A Destiny Realized: A Timeline of Afsharid Iran and Beyond

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Nassirisimo, Nov 26, 2017.

Loading...
  1. Mac Gregor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Another great update and thanks for the flag
     
  2. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Location:
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    So a bit like early Sarawak, only in this case it's more of a city-state than a full-fledged territory bring handed over. Interesting... I wonder if the polity will prove too small for Richard Brooke's ambitions. Besdies that, is the island of Perim also included as part of Aden, as OTL?

    I spy a possible 'Adenese' people born from all the interactions and arranged marriages between the communities.

    Given Aden's strategic position, I'm sure the foreign office won't ignore the city-state for long.

    Oh boy, there goes the succession. Well at least there won't be any sort of hang-ups or worries regarding the continuation of the dynasty, like the other TL. On another note, how deeply are the penny dreadfuls of London paying attention to Aden, because I can think of nothing more eye-popping or Orientalist-gagging than a lurid tale of an Englishman getting his own harem.

    On the latest installment, the rise of nationalism is going to be mindbender for the Ottomans, and I wonder how are they going to square that circle.
     
  3. Nassirisimo Angry Arab

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    Location:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Centralisation is doing fine for now, but eventually as various peoples of the empire develop nationalist consciousness, which is almost an inevitability as literacy spreads, nationalist agitation is more likely to become a problem for the Ottoman Government. A federalist movement could certainly head off the most problematic of nationalists, though the question is whether the bureaucracy at the centre will be willing to make that sacrifice. It will be interesting to see if Europe can make a headway against an Islamic world that is in many ways, the best placed to meet the oncoming challenges that European power brings.
    This is another good point. Abd al-Qadir fought against the French, only to be given some of their highest honours later in life. In OTL, the scales were always tipped against the Algerians, who had little chance fighting France alone but fate (or the timeline's author) has given them another chance.
    So about the Kurds. Although a large majority of Kurds in this timeline now reside within Iranian borders (the Ottoman-Iranian border is for the most part along the Euphrates river from Anatolia into Southern Syria), there are still quite a number in Ottoman Territory. Often Kurdish herdsman will travel between the two with little regard for whose territory they are in, though as previously pastoral land is being settled on by booming populations, this may well change.

    The Armenians also live generally within the Iranian Empire, with those Armenians left in the Ottoman Empire being mainly Cilician Armenians and Armenians resident in urban centres such as Constantinople.
    No problem. As I had said, I think flag-making itself might be something to look into.
    There's not a whole lot of territory outside of Aden that Richard rules as of yet, though Perim is included in it. If Richard is anything like his ALT cousins, I suspect he may well be on the look out for more.

    To some extent, the Arab population of the coastal areas of the peninsula are somewhat mixed, but in places such as Bahrain communities were also kept seperate through healthy amounts of repression and sectarianism. This may be less of a factor in Aden however, as although Richard has gone native in some extent (usually where women are involved) he's still got an English respect of moderation in politics. Whether or not public opinion back in England will be able to stomach an Englishman in the East "Going rogue" may be a different question altogether.
     
  4. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Mississauga Canada
    Well that certainly answers a lot. Though I am curious to wonder how their culture will develop this time around compared to OTL.
     
  5. Threadmarks: India - 1831 to 1856

    Nassirisimo Angry Arab

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    Location:
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    [​IMG]

    Empire of the Gurus - The Rise of the Sikhs as a Great Power

    The 1830s and 1840s were to see two main trends in the Indian Subcontinent’s political situation. The first of these was the increasing “divergence” between the younger, more dynamic states and the declining post-Mughal states. States such as Bengal, Hyderabad and Awadh which were still reliant on Mughal administrative systems became increasingly decrepit when compared to those states which had been established later and whose experiments with new types of governance had paid off, creating a number of Indian “Military-Fiscal States” who were able to raise large, well equipped armies. The second of these trends was the re-emergence of European states as political as well as economic players in the Indian subcontinent. Although the buttresses of European power, technological and economic strength, would prove to be more effective in some parts of India more than others, the re-emergence of Europe as a threat would hang over the various states of India into the rest of the 19th century.


    During the mid-19th century however, it was Indian powers that were the undoubted major players on the subcontinent. The 1830s saw the rise of the ambitious Sikh Prince Kharak Singh, whose victories against the rebel vassal states of Kashmir and Ladakh saw his star rise rapidly. He became the Maharaja in 1836, and began a campaign to expand the army of the Sikh Empire, to exploit what he saw as new opportunities for expansion. The army grew from approximately 35,000 modernised infantry troops in 1836 to 58,370 in 1841, a period which was known as the “Rajput Conquests”. The previously independent Rajput Kingdoms that inhabited the lands to the Southeast of the Punjab were systematically brought under Punjabi control, though for the most part local rulers had been left in their place. This was accompanied by an expansionary drive down the eastern bank of the Indus River, parallel of the long-standing Iranian presence on the western bank. Kharak Singh sent a number of emissaries to Mashhad to assure the Iranian Shah that he was merely bringing the anarchic states of the Lower Indus valley under his rule, though there is evidence to suggest that Kharak was also considering an invasion of Iranian territory along the river.


    These plans to launch an invasion of Iranian territory along the Indus River never materialised for Kharak after easier pickings appeared to the East. The remains of the Mughal Empire, now dominated by their former vassals in Awadh, had undergone some changes to avoid total collapse in the early 19th century, but the state remained backward compared to the more modern regimes of the Punjab, Mysore and the Marathas. Much of its revenue remained in the hands of the Zamiandars, leaving the central government with relatively little in the way of revenue with which to build a modern army [1]. As a contemporary British advisor to the Sikh court noted, the Mughals remained “A ramshackle construction, overshadowed in terms of might by its less populous neighbours, but maintaining its territorial integrity due to inertia and sheer bulk”. Contemporary Indian rulers shared a disdain for the Neo-Mughals, with Maratha plans for an invasion of the country averted only by its conflicts with Mysore, which tended to drain much of its attention and resources southward.


    Kharak Singh’s ambitions for the Neo-Mughals weren’t complete conquest, and there is much to suggest that he wanted to avoid creating a ramshackle empire of his own. Rather, he looked to conquer areas which could be easily integrated into the Sikh Empire, as well as influence and plunder in the rest of the Neo-Mughal state. After all, if the great Nader Shah of Iran had managed to found an empire partially on the basis of loot from Delhi, might not Kharak Singh as well? There appears to be little doubt that it was the hope of material gain as well as personal glory that drove Kharak Singh and his army towards Panipat, often a site of great battles. There Kharak’s army of approximately 55,000 met a much larger force of well over 100,000, commanded by the Awadhi Grand Vizier Mohammad Ali Khan. Although much larger, Mohammad Ali Khan’s army was not a professional one as the Sikh force was, and during the day the superior organization of the Sikhs told. Although costly, a Kharak won a great victory at Panipat, sending the remainders of the Neo-Mughal force back to Delhi.


    Mohammad Ali was not a brilliant military commander, but he knew when he was beaten. And he was well aware that continuing to fight on may lead to the same disaster that had taken place just over a century ago. Before the Sikh army reached the outskirts of Delhi, he had sent envoys with an offer that Kharak would find enticing. An enormous indemnity equivalent to ten years’ worth of the Sikh Empire’s revenue, as well as a regular tribute of goods and silver. In return, Kharak would promise to protect the Emperor in Delhi as well as the rule of the Grand Vizier. In practice, the offer would make the Neo-Mughal Empire as a vassal of the Sikhs, marking the lowest point yet for an Empire that had once ruled almost the whole of the Indian Subcontinent. Even contemporaries of the peace treaty noted that it marked the end of an era, the formal end of the Mughals, even if dominated by their Awadhi Viziers, as a power.


    The victory over the Mughals brought a great deal of prestige to Kharak, and an enormous loss of confidence in the Awadhis who dominated the Mughal Empire. Although the Mughal Emperor still did not have the internal support to overthrow, other forces within the remnants of the Mughal Empire would prove to be a greater threat to the Awadhis eventually. After the death of Mohammad Ali Khan, his son Farid Khan became the next Vizier, and embarked on a program to restore the strength of the Neo-Mughal State though increased taxation and reformation of the army. For some time it appeared as though he was making progress but after a large revolt triggered by high taxation in 1854, the internal position of the Awadhis came under pressure not just from the Muslim elites of the Empire, but from an increasingly restless, largely Hindu peasantry too.


    [1] – The divergence between those Indian states who maintained Mughal systems of administration and taxation and those who innovated with new systems seems to have happened historically in the 18th century, and so long as the large bulk of some states seemed enough to preserve their independence, it seems likely that some of them would have avoided more serious reform.


    * * * * * *

    [​IMG]

    "Clive's Revenge" - The British Bengali War and its Effects
    The East India Company had long held designs on Bengal. In 1757 they had come close to defeating the armies of the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey, but the victory of Siraj-ud Dowlah had enabled the Afshars of Bengal to consolidate their rule. By the beginning of the 1840s, Bengal had been independent in practice for almost a hundred years, and was in a state of transition. Persian was gradually being supplanted as the court language and language of high culture by Bengali, led along in particular by Hindu Bengali poets and writers, who found patronage with a rising class of Hindu merchants. Although competition from textiles produced in France and Britain had begun to hurt the weavers of Bengal, the economy still remained vibrant, buoyed by an ever-increasing amount of land being brought under cultivation. The rulers of Bengal also proved to be strong enough not only to fend of Maratha incursions in the late 18th century but to take on the might of the Burmese early in the 19th, providing a check against Burmese expansion into the Indian subcontinent.


    However, much of this belayed the problems that faced Bengal. As mentioned previously, in the 1840s competition from European manufactures was beginning to take its toll on artisans within Bengal, reducing wages in an environment where mechanisation was still not a possibility. There were no attempts to imitate European manufacturing techniques, and indeed unlike other areas of India, there seemed to be precious little knowledge about how European powers had been able to produce textiles so cheaply. The decline in wages produced social unrest in Bengal’s cities, as well as a slow migration toward the countryside. Although this had the happy effect of bringing more of Bengal under cultivation, this also made it more difficult for the county’s antiquated administrative system to keep up with the changing economic balance in the country. Already inefficient compared to states such as the Sikh Empire, Mysore and the Marathas, Bengal’s tax collection now appeared to fall even further behind, forcing the Sultan to turn to other methods of raising revenue [2]. Following a bad harvest in 1842, Sultan Ahmed Khan was encouraged by French elements at the court to levy a great toll on profits that the British East India Company had supposedly hidden from him.


    When the chief resident of the East India Company at Dacca complained that he was unable to provide the funds requested, the Sultan had him locked up, albeit in better conditions than the notorious “Black Hole of Calcutta”. For the British government, this was an outrage as well as an opportunity. The Prime Minister Lord Gosford had previously seen domestic dividends as a result of his short and victorious war against Japan, and there was a growing section of his Tories who felt as though the key to maintaining their position against the Whigs in Parliament would come from dazzling the populace with success in foreign wars. Thus even before the request for compensation had been replied to, the Royal Navy prepared an expeditionary fleet which included the first ocean-going ironclad vessel, the HMS Avenger.


    When the war came, it was remarkably one-sided. Considering the fact that Bengal was one of India’s great powers, her military forces proved incapable of providing serious resistance where they were challenged by the British. Much of the outdated Bengali Navy was destroyed at the mouth of the Meghna River, proving to be completely outclassed by the explosive shot and armour-plating of the British ships. Bengali land armies proved to be somewhat more capable, though the nature of the country meant that when the British had won naval superiority, any serious attempts at defence could be smashed by the firepower of the British ships. By 1844 both Chittagong and Dacca had been bombarded, the Bengali Navy had been obliterated and the army was scattered and immobile. Although the British did not have anywhere near the numbers needed to occupy the country, they were able to force a harsh treaty on the Bengali Sultan which included a hefty indemnity, extraterritoriality for British subjects as well as guaranteed free trade. Most humiliatingly the Bengali Sultan was forced to give the city of Calcutta over to the British as a “Treaty Port” under British administration.


    Although there were already European enclaves in India such as Bombay, Pondicherry and Goa, the victory of the British over the Bengalis was something of a watershed in modern Indian history. For nearly a century the Europeans had been shorn of their political and military power within India, remaining as commercial agents only for the most part. However, the triumph of British arms proved not only the ambition of the European powers, but their capability to achieve their goals as well. Over the next few decades, Indian powers would increasingly look to Westernization of a way of securing their independence in the eyes of a world that all of a sudden, appeared to be more dangerous than it had been.


    [2] – The Nawabs of Bengal became the Sultans after the 1806 takeover of the Mughal State by the Awadhis.

    * * * * * *

    Author's Notes - It's been a little longer in coming than I would have liked, I have been a little bit unwell over the past few months which has made various things harder.

    India's "Great Divergence" has begun. We haven't seen much of it in this update, but gradually there will appear two types of larger Indian state, those which had already made the transition to a more "modern" state structure in the 18th or early 19th century, which includes the Sikh Empire, Mysore and the Marathas, and those who did not such as Bengal, Hyderabad and what remains of the Mughals. The latter are likely to be vulnerable to the former, as well as European powers, until they are able to reform and get their acts together so to speak. India will most certainly not have the 19th century that she did in our world, but it remains up in the air to see what will actually happen going forward. If there are any errors or mistakes with the update, please do let me know.
     
  6. Cregan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Sad to see Bengal suffer the fate of the Opium Wars of IOTL. Still much better than outright colonisation though. Hopefully this provides enough impetus for Bengali modernisation and militarisation, rather than further stagnation.
     
  7. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Mississauga Canada
    I'm actually surprised Hyderabad has lasted this long without getting carved up by the Mysore and Maratha states yet.

    It seems history repeats itself with new actors.

    Though while this is all fascinating, I am wondering if any radical anti establishment ideologies are developing to fuel future anti colonialism.
     
    EmperorBuaya likes this.
  8. Aviennca's Pupil Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Maybe anarchist ideologies such as mutualism or syndicalism might be more popular in the Islamic world than in Europe? If The Islamic world grows a strong independent intellectual base it can form such ideologies on it's own. I can see the Ottomans translating Proudhon's work or Algerians picking up some French and reading it themselves.
     
    MagicalPhantom345 likes this.
  9. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Mississauga Canada
    Though it would need to be tweaked to better respect islamic culture and customs.
    Though I was thinking more for the Indian states like the Bengal Sultanate currently.
     
  10. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Location:
    Cibao Wilayet, Caliphate of Quisqueya
    Conversely, Ive always wondered if the Tanzimat's successes based off the traditional Osmanli elite structure might be able to create a middleman identity enough to buy off most would be nationalists. If anything at the very least co opt much of the middle classes who'd be eager to advance just as much as those same classes would be drawn to romantic nationalism.
     
    MagicalPhantom345 likes this.
  11. Israel_Dan the Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    I hope that ITTL Bengal is as powerful as it should be IOTL. I mean, it was the richest province in the Mughal Empire. Also, I seriously hope that there is no India-Pakistan split. They should've never split.
     
    MagicalPhantom345 likes this.
  12. Indicus Stuff

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Torontum, Ontarium Minor, Imperium Romanum
    I don’t see how it can happen, since Pakistan is divided between Punjab and Persia.
     
  13. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Mississauga Canada
    You mean like an increased Kouloughlis population?
     
  14. Sardar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2018
    Thread marks.

    I am very happy that the Sikh Empire is doing so well right now. It’s annexation of the rajput states and Kharak Singh’s conquest of Delhi must be doing a lot as far as spreading Sikhism through the subcontinent.

    As for Bengal, the seems to have taken the role of China from OTL. Hopefully they will be able to react and westernize quickly enough to beat back the Imperial powers.
     
    MagicalPhantom345 likes this.
  15. Mac Gregor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Nice update
     
  16. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Location:
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    Bengal's fate of being landed with a China-style peace is... interesting. I can see a self-strengthening movement in the near future, though here's hoping it wouldn't go all to waste like the Qing did.
     
    Taloc13, CountofDooku, Sardar and 3 others like this.
  17. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Mississauga Canada
    For me I see secularism becoming popular among the Bengali diaspora, as it would balance the religious question.
     
  18. B_Munro Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Nice update. It's pretty inevitable, whatever butterflies from the Iranian success, that different non-European nations will do better or worse in dealing with the challenges of modernization, and with Europe rapidly moving towards the capacity for full scientific-industrial warfare, room for maneuver is shrinking. Of course, success builds on success, and European expansionist ambitions may well be moderated simply due to the lack of previous successes to point to. Without the rapid post-Clive British rise to mastery in India, the notion that the whole world is destined to be carved up between Europeans is just less likely to arise.
     
  19. Israel_Dan the Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    I hope Bengal is stronger ITTL than Bangladesh IOTL. I know that Bangladesh won't recognize my country, but I still feel awful for what those Pakistani bastards put them through. Welp, here's hoping that they have a Meiji and become either developed or near developed (like Turkey or Brazil level).
     
    Cregan, Taloc13 and MagicalPhantom345 like this.
  20. EmperorBuaya Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2016
    Location:
    Nusantara and Down Under
    At this point, the Indian states have far more better chances to resist European colonialism than in OTL where they're conquered and ruled by the British. Although, clearly TTL India won't be the same India we know in OTL, considering the divergences.
     
    Sardar, Cregan and MagicalPhantom345 like this.
Loading...