Lands of Red and Gold

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jared, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. twovultures Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for making a summary! I really appreciate it as a reader.
     
  2. Mark-ITSOT Mercian Imperialist Dog :D

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    Remind me. Has anyone in Aururia discovered the black burning rock yet?
     
  3. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    It's one of the odder butterflies that comes from this timeline's re-divided China.

    "Cathay" as a name was Not Quite Dead in the 1640s, but what happened was that some Europeans still thought it was a separate kingdom from China, somewhere off to the north or something. By the 1650s or thereabouts it was demonstrated that Cathay was just another name for China, and its use more or less died out thereafter.

    ITTL, China becomes divided again in the late 1630s. What happens is that Europeans pick up the name Cathay again to describe one half of China. So in the 1650s or so they speak of both Cathay and China, as separate kingdoms.

    The reason why Cathay becomes synonymous with China again by the twenty-first century is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Credit to CyberPhoenix001 for suggesting the global survey, though it ended up being mostly an Aururian survey.

    Remind me what that's called? I've seen it covered on TV a while back, but can't remember what it's called or exactly where it is.
     
  4. Mark-ITSOT Mercian Imperialist Dog :D

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    Coal :p

    Australia has large reserves, though I've no idea how easy it is to get at.
     
  5. general general

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    The reserves in the Hunter are fairly easy to get at; in OTL they started mining within few years of colonisation. Also, IIRC, there is a seam there which has been burning for several centuries after being ignited by a lightning strike. I think it is believed to have begun sometime in the 18th C.
     
  6. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Ah. I thought you were making a rather more obscure reference to the place in NSW/Queensland where there's been a underground coal seam fire burning for the last few thousand years, leading to a permanently smoking mountain that's not a volcano.

    Having dug around a bit more, I found that place is usually called Burning Mountain (proper name Mt Wingen) and it has been burning for about 6000 years, give or take. It's in New South Wales, and so that will almost certainly be a sacred site.

    The use of coal as fuel goes back quite a long way; it was used in Bronze Age funeral pyres in Britain (never mind Roman times), in Chinese copper smelting before they had iron working, and if the Fount of All Knowledge can be believed, even the Aztecs used coal as fuel.

    Given that, I think it's plausible that Aururians will have tapped into coal reserves where they are easily accessible and once something gives them inspiration (coal seam fires are an obvious possibility, as you mentioned).

    For these purposes, easily accessible means both at or near the surface, and somewhere close enough to be transportable with Aururian logistics, which basically means by water, if they're being carried any distance. (No large beasts of burden). Or, just possibly, somewhere along the Atjuntja road network - their roads are probably good enough to manage it.

    What I'd need to look more into is exactly which coal reserves count as easily accessible. The Hunter almost certainly does, partly because its reserves are near the surface and also because the river itself provides a good method of transport. (There are stretches of the Hunter that aren't navigable, but moving goods around those regions by land would still be worth it.)

    For other regions, I'm not sure. The Illawarra has good high-quality coal reserves, but I'm not sure how transportable they would be, and it also mostly requires underground mining which may be beyond the local tech levels. The coal-fields in the rest of New South Wales are still mostly near the east coast, and the main inland reserves which do exist (e.g. around Lithgow) are not close to the Five Rivers, so any coal production there would probably be quite limited.

    The main Victorian coal-fields (in the Latrobe Valley) are lower-quality lignite, which is of less practicality for discovering its use, and in Aururian geopolitics that's also in the wild east of the Yadji realm, so they may not be very well-developed.

    Queensland's coal regions are, for these purposes, practically inaccessible - I think that a higher tech level would be needed to tap into places like the Bowen Basin.

    The Western Australian coal-fields (around Collie) might be accessible, but I'd need to look more into their history.
     
  7. CyberPhoenix001 Hail the Solar Empire!

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    Thanks. I wish I could contribute in a more meaningful way to the timeline, but unfortunately I'm a big-picture kind of guy, and most of my in-depth historical knowledge (pre-Columbian Mexico) doesn't really apply in this timeline.

    I really like the summary, by the way!
     
  8. ingemann Banned

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    The biggest problem with coal mining seem the tendencies for mines to be flooded (even in a dry place like Australia it will be a major risk), and the Aururians lack cheap mechanic means like windmill to keep them dry.
    As for lignite I doubt it will see widespread use. Denmark and North Germany had moderate amount of lignite and mostly in the surface layers (quite easy to access), still it wasn't in use before the 19-20th century even through there was a lack of other fuel sources in the 18th century. The work versus the energy you get out of it, is simply too small unless you dig it up on large scale. Peat on the other hand is easily accessable, the problem being that I don't know how much peat Australia have.
     
  9. Admiral Matt Member

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    Very nice, thought where it will most be needed is the start of phase two (assuming a new thread).

    I have no idea, but for some reason I laughed out loud at "a feature which has been maintained in this overview."

    Incidentally, now I'm curious about those highlands peoples.
     
  10. Tonymecury Well-Known Member

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    Newcastle was originally settled, very early, by whites because coal could be picked up on the surface at the mouth of the Hunter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Newcastle,_New_South_Wales
     
  11. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

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    I'm guessing that's why they named the town Newcastle - in homage to the English original. :D
     
  12. Hnau free radical

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    With the Dutch pumping money into New Netherlands, the Aururian plagues ravaging the Old and New Worlds, and less demand for tobacco because of kunduri, the English are going to have a much more difficult time colonizing North America. This has been stated before but this is the first time I realized there were three impediments to their success.

    With the popularization of kunduri in Europe, will we see more drug addiction because of the higher potency? How might exposure to kunduri affect European culture? I assume religious leaders, monarchs and sultans will come out against kunduri at least as much as they did against tobacco in the 17th century.

    The Proxy Wars in Aururia between the English and the Dutch will most certainly lead eventually to the outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch Wars on the mainland, the only reason it might not come as soon as OTL is because both will be lacking in soldiers after the plagues. What kind of butterflies can we expect in these wars?

    With the beginning of a reversal of the trade deficit Europe had with Asia before the 19th century, less bullion will be sent towards Asian powers. I wonder how this will affect the balance of power in the Asian countries involved? And how will bullion be otherwise spent in Europe? With less demand for bullion generally, and increased supply from Aururia driving demand down even more, will Europeans go easier on their New World subjects that provide gold and silver?

    With a stronger Dutch presence in northeastern Brazil and the implications of a longer occupation, there might be an at-first subtle acceleration of the formation of Brazilian nationalism. Certainly the most important consequence of the Dutch occupation in OTL was this seed-laying of patriotismo brasileiro, so this will be even more pronounced ITTL whether or not the Dutch are evicted.
     
  13. sahaidak Well-Known Member

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    There is even more to the bullion issue.

    Let's assume that the Americas' silver and gold industries survive the Aururian plagues more or less intact and able to maintain its OTL production levels (not impossible, but a tall order still, since the Peruvian and Mexican mines were highly labour-intensive, and most of the labour used was provided by the Amerinds who stand to suffer from the new plagues more than anybody else). If so, then the ATL 17th and 18th century Europe will have, with Aururian goldfields entering the market, even higher bullion supply than it had in OTL, but it will have far lower demand for it, not just because of Aururian spices' success in India decreasing bullion outflows to that country, but also because of lower economic activity in Europe itself, at least in the first post-contact decades, when the plagues have hit while the new crops have not arrived yet.

    Higher supply and lower demand make for inflation. In OTL, prices grew by the factor of 5 to 6 during the price revolution in the 16th and early 17th centuries. ITTL, the revolution will not subside, but continue with renewed strength, hitting people on fixed incomes (including many nobles, urban elites and members of ecclesiastical institutions) very hard, but improving the lot of quite a few peasants. Both happened OTL, but ITTL these processes will be even more pronounced. BTW, higher inflation may prevent a few state defaults, as the European rulers will be able to pay their long-term debts in devaluing money (it did not save Spanish public finances in OTL, but here the conditions will be even better).
     
  14. Hnau free radical

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    I hadn't thought of that aspect! Interesting. But, wouldn't those with fixed incomes just appeal to the monarchy to increase their pay as inflation rose? In any case, if Jared is willing to go into it we could find a very different Europe arising after the 17th century, not just affected by plagues and new crops and different geopolitics but a fundamentally different economic climate.
     
  15. sahaidak Well-Known Member

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    These fixed incomes I mentioned were mostly rents, not salaries. The monarchy was in many cases unable to force lower classes to pay higher-than-customary rents and moreover, depending on time and place, European governments of the era were quite happy to see some exceedingly powerful nobles and monasteries go broke.

    For instance, the French nobility lost most of its incomes from land with the price revolution in OTL, forcing all ambitious gentlemen to seek the king's favour, because the French government, unlike French feudal landowners, managed to increase its revenues by an order of magnitude over the 16th and 17th centuries, easily beating inflation. (It took quite a few failed uprisings, though, to make the French pay higher taxes). Thus, the price revolution in OTL France was an important factor in its emergence as a centralised absolute monarchy, and then nation-state.

    If another wave of price revolution hits France in the mid-17th century ITTL, it will lead to further impoverishment of provincial landowners and the government's attempts to increase taxes even more, heightening social tensions and, probably, provoking a few more rebellions. In OTL, taxation was among the major causes of the Fronde, a civil war that came close to crushing the emerging absolute monarchy. With the government putting even higher demands on the public's purse ITTL (at least in nominal terms), another Fronde may erupt, with unpredictable consequences.
     
  16. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    Good update, Jared!:)
     
  17. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Flooded mines will be a problem at some times and some places, but the OTL Hunter Valley mines seem to be manageable even with that problem, largely because they are so close to - or even at - the surface, and in Australia the water table tends to be low in most places.

    Some Aururians do have pumps - the Yadji, certainly - although it would be people pumping them rather than any source of mechanical power. I suspect that this means that deep mines will be rather a problem, but surface mining will be possible - though of course not certain to happen.

    Peat is relatively rare in Australia. Most of what peat does exist tends to be in high valleys where the rainfall is better - there's various peat bogs (erm, I mean wetlands) scattered across the tablelands and plateaus of New South Wales. There's also some in parts of Victoria - e.g. the Otway Ranges - which the Yadji might access locally, but I doubt it would be a widespread fuel even there, simply because there's not a lot of it.

    When I get time to format it properly, I'll be creating two new threads - a timeline only thread which will show the prologue and act 1, and a new thread for Act 2. I'll repost this summary and the framing device as part of creating the new thread, and then ask for this thread to be closed.

    They will be covered eventually. But like some other parts of Australia/NZ - like the Kiyungu and Maori - I held off on describing them in detail until events meant that those regions would be interacting with the "main" events in the thread. The highlands will be more or less the last region to be changed by the broader world, so I doubt I will get to cover them until then.

    The fact that the place was originally called Coal River is also a bit of a hint.

    Taking all of this together, I've now got a few ideas about how the *Hunter Valley will have developed. I'll work that into a post about the Patjimunra at some stage, although I'm not sure where it will fit on the priority list.

    It gets worse. Quite a few of the butterflies of Aururian contact turn out to slow - though certainly not stop - English colonisation of North America.

    As well as those ones mentioned, there's also a smaller supply of slaves to go around, due to Aururian diseases, so the sugar planters will be bidding for them and the tobacco growers of Viriginia and the Chesapeake will find it harder to get slaves, particularly combined with the lower prices tobacco commands.

    Indigo will also not get British subsidies (as it did in OTL) because the Aururian form of indigo can be grown competitively elsewhere within the Empire, so there's no need for subsidies of indigo growers in *South Carolina and Georgia.

    Rice will still be a profitable slave-grown export crop in South Carolina and Georgia, but other than that, there's not a lot of cash crops to be found in *British North America. However, tea will eventually be established in the Sea Islands, and that at least will be very profitable - just in a restricted area where it can be grown.

    The history of kunduri is going to be complex. There will be both prohibitions and promotions, those who rail against it and those who endorse it. Some places will forbid it - without much success in the long run, I expect - and others will embrace it.

    Kunduri is in some respects more addictive than tobacco, certainly. It's not as debilitating as something like opium, though, so the opposition to the drug won't be quite as strong.

    Kunduri is also a stimulant (of sorts), so some of its social consequences will be unusual. One effect which I do anticipate is that parts of Europe (especially France) will develop kunduri houses which will include consumption of both kunduri and coffee, and which will be some of the major social meeting places of the day.

    It's worth noting that while the Proxy Wars are more blatant in terms of undeclared warfare between the EIC and VOC, that undeclared war is actually starting later than it was in OTL. In OTL the undeclared war broke out following the Amboyna massacre of 1623 - though it was less vicious - and continued for a while before eventually getting wrapped up in the full Anglo-Dutch Wars.

    Any equivalent to the formal Anglo-Dutch Wars has been delayed by other consequences. The Regency in England is a period where the Duke Regent does not want to get into the sorts of wars which will require parliamentary assent to significantly higher taxation - that sort of chaos might end up with him no longer being regent - and so England's foreign policy was deliberately aimed at avoiding that sort of warfare. While Parliament was occasionally called for taxation purposes, there weren't large demands for taxation increases, so things limped along without the monarchy getting into a major conflict over revenues.

    After Charles II takes the throne for a few years and gets more confident in his rule, that will probably change. Rivalry with the Dutch will be a big part of the background, but the important part will be the changed internal political struggles within Britain.

    One caveat is that the trade deficit is not completely reversed; there's still a net flow of bullion toward Asia. Just not as severe as it was.

    Still, it will mean that there is a reduced money supply in much of Asia, which could have a variety of consequences. China may go back to more in the way of paper money, but I'd need to look more into its economic history to work out what the likely consequences would be. India will be more of a place of trading for mutual profit, and European powers would be in a position where they can provide goods that are valued as well as simply seeking to buy goods that they value. This would make the political negotiations over trade access more complex, but again I'd need to look into the history of European trade in India in the later seventeenth century before I could work out more details.

    I doubt that Europeans will go easier on their New World subjects. From their point of view, extracting gold and silver is still like mining money, and worth it. But with fewer of those subjects alive, even the most determined Spanish colonial governors will find that they can't extract the same amount of bullion. What this means for Spanish finances will take more

    Within Europe more generally, more bullion equals increased money supply, which has both pluses and minuses that sahaidak has already provided more thoughts on below. Inflation will be part of the consequences, but there will also be more going on. Liquidity will be easier with more bullion around, for instance.

    This may accelerate the sense of Brazilian nationalism a bit, but the Dutch will be around for only a handful of extra years over OTL, so I don't think that things will change that much.

    Interesting thoughts.

    I don't think that New World production will maintain its previous levels, but the volume of Aururian bullion will more than make up for that, leading to the continuing rise of inflation which you described.

    Which leads to social unrest, the weakening of some social classes, and, well potentially quite a few other things.

    I'm willing to look into the broad trends, but I don't want this timeline to become a 3-million word treatise on the changed conditions in Europe, which is what it's likely to turn into if I try to go into detail about what's changed in Europe. I have a habit of turning a little detail into a lot of detail.

    I'd already depicted a trend toward absolute monarchy in Europe, for reasons to do with the reduced labour supply after the plagues. The reduced labour supply led to expansion of noble power at the expense of the peasantry, and a simultaneous trend for the expansion of the power of the monarchy against the nobility. (This was an OTL trend in some regions affected by the population reductions of the Thirty Years' War and elsewhere, but broader ITTL due to the plagues).

    Feeding the effects of this increased inflation into this will be quite interesting. At a broad level, one possibility is that after the plagues, there's a period where the nobility get stronger (at the expense of the peasants), but then the inflation begins to kill the power of the nobility, since much of their income is fixed. This is the point when the monarchies begin to expand their power, and begin to turn absolutist. Which will be helped if they have fewer problems with debts, too.

    TTL's France doesn't see the Fronde as we know it, since France managed to stay out of the *Thirty Years' War, though it did subsidise the Protestant powers to a considerable degree, and so will still have needed to raise a fair amount of revenue from that.

    So, what this sounds like will happen in France is a later *Fronde as the government struggles to cope with rising inflation, leading to a different form of civil war. I think I'd need to find out more about French history of the period before I tried to work out how that *Fronde would play out, though.
     
  18. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Lands of Red and Gold will be continued in Thread II.

    This thread will be closed as soon as a moderator sees this post.
     
  19. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

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    Aw, it will be rather sad parting with this thread. So many memories. :( But as long as the timeline lives on, I don't mind. :) Good luck with continuing Act 2 of this AH epic.
     
  20. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

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    It truly is the end of an era.

    And, of course, the beginning of a new one.

    Here's to another five years of greatness.
     
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