I am loving this timeline so much. I never read the original, but oh my gosh this is beautiful in the best and worst way!
As far as the question of Poles living in the Nordreich, I think it would be very interesting to see them somehow be forcibly expelled into the Nordish colonies, in a way that we end up with some random part of Africa filled with good Catholic Poles, who eventually gain independence, and whose politicians are all crazy revanchists calling for a Crusade against the Teutonic heathens, to reclaim their homeland for the faith. Not sure how to make that happen, but until I read this timeline I wouldn't have known how to make the US into the beautiful monstrosity that is the Republican Union.
Even so, Douglass was shockingly noble in most of his policy-making, except a total ban on Irish and Slavic peoples from ever entering the RUL. He was succeeded in office after a "free and open election" by Alvin Thomas Wayne, who began ruling with a much more heavy hand and outlawed all parties aside from his own "Fatherland Front." He then proclaimed himself the "Prophet of Africa and the 12th Imam, Uniter of Christianity and Islam" and founded the "African Fundamentalist Church" as a bizarre cross between the AFC Church of Burr and Islam. This led to the bloody Lincolnian Civil War of 1891, which saw the Fatherland Front against native-born African "heathen Inferiors" and slaughter them by the thousands, as well as murdering any citizens who refused to agree that Wayne was a new prophet. This ethnic cleansing went relatively unnoticed in the rest of the world but absolutely ravaged Lincolnia.

I'd hate to see TTL's Batman, if there is something that has a shred of similarity.
No Irish africa? The Emerald Isle becoming the home of anti-Imperialists? Napo must be making Ireland the centre of rationalism! That’s gotta be it...right?....right?
*clutches at straws while I jam on my tinfoil hat beneath the Hibernian Harp flag and humming The Four Proud Provinces*

Ahem....what I meant to say is that I’m a little sad that my home country doesn’t seem to be getting anything outside the home islands, meaning that should there be a repeat of Great War, the Irish will have nowhere to escape to avoid total extermination.

I beg you, please don’t destroy my people. If they can’t run, then let them go full Swiss and turtle like mo-fo’s. Turn the entire nation into a fortress and bleed the English and Americans dry against its walls. If we can’t prosper, let us survive like the stubborn bastards we are
if you want to make the Irish mad, make it be like the Blueshirts mix with the IRL turn up to 11. and make ulster be like the unionist turn up to 11 and both sides do ethnic cleansing on each other and their instant madness.
I thought Ceasar's holdings were now the Empire of Europa

Nope. Upon his death his son will inherit the crowns of France, Spain, and Austria-Hungary, thus forming the Empire of Europa.

if you want to make the Irish mad, make it be like the Blueshirts mix with the IRL turn up to 11. and make ulster be like the unionist turn up to 11 and both sides do ethnic cleansing on each other and their instant madness.

Honestly this. lol

Persian troops in a trenchwork in Armenia, circa 1890
The Russian Empire was, by 1840, a superpower in its own right, slowly taming the independent kingdoms and lands of the Caucasus, exploring Alyaska in North America, and building an Imperial Army which could truly be feared by its neighbors. But the prestige gained could only do so much, as Nicholas I fell into ill health and the nation became embroiled in the English Revolution. Other nations were gaining new technologies and sciences and skills, while Russia mostly remained in the 18th century, little different than a century prior. At last, in 1855, Alexander II came to the throne with his consort Victoria of England. He was determined to modernize his nation and bring Westernized ways of thinking in to make sure his country was actually keeping up with potential enemies and garnering respect around the world.

It was around this same time that Persia witnessed the final destruction of the Ottoman Empire at the hands of Caesar Napoleon II and the collapse of the Islamic World. In 1860, the Afghanistan conflict broke out between French India and Afghanistan, which saw Afghanistan lose Kashmir. This served both as a warning and an opportunity for Persia. It's Shah, Naser al-Din, of the Qajar Dynasty, feared that Western powers would come for his country next, but also saw the chaos and disunity of the surrounding regions to his advantage. While the League of the Three Czars busied themselves dealing with Constantinople and minor disturbances in the Balkans, such as the failed military coup against Tsar Timotei I of Bulgaria in 1865, Persia was doing its best to move out of the Renaissance and into the 19th century. The state was almost bankrupt and civil unrest was high following the Turkish collapse, with many saying there needed to be a revolution against the monarchy before it was too late. With the help of his trusty Chancellor Amir Kabir and many former Ottoman officials who had come to Persia seeking work, the Shah managed to pull Persia up by the bootstraps and greatly reversed its fortunes through promoting business, putting higher taxes on the wealthy, and reforming the law of the land. By 1870, the Shah had created a modern army utilizing rifles and modern tactics.

On August 5, 1870, Persia declared war on Afghanistan and swiftly crushed the hill tribes of the nation, annexing it by early 1871. The Shah then went about taking firm control of Turkmenistan and abolishing the Central Asian slave trade forever. This brought great excitement back home and in Europe, and he became known as Shah Naser al-Din the Enlightened. He made Russia very uneasy, however, and in 1872 the Czar invaded the Khanate of Kokand and annexed it. In return, Persia took Badakhshan, the Khanate of Kiva, and the Emirate of Bukhara, finally doing away with all the independent peoples of Central Asia.

Things would continue to be tense between Russia and Persia for a very long time, culminating in 1888, when the Russo-Persian War finally arrived. Since the Collapse of the Turks, the greater Armenio-Georgian region had been a mess of disputed border and warring tribes, with the Georgians and Gurians backed by the Russians and the Islamic tribes backed by the Persians, while the Armenians were backed by no one. Persia moved into Armenia on June 2, 1888, and immediately crushed all opposition. However, unlike their treatment at the hands of the Turks, Shah Naser offered them citizenship and protection if they would join the Persian Empire. Reluctantly, most of the Armenians agreed, with some proclaiming him the second coming of Cyrus the Great. The Georgians and Gurians did not, however, and Russia moved in to protect their allies. A massive war broke out in the Caucasus, with the Georgians and Gurians practicing ethnic cleansing on the Armenians and the Persians brutally avenging them through massacres of prisoners of war. The Caucasus War had begun. Without being able to utilize its impressive navy and with so many troubles in the Balkans, Russia was under prepared and furiously sending men to their death as fast as it could.


Scene from the Siege of Baku
The war soon spread across the steppes and into all the various regions of the area. For the first time, the 19th century came to the steppes, and it was covered in blood and stepping to the sound of a drum. The war was unbelievably nasty, and the battles gave way to sporadic and confused massacres and skirmishes. Finally, on October 4, 1890, the Treaty of Madrid was signed between the two powers in Spain, after Caesar had volunteered to help negotiate an end to the conflict.

What should have been a total Russian victory had become a fiasco drenched in Russian blood. The Persians had stood their own, and though neither side really won a battle during the war, Persia had remained solidly behind the Shah and ready to fight. This was a humiliation for the Czar, and when he signed the Treaty of Madrid, Russia and Persia agreed to let Armenia remain its own separate nation, with Caesar guaranteeing its neutrality himself. Azerbaijan was entirely granted to Persia, and Russia agreed to accept Persian suzerainty over Central Asia. In return, Persia acknowledged the sovereignty of the Russian-backed Kingdom of Georgia, consisting of Odishi, Guria, Abkhazia, Svaneti, and Samtskhe.


Flag of the Kingdom of Georgia

This humiliation at the hands of such a backwater as Persia spelled more major changes for Russia, who now worried about looking weak in front of allies Bulgaria and Romania and potential enemies such as the Nordreich. This grave situation was made worse by an attempt on Alexander's life by a Beutelist just a few weeks later in December of 1890. Alexander now cracked down on some of the liberties he had been allowing to bring about Westernization and began massive pogroms against Anarchists and Beutelists.

Meanwhile, Persia was not technically victorious, but it was in all other ways, as it had humiliated one of the greatest powers on earth. The Persian Army returned home to crowds of cheering citizens. Though it was beaten and bruised, it was not defeated. They had held their own. In 1895, Persia would invade the Trucial States of Oman and began steadily annexing territory in Arabia in the hopes to secure the lucrative oil fields there, now that that market was booming. Persia was not a great power yet, but it soon would be. Meanwhile, Russia was in the midst of escalating tensions with the Chinese. And to the far east, Yankee sailors were landing in Hawaii and Edo Bay, bringing the anti-Slav crusaders ever closer to their doorstep and modernizing yet another former backwater. The Land of the Rising Sun was about to about to learn the story of the Pinnacle Man, and his valiant defeat of the Mongoloid Hordes thanks to the Divine Wind of Jehovah....
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I feel so sorry for the Africans and Japanese. The Africans always get the short end of the stick, no matter the TL they're in. And now the Japanese will know the RU.


Lucien Louis Joseph Napoleon, Prince of the Two Sicilies, in official garb as Cardinal Bonaparte (circa 1860)

In 1878, Pope Pius IX died after an over thirty-year reign as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. As the Papal Conclave convened to elect the next Holy Father, Caesar Napoleon II saw the opportunity his family had been looking for since the days of the Great Wars of his father: the chance to put a Bonaparte on the Throne of St. Peter. Caesar Napoleon II's cousin, Lucien Louis Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Zénaïde I, late Queen of the Two Sicilies, and brother of the current queen, Carlotta, was the candidate Caesar desired. With Carlotta already having more than enough children to ensure succession, Lucien held very little power and stood no chance of ever becoming a monarch and showed no sign of interest in becoming a military man, though he did accompany his cousin to Jerusalem during the collapse of the Turks. When he joined the Catholic Church as a priest in 1858, however, his family finally saw a true purpose for him: they were determined to make Lucien Bonaparte the next pope.

The Papal Conclave convened in the Sistine Chapel on the 18th of February, 1878, and began its process of picking the next Holy Father. Since Pius IX had made the Papal Doctrine of Infallibility official in 1870, the power that was to be wielded by a future pope was terrifying indeed. Even more terrifying, however, were the threats being issued to the Cardinals. The blackmail was quite heavy as well. They were to pick Lucien or risk "losing everything they owned and their very lives and honor." To top off the intimidation, troops from the Kingdom of Italy and the Two Sicilies were positioned outside of Rome on "routine training exercises." Their position was clear: Lucien would become pope by election or Napoleon II would have his Italian satellite states' troops march in and place his cousin on the throne by force or perhaps do away with the position altogether. Something like this had not occurred in centuries. With Caesar a single-minded sociopath when he set his mind to a task, the reality of the situation was quickly grasped by the College of Cardinals. Terrified, on February 20th, 1878, 50 year-old Cardinal Bonaparte was proclaimed to be Pope Sixtus VI. Europe trembled.


Pope Sixtus VI

In Paris, the streets filled with cheering crowds waving French, and Papal flags and crying out that the House of Bonaparte would never be stopped. In Vienna, opinions were mixed. Austria-Hungary knew they would be absorbed into the Franco-Spanish Empire when Napoleon III inherited the throne, but they still felt rivalry, and disliked having a Bonaparte as pope. The Catholics in Eastern Europe felt the strongest about the matter, and though they grudgingly accepted it, many felt the Papacy didn't have as much prestige as it had before. It would be a couple of decades before the controversy (and Sixtus) would die. The thing that kept the church from fracturing over this choice as Pope was Caesar's radical expansion of Catholic power and his seizure of the Holy Land and Jerusalem itself. The Knights of Jerusalem were invited in by Sixtus VI to serve as permanent bodyguards along with the already famed Swiss Guards. These men were also plants for the Empire to learn the most secretive and interesting things going on inside the Vatican walls. This way, even after Sixtus was dead and dust, there would always be a plant inside St. Peter's, cluing in the Bonapartes as to the inner goings-on.

Of course, the reaction in Protestant nations was much stronger. England called Sixtus another "example of French imperialism and corruption." The Republican Union immediately began calling Sixtus the Anti-Christ, dwelling on the two sixes in his name, calling him the Beast of Revelation (where the third "six" was was awkwardly up to conjecture). The American Fundamentalist Christian Church began telling its members to prepare for the Last Judgment and to pray for God to "smite the Bonapartian Imperialist Whore of Babylon." The excitement and fear never died down, and each and every decision Sixtus made was perceived as yet another "sign of the coming Apocalypse." The final public sermon of Supreme Deacon of the AFC Church, Milo Miles, made America's opinion clear:

"And the scripture of Revelation 13 says, 'John saw it rise up out of the sea. And it had seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads was the name of blasphemy!' I ask you now, my fellow Christian patriots, does this terrifying description not match the devil that sits upon the Papist throne today? The Seven Heads clearly represent France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, the Two Sicilies, the Rhine, and, course, Ireland! This nest of Papist vipers reveals itself unto us, and it doesn't even attempt to hide its true demonic purpose anymore! There are bugaboos and demons in the Vatican right now and at this second. I have no doubt Sixtus Bonaparte, that slovenly sack of subhuman detritus, is communing with Satan at this very moment as we sit here in worship of Jehovah. 'And upon his heads was the name of blasphemy.' Do you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, know what that name is? It is BONAPARTE! The House of Bonaparte and their self-serving, imperialist, papist, and, frankly, homosexual, hedonistic ways have the gall, the outright hubris, to proclaim their spawn as Holy Father. I will tell you now, there is no Holy Father except God the Father, and there is no messenger of his on earth except the Prophet Burr, All Hail his name! But the day of reckoning approaches like a thief in the night! I can hear, right now, the jingle-jangle of a million lost souls, bowing before their Bonapartist Fauxian collaborative papal pig who resides in Rome, that pernicious emirate of whores! That pompous little brat with his aquiline nose and his beady little inbred, mongoloid eyes sits upon the Throne of St. Peter and dares call himself Holy Father. Well one day, and soon, the Republican Union shall give birth to the New Jerusalem and we shall destroy his Synagogue of Satan! Amen and All Hail!"

Two weeks later, Milo Miles would pass away at the age 83.


Council propaganda from the era of Sixtus VI

In actuality, Sixtus wasn't a horrible pope or a horrible person (he had suspicions, but was not aware corruption had given him his position), and he was actually far less biased to the Bonapartes than they had wanted. He was also not exactly brilliant, and his family continuously tricked him into making decisions which benefited them. His legacy was thus mixed, but the Bonapartes were content to have the Knights of Jerusalem remain after his passing. Their worms were already infiltrated into the high positions.

An interesting side note of this period was the creation of the 1878 Overture by renown composer Louis Jean Christophe Caron. The opening celebrated Caesar Napoleon I's victory in the Great Wars of the Empire and his son's conquering of the Holy Land, whilst the finale and its joyous bells celebrated the Coronation of Sixtus as the final triumph of "God's Chosen Family." The piece was performed in the Vatican during Caesar Napoleon II's first state visit to his cousin, and allegedly was the only time Napoleon II's officers ever saw a tear come to his eye.

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With Caesar a single-minded sociopath when he set his mind to a task, the reality of the situation was quickly grasped by the College of Cardinals. Terrified, on February 20th, 1878, 50 year-old Cardinal Bonaparte was proclaimed to be Pope Sixtus VI. Europe trembled.

“And softly, in the air, there was a faint clicking sound, as if the gates of Heaven were quietly closed.”
Southern-Western Europe is now just a Bonaparte playground. First, the imperial throne, and now the papacy. However, better them than Custer or Joe Steele.

(By the way, are we going to see Joe Steele in this reboot?)
As a professional Persianophile...

Up with the Shah! Marg Bar Russiye!

Now with that out of.the way, certainly a series of fascinating updates. Of all the places the Mahdi could have come to revive Islam, I certainly hadn't expected him to appear in Ghana--I would have thought him to be a successor to the Fulani Jihads.

Speaking of which, how does the African Fundamentalist Church function? OTL Africa's adoption of Christianity has certainly resulted in some fascinating syncretism, such as in Ghana's Ashanti people (who IIRC have mixed their own myth of the Golden Stool and their modern Christian faith--with fascinating results like their king Osei Tutu being depicted as a African Jesus of sorts). Religious madmen aside, what truly makes the colonization of Africa even more terrifying than OTL's raw, brutal history of economic rape and resource extraction is that the Empire's sheer population and Nordic brutality does allows colonialism to be a truly coordinated effort to demographically change the literal face of Africa. Things aren't looking up for the Africans I say.

Eagerly awaiting what you have in store for East Asia though. I do hope the East Asian powers at least give the colonizers a fight. China and Japan were after all remarkably willing to reform and modernize IOTL (and reaped the benefits of course. The Qing's successful reforms and subsequent ability to scare Moscow's colonial ambitions in the Ili crisis is certainly a neglected aspect of history) when they received their respective wake-up calls. I suspect this will be a much harsher wake up call, and therefore cause a much stronger blowback from East Asia.
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