A More Perfect Union: An Alternate History of the Land of the Free

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by HeX, May 22, 2019.

Loading...
  1. Threadmarks: Redemption, Part Thirteen: Hear the Dragon Roar!

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    By the 1880s, China was pretty down-and-out. The Tongzhi Reformation and the ensuing industrial revolution had put the Qing in a better spot than it had seen in centuries, but the tyrannical empires of Europe still held dominion over some of the more profitable lands in the Middle Kingdom, remnants of two Opium Wars. But the Land of Dragons was not in the same place as Africa, not anymore, at least. It was done with being Europe's puppet.

    The first rumblings of dissent began in the spring of 1884, in Shanghai. Two dozen young Chinese men and women turned out to protest the city's British rule on a rainy April afternoon, demanding the return of the Treaty Ports and the right to national sovereignty. Redcoats soon arrived to put down the rally, but that only caused more people to join the peaceful protest, until well over two thousand people were marching in the streets, demanding an end to European tyranny and waving Qing and American flags, as well as a new flag, a blue banner with a white sun in the center, the flag of the Gònghédang (roughly translated to English as the Republican Party of China), the party of President Li Hongzhang, who himself was wildly popular all across the country. As the numbers grew and grew, the local British garrison became increasingly nervous. Stanley Maude, a junior officer in the garrison, was a fresh face in the British Army, having just recently been placed in charge after a string of outstanding achievements in the subjugation of Egypt. As such, he made a rash decision, one that would characterize his entire future service as a man in the military: to fire into the crowd. In the short term, it worked amazingly.

    [​IMG]
    Flag of the Gònghédang
    In the long term, not so much. That first shot set the tone for the next five years, as China began to beat back the West.

    Shanghai was put under martial law, as London devised a plan of attack. But they were much too late. The people of China had been given an inch, and they were going to take it a mile. The press put out scathing indictments of the European soldiers' behavior, including their tendencies to force themselves on local women and drink profusely while on watch. Protests rocked the coastal cities of the Qing. People demanded to be left alone, for the European colonizers to respect their sovereignty, to be granted the same natural rights all humans should enjoy. Passages from the Declaration of Independence and Hamilton and Jefferson's For Want of Liberty were read aloud in bars and living rooms across the country. A new pamphlet, Our Self-Evident Truths, was published, and quickly became one of the best-selling written work of the nineteenth century. Tensions escalated to dangerous levels. More public protest broke out. On September 4, 1885, though, things officially went too far. In the city of Canton, another treaty port, a large group of student demonstrators amassed in peaceful resistance to colonial rule. The situation soon spiraled out of control into one of the darkest days of the Royal armed forces: the Rape of Canton. For two weeks, from the fourth to the eighteenth of September, the British troops went off the deep end. What began as a simple crackdown on student protesting in the city morphed into plundering, burning, and levelling Canton. Thousands of people were killed, hundreds of women were raped and sexually violated, and entire streets burned to the ground. No one would ever be quite sure what had possessed the British colonial forces there to go so far off the deep end, but it was not, sadly, an isolated event in the grand scheme of the British Empire. It was merely an omen of things to come, as the Great Indian Rebellion, Boer Wars, and two World Wars would show...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Images of the Rape of Canton

    Still, the Rape of Canton was by far the worst part of the Guan Li Rebellion. Mass protests continued, though they turned increasingly violent on both sides, and rocked the treaty ports to the core. And yet, two places were left out of the fight. Perhaps it was out of fear of being destroyed by the much larger colonizer troops. Maybe it was the forty years of European rule brainwashing its citizens. But Hong Kong and Macao were bastions of peace in colonial China, until 1887, and the rise of the Four Bandits.

    Four young men wanted to change the world. Their names were Yeung Hok-lin, Sun Yat-sen, Chan Siu-bak, and Yau Lit. The four had met that same year, when Yeung introduced Yau, his classmate at the Canton Academy of Mathematics (which had escaped the Rape with little enough damage to still function), to his old friend Sun; Sun then introduced the other two to his own classmate at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, Chan. They began to regularly meet at Yeung Yiu Kee, Yeung's family shop in Hong Kong. Despite their young age, the quartet was a brilliant bunch of budding political scientists, and they began writing their own weekly liberty-forward pamphlet, The Dragon's Breath, signed only by the mysterious name 'the Four Bandits.' It took off like a Tang Dynasty firework, and served to fan the flames of rebellion in Hong Kong and Macao.

    [​IMG]
    The Four Bandits, 1887
    (From Left to Right: Yeung Hok-ling, Sun Yat-sen, Chan Siu-bak and Yau Lit; the one standing was their friend, Kwan King-leung)

    On October 8, 1887, the first treaty port, Nanjing, fell into the hands of Chinese rebels. Like dominoes, the rest of the cities were recaptured by a mixture of civilian rebels and the Qing army over the following months. By May 1888, there was only fierce fighting at the mouth of the Yellow River and at the Pearl River Delta, where a combination of British, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Japanese soldiers were barely holding on. China had been underestimated, and a population of 450 million people, supported by a stable government and a fully-industrialized economy, was throwing everything it had against the powers of Europe and Asia. The Tongzhi Emperor finally ordered on May 7 for the army to put everything behind a full-scale invasion of Hong Kong and Macao.

    [​IMG]
    Assault on Chinese battlements at the Battle of Ningbo, ca. 1887

    The Chinese weren't alone in their efforts, either. The Qing Empire had a pitiful navy, one that could be better compared to a few toy boats in a bathtub when side-by-side with the almighty Royal Navy. To combat this, the US and Brazilian Navies had been keeping the Royal Navy busy, with a plethora of skirmishes in the South China and Yellow Seas distracting a decent chunk of the British East Asian fleet. The Americans and Brazilians couldn't do as much as they'd like, since that would probably result in jumpstarting the looming global war early, but it was still great help. China's allies' navies coordinated a bombardment of Hong Kong and Macao with the ground forces' invasion. The Siege of the Pearl River was long and drawn-out. The British and Portuguese detachments 'protecting' the area were ready to fight to the last man, and they did, or at least until all their supplies ran out. But by that point, Queen Victoria had had enough. China was a lost cause. She was ever the imperialist, but she wasn't proud of the Rape of Canton, and didn't want something like that potentially happening again on a larger scale in Hong Kong. Besides, the Siege of the Pearl River had been a massacre. It was a wiser decision to cut their losses and move on than to keep fighting.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Defense of Hong Kong, 1888

    [​IMG]
    Battle of the Pearl River, 1888

    And so, the time of Chinese subjugation under the European heel was over. The Treaty of Seoul was signed on August 30, 1888, bringing an end to the Unequal Treaties of the mid nineteenth century, and returning all the ports leased out at gunpoint to the grateful hands of the Qing. China became a wholly independent power in East Asia, a category which itself was rapidly shrinking as Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and Siam fell to either European colonization or influence. While the Great Qing would always be able to find friends in the United States, Brazil, and Germany, its only Asiatic ally was the Republican Kingdom of Korea, also officially established as a Chinese ally at the meeting table during the signing of the Treaty of Seoul. And China certainly had some powerful enemies, specifically Japan and Russia, both of whom felt cheated out of easy pickings in East Asia by the United States' meddling. But none of that mattered right then. All that was important was that the Middle Kingdom was free and independent, now and forever.

    [​IMG]
    Signing of the Treaty of Seoul, 1888
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  2. Ironshark Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Great update and hype for the world war! the British really are going down a bad path..

    And Russia and Japan are supposed to be enemies of China right? cause you got a typo there

    Also just curious timeline wise Churchill is already in America at this point isn’t he?
     
    AeroTheZealousOne, Simeon and HeX like this.
  3. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Methinks the world wars will be bloody ITTL, about as bloody as OTL...
     
  4. generalurist Map Staring Expert

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    I'm mildly skeptical that the USA would be able to significantly destroy britain's East Asian navy without provoking an outright war.

    On another note, I wonder how long it will be before China usurps America's position as 'leader of the free world'?
     
  5. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Hmmm... that's a good point. I shall change it to "distracting the Royal Navy."

    China's certainly powerful, but they're going to be pretty isolationist until the World Wars draw them in. Kinda like the United States IOTL. Then things will go off the rails.
     
    AeroTheZealousOne and Ironshark like this.
  6. rjd1997 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    With an industrialized China against japan, Russia, and the other imperialists in Asia the East Asian theatre will have millions of deaths, unlike the afterthought it was OTL. I predict a Japanese landing in Korea supported by a Russian offensive south through manchuria with the goal of linking up and driving south to capture northern China. The Chinese will have to deal with this, a massive blockade by their numerous enemies’ navies, and possibly an offensive north from Indochina. Basically the same situation germany will be in, surrounded and needing to hold out until the US and brazil can punch through to them. In other words, perfect for the trench warfare theme.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  7. Ironshark Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    The US and Brazil will have an easier time getting to China and Germany if the war would in Asia and Europe like OTL
    Probably
    The problem is Canada Columbia and Mexico and how fast America and Brazil can subdue them
     
  8. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    I fixed the typo. Guess I typed allies when I meant enemies.

    Churchill's already in America. Of course, he's currently fifteen, so he won't be doing much right now.

    Colombia/Nuevo Granada isn't bad anymore. They've rejoined the fold of the Pax Americana following TR's rough ridin' down to Bogotá.
     
  9. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    What is German colonial rule over Mittelafrika like? I imagine that it heavily involves working with the local elites in developing their colonies.
     
  10. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    He would be 20-years old ATM.
     
    Simeon, Joriz Castillo and HeX like this.
  11. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Since Britain is more militaristic ITTL, people join the army/navy sooner, and are promoted sooner. So I think Maude being there is justified, especially with what I have planned for him later...
     
  12. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    Maybe make him a junior officer there as opposed to the commander, which is still IMHO a stretch.
     
    Simeon and HeX like this.
  13. Ismaili777 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2019
    It’s implied not genocidal like otl German imperialism, likely exploitative, but so is all colonialism. Germany will likely try and build infrastructure to maximize and likely like otl colonial powers try and leverage tribalism.
    Speaking of which, considering this man was pretty badass, could this timeline see this chad lad have action? He would be an excellent addition to the administration of mittelafrika ;)
    upload_2019-8-24_22-11-40.jpeg
     
  14. Israel_Dan the Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    Wooo! Go China!
     
    Simeon and HeX like this.
  15. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Charleston, SC United States of America
    For China they will also need to look out for stuff from the south through India and Indochina, plus naval landings since their navy will unlikely be all that much better since they should be focusing on getting the army up to snuff first. So yeah China and Korea's part of the war may very well be the epitome of a nation under siege, though Germany is likely to be similar.

    For the Americas it depends, we know the US is likely to be waging war on Mexico, who goes anti-US under a dictator, and all the European holdings in North America and the Caribbean and I assume Brazil is hungrily looking at the Guiana highlands to add on. I would not be surprised if Britain and France manage to turn at least Argentina, maybe Paraguay, Peru, and Bolivia as well since those countries have their own desires against Brazil and Nuevo Granada.
     
    Simeon, rjd1997 and HeX like this.
  16. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Charleston, SC United States of America
    I think if things keep going like they are, with the US allowing a lot more immigration and just being larger overall and China industrializing and liberalizing earlier, that both nation's will be much more equal in population and economy by the 21st century, say China around 800 million-1 billion citizens and 18 trillion GDP with the US around 500-700 million citizens and 17 trillion GDP, so they will likely be the dual leaders of the world with Brazil and Germany being strong in their own spheres as well.
     
    Simeon and HeX like this.
  17. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    I'd put the population of the US at around 650-750 million people, honestly. There are a lot of Hispanics coming into the nation, since most of South America at least is amicable with the United States. And that's not to mention the people fleeing to the West African Territories during Africa's colonial period; IOTL, the area the WATs occupy hold about 89 million people in 2019. ITTL, that should be an even hundred million.
     
    Whiteshore and Simeon like this.
  18. soulpelt Active Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Flexes in Freedom as a Great Horned Dragon passes by
    As always a great update. That WW1/2 sounds super ominous... Fascist Britain?
     
  19. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    Not!Fascist Britain, but you're right.
     
  20. generalurist Map Staring Expert

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    How many can realistically flee there? The colonialists are going to restrict internal travel, and more importantly they're going to heavily restrict the internal flow of information. Given how isolated Sub-Saharan Africa was before this, not many will be aware of America at all, let alone it's FREEDOM!!
     
Loading...