But it is incredibly improbable seeing as how geography and logistics are not on their side.

A lot of the names being thrown around as kingdoms that could possibly do it mostly landlocked, would need to cross the sahara, and would have to take on other powerful states before even getting to Europe. Let alone conquering even a bit of It. After all it doesn’t matter if they do expand to the coast if they don’t have the power to beat the local European realms.

And damn near everytime they get mentioned it’s “wanked x empire” as if that evidence. Or putting out several ridiculous PODs needed to maybe strengthen these sub Saharan realms while also weakening Europe.
I just made a suggestion above. (#36)

It's not ASB, and it doesn't require a ridiculous POD.
 
I'm thinking of a reverse Moroccan Invasion of Songhai. Songhai take an interest in controlling the other end of the Trans-Saharan trade route and send armies north to conquer OTL Morocco and are successful (for Songhai I guess they would have to effectively integrate gunpower, which AFAIK was the reason the Moroccans were successful OTL, unsure about the other two), and from there grab some land in southern Iberia (Gibraltar/Granada).

However, this empire would be highly unstable at best, as it would encounter the same problems the Moroccans did OTL - rebellion in the hinterlands, successor states waging war on the fringes, and the fact that Trans-Atlantic Trade (even discounting New World) is going to out-compete Trans-Saharan. Europeans gotta have those spices and West Africa/North Africa isn't really a good spot to grow them.

An idea - since the alt!Songhai are strong enough to mount this expedition in the first place and be so successful, they may to keep abreast of military technology, especially gunpower weaponry. While an empire as overextended as one that straddles the Sahara will be highly likely to fragment ASAP, the use of gunpowder weapons would undoubtedly prove vital to both the alt!Songhai and their successor states, perhaps to the point where they achieve some parity with Europe through trade and osmosis of knowledge. Maybe those contacts will prove reliable enough that if/when Europe tries to colonize Africa, there will end up being more independent states than just Liberia and Ethiopia once the alt-Scramble concludes, if it's not butterflied.
 
I just made a suggestion above. (#36)

It's not ASB, and it doesn't require a ridiculous POD.
Yes, and it was ridiculous tbh. It required Europe to implode into a nuclear war. If that’s not a ridiculous POD then I don’t I wow what is. What few suggestions I’ve seen don’t really seem to consider the issues these hypothetical wanked empires would have with logistics and the geographical situation theyre in, let alone the fact places like Iberia or the Greek islands aren’t just gonna role over and die. Or the fact that their needs to be a desire to actually want to do this, as I imagine any half way competent ruler in these empires would see how impossible it would be to maintain these conquests.

@CastIron has posted the only one that sounds plausible, although it would still require the Songhai to form a decent army and give them good guns. Then deal with a united Spain that’s doing pretty alright at the moment.
 
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Won’t the Sahara be in the way? And by the time they mali are around it would be a bit hard to control any part of Iberia.
Boats, my friend, boats. Very easy to take over Iberia (although the region would certainly go to vassals instead of being annexed outright, given it's not the 700s), and it would be doable to attack medditerannean islands as well.
 
Boats, my friend, boats. Very easy to take over Iberia (although the region would certainly go to vassals instead of being annexed outright, given it's not the 700s), and it would be doable to attack medditerannean islands as well.
The Malian Empire’s coast is a bit far away from southern Iberia. So they’d have to go a fair bit to reach Iberia. Or they’d have go around conquering other nations to get closer. Then they’d need to fight the local Muslim and Christian nations, who wouldn’t be too happy about being attacked.

Also how do the weapons and armor of each side compare to each other? Who’s got the advantage here? I don’t really know what the various sub Saharan nations are using.
 
Boats, my friend, boats. Very easy to take over Iberia (although the region would certainly go to vassals instead of being annexed outright, given it's not the 700s), and it would be doable to attack medditerannean islands as well.
Going up the Trans-Saharan trade routes is easier than developing a naval force from, well, not much. The trade links form a valuable and known, if long, supply and reinforcement route, something that a naval link would lack. Also, I doubt that Iberia in the 700s would be "very easy to take over." Al-Andalus was at its height territorially and even Asturias would be hard to conquer due to the terrain and fierce resistance of the local people.
 
Going up the Trans-Saharan trade routes is easier than developing a naval force from, well, not much. The trade links form a valuable and known, if long, supply and reinforcement route, something that a naval link would lack. Also, I doubt that Iberia in the 700s would be "very easy to take over." Al-Andalus was at its height territorially and even Asturias would be hard to conquer due to the terrain and fierce resistance of the local people.
The Malian Empire’s coast is a bit far away from southern Iberia. So they’d have to go a fair bit to reach Iberia. Or they’d have go around conquering other nations to get closer. Then they’d need to fight the local Muslim and Christian nations, who wouldn’t be too happy about being attacked.

Also how do the weapons and armor of each side compare to each other? Who’s got the advantage here? I don’t really know what the various sub Saharan nations are using.
I was more talking in the context of a colonial Mali. The addition of silver and gold to the already rather rich Mali establishment would make it able to fund some really wacky shit.

I meant 700s in the context of annexation- yes, Al-Andalus had managed to gain massive amounts of influence over Iberia, that was basically the entire point- Iberia in the 1400s was a lot less volatile than before Muslim conquest.
 
I was more talking in the context of a colonial Mali. The addition of silver and gold to the already rather rich Mali establishment would make it able to fund some really wacky shit.

I meant 700s in the context of annexation- yes, Al-Andalus had managed to gain massive amounts of influence over Iberia, that was basically the entire point- Iberia in the 1400s was a lot less volatile than before Muslim conquest.
Having a lot of money doesn’t mean you can do everything. Nor doesn’t it fix the logistical situation seeing as how the malia cost is pretty far away and going through the desert ain’t easy. You still need the resources, skilled craftsmen, ports, and a good army to pull this off. Especially since Iberia often had a powerful state ruling a good chuck of it. And there’s still the issue of armor and weapons, if they’re too lightly armored they’ll run into some real big issues. Also in the 700s mail didn’t even exist so yeah...
 
Having a lot of money doesn’t mean you can do everything. Nor doesn’t it fix the logistical situation seeing as how the malia cost is pretty far away and going through the desert ain’t easy. You still need the resources, skilled craftsmen, ports, and a good army to pull this off. Especially since Iberia often had a powerful state ruling a good chuck of it. And there’s still the issue of armor and weapons, if they’re too lightly armored they’ll run into some real big issues. Also in the 700s mail didn’t even exist so yeah...
Obviously money doesn't do everything, but there's a wealth of resources in the region that make it very easy to build up a navy, and it's not entirely as if you need to have the Malians literally invade Ibreia the day after discovering the Americas.

Yes, I'm fully aware that Mali did not exist in the 700s. My point is that the situation in Iberia was not the same as it was in the 700s, which is why I do not believe that Mali could not directly annex Iberia.
 
North African States owning territory in Europe isn’t ASB, it’s happened OTL on several occasions that were quite notable, such as Carthage or the Almoravids, but Sub Saharan Africa has too many geographical constraints in the way to make it plausible. The Songhai suggestion earlier was pretty much the only reasonable suggestion I’ve seen so far. Is it impossible? No. Is it extremely difficult to do without multiple PODs? Yes. It COULD happen, but it’s not particularly plausible, even if it is possible.
 
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Because Ethiopia is farther away with a hostile Nubia between them. Any Ethiopian conquest would be difficult to achieve and hard to hold at best. And sure, you could butterfly away the Romans or Abbasids or whoever but that doesn’t guarantee someone wouldn’t fill void and block any Ethiopian invasions as well.
So presume that an empire that starts in Ethiopia manages to incorporate Nubia. They are right next to each other, after all, and Aksum actually did manage to sack Meroe. If we presume that the Roman Empire starts to fall apart around the same time (mid-4th century, ie the time when Constantine was reorganizing it), and that someone incompetent comes to the Sassanid throne, then perhaps they could end up in the position to pick up some of the Northern African provinces. Hell, depending on how developments relating to Christianity play out, they might have a chance at co-opting Egypt (Aksum was officially Christian, and it's my understanding that there was a heavy Christian presence on Egypt by that time).

If they can do that, and incorporate Egypt well enough to use it as a staging point for military operations, then practically, they should be in a pretty similar logistical situation to a North African state, as I see it. The logistical capabilities of an empire aren't only determined by where the imperial core is.

And at that point, you have a rising sub-Saharan African power while the Roman Empire is falling apart. The main problem is the Sassanids--if their leader is not militarily talented, can they handle their military campaigns against the various Hunnic peoples badly enough that they get bogged down and are unable to take Egypt or much of the eastern half of the Roman Empire?
 
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So presume that an empire that starts in Ethiopia manages to incorporate Nubia. They are right next to each other, after all, and Aksum actually did manage to sack Meroe. If we presume that the Roman Empire starts to fall apart around the same time (mid-4th century, ie the time when Constantine was reorganizing it), and that someone incompetent comes to the Sassanid throne, then perhaps they could end up in the position to pick up some of the Northern African provinces. Hell, depending on how developments relating to Christianity play out, they might have a chance at co-opting Egypt (Aksum was officially Christian, and it's my understanding that there was a heavy Christian presence on Egypt by that time).

If they can do that, and incorporate Egypt well enough to use it as a staging point for military operations, then practically, they should be in a pretty similar logistical situation to a North African state, as I see it.

And at that point, you have a rising sub-Saharan African power while the Roman Empire is falling apart. The main problem is the Sassanids--if their leader is not militarily talented, can they handle their military campaigns against the various Hunnic peoples badly enough that they get bogged down and are unable to take Egypt or much of the eastern half of the Roman Empire?
This requires a lot of things to happen for things to go this way. You’d need a more powerful Ethiopia that decided to conquer as much as it can and somehow successfully incorporates Nubia, a Roman Empire that’s utterly shattered, AND a poorly lead Sassanid Empire that doesn’t want to expand. Gonna be a bit hard to get all that to happen. You need viable PODs for the later two because neither are very realistic. Even if the last two somehow happen what POD is there for the first and most important one? It’s easy to say “if this then that” but if there isn’t an event or person that could’ve initiated that then it’s all conjecture. And that’s if Ethiopia had the manpower, organization, and wealth to conquer two other regions before taking even a bit of Europe.
 
Large empires usually emerge due to unlikely circumstances. The question isn't only "Does this require luck?" It's "Does it require more than the Arabs had when conquering the Byzantines and Sassanids, or the Romans had when forging their empire, or the Spanish had when conquering the Aztecs and the Inca?" How many would-be empires litter the dustbin of history?

I don't see how any of what I listed is too improbable. Aksum really did smash Nubia badly. The Roman Empire had just gone through a four-way civil war, and was being reorganized by a reformist emperor--that seems to be a situation ripe for instability. The Sassanids, I admit, have what seems to be the most unlikely intervention--but at the time, even under an admired king, they were losing territory to the Huns.

Is it a likely scenario? Maybe not. It's definitely not a particularly well developed one. But I don't see how it's innately more improbable than many of the things that did actually happen in history.
 
Sometime after the discovery of the americas, A plague strikes that (coincidentally) people with the heterogyzous version of the allele for sickle cell anemia are resistant too. A collapse of european states, lets the native populations in the americans recover, and (in particular the brazilian tribes) begin trade with sub-saharan tribes. Eventually, wealth allows for centralization and the establishment of empires in the west-african region, which in turn leads to trade empires that can successfully negotiate concessions and treaty ports from the recovering, but still weak nations nations of europe.
 
So presume that an empire that starts in Ethiopia manages to incorporate Nubia. They are right next to each other, after all, and Aksum actually did manage to sack Meroe. If we presume that the Roman Empire starts to fall apart around the same time (mid-4th century, ie the time when Constantine was reorganizing it), and that someone incompetent comes to the Sassanid throne, then perhaps they could end up in the position to pick up some of the Northern African provinces. Hell, depending on how developments relating to Christianity play out, they might have a chance at co-opting Egypt (Aksum was officially Christian, and it's my understanding that there was a heavy Christian presence on Egypt by that time).

If they can do that, and incorporate Egypt well enough to use it as a staging point for military operations, then practically, they should be in a pretty similar logistical situation to a North African state, as I see it. The logistical capabilities of an empire aren't only determined by where the imperial core is.

And at that point, you have a rising sub-Saharan African power while the Roman Empire is falling apart. The main problem is the Sassanids--if their leader is not militarily talented, can they handle their military campaigns against the various Hunnic peoples badly enough that they get bogged down and are unable to take Egypt or much of the eastern half of the Roman Empire?
If they were able to sack Meroë iotl why weren’t they able to conquer and hold it? Did Aksum have the ability to actually hold Nubia? Nubia was not just different culturally but religiously as well, so incorporating that won’t be easy. Then we still run into the issue of Egypt and the Romans. You need them to be far far weaker than iotl to hope or conquering Egypt, seeing as how it’s arguably the most important province in the empire. You would need the empire to at least be as bad as it was upon the onset of the Arab conquest. As well as have the Sassanids be internally focused or focused on the East so it doesn’t take advantage of a crumbling Rome.

That’s why I find this idea far fetched to say the least. It required that not only is Aksum wanked but the two main empires of the region somehow be as bad as they were upon the onset of the Arab conquests. You need PODs for these things to happen. What’s a POD that could cause Aksum to be more imperialistic? Where it could take Nubia and successfully incorporate it? What’s a POD that would cause the Roman Empire to be so poorly off that it couldn’t defend its most valued province? What’s a POD that would cause the Sassanid Empire to be poorly led/unstable/focused elsewhere? So much needs to change for this to happen that I just find it plausible. The Songhai idea by @CastIron is still the one I find to be most plausible even if I still have my doubts.
 
Obviously money doesn't do everything, but there's a wealth of resources in the region that make it very easy to build up a navy, and it's not entirely as if you need to have the Malians literally invade Ibreia the day after discovering the Americas.

Yes, I'm fully aware that Mali did not exist in the 700s. My point is that the situation in Iberia was not the same as it was in the 700s, which is why I do not believe that Mali could not directly annex Iberia.
That still doesn’t fix the issue of their coasts being rather far away from Iberia, or that the Iberian nations would be more than able to fight off invaders. How would invasion Malians fair against Castile?

The situation in Iberia would be far better for them if they were around and invading in the 700s. During the lifetime of the mailman empire Iberia is rapidly coming under the power of Castile so taking on them is gonna be hard.
 

dcharleos

Donor
If they were able to sack Meroë iotl why weren’t they able to conquer and hold it? Did Aksum have the ability to actually hold Nubia? Nubia was not just different culturally but religiously as well, so incorporating that won’t be easy. Then we still run into the issue of Egypt and the Romans. You need them to be far far weaker than iotl to hope or conquering Egypt, seeing as how it’s arguably the most important province in the empire. You would need the empire to at least be as bad as it was upon the onset of the Arab conquest. As well as have the Sassanids be internally focused or focused on the East so it doesn’t take advantage of a crumbling Rome.

That’s why I find this idea far fetched to say the least. It required that not only is Aksum wanked but the two main empires of the region somehow be as bad as they were upon the onset of the Arab conquests. You need PODs for these things to happen. What’s a POD that could cause Aksum to be more imperialistic? Where it could take Nubia and successfully incorporate it? What’s a POD that would cause the Roman Empire to be so poorly off that it couldn’t defend its most valued province? What’s a POD that would cause the Sassanid Empire to be poorly led/unstable/focused elsewhere? So much needs to change for this to happen that I just find it plausible. The Songhai idea by @CastIron is still the one I find to be most plausible even if I still have my doubts.

This is a pretty interesting discussion.

I do think that the Kingdom of Aksum is the best candidate to satisfy the AHC, but I'd like to propose an alternative PoD.

There are a lot of problems getting a sub-Saharan state all the way to Europe, but it's mostly a question of distance. To get to Europe from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, you've got to go by land or by sea. Back then, that means by horse, camel, or by boat. Historically, sub-Saharan Africa lagged in terms of naval technology. A smooth coastline and unfavorable currents undoubtedly have a lot to do with it. Historically, sub-Saharan Africa is also not the best place to raise horses, so the cavalry tradition in those states was usually not quite as robust as it was in other places (and to boot, camels are not native to Africa). Those are two big issues, and only in the Kingdom of Aksum does it seem that you might be able to surmount them.

That's because OTL, the Kingdom of Aksum actually did conquer Yemen at one point, set up a vassal state with an Aksumite viceroy in charge, and managed to hold onto it for about fifty years, when IIRC, the Sassanids allied with a rebellious Aksumite and chased the ruling Aksumites out. So my PoD for this would be that the Aksumites manage to hold onto Yemen. Preferably, they do this without having to fight off the Sassanids at all.

If they control both sides of the mouth of the Red Sea, that gives them the ability to raise revenue and gives them motive, means, and opportunity to focus on the development of naval technology. Furthermore, territory on the Arabian peninsula will give them access to camels and some of the best horses in the world, which might allow them to develop a more robust cavalry tradition.

Also, that means that when Muhammed comes around, there's a powerful Christian Kingdom on the Arabian peninsula. ITTL, does Muhammed send some of his followers to the Kingdom to escape persecution, as he did OTL? For the sake of this AHC, let's say he doesn't. So things don't get too wonky, let's say that Muhammed still takes the Hijra to Medina on schedule, but his numbers aren't bolstered by the inclusion of the Aksumite colonists. If Muhammed still manages to subdue the tribes around Medina, he's still sandwiched between the Sassanids and the Aksumites, neither of whom has tired themselves out by fighting amongst themselves.

Now, even if the Sassanids don't overextend themselves fighting in southern Arabia, by the early 600s, they're still locked in a death embrace with the Byzantines. So Muhammed looks to the north and south from his position in Mecca, decides against going south (where the Aksumites are strong), and instead swings east toward Oman, and then north to Mesopotamia. This brings him and the righteous Caliphs in conflict with the Sassanids earlier. The Sassanids, though still weakened, are slightly stronger than OTL, and manage to blunt some of the Caliphate's furious momentum.

Things will get wackier from here.

If the Caliphate can be confined to the northern half of Arabia and Mesopotamia, they'll turn toward the Holy Land soon enough. Then maybe you can get the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Constantinople to call for some kind of proto-crusade to quash them. (Maybe.) Anyway, the Caliphate is in a very unenviable strategic position, with enemies on three sides. If you posit a Byzantine-Aksumite victory, then the Aksumites could end up with dominion over the whole of the Arabian peninsula. At that point, Aksum would such a big, powerful empire that it's conceivable to imagine them briefly projecting power as far north as Cyprus, though it's hard to see them holding it for any length of time.

That's about all I got.
 
This is a pretty interesting discussion.

I do think that the Kingdom of Aksum is the best candidate to satisfy the AHC, but I'd like to propose an alternative PoD.

There are a lot of problems getting a sub-Saharan state all the way to Europe, but it's mostly a question of distance. To get to Europe from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, you've got to go by land or by sea. Back then, that means by horse, camel, or by boat. Historically, sub-Saharan Africa lagged in terms of naval technology. A smooth coastline and unfavorable currents undoubtedly have a lot to do with it. Historically, sub-Saharan Africa is also not the best place to raise horses, so the cavalry tradition in those states was usually not quite as robust as it was in other places (and to boot, camels are not native to Africa). Those are two big issues, and only in the Kingdom of Aksum does it seem that you might be able to surmount them.

That's because OTL, the Kingdom of Aksum actually did conquer Yemen at one point, set up a vassal state with an Aksumite viceroy in charge, and managed to hold onto it for about fifty years, when IIRC, the Sassanids allied with a rebellious Aksumite and chased the ruling Aksumites out. So my PoD for this would be that the Aksumites manage to hold onto Yemen. Preferably, they do this without having to fight off the Sassanids at all.

If they control both sides of the mouth of the Red Sea, that gives them the ability to raise revenue and gives them motive, means, and opportunity to focus on the development of naval technology. Furthermore, territory on the Arabian peninsula will give them access to camels and some of the best horses in the world, which might allow them to develop a more robust cavalry tradition.

Also, that means that when Muhammed comes around, there's a powerful Christian Kingdom on the Arabian peninsula. ITTL, does Muhammed send some of his followers to the Kingdom to escape persecution, as he did OTL? For the sake of this AHC, let's say he doesn't. So things don't get too wonky, let's say that Muhammed still takes the Hijra to Medina on schedule, but his numbers aren't bolstered by the inclusion of the Aksumite colonists. If Muhammed still manages to subdue the tribes around Medina, he's still sandwiched between the Sassanids and the Aksumites, neither of whom has tired themselves out by fighting amongst themselves.

Now, even if the Sassanids don't overextend themselves fighting in southern Arabia, by the early 600s, they're still locked in a death embrace with the Byzantines. So Muhammed looks to the north and south from his position in Mecca, decides against going south (where the Aksumites are strong), and instead swings east toward Oman, and then north to Mesopotamia. This brings him and the righteous Caliphs in conflict with the Sassanids earlier. The Sassanids, though still weakened, are slightly stronger than OTL, and manage to blunt some of the Caliphate's furious momentum.

Things will get wackier from here.

If the Caliphate can be confined to the northern half of Arabia and Mesopotamia, they'll turn toward the Holy Land soon enough. Then maybe you can get the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Constantinople to call for some kind of proto-crusade to quash them. (Maybe.) Anyway, the Caliphate is in a very unenviable strategic position, with enemies on three sides. If you posit a Byzantine-Aksumite victory, then the Aksumites could end up with dominion over the whole of the Arabian peninsula. At that point, Aksum would such a big, powerful empire that it's conceivable to imagine them briefly projecting power as far north as Cyprus, though it's hard to see them holding it for any length of time.

That's about all I got.
Quite the interesting little TL you just wrote up. Although I’m a tad confused as to how the influence Cyprus. As you don’t mention them gaining control of land along the Mediterranean so how do they control parts of Europe? Still, an interesting read!
 
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