A Destiny Realized: A Timeline of Afsharid Iran and Beyond

Really glad to see that Eurocentricity will not be omnipresent in this TL. Far too many on this site are already heavily Eurocentric.
Well the topic has been raised before, and I think for a website whose membership is heavily American and European (with a focus on the Anglophone world) this is to be expected. People tend to focus on histories and countries that they are familiar with (there's no mistake in that pretty much all of my TLs have been focused on the Middle East).
New France is saved?
Quite possibly. New France is still at a serious demographic disadvantage compared to the British colonies, though it wouldn't actually take equal numbers to secure the land from English settlement. It is likely to have some interesting effects for the native peoples of the Americas as well.
Ah, Frederick is dead. Really want to see this develop, in many many other TL death and defeat of Prussia often have minimal result, lost of Silesia, and Great Power again in new generation. a World where Frederick death actually change Prussia future will be interesting.
Thing is, if Frederick dies at this point, Prussia loses large amounts of territory. By the end of the OTL Seven Years War the Allies were looking at nothing less than the dismemberment of Prussia, turning the clock back to when it was just Brandenberg. The peace of course will be covered in an upcoming update but Prussia isn't going to be able to rise from the ashes. Especially with the best of her army filling mass graves all over Central Europe...
Surely in this TL, with 'The Seven Years War' finishing in 1760, it has another name?
OTL's "Seven Years War" is a bit of a misnomer as it didn't last for seven years. The war isn't over in TTL yet, and the British and her other German allies are still in the game. France will likely have to rely on her own resources mostly if she wants to defeat the British.
*Deep Sigh* I have tried to convince myself again and again that I can't play favorites with historical figures and conflicts or let personal bias compromise works in Speculative Fiction. But this update about the alternate Seven Years War has made me realize I am Pro-prussian and Anti Habsburg.
Frederick was a very impressive character. Insofar as his success was enabled by the army that his father had built, he forced Prussia's way onto the stage as a Great Power, even though he himself was aware of her vulnerabilities, and indeed doubted whether Prussia merited the status of a Great Power. He did lose a number of battles, especially against Von Daun though was able to keep hanging on against all the odds. As much as this contributed toward many deaths, there has to be a certain admiration of his skill.

That being said, Hapsburgs for the win. :D
Well too be fair who isn't a little Anti-Hapsburg.
I mean, they deserve a better reputation around the Napoleonic Wars and what not. Don't forget that it was a Hapsburg Army that first triumphed against Emperor Napoleon in battle.
Just learnt about this. Really excellent timeline, I didn't know just how cool Afsharid Persia could be.

I guess Prussia is going to lose a LOT of clay.
Obviously, Sweden will get chunks of West Pomerania, and Austria will regain Silesia. East Prussia is likely to become Russian almost 200 years early, which will probably accelerate the breakup of Poland. And there's a little Prussian enclave in Saxony that will likely become Saxon.

The question is if anyone will try for Brandenburg, and what'll happen to the little enclaves in Westphalia.

The Afsharids really strike me as a missed opportunity in OTL. In a number of places in the 18th century, dynasties and states collapsed only to be replaced soon after with stronger, more centralised governments which fostered territorial growth and prosperity. It appeared as though the same could have happened in Iran were it not for the failure of Nader to consolidate what he conquered and overcome the illegitimacy of his rule. Not having a strong heir to pass things onto must have also factored into Iran's aborted rebirth.

As for Prussia, she will lose a lot of clay indeed. There were extensive plans for the division of Prussian territory later on into the war, as many had joined the war to take a bite from her. Personally I think it is Austria who stands to gain the most in this war, and the re-acquisition of Silesia is certainly going to do wonders for her power-political position.

Just to answer the little debate on the Hapsburg Empire itself, I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

The problem of Nationalism only appears to rear its head for the Hapsburgs in the 19th century. Other nationalities in the Empire did not appreciate the appeals of Archduke Charles to German Nationalism when fighting Napoleon, but Hungarians, Croats and others fought in the Austrian army too. For all the voices that called for self-determination there were also others who recognised that in a Europe of larger powers such as Russia, Germany and France, the Czechs, Hungarians and others could not hope to play the same kind of role, or to preserve their independence against these larger powers. That's why there was some enthusiasm for a federal system based on the Austrian Empire, which was a possibility that was never truly explored. Indeed, the later Hapsburg Empire is something of an unfortunate missed opportunity, and part of the blame really lies with Franz-Josef. While it may well have seemed like a good idea at the time "You manage your hordes, and we'll manage ours", what it essentially did was turn almost half of the Empire into a military deadweight while building the resentments of the people within Hungary. It wasn't that the Hapsburg Empire was doomed, it was that the policy of repression that it at least partially followed in the 19th and early 20th centuries lost it the loyalty of its people. With a different approach (and of course, no world war one), who is to say what could have happened to the Empire?
Dunno much about European history, but given the Prussophilia of both the Austrian and Russian heirs, there could be a chance for Prussia to retain its integrity as a german state, albeit a small one.

Besides this, Poland looks to get swallowed up by the Great Bear wholesale ITTL. Given the revolts of the region in our own history, I can't imagine how would St. Petersburg handle an entire populace that despises them.
It will be interesting to see what Joseph and Peter do when they take over their respective realms (assuming Peter isn't taken out of the picture as-per OTL), though I think they will likely be less motivated to save Prussia without Frederick, and may not have the ability. It does lead one to the question of what Frederick the Great's legacy will be in a world here he died in battle.

As for Poland, she does not look to be in an enviable position. Nevertheless, perversely being in between two great powers may be safer than being between three depending on where Austria's priorities lie. And of course, the French may well be interested in maintaining her as a guarantee to the balance of power in the East in the advent of Russian power.
 
The Economy of Early Afsharid Iran - 1758 to 1783
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The Rural Economy of Early Afsharid Iran

During the Safavid era, land ownership in Iran was made up largely of two systems, Mozāraʿa or sharecropping, as well as the Iqta system of land tenure. Sharecropping in particular was an ancient system, which most probably pre-dated the coming of Islam to Iran. The landowner provided land, seeds, as well as all important water to peasants in exchange for a portion of the food grown. Farms tended to be small scale, and relatively inefficient, though this owed as much to the relatively poor soils and aridity of the country as to the arcane system concerning the ownership of land [1]. As well as these systems, the yurd defined areas in which nomadic tribes were able to migrate, important for a country as dominated by tribes as Iran was. By and large, it was a pre modern system characterised by absentee landlords and largely unmarketised rural economy.


The disruptions and high taxation that marked the chaos following the Safavids as well as Nader Shah’s reign did little to help the rural economy of Iran. The population plunged as migration, famine and violence took their toll on the people of the countryside, denuding it of both wealth and people. Although by the end of his reign, the worst was over, there was little to envy about the lot of Iranian peasants. With the rise of Reza Shah came another civil war, though not as destructive as the previous wars had been. From this point, Reza Shah enacted a number of fiscal reforms designed to produce a degree of consistency in administration, as well as restore prosperity to the countryside. There appeared to be little official concern about the actual quality of life of the peasantry, but the restoration of stability allowed the beginnings of a recovery in their condition. The steep population decline which had characterised Iran’s demographic history in the early 18th century began to reverse.


In pre-modern times, per-capita improvements in wealth were usually hard to come by. It was only generally in regions of the world such as England or Jiangnan which boasted excellent infrastructure, fertile agricultural land and market economies in which the per-capita wealth of the common people was noticeably higher than the rest of the world. Iran, with its poor communications, arid landscapes and war-torn cities had none of these, excepting certain areas such as Gilan and Mazandaran. And yet, perhaps due in part to increasing contact with ideas from outside as well as the needs of the state, there seemed to be the beginnings of modern economic policy in Iran. Reza Shah himself invested in the construction of irrigation schemes in Khorasan and beyond, seeking to increase the productivity of the empire’s core and provide the capital at Mashhad with sufficient food. Due in part to Reza’s irrigation projects, the oasis of Merv in Khorasan was transformed from a haunt of the Teke Turk tribesmen into being a productive source of both grains and cotton, and boasted a significant amount of fertile land.


Reza Shah’s reign also saw the continuation of the settlement of tribes. The tribes who had dominated Iran for most of its history had been a key source of recruits for Nader Shah, who both admired the fighting ability of tribal troops but scorned tribes as a political entity. Under Reza Shah, the policy of forced settlement intensified, both to break them as challenges to central Iranian authority but also to free up the land for more productive agricultural uses. Particularly in areas such as Kurdistan, Luristan and Khorasan itself, areas that had previously been tribal land were turned over to settled agriculture, be it arable land or land used for grazing. In the eyes of the government, this would increase the amount of taxes it would be able to raise from the land, as well as making areas easier to police. This was not necessarily a popular policy amongst the tribes themselves, and may have contributed to the Kurdish uprisings of 1771, but Iran’s army was capable of seeing off armed resistance fairly easily. Peasants were given tax incentives to move to newly available lands which enabled some mobility from more densely populated areas.


The period also saw the beginnings of slavery as a significant factor in sections of Iran’s economy. Slaves had always been present in Iran, working as domestic servants, agricultural workers or even soldiers, but Iran saw little chattel slavery up to this point. However, the recovery of the mid-18th century saw the growth of the cotton growing industry in Khuzestan and Southern Mesopotamia. The still-depopulated population of the areas were not sufficient to provide a labour force to work on the cotton fields. The answer to the conundrum was eventually solved by Omani merchants, who used their contacts with the Sultanate of Zanzibar, as well as the Swahili Coastal states, to import slaves into Iran in earnest. Figures remain unreliable, though a Malay merchant resident in Abadan in the 1790s reported that “the fields of cotton, date palms and other produce seem to be worked entirely by blacks, who are a race apart from the Arabs and Persians who otherwise reside in the province”. It is certain that unlike in other areas of Iran, the agricultural system of Southern Mesopotamia and Khuzestan were reliant on slave labour.


[1] – To sum up a system even I can't fully get my head around, landowners did not own specific plots of land in much of Iran, but owned abstract rights to a certain amount of land in a certain area. Often the actual land from which they collected their due changed from year to year, discouraging any serious kind of investment in the land. For such an arid country, this was not a recipe for agricultural success.


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Trade in Early Afsharid Iran

Safavid Iran had been famous for its many luxury products such as carpets and silks, and won repute as a wealthy nation in Europe partly due to trade. More recent work, however, has re-examined this reputation. In reality, despite the healthy appreciation that Safavid rulers had for trade and the infrastructure such as Caravanserais that were in place for merchants in comparison to their Ottoman neighbours, trade in Iran remained limited by enormous distances, a lack of waterways and tribal banditry. To compound this, Iran had by the 18th century found its silver steadily draining to India, where goods such as textiles and silk could be produced more easily than in Iran. Her trade with Russia was somewhat more favourable, and her imports of fur were outweighed by her exports of silk from Gilan and Mazandaran. However, the fall of Isfahan and the resulting civil war almost destroyed production of luxury goods in Iran, exacerbating the already negative economic trends further.


It was not until the late 1730s that trade began to pick up once again. Much of the evidence from this era comes from the VOC and EIC archives, both of which proved wise to ride out the storm of the 1720s/30s [2]. Restored order enabled primary industries such as pearl diving in the Persian Gulf, as well as cotton production to recover somewhat. In Gilan and Mazandaran, silk exports to Russia showed signs of recovery prior to Nader’s war with Russia, increasing some 250% from 1739 to 1748 [3]. Although this would be disrupted by the Russo-Iranian War, the trade would soon recover after a peace was negotiated, and increased further still during the reign of Reza Shah. Iranian silk proved particularly competitive in the Baltic Market, where the Caspian Sea, as well as the river systems of Russia delivered it to ports such as St Petersburg and Riga fairly cheaply. Indian silk meanwhile had to make the journey around the Cape, often meaning that by the time it reached the European market, the cost of transportation had made Iranian silk more competitive. This was a welcome source of specie for a country with almost no precious metal production of her own.


Slower to recover were manufactured goods which required more skill to produce. Although rural handicraft industries had survived the depredations of the early 18th century, the great urban manufactories which had produced silken rugs for the Safavid court as well as export had not survived [4]. The industry only began to see recovery with the increasing stability in the 1740s onward, and much of the demand was domestic rather than foreign. The growth of urban centres in Khorasan encouraged the growth of the industry there sooner than in areas such as Kerman and Fars as European demand for carpets seemed to have declined somewhat. Khorasan also saw growth in its metallurgic industries due to the demand for iron and steel goods, particularly in the army. Nader’s campaigns had led to the growth of iron manufactories in Khorasan, and production had increased to around 10,000 tonnes a year by the 1770s. Khorasan’s mix of coal and iron deposits made it an ideal location, and ensured that Iran at least had adequate metallurgic industries. Iran exported virtually none of its metal goods however.


What proved to be a surprisingly valuable foreign export however were horses. As warfare in India intensified in the 1750s onward in the wake of the Mughal collapse, the armies of India increased in size. While some Indian polities such as Mysore experimented with infantry-based armies, the demand for horses rose in light of the usefulness of cavalry in Indian warfare. India’s climate proved unsuitable for the breeding of horses, who tended to suffer and die early in India’s tropical climate. Iran however had a much more suitable climate, and the first properly commercial horse breeding ventures had begun by the 1750s, partly for use by the Iranian army but increasingly for export to India as well. This commercialisation of what had previously been the mainstay of tribal peoples had an interesting impact on the internal economy in its own right, but the export of horses to India also went some way toward balancing trade between Iran and India.


[2] – In OTL, the VOC in particular voiced concerns about maintaining a further presence in Iran due to the rapaciousness of Nader Shah, and eventually ended operations in the country in the 1750s, thus losing them a market for some of the sugar and coffee produced in Java.


[3] – Which happened in OTL as well (without the whole war with Russia part). The source for this is Rudolph Mathee’s work on the silk trade in Safavid Iran. The figure is somewhat interesting, as it suggests that there was a measure of economic recovery under Nader Shah, which tends to go against the consensus on the economic aspects of his reign.


[4] – The perception however, that the carpet industry was destroyed by the disruptions of the period appears to be mistaken. The Dutch continued to report on the availability of carpets at Bandar Abbas, and Nader Shah himself commissioned a number of carpets for church improvements in Armenia as well as his palace in Kalat-i-Naderi.

* * * * * *

Author's Notes - A bit of a look into the rather difficult economic situation that Iran finds itself in during the reign of Reza Shah. Bigger Iran may be, but she is still less prosperous than the Safavid Empire had been. Repairing the damage of the wars will take a while, but provided that Reza Shah and his successors can continue to maintain peace, prosperity may return to Iran. She definitely won't be spawning any industrial revolutions but a more prosperous Iran will lead to the further decline of nomadism and may secure the legitimacy of the dynasty.
 
The problem of Nationalism only appears to rear its head for the Hapsburgs in the 19th century. Other nationalities in the Empire did not appreciate the appeals of Archduke Charles to German Nationalism when fighting Napoleon, but Hungarians, Croats and others fought in the Austrian army too. For all the voices that called for self-determination there were also others who recognised that in a Europe of larger powers such as Russia, Germany and France, the Czechs, Hungarians and others could not hope to play the same kind of role, or to preserve their independence against these larger powers. That's why there was some enthusiasm for a federal system based on the Austrian Empire, which was a possibility that was never truly explored. Indeed, the later Hapsburg Empire is something of an unfortunate missed opportunity, and part of the blame really lies with Franz-Josef. While it may well have seemed like a good idea at the time "You manage your hordes, and we'll manage ours", what it essentially did was turn almost half of the Empire into a military deadweight while building the resentments of the people within Hungary. It wasn't that the Hapsburg Empire was doomed, it was that the policy of repression that it at least partially followed in the 19th and early 20th centuries lost it the loyalty of its people. With a different approach (and of course, no world war one), who is to say what could have happened to the Empire?

...Whether you confirm or deny it, I feel that this is something you plan on adding in a future update.
 
the recovery of the mid-18th century saw the growth of the cotton growing industry in Khuzestan and Southern Mesopotamia. The still-depopulated population of the areas were not sufficient to provide a labour force to work on the cotton fields. The answer to the conundrum was eventually solved by Omani merchants, who used their contacts with the Sultanate of Zanzibar, as well as the Swahili Coastal states, to import slaves into Iran in earnest. Figures remain unreliable, though a Malay merchant resident in Abadan in the 1790s reported that “the fields of cotton, date palms and other produce seem to be worked entirely by blacks, who are a race apart from the Arabs and Persians who otherwise reside in the province”. It is certain that unlike in other areas of Iran, the agricultural system of Southern Mesopotamia and Khuzestan were reliant on slave labour.

I could see this leading to an significant Afro Iranian subculture developing in these areas in the future.
 
Quite possibly. New France is still at a serious demographic disadvantage compared to the British colonies, though it wouldn't actually take equal numbers to secure the land from English settlement. It is likely to have some interesting effects for the native peoples of the Americas as well.
As much as people bring it up, I still not sure how important the demographic balance is in the Seven Years' War. After all the war winning actions were the result of the massive deployment of British regulars, if the British aren't providing a massive injections of trained soldiers then Montcalm is probably sitting pretty (and his career will be less distinguished).

I mean, they deserve a better reputation around the Napoleonic Wars and what not. Don't forget that it was a Hapsburg Army that first triumphed against Emperor Napoleon in battle.
No less than 3 (or 4) Austrian generals bested Napoleon.
 
[1] – To sum up a system even I can't fully get my head around, landowners did not own specific plots of land in much of Iran, but owned abstract rights to a certain amount of land in a certain area. Often the actual land from which they collected their due changed from year to year, discouraging any serious kind of investment in the land. For such an arid country, this was not a recipe for agricultural success.
Perhaps think of it as a bit like owning shares in a cooperative but without a common pot to take the dividend from.
It's more that they own the right to work land rather than land itself.
It's rather similar to fishing rights in the sea.
 
Which region will be more important/advantageous in the future: mesopotamia or uzbekistan? If it's mesopotamia, Reza might as well move the captial to Tehran.
 
That growing chattel slavery will cause trouble down the line. The great european crusade against it is less than a century away.
Assuming, of course, that Europeans turn against slavery as they did in OTL. It is worth bearing in mind that the fight against the slave trade was at least initially a British effort, enabled by their dominance of the sea which is not guaranteed yet. While moralistic opposition to slavery was definitely a thing by the late 18th century, it wasn't quite the force that it would develop into following the end of Napoleon. Jacobinism's oppostion to slavery though depends on how "Leftist" thought emerges and adapts of course.
...You REALLY know how to twist the knife, you know that.:evilupset:
I can't stay mad at a dynasty that has left so many pretty city centers across Central Europe. In an indirect way, it was the Hapsburgs that managed to console me on the day of Trump's election interestingly enough.
Am I reading too much into the use of "Early Afsharid"? Or is this an indication we'll see atleast a century for this dynasty?
I'm not too keen on giving spoilers, but yes, the Afsharids will be sticking around well into the 19th century at least.
...Whether you confirm or deny it, I feel that this is something you plan on adding in a future update.
I have an... interesting plan for the Hapsburgs to say the least. Their trajectory is not really going to resemble the Hapsburgs of OTL, but hopefully it will be plausible and interesting to follow.
I could see this leading to an significant Afro Iranian subculture developing in these areas in the future.
Well Afro-Arabs are very much a thing in OTL, discounting of course the genetic influence of Africans on Peninsula Arabs today. A significant African slave population in Iran though is likely to have interesting consequences down the line.
As much as people bring it up, I still not sure how important the demographic balance is in the Seven Years' War. After all the war winning actions were the result of the massive deployment of British regulars, if the British aren't providing a massive injections of trained soldiers then Montcalm is probably sitting pretty (and his career will be less distinguished).

No less than 3 (or 4) Austrian generals bested Napoleon.
It's not really much of a surprise when you think about it. Colonial militiamen weren't exactly leaping at the prospect of campaigns hundreds of miles away from home. Even after independence, the US army was rather small and fit only to fight other new-world powers until the Civil War.

I do think that people tend to underrate the Hapsburg armies in general. I've always assumed its based on their generally terrible performance in World War One (Italian Front excepted), but the Austro-Prussian War could have gone the other way even after the shooting started. And Austria was the most consistent anti-Napoleonic power aside from Great Britain.
What will be the Afsharids' relationships with the West in terms of trade and economy?
The number one European trading partner will be Russia well into the 19th century. If nothing else, geography dictates this. Iran's most productive regions tend to be in the North of the country, and many are next to the Caspian Sea, allowing trade to be carried on water right to Moscow. Otherwise, Iranian trade is likely to be heaviest with India and the Ottoman Empire. It's worth mentioning that trade with Western Europe is likely to be limited to specifically Iranian manufactures such as carpets. In this period Indian textiles were cornering the market in most countries without tariffs, and there's a number of decades before European manufactures make it big on the Asian markets.
Perhaps think of it as a bit like owning shares in a cooperative but without a common pot to take the dividend from.
It's more that they own the right to work land rather than land itself.
It's rather similar to fishing rights in the sea.
The fishing rights analogy is actually a rather good one. Unfortunately I've never had much of a head for the law which is just as well.
Which region will be more important/advantageous in the future: mesopotamia or uzbekistan? If it's mesopotamia, Reza might as well move the captial to Tehran.
That's a very good question. The two regions do have a number of similarities, such as a largely non-Iranian population (though the cities of modern day Uzbekistan were still Tajik Persian speakers at this point), navigable rivers which make trade an easier proposition, and great potential for agricultural expansion. It is worth noting that Iraq has access to the world's seas through Basra, while the Amu Darya is in an endorheic basin, without access to the Caspian, let alone the rest of the world's seas. The Amu Darya basin does have the advantage of being relatively secure from the Ottomans though, and the Russians are still some way away from the Aral Sea, so who is to say? Perhaps not the question to be asked by the author of the timeline.
*rises up*

This is good. I'll be waiting for more.

*sinks.*
*teleports behind you*
Psshhhh...... More is coming.....
 
The Seven Years War (Episode II) - The Global Conflict - 1756 to 1762
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Spanish Intervention in the Seven Years War

The road to Spanish participation in the Seven Years War was not a bolt from the blue. The new Spanish King as of 1759, Charles III, harboured a great deal of resentment against the British and when the chance to war against an isolated Britain occurred, Charles and his ministers proved unable to resist the allure of war. It was felt that a war would prevent British dominance in the Caribbean and would safeguard Spain’s American Empire, a key element in Charles’ reforms of Spain. The collapse of Prussia in 1761 provided impetus to the Spanish entry into the war. A secret alliance was signed in March of 1761 and in May British shipping was expelled from Spanish ports. A Spanish entry into the war was now imminent, just at the time when Britain’s position on the Continent was beginning to deteriorate rapidly.


Any war in Iberia would not be limited to Spain. Portugal had been a long-standing ally of Britain, and her trade with Britain was highly important to both nations [1]. With Europe increasingly lining up behind a French-Austrian alliance, Portugal’s importance to the British increased further. The Spanish and French assumed that a conquest of Portugal could be easily accomplished in part due to the pathetic state of the Portuguese army at the time, and that a conquest would deprive Britain of her last real friend on the continent. For their part, the British were determined not to let Portugal be absorbed by her larger neighbour, seeing Portuguese independence as critical to her own mercantile and strategic interests. Expectations on both sides about the new Portuguese theatre of the war however would soon prove to be mistaken. Portugal was a relatively poor country, unable to support operations in the same way that the battlefields of Central and Western Europe were.


The Portuguese army was possibly one of Europe’s worst. Barely 9,000 men strong, it was inadequately paid, supply was almost non-existent and leadership was exceptionally poor. This was an army that even Spain’s could defeat with ease, and it was hoped by the Spanish that a show of force would compel the Portuguese to capitulate without a fight. When the Portuguese refused, the Spanish Army marched across the border and captured the town of Miranda. Despite a poor supply situation, they saw more success, capturing a number of towns through May. Word spread in Portugal that a French expeditionary force was massing, and panic began to spread in Portugal. However, resistance on the part of Portuguese peasants and the poor supply situation for the Spanish soon saw the Spanish advance through Portugal grind to a snail’s pace. By the end of summer, the Spanish advance had grinded to a halt far from Lisbon, while the British expeditionary force proved insufficient to push the Spanish out of the country. Despite the hopes of the Bourbons to choke the British, and of the British to score a much-needed victory, the war in Portugal had turned into a stalemate [2].


[1] – British-Portuguese trade may have favoured the former somewhat however, as most of Portugal did not seem to benefit from the roaring trade in Lisbon. Over half of the gold brought to Europe from Brazil ended up in British hands.


[2] – In OTL, a British expedition eventually managed to repulse the Spanish by 1763 but with fewer troops to spare, this isn’t feasible in TTL. I don’t see the situation being good enough for the Spanish to eke out an operational victory however as it is unlikely that the Spanish neglect of logistics would be butterflied.

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The Seven Years War in India


The principle consideration for the British and French in their war in India was that it was not a primary, or even secondary theatre of war. The volume of both British and French trade in India was small when compared to Europe and the Western Hemisphere, hampered by the long distances involved in the India trade as well as the dominance of Indian states in terms of military power that was absent in the Americas. However, during the war of Austrian Succession, the East India Companies of both Britain and French fought each other in the Carnatic, a struggle which continued (albeit in proxy form) following the peace in Europe. With the outbreak of war in 1756, the British and French were able to confront each other openly in India once again. This time however, the influence of both in local Indian politics was such that Indian states in the Carnatic and Deccan were now involved in the struggle to a far greater degree than before.


By the 1750s, the companies had grown beyond mere trading companies and had acquired the right to collect taxes over considerable areas in India. The decline of the Mughal Empire, accelerated by Nader Shah’s invasion in 1739, reduced the comparative stability of India, making military protection more of a priority for the East India companies. There was not a general desire to move into the gap that the Mughal decline had created, but a few Europeans such as Robert Clive, dreamed of greater dominion over India and its riches. It may have been this ambition that pushed Clive to lead an expedition into Bengal following the brutal treatment of English prisoners in Calcutta. However, the victory of the numerically superior Bengali forces at Plassey soon put an end to those ambitions, and served as a subsequent lesson to Europeans with delusions of grandeur in India.


The victory of France’s ally, the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud Dowla, gave France’s hard pressed forces in the Carnatic breathing room. A British attempt to seize Pondicherry was fended off in 1761, and although the French had insufficient resources to capture Madras, they were able to hold onto the territory they held despite the success of British commerce raiding in the region [3]. As the war began to come to a close elsewhere in the world, the situation between the French and British in India had stalemated. Attempts to gain advantage over the other by directly challenging Indian rulers had failed miserably, though the French were not in a position to turn British failure into French gain as its allies in India seemed satisfied to follow their own agenda. When news of peace finally came in 1763, both the French and British in India seemed satisfied to lick their wounds and cease fighting.


[3] – The general impression I have got was that it was the resources that Britain had seized with Bengal that allowed it to triumph over the French in the Carnatic. Without this gain, the British are unlikely to seize Pondicherry allowing for a stalemate in the war.

* * * * * *​

The Seven Years War in America


It was in America that the first shots of the Seven Years War were fired. Tensions in the Ohio Valley between the French and the (more numerous) British settlers had ended in a gunfight between a British expedition and French troops. The construction of French forts hemmed in the rapidly growing British settlements between the Appalachian Mountains and the sea, leaving the French in a simultaneous position of strength and weakness. Although the French forts were capable of holding back British settlers for the time being, it seemed questionable as to whether the thinly spread French settlers could hope to hold back British colonists in the long run. Indeed, the imbalance was one of the reasons for the heavy French emphasis on alliances with Amerindians, who outnumbered the French in “New France” [4]. The French hoped to hold the line against British encroachment in the Ohio Valley and beyond, the British to remove the French threat to their most important colonies, and the Amerindians themselves had more mixed motives for their participation in the war.


Initially, despite the imbalance of populations in North America, the French saw some successes. Several British invasions of New France were repelled, and the French captured the British colony at Nova Scotia. However, British naval superiority allowed supplies and reinforcements from France to be cut off, meaning that the French troops in New France had to fight an increasingly disadvantageous war. The British finally captured Québec in 1759, though this did not mean the defeat of French forces in North America, who kept fighting on and scored a few victories of their own. The remnants of French forces in North America managed to hold on as British reinforcements waned following the deterioration of the situation in Europe. Although by 1762 Britain had taken nearly every French fort in the Northern half of New France, the French continued to hold New Orleans and much of the Mississippi Valley.


In the Caribbean, the British did not see quite the same level of success as they had done further north. Although 1759 had seen victory at Guadeloupe, this would prove to be a high watermark in British fortunes in the Caribbean. It was hoped that the conquest of Québec would allow reinforcements to be dispatched from North America, this proved unfeasible as Prussian losses on the continent made Hannover more of a strategic priority for Britain. The hoped for conquest of other French islands in the Caribbean was put on hold, leaving the theatre in stalemate, as many others were becoming. The situation was changed in the Caribbean once again with the entry of the Spanish into the war. Spain had entered the war seeking in part to smash British ascendency in the region. Although Spanish attempts to capture Jamaica were foiled, the Spanish naval presence was vital to the surprise French reconquest of Guadeloupe toward the end of 1762 [5]. More so than in other non-European theatres, the worsening situation in Europe hampered the ability of the British to pursue a viable offensive strategy abroad.


[4] – The colonist population of New France was about 60-70,000 by this point, whereas the native population probably numbered around 100,000.

[5] – With British troops from North America going to Hannover rather than the Caribbean, taking Havana is as impossible as it was in 1739/40.

* * * * * *

670px-PreliminaryTreatyOfParisPainting.jpg

The End of the Seven Years War

The epitaph “The Great” has long been controversial when applied to King Frederick of Prussia. For a time, through his military genius as well as the effective army that had been built by his father, Frederick had forced Prussia into the ranks of the European great powers through his seizure of Silesia. In defeating the larger Hapsburg Empire he had gained Prussia a great measure of fame, and he developed his reputation as an enlightened monarch for his patronage of great philosophers. Ultimately however, he could never redress the great imbalance of resources between Prussia and her Austrian rival. When the Austrians managed to cobble together a coalition of both France and Russia, Europe’s largest powers, Prussia’s fate appeared to be sealed. Despite a lengthy war in which he won a number of great battles, sealing his reputation as Europe’s greatest general, Frederick was ultimately overcome by the much larger armies of the coalition. With his death, the war in the East swiftly came to an end.


Further to the West, Prussia’s ally Britain had seen success against France in many colonial theatres, though with Prussia knocked out of the war France was able to turn her resources against Britain and her allies in Hannover. The city of Hannover was taken in late 1761, forcing the British to strip their colonies of forces to stem the tide of the French advance. However, the weight of French forces in the region was sufficient to secure the surrender of Ferdinand of Brunswick following the Battle of Walsrode on the 25th of May 1762. Though it had been costly in terms of money and men, France had finally secured a decisive victory over her British foe. With most theatres of war now settled, the diplomats of the European Great Powers now assembled in Paris to decide on the treaties which would bring the war to a formal conclusion.


The war had been a long one, and the true victors of the conflict have always been a matter of debate. Austria had destroyed her only rival within the Holy Roman Empire, but had brought Russia more firmly into the European system to do so. Russia had taken a potential check to her western expansion out of the picture, but had empowered Austria in doing so. France had failed to expand her borders in Europe to any significant degree, though had preserved her empire abroad. Britain had lost the war in Europe, though her naval superiority and colonial strength had been proven, as had her immense financial resources. An unquestioned loser however was Prussia, who lost even her name as the Duchy of East Prussia was detached and given to Poland in exchange for Courland, which went to Russia. Reduced to a mere electorate, and renamed Brandenburg once again, the Hohenzollern state lost Silesia, Prussia, much of Pomerania and her holdings in West Germany [6]. Reduced to the borders which she had possessed in the early 17th century, the Hohenzollerns were now to play the role of a middling imperial power as opposed to a European great power. Frederick the Great’s gambit had backfired spectacularly.


Although the peace appeared to restore the balance of power that Frederick the Great had disrupted, it was in many ways only an illusion. Although Austria had arguably gained the most from the conflict, her financial resources were arguably insufficient to allow her to maintain an independent foreign policy [7]. France’s performance had been mixed at best, and the “Stain of Rossbach” would produce a sense of shame and inferiority which would last for years. And what of Russia? Although she had proven herself on the battlefield against the Prussian forces, Russia maintained something of an unknown quality in European politics. She was known to be ambitious, though his expansionistic tendency was as much aimed toward her Southern Muslim neighbours as much as her western European ones. Though viewed as backward by the rest of Europe, Russia nevertheless was recognised as a great power and was expected to play more of a central role in the game of European power-politics.


[6] – Sweden has gained Pomerania, but following her less-than-impressive performance, is not taken seriously as a great power in Europe

[7] – Austria has kept the Austrian Netherlands due to France’s reluctance to fight Prussia after Rossbach, cancelling pre-war agreements.

* * * * * *

Author's Notes - Quite a bit to take in with this update. The first world-spanning effects of the POD can now clearly be seen. The Hapsburgs and Russians have won big, but this is less true for France. Although Britain has taken somewhat of a bruising, she isn't really in such a bad situation, and there's a lot of room for recovery. The same cannot be said of Prussia, now Brandenburg. Unlike in OTL her luck has run out, and she's relegated to the same league as Saxony and Bavaria.

Globally, this will have some interesting effects. The lack of a British Bengal has greatly changed the situation in India, leaving the European trade companies as small players in the game of Indian power-politics, though we already knew this. The maintenance of New France will bind Britain's colonists in North America to the mother country for longer, but will represent a check on Westward expansion for quite some time. Welcome news no doubt for some of the Native American peoples.

The fallout will not be seen for quite some time, but things are shifting fast. I am working on a map that will come at the end of the overall update "cycle" (1783) that will hopefully make the territorial situation a bit clearer.
 
I do think that people tend to underrate the Hapsburg armies in general. I've always assumed its based on their generally terrible performance in World War One (Italian Front excepted), but the Austro-Prussian War could have gone the other way even after the shooting started.
WWI is a big factor, but I'd also link it to wikipedia's inability to convey nuance in a war's outcome (30 Years War is a Habsburg defeat despite settling the Bohemian matter in their favour, War of Austrian Succession is a defeat despite them retaining the throne of the HRE, 2nd and 3rd Silesian Wars are Prussian victories despite failing their stated goal of taking Bohemia...) and video games (Empire Total War just making Austrian line infantry outright inferior for no reason, EUIV giving Austria an idea set that is underwhelming compared to France, the Ottomans, or Sweden), which have significant sway over what hobby-historians think.
 
I can't stay mad at a dynasty that has left so many pretty city centers across Central Europe. In an indirect way, it was the Hapsburgs that managed to console me on the day of Trump's election interestingly enough.

The music the bloomed from their dynasty's rule is something I can admit to liking. Though it was the Timurid dynasty that gave solace in the wake of Trumps Election day.

It was in America that the first shots of the Seven Years War were fired. Tensions in the Ohio Valley between the French and the (more numerous) British settlers had ended in a gunfight between a British expedition and French troops. The construction of French forts hemmed in the rapidly growing British settlements between the Appalachian Mountains and the sea, leaving the French in a simultaneous position of strength and weakness. Although the French forts were capable of holding back British settlers for the time being, it seemed questionable as to whether the thinly spread French settlers could hope to hold back British colonists in the long run. Indeed, the imbalance was one of the reasons for the heavy French emphasis on alliances with Amerindians, who outnumbered the French in “New France” [4]. The French hoped to hold the line against British encroachment in the Ohio Valley and beyond, the British to remove the French threat to their most important colonies, and the Amerindians themselves had more mixed motives for their participation in the war.


Initially, despite the imbalance of populations in North America, the French saw some successes. Several British invasions of New France were repelled, and the French captured the British colony at Nova Scotia. However, British naval superiority allowed supplies and reinforcements from France to be cut off, meaning that the French troops in New France had to fight an increasingly disadvantageous war. The British finally captured Québec in 1759, though this did not mean the defeat of French forces in North America, who kept fighting on and scored a few victories of their own. The remnants of French forces in North America managed to hold on as British reinforcements waned following the deterioration of the situation in Europe. Although by 1762 Britain had taken nearly every French fort in the Northern half of New France, the French continued to hold New Orleans and much of the Mississippi Valley.

WHY did the British never pursue conquest of the southern half of New France anyway?
 
I can't stay mad at a dynasty that has left so many pretty city centers across Central Europe. In an indirect way, it was the Hapsburgs that managed to console me on the day of Trump's election interestingly enough.

How did they console you?
 
WHY did the British never pursue conquest of the southern half of New France anyway?
Because Canada was the actually somewhat developed part of New France. Between New Orleans and Illinois Country (which was most easily accessed from the north) there was basically just wilderness and a few trading posts. If they took Canada it would be game over for Louisiana, which is why the French happily handed over what they were left with to the Spanish.
 
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