DBWI: Expansionist instead of Isolationist Britain

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Scorpio Retindar, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Scorpio Retindar Monarcho-Socialist (somehow)

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    So, I don't think I really need to explain this too much, but, just in case, I will. Historically, the five kingdoms of the British Isles (for those of you who think of Britain as a single entity, which it technically is, but it's an "Imperial Federation" divided into five "Kingdoms", each with their own culture and language (or, in the case of Scotland, two languages), these kingdoms being England, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, and Ireland), while they've been rather keen to interfere in each other's affairs (typically with either England or Scotland coming out on top and Cornwall getting screwed over), they've had a rather isolationist approach to the outside world.

    This isolationism has caused them to often be able to avoid the ravages of war, even when their southern neighbor, France, was feeling particularly expansionist. However, this has also caused them many problems, as, while their isolationist policy was still in effect, they advanced much more slowly technologically, socially, and culturally. It is still rather hotly debated in Britain whether opting to end this isolationist policy and join the Second World War in 1927 was a good idea or not, even though it was in reaction to rather blatant Swedish aggression and did bring them some rather large economic benefits after the war ended in 1929.

    However, as the British Imperial Navy is known as one of the greatest navies in the world, almost all of the British Kingdoms have a rather prestigious military history (the only exception possibly being Cornwall), and the British population being decently large, what if, instead of isolationist, Britain opted on an expansionist national policy?

    Let's say, for the sake of this scenario, the British Kingdoms are united much earlier and more violently (Scotland and England are the most likely candidates), or perhaps something else happens to set one or more of them on a more expansionist course. What would happen? Would they be curb-stomped? Would they get overseas colonies like France, Spain, the Netherlands, or Sweden? Which territories would they focus on?

    I am aware that this is probably a very unlikely timeline, especially with Britain united as a multicultural federation instead of being Anglocentric like it is OTL or divided into 5 completely independent kingdoms. However, I did this because I thought it would be fun. One should probably note that, in this timeline, British governance is, of course, heavily decentralized. The language barrier is a bit of a problem, but the country's education system and as a whole is, much like Luxembourg, Canada, or Belgium, very multilingual, with the typical British citizen being at least able to sort of understand two languages other than their native ones. It is still somewhat Anglocentric, however, as England has the largest population.

    In addition, for whatever reason, the Norman invasion of England never happened at all.

    In this timeline, Britain is not a utopia, however. While they are extremely tolerant of other British cultures and multicultural in that aspect, xenophobia (when it comes to non-Brits) is a lot more common, and they are a lot more culturally conservative. In addition, the democracy is a rather new concept for them, only stretching back to reforms made in the early 1910s, and before that, they rather more closely resembled a psuedo-Integralistic state in many (but not all) ways.
     
  2. Scorpio Retindar Monarcho-Socialist (somehow)

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    OOC: Sorry for the wall of text
     
  3. GeorgeBailey 'Til the day I die

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    I definitely think they would have ended up overseas had they been even a little more expansionist. Their navy was beefy enough that they could have in theory protected rather large colonial holdings (perhaps even as large as French Raj became)

    The problem is getting the British people to be willing to move overseas. The failure of many colonies by both the Scottish and the English, notably Jamestown in modern day Kristinia and the "Bloody Mayflower," curbed many of the citizens' willingness to settle new lands. These failures also discouraged British noblemen from investing in further colonial endeavors thanks to the lack of returns. If the early colonial mishaps are avoided before Henry XI "the locker" of England inherits the Scottish throne in the 1640s, I think Britain would have maintained colonialism instead of instituting isolationism into effect across the 5 Kingdoms.

    Heck, even the Hungarians got some islands in the Caribbean and African ports when they weren't annihilating the Ottomans. So the British should have been able to form an empire from a closer position to the new world.
     
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  4. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Apr 4, 2018
    Umm, they would have to compete against odds with Norwegian Vinland and Swedish Valhalla being already established in North America. Vinland in particular having origin of Pre-Columbian contact origin alone would meant trying North American adventures will have implications of angering either one of the two Nordic juggernauts.

    But yeah, suppose that British somehow able to get a foothold in North America and it stuck (instead of easily brushed aside, see French attempts to settle near Vinland), this would butterfly the brutal Neo-Viking Wars of the 17 and 18th century with Hypothetical British Colony as the third major player, maybe located south of Valhalla but north of Spanish Florida. That forced Vinland and Valhalla to cooperate instead of locked in cycle of wars and short armistices to determine who will reign supreme on North America.
     
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  5. Scorpio Retindar Monarcho-Socialist (somehow)

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    Exactly. They really should've tried harder...
     
  6. ArchimedesCircle Radical Groucho-Marxist

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    There's always the possibility of snatching something from the rotting carcass of Imperial Spain before the Moroccans took all the valuable colonies in the 1656 war.
     
  7. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    Cornwall/Devonshire/Wessex in no way constituted an independent kingdom, even back before unification. They were basically just an extension of Cymru and wouldn't even be counted separately if they hadn't lost that land connection. Though perhaps it was beneficial in a way, as they managed to keep contact with their kin in Brittany and made a killing on trading. if the English could have behaved that way perhaps they would have... Hmmm, let's say settle one of those islands southeast of Kangerooland. Good sheep country. Might allow them to expand their textiles industry so they have something to trade.