Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Franciscus Caesar, Aug 13, 2013.
Lemme guess, slavery?
Yup, Mamluks are doomed...doomed I tell ya!
Awesome! Great to have you back.
I've thought of that many times. It's what made me stop reading Brothers of Italy so as to avoid any similarities (if I read something on the same subject I my creative juices cease), so once unification happens (by Venice or someone else) It'll be fun to compare them.
I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Venice has already controlled Ragusa once by this point, both ITTL and IOTL, and turned out just the way it was. Don't forget she still holds Dalmatia as well.
100%. As Alex Richards pointed out, there will be friction between the two, as they are sworn enemies in the Adriatic. It was just a natural step that had to happen. Ragusa was part of the cause of Venice's decline thanks to their position with the Ottomans. If we are to have Venice fill that role ITTL, Ragusa (and her trade network) must be absorbed. I've always liked to think of Venice-proper as almost separate from her oversees possessions, or otherwise very detached. As if life in each different part of the greater republic went on as it would, but with a Venetian influence that eventually starts to effect those parts (see Venetian Ionia) until it fuses with their culture, but never causes the reciprocal, i.e the lagoon stays the same.
Ragusa's state ITTL however is more of a protectorate rather than a full out colony. Its customs will stay for the most part within its borders, to the relief of the Venetians.
Agreed. Military conquest for the sake of trade and wealth will play an essential part of that. Being a pupil of finance, this TL will focus on Venice and its pursuit of wealth. World Bazaar, prestige, and culture, should all follow.
Ah, close! I was going to go with that, but at this time Crimea pretty much ran a solid monopoly on the slave trade (mainly slavs/tartars). It will be something substantially more 'immediate'.
The Ottomans can't be happy with Anatolia forever
Part 16, Desperate Times…
January 1, 1515: The New Year starts out rough for France with the death of their popular king, Louis XII. Having died without a male heir, he is to be succeeded by his cousin, Francis, from the Angouleme cadet branch of the House of Valois. King Francis I’s coronation is to be held near the end of the month.
Early January: Nearly 10 years in, the Ptolmeic takes shape as huge tracts of desert land have been excavated. For those involved in its construction, it is quite the spectacle, and estimates put its completion anywhere from 3-5 years. However, in the past few months red flags have been waved by Venetian intendants overlooking the development of the project. Mamluk areas of construction have been experiencing wall collapses, evident unfinished and shoddy work, and slow completion times. As well, they have been slacking on their end of the bargain in terms of taking on expenses for the canal. The issue is brought up at a council meeting in Venice as a matter of the utmost importance.
Immediately the Council of 10 and the Doge are inundated with questions from concerned investors. The Venetian leadership ensures that the matter will be taken up with the Sultan immediately, and that this is just a small situation that will be easily resolved. It does little to quell the concern. The republic is feeling the effects of the Portuguese encroachment on the spice trade incredibly hard; the canal is a tremendously expensive gamble, taking a sizeable portion of both public and private funds. Its completion is not just important, it is essential.
February: In Egypt, the matter of the Ptolmeic Channel is brought up by Venetian officials to the Sultan himself, who looks more uneasy rather than insulted at their claims of sub-par work. He deliberates for the night. As the parties meet the next morning, the Sultan is not present, but instead the Venetians are met by a cluster of Mamluk officials. They explain that the initial agreement regarding the Ptolmeic is unsatisfactory, and needs to be redrafted. The Mamluk view is that the wealthy Venetian state can take on far more expenses than the Sultanate, as they have been the ones “reaping the rewards” of trade through the region for years, while Egypt has collected “a pittance” of the profits. Further, the canal is being built entirely on Mamluk lands. They conclude that the profits should be a 60/40 split in Egypt’s favour.
The Venetian delegation is utterly outraged and vocalizes their anger. The Mamluks reply that unless the new terms are signed, all work on the canal will cease immediately, to which, upon hearing the incredible demands, the Venetians storm out of the meeting. The disagreement spills into the streets as the Venetians head directly to their boats to sail back to the republic at once. Mamluk officials stall the releasing of the ships and in the heat of the moment; threats are made by both parties. Finally, the ships are allowed to leave and are untied from their posts.
Ouch! I didn't expect that!
Looks like the Venetians would have to find some other investor. The question now is, who could they trust?
The problem would not be finding an investor - its the problem - who controlls the land and workforce.
I believe its time to approach the Porte and see to the Mamluks demise - promising the Porte the Shares originally owned by the Mamluks...
*facepalm* I meant to say 'partner'. My mistake.
The Porte sounds like the first place they would go, but would they trust the expansionist Ottomans with this project yet? They are one of the the bigger fishes to watch for, at this time. Plus, consorting this openly with the Ottomans is sure to raise a few eyebrows back in Europe.
Then again, with the Ottomans facing the Safavids in the east, maybe they will reject the Venetian's offers and see it as an additional money drain on their empire.
Maybe, but it would seem that the Ottomans are the best option. I mean, it would even help if they started expanding more towards Asia and less into Europe, at least, it would help increase the opinions of the wary European powers in the West. I think.
Part 17, Desperate Measures, in the Name of San Marco
March 17: The rattled delegation returns to Venice and shares the shocking events with the Doge and Council of 10, as well as many other of Venice’s highest authorities including da Vinci and Maranazzo. The news incites nothing short of a panic from both investors and the Council of 10. Council members shout that Doge Loredan’s decision to build the canal has led to the financial ruin of the republic, and that he will face the consequences. After the commotion has been relatively calmed, the Doge and the high councils reconvene their discussions. Both come to an obvious decision; the amount of capital sunk into the Ptolmeic Channel is enormous, and failure to see return on investment would be cataclysmic for the republic. Military action against the Mamluk Sultanate is unavoidable. The navy is immediately readied by Marco Maranazzo, who will be the sole commander of the mission so as to have a uniform fighting force. An emissary is quickly dispatched to Constantinople to request Ottoman assistance in the matter. However, there is no guarantee -though likely- that the Porte will agree to the request, and even if it does it will be many months before its army can be fully marched into Egypt. For the pressing matter at hand, the most serene navy will strike at once.
March 21: Maranazzo’s birthday. Instead of in his home on the outskirts of the lagoon, he is at the helm of a ship, the “Anianus”, named in honour of the first Christian convert in Alexandria. The Doge and the Patriarch of Venice stand at the edge of the shores. Behind them, many high ranking citizens, as well as commoners, Christians and Jews, Venetians and Albanians, all look at the marvel from the distance.
To explain the actions about to be taken against Egypt to the Venetian populace, Loredan has found it imperative to legitimize the grounds for attack in something other than strictly commerce. He chooses a subject he knows will garner the most support from the people, and especially from the men who will perform the deed. Just as it has done to its ground forces, Venice’s navy is completely homegrown and very well trained. If Loredan can unite them under a holy purpose, he is sure he will get the best results. At Andrea Gritti’s suggestion, the event is turned into a spectacle so as not to anger the populace with yet another war, instead convincing them that it is a duty they must fulfill.
The Patriarch initiates the blessing of the grand navy on its special quest. He continues about how the land of the most venerated of Venice’s Saints, the watchful protector of the republic, has incited a great betrayal of the republic and of Christendom. Loredan delivers the final note, calling on God’s most glorious blessing upon the ships, as they set off to reclaim the city where was put to death the most legendary, most revered; San Marco. The ceremony concludes with those in attendance, both spectator and sailor alike, crying ‘Viva San Marco!” the motto of the republic.
Early April: The Mamluks keep their promise, and all work is suspended indefinitely on the Ptolmeic Channel. They expect that, for the most part, Venice is in a similar situation as them, and that the canal’s completion is essential and well worth their demands. While they wait for the Venetians to return and accept the deal, the now unemployed army of Channel-workers, trained and slave alike, are left with nothing to do. Some skilled Venetian workers head towards Alexandria to head home and at least wait out the stoppage.
April 28: The Venetian armada arrives off the coast of Egypt, but does not at once make land. Rather, the fleet sails up and down the coast. Seeing the Venetians scouting the shores, the surprised Mamluks hastily begin harvesting all the crops including unripened grain, and poisoning wells to deprive the enemy of local food supplies. The locals are in shock; they never thought that the Venetians would mount a full scale siege in response to the hard-line stance taken by their government.
In the early morning of the 29th of April, the Venetian forces rush ashore just 6 km west of Alexandria, and head straight for the city. They arrive by sunrise beneath Alexandria’s walls and surprise the city. After a morning of moderate fighting, the troops stationed in the city give up and flee. Unfortunately it is not before they take the chance to massacre some Venetian shipwrights and citizens living inside the city (i).
It turns out the majority of the Sultanate’s forces were much farther east awaiting any Ottoman assault. After the city’s capture, Maranazzo takes the fleet north to secure Aboukir Bay before anchoring the battle-fleet in the old port of Alexandria.
For such glorified hype, the invasion was an easy success. A majority of the men didn’t even take part in the city’s capture, and are frustrated. Maranazzo and his commanders assure them that they got lucky the Egyptian forces were not stationed there, and that the real difficulties will start now that they have taken the city.
May: Arriving in Constantinople, the Venetian envoy has its work cut out for it. They were alerted by spies months ago of the Ottoman intent to invade Egypt, and attempt to capitalize on the information in lieu of recent, unanticipated events. The Ottomans are given a complete update of the situation in Egypt, and are then immediately met with a proposal to enter into a lucrative agreement with the Venetians, to which Selim quickly agrees. The deal stipulates that the Ottomans will invade the Sultanate of Egypt from the east, and in turn will be equal partners in the remaining completion of the Ptolemaic Channel, incurring costs and supplying manpower as is required. In turn, they will receive an equal share in the eventual profit realization of the completed canal. Venice will be allowed to keep Alexandria so as to have an outpost near the channel.
Retiring from a successful meeting, both sides are happy with the fair agreement reached, each feeling as if they’ve won on a point when in reality this is not the case:
The Venetians feel they have won by agreeing to a 50/50 split with the Ottomans in turn for the hurried invasion of Egypt. In reality they expected the Mamluks to contribute enough capital to the construction process to reach about that, so nothing new is added while a powerful, stable, and effective partner is gained.
The Ottomans are the true winners of the deal, expecting at least a portion of the Egyptian forces to attack the Venetians in Alexandria whereas before they’d have to deal with them. They were going to invade around this time next year anyways, so this saves large sums of money from going to supporting an idle waiting force. Lastly, they now get the benefits of the Ptolmeic Channel.
Late May: The Venetian carracks in the Red Sea are ambushed and attacked by Mamluk ships. The carracks are armed only with some cannons meant solely to test how the ships react to their blasts. They were not intended to experience any fighting. Of the 12 carracks in the Red Sea, the Mamluks manage to sink 8, claiming all on board. The remaining 4 demonstrate enough speed to escape. The only saving grace of the encounter is the valuable information gained on the ships’ performances in a real-world situation, which will be shared with the republic as soon as the sailors can make it back.
(i): This capture of Alexandria is one modeled similarly to the OTL capture undertaken by Napoleon.
Good work on the timeline, I imagine that this must be a titanic work concerning searching for the most minimal pieces of information that may butterfly out.
The Ottomans worry me, they are in a position where retaking Alexandria from the venetians would be an easy job, when the army of the Sultan arrives into the delta they may have the suplies necessary to sustain a prolonged siege and while La serenissima could resuply the city with ships it's a lost cause. The support would dilute in a few months, they would be fighting a war without end or profit.
I'm wondering as a (from my childhood up to now) fan of Da Vinci's weaponry when we will see this thing come into the battlefield?:
Also, are we going to see some giant crossbows defending besieged cities ITTL?
It's getting far more challenging as the TL grows to include other countries that Venice's affairs start to affect (the Papacy, France, Ottomans), and then the further butterflies on other countries from those interactions. I just hope I'm doing an effective job at catching them all...
It would indeed be a simple task for the Porte to take Alexandria. Originally I thought that the Ottomans wouldn't agree to the deal unless the city was surrendered. But then one has to realize how closely linked the two nations now are. Unlike the wars waged between them before, since the deep economic agreement and the trade of Ragusa that followed, Venice is now an integral part of the Ottoman economy. Anything to hurt this relation by either party would be unwise. Besides that, the Venetians are an essential part to the building of the canal, splitting the incredible costs, and providing most of the intelligence (this is a da Vinci work, after all).
While I intended to have more 'da Vinci weapons' at least on the drawing board by now (let's not all forget the fire in his study...) the great man has lent his incredible mind to other matters ITTL, and is a bit busy with the Portuguese matter at the moment. Hopefully we can soon expect more of these crazy inventions. In terms of giant crossbows, I'll have to look into it, but that would be bloody cool.
Well, keeping the Ottomans as allies will be good for keep in peace Eastern Mediterranean, and allowing the Serenissima to have more free hands. But it also put them to be in the sphere of influence of the Empire. The more the alliance with Turkey will last, more difficult for Venice should be to search allies in Europe, or at least in the more rigid Catholic countries...
This was a calculated risk; as you put it, isolating Venice from Europe is a dangerous game. However, OTL Venice had the same European neighbours to choose from as TTL, and it went with Europe (of course, owing to historic and religious ties). The result of this was economic decline. TTL has the focus of Venice allying with the Ottomans instead (at least for the immediate future). Venice has virtually always been in the sphere of the Ottomans, as they share many mutual interests, the greatest being trade, and the severely negative influence of the Portuguese on that trade specifically. Also, if not for good relations with the keepers of Egypt, TTL's Ptolmeic Channel could be worthless, and the funds spent on it rendered useless.
When all that is weighed against allying with Europe, whose biggest players even ITTL just banded together to eliminate Venice from the map, I think it is evident (or at least interesting) that the republic should side with whoever offers it the most by way of achieving its goals. She will have to become shrewd in who she makes alliances with, and the following decades will see this come to a boiling point.
Note: It can be said that the OTL Ottomans were equally hard on Venice, but the relations between the two ITTL are far better.
I don't think that would be that problematic, Great Britain will share interests in some moments, principally concerning stumping the french growth and/or invading the hexagon. The low countries share that same interest, while a defensive alliance against France is not unlike form my point of view it will be short-lived as competition in trade would rise progressively as Venice lauches herself to the high seas beyond the mediterranean.
While Portugal was GB best friend for a long time some kings may see fit erasing the thorn at heir side of their colonial holdings, more so with the trade, as well as the low countries. If looking for a lasting alliance... I don't know. In the future Siam seems likely, more so if we think that GB will try to crush the low countries at some point to get their colonies, la serenissima shrewdly taking the east indies... Venice rebuilding an empire from the downed portuguese or dutch would be awesome.
In the future is see that the most faithfull ally being Brandemburg/Prussia (depending on the time), the austrians are cornered between the Ottomans and Venice, so they have not anywhere to expand but north, west to the empire or to Poland/Lithuania... good luck with that. Those lands are not as easy to take as the balkans. With Brandemburg gaining power as time passes the HRE is getting farther away from austrian hands and we all know what happens when the autrians try to invade the prussians.
I think that Libya and the horn of africa are the most plausible colonies/protectorates, so an "ally" there is practically assured even if the Ottomans decide to take the upper nile or, as ludicrous as it sounds, the whole Nile basin.
Oman and Yemen may be comercial partners/allies or sworn enemies depending on how the republic behaves in the following century.
And there is always the posibility of a secret pact to partition a comercial powerhouse between two or more others...
But the thing I want to see the most is Suleiman rocking the world together with the republic. Vienna burnend to the ground in 1529... that would be setting a new standard of AWESOME.
The Sultan didn't gain the title of The Magnificent for liking chocolate...
Lots of good ideas given the information currently available, but there's going to be many changes. We'll have to wait and see how the alliances work out.
I enjoyed this line.
I’ve been thinking about what could happen if the Serenissima and the Ottomans complete the Ptolmeic Channel, and now my mind is full of possibilities.
If Venice and the Ottomans gain control of the Red Sea, then the first thing they will do is search for a nearby base. The Horn of Africa would be good enough. After that, wow…
The Somali city-states would be the first to receive them, and after that the Swahili coast cities as well. I can see elephant ivory would be a big-ticket item for the rising powers, as well as rare pelts and feathers (poor elephants and birds). After that would be Yemen and Oman, one of the producers of frankincense.
India would be the biggest jackpot for the Serenissima. The Mughal Empire would be brimming with jewelry to be bought while the Malabar Coast would supply them with all the pepper they could ever need (Screw you, Portuguese Goa!). The Maldives would be the perfect spot to make a Venetian colony, other than the Seychelles.
From then on would be South-East Asia. Any power that could control the Malacca Straits would have a very favorable base in the region, and trade with China (which is dealing harshly with the Portuguese OTL for them destroying the Malacca Sultanate, a somewhat close friend of theirs). The Moluccas would be prime ground for spices while the Malay Peninsula is a hotbed for tin and lumber, as well as Borneo and Sumatra.
…And now I am imagining a Venetian Malacca with Ottoman-style mosques.
Venice and the Ottomans would be the most powerful polities to ever trade in the Ocean Ocean, and their influence could have a giant impact around that part of the world, however small. And what's more, both powers would have things that could be traded for them! Venetian glass! Ottoman carpets! European Jewelry! They would be much better trading partners instead of the other colonial powers, whom most of region considered as glorified pirates.
I wonder how this will effect Europe in the future.
The possibilities are endless! Well done, you're actually bang on on some points. It looks like you may have already, but (if not) should you want to see how some of those take shape (roughly) take a look at the original version of the TL.
I'd like to address everything you mentioned above but I don't want to get too ahead of the TL (past experience on my dear IDF TL has proven the evils in doing so), so all I'll say is stay tuned. You'll definitely enjoy where this is headed.
However, I don't think the Ottomans in TTL will be interested to expand their influence in South-East Asia... Recently, I understood a vast continental empire generally wasn't/isn't interested to create oversea colonies, or to colonize border regions at least. In substance, the only OTL Ottoman colony was Sudan, and neither was interesting for Constantinople...
Certainly, if Venice goes West the Empire could have all the interest to make contact with the Islamic nation of Indonesia and Malacca, but even with a friendly Venice the Turks still needs to keep the bulk of their navy in the Mediterranean to protect the Maghreb.
I thing I didn't say before, I guess Venice could ask for a bit more from Turkey, after all the Serenissima gave Egypt on a silver plate... For example, more trade rights in the Empire, the control of the Mediterranean access of the canal, maybe also Damietta. But probably, Alexandria in the end will be more than enough. Having the control of the city of Saint Mark will be a great propaganda for all Christian Europe. Besides, Venice should give an apparence of Crusade to the attack, in order to gain the trust of the Knights of Saint John. Rhodes should be bring in the Venetian fold, Alexandria could be the necessary input to call their help and offer protection.
Also, there will be the issue of the Orthodox Patriarchate and the Copt Church, added with the Muslim majority present in Alexandria, so it will be interesting how Venice will operate to rule the city...
This is true, traditionally big continental empires did not go off and colonize (with the exception maybe being Russia). I feel that the reciprocal is also true, whereas large bulky empires didn't want to colonize, small nations had a burning desire to do so (the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium, Spain, etc). Venice may also feel this drive. IIRC the republic IOTL wasn't too keen or intent on capturing large masses of land in Europe, preferring instead parcels condusive to its trade goals and such.
I believe you meant east. Absolutely, the Turks will not likely have the drive to go into these lands, opting instead to keep true to their power base, not willing in the least to let any European power make big gains around the Mediterranean or north of the Balkans.
I was thinking this too: it felt as if the Ottomans got the entire carcass whereas Venice got a small morsel. Upon further review though, Venice is now already the Ottoman's lead trading partner with all the special perks that go with that, so there isn't really more to ask for in that regard. The initial intent was in fact for Venice to invade Egypt from the area of Damietta thanks to its proximity to the opening of the Channel, but the legitimacy of an invasion on the city of St. Mark made far more sense from the point of a Christian nation walking into Muslim territory.
The conquest of St. Mark will be given a Crusade-esque veil in Europe, but for the most to ease the astonishment of the Veneto-Ottoman relation. I didn't think about the effects on the Knights and the various orders, thanks for the snippet
Ah yes, this is my current dilemma. Not the Coptic angle (should have that covered), but the rule over the Muslim majority. In the end it may be up to the Venetian power of persuasion to convince the Mamluk citizens of the city that they're better of being Venetian than ottoman... But I don't know if that carries much weight..
Just an Update: I'm really excited at the rate at which this TL has garnered interest, and at the great comments and contributions you've all given. So I'd just like to take a moment and say thanks!
I'm really anxious to get the new parts posted, lots of big changes will be coming soon. However, I'll be away from my computer for most of the week and won't be able to get to the finishing touches that will get them into 'postable'-form. That said, hopefully you can all expect the next post by the end of the week.
I'll still be checking the forum periodically on my mobile to respond to any comments, as I have been.
Sorry for the temporary delay,
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