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

Would it be possible for you to make a map of South America? Also, will Brazil be a rival to British North America?
I will make a map of South America sooner or later. I just haven't gotten around to it.

As for Brazil, it is still a nominal colony of Spain and my intention is that these colonies become more self-governing Commonwealth's akin to later 19th century Canada.
 
Chapter 343
1878

Manhattan


1878 would prove to be a hard year for the Royal Family's reputation. While Princess Drina would give birth to the next Princess Royal (Anastacia), the second son of Henry II, Prince Arthur, would embarrass the family when it was revealed that Arthur had married without his father's permission a commoner named Madeleine Wilkes, the great, great grand-daughter of the famous writer, political commentator, Parliamentarian and wit.

As Madeleine was half a decade older than Arthur and a widow with one child, it would no doubt have been considered an inappropriate match by the King and permission withheld. However, what Madeleine lacked in pedigree, she more than made up for in looks. Considered one of the great beauties of the age (somewhat of a surprise given her great, great-grandfather's notoriously ugly face), Madeleine skillfully inserted herself into the prince's life and enticed him into marriage.

While the marriage would result in three children, it would not be a happy one as the King's disapproval would see the new couple banned from Court, a great insult to both Arthur and Madeleine. Ironically, this would have the unintended effect of binding Arthur to his wife further.

This would have more than familial repercussions as Henry II would seek Parliamentary support for a new law requiring Royal permission for all immediate members of the family to marry, else the marriages be considered illegal. John Abbott, usually possessing a keen sense of political climate, considered this a Royal prerogative and advanced a Bill to Parliament. However, the First Lord badly underestimated the backlash and huge swathes of both Parliament and the American people would react in outrage. Both Henry II and John Abbott had assumed that, as the Bill only affected a few members of the Royal Family, no one in the nation would care.

However, this was seen as an attempt by the King to bring the American Episcopalian Church which the King nominally headed to supremacy over other Churches under the law. Since Henry VIII of England made himself the head of the Church of England, the Kings and Queens of Britain had held this position and, when the House of Hanover was forced to flee to America in the 1760's, the Kings of British North America headed the Episcopalian Church. However, unlike England, America held a large number of dissident Churches and, from day 1, complete religious parity was demanded (though Catholics were often considered an exception).

To be fair to the assorted Kings of British North America, few attempts to force the Episcopalian Church on the public were made and even the old tithes were abolished. Public offices were available to all and the King's would promote as many non-Episcopalians to high office than Episcopalians. Indeed, Henry II himself was somewhat irreligious himself, only attending church out of social obligation.

Thus the King was shocked when the American public reacted with vehement opposition to the nominal head of a Church claiming authority over marriage. Truthfully, the King didn't even think this could be an issue as it only affect Royals who were all Episcopalians anyway.

But Abbott, being attacked in Parliament, would quietly ask the King to withdraw his request as it was apparent that the issue would cause more trouble than it was worth. Stinging, the King held off for a few weeks until even HE recognized that even a successful effort to pass the legislation would undermine Abbott's Ministry and the King's popularity. Eventually, he would make an announcement withdrawing his request and the public furor died down.

However, Prince Arthur and Princess Tara remained out of favor in court and the Prince refused to attend without his wife (who, by now, was proving to be a shrewish nag). Even the Prince's elder brother, Prince Alfred, would encourage Arthur to divorce his wife. This only created a rift between brothers.

Eventually, the King would become so frustrated that he would offer his son the office of Royal Governor of Noricum. To his astonishment, Arthur accepted (much to his wife's dismay) and the couple would move to the remote Territory in 1879 where most of their children would be born. The Princess would utterly loath the posting and nag Arthur within a few years to the point that they could not stand to look upon one another. Eventually Arthur took a mistress, the wife of a local merchant (the man being compensated for use of his wife), and sired a shadow family with her.

What Arthur did not realize was that his father, Henry II, had spent years attempting to get his wife to put aside the elder son's claim to Oldenburg and grant the petty European state to Arthur. The younger son's action of marrying a commoner would no doubt place the family in poor esteem among their peers should Arthur have inherited. But, by 1878, Henry II was so disgusted by his second son that he gave up pressing his wife on the matter and accepted that, upon their deaths, Alfred would inherit both America and Oldenburg. Perhaps Alfred would have a second son and be able to split the two.
 
Really interested in how the Maratha / China situation is going to play out, though I think China is definitely going to have a rougher time of it.

My guess is Maratha, with its more open policy towards trade, is going to have the technological edge. The EIC would no doubt support the Peshwa, even if they only get minor concessions in India for it, as the opportunity to forcefully re-open China's ports would be too good to pass up. Plus, Russia's got a larger population/logistics base in Central Asia now - and would probably like to take advantage of the situation to reclaim the Pacific.
 
Chapter 343
1878

Burma


Having defeated the northern rebels in his domain with the aid of his Maratha friends, the King of Burma would look towards the ill-defined border with Siam. For centuries, the two nations had contested these border regions. Indeed, one of the inland territories was actively controlled by a warlord giving nominal fealty to BOTH nations. Now armed with modern weapons, the King of Burma would invade this region, upsetting the delicate balance of power.

Malaya

Having been granted the use of Chinese "Volunteers" armed with modern artillery, one of the many claimants to southern Malaya would attack the region controlled by his younger brother. What he did not realize was that the Maratha Empire had sent "advisors" to this particular Kingling and stiffened his military spine. By 1878, the two brothers were at war and both China and the Maratha Empire were shipping soldiers to the region.

The Peshwa would demand that his "subjects", the East India Company, provide weapons and training as well. While the EIC controlled much of the East Indies and Africa, the Company Directors dared not refuse the Peshwa's will lest they lose their still impressive possessions on the subcontinent.

Of course, the Company did not want to offend China either. After decades of ill-will, the Company now carried a large share of Chinese trade to the rest of the world and were loath to risk this. The EIC was more than willing to fight a war if it benefitted them but the Directors saw no particular path to profitability to this situation. Thus the EIC sent ambassadors to all sides hoping to quiet the conflict.

Northern Sudan

After Muhammad Ahmad declared himself the "Redeemer", he effectively placed himself and his followers outside of mainstream Islam. Some Imams throughout the Islamic world would view the self-proclaimed Mahdi as not only a heretic but the tool of Satan himself. When the Mahdi declared his intention to "reunify" Islam by conquering Egypt, the Holy Cities of the Hejaz, the Levant and even Anatolia, this was enough to gain Egypt significant support in the Islamic world.

Eventually the resurgent Ottoman Porte and the reigning princes of Mecca and Medina (both largely independent as was most of Arabia) would send funds and manpower to help Egypt put down this latest claimant to God's word.

In 1878, a force of 15,000 well-armed infantry and cavalry would march southwards into the Sudan with the intention of executing this heretic. Near Khartoum, the exhausted and thirsty army would be surrounded by tens of thousands of "Mahdist" cavalry and cut to pieces. Less than 10% of the force would ever return home. Among the dead were two Egyptian princes and the heir to the rule of Mecca.

Western Africa

Having largely been influenced by France over the past few decades, the coastal cities founded by the Freedmen of the Americas would eventually gain supremacy over the inland tribes via their superior technology. These American-born blacks and mulattos became the ruling class of the Americas. Speaking a Creole language of mixed French, Spanish, English and assorted African dialects, a new nation was being formed just south of the Senegambia River.

Almost entirely Christian, these people would take their faith inland and convert many of the local tribes.

However, in the Senegambia, the predominate Muslim majority would take exception to this and launch a series of attacks on the coastal towns. Eventually, by 1880, the Christians had been thrown into the sea and the survivors taken south to the lands of Sierra Leone and more southerly regions.

Having promised to aid this new country, France would take it upon themselves to organize the Christian regions south of Senegambia into a large Confederation called Guinea which spread from Sierra Leone (the original French settlement area of Freedmen from the New World) along the Gulf of Guinea in the 1870's.

While it was not the intention of the French, the new nation would swiftly gain control over the hinterlands and, remembering the harsh Muslim treatment of Senegambia, retaliate against many of the Muslim tribes of the inland regions eventually carving a swathe inland towards the center of the continent by 1900.
 
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Chapter 344
1878

Beijing


The Emperor nodded to his advisor's request to put down yet another rebellion in Mindanao. When would these damned people learn?

China had, over the past century, crushed the drug-peddlers of the west, defeated the Russians, put the Viets in their place, conquered the region the Spanish called "Philippines", savaged Nippon (it was not spoken that Nippon eventually forced China to retreat) and stifled any internal dissent. The occasional Christian proselytizing would be stamped out while the much larger Muslim problem was effectively contained after the Uyghurs and other Muslim tribes of the northwest were evicted from Chinese soil and the southeastern Muslims slaughtered en masse.

There were problems, of course. Both the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers had suffered horrendous floods in recent decades but that could be put down to nature, not failure to govern.

China remained the strongest, wealthiest, wisest and culturally most profound nation on earth. The Middle Kingdom only deigned to deal with others when it benefitted China. The rest of the world existed to serve the Empire.

Now, the Peshwa dared challenge Chinese domination over Southeast Asia?

Yes, over the century, the Musselmen of the Mughal Empire had converted Malaya and those islands now controlled by the vile East India Company. But the Mughals seldom sought political control over the region in the way this Hindu Peshwa apparently desired.

The Marathas were forgetting their place. It was time to teach it anew.

Bourbonia

The governor of Bourbonia in 1878 was the Francois, Marquise de Lafayette, scion of the great dynasty dating back to the middle ages. Viewing the reporting hardening of Chinese and Maratha positions by the mid-1870's, Lafayette would request that the King of France augment the naval forces of the great island. Indeed, even accounting for New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Borneo, Sulawesi and other French possessions in Southeast Asia, he could not point to a particularly good harbor from whence the French Navy could defend the region.

Over his long ten-year tenure, Lafayette had become known as a champion of the Polynesian and Melanesian peoples taken from their neighboring islands (many of which now stood empty due to the severity of the defacto enslavement for Bourbonia's sugar fields). So voracious had been French demand for labor that the local islands were "fished out" as was the common slang, this included much of the Solomons. A region of hideous tropical heat, there seemed no real manner to set up a viable naval base to defend the largely lightly populated northwestern Bourbonia.

If the Maratha and Chinese Empires came to blows, would that not endanger Louis' domains?

With most of Bourbonia's population on the southeastern region, the danger was obvious.

Lafayette would even go so far as to discuss the subject with the American Governor of Van Diemensland, a cousin of the current King and nephew of Henry I via one of his sisters. That the man was not referred to as "Prince" as the French Princes of the Blood would was somewhat baffling but Lafeyette didn't care overly much about the matter thus he did not bother to inquire.

However, Lafayette DID want to know what would happen if either or both of these Asiatic Empire threatened American interests as well. Perhaps the limited resources of the two nations in the region may be pooled. Certainly, Lafayette knew that only the Foreign Secretaries of the two nations could determine this but the Governor wanted that conversation initiated as soon as possible. Things seemed to be rapidly rolling downhill.

Viet Kingdom

The King of the Viets, his own family placed upon the throne by Chinese authorities, would ensure the Emperor's embassy that the Viet Kingdom would come to the aide of the Emperor should it be of need.

He really had no other choice.

Kyoto

The Emperor would command every group of ambassadors who landed to leave his shores. Nippon had attempted to modernize and paid for that arrogance with decades of oppression. Only a stubborn partisan campaign had evicted the Chinese and the last thing the young Emperor wanted was to see foreigners walking around his lands.

Nippon was not interested in foreign trade any more than it was in foreign ideas. Nippon needed nothing from gaijin.

Let the rest of the world get by without the Land of the Rising Sun.

Central Africa

The rinderpest plague would be accidentally introduced to Africa in the 1850's. This would kill huge swathes of the cattle population in eastern Africa, leading to great famines. As the cattle died, the grazing land would be replaced by bush which proved ideal hosts for the tsetse fly. This insect carried the sleeping sickness pox which affected many hooved species as well as humans.

Vast swathes of land would be depopulated and replaced by savannah unsuitable for large-scale habitation and agriculture. Later generations would call the tsetse fly the "Best Game Warden In Africa".

By the 1870's, the epidemic would make its way further and further south to the area where the remnants of the Zulu Empire, having been pushed out of their ancestral lands, were trying to conquer the peoples of Mozambique. However, the destruction of the cattle herds which the Africans depended upon would seen the entire regional political and economic base collapse. Huge numbers of people would starve and the complex polities would become extinct for generations.

Eventually, some of the Zulu and affiliated tribes would attempt to migrate further south where the tsetse fly held no sway but were immediately and violently flung back northwards by the East India Company who feared an invasion.

Region affected by Tsetse fly

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Chapter 345
1878

Eastern Africa


General George McClellan would sigh as he witnessed the bones of dozens of horses thrown into a heap. These animals would have been the mounts of his cavalry. However, this damned tsetse fly reportedly had killed so many horse that a full regiment could not be mounted.

The Masai tribe of northern EIC Eastern Africa (a mounthful to say but largely correct terminology) had been trouble lately and the General ordered into the hinterlands to crush them. However, upon reaching many of the Masai villages, McClellan found huge pits bearing not horse bones but human. Later historians would estimate nearly 2/3rds of the Masai tribe died out in the late 1870's due to starvation and starvation-influenced disease due to the loss of their cattle to rinderpest and the tsetse fly.

While McClellan was only inconvenienced, the native tribes reliant on cattle were nearly wiped out.

If there was a silver lining, it was that McClellan was able to conquer these inland tribes relatively easily over the 1870's as the political structure was in chaos. Largely using Javan, Sumatran or affiliated African infantry, the General carved out a huge swath of land for the Company to grow export crops.

Beyond the political conquest, the EIC's missionaries, hired or allowed to proselytize, would gain rapid conversions among these distressed peoples looking for salvation from somewhere.....ANYWHERE.

A century later, visitors would see the huge amounts of bushland and assumed this was what eastern Africa always looked like. In fact, these lands had been used as pasture for centuries or even millennia and only returned to this state after the loss of cattle and human settlement. Native fauna would be rejuvenated in only a few decades and lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos and other animals soon became abundant in numbers not seen since before the birth of Christ.



The Habsburg Empire

The 1870's would prove a series of repeated political unrest throughout the assorted nations under the Habsburg flag. Each nation sought more national autonomy even as they also sought, collectively, to push back Imperial rule.

Perhaps more than any individual country in Europe, the struggling Habsburg Empire was tearing itself apart under a series of strikes, protests, political unrest and other factors preventing the well-meaning Emperors from reforming as THEY desired.

There was a growing opinion among the European political classes that the Habsburg Empire was perhaps on its last legs and, ironically, being destroyed from within after centuries of defeating foreign enemies.

Northern Confederation, Europe


The Northern Confederation was made up primarily of the Dutch Republic, northern German predominantly Protestant states, Poland, Scandinavia, etc. For over half a century, the Northern Confederation had banded together in order to protect themselves from Catholic Europe.

However, by the 1870's, it was readily apparent that the Habsburg Empire, long perceived the greatest threat, would not be invading any time soon. Eventually the religious and political turmoil within the Confederation resulted in the German members becoming more and more of a block. Eventually, the Kingdom of Poland withdrew in 1875 after decades of alliance (they joined in order to find allies against Russia and Austria, neither proving to be great threats during this time). The Dutch Republic would do the same in 1877.

By 1878, even the King of Denmark was considering withdrawal. However, the King's German domains of Hanover, Schleswig and Holstein were less than eager to do so and demanded that they remain. Eventually, the King accepted this but withdrew his Scandinavian nations from the Confederation.

It would not be recognized in 1878 but this would have great consequences for Europe in the future.
 
All of those islands in the Pacific that the French depopulated, is anyone claiming them?
Yes, I think I had a blurb a dozen or so posts ago who the US was attempting to populate/claims some of these islands but France wasn't having any of it and the US backed down.
 
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Chapter 346
1879

Manhattan


For the past several years, a pair of American inventors had been suing one another through the Royal Patent Office. Finally, in 1879, Elijah Gray would be granted the official patent for the telephone over Alexander Bell. However, Bell would be granted several improvements to it. Though Gray would go down in history, Bell would eventually win the war as his telephone company, in the 1880's, would be become dominant in the industry.

His Majesty Henry II himself would attend Gray's demonstration in 1879 and awed the King with the advancement.

A similar conflict would be waged between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison over the type of electrical current used for future power generation.

Observers would not that the King appeared somewhat haggard. His weight was down and he wore his collar unusually high. Naturally, this was becoming the style but by the end of the year it was apparent that the King was ill and rumors of the tumor on his neck confirmed.

Athens


1879-1880 would see a great deal of social friction in Europe as demands for increased representation in the local Parliaments (assuming there were such things) from the lower classes to the upper classes demanding that their respective sovereigns relinquish power to them. Union leaders suddenly became powerful foes.

Perhaps the most violent act was in the Greek shipyards. Greece tended to be behind most of Europe in technology but still managed a thriving mid-sized shipyard. However, the workers would determine to march on the capital in 1879 to protest harsh working conditions (usually 60 hours +) per week if one wanted to keep his job. Many of these workers were, in fact, the descendants of Egyptian Copts which had been "advised" to depart Egypt by the then-Khedive and carried away via Russian intervention. Effectively foisted upon the Greeks and other denizens of the Balkans (mainly Russian satellite states), the Copts did not receive the warmest welcome. Many would only use the Balkans as a stepping-stone to the Americas (mostly British North America but the French and Spanish American Empires as well).

The Greek shipping industry, though, was rejuvenated by the Coptic ship-wrights. But poor working conditions would lead to unrest.

While the Coptic-Greek workers remained largely peaceful beyond a few broken windows, the Greek police were merciless. Dozens were injured and three killed in the ensuing brawl.

This would be echoed from Bordeaux to St. Petersburg, from Lisbon to Copenhagen.

Malayan Peninsula

The Sultan of Johor had solicited Marathan aide against their northern neighbor, Penang, a few years before. However, Penang turned directly to China. By 1879, there were two armies squaring off on the Malayan Peninsula.

Northern Siam


In northern Siam, the "advisors" and "observers" of the Maratha and Chinese Empires would give up any pretense over neutrality. A free-for-all for control over the remote region would tear northern Siam apart.

South China Sea

With the delivery of four new and modern American ships in 1878, the Chinese Empire had now a full 30 ships squadron of steam-ships though these represented an enormous spread between modern and obsolete designs. Though some members of the Chinese Admiralty cautioned against effectively pitting the entirety of their most modern ships, other recommended using numbers to overwhelm the Maratha fleet reported to be controlling the Malacca Straights.

The Malacca Straights between Malaya and Sumatra


Much like China, the Maratha Empire had actively sought to build a modern navy as they deemed control over the Indian Ocean as the key to their hegemony. It seemed unlikely that the Subcontinent was any longer in great danger of an invasion from west, north or east. But with only a few ships more modern than the best of the Maratha Navy, a foreign power may utterly disrupt Maratha world trade and lay waste to her port cities.

Thus, with a combination of internal production and foreign purchases, the Peshwa had built up a large fleet of 20 ships guard the vital pass as well but the rapidly changing designs would see an eclectic mix to dozens of different technologies being utilized by both the Martha and Chinese Fleets.

The fragility of these fleets would be in evidence when several ships on either side suffering mechanical errors. Three Chinese ships would see burst boilers or other major engine failures and be forced to retreat north under sail. Similarly, one of the Maratha ships was so poorly constructed that the jarring of the waves opened up several sheets of the metal hull and the ship sank while in harbor. The engineers of both fleets, attempting to maintain control over the diverse ships, would struggle mightily just to keep them running. Many of these ships had not been time-tested while others had been relegated more to brown water (coastal) duties in the past.

The ensuing clash would be considered a haphazard affair which would be explained by later naval historians as the natural result of the rapid evolution of naval technology at the time. As the closest example of large-scale steam-ship warfare in recent decades had been the East India Company defeating the Dutch Navy a half decade (and arguably the Russian defeat to China long before that) prior, this was, in fact, perhaps to be understood.

Both Admirals, though considered progressive in utilization of technology, retained several aspects of the old Age of Sail tactics which would prove ineffective. The Chinese, with the numerical advantage as well as some of the most modern ships, would make the mistake of attempting to keep ALL of their ships in the old "Line of Battle". As there was a significant discrepancy between arms, armor and, most importantly, speed, keeping this formation would greatly reduce the maneuverability of the Chinese fleet.

The Marathas, on the other hand, utilized tactics first used by steam-ships captains when they faced sailing ships. Rather than abide by any major formation, the Marathas opted to break up and attempt to engage the enemy in single file. This was highly effective....forty years ago...when a steamship had a huge maneuverability advantage over sailing ships and could easily emerge onto the unarmed bow or stern of a ship dependent on sail.

For hours, the Chinese Fleet maintained their line and attempted to engage in a standard formation. The Marathas seemed to be attempting to engage in a general melee at sea.

After nearly 12 hours, both fleets would withdraw for the night to lick their wounds. One Chinese vessel had been lost to Maratha fire while another had been forced to be abandoned when, undamaged by the enemy, a fire broke out on ship and she was abandoned. The Marathas lost no ships but two had been so badly damaged that they had to be withdrawn north. Another two ships apparently got lost in the night and decided to sail for home (their captains were executed a month later).

Worse, the extended maneuvers of the previous day had exhausted much of the best coal of both fleets. While the Chinese had brought a pair of coaling ships with them, these were so far south that the supply ships could not be utilized.

The following day, the two fleets formed again, uncertain of the proper strategy. Certainly yesterday no one could claim victory. The weather had turned from partly sunny the previous day to light drizzle that swept in throughout the day. It was still a month away from Monsoon season but a storm was hardly out of the question.

Circling one another like a pair of alley cats, the two fleets sought some sort of advantage. However, the "wind gauge" no longer mattered in the age of steam. Finally, after five hours, the two fleets would form up in a line and make a complete pass. One Maratha ship was sunk, another had her rudder stripped and she was forced to circle helplessly at full speed. On the other side, one of the modern Chinese ships took a shell near a powder magazine (fortunately, mostly empty) which tore off the main forward cannon. Two of the smaller and older Chinese ships near the end of the column were destroyed by accurate Maratha fire.

Having wasted much of the day and a large share of their coal and powder reserves, both Admirals knew that they could only expect another day of combat at most. Just before dusk, through the now driving drizzle, the Chinese commander saw eight large forms emerging from the south. As he knew that the Marathas were to the north, he immediately feared he was being pinned between two forces. The lead ship's outline began to form and the Chinese commander identified the shape as belonging to the same class of vessels comprising the French-built cruisers of the best of the Maratha fleet.

Believing himself outmaneuvered, the Chinese commander opted to retreat east and then south.

Only later would it be discovered that the ships arriving into the battlefield from the south was a large East India Company convoy sailing from Bourbonia. The lead ship WAS indeed of the same design as the Maratha warships but had been utilized for years by the EIC as a cargo and passenger carrier (after extensive renovation).

Though a tactical draw, the Marathas claimed the first victory.
 
Chapter 347
1879

Manhattan


Unofficial Royal traditions by the 1870's held that the King typically did not hand out more than a few knighthoods per year. Several different orders of Knight existed, each with a nominal maximum quantity of titled men (and women as the same Orders offered "Damehoods" as well as Knighthoods.

As it so happened, a number of Knights and Dames had died in recent years and multiple Americans were honored for service of their country in the realm of government, military, science and the arts.

Among the honorees this year were the famous medical reformer Dame Florence Nightengale (who was born in Tuscany in 1821 and whose merchant family would later move to America), Sir Edward Allan Poe (the eminent author), Sir Elijah Gray, inventor of the telephony system, Sir John Wilkes Booth (the famous Actor whose brother Edwin had already been Knighted a few years prior), the retiring politician Sir John A. MacDonald, the Lakota tribal chieftain Sitting Bull who had successfully negotiated peace with a number of Plains tribes, retiring Admiral Sir Raphael Semmes and the talented Irish-born painter Dame Eliza Pratt Greatorex (who was a personal favorite of the Queen and the first female official court painter).

What was typically a spontaneous assembly of joy would take a darker turn in 1879 as the King's visage had notably become gaunter in just a few weeks. It was obvious the man was dying but Henry II managed to make it through the ceremonies before retiring to his chambers leaving Prince Alfred in command of the afterparty.

Having publicly admitted to the nature of his tumor, it was widely speculated that the King did not have long to live. Sure enough, by December of 1879, the King would die in his wife's arms and his twenty-one year old son would ascend to the throne.

Beijing

While typhoon season is generally held to be from April to December, the deadliest months tend to be May and November. Thus, when the Chinese Admiral explained why he chose to retreat from the Malaccas in October for fear of losing the entire fleet to a typhoon, there was reason to it. However, the fact that the Chinese fleet failed to crush the Hindus completely was utterly unacceptable.

The Admiral was nearly dishonored but instead merely "promoted" to a desk position and a younger, more aggressive Admiral placed in command of the fleet. Secretly, the younger man agreed with his predecessor's decision to retreat. Having served as the Rear Admiral of the line of older ships, the sailor was convinced he knew the mistake his predecessor had made. He should never have tried using both the fast and slow ships in the same line. This only reduced the capacity of the more modern ships while adding little to the overall strength of the fleet.

Already planning the next battle, the Admiral saw to refurbishing his damaged ships with the intent to strike again in a few months.

In the meantime, both the Maratha and Chinese Empires continued supplying their respective Burmese, Siamese and Malay allies.

Adelheid, Van Diemensland Territory

Fleet Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan had risen swiftly through the ranks less as a sailing man than as a theorist and staff officer who concentrated on overall trends on the seas. For as long as he had the ear of his commanders, Mahan had pressed for both more and better ships for the navy. He was even writing a book on the topic in which had concluded that the control over the sea would dictate Empires. He used the example of a petty trading company based in the East Indies had come close to bringing both China and large parts of the subcontinent to their respective knees. Without domination over the waves, this would have been impossible.

In 1878, Mahan had been "promoted" to command the westernmost American port, that of Adelheid in the remote island of Van Diemensland (as was the common spelling in 1878). Only a handful of American naval vessels called this remote location home. In reality, this was a glorified harbor-master position. Mahan had not even been granted the title of "Royal Governor" at the onset of his position. He only received the post of "Lieutenant Governor" which became "Acting Governor" when the old man finally died and Manhattan didn't seem to care about promoting another in his place.

Mahan, having few actual Naval affairs to deal with beyond controlling a few patrol and customs frigates (and most of those seldom in service or crewed at once) would find dealing with the territorial Assembly tedious to the point that he delegated most of the day to day affairs to the friendly and popular leader of the Assembly. This worked well for everyone as Mahan hardly cared about petty local affairs.

What Mahan COULD do was sail about a bit in the region with the intent of "surveying" the local military landscape and by happenstance would view the battle between the Chinese and the Marathas. Indeed, several polities including France, East India Company and, of all things, ETHIOPIAN, ships (Mahan had no idea that the Ethiopians HAD a navy and suspected this one steamship was the only one of its kind) had gathered to witness the event from afar. As a naval strategist, Mahan saw more than any other observer and would swiftly add several entries to his manifesto.
 
Chapter 348
1880 - Spring

Hudson River

While the notoriously penury American Parliament was not in the habit of handing out money to anyone, including their King (who received a generous 1% of American national government coffers to pay for his court), an exception had been made to refurbish the main Royal Residence on Manhattan as this was deemed too notable by foreign envoys to scrimp. However, the cunning Henry II had actually earmarked money for these funds which were then available to upgrade his "summer residence" up the Hudson River near the base of the Catskills.

In her grief, Queen Adelheid (now Queen-Mother Adelheid) would retreat her daughters, daughter-in-law now-Queen Alexandrina (Drina), several grandchildren and, of all things, her mother-in-law Queen-Mother Rhiannon. Oddly enough for any class, the three Queens had always gotten along.

"Frederick House" as the summer residence was known (named after the original owner, King Frederick I of British North America) had originally been a getaway for the first native King of America to escape Parliament for a few months. But four successive Kings would expand the original "hunting lodge" until it was somewhat presentable by European standards.

Queen Adelheid had filled the halls with new portraits of the "Hudson Valley Style" while her husband and father-in-law added the occasional European masterpieces. Though only staffed by a hundred and fifty or so maids, cooks groundskeepers, etc (low by European standards), the palace was really quite beautiful and had been partially designed by Sir John Wood, the Younger.

Though Adelheid would mourn for the rest of her life, she was determined to aid her daughter-in-law, a Russian barely into her twenties, in her duties. Indeed, Drina would prove quite grateful for the warmth and support she received from her new family, it being so different from her own cold and harsh mother. Both Rhiannon and Adelheid, who knew exactly what Drina was going through, would give her close-knit family she always wanted particularly in the rigors of the coming years when, in late 1880, the Queen would lose her only son and heir to a childhood illness. Though the Queen was pregnant with her third child at the time, this would turn out to be another girl to be named Catherina.

French Netherlands (Wallonia)

For the past few years, labor and political strife had cropped up more and more often throughout Europe. In 1880, the coal and iron miners of the French Netherlands (Wallonia) had been spurring a technological revolution throughout the nation and were demanding a fair share of the gains.

When a general strike was called in the fall of 1879, virtually the entirety of the coal industry was shut down...just in time for the coldest winter on recent record. When shivering French people demanded coal to light their hearths, the King was forced to take action. He commanded the Unions back into the mines with a promise of "fair negotiation".

The Unions considered the offer...and rejected it, turning the generally apolitical King away from their cause. Eventually strike-breakers came in. When the unions beat them back, the police and military were called in. Eventually, between scabs and those miners who desired to keep their jobs, the mines began producing again. The Unions were closed by government order for the time being until the Labor Minister (who, like the King, had often sympathized with the Unions) came up with a workable solution which did not involve Frenchmen freezing to death for lack of coal.
 
Chapter 349
1880

Manhattan


King Alfred I would be crowned in early 1880. Though some would recommend changing his name to "Henry" or "Frederick" or some other recent Kingly nomenclature but Alfred was quite content with his own name and rejected any such advice. As the Abbott Ministry didn't care much either way, they let the matter drop.

In the meantime, the first international crisis were already cropping up as traders were increasingly concerned about prospect of warfare in southeast Asia.

Then there were the ongoing disputes with the French over American colonization of several islands which the French had laid claim some centuries ago...but had done very little with other than abscond with their native populations.

By 1880, arguably only Samoa, Fiji and Kanakia had identifiable populations to ever refer to the people as a unified culture and even these were severely reduced in population via "recruiting" and disease. American whalers, loggers and traders seeking water and other goods began stopping in these islands over the years, apparently forgotten by the French.

Several islands of the Northern Maori's (OTL Cook Islands) even maintained permanent settlements, often on the deserted towns of the "recruited" Polynesian peoples. Smaller islands like Christmas Island and Tonga also now maintained American population.

However, it was the American probing of Samoa in 1879 which drew French ire. A pair of French warships arrived and, in no uncertain terms, ordered the Americans away from Samoa.

Complaints were issued by both parties. The American position, led by Foreign Secretary Benjamin D'Israeli, was that France had abandoned these islands generations before with no discernable interest since then. Why SHOULDN'T America claim them?

Exactly WHAT D'Israeli was planning to do with some remote islands, most of which did not possess any particular resources or potential for naval base, was left to the imagination. The American appeared to believe that America must expand to every remote region of the world regardless of conceivable benefit.

The French, meanwhile, relied on precedent. They had claimed the lands. They gathered up the population. Most importantly...THEY had the firepower to enforce their will.

Was America actually willing to pick a fight with the most powerful nation in Europe?

Madrid

King Carlos VI would not see the same unrest occurring throughout much of Europe....largely as Spain possessed relatively few large industries which possessed Union sentiment.

However, what could NOT be doubted was that Spain was among the first nations in Europe to see a squeeze in money supply via two reasons:

1. Increased population and wealth per capita would see demand for gold and silver currency across the whole of Europe (and, well, most of the world).

2. The slow drain of specie from the west to the east continued over the years as silk, tea, cotton, porcelain and other goods produced in the east would find vastly greater markets in Europe than any European goods would have in the East.

The balance had been met for centuries by the influx of gold and silver from the Spanish Empire. But the mines of the Americas were in decline after decades of resurgence utilizing new technologies.

The inflation resulting from this imbalance would soon begin to affect the nations of Europe one by one.
 
Hey, I believe India was as specie-hungry as China, it is just that OTL EIC rule offset and to the extent it might become obnoxious, repressed that tendency. But Indians of wealth I gather did tend to hoard silver and gold and the collective hoards of India amounted to a huge portion of the overall world precious metal supply already mined. The OTL British controlled enough gold and silver fields of their own not to be too aggressive about prying hoards out of Indian hands save by the general piecemeal suction of general colonial exploitation.

But here since the 1760s India has been under a domestic overlord and so I would think the Maratha Empire is as much a silver sink as China is. (Neither valued gold as highly IIRC).

Could going "gold bug" be a solution for European powers with access to gold mines--let the Asian giants suck up all the silver, the western powers going over to a gold standard?

Or, will sentiment start shifting against both Asian powers in equal measure in Europe and America? Trouble with that is, the main way to attack one is to support the other. I think the Marathas are in a better position to diplomatically win allies than China is.
 
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