A British California after Trent

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Rush Tarquin, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Rush Tarquin Blunder from Down Under

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    This is probably a lightning rod topic (or at least it's underpinning supposition is), but I'm gonna ignore my better judgement and throw it out there anyway. So a short to medium length Anglo-American War following a cocked up Trent Affair has been discussed in depth on this site before. If we assume the high range of harm by British forces blockading and marauding through California, is Britain able to hold whatever is left of California afterwards?

    How long would it take for the Empire-born population to outnumber the American-born population? How long would it take to become self-governing and become a 'normal' dominion? When would it gain control of its own immigration policy? I ask because in OTL Canada was in a position to halt Indian immigration and Australia wouldn't have a bar of Japanese immigration whether Japan was a British ally or not. I wonder if California would just have to shut up and accept whoever Britain decided could go there. What would happen to Hawaii in such a situation?
     
  2. 67th Tigers Banned

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    Yes, Trent is one of the times where California is most vulnerable because of the Great Flood. British gunboats can steam into Sacramento. California went broke because of the extreme economic disruption it caused.
     
  3. Rush Tarquin Blunder from Down Under

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    Thanks. You've addressed this topic quite a lot. In one of your timelines, southern California seceded. In the interests of teasing this out, what was your reasoning for that over it becoming a British client state?
     
  4. Georgie Porgie Well-Known Member

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    If the British sided with the native population (a strong possibility given the feeling in London at the time for native peoples) they would be in a much more powerful possition to hold off US troops coming to take back California.
    Given the resources that California had I would see it as a more popular place to emmigate too than either Australia or New Zealand, so the population of those countries would suffer, but the English exported around 2,500,000 people to the US in the 19th centrury if the majority of people headed for California they would soon be able to over come any US patriots.
     
  5. Rush Tarquin Blunder from Down Under

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    Demographics are what I'm mostly interested in, but I think that's one of the hardest things to predict in AH. I'm guessing the permanent Chinese, Japanese and Indian populations in California would be much higher ITTL because unlike the other white settler colonies, Britain may be controlling California's immigration policy in line with its own interests rather than having to consider local nativist sentiments. Of course it may be even more heedful of Californian nativism if it doesn't want to anger the (white American-born) locals, but I'd think the better strategy would be to try to outpopulate them. The only problem then is the loyalty and social cohesion of a colony which is so heterogenous and un-British, but that shouldn't be relevant vis-a-vis Asian powers for a few decades, and the Anglo-Japanese alliance might be even stronger ITTL due to Britain and Japan having two geopolitical competitors in common: Russia and America.
     
  6. 67th Tigers Banned

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    Why are the ex-Americans necessarily opposed to being British? After all they initially asked to be annexed to Britain and only asked to be annexed to the US when the British officer at the scene thought it beyond his authority.

    Remember, they didn't have our concept of nationalism. If the flag changes then most will simply get on with their lives.
     
  7. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    I'd be interested in seeing your source.

    I take it you're unfamiliar with events such as as the Indian Mutiny, the Boer Wars, the Rebellion of 1837, the Red River Rebellion, the Xhosa Wars, the Maori Wars, the Ashanti Wars, the Mahdist War, and the Boxer Rebellion?
     
  8. mikegold Member

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    They don't have our concept of nationalism, but they do have the American exceptionalist mindset. Remember, the same generation that rebelled against Mexico under Fremont is still around.

    On the other hand, does the Anglo-Saxon population of, say, Alberta consist more of ex-Americans or of ex-Imperials (British and Eastern Canadian)?
     
  9. MAlexMatt Banned

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    How, exactly, is this supposed to work again? By 1860 California has been a member state of the Union for a decade. The population has more than tripled as new arrivals from the East have spent that decade settling the coast and interior.

    How are the British supposed to invade and occupy California again? Let alone annex....
     
  10. jkay MY world, my world

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    Trent's too late, I'd say. At that point, we had too many settlers, and Grant's journal shows a strong institutional interest in keeping it, especially the Bay. I think we'd've cared and fought hard for it.

    And, remember, our west was closer than Canadian settlement, much less the UK, especially via Cape or Horn. So, they're going to lose any outsettlement tries.

    And, for better or worse, we already outnumbered all the natives at that point.

    I think success at getting it (NOT easy, especially since the UK army lamish because it's the navy they cared about) would've been rebuffed after the Civil War. It would've meant a huge speeding of the Transcontinental Railroad, and, as mentioned elsewhere, building of a fleet to match Britain on the seas, not just our coast and rivers as OTL.

    If you do try a TL on this, remember to keep in mind that it took forever to get to California then.
     
  11. Rush Tarquin Blunder from Down Under

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    Well, depending on how severe America's gunpowder problems become, there may not be a whole lot to stop them. And as pointed out, California's pretty disrupted in this timeframe. Britain's interest in occupying parts of California during the war would be to screw with America's supply of precious metals. As for whether Britain would want or be able to hold it, that's one of the intended discussion points for this thread.
     
  12. Rush Tarquin Blunder from Down Under

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    Hence why I think using Asian settlers would be their remaining option. If the new migrants thought they might not be able to bring their families over or may even be deported if the Americans took over again, they probably wouldn't want to see California returned to America either.
     
  13. 67th Tigers Banned

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    Invasion and occupation isn't a really issue. The British have two fully worked up 51's off the western coast of north america - either of which outguns the entire active US Pacific squadron twice. SF will fall as soon as the RN can gather itself together to strike it.

    "In the present state of the defences of this harbour [San Francisco] one-half of this force [The British Squadron at Esquimault] could command the city of San Francisco and take possession of this yard [Mare Island]." – Flag Officer Charles Bell

    With SF gone California is effectively severed from the Union, and the Union will suffer a massive economic depression (the loss of one California Treasureship in, ISTR, 1860 caused half the businesses in NYC to go under).

    Now, the interesting question is what happens next? The state of California is almost defenceless once SF is gone and has absolutely no possibility of arming itself. No help is going to be forthcoming from the "mainland" as there is no capability of it reaching California. The loss of SF also undermines the US position in NM etc. - Sibley will likely be successful and "liberate" New Mexico territory.

    Getting a Corps of British troops to SF for further operations takes considerable time. Orders to sail can be actioned rapidly out of London (who have a cable connection with India), but it's a good 6 weeks sailing with layovers - incidently about the sailing time between GB and the provinces in 1776-ish. A significant force of gunboats for inland work would accompany them.

    The British don't have to have men on every corner to effectively occupy California, They just had to control a few strategic towns.
     
  14. kent Well-Known Member

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    And what pray tell will happen to the poor English troops as they are shot from hiding by miners and others. Plus it was troops from Colorado not California that kicked Sibley's butt. You seem to have this blind spot that thinks everything would go 100 percent for England all the time. Maybe you should review just how poorly led the English army was. If as you always imply that England rules all then just why did they loose the Revolution?




     
  15. Indefatigable Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget about the British colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

    Vancouver Island held the Royal Navy dockyard at Esquimalt, it had been there since the 1850's. By 1864 the British were moving their Pacific command from Valpariso to Esquimalt. The island had the supplies of timber and coal needed to supply the fleet.

    At the time of this incident, the RN Pacific fleet was under the command of Admiral Sir Robert Lambert Baynes, his flagship was the 84 gun HMS Ganges.

    Esquimalt would make it incredibly easy for the British to supply a naval operation in California. Due to its proximity, commands could be quickly given and reacted to. Supplies, troops and other support would have a strong and safe staging ground very close to the conflict zone.

    The British did have Garrisons in their two pacific northwest colonies. I'm not sure of the exact numbers. By having such a stable base, the British would have much better chances in holding California.
     
  16. 67th Tigers Banned

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    Why are Cornish or Chinese miners going to be shooting British troops? With what? You do know that "Americans" were actually in the minority along the mining frontier? That was the point of the vigilance committees.

    Sigh.
     
  17. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Could Russia have gotten mixed up in this somehow?
     
  18. Hoist40 Banned

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    According to the link below Admiral Baynes and the HMS Ganges arrived back in England on 27 April 1861. The Trent affair did not happen until Nov 1861

    http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4286
     
  19. Indefatigable Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't aware of this. After further research it was Admiral Thomas Maitland who replaces Baynes. His flag was in the frigate HMS Bacchante.

    After the departure of the Ganges the majority of ships in the Pacific station were frigates. This would change once Britain committed to keeping California.
     
  20. 67th Tigers Banned

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    Why? Bacchante and Topaze each of which carry 51 guns. The entire force of US steamships in the Pacific only carries 45 guns, and that includes USS Saginaw (3), laid up in Hong Kong and likely to be the easiest capture the RN makes.

    The active force off the Californian coast consists of four ships:

    USS Lancaster (Screw sloop, 22)
    USS Wyoming (Screw sloop, 6)
    USS Narragamsett (Screw sloop, 5 - flag)
    USS Cyane (Sail sloop, 20)

    They are so seriously outgunned by the RN's Pacific Squadron it just isn't a contest. They have:

    1. Bacchante, 51, 3631, Screw frigate Flagship R-Admiral Tom Maitland
    2. Topaze, 51, 3915, Screw frigate
    3. Termagant, 25, 2403, Screw frigate
    4. Clio, 22, 2187, Screw corvette
    5. Tartar, 20, 1296, Screw corvette
    6. Cameleon, 17, 1365, Screw sloop
    7. Mutine, 17, 1291, Screw sloop
    8. Devastation, 6, 1380, Paddle sloop, dispatch vessel to Callao and round Cape Horn
    9. Hecate, 6, 1096, Paddle sloop, dispatch vessel travels to Callao and round Cape Horn
    10. Forward, 4, 232, Screw gunboat, Coastal vessel
    11. Grappler, 2, 232, Screw gunboat, Coastal vessel
    12. Charybdis, 21, 2187, Screw corvette, Japan 15.12.61 en-route to Esquimalt, nominally EI&C Station
    13. Calypso, 18, 734, Sail survey ship. Ordered home.
    14. *Naiad, 6, 1020, Sail store ship, Callao
    15. *Nereus, 6, 1095, Sail store ship, Valparaiso