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

Chapter 305
1863

The Congo


Charles Gordon's family had served England for four generations and, thus, it was mooted that Charles himself would serve as a soldier. However, the breakup of England complicated matters and Gordon would remain for years in the service of the Kingdom of Wessex as a low level officer with little chance to finally bored with it all, Gordon had resigned and set off to serve in the East India Company.

A religious man, Gordon spend much of his time in Sumatra preaching Christianity to the locals, most of which were Muslim. Fearing that the officer would start an uprising, Gordon was transferred to the Congo. Here the man's religious feelings would come to the fore as he witnessed Christian Congolese effectively treated as slaves. He would protest to the regional director, John Rowlands, an impossibly young man, to no avail.

When word of Gordon's resistance reached the natives, they took heart that their complaints at their exploitation were being heard. Gordon would be granted an audience with Rowlands who invited him to dinner. Over several hours, the regional commander would explain the needs of the company must be taken into account lest the undertaking in the Congo fail and the region fall under anarchy. Gordon refused to waver and retorted that exploitation of Christians was a fundamental sin and must immediately be stopped.

Sometime during the dinner, an ancient man in a scarf stood to wander about, perhaps intending on grabbing a snifter of brandy for himself, and suddenly pulled out a knife and slit Gordon's throat. The soldier's body was thrown in the river to rot and, when discovered days later, was explained off as native insurgence. 20 native workers who had been protesting their conditions were executed and 50 more had their left hands struck off in retaliation.

Manhattan

First Lord Abraham Lincoln would face a great trial in his last few years in office. The issue of "Negro Rights" had come to the fore. While the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights never specifically excluded Negros from the franchise, several Dominions nevertheless refused them the vote. The "Swinging Sixties" would see Dominion after Dominion specifically address this issue while the Supreme Court was challenged repeatedly on the matter.

Many questioned America's moral high ground (and Americans, like their British predecessors like the high ground) when Negroes were excluded by local mandate from the franchise. The Supreme Court was faced with the matter and ruled in 1863 that race or religion could not be taken into account for voting privileges.

While both Lincoln and the King hoped this would resolve the matter, in reality it had just commenced as several Dominions either patently refused to accept the judgement or took internal steps to prevent any negroes from voting.

Many in America did not see the issue as Negroes were historically more than welcome to vote in the west. But some eastern Dominions, particularly the former "Slave Dominions" would see granting the vote unacceptable.

The battle lines were being formed.
 

Vince

Monthly Donor
I look forward to McClellan running like a chicken because he thinks they're "a hundred thousand zulus" ready to attack him when he's only facing a few thousand.
 
What is the status of Bengal? Is there any Maratha expansion towards the north east?

I am surprised there is no increase in population in India compared to Russia or China?

Will we see any sorta Buddhist revival through sri Lanka? What happened to Bhutan and Sikkim?
 
Chapter 306 New
1863

The Congo


While the full potential of the Congo had yet to be tapped as many of the palm oil and rubber trees were still to mature, revenues were growing exponentially. There were even experiments with mining, ground nuts and other activities. Local tribes were compelled by force to work in the fields. Those who resisted were killed or horrifically maimed.

Still, John Rowlands and the other district governors in the employ of the East India Company ruthlessly exploited the population without a hint of mercy. They would turn some tribes into privileged "police" or militia units intended to keep the others suppressed. When a suitable tribe could not be identified, then gangs of Javans, Sumatrans, Marathans or others would be hired to maintain order.

While there was some fear that France or some other European power may swoop in with their superior navies and assume control, this would be avoided by a strategy of ruthless neutrality. No nations were to be given "most favored nation" status nor would any nation be excluded. All exports from the Congo went to the highest bidder. In a way, knowing that the resources were not automatically going to an enemy would keep most European nations from intervening in Africa as a whole. The governance of the Congo was plainly a dirty and expensive matter with which most nations would not desire to soil their hands.

Cape Colony

While many European nations had enacted laws ordering their citizens from partaking in foreign wars, this did not necessarily halt the flow of mercenaries abroad. Among those who served in the armies of the Maratha Empire, the East India Company, China and other nations was George McClellan, considered a talented and intelligent American officer trapped in a peacetime army. Already in his late thirties, McClellan realized that he would likely spend his entire career without seeing a battle. Instead of a glorious career, he would slog for decades, receiving a promotion ever seven or eight years until he was granted a position on the general staff only a few years before retirement. A kind word from the King, possibly even a Knighthood though this was unlikely for a non-combat officer, and a petty pension would be received at his retirement.

McClellan would resign from his post in New York with agreement of his wife, Mary Ellen, and the couple would travel to Southern Africa and the Cape Colony where his army was quietly assembling. While 4000 men were assembled from the East Indies and Africa, they were to be officered by a combination of European, American and Marathan officers.

However, upon arrival, McClellan would be livid to discover he would not be placed in overall command but in command of a full-strength regiment stationed east of Cape Town. McClellan, though never explicitly offered this command, nevertheless interpreted this as his due. Instead, the overall command would go to Prince Felix of Salm-Salm, a former state in the Holy Roman Empire which had been mediatized to France generations ago. Felix would, like many of his class, seek an honorable career in the military.

The only possible consolation to McClellan was that he had been superceded by a Prince.

The other Regimental commanders included William Walker of America, Arkan Singh of the Maratha Empire (Sikh Kingdom tributary state) and Sajid Bashir of the Maratha Empire (a Muslim in service of the Peshwa).

Junior officers included the Danish-Irishman Charles Van Henningsen, Americans John de Havilland and Chatham Roberdeau Wheat (a younger classmate of McClellin's at West Point), the Scot Harry Maclean, the Wessex-born Valentine Baker and two members of the House of Wesley, grandsons of Arthur Wesley the King of Nepal, Manu and Bhavesh Wesley.

While the Americans were somewhat taken aback to see so brown faces in command positions, only William Walker commented upon such.

Prince Felix would rapidly demand that his subordinates shape up the East Indian and African troops and quickly earned the respect of all his subordinates, save perhaps the sullen McClellan.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 307 New
1863

Manhattan


Baron Maximilian Van Washington was the uncle by marriage of Princess Adelheid of America, wife of the heir, Prince Henry. Only a decade or so older than his niece, Maximilian would enter the service of America as the Grand Chamberlain of his niece's and nephew's household. These sorts of political positions were common among the aristocracy and many of the old British gentry which had migrated to America had become glorified servants over the years.

As "Grand Chamberlain" was basically an honorary position (with modest pay), Van Washington would be granted various positions at the King's request as a trade ambassador and custom's official. The latter department had recently taken on the role of controlling the wave of immigration into the nation though, in 1863, the interest was more in isolating those settlers with health concerns like those afflicted with infectious diseases. Speaking several languages, the Baron would rapidly rise in this new department.

While serving as such, the Baron would be alerted to a request by a French merchant captain for a parlay. While no passengers were on this ship, the French Captain would detail the rescue of a man in a sinking fishing boat some time before. He explain that the man had a great goiter or growth on his neck and inexplicably opted to remain in Africa rather than be repatriated to America. Only later would the French captain learn of the details of Armstrong Hyman Thruston's escape from St. Barts....and the proffered reward.

Though Van Washington had heard of Thruston, he doubted that the man the Frenchman rescued, if the story was even true, would turn out to be the infamous would-be assassin. Still, Van Washington felt obliged to investigate. He related the story to the Foreign Secretary. While America did not send an Ambassador to any part of Africa south of the Berber Kingdom, there were occasionally trade commissions to acquire rubber and other goods from the Congo. The Foreign Secretary would relate this to the Board of Trade and request that this body dispatch an investigator on their next mission to Africa.

The mission would not take place until the following year.

West Point

"Freddy" Nietzsche's first year at West Point had been difficult. Though his English improved a great deal, it still cost him many points on various exams and his lack of interest in Mathematics did not do him any favors. Still, "Freddy" had proven popular with his classmates for his intellectual rigors and his developing horsemanship. A recent West Point graduate and German descendent, George Custer had been appointed Riding Master on short notice (due to the previous riding master resigning without warning) and taken the young German under his wing. Custer was a northerner as well and one of Frederick's classmates, Thomas Custer, was the Riding Master's brother. A third Custer, Boston, would enroll in West Point in 1865.

Though northerners were not known as the elite horsemen of America (Virginians and westerner "Cowboys" held that honor), the German and his Michigander friends would dominate the class. The Commandant would darkly mutter that Nietzsche better be handed over to the cavalry at graduation else he'd have no value to the nation.

Nubia

Muhammad Ahmad had spent the past few years studying the Qur'an under his mentor but could never truly commit to the study given the events of the day. Egyptian forces had repeatedly marched through Nubia to crush any who opposed their rule. Tribes were slaughtered to the point of being nearly wiped out. Still, nothing seemed to halt the Egyptians.

Distressed, Muhammad Ahmad would throw himself into the word of God looking for an answer.

Eastern Congo

"Bill Jones" was starting to enjoy the Congo. At least here no one harassed him and he was even able to live something like the life of the gentlemen planter he'd long aspired to be. As a perk of his position as an officer in the EIC army and high-ranking administrator, Jones was able to acquire a personal household staff of Pygmies. He found them fascinating to no end, most barely reaching his bellybutton but not disproportioned by like the dwarves one saw in the circuses back home. "Humunculus" was the term commonly used and Jones began to see why European courts used to have dozens of these peoples puttering around.

Jones needed his spirits lifted. He'd received a large number of foreign newspapers, mostly at least a year old or older, which he devoured in the evening. It was easy in the Congo to be cut off from humanity and the last thing he wanted was to "go native".

Unfortunately, a Manhattan newspaper would review the play "Rascal" in which young John Wilkes Booth portrayed the comically inept attempted regicide Armstrong Hyman Thruston through his lifelong series of misadventures.

This was painful. What was MORE PAINFUL was reading how large portions of the gate for this long-running play went to Thruston's bastard son as did revenues for the book Thruston himself had written. Apparently, the Inuit half-blood now was a teenager and owned a large plantation in Maryland staffed with laborers.

Jones soon suffered a migraine and took to his bed.
 
Last edited:
Huh, is the KoNA going to get involved with the Congo in a significant way?

Right now, van Washington is starting to investigate rumors of Thurston brought to the African mainland which would definitely raise an alarm to the horrible thing that the EIC is doing.

I'm guessing that this might end up in a transcontinental war, where the KoNA fights the EIC in Africa.

If van Washington figures out that Thurston is in the Congo and employed by the EIC, Thurston might trie to kill and silence him. Thurston killing another Washington would be the breaking point to make sure he stays dead.
 
Huh, is the KoNA going to get involved with the Congo in a significant way?

Right now, van Washington is starting to investigate rumors of Thurston brought to the African mainland which would definitely raise an alarm to the horrible thing that the EIC is doing.

I'm guessing that this might end up in a transcontinental war, where the KoNA fights the EIC in Africa.

If van Washington figures out that Thurston is in the Congo and employed by the EIC, Thurston might trie to kill and silence him. Thurston killing another Washington would be the breaking point to make sure he stays dead.
It wasn't my intention to get KNA involved in the Congo. They wouldn't declare war upon the EAC just because an attempted regicide from 50 years ago lied about his identity to hide in the Congo. More likely, they would demand that the EAC investigate. Remember that Thruston is in his 70's and in the Congo. Most would assume he would die soon anyway.

There is no way the EAC would piss off a major customer to save a 70-something man.
 
Last edited:
It wasn't my intention to get KNA involved in the Congo. They wouldn't declare war upon the EAC just because an attempted regicide from 50 years ago lied about his identity to hide in the Congo. More likely, they would demand that the EAC investigate. Remember that Thruston is in his 70's and in the Congo. Most would assume he would die soon anyway.

There is no way the EAC would piss off a major customer to save a 70-something man.
You really have a thing for torturing this guy, it very funny to read though
 
Chapter 308 New
1864

Manhattan


First Lord Abraham Lincoln would spend much of 1864 on a controversial topic: mandated suffrage to all Freedmen (the general term for black men and mulattos).

The assorted Dominions would bear their own laws on the subject, roughly half of the Dominions in the Kingdom specifying that any prohibition of suffrage on the basis of race was illegal. Though this amounted to half the Dominions, these tended to be the lesser populated western dominions. On the other hand, these western dominions held nearly half of the nation's Negroes thus their voting power in Parliament was hardly inconsequential. Even though only four of the 210 Parliamentarians were black or mulatto (or at least proclaimed as such), many others were dependent upon black votes for their positions.

The issue of suffrage was not to go away. Even the King stated publicly that he was unaware of any law which made one citizen less than another. This was not quite a political statement but one which clearly supported the First Lord's position. Believing that a national law for equality was still premature, Lincoln would press his allies on a Dominion level to enact local laws, bringing the topic further and further to the forefront.

In addition, the First Lord would see to it that the first black Cadets were accepted into the Royal Navy Academy and West Point.

Viceroyalty of Leon (formerly Guatemala)


As the Viceroyalty of Guatemala was not considered at the forefront of the Spanish Empire, it did not merit a Prince of the blood as Viceroy (New Granada and Brazil would get King Carlos VI's younger brothers). However, it did receive a quality administrator. Prince Antonio, a cousin of the King, was appointed Viceroy to Guatemala and rapidly improved the region's infrastructure, including railroads from the coffee-producing inland valleys to the coast.

The Viceroy also pointed out to the King that most of historical "Guatemala" was actually now part of the Viceroyalty of the Yucatan. Thus the Viceroyalty was renamed the Viceroyalty of Leon in 1864.

The region had long been something of a backwater since its conquest three and a half centuries prior. The introduction of infectious diseases had wiped out so many natives that the potential for large "hacienda"-style plantations was virtually nil. Spanish settlers would largely be forced to work their own land. Similarly, the unfortunate lack of suitable Caribbean ports and navigable rivers inland had ensured what resources were available were rarely exploited.

It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that coffee became a primary export and not until the 20th that bananas and other tropical goods could be a profitable and timely industry.

Similar changes were occurring in Brazil and Rio Plata where industry was beginning to take off and supplement the agriculture, ranching and mining industries which had long supported the economies.

The Congo

Three American diplomats were selected for an economic mission to the Congo: John Slidell of Manhattan, Benjamin D'Israeli of Pennsylvania and James Mason of Hanover. The trio were dispatched on the modest steamer frigate KNA Trenton under command of the elderly explorer Charles Wilkes. Wilkes had once been among the most hailed of American naval explorers, having been the last commander of an all-sail voyage around the world. However, harsh treatment of his subordinates had ruined Wilkes' reputation and largely shelved him for years from active duty. Finally being granted the Trenton, Wilkes was able to return to sea.

The mission was primarily a trade mission. In addition to the three "official" diplomats were representatives of shipyards hired to produce steam-ships for the East India Company's operations along the Congo River. American vessels were considered among the most sturdy and reliable river vessels in the world having proved themselves along the Mississippi, Rio Grande, Hudson and other large rivers (many were being utilized even in the Amazon) and the huge quantities of goods produced in the Congo required large numbers of ships. The first two ships had been escorted across the ocean and would sail with the Trenton up the Congo to their destinations (after taking on a new crew largely comprised of Topasses (Indian sailors of partial Portuguese Christian descent) hired from the subcontinent. The Trenton was a light and modern smallish steamer ships which could navigate brown water as easily as blue.

The diplomats would also ensure that the EIC's product was equally available for America's markets (rubber and cotton were particularly important in America). There was always the suspicion among the industrializing nations that somehow they were being shortchanged and thousands of weavers or manufactures would lose their jobs for lack of raw materials.

One additional request had been forwarded by the Office of the Lord Chancellor Judah Benjamin to the trio (ironically both Benjamin and D'Israeli were Jews born in London). He detailed a report by a French Captain that the infamous attempted regicide Armstrong Hyman Thruston had been rescued from a sinking fishing boat in the West Indies and was delivered by the French to Africa. Investigations of the Captain's background came up with no particular oddities and his word was not immediately rejected. While many men had been identified as Thruston over the years. the man had, in fact, vanished completely.

The three commissioners were asked to inquire and investigate if the report made by the French Captain may be true.

Over the local "winter" of 1864 while travelling up the Congo, the commissioners would make their inquiries and learn that an American with a bulbous throat (if that was the accurate term) had been hired to serve the East India Company in some sort of capacity in the interior. EIC officials were naturally reluctant to speak about individuals in their employ and only gave the name and location of their employee. Unfortunately, the man was stationed in the easternmost district of company control and the Americans were not planning on sailing THAT far up the river. The story, though vague on details, was starting to add up. An old "fisherman" with a bulbous throat deposited by the French ship in Africa suddenly decides he DOESN"T want to go home and elects to stay in the Congo?

It seems an unlikely decision by anyone.

Still, there were more inquiries to make and the commissioners would determine if further investigation was warranted. There was also the political consideration of what they could or would do IF....and that was a big IF....it turned out this old man was, in fact, Thruston. America had no authority here. They couldn't just assault some regional headquarters and seize the man. No matter his crime, the EIC could not accept such a violation of their territory.

No, diplomacy must be measured here. The last thing the commissioners wanted to to create an incident which would cost the nation's manufacturers sales and access to raw materials. It was quickly agreed that, IF this was Thruston, then quiet negotiations would no doubt bring about his deliverance into American hands. The EIC only wanted to be respected, they hardly would care about one petty employee, not when the gratitude of a major customer was at stake.
 
Chapter 309 New
1864

Ceylon


Kalman Wissotzky, already the largest tea distributor in Russia, would travel to Maratha Ceylon and the mainland Maratha Empire to acquire tea plantations in 1864. By the end of the decade, Wissotzky would control over 50% of the tea sales in Russia as well as large parts of Germany, Poland and as far as America. The acquisition of additional plantations would ensure that this market would only expand.

The long voyage to the subcontinent paid off. However, rather than sailing towards the Red Sea and the new Suez Canal, Wissotzky's ship would travel further east to Batavia, the headquarters of the East India Company. The wealthy merchant had received several reports of Company expansion in Africa and had a proposal for the Directors. For the past decades since the Zulu onslaught all but pushed the ineffectual Dutch back into the Sea, the lack of a local population had been the biggest problem in the Cape Colony and those lands to the west once farmed by Dutch settlers.

Huge numbers of European Jews were being displayed in Poland. While some found sanctuary in other parts of Europe, there remained some resentment and hindrances against large-scale Jewish migration in the Habsburg realms, Germany, Britain and other regions which did not desire a large number of Jewish immigrants. While Jews found sanctuary in British North America, the Spanish Empire, the Berber Kingdom and the Levant, they were hardly universally welcomed and never to be a majority.

The Jews of Europe desired their own homeland. Perhaps the largely desolate lands of Southern Africa may see this dream come true.

In short order, the Directors would assure Wissotzky that the Jews would be welcome in the region....without bothering to inform the Dutch who were already realizing that the EIC were pushing them aside. By 1865, wealthy Jews were helping to fund the settlement of thousands of Jews a year in the rich lands east of the Cape Colony. Within a few years, this number would go up exponentially especially as steamship travel lowered the cost of travel substantially. Indeed, it would get so cheap that the king of Poland, who inexplicably loathed Jews, would actually subsidize this transport directly.

Large farmsteads were organized for mutual protection called "Kibbutz". By 1870, over 120,000 European Jews would migrate to South Africa, demographically challenging the Dutch of the Cape Colony to the West. The EIC would be delighted as this not only resuscitated the economy of Southern Africa but the Kibbutz' would provide a usable militia force for Company requirements.

Spain


King Carlos VI would welcome the King of Sicily to his Court. Though some hard feelings remained from the loss of Italy and Sicily over the previous decades, Carlos VI saw no reason to continue this acrimony and proved a gracious host.

The King himself would visit Paris, Rome, Messina, Fez, Vienna, Lisbon and other European capitals in his lifetime. By the 1870's he would even commence voyages to the Viceroyalties of the new world.

Like many other crowned heads, the King would slowly see his power being stripped away to regional powers, democratic movements and bureaucratic expansions. Unlike many, he would not begrudge this and recognized that he could not possibly control this massive Empire with the help of only a few Corte Favorites.

Central Asia

By 1864, the Turkic peoples had effectively been wiped clean from the Central Asian plains. Huge numbers of Russians were travelling into the Steppe every year as emancipated Serfs, crushed by the debt inflicted upon them to "buy" the land they now owned, were granted free lands in the East with no such hindrances. At least part of the journey was now being supported by rail travel as the tracks snaked ever further East into the plains.

The Turkic tribes were treated as harshly as the Islamic peoples who once inhabited the northern Black Sea and northern Caucasus.

The Levant


Over the course of the past century, the rapidly changing demographics of the Levant continued to change. Where once the southern Levant was dominated by Arabs, the ejections of Muslim Europeans from the Balkans (Bosniaks, Albanians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Greeks, Turks, etc) had led to the Arabs being thrust aside. In the past few decades, these Muslim Europeans were joined by Copts, Shi'a and Sufi Egyptians, Jews from Poland and beyond, assorted European Christian "pilgrims" and Russians. Virtually every European church had a presence in Jerusalem and most nations had consulates, further encouraging migration. The Russian settlers were initially administrators and soldiers but the constant Russian presence in the Levant (Syria, mainly) would lead to large numbers of Russian civilians migrating as well. Assyrians, Kurds and other near-easterners would migrate into the prosperous region for economic reasons.

By 1864, the Levant was a confusing mishmash of dozens of ethnicities and faiths. Indeed, the Russians and their puppet King of Syria would prefer it this way as there was no single group which could realistically expect to conquer the entire Levant or throw off all the others.
 
Chapter 310 New
1864

Eastern Congo


By Spring, rumors were already spreading along the Congo River that an American embassy had been inquiring about an old American man with a enormous tumor on this throat. When they reached the far reaches of the Congo and John Rowlands' ears, the regional director would immediately seek out his friend, "Bill Jones".

"Is it true, Bill?" Rowlands demanded without preamble. "Are you this Armstrong Hyman Thruston the Americans are carrying on about?"

Having hidden his identity for years, Thruston was surprisingly upfront, "Yes."

Rowlands waited until he realized that "Bill" had nothing else to say. Then, he added, "Bill, get the hell out of here. There is no way that the EIC wants to be accused of harboring a regicide. It will be days before the Americans reach this plantation. Get out while you still can. I'll pay you your arrears now."

Bill thought about it and shook his head, "No, if the Americans are THAT determined to find me than they already must have arranged for any Company officials on the coast to stop me from boarding a ship. I'll never make it through."

Rowlands nodded, his mind racing. "All right, then take the money and go east. You have a good relationship with the Pygmies, right? Well, have your servants take you to the forest."

"You think I would survive long there? I'm past 75!"

"You already had malaria, Bill, and I'm not sure anything could kill you. Wait a few months and then come back. By that time everyone will have forgotten about you and you can board a ship for....I don't know, the Maratha Empire or something."

Bill slowly nodded. At this point in his life, he was no longer afraid of death but was quite certain he couldn't handle much more humiliation and he had no desire to spend another day in that hellhole of St. Barts. That night, the low ranking functionary would paddle east with his Pygmy servants who were apparently delighted to be going home. It was explained that Jones would be accompanying them to negotiate trade with the Pygmy chieftains (despite the Pygmies not caring much about trade) and would be staying a while with the tribe.

When the Americans belatedly arrived in May of 1864, a baffled-looking John Rowlands would announce that "Bill Jones" had absconded with his goods apparently intent on sailing for the Orient. By this point, the entire American expedition would immediately demand that the Trenton steam westward in an attempt to beat Jones to the coast, his identity not quite verified but widely assumed to be Armstrong Hyman Thruston. But they would find no sign of Thruston and it was generally agreed that the man had fled on one of the many ships sailing from the Mouth of the Congo before the Trenton returned.

China

Among the many new innovations being introduced in recent years by the reformist and modernizing Emperor was the laying of the first major railroad tracks. By the end of the decade, several of the major cities were connect. However, the lines would prove only partially successful as the huge Yellow and Yangtse Rivers were too vast to be forded by a bridge. In most cases, the goods had to be offloaded onto barges to be shipped across the river and then reloaded onto another train. This was ineffecient but internal trade still expanded massively with the rise of the rail system.

Nippon

Unlike China, Nippon would remain in relative isolation, no longer desiring foreign relations after a generation of Chinese occupation. As Nippon possessed relatively few resources foreign nations coveted, the string of islands was largely left alone.

Manchuria

Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Manchu were ordered to move northwards into the lands vacated by the vanquished Russians. While many of the Manchu only did so with coercion, others found the opportunities of the north worth their time.

As the Manchu Dynasty had never allowed Han settlement in historic Manchu lands, the northerners were allowed to maintain their unique culture even as they moved ever further north.

Moscow

Alexander II of Russia would receive no positive news about the situation in Eastern Siberia. With vast numbers of Manchu moving north into the lands once coveted by Russia, it seemed unlikely that any war would easily evict them. The Chinese army and demographic base was simply too close to the area while the Russians were too far away.

Even a few major victories by the army would only do so much good as they had to be followed up by further campaigns to evict the Manchu and Mongolian settlers. Then, even the most optimistic projections stated it would take a full decade to even repopulate eastern Siberia with the number of Russians which had once called it home, much less large numbers. During all of this theoretical series of victories, the Chinese may bide their time and attack in overwhelming numbers at any point of a thousand mile front.

Defeating a single Chinese army had proven difficult enough. Defeating armies year after year after year seemed unlikely to the point of foolhardy. Indeed, the expense of maintaining such a remote Russian Army for decades would seem to outweigh any conceivable gain. And that was IF RUSSIA won!

If Russia's forces failed against the Chinese, this could prove a shattering blow to the Dynasty. Alexander III therefore was content for now to maintain his claims on land north of Lake Baikal to the Pacific Ocean and not much more than that. It these lands prohibited any large population and were inadequate to transfer personnel to the Pacific, they would remain largely barren. Certainly, the eastern coastline of Siberia nominally under Russian control were virtually useless and remained largely a handful of coastal native fishing towns, none suitable for a naval base or even a half-decent cold water port. What was left of Russian Eastern Siberia was effectively worthless.

Fortunately, victory in Central Asia over the Turkic peoples had salved Russia's collective ego.

But another problem cropped up. At least on a map, one could have looked at the northern Pacific as a Russian lake when they controlled Eastern Siberia and Russian North America. But now, the Czar could not pretend that Russian America was no longer in any way contiguous with Siberia. Indeed, it was literally the most isolated spot on earth away from Russian power. With the gold rushes apparently running out, there seemed no end to the amount of trouble that place could cause. It may even lead to a war with Spain or British North America. Certainly, Russia could not possibly expect to protect it from such a distance. If anything, it could be used as a lever against Russian interests elsewhere.

Thoughts of simply selling the region had crossed his mind but always dismissed. There were apparently something like 750,000 Russians in the land by now. How could he sell that many of his own people to foreigners? Besides, Russia's economy was expanding and a few million Pesos or Pounds Sterling was hardly make a difference to the budget. Czars do not crassly sell off unused land for short term cash.

The Czar's aged mother had been bitching lately that the Czar find a Kingdom for his younger brother. She recommended perhaps conquering Finland or finally ejecting that idiotic Syrian King from the Levant so Alexei may have his own throne. Or perhaps the Czar may inform the King of the Romanians or Greeks or some other such country that they were to be replaced by Alexei.

Naturally, the Czar had no intention of doing anything so provocative. It would result in most of Europe aligning against the Empire. Even an economic boycott would be devastating much less a war.

But granting his brother the throne of Russian America would honorably allow the Czar to back away from lands more likely to be an albatross than anything else. Yes, the gold rushes were nice little jolts to the treasury but that was apparently over. Reports of boom towns being abandoned in Alyeska lent evidence of that.

When one has 70 million subjects, giving 750,000 on the other side of the world to a sibling seemed reasonable enough....especially when the Czar could not stand his brother and would be happy to get the idiot out of his hair. And get rid of the Czar's bitchy sister-in-law. And shut up his mother (when was that woman going to die?).

Yes, this was sounding better and better the more Alexander III thought about it.
 
It looks like every monarch is sending their brothers to the new world.

It might be a matter of time until some of the new world kingdoms decide to split make their own way.
 
So the Spanish empire is going the OTL British commonwealth route, slowly as it may be. And Russian America will be devolved even more with its own king. With the KoNA and its small puppet kingdoms in the Pacific coast the whole continent is accounted for.

Besides small corrections and the Caribbean remaining colonies the frontiers appear to be set permanently.
 
Top