleet near Algeciras, however d’Aigalliers at the time was in Corfu, so Hardy ordered the Royal Navy to blockade French forts. By that time the French had consolidated their rule over Egypt after crushing a revolt in Cairo. D’Aigalliers ignored the presence of Harvey when he came back to Egypt and despite his fleet not being fully ready for combat he managed to repel the much smaller fraction of the Royal Navy blockading Alexandria on December 2. Napoleon was alarmed by this and told the admiral not to leave the port [2] and avoid new battles at all cost, trying to protect the fleet behind artillery pieces placed on the coast. Harvey then proceeded to attack nevertheless and defeated d’Aigalliers at the Second Battle of Alexandria 10 days later, with both forces taking heavy casualties, but effectively leaving Napoleon disconnected from France for the two months Harvey’s fleet was around Egypt before retreating.

    During the next months and years, Napoleon would leave Egypt and head northwest, advancing through the Levantine coast and laying siege to Acre, capturing the city in April 1799. Napoleon opted to not push further north having taken heavy casualties, with the peak of French advance being at Tyre, retreating to Egypt from there. By that point the War of the Second Coalition had already started, with Austria, Naples, Portugal and Russia declaring war on the French Republic. Napoleon was alarmed by this and quickly departed Egypt for France leaving Desaix in charge [3], where the Republic had turned into what was essentially a military dictatorship, as the Directory relied on the army to enforce their decrees as the ruling faction did not have a majority in the legislature, and employing them to finance the war by pillaging conquered territories. Napoleon arrived in France in June of 1799 to a hero’s welcome and a cold meeting by the Directory, which considered accusing him of desertion for abandoning Egypt, but didn’t as it would cause their government to collapse. Napoleon drew an alliance with men such as Sièyes, Talleyrand and his brother Lucien, and toppled the Directory by launching a coup d’état of the 14th of Vendémiaire (October 5).

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    The Coup of the Fourteenth of Vendémiaire

    When Napoleon landed in France, the Republic was in a delicate position, with its armies recently defeated at Stockach and Magnano, with the Russians under Suvorov liberating Milan. By October, Suvorov had pushed to the Alps, virtually expelling the French from Italy after the battles of Trebbia and Novi, then marching north to Switzerland, where Masséna had recently reverted French odds of victory at the Second Battle of Zurich. The French needed victories now, especially as a new economic crisis was brewing after the plentiful harvest of 1798, with 1799 being a worse year if mostly by the highly deflated French Mandats, leading to poverty, lower wages, a drop in investment and unemployment.

    The new government of France organised itself as a Consulate, initially led by First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, Second Consul Emmanuel Joseph Sièyes and Third Consul Roger Ducos, albeit the latter two would be replaced in November by Cambacérès and Lebrun respectively. Political stability was returned to France under the Constitution of the Year VIII, which was ratified by referendum in February of 1800, passing with the support of the 99.9% of the voters [4]. In Egypt, Desaix was blockaded by the Royal Navy under Nelson in 1800 while the Ottomans and Egyptians were building a large army as Cairo had risen up against the French again. Desaix launched an attack before the Ottomans had organised and defeated them at Al Qanatir, entering Cairo and punishing the city’s second attempt at an uprising. The rest of the year in Egypt would consist on Desaix repelling Ottoman advances with ever increasing scarcity of ammunition and gunpowder, eventually reaching an agreement with Nelson at the Convention of Alexandria, allowing the French forces an honourable surrender and a secure return to France, leaving behind all their equipment, including a stone with some carvings on it [5].

    France had better luck in Europe in 1800, with Moreau smashing the Austro-Russian army at Hohenlinden, and Napoleon himself crossing the Saint Bernard pass in order to lift the Austrian siege of Genoa, and after losing to the Austrians at Marengo [6] thanks to the actions of Johann Frimont’s troops that destroyed the consular infantry, managed to outflank the Austrian commander Von Melas and defeated the Austrians at Castelletto on June 17 1800, scoring a pyrrhic victory, but a victory nonetheless. Napoleon returned to France with the Austrian army retreating to the Mincio, leaving Guillaume Brune in charge of the Army of Italy.


    The Battle of Castelletto

    The Austrians would abandon the coalition after Castelletto, not having much interest in continuing a conflict that would grant them nothing. By the Treaty of Lunéville, the French annexation of the west bank of the Rhine was universally recognised [7]. The borders of Campo Formio were reinforced, with the independence of the Subalpine, Ligurian, Helvetic, and Cisalpine Republics recognised by both sides, albeit France would annex the Subalpine Republic in 1802. The only major territorial change in Italy was in Tuscany in the subsequent Treaty of Aranjuez, where Ferdinand III, the Habsburg Grand Duke of Tuscany, was removed from the throne and given the title of Elector of Salzburg [8]. Ferdinand of Parma gave his duchy to France after his death in 1802, with the French also gaining the State of the Presidi. The Principality of Piombino and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany were merged into the Kingdom of Etruria and it was awarded to Louis, son of the Duke of Parma, who had ties to the Spanish royal family. In exchange, Spain gave Louisiana back to France. Russia left the war shortly after, leaving only Britain fighting against the Franco-Spanish alliance, which now included Denmark after Admiral Hyde Parker bombed Copenhaguen in 1801.

    Feeling that victory was in his hand, Napoleon decided to send a fleet to attempt to recapture India in March of 1801 commanded by Étienne Bruix. The fleet departed Toulon after having travelled there for safety [9], and encountered the allied fleet of the Spanish commander Federico Gravina at Algeciras, setting sail for India in July after some reparations were made and other naval engagements had attracted the attention of the Royal Navy elsewhere. The major obstacle was passing through the British-occupied Cape Colony, but Bruix was lucky to avoid the British fleet, however the fleet was running low on supplies when they reached Isle de France in October. The island was controlled by Dupleix’s royalists, and the Republican fleet shelled the harbour, landed troops and pillaged anything of value before resuming to India.

    Bruix’s luck would run out when he finally reached the southern tip of India near Tranquebar, encountering an Anglo-Royalist fleet off port. The Republican fleet had nine ships of the line plus three Spanish ships, while the British had eight and the Royalists had only two that had switched sides early on in the war. Initially the Hispano-Republican fleet had the advantage, but Suffren, leading the fleet, decided to attack after discussing it with Sir Charles Adam, as Suffren knew the exact weaknesses of the French fleet. Bruix decided to push believing his numerical superiority would do the trick, ignoring Gravina’s advice to not divide the fleet too much and expose the fleet’s flank. Tranquebar was a disaster for the Republican Navy, losing three ships of the line and their attempted reconquest of India completely foiled. For the Spanish it was also a harsh defeat, and Gravina would develop a hate for French admirals after this campaign. For the Royalists, Tranquebar solidified their control over India, and served as propaganda back in the mainland, where conspirators were plotting to restore Louis XVIII to the throne. The war would wind down from there, and Great Britain finally agreed to a temporary peace at Amiens.


    (Republican) French and British vessels fighting at Tranquebar

    [1] - IOTL the fleet set sail on May 19, and Nelson had arrived in Toulon days before, but on May 17 a strong gale dispersed the Royal Navy, giving d’Aigalliers a chance to set sail.

    [2] - Correctly assuming that the Royal Navy would have a detachment further east.

    [3] - Kléber is more active in French politics and as of now is leading the Rhine Front. Remember that Hoche was made prisoner in Ireland.

    [4] - OTL figures. Or at least that’s what the released results say.

    [5] - And thus the Rosetta Stone has been lost ITTL.

    [6] - Napoleon lost the battle in the morning and afternoon, but a French counterattack assisted by Desaix’s reinforcements tipped the battle later. ITTL a different French commander does not arrive in time and Napoleon retreats.

    [7] - No Cisrhenian Republic ITTL either, being another of Hoche’s creations.

    [8] - Replacing the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg from 1803 onwards.

    [9] - The Royal Navy struggles to keep a Mediterranean presence without the Spanish fleet bottled up in Cádiz and fighting a larger French fleet.
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    Chapter 21: The Emperor and the Fool
  • ~ Chapter 21: The Emperor and the Fool ~

    The Treaty of Amiens put an end to the Revolutionary Wars and restored peace in Europe. The French block now comprised France, its sister republics, and Spain; overall controlling most of western Europe. Further east, Poland had been partitioned for the third and final time, and Britain’s only secure ally on the continent was now Portugal, albeit their neutrality in the War of the Second Coalition made them a bit unreliable [1]. With peace, relations between Britain and France normalised. British artists and enthusiasts flocked to Paris to contemplate the wonders of the Louvre, and French balloonists such as André-Jacques Garnerin staged displays in London. France and Spain were allies of convenience, both having a mutual distrust of the British, but both forms of government seemed irreconcilable, albeit the tacit alliance maintained itself through the early 1800’s [2].

    However cracks soon appeared in the Peace Treaty. Britain refused to abandon Malta, Napoleon violated the independence of the Helvetic Republic by forcing the Act of Mediation upon them on February 1803, bringing an end to the “Stecklikrieg”, with Napoleon abolishing the Helvetic Republic and restoring the Swiss Confederacy, at least on paper. In Italy, Napoleon forced the Cisalpine Republic to recognise him as president, turning it de facto into a French territory. France also tried to reassert its rule over Haiti, but Leclerc’s expedition turned out to be a disaster as the army was dispatched to combat rebels, not yellow fever, and on January 1 1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed Haiti as an independent republic, ordering a massacre of the remaining whites. A meeting of the British ambassador with Napoleon in February of 1803 ended in the First Consul threatening war unless Britain retreated from Malta. Napoleon was surprised when it was the British who broke the Treaty of Amiens by declaring war on France in May 18, with Napoleon quickly conquering British Hannover.

    Direct war was not the only way Britain hoped to topple the French Republic, as the regime had plenty of enemies abroad, including parts of the French Empire that had been in open rebellion against the Republic for almost a decade. Many in the French military hated Napoleon, including figures such as Jean Moreau (the victor of Hohenlinden), Jean-Charles Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal or Lazare Hoche, albeit this last one was a convinced republican, and refused to partake in any plans to restore the Bourbons. Cadoudal, a hardcore Breton royalist, wanted to see Napoleon gone, as he was responsible for the murder of a friend and his own brother, Julien Cadoudal. The plot members also contacted Dupleix and the FEIC. However, the plot was foiled by its very disorganised nature and it was discovered by the French government, with Moreau leaving through the Pyrenees, and Pichegru narrowly avoiding capture [3], with most of the members of the plot avoiding capture or leaving prison at a later date and heading for India. This failure to completely subdue the plot caused Napoleon to dismiss Joseph Fouché as Minister of Police, ironically replacing him by an even more incompetent individual.


    Jean-Charles Pichegru, a notable Royalist and future commander of the Royalist Army of Spain

    Royalist elements would coalesce in the lands of the French East India Company, forming a core of highly skilled officers, albeit they lacked troops to build an effective army, relying mostly on Indian recruits until later in the war. Suffren then ordered the fleet to sail along with the Royal Navy to French Guyana, where they overwhelmed the scarce Republican garrison with help from the local exiles, including many Royalists. The Anglo-Royalist fleet focused on conquering the Caribbean, albeit attacks against Spanish positions would be rare, with Napoleon then deciding that the only way to win the war would be invading Great Britain. In order to remove potential threats, and following Talleyrand’s advice, Napoleon violated the neutrality of Baden and kidnapped the Duke of Enghien (the last of the house of Bourbon-Condé), ordering his execution on March 21 1804. The execution of Enghien had the opposite effect, shocking the Tsar of Russia and inspiring fear in the Austrians, while Napoleon took the chance and crowned himself Emperor on December 2 1804. A while later, the Austrian Archduke did the same, abolishing the Holy Roman Empire in the process and creating the Austrian Empire.

    Napoleon would devise a series of plans in order to seize at least temporary control of the English Channel in order to land his forces, but a series of unfortunate events would prevent any of them from bearing substantial fruit until 1805 [4]. On March, Ganteaume’s Atlantic fleet was to depart Brest and sail to Martinique to meet with Missiessy’s fleet, followed soon after by Villeneuve’s Mediterranean fleet along with a Spanish contingent, for a grand total of 36 ships of the line that then would sail back across the Atlantic and clear the English channel. The plan was foiled immediately when Ganteaume’s fleet got trapped at Brest by Vice-Admiral Cotton, attempting a sortie on March 26 under the cover of fog, but winds changed suddenly and the fleet was detected and bottled up yet again. Villeneuve had more luck, avoiding Nelson’s trap between Sardinia and Mallorca thanks to a Spanish merchant, sailing west of the Balearics. The Spanish fleet refused to join him at Cartagena until orders arrived, and Federico Gravina only agreed when direct orders from the king told him that his fleet was to set sail with the French.

    The Franco-Spanish fleet reached the Caribbean, with their only relevant action being the Battle of Diamond Rock, and when they received news of Nelson’s fleet in the vicinity, Villeneuve opted to sail back to France, having pretty much wasted three months of campaigns without taking any island. Villeneuve encountered Robert Calder’s fleet at Finisterre and was defeated, with the frigate Didon captured, which was tasked with delivering orders to Allemand’s “Escadre Invisible”. Villeneuve continued to Brest but on August 15 he mistook three British ships with the vanguard of the Royal Navy and sailed south. By this point, Gravina was fed up with the French Admiral’s incompetency after Calder captured two of his ships that Villeneuve had exposed, and having had enough of the French after Tranquebar, he withdrew his fleet to Ferrol and refused to come out, thus letting Villeneuve head south alone [5]. When Napoleon heard of Villeneuve’s decision to sail south he raged and exclaimed “What a Navy! What an admiral! All those sacrifices for nought!”


    The Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson's greatest victory

    Gravina would sit the rest of the year at Ferrol, avoiding the British fleet. Villeneuve would not be so lucky and his fleet of 21 ships [6] was trapped at Cádiz by the British. In mid-October he got news that he was about to be replaced Vice-Admiral François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros, and Villeneuve decided to set sail before his replacement could arrive. However, the French fleet was terribly disorganised and it took the fleet two days to set sail. However, by that time Admiral Nelson had arrived, and despite Villeneuve ordering the fleet to turn back to Cádiz, he was intercepted off Cape Trafalgar. Nelson devised a plan, correctly assuming that Villeneuve would form a traditional line of battle, involving the fleet being divided into small squadrons that would pierce at single points of the line, thus focusing the attack on a point and hopefully destroying that section of the French fleet before the rest could come to the rescue. And that’s exactly what happened [7], as the French fleet was divided and Nelson got the pell-mell battle that he expected, sinking or capturing 12 French vessels, including Villeneuve’s flagship “Bucentaure”. The French fleet was scattered, with Nelson sailing to Gibraltar to recover and put the captured vessels in custody, while dispatching a small fleet under Strachan to pursue the French, with Strachan capturing a fraction of the French fleet under Le Pelley at Cape Ortegal.

    Trafalgar was an unmitigated disaster for the French navy, losing most of the ships involved to limited British casualties. Gravina was initially court-martialed due to his desertion after Finisterre, but charges were revoked after Villeneuve’s foil at Trafalgar, however he was replaced as Commander in Chief. Nelson’s aura of glory was further incremented by his victory at Trafalgar, being received in London to a hero’s welcome. The French invasion of England would never materialise, and Napoleon’s “Armée d'Angleterre” turned east to face the new Austro-Russian threat.

    [1] - No War of the Oranges ITTL, Portugal keeps Olivença.

    [2] - The French do not throw off Trinidad in the Amiens negotiation as the British never take the island, plus Louisiana stays French, not hurting Spanish trade in the Mississippi.

    [3] - He was captured IOTL and imprisoned, commiting suicide by strangling in the Temple Prison. Cadoudal was also captured and executed, with his last words being “And now, it's time to show to the Parisians how Christians, Royalists and Bretons die!” Moreau would be banished for partaking in the plot, eventually arriving in Georgia and assisting them with building a proper military.

    [4] - I realise I have killed many butterflies with this.

    [5] - IOTL both fleets sailed together to Trafalgar. Gravina was a personal friend of French Minister of the Navy Decrès, and was more of a francophile, but Villeneuve can be very infuriating.

    [6] - A larger number than OTL’s 18 ships, but the Spanish fleet of 15 vessels is not there.

    [7] - Specifics are different, the French line is shorter than IOTL so the battle space is tighter, the battle being more chaotic than its OTL counterpart.
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    Chapter 22: Caesar's Second Coming
  • ~ Chapter 22: Caesar's Second Coming ~

    The Battle of Trafalgar and Villeneuve’s folly ruined any chance of invading Britain for the French, as well as badly damaging their navy, losing a grand total of 19 vessels during the campaign to meager British losses. The decreased French naval power allowed the British fleet to continue their operations in the Caribbean unmolested, capturing Tobago in November of 1805, Saint Lucia six months later and Dominica in July of 1806. Attacks against French aligned nations also took place, notably the capture of the Danish West Indies in December 1807. The Haitians also tried to exploit French weakness and raided the eastern part of Hispaniola still controlled by the French after Aranjuez, albeit they were repelled. The Haitians massacred the population of cities such as Santiago de los Caballeros and laid waste to the fields. The last substantial French fleet in the Caribbean under Pierre Lahalle was destroyed in November 1809 off the coast of Guadeloupe. All of the captured islands and territories were given back to the French Royalists, with the exception of Tobago, which was annexed by Britain [1].

    In Europe, France performed much better. When Austria declared war on France Napoleon reacted quickly and departed Boulogne with the former Army of England, now known as the “Grande Armée'' for Germany. The Austrian army had been reformed recently by Archduke Charles, the brother of the emperor, who took away power from the Hofkriegstat, the organism responsible for decision-making in the Austrian army. However, no matter how prepared Charles was as a commander, he was unpopular in the court and was opposed to a war with France, so when the War of the Third Coalition began he was replaced by Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich as commander in chief. Von Leiberich suspected that the French would repeat their prior campaign in Italy, a decision that was backed by the Aulic Council, who thought that the natural defences of southern Germany, specially those around Ulm, made a French attack along the Danube too difficult to try [2]. Thus, the main Austrian Army under Charles was sent to guard the Mincio River, while a smaller force under von Leiberich was to invade neutral Bavaria and reach Ulm before the French, trying to hold the line there.

    Plans rarely survive contact with the enemy, and this was no exception. The French crossed the Rhine en masse on September 26 1805 between Mainz and Neuf Brisach, while Bernadotte attacked from the north crossing through Prussian Ansbach. Von Leiberich made the critical decision to hold his ground at Ulm while the bulk of the French forces pressed further north and then turned south, trapping the core of the Austrian Danube Army at Ulm. On October 20, and without fighting any grandiose battle, Karl Mack von Leiberich surrendered to the French, giving Napoleon control of Bavaria and opening the route for Vienna. Russian forces under Kutuzov were supposed to be present along with the Austrians, but due to calendar reasons they were still at the Austro-Bavarian border [3].

    Ulm Capitulation.jpg

    The Austrian Army surrenders at Ulm

    The remnants of the Austrian Army fled east to Vienna, with the Grande Armée following their footsteps. The Russians finally made contact with the Austrians at the Ill River. A series of battles ensued between the French and the Austro-Russian alliance on the Danube valley, notably at Dürenstein and Hollabrunn, attempting to delay the French advance as Kutuzov retreated north of the Danube. On November 13 the forces commanded by Murat took Vienna falsely claiming an armistice had been signed and secured a bridge over the Danube. The great finale of the War of the Third Coalition would be decided at Austerlitz, close to Brünn [4]. There was a rough parity in raw numbers of troops, but the mostly-Russian force almost doubled the French in the number of artillery pieces.

    It was at Austerlitz where Napoleon would win his most brilliant victory. Khutuzov had correctly guessed that the French supply lines were overextended, and that a defeat right now would be catastrophic for the French. Napoleon was also aware of this fact, but he employed it to the best of his abilities, feigning weakness and nervousness in his interviews with the enemy, and making constant proposals for an armistice that he would never concrete. Napoleon, meanwhile, had distributed his forces leaving his right flank extremely weakened. Khutuzov suspected this to be a trap, but the rest of the commanders believed that French weakness was real, and so ordered an attack. The Coalition forces sprung the trap Napoleon had set, and they were crushed. The French inflicted more than twice the casualties they suffered and captured over 20,000 prisoners at Austerlitz, as well as routing the Coalition forces. 22 days after the Battle of Austerlitz, the Austrians signed the Peace of Pressburg. The treaty ceded Tyrol and Further Austria to Napoleon’s German Allies, as well as the former territory of the Republic of Venice, which was granted to the Kingdom of Italy, of which Napoleon became king last year. The French had also conquered Naples and Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the throne.


    The Battle of Austerlitz

    The following year would be one in which the French would secure control over Germany. They established the Confederation of the Rhine, dismantling the Holy Roman Empire and completely changing the political landscape of Germany, reducing the number of states in the Confederation to almost 40 from the hundreds of polities that conformed the Holy Roman Empire, dissolved officially after Francis II of Austria abdicated the imperial crown, albeit imperial authority was non-existent already. Napoleon offered Prussia an alliance in order to check the still hostile United Kingdom and Russia, but the Prussians refused, fearing to become French puppets. Sweden also sided with the Brits and Russians, especially after French troops evicted them from Hanover in April 1806, soon after the British increased their pressure on the French, declaring all ports between Bordeaux and the Elbe River to be blockaded in the Order-in-Council of May 19 [5]. Napoleon also placed Murat as ruler of Cleves and Berg, ejecting a Prussian garrison, and throwing Prussia into the Coalition camp.

    The Prussian king Frederick William III, influenced by his wife Louise and the officer corps of the Prussian Army, decided to go to war against the French independently of other powers in August 1806. The Prussian king had remained on the sidelines during the War of the Third Coalition as the rapid French advance made them vacillate, but now Prussia would spearhead the Fourth Coalition. And it would become another unmitigated disaster. Only eight days after declaring war, the French won their first victory at Schleiz, and the day after the Prussians were again defeated at Saalfeld, where Prussian prince Louis Ferdinand died. On October 14, exactly two weeks after Prussia and Saxony declared war on France, Napoleon achieved a decisive victory at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt [6]. The Prussians were crushed and Napoleon entered Berlin thirteen days later, visiting the tomb of Frederick II the Great and saying “If he were alive we wouldn't be here today”.


    Napoleon at the Battle of Jena

    Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on November 21 as a response to the British Order-in-Council, prohibiting all trade coming from the continent with the United Kingdom and hoping that this embargo would crash the British economy. As a matter of fact, the Continental System only strengthened the British, as Europe was cut off from any products coming from overseas, and the embargo was not popular at all in Europe, not even in France. As the defeated Prussians issued a series of decrees proclaiming levies, the affected Poles in Prussian territory rebelled under Jan Dabrowski, with Napoleon assisting the Poles, creating a Duchy of Warsaw in 1807, to be controlled by his new ally the King of Saxony, who had switched sides on December 11 1806.

    Prussia’s allies proved ineffective, with the Swedes contributing scarce forces and the Russians still coming from their country and barely crossing the Nieman River as the French pushed for the new Prussian capital at Königsberg. Russian forces finally arrived, only to take part in the inconclusive Battle of Eylau, which was so bloody that both forces had to halt their military operations. Napoleon dispatched general Bertrand to negotiate a separate peace with the Prussians, but they again rejected and opted to continue the war along with their Russian allies. After months of recovery, a new battle happened at Friedland, where the French won a decisive victory and forced the Russian tsar to the negotiating table.

    Both sides signed the Treaty of Tilsit, which resulted in a significant reduction of Prussian territory and a tacit Franco-Russian alliance against Sweden, Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire. Both sides were aware that this alliance was nothing but wet paper, and as French forces did nothing against the Ottoman Empire, Emperor Alexander I began to have doubts regarding the alliance, especially as he was forced into war with the United Kingdom after they shelled Copenhaguen. Secretly, and without Napoleon noticing, through 1807 and 1808 the tsar would take profit of the terrible shape of the French secret services, completely hijacked by French royalists [7], to machinate against Napoleon while keeping a façade of friendship, going to war with Sweden over Finland. However, Napoleon’s control of Europe was not yet complete, and a French army crossed the Pyrenees and invaded Portugal, expelling the royal family to Brazil. However, the French Army had other intentions.

    Portuguese Royals Departing Lisbon.png

    The Portuguese Royal Family flees to Brazil

    [1] - Further political changes in the Caribbean will be negotiated when the war ends.

    [2] - I mean, Bavaria is no French ally and the last time they went through the Danube they were crushed at Blenheim, why would they try? Thought von Leiberich.

    [3] - The Austrians used the Gregorian Calendar and the Russians the Julian Calendar, which by 1805 were twelve days apart.

    [4] - Did I ever mention I’ll be using in-timeline present city names for the chapters? Well, this is a small spoiler.

    [5] - May 16 OTL and only covering from Brest to the Elbe. The naval balance of power is much worse for the Imperial French Fleet ITTL, mostly due to having a French Royalist fleet also opposing them, and the Spaniards being inactive.

    [6] - Which was actually two parallel battles instead of a single engagement, just as IOTL.

    [7] - Fouché was dismissed and one of his many successive replacements (Élie Decazes) was a covert royalist, who managed to apparently calm down the situation in France by telling the Royalists to step down their opposition, thus winning Napoleon’s confidence.

    Note: Sorry for this mostly OTL chapter. Next one will bring a different style and some divergences.
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    Interlude 1: Distrust
  • ~ Interlude 1: Distrust ~
    Salamanca, February of 1808

    A group of Spanish officers secretly meet in one of the plenty of pubs the city has. Among them there are personalities such as Vice-Admiral Federico Gravina, Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake, General Gregorio García De La Cuesta, or General Juan Miguel de Vives. The total attendants were around 12, filling a private room within the pub to discuss politics. Presiding the meeting, Federico Gravina spoke:

    - Gravina: Gentlemen, I have long been an advocate that the alliance between the Kingdom of Spain and the French has always been one sided. We have been treated as lackeys and not as sovereign allies. Our interests have been brushed away, and we were forced to partake in campaigns that achieved nothing to defend the kingdom. I, myself, have also had to endure this, first during Bruix’s failed Indian expedition, in which he used part of the Spanish vessels as a bait for the British fleet while abandoning the battlefield. That coward! Then I was put under the command of Villeneuve, another incompetent who ruined the entire operation by mistaking a couple British ships with their entire fleet, and sailing south, only to be obliterated by Nelson at Cape Trafalgar. If I had followed him and not mutinied, it’s likely that the Kingdom’s fleet would have been sunk, or captured.

    A general feeling of erie extends through the room.

    - Gravina: My warnings fell on deaf ears due to that bastard Godoy, always in a lust for power. Now the French have invaded Portugal and placed troops there. And as of now, February 27 1808, we have news that French forces have crossed the Pyrenees. The French have taken the fortresses of Barcelona and Pamplona, employing force to take over them and shooting at Spanish soldiers and folk alike. I don’t know what you gentlemen think, but for me, this is a clear act of war.

    Blake and other attendants reaffirm Gravina’s position. General De La Cuesta speaks:

    - De La Cuesta: Vice-Admiral, with all due respect, I think there must be rational thinking behind this. I am the first one opposing a French presence in Spain, however our duty as soldiers is to obey orders...

    Before De La Cuesta continues he is interrupted by Juan Miguel de Vives:

    - Vives: Spanish orders, that is, not French ones. My home city of Girona has been occupied by the French and judging from a letter coming from a cousin, they are not behaving in a “correct” manner. I am as loyal as you all are, but we can not stay idle while French forces are doing what they please across our fatherland.

    - De La Cuesta: Then what do you suggest? A rebellion? We have orders to do nothing.

    - Blake: No. We don’t have orders to “do nothing”. We have no orders at all.

    - Vives: Maybe if Godoy did not spend the whole day fornicating with the queen we would have clearer instructions.

    The bold comment sparks laughter among the meeting’s officers. After some seconds a still smiling Gravina asks the attendants to calm down.

    - Gravina: Gregorio is right, we can’t stage a rebellion, as Godoy or someone else could use it as a pretext to pump even more French troops inside Spain or God knows what. I purpose that you, my fellow military men, train your forces to the best of your abilities, and communicate with each other secretly via people you personally trust. The French secret service has a well earned fame of incompetency, but we must be careful nevertheless. I have a feeling that the current government is about to fall, for a little bird told me the prince is planning a coup [1]. For sure the French are going to step in and maybe use it as an excuse to conquer Spain; And that’s where we enter the arena. No matter what orders come from Madrid, from Charles, or any of his sons, we are to arrange our forces and confront the French. I have no clue regarding the common people’s actions, they could either flock to our side or to whoever ends up wearing the crown. But one thing is sure, we will stand for Spain.

    A general ovation ensues. The rest of the clients in the pub are a little freaked out by the sudden reaction of the attendants. The Spanish Army was resolute to stop the French should chaos ensue.

    [1] - “A little bird told me” is a Spanish expression for when somebody tells another person a secret and said person does not want to reveal the identity of the informant.

    Note: This is the first time I try writing in this style for this Timeline. I want feedback, do you guys like this interlude format? If so I will try to bring more chapters on this style.
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    Chapter 23: Colours of Blood and Gold
  • ~ Chapter 23: Colours of Blood and Gold ~
    "You are making a mistake, Sire. Your glory will not be enough to subjugate Spain. I shall fail and the limits of your power will be exposed."

    Joseph Bonaparte to Napoleon

    The fact that the Hispano-French alliance had outlived its purpose after the defeat at Trafalgar. Spanish colonies were occasionally attacked by the British, notably the British attack on Buenos Aires in 1807 after the British conquered the Dutch Cape Colony [1]. The British successfully took Buenos Aires in a surprise attack and forced viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte to flee with the treasury, an action that made him look like a coward despite following the law [2]. The British attack was driven out exclusively by local troops raised by Martín de Álzaga and commanded by figures such as Belgrano or Liniers, that deposed Sobremonte and handed the power over to the Royal Audience with Sobremonte remaining governor only on paper, before being deposed and replaced by Santiago de Liniers in 1808 due to his unpopularity. This was an act of defiance to the crown, as one of their representatives had been deposed, however, the Spanish crown had bigger problems.

    On February 24 Napoleon declared that he was no longer bound to the Treaty of Fontainebleau nor any of the previous treaties. By March up to 100,000 French troops had entered Spain and Joachim Murat established his headquarters at Vitoria. King Charles IV anticipated a French move against Madrid and departed the city in March of 1808, going south and hoping to take a vessel to the Americas just as the Portuguese had done. However, his son Ferdinand took advantage of the popular outrage against prime minister Godoy to launch a coup d’état in Aranjuez on March 17. Prime minister Godoy went missing as a tumult stormed the Aranjuez palace, and he was found hidden within a rug soaked in his own urine [3]. On March 19 Charles, to avoid Godoy’s execution, abdicated on Ferdinand and departed Aranjuez, secretly asking Napoleon for help, a statement that convinced him of the weakness of the Spanish monarchy. On March 25 Murat entered Madrid and Ferdinand VII requested a meeting with Napoleon, with the emperor telling him to go to Burgos and then to Bayonne, where Ferdinand was forced to abdicate on his father, and then his father was also forced to abdicate, but this time on Napoleon, who passed the crown to his brother Joseph, at the time King of Naples. Charles was compensated with the lordship of Chambord and the palace of Compiègne.

    Before departing for Bayonne, Ferdinand created a Government Junta and ordered them to pursue and punish any violence against the French, who were behaving in an increasingly aggressive way, murdering civilians on the way. There were still Spanish royals in Madrid, concretely the princess Maria Luisa and the prince Francisco de Paula. The Junta received orders from Ferdinand himself to have them arrested and taken to Bayonne on May 1. At dawn of May 2 a mob had gathered surrounding the Royal Palace of Madrid in order to stop the French from taking prince Francisco. As tensions continued to rise throughout the morning, a French force forced the gates of the palace and the mob attacked them, to which the French responded by shooting artillery at the civilians. Hell broke loose in Madrid after this, as the whole city rose up in arms against the occupiers in a brutal street battle that lasted two days during which the French army massacred soldiers and civilians alike [4].


    Defense of the artillery positions at the Monteleón park

    Later that same day the mayor of Móstoles issued an incendiary proclamation against the French, declaring that the town would oppose any foreign troops on its soil, and many towns all across Spain joined this spontaneous uprising. Within a week the whole country was in rebellion, with the army quickly taking control of the situation as a power vacuum formed as entities such as the Council of Castille ceased to operate, and the army formed the Supreme Junta of Spain and the Indies in Seville headed by Gravina, albeit he soon conceded the power to former PM Floridablanca, who headed the parallel General Government Junta of Cartagena, thus unifying both entities. The authority of this Junta was shaky outside of Seville as French forces occupied many neuralgic points and communications were difficult, but at the very least the Spanish army began to fight the French under a clear command structure, albeit regional juntas often tried to gather power for themselves, albeit these attempts were rapidly aborted. The division in Spain was not clear cut, as many members of the upper class opted to support the French [5] and side with the new king Joseph. Meanwhile, the viceroyalties started recognizing Ferdinand as the legitimate king of Spain one by one, refusing to follow Joseph’s government.

    A similar rebellion, likely impulsed by the Spanish army, arose in Portugal and expelled most French forces from the country. Further north, news of the uprising began to extend in Europe. The Spanish Army of the North, a force of 15,000 professional soldiers stationed in the Danish island of Funen, had been mostly isolated from the outside world since May, with the exception of their commander, Pedro Caro de La Romana, who had negotiated a secret deal with British representative James Robertson, assisted by the recent envoy from the Government of Seville, Rafael Lobo. The Spanish fleet collaborated with the British to take part in an operation to rescue the Army of the North, and in July 12 1808 La Romana rebelled as he got news of an approaching Anglo-Spanish fleet, taking over the port of Nyborg with most of his garrison, with only the Guadalajara regiment left behind [6] as it was surrounded by a larger Franco-Danish force and compelled to surrender. As the remnants of the French Imperial Navy were bruised from the seas by the Anglo-Spanish fleet, La Romana landed in Santander in early September, building up its forces and training the local militias, actions which would prove to be key for the northern theater of the Peninsular Campaign.

    La Romana.jpg

    The pledge of the Marquis of la Romana at Nyborg

    Allowing La Romana to escape was not the last mistake the French would commit in 1808. When the Spanish authority collapsed back in May of 1808, the French Army decided that the best way to crush the rebels would be to capture Seville and Cádiz, hopefully liberating the French fleet that was still in the harbour of the island (unknown to them, the fleet surrendered in early June to the Spaniards). The French army hoped to cross the Sierra Morena mountains through the Despeñaperros pass, however the hostility of the population was so intense that in towns such as Valdepeñas the Imperial Army was met with clubs and buckets of boiling water thanks to the actions of Juana Galán, who captured the French plans and gave them to Castaños’ Army of Andalusia. The French Army finally crossed into Andalucia in early July after much delay, however conditions were rapidly deteriorating, as their army was running low on supplies.

    Castaños’ plan consisted on letting the French cross into Andalusia and trap them there, expecting the weather and the geography to do the rest [7], as both forces met at the Battle of Bailén. The heat impeded the French from using their cannons as they expanded and could not shoot, while the French soldiers were hallucinating from lack of water. In this sorry state, Spanish General Teodoro Reding attacked the French and crushed General Dupont’s forces, which surrendered after a fierce battle. Over 17,000 French prisoners were captured, which included more than half of the total French forces destined to the south. The remains of the French Army, now commanded by Vedel, retreated to Madrid, and on July 28 Joseph Bonaparte himself was forced out of Madrid by the Spanish Army. Shortly after the French were also defeated at Vimeiro in Portugal, albeit Sir Harry Burrand allowed the French to escape, even keeping the goods they looted from Portugal.

    Bailén shattered the myth of Napoleonic invincibility. An entire French Imperial Army had been destroyed by a nation that Napoleon considered as nothing but scorn. With Napoleon’s aura in tatters, the balance of power he worked so hard to build crumbled. In an open letter the Pope condemned Napoleon’s actions, the Prussian patriots who had been preparing an uprising received more fuel [8], the pro-war faction in Austria won out and prepared the country for a fourth round against the French, while in Russia the Tsar was doubting more and more of his alliance with France. The French Empire had reached the zenith of its power, the only way now was down.


    Dupont surrenders his forces at the Battle of Bailén

    [1] - IOTL the Cape Campaign happened in 1805 and the attack on Buenos Aires in 1806.

    [2] - A law passed by viceroy Pedro de Cevallos stated that the city’s treasury should be kept safe no matter the cost. By the way, during this alternate campaign, the royal treasury was not lost to the British.

    [3] - Just like IOTL.

    [4] - Here, the entire Spanish Army fights against the French instead of only fractions of it, but it’s not enough for a victory.

    [5] - Those supporting the French are called “Afrancesados”, and formed the basis of the Bonapartist government in Spain both IOTL and ITTL.

    [6] - IOTL the Algarve and Asturias regiments were also captured. The number of troops escaping is 12,000 instead of the 8,000 of OTL.

    [7] - In Andalusia, summer temperatures often go over 40ºC and water is scarce.

    [8] - Baron Vom Stein’s letter is never intercepted ITTL and he keeps plotting against the French and implanting reforms in Prussia.
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    Chapter 24: Caesar and Hispania
  • ~ Chapter 24: Caesar and Hispania ~

    Bailén was a shock to the French, and a cause of jubilation in Spain. The British could hardly believe the magnitude of the victory the Spanish had just pulled off, with their forces remaining passive in Portugal despite Floridablanca asking them to enter Spain and help foster the defence. The Imperial Army fled Madrid and retreated across the Ebro River, lifting the siege of Saragossa, a brutal siege in which many civilians and military men perished, including the commander of the Spanish forces, José de Palafox, when a roof tile fell on his head [1], with Castaños assuming command of the Army of the Ebro as well, for a grand total of close to 100,000 active soldiers, albeit only roughly a third were properly trained, with the rest being civilian and patriot militias that barely knew how to use a gun, albeit Spanish and British officials were desperately trying to give them a lesson or two about war [2].

    The Spanish also launched a counterattack against the French everywhere else. The French portion of Santo Domingo that was still held by the Imperials was dealt with swiftly once a Spanish force invaded and defeated the French at the Battle of Palo Hincado. This left only one remaining French colony: Louisiana. Louisiana had been a French colony before being ceded to Spain in 1762, and it was given back to the French in 1801 as per the Treaty of Aranjuez. Napoleon desired to create an American empire out of Louisiana, hopefully securing alliances with the American Republics to expel the British from the continent. However, as Leclerc’s Haitian expedition perished in disease and the Republics universally refused to collaborate with the emperor, Louisiana was seen as nothing but a backwater that Napoleon only kept for prestige reasons [3].

    Louisiana’s sheer size and small population impeded a proper defense of the territory, and as a matter of fact the French only had control from Saint Louis to the south, and only in the Mississippi thanks to scattered outposts such as Nouvelle Madrid or Natchez. Even there, French control was purely theoretical, as there were only a handful of Imperial troops in Louisiana, most of them quartered in New Orleans, and no orders were coming from Paris. Thus, in the period from 1801 to 1808 Louisiana enjoyed virtual self-government, only being threatened to the north, when a British expedition captured Saint Louis in 1806 but did not push further south, fearing to draw in Spanish attention. However, in 1808 the tables flipped and Louisiana was now surrounded by enemies on all sides. A Coalition Army, mostly composed of the Spanish Army of Cuba, landed near New Orleans on December 16 1808, bombing the fortifications of the city and laid siege to it for two weeks before the city surrendered. By spring, all of Louisiana was controlled by the Coalition, and it was effectively annexed back to Spain after the Junta renounced the Treaty of Aranjuez. For most Louisianans, the return of Spanish rule was met with ambivalence. Louisianans were, generally, very royalist and conservative people and were willing to trust a restored government, however their experience with practical independence had left a mark in the territory, and the lenience of the Spanish authorities only reinforced this belief, which would rear its head again in a decade [4].

    New Orleans 1798.jpg

    Map of New Orleans in 1798. Not much changed during the decade of French rule

    Going back to the events in Europe, Bailén was a shock for Napoleon. The emperor was infuriated and decided to take personal command of the armies there, rearranging them under the title of “Army of Spain”, for a grand total of roughly 260,000 men, more than doubling its Spanish counterpart. The first engagement of this renewed Spanish campaign happened at the Battle of Zornoza, where Irish-Spanish general Joaquín Blake successfully stalled Lefebvre’s forces as he decided to attack before the time Napoleon told him to, which allowed the Spanish to escape in good order and report the offensive. The next battle was also sour for the French, as Blake successfully avoided the French trap with crafty maneuvers and led marshall Claude Victor into a trap of its own at Valmaseda on November 5 1808, defeating the French. Napoleon took this badly, for his army could not be defeated by “an army of bandits led by monks”, and severely reprimanded Victor.

    The Spanish Army had spent months training its forces and invited the British army of Sir John Moore (30,000 men) and Sir David Baird (12,000 men) to Spain, along with a 4,000 men-strong French royalist army headed by Pichegru. The bulk of the British army marched to the north, into Old Castille, León and Cantabria, while rearguard forces remained in Galicia and Portugal [5]. After Valmaseda, Victor was itching for revenge, and decided to rush his attack and prove Napoleon that he was a competent commander, launching a frontal attack against the Spanish at Espinosa de los Monteros. Victor’s force consisted of 21,000 men, including a contingent of Poles from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, while the opposing Spanish force was of 34,000 men, commanded by La Romana and Blake. The first assault by Victor was an utter disaster as his forces could not even make a dent on the Spanish formation, so on the morning of November 11 he attempted an attack on Blake’s left flank, which again was repelled [6]. Victor received orders to keep the Spanish engaged, allowing for Soult’s army to move south into Castille, and Victor was successful in this mission, however Napoleon would dismiss him for taking massive casualties at Espinosa de los Monteros, which was, after all, a Spanish victory, as the victors of Austerlitz and Jena could not win that day.

    Espinosa de los Monteros.png

    French Cavalry at the Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros

    Napoleon’s plan consisted on a double envelopment, with the French right flank advancing through the coast and near the Cantabrian Cordillera, while the left flank would advance across Navarre into the Ebro, and from there into Castille; with a secondary offensive taking place in Catalonia in order to relieve the trapped garrison of Barcelona. The truth being that by early November the French, commanded personally by Napoleon, were already at Burgos, but the presence of Castaños’ army based on the Queiles River posed a threat to the French flank, so on November 18 Napoleon ordered marshal Lannes to march to Tudela, where Castaños had placed the core of its defensive line, having 58,000 men against Lannes’ force of roughly 40,000 [7], believing the Spanish forces to be dispersed in a wide front, and finding them placed in the hills across the Queiles between Tudela and Cascante (which had a bridge across the Ebro River). On the night of November 22 the first combat ensued as the French vanguard clashed with the Spanish at Corella and Cintruénigo, and the next day the battle ensued as Lannes struck the Spanish defences at Cerro de Santa Bárbara.

    The battle commenced well for the Spaniards, as they repulsed the first attack, however General Manuel de La Peña fumbled the defense by his lack of initiative at protecting a gap south of Tudela, which had to be fixed rapidly with reinforcement troops that were beaten (their rifles barely worked) and the French under Alexandre Digeon poured in, splitting the Spanish force temporarily before a fierce counterattack of the Spanish cavalry closed the gap. Castaños considered that continuing the battle there could lead to a disaster and retreated south of the Ebro towards Cascante with all of his forces [8], opening the path to Aragon as Castaños retreated towards Soria, heading for Madrid. Lannes continued southeast along the Ebro, reaching Saragossa in early December and capturing the city after a short siege on December 27 [9].


    General Castaños at the Battle of Tudela

    The campaign of 1808 would be decided further south. Napoleon marched south towards the Central Range that divides the two Spanish plateaus with the aim of crossing it and threatening Madrid. General Eguía was well aware of this and dispatched a force of 14,000 men to Somosierra under General Heredia and 6,000 to Sepúlveda. Napoleon’s forces headed towards the Somosierra pass, first encountering the defenders of Sepúlveda, who successfully withstood an attack of the French Imperial Guard, retreating when reinforcements arrived. At Somosierra, the Spanish had superior artillery located at the mountains, with Heredia ordering it to be protected [10]. On November 30, Napoleon ordered charge after charge of the cavalry, including the Polish Light Cavalry Regiment, which was decimated by the Spanish even if they managed to reach the cannons, with their commander Jan Kozietuslki perishing when a cannon exploded next to him. Napoleon grew impatient, as the Spanish kept resisting wave after wave of attacks. The French only crossed Somosierra on December 2 when the Spanish ran out of artillery rounds and retreated in good order towards Madrid. Somosierra was celebrated as a major victory, for the French emperor (arguably) had been defeated in person, suffering thousands of casualties compared to barely 800 Spaniards dead.

    By that time the vanguard of Castaños’ army was about to reach the French rearguard at Somosierra, and Napoleon had to turn around and face him leaving a token force south of the Somosierra pass to guard it. Both forces collided on December 7 at the Battle of Riaza, in which Castaños’ forces were given a bloody nose by the French, as they had marched hurriedly towards the battlefield and the Spanish forces lacked discipline, with Castaños ultimately taking a longer route towards Madrid through the pass at Alcolea del Pinar. However, the battle gave Eguía extra time to prepare the defense of Madrid, calling back San Juan’s forces at Guadarrama to protect the capital.


    The Battle of Riaza

    [1] - For plot reasons, it could have easily happened.

    [2] - Spanish historiography both IOTL and ITTL will sell the uprising as a national revolution, which was certainly the case for the upper classes, but not so much for the poor peasant that only wanted to protect his land. However, TTL’s version of the war will end up being even more of a unifying factor for Spain than IOTL.

    [3] - No way he is giving the colony back to the Spanish.

    [4] - Sort of a spoiler there.

    [5] - A slightly improved logistical situation permits the British to enter Spain earlier than IOTL.

    [6] - IOTL Blake’s flank crumbled and the Spanish were soundly defeated, with the army retreating in a surprisingly good order, but abandoning most of the equipment.

    [7] - Spanish military coordination has improved compared to OTL levels. Plus, with Palafox dead, there is no dispute in the chain of command that paralyses the Spanish army and that resulted in the disaster that was Tudela IOTL.

    [8] - IOTL the French successfully split the Spanish, sending the right flank to Saragossa and the left one due south. The ATL Battle of Tudela is not the crushing defeat of OTL, but not a victory in any way.

    [9] - The sheer brutality of the Second Siege of Saragossa has been butterflied away.

    [10] - IOTL the force was led by General Benito San Juan, with Heredia guarding the Guadarrama pass. San Juan did not take any precautions prior to the battle, which resulted in the epic cavalry charge of the Poles that demolished the Spanish artillery.
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    Chapter 25: Tsars, Kings and Ministers
  • ~ Chapter 25: Tsars, Kings and Ministers ~

    As Napoleon was crossing the Central Range towards Madrid in mid December of 1808, the situation in the rest of Europe was changing. The main reason for this shift in policies was Tsar Alexander’s lack of confidence in the Emperor of the French after the Congress of Erfurt, during which the French statesman Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Pèrigord secretly conspired against Napoleon by providing the Tsar with useful information and contacts [1]. Alexander, which was opposed to the war, only fought the British with the bare minimum of naval actions and the end of trade between both parties, a position which the British respected, and Anglo-Russian confrontations would be reduced to a couple of naval skirmishes in the Baltic. Russian actions focused instead on the Ottoman Empire [2] and on Sweden, which was hostile to Napoleon and a traditional enemy of Russia (Russia and Sweden went to war independently as recently as 1788).

    The Ottomans presented no major threat to the Russians, but were a distraction, so the Russians gathered a considerable force in Moldavia under Alexander Prozorovsky, a general of noble ascendency, that proved that being of the upper class does not necessarily translate into competence as his force was crushed at the siege of Braila taking enormous casualties. The 76 years old Prozorvsky then requested a younger commander to replace him. In the Caucasus, the locals had risen up against the Russian occupation, with the sovereign of Imereti reasserting the independence of the Kingdom of Imereti [3], and the Persians joining the war despite their less than successful assaults.

    Russia declared war on Sweden in late February 1808 as 24,000 Russian men crossed the border and took the town of Lovisa on February 21. The war was a string of successes for the Russians, quickly securing most of Finland during the spring and summer of 1808. The Russian advance was so serious that before being deployed to Spain, Sir John Moore was dispatched to the port of Gothenburg to assist the Swedes, albeit the situation in Spain erupted only eight days after his arrival. By November 1808, the Russians had overrun all of Finland, and as per the terms of the Convention of Olkijoki of November 19 the Swedes abandoned Finland, retreating across the Gulf of Bothnia. This was not enough for Alexander, who hoped to extract a major victory while his tacit alliance with Napoleon still continued.

    Prior to launching an offensive against Sweden proper, Alexander opened a backchannel of communication with the British and Swedes, learning that king Gustav IV Adolf was acting in an ever increasingly erratic manner, and that the Swedish Army was starting to get annoyed by the king. Hence, in January 1809, Alexander dispatched War Minister Arakcheyev to Finland, convincing Kamensky to cross the frozen gulf. With the Russian Army already encroaching Stockholm, Swedish lieutenant-colonel Georg Aldersparre raised the flag of rebellion in February of 1809, with other forces arresting the king and proclaiming the decrepit Charles XIII as king under a liberal regime. The new government promptly made peace with the Russians, being forced to give up Finland, albeit British mediation secured the Aland Islands for Sweden, even if they were demilitarised. Without an heir apparent, the Swedes chose prince Christian August as an adopted heir [4]. Alexander then sent a delegation to the Ottomans, which accepted a peace deal with the Russians that saw a Russian retreat from Moldavia but gave them a free hand to deal with Imereti and some other Georgian principalities.

    Gustav IV Arrest.jpg

    The arrest of Swedish King Gustav IV Adolf

    With its hands free, Russia could now focus on France. The Anglo-Russian war was secretly finished by March 1809, and Austrian minister Johann Philipp Stadion approached the Tsar with an interesting proposal, offering Russia to collaborate with the Austrians should they go to war with France. Alexander was doubtful at first, but when he received news that the Prussian prime minister vom Stein was also secretly preparing Prussia for a third round, Alexander decided to side with the Austrians and Prussians, fearing the possible outcome of a French victory. The Austrian Army had been reformed under Archduke Charles, the brother of the Emperor, and in 1808 a Reserve Army had been created that rivalled in size with its French counterpart. Napoleon was aware that something was off with Russia since Erfurt, but the war in Spain kept him occupied until February of 1809, and by that time he was convinced Austria was going to attack, and waited for the Austrians to make the first move.

    Napoleon was a busy man, and his attitude towards the war had changed after the Spanish had resisted way more than he expected. Sure, the Second Battle of Madrid [5] was a French victory, but the cost in ammunition and men had been terrific, with over 20,000 Frenchmen dead from Somosierra to Napoleon’s entrance across the Gate of the Sun. A battered and tired Spanish army retreated south towards Alcalá de Henares, with Napoleon ordering a pursuit that resulted in the Battle of Getafe, where the rearguard of Eguía’s Army of Castille was cut off and forced to surrender. Further east, the French campaign in Catalonia was more successful, with Saint-Cyr defeating the Spanish under Juan Vives and Teodoro Reding at Cardedeu and then at Molinos del Rey, relieving the French garrison of Barcelona [6].

    Napoleon abandoned Spain right after his parade at the Gate of the Sun, worried by the diplomatic developments in Europe, which had complicated further in his absence. The last major campaign of 1808 in Spain was Soult’s Leonese Campaign, departing from Valladolid in December of 1808 and pushing towards the mountains of Leon with the hope of capturing Corunna and dividing the front. The forces of La Romana had enough time to rest after Espinosa de los Monteros and joined with the Moore’s Franco-British army at Astorga, where they waited for Soult to arrive. Imperial and British forces had already clashed multiple times across Old Castille, notably at Sahagún and Benavente, but the decisive campaign would be fought on January 2 1809 outside the town of Astorga. Soult had a force of almost 70,000 men, while Moore had 25,000 men, La Romana had 17,000 and Blake had 15,000, which were reinforced by Pichegru’s Royalist Army, which had now increased to 4,000 men with volunteers captured after Bailén. The numbers were pretty even, but eventually Soult’s men were defeated when the British cavalry outflanked the Imperial Army and the left flank collapsed, resulting in a rout and a French defeat, with a complete disaster being averted by the brave sacrifice of colonel Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent’s contingent, that stopped the British long enough for the core of the army to escape [7]. Napoleon blamed Soult on a defeat that he should have won, more so because he expected to be the man leading the Astorga campaign but tensions with Austria prevented him from doing so.

    British Hussars Astorga.jpg

    Charge of the British hussars at Astorga

    [1] - By this time Talleyrand considers that Napoleon is going to drive France to doom and actively works against Bonaparte. As a side note, both Talleyrand and Alexander were men that could not see their dignity down and were accustomed to flattery, so the actual meeting between the two was very weird.

    [2] - Russia and the Ottomans have been at war since 1806. No, the Ottomans were no French ally, just a co-belligerent, and there was no cooperation between them. Russia was not actively engaged in the conflict, only ramping up hostilities after Tilsit.

    [3] - Technically vassalage to the Turks, but whatever works for Solomon II.

    [4] - Renamed to Charles August after becoming Crown Prince. Unlike IOTL, he avoids his 1810 death. The circumstances of his death are controversial, apparently suffering a stroke and falling off his horse, albeit many considered that the Gustavian faction had poisoned him, which led to Count Axel von Fersen being lynched during Charles’ funeral.

    [5] - TTL’s historiography considers the Second of May uprising as the First Battle of Madrid, and Napoleon’s assault of the city in mid December as the Second Battle of Madrid.

    [6] - Pretty much the OTL Campaign. By the way, note that the last battle takes place at “Molinos del Rey” and not “Molins de Rei”.

    [7] - Bory being killed at Astorga means his book “Guide du Voyageur en Espagne” is never published, thus never popularising the term “Iberia” to refer to the peninsula south of France. You may deduce where this is going...
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    Chapter 26: The Fifth Coalition
  • ~ Chapter 26: The Fifth Coalition ~

    Austrian troops mobilised with a good amount of enthusiasm as the Empire prepared for a new round against the French. Even with the successful reforms of Archduke Charles there was no guarantee of winning, even if the French were very busy in Spain. Napoleon was aware that war was coming, however the real magnitude of the conflict evaded his thoughts. The reality was that Austria, Prussia, Russia and Britain were preparing simultaneous offensives against France to bring the empire down. France had already fought against similar coalitions and came out on top, and this time France started with a vantage point compared to the Third or Fourth Coalitions, as France had a secure control over Germany, an ally in the Duchy of Warsaw, and a Prussia that was militarily occupied by a force of some 10,000 men, garrisoning the towns of Glogau, Küstrin, Stettin and the Spandau fortress of Berlin. In all honesty, King Frederick William III of Prussia was not supportive of the plan, and most of the actual negotiations and planning was carried out by his wife Louise and a clique of men such as vom Stein, von Hardenberg, Gneisenau or Scharnhorst [1].

    The Prussian reformers created a system of reserve forces dubbed the Landwehr, which by employing reserve troops only for part of the year managed to train a larger force than that imposed by the limitations of the Treaty of Tilsit (42.000 men, just 2,000 men larger than the French occupation force). Out of the 143 generals the Prussian Army had when the War of the Fourth Coalition started, said number was reduced to only three, with the entire officers corps being depurated and granting the middle class access to higher ranks in the army, thus breaking the monopoly the nobility had on the matter. Von Scharnhorst created a Ministry of War to better manage the military on Christmas Day 1808, replacing the older military institutions that often overlapped each other, and he also opened a War Academy, albeit this one would not open before Prussia joined the war.

    The Prussian intelligentsia was also very busy in the months before the War of the Fifth Coalition. The writings of philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte promoted the ideas of a German idealism and nation, defending the idea that Germany needed to be reborn with the ideas of patriotism and the mythification of the Germanic past. The ideas of previous thinkers such as Immanuel Kant spread further thanks to Fichte, and it extended to many in the Prussian upper spheres, which led to the creation of secret webs and societies hoping to initiate a new era of German glory, such as the League of Virtue or Tugendbund [2]. These ideas were not effective in mobilising the peasants for war and would ultimately fail in their primary objective [3], but would prove to be an useful asset in the war.


    Gerhard von Scharnhorst, the architect of the reformed Prussian Army

    The War of the Fifth Coalition officially started when the Austrian Army under Archduke Charles crossed the Inn River into Bavaria on April 10. The forces of Jean-Baptiste Broussier [4] pulled an ordained retreat as bad weather hampered the Austrian advance, stopping at a defensive line near Ingolstadt. The Austrian offensive, however, was defeated by the French at multiple battles, such as those of Abensberg, Ratisbon or Teugen-Hausen, with the Austrian Landwehr retreating across the border with Napoleon himself in pursuit. It was not after the Battle of Ratisbon, when he was recovering from an artillery shot landing near him and hurting his ankle, that Napoleon received news of the Prussian uprising and Russia’s refusal to aid him. Napoleon considered that the best course of action was to continue the campaign in Austria and ignore the myriad of rebellions that rose up all across the French dominions, and Masséna’s bloody assault at Ebelsberg on May 3 1809 opened the gates to Vienna.

    When Austria invaded Bavaria, the kingdom called for a mobilisation of its population in all of its territories, which had been greatly expanded by becoming a French ally. One of those possessions was Tyrol, which had been obtained in 1805, and was not happy at all with its new status as three Bavarian districts. When a group of young boys fled Axams to avoid conscription, a general uprising began commanded by Andreas Hofer that rapidly dispatched the Bavarians sent to suppress them at the Battle of Sterzing, and then set up a trap which the hard-drinking French general Bisson set up and resulted in the capture of over 2,000 Frenchmen and copious amounts of equipment, as well as an imperial eagle, an affront to French pride. In early May Napoleon sent general Broussier to Tyrol, where he relieved the Bavarian garrison trapped at the Kufstein Fortress, but was soundly defeated at the Battle of Rattenberg on May 14, failing to capture Innsbruck [5].

    Tyrolean Revolt.jpg

    Tyrolean rebels

    Stories of the success of the Tyrolean militias spread like wildfire all across Napoleonic Europe. In Italy, when the Austrians under Archduke John launched an invasion across the Alps after scoring a victory at the Battle of Sacile, with Napoleon’s stepson Eugène de Beauharnais retreating behind the Adige river fearing to be attacked by Austrian forces coming from the Tyrol. The Austrians rallied the Venetians to their cause and a general mutiny in Venice destroyed taxation and conscription records and laying siege to Ferrara, however the Austrian Army was unable to keep up with their promise of help as Archduke John retreated most of his forces across the Alps to protect Vienna, followed by Stoichewich’s Dalmatian Army.

    In Germany, former Prussian officer Friedrich von Katte launched an uprising at the town of Stendal on April 2, which succeeded in taking over the town of Magdeburg five days later from Michaud’s surprised French garrison [6], securing a crossing of the Elbe river for the upcoming Prussians under Ferdinand von Schill, who had departed Berlin earlier, and defeated the Franco-Westphalian forces at Sülzetal on April 12, with a good chunk of the Westphalian troops deserting to the Prussian Army. By late April, the French garrisons in the Prussian fortresses had either been overwhelmed or had capitulated, which allowed the core of the Prussian Army to attack French-allied Saxony in May, defeating the Saxon forces at the Battle of Herzberg on May 27 and pushing towards Leipzig. At the same time, Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick, raised the flag of rebellion and joined forces with the Austrians, causing a general chaos in the eastern part of the Confederation of the Rhine. In Poland, the Austro-Prussian forces launched simultaneous offensives, which the Poles managed to grind to a halt, however when Russia officially joined the War of the Fifth Coalition on May 24 the Polish Army was pushed into a desperate situation, which only grew worse when the (theoretical) Duke of Warsaw, Frederick Augustus, who was also King of Saxony, switched sides as Austrian forces took Dresden on June 8 and the Prussians captured Leipzig.


    Prussian charge at the Battle of Herzberg

    By late May, however, Napoleon’s army was very close to Vienna, albeit he still needed to cross the Danube River. He chose to do so at the island of Lobau, distributing his forces between the towns of Aspern and Essling, managing to bring 40,000 troops to the Marchfeld, crossing the river uninterrupted as Archduke Charles wanted the French to cross in order to trap them in the left bank of the river. Fighting broke out on May 21, and despite the increasing danger of crossing the unstable bridges the French kept advancing and launched fierce attacks on the Austrian forces even after the main bridges shattered. The Austrians then launched a counterattack and quickly took over Aspern, with the battle for Essling extending all throughout May 22, resulting in an Austrian victory and having Jean Lannes, one of Napoleon’s personal friends, mortally wounded on the leg as he was struck with an artillery round. The Battle of Aspern-Essling was a victory for the Austrians, and the first time a large Napoleonic force had been defeated in open battle outside of Spain.

    However, the victory was so unexpected that the Austrian Army did not capitalize on the situation and allowed the French to regroup on the other bank of the river. During the six weeks it took Bonaparte to reassemble his forces, the Prussians were advancing through Westphalia and a Russian contingent of 30,000 men under Peter Wittgenstein arrived to reinforce the Austrians. The fate of Austria would be decided when 150,000 [7] Frenchmen crossed the Danube and headed towards the Coalition Army of 170,000 men.

    Lannes Essling.jpg

    Napoleon visits a mortally wounded Lannes at Essling

    [1] - Frederick William was extremely shy and indecisive, barely taking part during the Treaties of Tilsit, and it was usually the duty of Queen Louise to control the matters of the state, especially when it came to taking decisions.

    [2] - Minister vom Stein was staunchly opposed to these secret societies as he considered them to be too radical, however he did not take action against them as they were a useful asset against the French.

    [3] - Major spoiler here, if you can read between lines.

    [4] - Lefebvre IOTL. Lefebrve himself is replacing Claude Victor in Spain as he was dismissed from command and is now commanding a cavalry regiment in Westphalia.

    [5] - IOTL this force was commanded by Lefebvre and defeated the Tyroleans at Wörgl a day before TTL’s Rattenberg.

    [6] - IOTL the uprising failed as the French captured Eugen von Hirschfeld, one of Katte’s collaborators and he disbanded his forces on the night of April 5 without trying to take Magdeburg.

    [7] - 188,000 men IOTL, French units are busy elsewhere.

    Note: I am terribly sorry for not posting an update in well over a month, I have been busy and dealing with writer's block. Again, can't promise regular updates, but just to let you know this TL is not dead.
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    Chapter 27: The Tiger of Mysore
  • ~ Chapter 27: The Tiger of Mysore ~

    The constant fluctuations of the balance of power in India had been a constant throughout its history, and ever since the European powers started exercising influence on the subcontinent during the first half of the 18th century, the competition between the Indian states had only increased in violence and intensity. The Fourth Carnatic War, fought parallel to the American Revolutionary War, had pitted the British East India Company and their puppet Maratha regent Raghunathrao against a coalition composed of the Maratha Empire, the French East India Company, Hyderabad and Mysore. The rise to dominance of the British in the subcontinent, which seemed secure after the Third Carnatic War, was stopped, and the rivalry between the two European powers intensified [1].

    The war had left the British discredited among the Indian kingdoms and states. The Marathas had defeated the Company Army at Wadgaon, and the traitor Raghunathrao was imprisoned, with the regency of the young emperor Madhavrao II in the hands of Nana Phadnavis, a man obsessed with control that secluded the child emperor and took charge of the matters of the state. When Madhavrao II attempted to commit suicide in 1795 [2], his seclusion was only increased as he suffered a psychotic breakdown, albeit he was not declared unfit to rule so Nana Phadnavis could continue his regency. Said regency increased in brutality as time progressed, thanks to police commissioner Gashiram Kotwal [3].


    Madhavrao II and Nana Phadnavis

    This political crisis was combined with the Doji Bara Famine of 1791-1792, caused by a particularly strong ENSO [4]. Lack of food translated into troop mutinies and when rebellious troops looted the temple of Sringeri the head of the temple contacted Tipu Sultan, sultan of Mysore since Hyder Ali’s death in 1782, for help. Tipu Sultan was busy at the time, as he invaded the Sultanate of Travancore when they purchased two Dutch fortresses at Cochin [5] and the Travancoreans put up more resistance than he had anticipated. French mediation would ultimately result in the cession of said fortresses to Mysore and Travancore becoming effectively a Mysorean protectorate.

    In 1792 the United Kingdom and France went to war again. However, this conflict would never result into a Fifth Carnatic War and a new battle for supremacy on the subcontinent, as Governor-General of French India, Pierre Suffren, refused to recognise the French Republic at Paris, and proclaimed that the French East India Company and all of its assets, employees and territories would remain loyal to the House of Bourbon. This action placed the British and French on the same side for once in a lifetime, specially in the Indian subcontinent, and left a power vacuum on India as the French could no longer receive support from Europe.

    Tipu Sultan never really forgave the actions that occurred inside the Maratha Empire, and used them as an excuse for a new conflict with the Marathas. Tipu Sultan contacted secretly with the son of Raghunathrao, Baji Rao, and together with figures opposing the dictatorship of Nana Phadnavis launched an uprising. The initial stage of the uprising was badly prepared and the rebels were mostly dispersed at the Battle of Bassein of July 12 1799, while Tipu Sultan was still gathering his forces. This initial setback was not enough to persuade him, especially when the British agreed to support Baji Rao’s claim as Peshwa, declaring Madhavrao II incapable of ruling.

    Tipu Sultan.jpg

    Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore

    In 1800 the army of Tipu Sultan crossed over into Maratha territory and headed due north towards the fortress of Pune, defeating the forces personally commanded by Nana Phadnavis at the Battle of Nasrapur on May, resulting in the death of Nana Phadnavis when a cavalryman murdered him with his lance. The news of the disaster of Nasrapur threw the Maratha regency into a panic and a dispute over who would become the new regent soon started. Most historians agree that the Disaster of Nasrapur was the factor that caused the collapse of the Maratha Empire, however the empire had been weak for decades ever since the death of Madhavrao I back in 1772.

    The vassal states of Jodhpur and Jaipur rebelled, while the British supported an uprising in Gujarat that resulted in the Company controlling the east shore of the Gulf of Khambhat. Hyderabad, which until that point had been neutral, jumped at the opportunity and invaded the territory of Berar, controlled by the Maratha rajas of Nagpur [6]. When the monsoon season of 1800 ended, the Maratha Empire had lost military control of much of Gujarat and Rajputana, and foreign forces invaded the territories of Delhi, Nagpur and Pune, with the de facto capital of the empire (the fortress of Pune) besieged by Tipu Sultan.

    On January 3 1801 a BEIC army commanded by Gerard Lake crushed the Maratha defenders of Delhi commanded by the still loyal King of Gwalior, who surrendered the former Mughal capital to the Europeans and was allowed to continue to rule on his own over Gwalior, albeit king Daulat Rao Sindhia would always claim to be subject to the Marathas of Pune. In that same city, the last resistance spearheaded by Gashiram Kotwal was subdued in April, and Baji Rao was crowned as the new Maharajadhiraj of the Maratha Empire as Baji Rao II. The rest of local governors across the empire quickly pledged allegiance to the new ruler, excepting those of Gujarat and Rajputana. Madhavrao II was incarcerated and deposed, albeit his new life as a prisoner proved to be healthier for him [7].

    Delhi Britain.jpg

    British East India Company forces assault Delhi

    As the Maratha Empire collapsed as a sovereign force (Baji Rao II was a puppet of Tipu Sultan after all, and his control outside Pune was only nominal) other kingdoms rose to prominence in the outskirts of the subcontinent. Notably, the Gurkhas of Kathmandu launched a series of successful military campaigns east and west, forming the Kingdom of Nepal. In Punjab, the followers of a new religion, Sikhism, were gaining momentum and began absorbing nearby territories in the Upper Indus Valley, promoting tolerance with the majority Muslim population and forming a new power in the area.

    As for Burma, the splendour of the first years of the Konbaung dynasty had disappeared and the current monarch Bodawpaya was discontent with the British still holding on to Negrais island. Burma had gone through a chaotic period in the early 1780’s, and then king Bodawpaya had gone to war with the Siamese twice, conquering the Tenasserim coast. He caught wind of a supposed court conspirancy supported by Britain, and attacked the fortress of Negrai in 1798. The attack was unsuccessful and the BEIC retaliated with a punitive expedition to the Irrawaddy Delta. The First Anglo-Burmese War only lasted a little over a year, but resulted in the British securing the port of Syriam [8], further strengthening the influence of the BEIC over the Gulf of Bengal.

    [1] - Rivalry only, none of the parties implied could afford a new war as the debt contracted during the Seven Years’ War was still massive, albeit circumstances would force both to go to war with each other again despite the economic malaise.

    [2] - IOTL he jumped off the walls of the Shaniwarwada Palace of Pune, arguably because he could not endure the highhandedness of Nana Phadnavis. This happened when at age 21 he opposed the regent for the first time.

    [3] - Who was never executed ITTL as Phadnavis has even more of a sway over Madhavrao II.

    [4] - El Niño Southern Oscillation. Just a shorter way to refer to the term. In a nutshell, this phenomenon causes a reversal of the rain patterns of western South America and Asia Pacific, triggering massive rains in the Andes and droughts across Asia and Oceania. As a curiosity, a phenomenon dubbed “La Niña” causes an even more extreme version of normal conditions across the Pacific, leading to floods in Asia.

    [5] - Different diplomatic settings means that the Treaty of Mangalore was never signed ITTL, thus Travancore is no British ally, and the Third Anglo-Mysore war never begins.

    [6] - The dispute over Berar is as old as the State of Hyderabad itself as Nizam I claimed to be the sovereign of the area. Later, IOTL, the are was nominally controlled by Hyderabad during the British Raj until 1833, when it was conceded to the British East India Company.

    [7] - He developed severe psychological issues and suffered a neurotic attack that killed him in 1804.

    [8] - Currently referred to as Thanlyin IOTL. This port was desired by the British ever since they first took Negrais Island.
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    Chapter 28: Britons and Indo-Aryans
  • ~ Chapter 28: Britons and Indo-Aryans ~

    Arguably, the history of India can be understood as a cycle, one in which a rising power gains momentum, such as the Mauryas or the Guptas, only to decline some two centuries later in order to be replaced by a new dynasty that attempts to unify the subcontinent, always coming close but never fully conquering all of India. Those empires usually had to face with powers coming from the west breaking across the Hindu Kush into the Indus Valley, from Alexander the Great’s invasion in the fourth century BCE to the Durrani invasions in the eighteenth century AD.

    The rise of islam in Arabia changed many things. The most relevant of which was the dismantlement of the Sassanid Empire started by Abu Bakr, which drove the faith of Allah to the gates of India, and even beyond. In the coming centuries islamic powers and tribes made inroads, starting with the rise of the Ghaznavids in the 10th century. From that point on, the cycles of major empires changed from Hindu to Muslim empires, with the Ghaznavids replaced by the Ghurids, them by the Mamluks of Delhi, and finally by the Mughal Emperors of Central Asia. The Mughals, too, started to lose power in the 18th century and new powers arose to become the next Indian empire, except now they faced competition not from the western mountains, but from overseas in Europe.

    The effects of the European meddling in India were diverse, but the most relevant of them was the substitution of the higher echelons of power by the Europeans, usually respecting the existing Indian class systems but taking care of the highest ranks of government, making inroads into the territory and extending their influence all over the subcontinent. Europeans became, in a sense, the new Mughal Empire, as the French became masters of the tip of the subcontinent through a system of vassalage and alliances, while the British secured the north from their major base in Bengal, from where they exercised direct authority. The French and the British had fought four wars in the span of a century to determine who would come out on top, to no avail [1].

    East India Company 1.png

    Indian depiction of a British East India Company officer

    The naval balance, while usually favouring the British, was never so one sided that one party could win decisive victories all across the globe. Or, at least, that was until the French king was beheaded and a new Anglo-French War erupted. Only this time, India would see no fighting between them. The rupture and later defeat of the French Republican (later Imperial) navy would grant Britain an edge over the oceans, a chance they would not miss. The rump Kingdom of France in the Indian Ocean had a fleet, but it was nothing more than a British puppet state after the defying Suffren died of a tropical sickness in 1803 [2], and he was succeeded by the young and manipulable Pierre François Étienne Bouvet de Maisonneuve, barely 28 years at the time but already an experienced sailor [3]. Thus, in the new iteration of the cycle of empires, the British were poised to dominate the subcontinent.

    With French India neutered, the British East India Company began making plans for a grandiose expansion in the subcontinent. The Gangetic Plain had been secured in the aftermath of the Mysore-Maratha War, as company troops took the former Mughal capital of Delhi and signed a deal with emperor Shah Alam II that turned the lands still ruled by Delhi into a British protectorate. With this conquest, the British secured most of northern India, albeit not to the delights of certain segments of its population. In 1804 the Rohilla, a Pashtun tribe that had held power for long in the area, rose up in revolt, supported by the Rohilla-headed Rampur State of Ahmad Ali Khan. British forces struggled to suppress the revolt, and the Rohillas even usurped the Mughal throne placing Mahmud Shah Bahadur as emperor until the Battle of Jattari of 1806, when Ahmad Ali Khan was defeated and died on the battlefield, with the state of Rampur abolished shortly after.


    Ahmad Ali Khan, Rohilla monarch of Rampur

    Despite their success at crushing the revolt, it stretched British resources on the subcontinent thin, granting Tipu Sultan a much needed time to recover and stabilise his new puppet governments. Hyderabad, which had betrayed their alliance with the Marathas, managed to snatch the long-disputed district of Berar from the Maratha Nawabs of Nagpur under an ageing Asaf Jah II, but his successor Asaf Jah III had other ideas. Despite his father’s intentions to not attract unwanted European attention, the new king turned to the British hoping for an alliance against the rising star of Mysore, hoping to become the most powerful kingdom in all of India.

    The British reassured Asaf Jah III that they supported a war against Mysore, however they would have to wait until the Rohilla Revolt was crushed. Asaf Jah opted not to wait and strike before Tipu Sultan and his puppet Baji Rao II could consolidate. Thus, in February of 1806 a Hyderabadi army of some 40,000 men attacked north, achieving a victory against the forces of Nagpur at the Battle of Wanadongri, barely 10 kilometres from Nagpur, and laid siege to the city. This initial success gave confidence to the king that his campaign could be finished before his limited treasury was depleted [4]. The Maratha forces scrambled to form a cohesive force and lift the siege, however Asaf Jah had made a fatal mistake.

    Believing the loyalty to the Maratha Empire of some of their subject states was weak, he contacted the most powerful subservient of the empire, the Kingdom of Gwalior under Daulat Rao Sindhia, asking him to betray his Maratha overlords. The king of Gwalior responded to the request of Asaf Jah III and his army camped next to that of the Hyderabadi monarch, albeit Sindhia refused an audience with Asaf Jah. That same night of July 16 1806 the 13,000 men of the Gwalior Army infiltrated the Hyderabadi camp and rampaged through the tents murdering soldiers and commanders alike, massacring the army of Hyderabad and even Asaf Jah III himself [5]. The Hyderabad forces shattered and marched back across the border as Sindhia was met to a hero’s acclaim at Nagpur. The heir to the throne of Hyderabad was the twelve years-old Nasir-ud-Daulah, so the matters of state fell in the hands of Renuka Das Bhalerao, a former prime minister and general who took advantage of the chaos in the kingdom to seize power for himself. However, his shaky rule was cut short when he was forced to return Berar to the Nawabs of Nagpur, who then handed the territory to the King of Gwalior. Bhalerao was murdered in a palace coup and replaced by regent Chandu Lal and his personal guard of Nihang Sikhs [6].

    Daulat Rao Sindhia.jpg

    Daulat Rao Sindhia

    Thus, Hyderabad’s attempts at Indian domination ended as quickly as they started. Chandu Lal turned to the British for protection, expecting a retaliatory strike from Mysore that never materialised, as Tipu Sultan failed to get the support of the French East India Company for the operation. For Tipu Sultan, Asaf Jah III’s campaign was a relief as it removed a potential rival, but also a threat due to the meteoric rise of Daulat Rao Sindhia, who could overturn the Mysorean rule over Pune and possibly restore the Maratha Empire, and maybe worse, now he had the British almost surrounding him as redcoats were stationed in Hyderabadi territory, while his erstwhile French allies seemed impotent. Thus, the stage for the clash to decide who would succeed the Mughals as the new ruling power of India was set.

    [1] - IOTL, the Second Carnatic War eroded the French sphere of influence in India, and the Third Carnatic War destroyed any chances of a major French presence in the subcontinent.

    [2] - No doubt his obesity and less-than-healthy habits contributed to his death.

    [3] - Was not going to insert someone I created yet, turns out most French sailors are either serving in the Imperial marine, dead, or far away from India at the moment. Consider Bouvet more of a British political appointment than a true successor of Suffren.

    [4] - Bad fiscal policies led to Hyderabadi reserves being almost empty by the 1800’s.

    [5] - It is often mentioned that Asaf Jah III died while fornicating with a concubine, but that is a false historical rumour.

    [6] - He didn’t command these personal troops at the time IOTL, but he was entrusted to a detachment during the chaos following the Massacre of Nagpur.
    Chapter 29: Bonaparte's Hubris
  • ~ Chapter 29: Bonaparte's Hubris ~

    If Austerlitz is considered by many as Napoleon’s greatest victory, Wagram is considered as his greatest potential victory. If Napoleon had won the battle, it is likely that a repeat of the events of the War of the Third Coalition could have happened [1]. As it happened, the Battle of Wagram was nothing but a bloody mess. Napoleon’s strategy consisted of a blunt frontal attack that hoped to defeat the Austrians in a pitched battle, while the Coalition forces expected to stop Napoleon there and knock the French back across the Inn. Most historians agree that Napoleon’s perception of reality may have been twisted due to his dreams of grandeur and invincibility in battle, which combined with the recent death of his close friend Lannes and the sudden entry of Russia and Prussia into the war, made him miscalculate how the battle could develop [2].

    The Battle of Wagram of July 4 put an end to French hopes of a quick, decisive victory against Austria, resulting in France suffering almost 30,000 men and the Coalition losing a slightly smaller amount. With overextended supply lines and an active war theatre to the north, Napoleon decided to pull back from Austria and reorganise his forces behind the Inn in allied territory. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Imperial French fleet were located by the British and destroyed at the Battle of Dumet, leaving the French coast open to invasion [3]. Knowing they had time and reserves to spare, Britain began amassing a large invasion force aimed at the Netherlands, concretely at the mouth of the Scheldt river, which would trap whatever French vessels were present and hand over the town of Antwerp and its port to the British, serving as a beachhead for the liberation of the Netherlands.


    The bombardment of Flushing

    On August 12, a force consisting of 45,000 men, 16,000 horses, numerous pieces of field artillery and two siege trains landed on the islands of Walcheren and South Bleveland, taking over the islands and executing further landings on the coast. Opposition was scarce and divided, with most troops in the landing area having been recruited from French allies and pressed on service (including the Irish Legion, composed of volunteers that had managed to flee from Hoche’s invasion of Ireland back in 1796), with most not being combat ready. The French struggled to grasp hold of the situation was the key port of Flushing fell on September, with the Imperials regaining some consistence with the appointment of Louis-Pierre Montbrun [4], but not enough to prevent the Redcoats from capturing Antwerp after a brutal siege on October 3.

    Curiously, the worst enemy of the British in this initial phase of the campaign was a disease known as “Walcheren Fever”, likely a combination of malaria and typhus. The British were aware of this, as they had reports that French forces in Walcheren had already suffered 80% casualties while on duty years ago. However, the capture of Antwerp and further preparations made fighting the disease easier, especially as Antwerp had more salubrious conditions, albeit this caused an outbreak of disease within the city itself that took the lives of 8,000 inhabitants. Deadly as it was, the Antwerp campaign [5] achieved its main goal of securing a beachhead in the continent.

    Walcheren Fever.jpg

    Sick British soldiers are evacuated from Antwerp

    This is not to say that Walcheren was the only theatre where British troops fought during 1809, as a major contingent of British troops, roughly 50,000 men and commanded by John Moore, was still active in the Hispanic Peninsula [6]. There, the numerous Spanish Juntas had coalesced in Seville under the figure of Floridablanca, a former Prime Minister that assumed charge once again until his death in December of 1808, with Vicente Joaquín Osorio taking the title of President of the Supreme Central Junta, a government body created with representatives from all over Spain and even including some delegations from the Americas, moving towards representing the interests of the whole empire, albeit colonial interests were woefully underrepresented.

    The Junta imposed a war tax and centralised the army command under the figure of the Duke of Bailén, Francisco Javier Castaños, who had managed to reach Sevilla through Castille after the defeat at Riaza. He assumed command of the newly formed Army of La Mancha, opting to remain in the defensive until the troops had been properly trained and drilled not wanting a repeat of the almost disaster that was Tudela, thus allowing the French to keep the initiative [7]. General Sébastiani moved south in late February, aiming at the Despeñaperros pass, which would isolate Andalusia from the rest of Spain.

    The count of Cartaojal, under orders from Castaños, retreated from Ciudad Real towards the foothills of the Sierra Morena mountains, where he encountered Sébastiani close to Cañada de Calatrava. The battle was initially favourable to the French until Spanish reinforcements arrived from the east following the Jabalón river, resulting in Sébastiani calling off the actions and pulling back. Cartaojal, believing the reinforcements were larger than they actually were, pursuited the French and the Franco-Polish cavalry decimated the vanguard of the Spanish forces at the Battle of Poblete on March 17. Sébastiani asked Joseph Bonaparte in Madrid for reinforcements, being granted 6,000 extra men from Jacques Verbais’ I Corps [8].

    Vistula Lancers Poblete.jpg

    Charge of the Vistula Lancers at the Battle of Poblete

    Castaños assumed personal command of the army after Poblete, relieving Cartaojal and replacing him with Francisco Javier Vanegas, Marquis of Reunión. As both forces gathered men and supplies, Sébastiani moved further east towards Manzanares and then swinged south towards the Despeñaperros pass, encountering the Spanish army at Valdepeñas on April 18, the same place where civilians had attacked a French column back in 1808. Castaños decided to risk the core of his army there, and the battle turned into a stalemate as the French were unable to outflank the Spanish, that had placed their remaining artillery pieces at the hills to the south of the city. The second day of the battle saw less action, and Sébastiani eventually retreated, leaving 5,000 dead men on the ground.

    Out of those, 3,000 were Spanish, which represented a high fraction of the experienced army reserves, but the victory proved that the Spanish would not fall easily and stopped Sébastiani from marching south to Andalusia and forcing the Spanish government to relocate once again. The French would then focus their efforts to the west and the north, giving the Army of La Mancha a much needed respite.

    Soult attempted to march due west following the Duero river and capture Porto, which would split the forces in Galicia from the rest, and would deal a huge blow to Portugal by capturing its second city. The opposing forces were a mix of British forces under Moore, Spanish under the Marquis of La Romana, Portuguese under Caetano Vaz Parreiras, and Royalist French under Pichegru. Soult achieved a starting victory by dislodging the British from the fortified town of Zamora in March of 1809, taking minimal casualties, and then crushing a Spanish force under the Marquis of the Infantado near Formariz on April 2, inflicting over 2,000 casualties [9].

    The Imperial French Army then entered Portugal following the Duero, while Sir John Moore fortified Porto. On April 12, the vanguard of the French forces reached the city to the north, encountering Moore’s line of defence extending from Cobrantoes to Sao João da Foz on the coast. The battle involved constant exchanges of artillery volleys, during which a missguided Portuguese round hit a bridge, causing it to collapse and drowning hundreds of fleeing civilians. By April 15, the battle was slowly turning into a siege, as French infantry was unable to pierce through Anglo-Portuguese defences. Unprepared for such a prolonged battle, Soult retreated towards Spain, harassed by the ordenanças (Portuguese militias).


    Marshall Soult at the Battle of Porto

    [1] - The events after Wagram IOTL were pretty much a repeat of that, albeit with no grandiose final battle like Austerlitz (albeit there was action at Znaim), but instead by a diplomatic meeting, the Armistice of Znaim.

    [2] - Okay, this is a bit of a stretch on my part, playing with the psyche of historical characters is complicated. Anyhow, this is the perspective from a part of TTL’s historiography (remember the TL is written from inside that reality, and footnotes are often comparisons with OTL). This historiographical view is not necessarily correct and is more of a common misconception, when OTL Wagram happened the difference in quality between French and Austrian troops was mostly gone, and for the first time in a while whole French corps were routed (such as Masséna’s or Bernadotte’s). As TTL has less French troops with less equipment, and more Coalition troops with roughly the same amount of equipment, the battle turns to the Austrians instead.

    [3] - This butterflies the Battle of Basque Roads, meaning Lord Cochrane is never discredited and denied the opportunity to serve afloat. However, it seems that by 1809 Cochrane was growing more interested in politics than naval affairs. It is likely that Cochrane’s implication in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 is also butterflied away, mostly due to the fact that Napoleon will not last that long.

    [4] - Bernadotte has already been removed from service and reincorporated before Walcheren to fight the Prussians. Montbrun is not on good terms with Napoleon either after an incident in 1808 when he delayed his march to Spain to protect his future wife.

    [5] - Walcheren Campaign IOTL, the British never captured Antwerp.

    [6] - The term Iberia was never popularised ITTL, already explained in a prior chapter.

    [7] - The First Madrid Offensive is butterflied away ITTL.

    [8] - IOTL commanded by Jean-Claude Victor, he was demoted to brigadier general after Espinosa de los Monteros.

    [9] - IOTL the Marquis of the Infantado was commanding the Spanish forces at Uclés, resulting in a similar disaster to that of TTL’s Formariz. He was in Galicia in 1808, and grew close to John Moore, thus remaining in the western part of Iberia ITTL as per Moore’s request.
    Chapter 30: The Battle of the Nations
  • ~ Chapter 30: The Battle of the Nations ~

    Napoleon’s gamble for a quick and decisive victory at Wagram turned out to be a massive mistake, exposing the flanks of his army to a reinforced coalition, now composed of Prussia, Austria, Russia, Spain and Britain. The situation in Germany was growing worse by the day, specially in Westphalia, where the rule of his brother Jérôme Bonaparte was shaking as the core of the Westphalian army switched sides after the battle of Sülzetal of April 12, while a militia force commanded the Duke of Brunswick were harassing French supplies east of the Rhine. Not that there were many French soldiers there, as the Prussian forces had either wiped out or captured most of the garrisons in Prussia and thanks to von Schill’s rapid advance. By June, the Kingdom of Saxony under Frederick Augustus (also de iure monarch of Poland) switched sides, with Bavaria being the only German state still actively collaborating with Napoleon.

    In the Netherlands, Napoleon was growing infuriated with his brother Louis, King of Holland. He was genuinely liked by his citizens and not seen as much of an imposition as other rulers of the House of Bonaparte, for his attempts at learning Dutch [1] and removing French influence from the court, among other actions. Life was not easy in the Netherlands, as it became a French puppet state, with Napoleon employing Dutch currency reserves and even reducing the value of French loans from Dutch investors by three fourths [2], almost driving the Kingdom of Holland to bankruptcy. As the war in Europe intensified in 1809, Napoleon requested to take personal command of the Dutch Army, to which Louis refused, luckily for him, Napoleon could not spare troops to deal with his brother, trying to pressure him to abdicate.

    When the British captured Walcheren in early autumn of 1809 they brought captured Dutch merchants and sailors, trying to establish a parallel administration to that of Louis. The failure of the French to respond to the attack, and Louis’ own hesitancy to deploy Dutch troops against the coalition forces led Napoleon to invade the Netherlands with reserve troops in October of 1809. Louis abdicated in favour of his second son, Napoléon-Louis Bonaparte, and fled to Austria. As French militias marched on Amsterdam, British forces crossed the Meuse into Holland proper. The French militias treated the Dutch harshly, causing sporadic bursts of violence that coalesced in a new Patriot Movement taking shape in the Netherlands. On December 6, inspired by the “Patriottentijd“ of the 1780’s [3], a mob in Amsterdam assaulted the French garrison and forcibly evicted them from the city, proclaiming the restoration of the United Provinces. France had lost another ally.

    Dutch Patriots.jpg

    Dutch patriots engage a collumn of French troops

    During the summer Napoleon frantically toured Germany trying to take a hold of the situation. The Prussians had crossed the Rhine and defeated the Saxons, while the Poles were crushed by the combined armies of Austria, Prussia and Russia. Having failed at knocking Austria out of the war and fearing the loss of all of Germany, the Emperor turned his attention to Prussia, arguably the member of the coalition that could be defeated the quickest. He intended for a swift drive towards Berlin before Russian reinforcements could arrive and while the Austro-Prussian forces in Saxony were still reorganising.

    France had a core of experienced and trained troops commanded by the reliable general Nicolas Oudinot [4]. He received orders to secure starting positions for a new offensive in September. The force left from Kassel on September 26, encountering von Schill’s Prussian Army near Nordhausen. The terrain consisted of a relatively narrow strip of flat land between two mountain ranges, and in such a narrow battle space the quality of the French Army won them the day, with Schill’s rearguard being separated and defeated at Brücken within a week from the beginning of the campaign. Having successfully crossed into Saxony, Oudinot waited for reinforcements commanded by Napoleon himself, who arrived on October 14 with 60,000 troops.

    The Prussians scrambled to respond, placing their two main forces at Dessau and Leipzig, not knowing whether Napoleon intended to capture Berlin or crush their armies in a decisive battle. Napoleon intended to do both. In late October a relatively small force commanded by Jacques MacDonald departed to the northeast looking for a crossing of the Elbe. The final choice fell upon Ludwig von Yorck [5], who correctly judged that MacDonald’s push had to be a bait, and considering that numbers were not yet on his side retreated behind the Saale. By November, Russian and Austrian reinforcements had reached Saxony, outnumbering the French almost two to one. Now present in the battlefield, tsar Alexander insisted on being given supreme command of the Coalition forces, a request that Austrian foreign minister von Stadion-Warthausen begrudgingly accepted [6].

    Alexander I of Russia.jpg

    Tsar Alexander I of Russia (1801 - 1825)

    After a brief period of reorganisation and receiving news that Yorck’s army was behind the Saale without nearby bridges, Napoleon gave the order to attack. The Coalition forces were arranged in a line that stretched from the Saale south of Halle to the Geisel valley [7], with the centre of the line anchored at the village of Bad Lauchstädt, with a hastily fortified town of Merseburg some five kilometres behind the line. The battle known popularly as the “Battle of the Nations” due to the great number of countries represented, began on November 2 10:12 AM Berlin time [8] as French infantry proved the centre of the line.

    This attack was followed by an artillery volley near Oechlitz that forced the southern flank, composed by Austrians under recently-promoted General-major von Vécsey, to retreat. Napoleon intended to weaken the front to the south and defeat the Austrian component there, and then turn northeast following the Geisel valley towards the Saale, and then close the trap. In order to alleviate pressure Prussian forces pushed forward in the centre without much success. Alexander then sent the Russian reserve contingent to the front, temporarily stopping the French south of Beuna. However, this left part of the front exposed, and a cavalry charge led by Michel Ney broke through. The French artillery paralysed the Prussian forces in the northern part of the front.

    Alexander ordered a fierce counterattack around 4 PM that was stopped by the Old Guard, effectively splitting the Prussians from the Austrian and Russian contingents. The Prussians under von Scharnhorst kept fighting for the rest of the day, while their engineers built pontoons over the Saale as the Prussians employed their cavalry to attempt to reconnect with the rest of the Coalition forces. Judging the Prussians to be essentially defeated, Napoleon shifted the bulk of his forces towards the Geisel over the afternoon and the night.

    Austria Valley.JPG

    A skirmish over a river near Beuna.

    The next day the Russians were the first to attack around 8:00 AM but they were once again repelled. The lack of response from the French worried the Austrian commander, prince Henry of Reuss-Plauen, who warned Alexander about the possibility of a large attack later in the day. It took a while to convince Alexander, but when the French advanced five hours later some preparations were already in place. Sadly, these were not enough and the French overran the defences at Beuna and Merseburg, forcibly dispersing the Austro-Russian forces south and east towards Leipzig. The Prussians kept fighting until the fourth of November, but eventually Scharnhorst had to surrender his sword to the emperor of the French.

    The Battle of Halle had proved that even if the French Empire was stretched to the very limit, it still had the potential to achieve major victories on the battlefield. However, this victory in Germany would not force a new armistice like Austerlitz, as the French were unable to pursue the enemy and winter was already beginning to set in. Halle would be the last relevant victory of Napoleon.

    [1] - His Dutch was poor at the beginning, which led to him declaring himself as “Konijn van ‘Olland” instead of “Koning van Holland”. Koning means “king” while Konijn means “rabbit”. Another anecdote of Louis was that he could never stay in one place, until he visited the manor of a wealthy merchant and attempted to place his court there, even evicting the merchant from his house.

    [2] - OTL loans were reduced by two-thirds, the French economy is in worse shape than IOTL and more drastic actions are needed to keep it afloat.

    [3] - Already mentioned this event in the timeline, same as OTL.

    [4] - Not promoted to Marshal of France due to the alternate Battle of Wagram of this timeline.

    [5] - Not yet Wartenburg, that was a battle-given honour for his victory at Wartenburg IOTL on October 3 1813, during the Leipzig Campaign.

    [6] - Alexander I tried to do the same IOTL with Moreau and Jomini as his deputies, but Metternich was able to avoid this because the post had already been offered to the Prince of Schwarzenberg. This is 1809, not 1813, so Schwarzenberg is still general of cavalry, and the Prussians and Austrians could not agree on who should lead their forces in Saxony.

    [7] - The Geisel Valley is today filled with an artificial lake created in the early 2000’s. I almost included the lake in the timeline had I not searched for it and found out it was actually a reservoir. This is one case where I noticed that something on a modern map did not exist back in the time of the chapter, who knows how many things I’ve missed.

    [8] - Before the advent of fast travel with railroads, most towns had their own independent time, this proved to be a large issue when the first railroads were built in the UK and people kept missing trains due to these subtle differences. I love small details like these, I even want to dedicate entire chapters to alternate scientific and technical developments, I've recently read Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", which provides hindsight into early science without going into too much detail for the untrained public. If you're interested in biology, "Here be Dragons" by Dennis McCarthy is a very similar book.
    Chapter 31: The Fall of the Empire
  • ~ Chapter 31: The Fall of the Empire ~

    The French victory at Halle was never a chance for the French Empire to resurge from the tumultuous year of 1809. As a matter of fact, the victory at Halle seemed to cast a shadow over the internal tensions that were threatening to rip the empire in half. Years of naval blockades had stripped the French of most overseas commodities and luxuries, taxes were ever increasing to finance the emperor’s unending and unfruitful campaigns, and more and more men were being drafted to fight, impeding them to collect the crops. As winter led to a new unofficial truce over most of Europe, France was heading for renewed internal conflict as the messages of revolutionaries and freedom fighters in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain began to seep in a population that was growing ever more tired. The emperor himself returned to Paris only in December of 1809 after failing to achieve a decisive victory in the Elbe Theater, scattering the Coalition forces but failing to take Berlin or even securing a major bridgehead over the river. When he arrived he quickly discovered that his ministers and appointees had committed excesses and were assuming powers that Napoleon never assigned them [1]. Napoleon started a round of purges, blaming his ministers for the sorry state of the French finances, barely surviving thanks to pillaging of the occupied lands. Many of France’s fortune owners were increasingly disloyal, with many turning to the royalist cause as promises of reduced taxation of high rents were issued by royalist agents, with either consent or ignorance from the Marquis of Caulaincourt [2].

    During the winter of 1809 to 1810 the French lost control of the countryside in parts of Italy and Germany, albeit general Montbrun successfully recaptured Antwerp from the British. Napoleon ordered to pull most troops out of Spain through december, with Joseph Bonaparte abandoning Madrid on January 6, to great joy of the locals [3]. Anglo-Spanish forces did not pursue Soult as he crossed the Ebro, lacking reinforcements and supplies. Through the winter Austrian, Prussian and Russian forces amassed across Bohemia, Saxony and Upper Austria; commanded by August von Bennigsen (actually a Russian), Gebhard von Blücher and Ignaz Gyulai. Napoleon’s stance in Paris was short, nervous about where the Coalition forces could strike, while at the same time distancing himself further from his spouse Joséphine [4], to the point where a journal depicted a fake story of the empress dating a presuposed lover, which led to Napoleon clamping down on the press before leaving.


    Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French (1804 - 1810)

    Napoleon faced a dilemma over whether to attack or not, but he finally made his mind and opted for an offensive in Bohemia for the spring of 1810. According to historians, he planned to profit his prior knowledge of the area to obtain a victory greater than Halle, and force the Austrians to make peace, even considering proclaiming a separate Kingdom of Bohemia under Joseph Bonaparte, or dismantling the Habsburg state altogether. Alas, this was not to be. Before Napoleon departed from Wernberg on March 26, Bavarian general von Wrede had been contacted by Austrian envoys, and he agreed to relay information regarding the size and direction of the French Army. However, Bavarian Minister of Foreign Affairs von Montgelas discovered the filtration and, pressured by the large French deployment in Bavaria, reported the news to the monarch, who ordered the execution of von Wrede and purged the government of anti-French ministers [5].

    Despite knowing about von Wrede’s treason, Napoleon advanced and crossed the Bohemian mountains at Pfraumberg, easily defeating the Austrian vanguard and heading towards the Austro-Prussian forces commanded by von Blücher and von Klenau. The battle took place near the town of Rokitzan, east of Pilsen, on April 21 and pitted 135.000 frenchmen against 150.000 coalition soldiers. Napoleon ordered a first advance between the Prussian and Austrian contingents, which successfully split the two, mirroring the Battle of Halle. However, von Blücher had studied the Prussian defeat at Halle in detail and had planned for an event like this, with the Prussians retreating in good order in a move that had been rehearsed during the prior weeks. The Prussian and Austrian cavalries were notably absent from the battlefield, so the Emperor ordered a cavalry charge headed by none other than Michel Ney, which was taken by surprise when Austrian artillery fired upon them from the hills to the southeast near Hradek. With the French cavalry damaged, von Blücher ordered a counterattack that trapped the vanguard of the French Army. Napoleon ordered the Old Guard to advance and break the circle, but they were unable to break through, hostigated by the Austrian cavalry under Hieronymus von Colloredo-Mansfeld. The emperor himself went forward to encourage his soldiers, however a stray bullet hit him near the knee and he fell, causing panic among French lines. The Battle of Rokitzan was Napoleon’s last major battle [6].

    Battle of Rokitzan.jpg

    The Battle of Rokitzan in Bohemia

    Following Rokitzan, von Blücher rushed across the Bohemian mountains into Bavaria while general Gyulai pushed along the Danube in May, forcing the Kingdom of Bavaria to capitulate with the Armistice of Essenbach of May 28 [7]. Napoleon’s health began to decline due to a combination of stress and a mild infection of his bullet wound, having to go back to Paris to be attended by the best doctors of the Empire. With the emperor absent, the army went into a state of disarray, as most commanders decided to pull back to the Rhine before the Coalition forces surrounded them. Austrian forces also crossed into Italy once the Alpine passes were open, being greeted as liberators by the Venetian patriots and quickly marching to Milan, retaking the city for the Habsburgs after a decade. The French king of Naples, Joachim Murat, approached Austrian foreign minister von Stadion-Warthausen [8], offering to switch sides if he could keep his throne, to which the Austrian accepted. By the middle of the summer France had been reduced to its natural borders. The other remaining Napoleonic ally, Denmark, had left the sinking ship in the winter when the British offered somewhat lenient terms as the country was heading towards bankruptcy.

    Further south, Soult’s retreat behind the Ebro led him to Saragossa. In April of 1810, as the forces of Moore and La Romana resumed the march from Madrid towards the Ebro, Soult was waiting for them at Milagro, with his forces dispersed along the river and also defending the nearby course of the Aragon. The Anglo-Spanish forces tried to break through the bridge at Rincón de Soto, but the French launched a fierce counterattack once a good chunk of the army had crossed the Ebro, capturing the bridge and splitting the army in two, with the British vanguard taking the brunt of the assault as they had to retreat to the bridge at San Adrián, some 12 kilometres upstream. Not everything went poorly for the Spanish, as they successfully launched an expedition that captured Corsica with the help of the FEIC fleet and Royalist regiments from the safe port of Valencia. From the island, general Pichegru proclaimed the restoration of the House of Bourbon as Coalition forces captured the port of Toulon on September 8, rapidly advancing through the mostly royalist Provence and laying siege to Marseille.

    Rincon del Soto.jpg

    Charge of the British cavalry at the Battle of Rincón del Soto

    Napoleon tried to negotiate an armistice with the Austrians, granting them control over all of Italy in exchange for keeping France within its natural borders, however Stadion refused to negotiate any kind of settlement [9] with the increasingly unstable emperor, who was prone to bursts of rage as his condition worsened, imposing draconian measures to keep France’s armies standing. Riots over the price of bread and against levies became frequent, with Jacobin and Republican groups resurging, claiming that Napoleon had betrayed the values of the revolution, which led to even more crackdowns by the Imperial police. The literal nail on the coffin for the Empire came when on September 12, with the Coalition forces having just taken Mainz and heading towards the heart of France, a Jacobin threw a bomb at the emperor’s carriage near the Nôtre-Dame Cathedral, killing both Napoleon and Joséphine.

    Without a leader and with morale under the floor, radicals proclaimed a Second French Republic in Paris. When news of the emperor’s death arrived, French armies began to decompose as most recruits deserted and returned home, with only a tiny fraction siding with the new Republican National Guard. Royalists surged from everywhere amidst the chaos, and British and Royalist French troops landed at Nantes, quickly securing Brittany, the Vendee, and pushing up the Loire, while Pichegru’s forces marched up the Rhône after capturing Arles in November. To the south, the Spanish forces crossed the Pyrenees from the west and captured Toulouse in a bloody battle against fanatic republican defenders, even if French forces were still present in Barcelona and Gerona.

    The Second French Republic rapidly devolved into a radical dictatorship, with the renewed Committee of Public Safety ordering execution after execution, hanging supposed imperials and royalists alike in a desperate attempt to depurate the city out of potential traitors. The royalists in Toulon and the Loire rallied behind Charles, Duke of Artois and younger brother of Louis XVIII as he assumed the charge of Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom until Louis XVIII could safely return to the throne [10]. This reign of terror in Paris was put to an end by the force of arms as Russian general de Tolly assaulted the city in October, with the last French resistance collapsing the next month. After almost two decades of conflict, peace reigned over Europe once more. Now it was time for the victors to decide the fate of Europe.

    Paris Russia.jpg

    The Russian army enters Paris, marking the end of the Napoleonic Wars

    [1] - This is a situation similar to that when Napoleon returned from Russia IOTL. An autocratic rule does not work properly when the autocrat is long absent.

    [2] - Remember that ITTL the French police is much less effective as Fouché was dismissed over his failure to catch word of the 1803 Royalist Plot. Caulaincourt is his replacement, who was a diplomat at the time, but was on good enough terms with the soon-to-be emperor to be awarded the post.

    [3] - January 6 is a festivity in Spain known as “Día de Reyes”, honouring the three biblibal magi, during this day kids are given gifts and sweets. Nowadays Christmas competes and even replaces this festivity. Oh well, as a kid I got gifts twice so can’t complain.

    [4] - No victory in the War of the Fifth Coalition means Napoleon never married Marie-Louise of Austria. The relation between Napoleon and her is still on good terms, but an ever more nervous Napoleon makes it more difficult.

    [5] - IOTL von Montgelas was one of the main supporters of the 1813 Treaty of Ried, by the terms of which Bavaria agreed to switch sides in exchange for a promise of territorial integrity, which was never realised.

    [6] - Totally did not pull a Waterloo here. The presence of von Blücher and Ney is purely coincidental, I swear.

    [7] - This armistice has nothing to do with OTL’s Treaty of Ried, Bavaria is treated as a defeated power and not like a possible ally. More to come in the peace congress.

    [8] - Remember that Metternich never became Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire. Without him the outcome of the war is going to be very different.

    [9] - This is similar to the OTL Frankfurt proposals. However, Stadion is not Metternich, and he is not interested in keeping a strong France as a counter to Russia. Also, this approachment was initiated by Napoleon and not by the Coalition as was Frankfurt, a fact that points to Napoleon no longer believing he can win.

    [10] - Pichegru insisted on Louis going back to France as soon as he captured Toulon, but the king was too fat to walk properly, Louis insisted that he should remain in his parish at Hartwell for safety reasons.
    Chapter 32: The Congress of Ratisbon
  • ~ Chapter 32: The Congress of Ratisbon ~

    As the dust settled over Europe the powers of the Coalition, as well as a newly restored Bourbon France, met in the Bavarian city of Regensburg (Ratisbon) to discuss the new map of Europe. The main figures playing a part in the discussion were the Austrian Foreign Minister von Stadion and Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Richard Wellesley, among many other representatives from all across Europe. However, before the final changes were made, the peace deals with Napoleon’s allies had to be finalised.

    Regarding Denmark, they had fought along the French begrudgingly, not defending the interests of Napoleon but their own. The Danes wanted to continue trading with France despite the British policy of inspecting neutral ships, which resulted in Britain considering the Second League of Armed Neutrality a form of alliance with France, and the Royal Navy attacked Copenhaguen in April of 1801, forcing Denmark to leave the alliance. Following the defeat of Prussia in the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon was considering employing the Danish navy to attack the British fleet and closing the Baltic Sea to British shipping. The Danes would not collaborate with the French, and had placed the bulk of their armed forces defending the Danevirke fortifications in Holstein, fearing an attack. However the attack would come from the sea, as the Royal Navy attacked the Danish fleet at Copenhaguen in 1807, forcing the Danes into an alliance with Napoleon, albeit their actions were limited as their fleet had been crippled.

    Wanting to secure access to the Baltic Sea, the British approached Denmark in the winter of 1809, offering them a peace deal. At the time, the Prussians controlled Hamburg and their contingents had recently captured Hannover, and Frederick VI feared Coalition forces marching on Jutland. British, Prussian and Danish representatives met at Kiel on February 14 1810 to discuss the clauses of a definitive peace treaty [1]. In the Treaty of Kiel, all Danish possessions that were occupied by Coalition forces were returned, except for the island of Heligoland which was ceded to Britain. Denmark was forced to abolish the slave trade from their forts in Ghana and had to contribute a token force to the Coalition war effort, with said force being financed by Britain.

    The most problematic issue was the Coalition (mostly British) decision to split Norway from Denmark, Norway would consist of the bishoprics of Christiansand, Bergen, Akershus and Trondheim, as well as the coastal islands and the northern regions of Nordland and Finnmark to the Russian border; that is, Norway’s overseas possessions (Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands) were split from the realm and transferred over to Denmark. Initially the Danish proposed that prince Christian Frederick of Denmark was awarded the crown, however both Britain and Prussia insisted on the Danish royal family forfeiting any possible claims to Denmark, and should the right circumstances happen, a personal union could be renewed under Christian Frederick, so they began to search for new candidates. The chosen one would be prince Karl of Mecklenburg-Schwerin [2], who would become king of an independent Norway as Charles II.

    Charles II Norway.png

    Charles II of Norway (1811 - 1833)

    As for Bavaria, the terms of the Armistice of Essenbach served as guide rules for Bavaria. Count von Stadion was interested in enlarging Austria in a contiguous way, forcing Bavaria to relinquish Tyrol, Salzburg, Passau, and a number of villages in the Alps. The Austrians desired to punish Bavaria further by forcing them to return the lands they gained under the Mediatizations of 1806, however the skillful diplomacy of the Prussians Baron vom Stein and Wilhelm von Humboldt convinced Russia not to support a dismantling of Bavaria, albeit the Bavarian Palatinate was split off under a cadet branch of the Wittelsbach [3].

    Now regarding the Congress itself, initially it was a pretty secluded meeting between the ambassadors of Great Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia. Talleyrand tried to gain presence in the negotiations by allying with the minor powers of the Netherlands and Portugal [4], albeit he failed to convince the Spanish envoy, José García de León y Pizarro [5], who was instructed to follow the Austrian and British lines if possible. The Spanish envoy refused any collaboration with Talleyrand unless France handed back the works of arts and documents they had looted from Spain, as well as the exiled “afrancesados” still loyal to Joseph Bonaparte. Talleyrand desperately needed to get enough attention for the inner circle (Austria, Prussia, Great Britain and Russia) to admit him in, and he conceded the extradition of the “afrancesados” and a promise of restitution of a portion of Spanish goods, which was never realised. The inner circle eventually invited both Talleyrand and García de León y Pizarro to discuss the final terms without intervention from the smaller powers.


    Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, a key figure in the Congress

    French and Spanish participation in the inner circle would prove to be key when the discussion shifted to the lands of Frederick Augustus, namely Poland [6] and Saxony. Prussia insisted that all of Saxony and Poland should be incorporated into their realm as they took on the brunt of the French offensive in 1809, as well as suffering humiliation and pillage during the campaign of 1806. Most of the powers agree that the Polish territories should be given back to Prussia, however a full annexation of Saxony would not be accepted, especially by the Austrians, who would lose a major buffer state between Prague and Berlin. Tsar Alexander I of Russia interdicted, stating that Russia should be awarded territory for its participation in the war, and called for a revision of the Polish question. Prussia found itself without allies, and agreed to cede the province of New East Prussia to Alexander in exchange for his support on the Saxon issue, sensing some weakness on the British as Richard Wellesley was having one of his black-outs [7].

    A rather desperate von Stadion turned to the Spanish and French representatives, who agreed to back the Austrians up lest the Prussians become too powerful with a full annexation of Saxony, thus formalising France and Spain into the great power circle, passing from the Big Four to the Big Six. Stadion went ahead to try to persuade Russia from supporting a full annexation by selling Austria as a potential ally and, surprisingly, the Tsar did a rapid volte face and turned back his support to Prussia [8], as members of the Prussian delegation such as vom Stein openly supported a united Germany, while Alexander favoured a united “third” Germany independent of both Prussia and Austria. Alexander decided to play as a mediator and it was decided that Prussia would obtain the eastern third of Saxony, mostly east of the Elbe [9], as a way to balance Prussia and Austria. Prussia was also awarded the Rhineland and most of Westphalia (except a part of the former Prince-Bishopric of Münster, which was secularized and given to a different prince), to form a strong bulwark against the French. However, this strong Prussia was not in the interest of the British, so when Wellesley returned he managed to browbeat the Prussian envoys into concending East Firisa and the mouth of the Ems to British Hannover. The Prussian ministed von Hardenberg insisted on being compensated with either Danish Holstein or Pommerania, but the other diplomats refused any enlargement of Berlin, stating they got more than enough with their portion of Poland. In exchange the Prussians proposed a series of territorial exchanges and payments, ultimately managing to negotiate the transfer of Swedish Pommerania in exchange for a payment of 5 million Prussian talers.

    Vienna allegory.jpg

    A political cartoon of the time

    Now that the largest obstacle had been dealt with, Germany underwent a major reform of its internal borders, reducing the number of states in the former HRE by several times, with Hannover and the southern states benefiting the most. Then came the issue of the Netherlands. Britain had promised the Dutch that they would obtain the former Austrian Netherlands, keeping Orange-Nassau inside Germany but renouncing to an independent Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Regarding France, they managed to scrape by with more territories than they had prior to the Revolutionary Wars, gaining towns in Alsace, the Low Countries and Savoy [10], albeit parts of it were awarded to Switzerland as two new cantons.

    Finally it came to the question of Italy. There it was largely agreed that Italy should return to the pre-war borders as a general line. The Republic of Venice was restored in the mainland territories, but Austria kept Dalmatia, while the Ionian Islands became a British protectorate. Lombardy was returned to Austria and saw its borders expanded eastwards to the Mincio. The states of Padania were restored to their respective rulers, the Habsburgs under Ferdinand III in Tuscany and under Francis IV in Modena, the House of Savoy to Piedmont and Sardinia, and Parma to the Bourbons under Maria Luisa [11]. The Republic of Genoa was also reinstated thanks to the efforts of von Stadion and García de León, severely weakening Piedmont-Sardinia as they lost their chance at receiving a coast. Finally, Napoleon’s former ally in the Kingdom of Naples, Joachim Murat, was allowed to stay, albeit the British placed an embargo, to which the Spanish joined soon after, intending to force the fall of Murat and restore the Bourbons to the throne of Naples. Murat would indeed fall later on, but not because of economic pressures.

    Some colonies would also be swapped, with the United Kingdom taking the Dutch Cape Colony and some French islands in the Caribbean, but overall most of the changes were made in Europe. In order to secure a lasting peace, representatives from Russia, Austria, Britain and Spain formed the Quadruple Alliance, to which Prussia joined shortly after as did France in 1815, however this alliance was tenuous and would not be able to uphold peace in the continent between the great powers for more than a couple decades [12].

    [1] - Sweden is not a member of the Coalition, as crown prince Charles August (Christian August of Denmark) refused to join the war. As a result, Sweden does not have territorial ambitions over Norway, so the considerations regarding the destiny of the personal union are different.

    [2] - The House of Mecklenburg had ties to the Norwegian throne for centuries, but the choice was more motivated by the Prussians wanting a close German prince in Norway as a check to Sweden, which still owns a part of Pomerania, and its pro-Danish crown prince.

    [3] - Or rather, a full dismantlement. The lands Bavaria took to the northwest IOTL are denied to them, most notably the Grand Duchy of Würzburg, which remains a separate political entity under Ferdinand I.

    [4] - Portugal barely has a presence in this congress as the War of the Oranges never happened, thus butterflying away the Olivenza dispute.

    [5] - Who was Secretary of State at the time, by 1812 IOTL. The changes in Spain, most notably the Supreme Central Junta staying in Seville and producing the more moderate Charter of Seville as a constitutional basis result in changes in the envoys. Oh well, TTL avoided the utter embarrassment that was Pedro Gómez de Labrador, who was described as “that cripple, unfortunately, is going to Vienna” by Talleyrand and as “The most stupid man I ever came across” by Wellington.

    [6] - A Poland consisting of only the Prussian part, without a French victory in the Fifth Coalition Poland is not expanded south to the size of OTL’s Congress Poland.

    [7] - Richard Wellesley was prone to black-outs where he did not realise where he was. In such a closed room diplomatic event, this compromises the British position. Another effect of Castlereagh not being there is that the Congress does not decide to act periodically, butterflying away the future congresses as we know them.

    [8] - Von Stadion is a calmer individual than Metternich. When discussing this same issue, Metternich suggested that Austria could beat Russia militarily, and tensions rose to the point that Alexander challenged him to a duel. Luckily this never happened, would have been quite a show at a multinational conference to see a diplomat and a monarch shoot each other. Alexander suddenly becoming more lenient is also taken from OTL’s Congress of Vienna. Trying to get into everyone’s psyche at the same time is hard.

    [9] - OTL Prussia got three fifths of Saxony.

    [10] - Pretty much what was given to France in the First Treaty of Paris, before Napoleon returned and his defeat led to France losing those territories.

    [11] - IOTL the duchy was awarded to Marie Louise of Austria. ITTL she never married Napoleon so there is no need to grant her a fiefdom. Hence, the Duchy of Lucca was never created as compensation for the Spanish, and it remains part of Tuscany.

    [12] - There is no Holy Alliance either, even if Alexander insists on getting on both sides good graces. Alas, the overall result of the Congress of Ratisbon is less absolutist than OTL’s Vienna, with Russia keeping a somewhat progressive government, and von Stadion being more of a reformist than Metternich. Liberalism will not be persecuted as harshly as it did IOTL.
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    Chapter 33: Taming the Tiger
  • ~ Chapter 33: Taming the Tiger ~

    During a period of almost 20 years the French East India Company was effectively a sovereign state independent from France, both in terms of orders and in terms of supplies, since the moment Suffren refused to recognize the republican government in Paris. Despite his obesity and multiple health issues, Suffren was an energetic man that managed to keep French India under a tight grip until his death in 1803. Suffren had named an admiral as the next governor, however the British used the influence they had gained with the company during Suffren’s rule by acting as intermediaries to secure their own candidate for governorship, the young, unexperienced, and manipulable Pierre François Étienne Bouvet de Maisonneuve. Bouvet had some experience in the navy, but was not a skilled politician [1], and didn’t know the intricate web of alliances and interests that was the Indian subcontinent in the 1800’s.

    Bouvet would quickly fall out of favour with Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore, for not offering support at a time when the Hyderabadi state was on the brink of collapse following Asaf Jah III’s disastrous siege of Nagpur in 1806. Bouvet would not protest the 1807 Hyderabad Treaty that allowed British troops to garrison towns in Hyderabad, a treaty that effectively turned the state into a British protectorate as Nasir-ud-Daulah, the new nizam (still underage, the government was controlled by a regent, Chandu Lal), was forced to raise taxes to pay off the debt the state had assumed under his predecessor. The tax increase led to a revolt that was supported by anti-British officers and courtmen, that proclaimed Mir Alam as the new regent and expelled Chandu Lal from the palace [2]. He was able to escape and reach the head of the British delegation in Hyderabad, who quickly turned his forces to the palace, forcing Mir Alam and a kidnapped Nasiru-ud-Daulah to flee west towards Shahpur. Mir Alam called for help from the French East India Company and Tipu Sultan. The ruler of Mysore took the young monarch under his wing and negotiated with the Nawab of the Carnatic in secret to bring them into the war without consulting their French overlords. News of the kidnapping of the monarch reached the British in 1809, and in May of that year a Royal Navy squadron appeared in front of the harbour of Mangalore to pressure Tipu Sultan to hand over the king, to which Tipu Sultan refused, beginning the Second Anglo-Mysore War [3].

    British Fleet India.jpg

    British East India Company ships blockading Manglaore

    Tipu Sultan departed immediately with an army of 60.000 men towards Hyderabad accompanied by Mir Alam. The Governor-General of India, Francis Rawdon-Hastings [4], had prepared for an offensive and had gathered 40.000 men in and around the city of Hyderabad and ordered his soldiers to prepare defensive positions as he could not risk a pitch battle as most of the reserves of the BEIC army were in the north and around Nagpur, predicting that Tipu Sultan would drag his puppet Maratha emperor into the conflict, despite British court intrigues to convince Baji Rao II to betray the Mysorean sultan. Thus, the British East India Company faced a coalition of Indian states spearheaded by Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan reached Hyderabad in December of 1809 and opted to lay siege to the city, knowing that Carnatic troops with French artillery were coming from the south. Once they arrived, Tipu Sultan launched barrages of artillery and rockets, but these barrages were not as effective as they were in Settanapalli back in 1761.

    Further north, once news of the Maratha entry into the war were public the British launched an assault towards Nagpur. The Maratha authority in the area was weak, and the territory was effectively ruled by the King of Gwalior, who could not muster enough forces to protect all of his realm. BEIC forces under Sir David Baird marched from Delhi into Rajasthan, where the local princes switched allegiances to the British, and then turned east towards Gwalior, capturing the city in March of 1810. Back in Hyderabad, a group of French engineers deployed without the consent of Governor Bouvet created a series of tunnels and filled them with gunpowder, blowing up the southern corner of the defence lines and permitting the Indian troops to storm the fort, capturing Hyderabad after a bloody battle and restoring Nasir-ud-Daulah to the throne [5]. Rawdon-Hastings retreated further west to shorten his supply lines, while Mir Alam launched a purge of pro-British administrators and began to target civilians that traded with them.

    Storming of Hyderabad.jpg

    The storming of Hyderabad

    Elsewhere, the call to arms issued by the Maratha Empire only fractured the empire even more. Since the death of Madhavrao I the empire had decentralised and lost effective control over many areas. Now, agents coming from Pune were asking for money and soldiers to fight in a war many of the local rulers had nothing to do with. The high expenses of the campaign made many government officials to question whether it was worth it to support Tipu Sultan and his puppet in Pune, Baji Rao II, the son of Raghunathrao who in turn was considered a puppet of the British. For the moment the plot remained underground, waiting for the moment Mysorean power faltered. That time came soon, when the British reorganized their forces and came back to Hyderabad after securing Orissa. The second siege of Hyderabad would be shorter than the first one, as Rawdon-Hastings brought reinforcements to match Tipu Sultan’s army and the walls of the city had not yet been rebuilt. During the confuse battle for the city Indian BEIC troops captured Mir Alam when he was trying to flee with the king, executing the regent.

    This British could not continue their offensive due to the heavy losses incurred and a skillful counterattack by the Mysorean ruler at the Battle of Devarkadra on February 18th 1811. However, at that time, a major event happened in Europe that altered the Indian conflict, that event being the restoration of Bourbon rule in France. As soon as news spread of the current state of the FEIC, Louis XVIII dispatched the Comte Dupuy to Pondicherry to take hold of the situation and replace the incompetent Bouvet. As soon as he arrived he realised that France’s bid for supremacy on the Indian subcontinent was over, and that the best course of action would be to try to salvage as much as possible. Thus, he approached his British counterpart, reaching an agreement that would see both companies forming a temporary alliance against Tipu Sultan, who had accepted the vassalage of the Nawab of the Carnatic [6].

    second siege of hyderabad.jpg

    The second siege of Hyderabad

    The FEIC forces were quick to assemble under Dupuy, and when the monsoon epoch ended most of the Carnatic had been reconquered by the French, opening yet another front for Tipu Sultan, and stripping the Nawab of most of its lands. In the Maratha capital, following Dupuy’s arrival and entry into the war, the anti-Mysore faction staged a palace coup that ousted Baji Rao II and replaced him for Yashwantrao Holkar, Maharaja of Indore, but he died shortly after. Daulat Rao Sindhia, who was loyal to the Peshwa, revolted against the usurpers, signing a peace deal with the British that saw his territories in Nagpur reduced to half of their pre-war size in exchange. Many statelets in Central India sided with Daulat Rao Sindhia for protection, while others defected to the British, thus effectively reducing the Maratha Empire to the lands ruled from Pune [8].

    With this grim prospect ahead, Tipu Sultan sued for peace. The British insisted on harsh terms, but Dupuy sided with Tipu Sultan against the British, limiting their gains to an effective protectorate over Hyderabad, the annexation of fortified ports along the Maratha coast, trading privileges with the empire, and the cession of the port of Calicut from Mysore itself, which also lost a chunk of land in the northeast to Hyderabad. The defeat of Tipu Sultan is exposed by many Indian scholars as the moment when European domination of the subcontinent was unavoidable, a yoke most Indians would have to suffer for another century [9].

    1811 Eurasia.png

    Eurasia in 1811, after the Congress of Ratisbon and the Second Anglo-Mysore War. America not displayed, read the Note below

    [1] - He would turn to politics after the death of his wife IOTL, being a deputy and Grand Officier of the Legion of Honour.

    [2] - Chandu Lal was proclaimed regent after a palace coup, how ironic.

    [3] - The Franco-British War in India during the American Revolutionary War is considered as the First Anglo-Mysore War.

    [4] - IOTL promoted to Governor-General in 1813. Butterflies.

    [5] - A throne he never lost since this war was over who would be regent, but whatever. Nasir was 15 at the time yet his ability to rule continued to be denied. Also the whole siege is definitely not a reverse siege of Seringapatam.

    [6] - Raja Sahib II, Raja Sahib died shortly before the outbreak of the war. This character is made up.

    [7] - I originally planned to oust him and have any of his sons take power. Turns out, he had none. He adopted a son in order to somewhat continue the dynasty, some Nana Saheb, but he was born in 1824 so no deal. The issue with monarchies in ATL’s is that those governments trend to be single-person centred, and that often limits what you can do with them.

    [8] - The western part of the OTL Indian state of Maharashtra and parts of Karnatka.

    [9] - Foreshadowing.

    Hey there, long time no see. I was busy with projects and exams, but I finished all of them this thursday, so I began to work on this chapter here. I'm glad the Napoleonic Wars arc is over, however I noticed that I trend to overextend myself with wars, they make most of the plot of the timeline and, after slogging through a lot of battles and campaigns, they are very tiring to write. So from now on I'll try to cut back on the military side of things and try to make chapters that can make the rhythm of the TL much quicker, albeit no way near the first ten chapters that cover almost half a century. Also, you may have noticed the map only shows Eurasia. Why not showing America if it is the second major divergence of the TL? Well, because it includes Latin America. And with TTL's Spain being stronger and way more stable (the moderate Charter of Seville butterflies away most of the intestine fights of post-Napoleonic Spain. This TL is pretty much a Spainwank), Latin America is going to change. A lot. Most TLs do not really go over South America, it is usually portrayed as Empire of Brazil, Gran Colombia, Peru-Bolivia and La Plata. We won't do that here, TTL's South America is going to be a mess, and in the next chapters we're hoping right on that bandwagon. Properly researching that time period is a pain in the ass, but I will try to cover it like I did with India, hope you guys like it.
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    Chapter 34: A Nation of Two Hemispheres
  • ~ Chapter 34: A Nation of Two Hemispheres ~

    As the dust settled over Europe following the defeat of Napoleon and the futile resistance of the Second French Republic the new and old polities of the continent faced the new challenge of liberalism, a collection of ideologies and thoughts that overall pursued a reduction in absolutist power, implementing a constitutional regime to limit the government and make it responsible to the law, curb the influence of the church, and foment and protect the concept of private property, among others. Liberalism was split between moderates, that sought to introduce changes in the system by reforming the system, and radicals, that intended to topple the current form of government through a revolution and implement their new system by force, with moderates being a clear majority in the first decades of the 19th century, as most European states had already embraced somewhat liberal ideas, especially through their prime ministers [1].

    However, no country had its institutional foundations as altered as Spain following the end of this turbulent period in Europe. Spain had been a quasi-absolutist monarchy prior to the war, with a very powerful monarchy but with prime ministers capable of pushing reforms if the monarch did not disapprove them, with the country having several liberally-oriented PM’s through the late 18th century, such as the Count of Floridablanca or the Count of Aranda [2]. Spain then went through a confusing period during the French Revolutionary Wars, initially siding with the First Coalition and fighting the French, only for then, under the new PM Manuel Godoy, switch sides and ally with the republican French regime against their common enemy of Great Britain. While parts of the government were enthusiastic about the war, the military was more cautious, avoiding large engagements fearing a repeat of the Battle of Apalachee Bay, thus Spain’s navy avoided the tragic fate of its French counterpart at the Battle of Trafalgar [3].

    Junta Sevilla.jpg

    Seal of the Junta of Seville, future Supreme Central Junta of Spain and Indies

    Politically, however, Spain was pretty much another puppet state of France, allowing imperial troops to enter its territory in order to invade Portugal, who refused to abide by the Continental System. The French troops stayed for longer than expected, and Napoleon captured the Spanish Royal Family altogether, forcing Ferdinand VII to abdicate back on his father (who in turn had abdicated on him a month ago at Aranjuez), and then Charles IV abdicated on Napoleon, who passed the crown to his brother Joseph. French abuses in Spain also triggered a major uprising against the occupiers, with this uprising being the first domino in the chain that would result in the collapse of Napoleon’s empire in 1810. Despite the eventual victory, Spain now was de facto a republican regime with no monarch to sit on the throne, with the government falling on the hands of local “Juntas” that coalesced in the city of Seville the form the Supreme Central Junta of Spain and the Indies, the organ that would act as Spain’s effective government for the duration of the war [4].

    The Supreme Central Junta signed a treaty of alliance with Britain under the presidence of Floridablanca, being succeeded by the Marquis of Astorga when he passed away. The junta was legitimised by Castaños’ victory at the Battle of Valdepeñas, and they proceeded to call for the formation of Cortes in order to form a proper government in the name of the exiled Ferdinand VII. Through 1809 and 1810 the Cortes worked on elaborating a constitutional text that would be the basis of the future Spanish legal framework, that text being published on June 18 of 1810, nicknamed as the “Charter of Seville” or as “La Marcelina” [5]. This constitution featured a bicameral parliament, with a Chamber of Deputies elected by a skewed and convoluted male suffrage method, and a Senate, whose members were appointed personally by the king. The issue of sovereignty was a tough point to discuss, ultimately agreeing that sovereignty fell both on the monarch and the nation, understanding that nation as “Spaniards of both hemispheres” which in theory granted fully equal rights to the citizens of the Americas compared to those of the Peninsula. It was the responsibility of the CoD to name the prime minister, however it had to be ratified by the king, and if three candidates were rejected, the king had the power to name one by himself, skipping any other procedure, which would result in power abuses once the monarchy came back [6].

    Sevilla alegoria.jpg

    "The truth, the time and the history", a 1800 painting by Goya employed as an allegory of the Constitution

    By the time the Charter of Seville had been promulgated, the Napoleonic wars were coming to an end. Napoleon wanted to close the Spanish theatre so he could focus on the rest of the Coalition, signing the Treaty of Valençay with the captured Spanish monarch, promising him a safe return to Spain under whatever conditions he desired. However, Napoleon’s death in November of that same year truncated the return, and Ferdinand only returned to Spain when an army unit under Platinean colonel José de San Martín stormed the palace of Valençay and liberated the king from his “captivity” [7]. Ferdinand was taken to Madrid, where he was “compelled” to ratify the Charter of Seville as the law of the land, without him being able to organise any sort of resistance or coup against the government [8].

    While the situation seemed stable in the peninsula, that was not the case in the Americas. Liberal influences had grown over the year, with British lodges and freemasons extending pro-independence ideas across many criollos, deeply dissatisfied with the preferential treatment peninsulares were given. The viceroyalties of the Spanish Empire were not able to trade on their own and always had to act through Spanish intermediaries if trade was to be conducted with third parties, which further antagonised the merchant classes with the Spanish government. When the Spanish monarchy was virtually decapitated following the Aranjuez Mutiny and the Bayonne Abdications, one of the main pillars that kept the Empire together fell, with many groups in America taking profit of the complete chaos that was mainland Spain until 1809 to begin to act independently and form their own Juntas, not always recognizing the authority of the Junta of Seville, but still recognizing Ferdinand VII as a monarch, albeit it was common for these juntas to masquerade independence attempts with loyalty to an absent king.

    One of the first regions to experience turmoil was New Spain, where the Spanish had introduced a special tax in 1804, the “Vales Reales”, which drove many individuals to bankruptcy and debt, with the Spanish government itself going into further debt as most of the money gathered with this tax was given to either the French or the British, as Spain had not yet picked a side. When the Spanish monarchy fell, the viceroy José de Iturrigaray was not convinced of the authority of the Junta of Seville and tried to maintain a neutral position while recognizing Ferdinand as king, crowning him in absentia on August 13 1808 [9]. However, groups spread news that Iturrigaray’s push for New Spanish autonomy was actually a plot to proclaim himself King of New Spain. On the night of September 15 a group known as “Ferdinand VII’s patriots” tried to capture Iturrigaray by waiting for him at the vieroyal palace, however the viceroy’s wife noticed strange movements near the palace and convinced Iturrigaray to turn back, thwarting the coup with the help of liberals like Juan Francisco Azcárate. Iturrigaray would be influenced more and more by the liberals, distrusting the conservative New Spanish elite as he saw them as the force behind the attempted coup, yet Iturrigaray would never claim New Spain to be independent or Ferdinand VII not to be its ruler [10].

    Jose de Iturrigaray.jpg

    José de Iturrigaray, Viceroy of New Spain (1803 - 1810)

    [1] - A bit of a flashback here. TTL’s first ministers and prominent figures of government are not those of OTL. For starters, Austria’s victory in the War of the Fifth Coalition results in von Stadion never presenting his resignation, thus the ultra absolutist von Metternich is not Austria’s foreign minister. In Prussia, more liberal figures are in power as the government depuration following vom Stein’s letter never happened. Russia, meanwhile, has not seen Mikhail Speransky fall out of grace as thoroughly as he did, but the Tsar still used him as a scape-goat. Nikolay Rumyantsev will continue to be the Chairmen of the Committee of Ministers and Aleksey Arakcheyev isn’t as prominent of a figure.

    [2] - Aranda is an interesting figure. Following the US declaration of independence he correctly predicted the expansionist policies of the country, and also recommended turning Spain into a sort of confederal monarchy, where the sons of Charles III would be sent to the Americas to become kings of New Spain, New Granada, and Peru-La Plata, all united with Spain in a larger framework.
    This TL does a good job portraying this idea.

    [3] - This mean’s Spain’s navy is stronger ITTL. Britain’s navy was also slightly weaker compared to Spain and France to begin with, with the Bourbon Alliance enjoying more success during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Apalachee Bay also served as a catalyst to reform the Spanish Navy ITTL.

    [4] - ITTL Spain does way better in the Peninsular War. The Battle of Ocaña never happens, and thus the French can’t enter Andalusia again. This means the Supreme Central Junta survives, thus Cortes are never called in the besieged city of Cadiz, and the OTL Constitution of 1812 is never drafted. This creates a massive ripple effect later on.

    [5] - After Saint Marcellinus of Rome, whose saint day is June 18. The OTL Constitution of 1812 is similarly nicknamed “La Pepa” for being promulgated on Saint Joseph’s day (Pepa is a female Spanish name, a shorter version of Mary Joseph / Maria José).

    [6] - The Charter of Seville is more moderate than the OTL Cadiz Constitution. The Cadiz Constitution established a single-chamber government without royal appointees, the sovereignty resided exclusively in the nation, and the king was reduced to a figurehead, essentially a civil servant. Obviously, this moderate text is way more palatable for Spanish conservatives.

    [7] - Yes, that same José de San Martín that was key in the independence of the southern half of Spanish America. He was a soldier in the Spanish Army until 1810, participating in the Battle of Bailén both IOTL and ITTL. Also, with the different position of forces, San Martín never meets James Duff, a scotsman that introduced him to pro-independence American circles. As for Ferdinand, he wasn’t a captive at all, his estance at Valençay was nothing short of a lengthy vacation.

    [8] - The Manifest of the Persians and the Valencia Proclamation have been butterflied away. Ferdinand still despises this form of government, believing in the divine right of kings to rule, however TTL’s Spanish political landscape is more moderate overall, so he has to swallow that pill.

    [9] - The same day Cortés took over the Anáhuac, that day marking the birth of New Spain.

    [10] - This doesn’t mean later governments in Mexico City will continue this trend.
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    Chapter 35: The Rifts of the Empire
  • ~ Chapter 35: The Rifts of the Empire ~

    The second major disruption in Spanish America happened in the Rio de la Plata, where Francisco Javier de Elío, governor of Montevideo, rejected the authority of viceroy Liniers, accusing him of being a French puppet and conspiring to land French forces in Buenos Aires [1]. This line of thought was also supported in Spain, where the Junta of Seville realised that he had not been confirmed as viceroy of Buenos Aires, and thus sent Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros to be the new governor. However, when Cisneros arrived in the summer of 1809 the situation had changed drastically. A group of prominent Peninsulares, headed by the mayor of Buenos Aires, Martín de Álzaga [2], had launched a coup d’état that deposed Liniers on January 1st [3]. A new government composed exclusively of Peninsulares taking the form of a Junta presided by Mariano Moreno and Julián de Leyva, with the title of viceroy falling on the oldest active official, that being Pascual Ruiz Huidobro.

    Ruiz refused to recognise Cisneros a viceroy and he stated that he would act as interim viceroy until the government of Spain had been completely restored. Cisneros, mad at this insubordination, turned to the Junta of Montevideo, presided by an equally angry de Elío, who submitted to Cisneros as he was proclaimed Viceroy in Montevideo. This double government caused a civil war within the Viceroyalty between the Montevideo and Buenos Aires governments. The Buenos Aires government was supported by the Peninsular city militias, mostly composed of Galician, Basque and Catalan troops as well as the Corrientes Hussars, while the forces of Cisneros were smaller, albeit he controlled the navy. Buenos Aires was also a powderkeg, as the power of the criollos had been crushed by the coup d’état, and many expected that a victory of the Montevideo faction would restore the balance or even tip the scale in favour of the criollos.

    Pascual Ruiz Huidobro.jpg

    Pascual Ruiz Huidobro, self-proclaimed Viceroy of La Plata

    With two competing governments on each side of the Río de la Plata, the interior of the viceroyalty exploded in anarchy without clear instructions. Some supported the government of Ruiz, while others preferred to follow the orders of Cisneros, acknowledging the Supreme Central Junta of Spain and Indies as the legitimate government of Spain acting in the name of his majesty Ferdinand VII. Other cities and local governments proclaimed their own juntas inspired by the successful Chuquisaca Uprising that had deposed the president of the Royal Audiency. Those city-scale uprising are often grouped under the historical term “Republiquetas” [4], with some lasting several years until order could be restored by Spanish troops coming from Peru, resulting in the effective annexation of Charcas and Upper Peru into the Viceroyalty of Peru, stripping La Plata of almost half of its territory [5].

    Ruiz intended to crush the anarchy in the north and was forced to rely increasingly on criollo militias and power brokers, while employing the Peninsular troops for garrison duties. In order to finance a new army for the expedition up north he increased taxes, further alienating the Buenos Aires citizenship from the new government. Álzaga refused all petitions from the merchants to allow free trade with other powers, being an opponent of free trade himself, and considering an act that would undermine his control. The price of bread increased through the summer of 1809 to 1810, as reserves were stockpiled for the army and the cereal and meat-producing provinces north of the Rio de la Plata were under Cisneros’ control, while the intermittent blockade of Montevideo’s navy further reduced supplies. Further north the governor of the Province of Paraguay, Bernardo de Velasco, sided with Cisneros and sent an army down the Paraná.

    Throughout 1809 and 1810 the situation worsened for the royalists, as new government juntas sprang up in New Granada, with the most powerful ones being proclaimed in Quito, Cartagena, Caracas and Santa Fe de Bogotá. However the most relevant act of 1810 would be the uprising of the members of the Querétaro Conspiracy in October 1st in the New Galician town of San Juan de los Lagos [6], headed by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and the commander of the Queen’s Dragoons, Ignacio Allende, also receiving support from relevant figures like Mariano Abasolo. The conspirators initially pledged allegiance to Ferdinand VII, quickly gathering an army of 100.000 men that [7], despite taking horrendous casualties, defeated the Spanish under Torcuato Trujillo near San Juan del Río, seizing the towns of Querétaro and Valladolid. A hastily assembled defence led by Iturrigaray himself was defeated at the Battle of Santa Cruz del Monte on December 8, where Iturrigaray himself was captured by the rebel cavalry. The viceroyalty passed to general Félix Calleja del Rey, the most respected commander in the Viceroyalty, but he could do little to stop Hidalgo and Allende from taking Mexico City, retreating towards Veracruz with hopes of receiving reinforcements.

    Guanajuato Alhondiga de Granaditas.jpg

    Capture of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, Guanajuato, by the Mexican rebels

    The new government in Mexico City reorganised itself in the form of a Junta, dubbing itself the Supreme National Junta of Septentrional America [8]. In their first legal act they expelled the Peninsular administrators from the government, replacing them with criollos and even some mestizos. The new junta took advantage of the antagonism towards Iturrigaray, who had exploited his time as viceroy to grow richer out of taxpayers’ money, rallying liberal elements and even conservatives. Within a year the Junta had drafted a constitution (Constitution of the Anáhuac), inspired by the Charter of Seville, that officially proclaimed the independence of Septentrional America, in the form of a centralist republic, with separation of powers and a tripartite government that rotated its presidency each four months.

    The claims of Mexico City over so much territory would never be realised, as parallel uprisings had taken place elsewhere. The most notable of them was the Louisianan Revolution. Louisiana, while under the administration of Count of Hédouville, was theoretically a colony of Napoleonic France, but in real terms it behaved like a sovereign state, signing lucrative trade deals with the American republics, especially with Virginia, as their control of the Ohio River granted them leverage of upstream trade, and they required an amicable government in New Orleans to keep trade uninterrupted. During this period, extending from 1801 to 1808, Louisiana had attracted many political exiles, merchants and settlers from the Americas and even Europe, with the ideas of the French Revolution rooting deep in the colony. The Spanish takeover was a return to the monarchist regime, with the Spanish governor, Manuel Caballero y Masot, derogating all of the laws and acts passed by Hédouville.

    Once the Napoleonic Wars ended and the Second French Republic was crushed in a wave of White Terror, many promiment revolutionaries and administrators fled France towards the Americas, initially following the example of Jean Victor Marie Moreau [9]. Chief among those “émigrés” was Bernadotte, who had rejected a proposal by Napoleon to name him governor of Louisiana in 1802 [10]. Bernadotte soon took notice of the situation in the colony, and began to organise a plot thanks to an extensive net of contacts in the Americas provided by Adrien-Nicolas Piédefer, Marquis of La Salle. As soon as he gathered enough supporters and supplies, Bernadotte launched a coup in New Orleans on April 23 1811, deposing Caballero without complications and proclaiming the Republic of Louisiana, with the fur traders and trappers of the Upper Mississippi supporting the Republic. The new state stylised itself after the First French Republic, adopting revolutionary colours and raising a militia commanded by Bernadotte himself, with funds provided by American merchants. New Orléans quickly signed an alliance with Georgia, in no small part due to the country’s francophilia following Moreau’s arrival, and also to secure the eastern border, as Georgia claimed West Florida from Spain.


    Flag of the Republic of Louisiana

    To the west, Juan Bautista de las Casas deposed the Spanish governor of Texas for a brief time before royalist forces regrouped and captured him, executing de las Casas at Monclova, as northern Mexico was still controlled by the royalists. However, the remaining rebels headed west towards Louisiana and America, securing funds and men for a renewed expedition, now under the command of Virginian pioneer and experienced Indian fighter John Gordon. The expedition defeated the forces of governor Salcedo at the Battle of San Antonio de Béxar in early 1813, proclaiming Texas as an independent republic soon after, with John Gordon acting as temporary president, inviting many American settlers and pioneers into the country with the hope of turning the young republic into an extension of Angloamerica, an act that received sporadic complaints from the Hispanic Texans, as the collapse of Spanish authority had resulted in an increase of Comanche raids. Both Texas and Louisiana were unpopulated and peripheral territories, with the Spanish attempts at a reconquest of America focused in the richer and more populated Mexico, mostly ignoring the two northern republics, while the Mexicans had their hand fulls with Spain so their attempts at projecting authority north of the Nueces River never materaliased.

    [1] - Those were all lies, Liniers would always be loyal to the Spanish crown. Also, due to the different timing of the British invasions , Liniers ascended to the post of Viceroy in 1808 and not in 1807, with him being less popular due to the second British invasion never happening. When news of Liniers’ proclamation reached Spain the country was already in chaos.

    [2] - Álzaga is an interesting fella. Despite arriving at Buenos Aires being only eleven, without a single coin and only speaking Basque, he managed to create an arms emporium in the city thanks to his natural leadership skills, IOTL he created a “shadow army” under the nose of British occupation forces, and forced the capitulation of William Beresford.

    [3] - A successful “Asonada”. This happened due to the alternate British invasions, that never saw Cornelio Saavedra rise to prominence, thus he did not stop the coup, keeping Liniers in power and making the criollo faction way more powerful. Saavedra not rising to prominence also butterflies away OTL’s May Revolution of 1810.

    [4] - Little Republics in Spanish. IOTL they were mostly confined to OTL Bolivia, however ITTL they extend to the Argentinian Andes.

    [5] - This annexation would not be formally acknowledged by the Spanish until many years down the line.

    [6] - IOTL the conspiracy was uncovered by a mailman. ITTL due to the alternate government in Mexico City and the criollo faction being more powerful, the conspiracy goes by and begins as planned.

    [7] - A slightly larger army than the 80.000 men that fought in the OTL Battle of Monte de las Cruces. Like OTL, though, most of the army is composed of unexperienced natives that followed Hidalgo with barely any weapons.

    [8] - A name similar to the OTL Junta of Zitácuaro. The term “Septentrional America” refers not only to the lands of New Spain but all Spanish possessions north of Panama, including Louisiana, the Caribbean, and the claims on the Oregon Country.

    [9] - Who left for Georgia, he couldn’t go to the US since the Union does not exist anymore, training and modernising the army of the small republic. When he heard news of Napoleon’s death he returned to France, where he was granted the title of Marshal of France by Louis XVIII.

    [10] - This happened both IOTL and ITTL, with him refusing to accept due to Napoleon not wanting to give soldiers, settlers and funding to the colony.