America - Albion's Orphan - A history of the conquest of Britain - 1760

Chapter 211: Internal Dissention
1814 - Winter

Madrid


Queen Maria Louisa was not in the best of health. Taking a inter chill, the old woman would retreat from Court for several months, perhaps leaving her husband to his own devices for the longest period since their marriage. Even those times when separated by pregnancy were not terribly long. In truth, the Queen was not worried that her weak and malleable husband may begin to assert his own authority. That hadn't happened in the decades they had known one another and Carlos IV was unlikely to start thinking for himself now.

In truth, a number of nobles, courtiers and other powerful men (often excluded from power or out of favor by the Queen) would encourage the King to change Ministers. Some even approached the new Infante, Carlos, after he returned from his trip across Europe. But the Prince would not accept anything that undermined his family's Royal Authority. Instead, the Prince duly informed his father....whom didn't even bother to inform his Ministers of the dissent. Without his wife, Carlos IV would merely wait for instruction from the men whom his wife ordered him to obey.

In the meantime, the insurrection in New Spain continued and even expanded somewhat as another peasant revolt would rise up in the area of the silver mines of Zacatecas. Beyond the annoyance of having to put down yet another revolt, this also cut off a large amount of badly needed hard currency.

As it so happened, trouble was brewing elsewhere in the House of Spanish Bourbon realms. Naples itself remained peaceful enough but the aging King Victor Emmanuel of Italy, whom had pronounced his daughter his heiress rather than follow Salic Law and grant title to his brother Charles Felix, would face significant resistance from both high and low born at this arrangement. This was not due to Charles Felix' popularity. Far from it. More the people of the Kingdom of Italy, whom had united most of the Italian people and half the territory under one flag, was about to be subsumed (in the Italian mind) by the unification with the House of Habsburg.

The German/Hungarian/etc Habsburgs possessed more prosperous regions and the northern half of the Italian peninsula would likely take a subservient role when united dynastically at some point in the future by the King's grandson, the boy Francis Victor of Austria, whom was also the son of Emperor Francis of Austria. Technically the boy's parents would rule each domain separately, potentially for decades, before the young Francis Victor would see them unified under his own personal union. But Princes Maria Beatrice was already intent upon allowing her husband direct control over her domains when her father passed.

Given King Victor's ill-health, this seemed likely sooner rather than later.

Many Italians were unhappy with the situation and went so far as to approach the King's younger brother, Charles Felix, to press for his own claims under Salic Law. The downside of this was that Charles Felix was a notorious reactionary and would be aghast at siding with rebels, even to put himself on the throne. Another modest problem was that Charles Felix was childless and the last of the direct (Salic-Law) male descendants of the main Savoyard line.

An alternative option was Charles Albert, a distant cousin whom would be next in line. He was reportedly sympathetic to the reform faction in Rome and Milan...but also not inclined to rebel, not least because he didn't believe rebels would win.

Many Spanish nobles would look upon the situation and consider throwing Spain's considerable weight behind one or the other of these challengers but doubted that anything short of total war with Northern Italy...and therefore Austria...was likely to alter this state of affairs. And with the poor performance of the Spanish Army in the recent war with America and putting down the rebellion in New Spain, it was apparent that even a total war with some support from Northern Italian factions would hardly be a given.

This was one of the reasons why the Spanish Court was quietly re-approaching Bourbon France, itself carrying on a number of internal problems related to the ill-health of Louis XVI and the weakness of his heir.

Later historians would look upon this era with a level of contempt for the general paucity of impressive leaders throughout Europe. Francis II, Victor Emmanuel, Carlos IV, Louis XVI, Frederick William III (Prussia), Paul of Russia, William IV of England (now Wessex), Christian of Denmark (died childless in 1808 and left the government to his brother Frederick VI), etc, etc.

As such, the Spanish Ministers could not find adequate allies to oppose this unification between Northern Italy and Austria which would leave Naples so terribly in danger. Ironically, the only other power whom seemed to care and might potentially be willing to aid Spain was the newly renamed "Northern Confederation", a protestant-led assortment of northern German, Scandinavian and others states. The Spanish Court was aghast at the idea of allying with Protestants and redoubled their efforts at reminding France of the danger of a united Austria-Italy.

However, the French court, after over 60 years of continuous expansion, had fortified its own borders over the years to the point that the French believed themselves invulnerable to invasion (they might have been right). In addition to their own lands, the French had client states like the Palatinate, Baden, Wurttemberg and other western German Catholic states along their frontier. Thus the French were not inclined to make this unification, which seemed to far away anyway, a political priority.
 
Chapter 212: Repression
1815 - Spring

Moscow


Having no particular use for the large numbers of Jews Russia had recently acquired, Czar Paul would allow his son Alexander to deal with them. In truth, Paul had been relatively soft on the assorted minorities of Russia relative to some of his predecessors. No one was entirely certain why but the Prince would intensely dislike the people and saw no reason why they should remain.

It was Prince Alexander whom worked with the French Ambassador to arrange transport for a "select few" Jews to their new homeland in Saint Domingue. Over 20,000 Jews would be emptied out of several northern Ruthenia districts and put on boats hired by the French and Russian government bound for the West Indies. The exact nature of this new "homeland" was nebulous. Would they be effectively marooned upon the island like the Gypsies, forbidden to leave?

No one was certain.

But the young King of Poland, whom disliked Jews as much as the Russian Prince, would inquire with the French nation if the Polish Jews would also find a place in the Caribbean....should they desire, of course.

Egypt


The Khedive would almost enjoy the sight of hundreds of Coptic Christians sailing away from the Nile, the first of many. Near constant oppression against all minorities would continue to the point that even Egyptian Christians whom never conceived of life elsewhere were spurred to depart. But where would they go?

The Czar, whom championed these people, would offer new homelands for the Egyptians along the Black Sea as well as ordering his Greek and Bulgarian "allies" to accept Egyptians in lightly populated regions of Greece and Thrace.

Similarly, the first Egyptian immigrants to Saint Domingue arrived in 1816, the first of many.

Honshu


Having finally crushed the Shogunate forces and returning true power to the Emperor's court, the Empire of Nippon was uncertain where to go from here. The southern islands remained under Chinese control and the Chinese Navy would be able to swiftly attack any coastal Nipponese city (and they were all pretty much coastal) without retaliation. Also, this control over the seas would allow the Chinese to pick their place of invasion at the time and place of their choosing.

Though the civil war of Nippon was over, the military situation versus the invaders was little to no better.

Southern New Spain


Over the course of 1815, the rebellion would spread to the south of New Spain. While the Imperial forces would win several battles, poorly armed peasant forces would cut supply lines and ambush any group of soldiers greater than 20 men.

By 1815, the Imperial forces still held Monterrey, the ruins of Mexico City and Oaxaca but the western regions became ever more restive. A newly formed army of 5000 Granadans, Peruvians and Chileans, armed and supplied by Spain, would sail to the Pacific coast west of Oaxaca and strike northwestwards, devastating huge swathes of Southern and Southwestern New Spain.

These soldiers were largely considered the lowest of the low. Base pillagers encouraged to destroy as much as they could. Officered by Spaniards, reconquest was not the intent but punishment. No major rebel armies existed in the area and the Spanish troops travelled from one southern town to another, razing it to the ground, leaving behind famine.
 
the ethnic mix of haiti must be a monster mess
Along with a potentially volatile mix of ethnicities and religions, isn't the population density soon becoming quite high? The proverbial "ten pounds(lbs) of stuff in a five pound bag"
 
I am kinda curious if this America will be experiencing their own equivalent of the wild west here or if they'll end up filling the same role as the British Empire during the Victorian era (or both).
 

G-6

Banned
Won't all the immigration to french lands cause mass death because of over population or no enough food?
 
Along with a potentially volatile mix of ethnicities and religions, isn't the population density soon becoming quite high? The proverbial "ten pounds(lbs) of stuff in a five pound bag"
No, after half a century of war and without an influx of slaves, the French and African population was very low, perhaps 1/4 of otl. The Gypsies made up for some of this but I still have haiti’s Population less than 250,000.

Even if all 500,000 or so of the Jews in a Russia and Poland went to Haiti, plus all the 500,000 or so Coptics, overpopulation would not be an issue.
 
I have to wonder how future historians of this TL will regard the fall of England. Will they see it as inevitable or will they generally think of it as we do of some strange historical events - a "fluke" that had to go through a bunch of stuff to actually happen and thus alt-historians are writing about a Britain that never fell?
 
I have to wonder how future historians of this TL will regard the fall of England. Will they see it as inevitable or will they generally think of it as we do of some strange historical events - a "fluke" that had to go through a bunch of stuff to actually happen and thus alt-historians are writing about a Britain that never fell?
To be honest, I just about always take an "actually, OTL was just about inevitable" sort of tack, I suppose. I mean, I might have some enthusiasm for say the Paris Commune not being massacred and instead taking over France, but I am pessimistic about it, regarding it as quite a long shot. British colonies without slavery? CSA defeats a Lincoln-led Union, or just about any Republican led Union? Hitler conquers the USSR? I'd start out with the premise that these are all highly unlikely and perhaps even impossible.

I did find it at least conceivable that the premise of "A Blunted Sickle," which was that Hitler's attack on France was not in fact a slam dunk to succeed and the odds were fairly good that actually the Franco-British alliance would prevail there at least to the extent of limiting the penetration of Reich forces into France and turning it into a WWI type slugfest where Germany would be at many disadvantages might be reasonable, and we therefore live in a not extremely high probability world in that respect, perhaps if we could objectively chart timelines there are more where Hitler fails here than succeeds. But it took that author's arguments to convince me they might be correct; prior to that I assumed France was doomed.

So--let me answer you with this question:

What OTL events do you regard as low probability, fluke events that were less likely to happen than the opposite, but were irreversible and changed the course of history? If the author of A Blunted Sickle is correct, the Fall of France is one of these. If Harold of Wessex had better than 50/50 odds of surviving Hastings and doing more damage to the Norman invaders than they did to the English forces, I suppose the Norman Conquest is another of those. But I still tend to think England was vulnerable and might have been so forcibly conquered in a large time window (indeed Knut of Denmark had only just recently done it before!)

As a general thing, I tend to suppose that if this or that event did turn on a knife edge, it probably was not that decisively important--whatever OTL result a different roll of the dice would prevent, comes in later anyway. This might be terribly wrong of course, and history might be a lot more chaotic than I think.

I never really understood enough about 18th century warfare to judge whether France could possibly accomplish the sweeping results of the ATL invasion in this TL; I just chose to roll with it without crying foul, because I certainly don't know enough to attempt to prove it is impossible.

I do feel that it is actually rather unlikely, and that even if it were true that a bunch of French troops could overturn all England's civil society in the short run, I suspect that a more likely outcome would be successful uprisings pin down and swallow up French forces in occupation, and then the English would be capable of rapidly mustering sufficient defenses by land and sea to make the job of subsequent waves of French forces much more difficult, and eventually, at great cost to both nations, the upshot is the UK is right back there, decimated and impoverished but with the basic means to get back toward OTL, and France either cuts her losses early to stay pretty strong, or is badly weakened and vulnerable to revanchist rivals if they blow too much on trying to keep England down.

So relative to that sort of gut judgement, this TL is the outcome of France drawing a couple inside straights--first in pulling off the long shot conquest plan, then getting lucky in uprising repression, succeeding at it long enough to cultivate strong factions interested in keeping England divided. But in most ATLs where they accomplished the first one they roll snake eyes on the second--and if they don't pull off the first long shot, making these TLs rare, the question of the second one is moot of course.

So which OTL events would you point to as reasonably also considered wacky, unlikely trifectas that changed history against the odds?
 
I have to wonder how future historians of this TL will regard the fall of England. Will they see it as inevitable or will they generally think of it as we do of some strange historical events - a "fluke" that had to go through a bunch of stuff to actually happen and thus alt-historians are writing about a Britain that never fell?
I think that the idea in OTL was that the Royal Navy would repel any invasion.

In reality, the British Army of the 7 Years War (really the entire 18th century) was of modest size, particularly the garrison on Britain itself. The militia was always poorly armed, funded, organized and officered. I tried to refer to that in my TL.

If the French reach land, winning battle would not be a problem. As stated elsewhere, resistance would be terrible but not necessarily insurmountable especially when the French put a puppet on the British throne and then keep the French forces out of the British eye unless the violence gets too bad.

I also referred to the reparations would have to be modest in order to keep the British from daily revolts.
 
To be honest, I just about always take an "actually, OTL was just about inevitable" sort of tack, I suppose. I mean, I might have some enthusiasm for say the Paris Commune not being massacred and instead taking over France, but I am pessimistic about it, regarding it as quite a long shot. British colonies without slavery? CSA defeats a Lincoln-led Union, or just about any Republican led Union? Hitler conquers the USSR? I'd start out with the premise that these are all highly unlikely and perhaps even impossible.

I did find it at least conceivable that the premise of "A Blunted Sickle," which was that Hitler's attack on France was not in fact a slam dunk to succeed and the odds were fairly good that actually the Franco-British alliance would prevail there at least to the extent of limiting the penetration of Reich forces into France and turning it into a WWI type slugfest where Germany would be at many disadvantages might be reasonable, and we therefore live in a not extremely high probability world in that respect, perhaps if we could objectively chart timelines there are more where Hitler fails here than succeeds. But it took that author's arguments to convince me they might be correct; prior to that I assumed France was doomed.

So--let me answer you with this question:

What OTL events do you regard as low probability, fluke events that were less likely to happen than the opposite, but were irreversible and changed the course of history? If the author of A Blunted Sickle is correct, the Fall of France is one of these. If Harold of Wessex had better than 50/50 odds of surviving Hastings and doing more damage to the Norman invaders than they did to the English forces, I suppose the Norman Conquest is another of those. But I still tend to think England was vulnerable and might have been so forcibly conquered in a large time window (indeed Knut of Denmark had only just recently done it before!)

As a general thing, I tend to suppose that if this or that event did turn on a knife edge, it probably was not that decisively important--whatever OTL result a different roll of the dice would prevent, comes in later anyway. This might be terribly wrong of course, and history might be a lot more chaotic than I think.

I never really understood enough about 18th century warfare to judge whether France could possibly accomplish the sweeping results of the ATL invasion in this TL; I just chose to roll with it without crying foul, because I certainly don't know enough to attempt to prove it is impossible.

I do feel that it is actually rather unlikely, and that even if it were true that a bunch of French troops could overturn all England's civil society in the short run, I suspect that a more likely outcome would be successful uprisings pin down and swallow up French forces in occupation, and then the English would be capable of rapidly mustering sufficient defenses by land and sea to make the job of subsequent waves of French forces much more difficult, and eventually, at great cost to both nations, the upshot is the UK is right back there, decimated and impoverished but with the basic means to get back toward OTL, and France either cuts her losses early to stay pretty strong, or is badly weakened and vulnerable to revanchist rivals if they blow too much on trying to keep England down.

So relative to that sort of gut judgement, this TL is the outcome of France drawing a couple inside straights--first in pulling off the long shot conquest plan, then getting lucky in uprising repression, succeeding at it long enough to cultivate strong factions interested in keeping England divided. But in most ATLs where they accomplished the first one they roll snake eyes on the second--and if they don't pull off the first long shot, making these TLs rare, the question of the second one is moot of course.

So which OTL events would you point to as reasonably also considered wacky, unlikely trifectas that changed history against the odds?
I've thought about doing a William the Norman gets repulsed at Hastings (which may have happened) but am not an expert in the area.

I've also thought about a TL in which the Byzantine/Persian war just prior to the rise of Islam were avoided, thus leaving both Empires in far better shape to resist the invaders from Arabia. It is possible that Islam may have remained a niche in Arabia and a few thousand Bedouins on horseback would never have conquered far larger and more established populations in Syria, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Persia and Egypt with such speed or ease. Persia may have remained Zoroastrian and the west remained Christian in perpetuity.
 
I would imagine "Greencoat" Cavalry patrolling the hinterlands of the Great Plains similar to the Redcoats did in OTL Australia.
Too early to tell perhaps, but the British Empire comparison and the alternative settlement on the West Coast leads me to question whether "Manifest Destiny" will become a dominant idea in this universe.
 
Chapter 213: New Ground
Fall 1815

Port-au-Prince, Saint Domingue


Throughout 1814 and 1815, the first shiploads of Jews from Russia and Poland arrived in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Francais. The intent for accepting these largely unwilling immigrants on the part of the French was the hope of a potential reinvigoration of the sugar industry. Over the past fifty years, since the commencement of the previous war had led to large-scale slave rebellions to the eventual ban on the slave trade and finally the abolition movement, the population of what was once the most valuable and profitable colony on Earth had drastically fallen from the 450,000 in 1756 down to less than 100,000 in 1785 due to war, unbalanced gender ratios and exports of slaves to other islands or Brazil had only been partially reversed by the arrival of a new workforce in the form of the Roma.

However, even this barely brought the population back to 250,000. French emigration to Saint Domingue (really, ANY settlers would have been welcomed) barely exceeded local French death rates or emigration back to the homeland. The manumission would see the harsh, back-breaking and dangerous sugar plantations founder as most of the freedmen would opt to make a living in the largely Mulatto-owned coffee plantations of the highland where labor conditions were far better. The introduction of the cane beetle would further cripple the once-lucrative sugar industry. Huge amounts of lowland land long dedicated to sugar production, once held in such prized esteem, would lay fallow and slowly return to its natural state over the decades.

The internal migration of the Freedmen and Roma would have an unexpected side effect unrecognized at the time as the Yellow Fever and Malaria epidemics would slowly diminish in scope over the past few decades. This was on account of several factors:

1. The disease-carrying mosquitos were less-prevalent in the highland coffee plantations (and the towns).
2. The towns had long learned to manage their sewage systems and the entire island had drained local swamps to avoid the worst of outbreaks.
3. The return of forestation on so much of the island had led to an unexpected benefit: mosquito-eating bird populations that had been lost when the initial clearcutting for sugar fields had taken places were quick to reestablish and this aided in the reduction of the mosquito population (this would not be well understood for nearly a century but was highly important to the reduction in the Yellow Fever and Malaria problem).
4. Improved medical care and general access to quinine had extended lives and reduced in duration and intensity the common epidemics.

Still, voluntary migration to Saint Domingue and the other French colonies in the West Indies was modest to say the least. Somehow even the Spanish managed higher rates of immigration to their own colonies of Cuba and Puerto Rico (though Santo Domingo remained modestly settled). Some of the Roma imported from the corners of Europe had migrated across the border into Santo Domingo providing a welcome increase in local labor.

But this did nothing for the French side of Hispaniola.

It was hoped that the Jews imported from Russia and Poland would reinvigorate the sugar industry. Unlike many of the Jews of Europe, North Africa and the Levant, the Polish and Russian Jews (once part of the Commonwealth) had been allowed to work the land like other locals. Most nations had restrictions on Jews owning land and to what occupations they could ply. As many of the incoming migrants had been farmers in the old country(ies), many French bureaucrats envisioned fields of sugar being tended by Jewish labor.

Instead, the initial migrants would set themselves up within a few years as middlemen, not only for the island's coffee and moribund sugar industry but as a regional wholesaler for a variety of goods. The frigid American and Spanish relations led the Jews to become important facilitators for the feuding groups, at least in the short term. In the meantime, jewelers, goldsmiths, silversmiths and other professions common to Jews would become a significant local industry.

Even the farmers of old Poland and Russia would prefer to work the docks as longshoreman or common laborers in the towns than on some wretched sugar plantation. Many of these old sugar plantations were swiftly being broken up into small subsistence farms and fruit plantations. Quinine, spices, cotton and even chocolate would be raised on the island, partially aided by these new residents. The swift success of the initial Jews to Hispaniola would swiftly encourage other Jews to migrate from Poland and Russia....at least partially of their own volition. Wholesale forced expulsions were not yet common...though certainly.....encouraged.
 
I have no doubt that the Jews of Russia would be better off in the Americas, Russia never being very tolerant of them at any point from the Empire to today. But how is the climate in Europe for Jews in the countries that aren't expelling them (yet)?

How are the common citizens of the empires reacting to the remaining colonies being used to deport "undesirables" instead of just economic on a larger scale?
 
Chapter 214: Nomads No More / Settled No More
Winter, 1815

For centuries, the "Gypsies" or Romani (or Roma and a thousand other terms varying by country) had been reviled by locals, only tolerated for their occasional usefulness gathering harvests and providing skilled labor like metalworking. Derided as thieves in the west, the Romani had been treated as slaves in the east, particularly in the Balkans.

In the late 18th century, many European countries jumped at the French offer to ship the Romani free of charge to the New World in hopes they would serve as a viable labor source in post-slavery West Indies. This was partially successful. Many of the Romani would spend the 1780's and 1790's working alongside the remnant of the black population in Saint Domingue on the coffee plantations of the north and west in particular.

However, by 1815, enough of the Romani, the Freedmen, the poor French and other peoples residing in Saint Domingue had been able to acquire their own farmsteads. Most of these were modest-sized. Initially, the majority of farmers would raise subsistence crops to keep their families fed. Oddly, this allowed the French 1/3rd of Hispaniola to be more self-sufficient than it had ever been and less dependent on food imports from America. However, once the farms became more established, many would be converted to secondary crops like cotton, indigo and tobacco. These crops had fewer barriers to entry as they required less capital than sugar and coffee to grow profitably, though the profit potential was more limited. Cotton and tobacco were also notoriously soil-depleting, a problem even on fertile Hispaniola.

The Jewish settlers with farming backgrounds would also follow these patterns.

Eventually, a sort of economic segregation would occur. The remnant of the sugar plantations, with their expensive equipment and specialized labor, would be associated with French and Spanish landowners (many of the old "French" gentry of Saint Domingue were really of Spanish origins).

The Mulattos would dominate the coffee production in the mountains as they had for fifty years (when the half-breed children of white plantation owners and their black mistresses were freed, they took on the only land still available, in the mountains where sugar could not be grown but was ideal for coffee. Eventually, a third of Saint Domingue's land and half the slaves prior to manumission had belonged to other blacks or mulattos).

Freedmen (usually called such due to darker skin, differentiating themselves from the Mixed Race class) would be identified as cotton producers on the old sugar plantations.

Romani would dominate the tobacco production.

The Jews would disproportionately grow indigo.

When the Romani had been brought to Saint Domingue a generation prior, the idea had been for them to be travelling laborers. However, despite the stereotype, most Romani in Europe had not been nomadic, at least on a regular basis, particularly the Romani slaves of the Balkans. In Spain, any travel by Romani had often been forbidden as they were forced to remain in a few dozen Spanish villages. Once in Saint Domingue, most settled into permanent communities swiftly. As the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola was hardly well-suited for the carts and wagons commonly associated with Romani life, this also prevented a significant recurrence of the partially mythic nomadic life of Romani.

With the reduction in the once-common Malaria and Yellow Fever epidemics, the island would see a resurgence in exports bound for a Europe eager for their wares. While it would never again be known as the Pearl of the West Indies, a certain prosperity under a French benign neglect would settle in that would continue until the late 20th century when the economy transitioned towards domination by tourism and offshore banking.

Western New Spain

Throughout the past five years, the near constant revolt in Western New Spain had led to misery for the common peasants, usually Mestizos and Indians. The Spanish Imperial forces won most battle but often was forced to retreat by insurgent forces cutting their supply lines. The war spread north and south of the scarred remnant of Mexico City.

To regain control, the Imperial forces would ever more ruthlessly wipe entire villages off the map. Hundreds of thousands would die of hunger, exposure and disease in the aftermath of these raids.

Many of the colonials would flee north towards Sonora, California and anywhere far away from the fighting. Often in these remote locales, there was no effective government, either rebel or Imperial. In one notable instance, the City of San Diego was burned twice over the course of a month, once by Imperial forces from Peru and once by rebel forces from Valladolid. Both had been under the impression that San Diego supported the opposite side as the local governors did not report to THEM. In reality, there was no local government of note and the attacks served no purpose but to extend the misery.

Some colonials even travelled north into American territory. While nominally a Protestant nation, willing workers were seldom turned away on the frontier.
 
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