AHC: Other Singapore style City States

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Bolt451, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. aldonius "Cogito ergo nomnomnom"

    Sep 1, 2013
    As a guilty Aussie (we should've done more in the 70s) I want to believe, but Timor-Leste is only slightly less the arse end of nowhere than we are. Singapore is successful because so much seaborne trade goes through the Straits of Malacca.
    pattontank12 and GeographyDude like this.
  2. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer Donor

    Jan 26, 2011
    Krakow (no 1846 annexation), Luxembourg (that's a winner isn't it?)
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  3. HowAboutThisForAName Tasmanian Nationalist

    Jan 9, 2016
    Some nebulous hole
    Kraków was my personal favourite. My very first AH map was the result of wanting an independent Kraków; should remake that map actually.

    Zanzibar of course, Mogadishu could be a free port pretty easily given Somalia's so fragile. Douala would be cool, I imagine it as a sort of "Venice of Africa". Panama City could conceivably be this if only the canal zone and city are occupied by the US rather than the whole of the peninsular.

    Maybe a random French or Spanish fort on the Mississippi becomes a free city after signing a ceasefire with American pioneers, that'd be wacky; free city of Cairo anyone?

    Maybe it's because I'm making a map for an independent Hubei, but what about Wuhan or some other city on the Yangtze gaining independence due to the river being internationalized? It'd require a weak and/or divided China, something that just so happens to be the case in the aforementioned map. Shanghai would also be pretty kickass. Have Portugal retain Nagasaki for long enough for it to become culturally distinct, and then split off as a city state in the modern era.
  4. Socrates Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    If China had continued down the road of colonization, it's likely a lot more treaty ports would become Hong Kongs as the colonial powers swallowed them up. You probably need no world wars to keep the European powers strong, and to have China face economic restrictions to keep it poor.
  5. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

    Jun 15, 2012
    Think we can do anything with Rotterdam?
  6. RogueTraderEnthusiast Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2016
    I can see that leading to two scenarios.

    War. All the time. The Chinese won't stand to be constantly exploited, they'll figure a way to overcome the restrictions.

    Cultural Division. Looking at Hong Kong, it is certainly possible to culturally fragment China. Trade ports may create Soft Dominions in China, but may well lead to proxy-wars as each power tries to dominate more of China. Leading to institutions like 'The Parliament of the Pearl River Territories', and 'The United Cities of Dutch China'.

    I'd suggest other names that are more distinct, but I don't know enough about the regions to know good local names. But in the latter scenario, "China" is more analogous to "Europe". Mandarin is obviously still the 'Lingua Franca'. But none of the European powers would stand for another being the "Emperor of China". Or for their rivals Protectorate/Ally being Emperor either.
    Remitonov likes this.
  7. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

    Dec 30, 2014
    New Orleans and some small areas in the area around it could develop in this fashion. Perhaps the Spanish keep the city and a series of treaties leads to the city becoming an area split into many different parts with Spanish, British, American and French areas of control. Eventually the city then is united and made into a city state that focuses on trade between the US, Caribbean, whatever power owns Basse Louisiane and Mexico.

    Zanzibar is a city that when connected or in control over the various island strings off the coast of the Kilwani sultanate could meet this requirement. Zanzibar has one major weakness abd that is that for the most part, the city was based upon the slave trade. Thus it may be necessary to change its mode of trade or keep European societies far more conservative and lax on the issue of slavery.

    Many of the cities along the West African coast. Somehow restrict European power projection in the region and make the slave trade remain longer outside Brazil and Africa.

    Musqat. For most of its history, Musqat was a city state that was seperated from the states of the Omani interior. It could remain so quite easily. In the future though, it is conceivable to imagine major demographic changes wherein the city is majority non Arab. Such challenges would need to be addressed, as well as the dangerous tribes of the interior and the powerful states in Iran.

    Numerous cities along the coast of Hindustan.

    Baghdad for much of the Saljuq period operates as a city state under the Abbasid Caliphate. If you can keep the Abbasid in Power in Baghdad, but also weakened enough to not make a resurgence, then in modern times, a monarchy in Baghdad could rule the city as a city state. The same goes for Samarra, which according to some accounts had reached over 100k inhabitants during its period as the capital of dar al-Islam (Abbasid Caliphate).

    Keep the Holy Roman Empire seperated constantly, then you perhaps could have numerous city states. This might also require no reformation.

    Etc... I can perhaps decide on more at a later time.
    JorgeGG and Taloc13 like this.
  8. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2014
    I had foolishly thought that Timor-Leste (East Timor) was 'close enough' to trade routes.

    But close enough may not be close enough! Meaning, for an independent trade city to work, it might pretty much need to be on at least one of the major trade routes.
  9. Summoner Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Ada Kaleh in the danube river
  10. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

    Sep 1, 2013
    Byzantine Empire 拂林國
  11. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

    Nov 27, 2007
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    I really doubt it. Once Rotterdam was in the position to become the biggest port in the world the Netherlands was fully formed as a nation.

    I have been thinking about a Amsterdam-TL/wank where the eastern provinces are lost. Holland would then be very much like Singapore.
  12. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2013
    Keep Danzig a free city?
  13. Chercha #TeamBlack

    Sep 19, 2013
    Riga in a TL where the Swedes remain stronger, leading to the Baltics being fought over by them, the Russians, the Poles and/or Prussians in the following centuries, with none of them wanting Riga to fall into the others hands.

    Frankfurt, Hamburg and Salzburg in a TL without Napoleon, with the HRE gradually falling apart. Free Imperial Cities are good candidates in general.

    Perhaps Buenos Aires if Argentina implodes soon after independence?
  14. Yanez de Gomera notorious procrastinator

    Feb 4, 2014
    il bel paese là, dove 'l sì suona
    Trieste has not been mentioned yet, but it could make a nice City-state and free port to link the Mediterranean and Mitteleuropa.
    Julius Vogel and Bolt451 like this.
  15. Tripledot Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Perhaps a surviving Lanfang Republic?
  16. finnz Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2013
    Aotearoa New Zealand
    Panama that becomes more of a city state?

    A continued international Tangier zone?

    An international Jerusalem zone?

    Independent Cape Town after independence/Boer Wars/apartheid?

    Tianjin that becomes more internationalised with a weaker PRC?

    Hainan that gets colonised by Britain or France?

    Independent Dubai?

    Independent New Orleans?
    Bolt451 likes this.
  17. anja Frank & Frei

    Jun 6, 2010
    Bavarian occupied territory
    To build a successful city state you need:
    Location: premium trade knot, harbour and/or trade line crossing.
    Location: if not a harbour at least two neighbours or you'll be strangled/swallowed.
    Location: defensible (can be waived by your usefulness see below).

    -last but not least-​
    The right time: your independence must be more beneficial to the regional powers than owning you/you being owned by someone else.
    JorgeGG likes this.
  18. aldonius "Cogito ergo nomnomnom"

    Sep 1, 2013
    By New World standards the Netherlands is almost one big city-state anyway!
  19. AlternateCountries1234567 Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2015
    New York City, NY
    Theodore Herzl’s suggestions for a Jewish homeland outside of Israel are more popular, and, after a bit of discussion, El-Arish is handed over to the Jews and becomes the citystate to be.
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  20. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2014
    Yes, Cairo, Illinois would be pretty interesting. :)

    And on first blush, we might think it'd be a dirty city with lax laws on drugs and prostitution. But maybe early leaders realize that would be a continuous source of bad feelings with the United States and might even endanger their independence.

    So, maybe it becomes known as a city of clean business.
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