A Destiny Realized: A Timeline of Afsharid Iran and Beyond

Or, and this is a potentially good POD, Laki hasn't erupted yet, and the pressure underneath Iceland is still building up. If that's true, than the future eruption would be nothing short of cataclysmic. Look out, planet, for 1400-meter high lava fountains!

Speaking of which, what about the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, did that also not go off as well?
 
After some digging through the web, I'm beginning to wonder... Given the update's wording, there's a good likelihood that a Mount Tambora eruption led (indirectly) to the mass famine of Iran in 1816. But with that, I wonder if this world has suffered another, equally catastrophic bout of volcanic-led climate change: the Laki eruption.

From 1783 to 1784, the southeastern portion of Iceland underwent a basaltic eruption that - according to scientific accounts - unleashed an astounding 14.5 cubic kilometers of lava in just 8 months! By comparison, the Kilauea volcano has spewed around 4 cubic kilometers of molten rock since 1983. In other words, Laki erupted more lava in 8 months than Kilauea has done in 35 years!

The effect on Iceland was apocalyptic, with over 1/5 of her entire population dying from the famine that followed. Across the world, average temperatures decreased by about 1.3ºC, with crop failures and food shortages recorded from America to Japan. I've read somewhere that the terrible harvests that led to the 1789 French Revolution was an indirect consequence of Laki messing with Europe's weather systems. And given that ash from the eruption was recorded as far away as Venice, it's not a wild theory either.

LakiPlume.jpg


In this world, it doesn't seem like the Laki eruption happened. While France and Europe did war against each each throughout the late 18th century, it was more of a matter of rising Enlightenment ideals and continental geopolitics than food. Besides that, Iran and the Ottoman Empire didn't seem to suffer through the massive floods and famines that they should've; When Tambora erupted, the Middle East was noted to experience bitterly cold winters. There could be a chance that the eruption may have occurred but in a much quieter phase, so the amount of ash and volcanic gases wouldn't have overwhelmed the earth's weather as OTL.

Or, and this is a potentially good POD, Laki hasn't erupted yet, and the pressure underneath Iceland is still building up. If that's true, than the future eruption would be nothing short of cataclysmic. Look out, planet, for 1400-meter high lava fountains!

Source 1, and Source 2.
Well, that's a geological POD and those are straight up ASB, unfortunately. Nader Shah not going crazy doesn't lead to a volcano not erupting, as it were.
 
Well, that's a geological POD and those are straight up ASB, unfortunately. Nader Shah not going crazy doesn't lead to a volcano not erupting, as it were.

Given the unpredictability of higher-VEI-scale volcanic eruptions, I like to think Iceland's crust may have contained the pressure into the 19th century. But you do have a point, and the sheer volume of lava and ash would have pushed the Icelandic crust past it's breaking point, regardless of human history.

Still, given that the late 18th century has come and gone ITTL, we can only speculate why there isn't any mention of crop failures or bitter winters across Europe and Asia. Perhaps Laki did erupt, but in a more effusive way that resulted in a more sustained output of ash and sulphur into the atmosphere. That way, the world's weather systems won't be whacked around as much ITTL.

(Or perhaps Nassir just hasn't thought of this angle, so we're left with a gaping hole in geologic-meteorological-human history till he gives his word. Then again, I'm also guilty of this in my own TL. :coldsweat:)

Speaking of which, what about the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, did that also not go off as well?

That's what I'm wondering. The latest update mentions a famine striking Iran in 1816, so there's a chance Mount Tambora erupted just as OTL and messed around with the world's weather. But there's no mention of the "Year Without A Summer" anywhere in Europe ITTL. Given the fact that Tambora's eruption literally caused famines in Ireland and Switzerland, and floods across the Yangtze, it's another noticeable hole in history.

(Or Nassir also didn't thought of this. Sorry for putting holes in the timeline! o_O)

EDIT: Just came back from Wikipedia (I know, I know), and it seems Tambora wasn't the only volcano that erupted in the 1810's, though it was the biggest. Some really big eruptions also occurred that might've also influenced the world's weather, including:

 
EDIT: Just came back from Wikipedia (I know, I know), and it seems Tambora wasn't the only volcano that erupted in the 1810's, though it was the biggest. Some really big eruptions also occurred that might've also influenced the world's weather, including:


I think we should be glad these weren't replaced or compensated(depending on you look at it) by the SuperVolcano under Yellowstone. And i'm sure I don't need to explain what to those not in the know what the Super implies
 

Vuu

Banned
It's interesting about Iran, despite it's physical geography it is home to many empires in the past from the Medians and Achaemenids to the Islamic empires in OTL. Perhaps, the Afsharids might become spiritual heirs of Cyrus the Great at this rate. I'd say quite fitting, considering Iran is home to the Old Persian Empire and the Sassanids.

With much powerful Iran ITTL and its' ramifications, leading to the more modernised states in the rest of the world, European Colonialism might not be the same as we knew in OTL.

Anyhow, have a safe trip in Japan Nassir!

That's probably because the lowland and highland have switched places there - not only is Iran located on a bad latitude all the mountains catch any water that arrives, so the mountains are more pleasant than the desert lowlands
 
Speak of the devil and he shall appear! I am back from Japan now (unfortunately, turns out the weeaboos were right and it really is so much better than the West) and so updates will now be a regular thing again. Hurrah!

There's a lot of replies to get through here, so I'll just try and answer them in generalities as opposed to individually.

First thing's first, Vicky II is still an excellent game even about a decade or so later, and that Paradox has not released Vicky III is not just a travesty, but one of the worst human rights abuses of our times. Not really been able to get into the new HOI's really.

Latin America is going to be one of the more interesting points, as by this point she has had a few more decades of peaceful development as part of the Spanish Empire, though the lack of official roles for the Criollos is likely to be more than grating after a while, and the example of the rump USA is still there for them. That being said, with a different political situation in Europe as well as changed conditions in the colonies, the future of Spain's American possessions is likely to be rather different from that in OTL.

The volcanoes are an interesting point. In our own times we like to think of ourselves as relatively shielded from natural disasters in a way that our ancestors weren't. Hell, I'd never even seen an active volcano until I went to Mount Merapi in Indonesia a few years back. But I digress...

I tend to agree with BellaGerant that geological events are unlikely to be affected by changes in human history, and so for this timeline, for the sake of covering this author's lack of sight when it comes to the impact of natural disasters on world history in an alternate timeline, we can assume that geological events such as earthquakes and volcanoes are likely to progress as per OTL. Why did some of these eruptions and earthquakes not lead to the events that they did in OTL? Some of the unrest in Europe has been caused by Tambora and the resulting famine but in other cases, the other factors to push a famine into being a catalyst for revolt or revolution may not have been present.
 
The Revolutionaries Strike Again! The Spanish Revolution of 1831
CgJpCPrXIAAl8bu.jpg


The Revolutionaries Strike Again! The Spanish Revolution of 1831

Following the failed revolution in Poland in the 1820s, many in Europe expected further outbreaks. What was generally unexpected would be the origin of the next wave of revolutions, as was their severity. Although Austria and Russia, the two other great Continental European powers besides France, had turned towards conservatism, there had been liberal reforms in other parts of Europe. Britain finally banned the slave trade in 1825, largely due to internal pressure from a growing abolitionist movement. The Chartist movements also seemed to be pressuring the British ruling classes for an extension of the franchise, a possibility that was now being seriously considered within Parliament. In Scandinavia too the winds of change were present, as the Danish King granted a constitution that not only permanently linked his Danish and Norwegian Kingdoms, but tied the Duchy of Schleswig to the former. However, in other parts of Europe conservative forces reigned supreme, enforcing the supremacy of the traditional aristocracy and gentry against the increasingly seditious urban populations.


It was in Spain however where the Revolutions of 1831-1835 began. The dynamic of the Spanish revolution differed somewhat to those in the rest of Europe, as Spain maintained the largest colonial Empire in the world, stretching from the heart of North America down to the Straits of Magellan. Spain’s alliance with Great Britain had secured Spain’s American colonies from the threat of invasion by more vigorous European powers, but this had come at the cost of weakening important economic, and to some extent social ties. Although officially a monopoly of Spanish merchants, trade with the American colonies was handled increasingly by British merchants, who by the 1830s were carrying a large majority of goods across the Atlantic. The Criollos were fast becoming more accustomed to trade with each other, as well as Britain rather than trade with a few ports in their mother country [1]. What could not be so easily changed were some aspects of the administration of the colonies, which since the 1760s had been ever more firmly in the hands of Peninsulares, or those from Peninsula Spain.


The monopolisation of administration in the hands of immigrants from Mainland Spain ensured that the Spanish government could raise large amounts of revenue from the colonies, important in light of the wars which Spain fought in during the early 19th century, but also earned the enmity of the Criollos, who were well aware of revolutionary rhetoric coming from Europe. In 1827, an association of Criollos from the Viceroyalties of New Spain, New Granada and La Plata journeyed to Madrid with the hopes of petitioning the King for a more inclusive government which would allow those elites born in the colonies to take a larger role in the governance of the colonies. With the situation tense in Europe, and the resources of the American Empire more in need than ever, the Spanish king refused any compromise with the Criollos, sending them home empty handed, or so it had seemed. As news of the failure of the delegation spread through Spain’s American colonies, dissatisfaction with Spanish rule as a whole began to set in, at least amongst the elites. For the first time, the possibility of Republicanism was taken seriously by large numbers in the colonies.


Rather than Spain’s restive colonies however, it was mainland Spain itself where the first spark of revolution took place. Liberals in Spain were appalled by what they saw as the unjust treatment of the delegation from Spain’s colonies, and they argued that a liberal constitutional government at home and more autonomous governments abroad would ensure progress for the Spanish Empire. One liberal association based in Madrid articulated a vision of a multi-continent Spanish speaking commonwealth headed by the king, which it argued would avoid any desire for independence among Spain’s extensive colonies as well as provide a “third path” in Europe between radical republicanism and conservative monarchism. However, true liberals in Spain were a small minority in a country that was increasingly backward when compared to the other countries of Western Europe. What they did manage was to place themselves at the head of a peasant rebellion that broke out in 1831 following a famine throughout most of Spain.


The crown was initially dismissive of any call for reform. The Spanish King Carlos V was a non-too-bright reactionary who admired both the Russian Tsar and Holy Roman Emperor, and who had some interest in joining their “Holy Alliance”. Calls for representation even for the upper classes was anathema to his worldview, and he despatched troops to quell the rebellion. All was not well even amongst the officer corps however, who had become more sympathetic to the views of reformists within Spain. When news came that many of the soldiers sent to destroy the rebels were now marching back to Madrid alongside them, Carlos was heard to lament “all sense of loyalty and obedience is gone in this country”. Fearful of meeting the same fate as his French cousins, Carlos listened to the advice of his more liberal courtiers, and signed a Constitution. This was a remarkably far-reaching document, which declared the equality of white Spanish subjects born throughout the Empire and guaranteed a powerful legislative body in the Cortes, which would be comprised of representatives from the Americas as well as mainland Spain.


Reformists both in Spain and her colonies could not have hoped for a better outcome. Within the space of a few weeks (though certain parts of the Spanish Americas were not to find out for months afterward), Spain and her empire had gone from being one of the bastions of conservatism in Europe to being the vanguard of a new wave, countries which embraced many of the ideas of the Revolutionary regimes of Europe but without the violence. News of Spain’s revolution spread quickly to other parts of Europe, particularly those in which famine and economic disruption fuelled existing political conflicts. Only three months following the writing of Spain’s constitution, peasants in Sicily rose against the king in Naples, seeking both a constitution as well as autonomy and land reform. With support from the Republic in Northern Italy, the Sicilian Revolutionaries had succeeded in establishing a Republic by the end of 1830, though attempts to carry the revolution into the Mezzogiorno floundered on the opposition of the King of Naples’ troops.


[1] – This loosening of the previously strict trade restrictions was one of the many effects of the Bourbon reforms.

* * * * * *

f6a651c7469275d4e17a26928e0ae35a.jpg

Toward an Industrial World - The Spread of Industrialisation in Europe

By the 1830s, Industrialisation was in the process of becoming a European phenomenon as opposed to just a British one. Already some of the techniques that were pioneered in Northern England had spread to limited areas of the continent by 1800, though the wars of continental Europe disrupted economic development to some extent. The expansion of the Second French Republic into Wallonia and the creation of a limited “Revolutionary Sphere” in parts of Western Europe adjoining France however planted the seeds for a more thorough industrialisation in parts of France. Access to the iron and coal rich region of Wallonia, as well as to the capital markets of Amsterdam, quickened the pace of France’s industrialisation in particular. By the mid-1830s, France’s manufacturing sector growth was now outpacing that of the United Kingdoms, though it had started from a much lower base. Northeast France began to take on an appearance which would have been familiar to the inhabitants of Lancashire and Yorkshire, as ‘satanic mills’ filled cities such as Lille and Liege.


Alongside factories and modern mines came the railway. France’s first intercity railway came in 1833, not long after Britain’s. And they proved to be just as popular, with railways being laid down across the country with increasing haste in the 1840s. In that decade alone, almost 8000 kilometres of railways were built, binding the country together economically and culturally, alongside the telegraph. The 18th century had seen the articulation and refinement of a more unitary “French” culture, one based largely around that of Paris, and this trend raced forward in the mid-19th century, aided by these new technologies as much as France’s various governments, who saw the development of a unified national identity as a way of avoiding ideologically-based friction. It in France’s schools, which were theoretically universal for boys from the mid-1830s onward, where government policy was able to “create Frenchmen”. With tuition done in standardised French, boys who came from non-French speaking families increasingly spoke French not just at school, but in other aspects of their lives as well.


Elsewhere in Europe, the move towards true industrialisation was more protracted. Areas such as Catalonia and the Ruhr saw slower growth due to unrest or political limitations, in particular the various customs divisions that prevented raw materials from reaching factories and finished goods reaching markets in the Ruhr. Beyond these regions however, areas such as Lombardy and Saxony were on a more solid path toward industrialisation, and a number of other areas in Europe and beyond were in a state of “proto-industrialisation”. It seemed as though only a steady diffusion of technology would be needed for these regions to undergo the same economic transformation that Britain and Northern France had already seen.

* * * * * *

Author's Notes - After a long absence, we are back. Spain's revolution may well result in an cross-oceanic confederation, one that could grow further depending on how things pan out in the Philippines. Perhaps even more importantly, the patterns of industrialisation are rather different than in our own timeline. It is France that seems to be on a better footing for industrialisation rather than Germany, whose disunity in the Rhineland is retarding industrial growth in the region. An intact Saxony is likely to be "the" industrial region in Germany, at least for the time being. A key question going forward of course is which of the non-European countries will be the first to industrialise in this timeline.
 
Last edited:
A Spanish commonwealth? Now there's something you don't see everyday. The local mestizos of Spanish America are far removed from the power politics of the elites in this period, but a small part of me wonders if they will also pick up reformist or radical ideas by virtue of being more connected to each other and the wider world.

Unlikely, but it's an interesting possibility.
 
Reformists both in Spain and her colonies could not have hoped for a better outcome. Within the space of a few weeks (though certain parts of the Spanish Americas were not to find out for months afterward), Spain and her empire had gone from being one of the bastions of conservatism in Europe to being the vanguard of a new wave, countries which embraced many of the ideas of the Revolutionary regimes of Europe but without the violence. News of Spain’s revolution spread quickly to other parts of Europe, particularly those in which famine and economic disruption fuelled existing political conflicts. Only three months following the writing of Spain’s constitution, peasants in Sicily rose against the king in Naples, seeking both a constitution as well as autonomy and land reform. With support from the Republic in Northern Italy, the Sicilian Revolutionaries had succeeded in establishing a Republic by the end of 1830, though attempts to carry the revolution into the Mezzogiorno floundered on the opposition of the King of Naples’ troops.

Not how I was suspecting things to turn out.
 
A Spanish Confederation is certainly fascinating, but I fear that the centrifugal forces of an already weakened Madrid might just be too weak to hold it all together. If the transition from Penensiulares to Criollo (and hopefully, in the near future, Mestizos and other castes) rule is smooth, I do think the Americas would outpace Spain within the next century, and that somewhere like say, Bogota or Mexico City would become the true economic, cultural and political heartland of the Confederation. It might be best for the Spanish monarchy and her people to live in a federation (thr Spanish Commonwealth, perhaps?) to avoid bloodshed and war between the viceroyalties.
 
Top