1300 BC: Lapita settlers establish a colony on Great Palm Island. They come into conflict with the Aboriginal inhabitants of the island, but the Lapita bow and arrow sees the Aborigines driven from the island. They eventually establish more peaceful contact with the Aborigines on the mainland.

As the colony grows and the Lapitans start to fight among themselves, they recruit mainland warriors through marriage. As a matrilocal society, husbands move in with wives and so the Lapita are able to bring in young Aborigine men to their home. These men do keep some contact with their mainland kin, which allows for cultural exchange between the Lapita settlers and the mainland Aborigines.

1000 BC: Farming becomes established on the mainland in response to the introduction of pigs from Great Palm Island. The ecological disruption of this invasive species which eats bush tucker and scares game forces the Aborigines to adapt, either using the Lapitan bow and arrow to hunt or adopting the Lapita farming lifestyle to get secure access to food.

A Lapitan colony is established on Magnetic Island by Great Palm Islanders fleeing conflict by voyaging which would continue to spread knowledge of agriculture to the Aborigines.

750 BC: With growing populations, farming societies on the mainland begin to incorporate hunter-gatherer societies, both peacefully and through force. This sees the wild bush tucker of Queensland becoming domesticated, and an indigenous knowledge base develops to supplement Lapitan-style farming. In addition to native fruits, acacia seeds become the Queensland dietary equivalent to soybeans or chickpeas, and native spices are used to add a local accent to the taro and yam staples introduced by the Lapita.

500 BC: The farming societies that now dominate coastal Queensland begin building projects, creating fortified towns, monuments, and irrigation canals, calling upon the labor power of booming populations. The ease of gaining food means that social stratification is limited even as these societies become more complex. Positions equivalent to ‘king’ or ‘chief’ in the Old World do develop, but they are limited in power through Aboriginal familial taboos, and there is little class stratification. The chiefs do find ways to set themselves apart from commoners, often decorating themselves with paint and jewelry to mark their status. The Magnetic and Great Palm Islanders help in this, plying the Coral Sea in their great catamarans to gather shells and pearls to trade to mainland chiefs.

0 AD: The Outrigger Culture develops along the Gulf of Carpentaria. This culture consisted of Aborigines who adopt Lapita-style fishhooks, harpoons, and of course outrigger canoes to fish and hunt sea mammals from the farming peoples on the east coast of Cape York. The Lapita’s navigational technology is lost in the exchange and the Outrigger Culture does not adopt the sails or catamarans of the Great Palm and Magnetic islanders. As such they tend to keep sight of land when they set out to sea, and aside from some island hopping to New Guinea where they trade stone tools and jewelry for heart of palm and bird of paradise feathers, they do not leave Australia.

Although it remains a hunter-gatherer culture, the Outrigger culture does trade for food with York Peninsula farmers and plants cuttings of bananas and yams across its range and as far away as Kimberly. The poor soils of the Top End kill off most of these plants, but in Arnhem Land the transplanted bananas and yams survive and grow.

200 AD: The Breimba Culture develops in southwestern Queensland, in the headwaters of the Darling River. Named for the great temple complex along OTL’s Clarence River, the Breimba were far more stratified as a society than the chieftainships along the Pacific coast of Queensland. This was the result of living in the semi-arid interior, where control over granaries was a vital bulwark against drought and famine-and so control over the granaries led to the rise of an elite consisting of priests, who maintained grand temples and managed tribute, warriors who fought and conquered those who would not submit to giving tribute to the temple, and singers who flattered the other two classes.

500 AD: The Breimba sphere extends to the coast, as the farming communities of OTL’s Brisbane and Gold Coast at the southernmost fringe of the Australian farming sphere are conquered by the Breimba elite looking to expand the range of their tribute empire. Attempts by the Breimba to conquer northward fail past Fraser Island. A millenia of higher human populations on the coast had resulted in more varieties of malaria evolving, and long term campaigning on the Pacific coast resulted in many of the Breimba military elite dying as they tried to march north since these people from the dry inland had not been previously exposed to malaria. They settled for extracting tribute from the chieftains to their north rather than ruling them directly.

600 AD: The Magnetic and Great Palm Islanders (remember them?) start to use their voyaging catamarans to trade with the Breimba. They bring harvests of sugarcane, slaves bought from mainland slave raids, and mother of pearl to the Breimba civilization, and seeking to go further to find trade goods begin to launch voyages of discovery, following up on northern trade routes and navigating through the Great Barrier Reef to reach New Guinea, where they swap large emu feathers for the smaller but more distinct bird of paradise feathers.

For the mainland tribes, dealing with the hegemony saw the rise of confederacies to defend against and enact raids for the slaves and sugarcane that the Breimba elite held in high demand.

750 AD: The Breimba hegemony is destroyed as the priest class is overthrown in their homeland. The great temple of Breimba is burnt as the farming class rises up against the upper class’s increasingly harsh demands for labor. In the chaos, hunter-gatherer peoples join the attack, looting the homes of the wealthy.

800 AD: The coastal colonies of Breimba are united by the legendary king Jangyalwen One-Eye. Although a member of the coastal Badjalang people subjugated by the Breimba, he rose to power in the political chaos after the fall of the temple. He presented himself as saving the religious structure of the Breimba while overthrowing the corrupt warrior caste, but in gaining power he subjugated the priestly caste to his clan, turning them into bureaucrats to oversee what was now a personal kingdom, leaving him and his family free to focus on his favorite hobby: military conquest. His empire would be named for his coastal clan, the Widje. They would occupy the Breimba homeland and wage wars of conquest against the confederacies to their north.

850 AD: The Noongar of southwestern Australia adapt bows and arrows. With the deserts forming a barrier against the invasive pigs, they were not under environmental pressure to take this technology, and despite having contact with the east they did not see much need to work with this newfangled weaponry.Nonetheless, after generations of interaction, the technology is finally taken up due to its usefulness for hunting and repulsing occasional raids from desert tribes to the north.

1000 AD: The Widje Empire reaches its northernmost extent after its large armies are crushed in the rainforests of northeast Queensland by the Yidinji. The dense rainforest broke up the Widje armies, making their tactics impossible to execute. Attempts to send reinforcements to the northern campaign weakened the empire in the south, allowing the Breimba homeland to successfully revolt and secede from the empire, forming an independent Breimba kingdom-though in this kingdom, the king was most definitely subordinate to the reconstituted priest caste.

The Widje Empire would develop a new focus on consolidating its power within its remaining borders, seeking peace with the Breimba and the Yidinje. Without new conquests to generate wealth, they turned to purchasing slaves from the northern tribes, triggering a wave of slave raiding in northeastern Queensland.

1100 AD: Seeking respite from slave raiders, some visionaries from the York Peninsula would go westward to look for refuge, joining the outrigger culture and exploring the Gulf of Carpentaria. Finding wild yams and bananas in Arnhem land, they would return preaching of a new promised land. A great migration would occur over the next few centuries as York farmers moved to Arnhem Land and its outlying islands, introducing farming to the region. As the land they left from lay fallow, settlers from New Guinea and the Torres Straits would come to claim it.

1200 AD: Breimba artisans discover metallurgy, adapting their pottery kilns to smelt gold and copper ores to create jewelry.

1250 AD: Traders from the Magnetic and Great Palm Islands begin to sail from New Guinea to the Solomons, drawn in by a growing trade network which used shell money and was centered on large temple complexes. In the Solomons, they would encounter other Austronesians, including members of the Polynesian outlier cultures settling the far atoll islands of the Solomons. Contact with these Polynesians would give the islanders a new good to bring to Australia: the sweet potato.

1300 AD: The Tusk Kingdom is founded in the York Peninsula as New Guinea settlers and indigenous peninsulars unite to fight off the slave raiders, taking heads as trophies in massive reprisal raids directed by hereditary chiefs who would elect from their number a monarch titled The Great Boar, a title which spoke to wealth, power, and ferocity for them.

Facing an organized and powerful threat to their north, the tribes between the Tusk Kingdom and the Widje Empire would form the Babinda confederacy for mutual self-defense. While loosely organized, the confederacy managed to largely bring peace to Northeast Queensland by presenting a united front too powerful for the Tusk Kingdom or Widje Empire to challenge and managing conflict among its members through men and women empowered by kinship taboos to have authority over the chiefs and big men-a northern answer to the Breimba priests of old.

1450 AD: Widje farmers develop a new form of agriculture based on the sweet potato supplemented with indigenous plants such as acacias, pigweed, and millet. Propagating sweet potatoes by cuttings rather than seeds and growing them in mounds, the farmers are able to produce enough calories to support themselves even in cool climates. The potential frontier for farming in eastern Australia was now pushed hundreds of miles to the south.

For the Widje Empire, this would be salvation. Peace to their north meant that the slave trade had dried up, and conflict among the elite for control of labor corvees and land was getting intense, as well as conflict between the elite and the common people they increasingly sought to wring wealth out of. This new form of agriculture meant that there was plenty of land to share among the elite, and granting some of that land to commoners could defuse class tensions.

This result was quite bad for the peoples of the southeastern Pacific coast. Due to the Widje thirst for slaves, relations with the southern peoples had never been good. While the indigenous peoples did not see the need to take up farming in their wet and productive land, it was coveted by Widje farmers. The Widje would start a southward conquest, sending soldiers to pacify hunter-gatherer peoples and granting farmland to them for their service. This conquest would see many of the hunter-gatherer people enslaved, killed or driven into the the peaks of the Great Dividing Range, and the southeast “Badjalang-ized” as the Widje Empire dominated the region.

1550 AD: The Breimba Kingdom goes through a second collapse as massive outmigration occurs from the kingdom. The collapse was caused by bands of formerly hunter-gatherer peoples such as members of the Baagandji and Gamilaraay speakers who had fallen within the Breimba sphere taking up sweet potato agriculture from their contact with the settled cultures. Conflict with relatives who kept the hunter-gatherer lifestyle drove them to invite Breimba farmers as allies to settle near or in their communities to bolster their numbers. Free land with the prospect of not paying any harvest or labor corvee drove many low-class Breimba to take the offer despite the inevitable conflicts they would face. These immigrant farmers would assimilate to the language and culture of their hosts, and leave the upper classes of the Breimba land to farm their own damn food.

Many Breimba artisans would emigrate to the Widje Empire in response to this change, spreading their knowledge of metalworking.

1608 AD: First European contact with Australia occurs, as William Janzsoon lands on the western edge of the Cape York peninsula. Just outside of agricultural lands, the hail of arrows that greets his landing parties drives him back to sea. Over the next several decades the Dutch would explore the barren western side of Cape York and the non-agricultural west coast, finding little to interest them in this land.

1627 AD: Francois Thjissen notes that his ship is approached by dugout canoes with outriggers when he sails by the Eyre peninsula. He has a peaceful interaction with these curious sailors, giving them Dutch cloth for seal skin, but notes that these “brutes know nothing about spices or gold”. He turns back, only a few hundred kilometers from the agricultural frontier of Australia.

1642 AD: Abel Tasman explores Australia for the Dutch East India Company. He finds in Tasmania a land untouched by the transformations of Lapita contact, and further out encounters the Maori of New Zealand in a fatal meeting for several of his men.

1644 AD: In a second foray to Australia on the northern coast, Abel Tasman makes contact with farming communities of Arnhem Land who live by growing the Queensland agricultural package-including spices hitherto unknown to the Old World, particularly the leaf of the lemon ironbark. The Dutch begin to trade with the Arnhem landers, gathering some quantities of spices for what was, for them, a dirt cheap trade of iron tools, cloth and common livestock such as goats, water buffalo, cows, and Java ponies.

1650 AD: The frontier of sweet potato agriculture reaches its western limit at the mouth of the Murray-Darling, and southeastern limit on the Pacific coast at around the latitude of OTL’s Mt. Kosciuszko. Further south, the climate was simply too cold for sweet potato agriculture to work, giving the hunter-gatherer cultures a respite from the advance of the farmers.

The Widje would build a series of forts stretching from the coast to the mountains to guard against the hunting peoples, who would launch raids from the south and from the mountains against them.

Inland, the peoples at the mouth of Murray would trade with the Kaurna across the Flinders range. Uninterrupted, this trade would have probably introduced agriculture to the Thura-Yura peoples, but outside influence would stop that course of history.
1650 Map
Map showing Australia at around the time of the establishment of permanent European contact in the mid 17th century, with the Widje Empire, Babinda Confederacy, and Tusk Kingdom marked. Decentralized agricultural societies are gray, and the former Breimba kingdom in white.


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Oooh, remings me of lorag

Definitely inspired from that great timeline. I owe @Jared a great debt both for the writing there and for discussions we've had on domesticates and crop packages. I came to want to do an Australian Agricultural timeline which focused on a more tropical package and the limits and changes of that. I posted an earlier version of this timeline with domesticable Australian rice, but with the crackdown on evolutionary POD's decided to do a Lapita Agricultural Package introduction instead.

I am very intrigued so far. Please continue

Going forward, there's a lot of overlap with some of the Aboriginal Horse Culture ideas I'd already been kicking around in other threads. I think I will continue this, but I have a little more research to do on the initial European contact aspect.

Wow, great.
Thank you!
Contact Period
1663 AD: From their outpost of Ft. Van Dieman, the Dutch accidentally introduce smallpox to Terra Australis. The plague kills a fifth of the population in coastal Arnhem land where some degree of quarantine is achieved by scattering inland, leaving their recently introduced livestock to go feral-though some families among the Arnhem landers bring Java ponies on this walkabout as pack animals, beginning a tradition they would keep of relying on horsepower when venturing away from the farmable coast.

1664 AD: Blasting through the daisy chain of trade among the Outrigger peoples in the Gulf of Carpentaria, smallpox reaches the Pacific coast of the York Peninsula. Unlike the Arnhem landers, the Queenslanders did not have the option of scattering to the semi-arid interior; there were too many of them, and the Great Dividing Range made travel westward difficult. One third of the population of coastal Queensland dies in the plague, including many members of the Widje royal family and its related clans. The disease would burn through the New South Wales coast and the interior more slowly, but with a deadly surety.

Smallpox would reach as far as the Eyre Peninsula, devastating the population there and stopping the forward march of agriculture. With plenty of land opened up in the Murray-Darling basin, farmers would not feel the need to migrate east of OTL’s Flinder’s Range, and with the drop in population taking pressure off the environment, the Thura-Yura would be able to keep supporting themselves hunting and gathering for a while yet.

1669 AD: Dutch plantations in Java start to turn a profit on lemon ironbark. The Dutch had planted many of these trees from seeds and cuttings taken from Arnhem Land in the aftermath of smallpox. With a lack of other ways to make money in this colony, the Dutch abandon Ft. Van Dieman as they see its defense as a liability, returning to Java to grow a minor spice whose presence would not do much to alter world history with one large exception. Indonesian peoples alerted to the existence of the Australian coast would continue their contact with Arnhem land, paying the Arnhem land farmers for trepanging rights and spreading the word about the land.

1671 AD: Dominican monks from Portugal occupy Ft. Van Dieman, renaming it Santa Maria Beatisima. Joining them are Portuguese-Timorese creoles looking for profit who start paying the farming peoples of Arnhem Land in iron goods and Timor ponies in exchange for feral water buffalo hide and slaves.

1672 AD: After years of civil war following the death of most of the imperial family due to smallpox, the Widje Empire is partitioned through the Peace of the Spotted Goanna. This deal would see the empire split at the Maiwar (OTL: Brisbane) River.

The south would be ruled by the Wudgiewudgie Ngumbhin (Red Cedar Tree House) Dynasty, founded by a former general of the Widje Empire who claimed the right to rule through his mother’s line, a claim which would see the southern empire derisively called the Jalgany Kingdom (Women’s kingdom) by the elite of the north.

The north would be ruled by the “Mih Wuyum” Dynasty, a properly aristocratic family which had taken power in the north largely through the support of the bureaucrat-priests. They controlled almost all of the sugar-growing land of the empire, a great source of wealth among the agricultural Australians.

1675 AD: The Dominican monks at Santa Maria note slaves brought to the farmland are escaping back to the interior, and are driving away livestock when they do so-particularly horses. They have their work cut out to them to escape successfully though, as the Arnhem Land farmers are increasingly at ease tracking escapees from horseback. A horse culture was taking hold.

1715 AD: Timorese creoles looking to avoid the new Portuguese governor of Timor by hiding out in Australia make an incredible discovery while roaming into the hinterland with water buffalo hunters: gold, easily dug up near Pine Creek. They return with their discovery, bribing their way into the governor’s good graces with their find.

1718 AD: The Portuguese begin to mine gold in the interior of Arnhem land. At these mines, a mix of free and enslaved labor from Portugal, Macau and Southeast Asia dig up gold for export to Timor, where a 5th was (officially) sent back to Portugal as tax and most of the rest was frittered away buying luxuries from the Dutch East India Company. This ensured peace, as the Dutch saw no reason to take the hard work of getting the gold from the Portuguese. The price to extract this wealth was paid in European and Asian goods and horses to the northern Aborigines, but they could not co-exist easily in the northern frontier. Many Portuguese, Asians, and converted Aborigines from the agricultural communities would meet their end by spear and arrow when they harmed or offended their hosts, but the need to keep the water buffalo trade open encouraged reconciliation rather than war between the hunter-gatherer peoples and the colonists.

1725 AD: A new religious ritual crossing tribal boundaries develops in the brush land along the Gulf of Carpentaria as hunter gatherers incorporate the horse into their lifestyle. Although this ritual called upon the whole people to dance and sing and the women to anoint foals with paint, the Rider Corroboree was led by men guided by the Emu Hat Man-a hunter who had earned the right to wear an “emu hat” feathered headdress by spearing a running emu at full gallop.

While smallpox had petered out in the top end, trade with the Dutch and Portuguese had introduced other diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. Looking to make sense of a world shaken by epidemics, the hunter-gatherers of the Top End were changing their religious practices and lifestyle, and with it adopting the horse. The spread of the horse would be stopped westward by the Great Sandy Desert, but at the Gulf of Carpentaria the practitioners of the Rider Corroboree would push southward through the semi-arid interior, seeking out new hunting grounds of emu and kangaroo, and occasionally taking captives traded to the Portuguese for fresh horses.

1730 AD: The Portuguese in Timor fail to navigate the reefs blocking the way to “Santu Espiritu”, their name for the Pacific Coast of Queensland of which they had heard secondhand accounts. Deciding not to risk his ships, the Portuguese governor of Timor would not send out further expeditions, continuing the isolation of direct contact with Europeans a little while longer for the Queenslanders.

1735 AD: The governor of French Mauritius sponsors the explorer Pierre Bouger to explore the west coast of Australia as word comes out of the Portuguese discovery of gold in Australia. Bouger explores the coast, but finds it mostly the same barren wasteland that the Dutch observed a century ago, with little in the way of useful agricultural land, water, and no sign of gold or agricultural peoples.

1748 AD: The first Carnatic war is decisively ended when the French storm Fort St. David in Cuddalore, killing many of the British soldiers including Robert Clive. British attempts at a sneak counterattack to the French assault were thwarted when an unknown party accidentally lit a fire which caught on in one of the many groves of lemon ironbark grown around the city. These eucalyptus plants burned easily in the dry season, and moving British troops got caught in the conflageration.

After having taken Ft. St. David, the French found themselves unexpectedly in a position to build up a military hegemony in southeastern India-which is less opposed than the British IOTL.

1750 AD: Horse-riding raiders attempt to attack the agricultural peoples of the Tusk kingdom. While their initial raids are successful, the coastal peoples quickly develop counter-measures, digging covered pits and using the dense forests of their home to ambush raiders and add horse skulls to their already intimidating trophy rooms.

They also work to buy off the raiders, giving them surplus food and tools to go away. This develops into a trade, which sees metal tools and horses exchanged to the Tusk kingdom and later the Babinda Confederacy. Although they would never see a Portuguese, the Queenslanders were now integrated into the Portuguese trade network of northern Australia.

1755 AD: The Lisbon Earthquake kills thousands of Portuguese, reducing emigration from Portugal. Combined with the failure of attempts to establish profitable plantations in Arnhem land, distance and military vulnerability and the terrifying ruggedness of northern Australia, Portuguese colonization would end at the gold mines in the north, where they would continue to produce gold and pay off the Aborigines for their presence-a rare case in indigenous history of a stable colonial frontier.

1763 AD: The 7 Years’ War ends. Although they had cemented their power in southeastern India, the French overplayed their attempts to influence the Nawab of Bengal. Even though he defeated the British, the Nawab would be influenced by pro-British elements of his court after the end of the War and allow the East India Company to return to Bengal on very favorable terms.

1770 AD: The Mih Wuyum dynasty is overthrown by Guguu Dhawuunh, a chief among a Babinda tribe betrothed to a royal princess who invaded when her family tried to renege on the marriage deal. He would break the empire by calling on mounted allies from the Gulf of Carpentaria-while the wet and forested east coast was not horse land, Guguu Dhawuunh had the tactical acumen to apply the power of cavalry precisely where it was needed, combining it with using elite footsoldiers armed with edged iron weapons. Technically, as he answered to the Babinda counsel, this meant that the Babinda confederacy now controlled the northern Widje Empire. In practice, Guguu Dhawuunh was now first among equals with the other chiefs due to the wealth and power he commanded, even if his power in the northern Widje itself severely constrained by the priest class.

1771 AD: A British explorer named Captain Cook visits eastern Australia, turning north from his planned course to visit Tasmania and landing near OTL’s Sidney Bay. He witnesses the hierarchical, agricultural societies of the Aborigines and notes that “in truth, they are much like Europeans” in journals which are recovered later by European explorers.

However, Cook himself never makes it out of Australia. When his ship is almost wrecked off the Great Barrier reef, he limps to the Queensland coast in the Babinda Confederacy and lands for repairs. His men make the mistake of flashing iron nails to the Aborigines, hoping that they would try to obtain them through prostitution as the Polynesians did; the Aborigines were willing to trade, but were more inclined towards smash and grab techniques when facing interlopers in their homeland carrying such valuable material which could upset the already disturbed political order.

In the resulting battle, the British kill dozens of Aborigines but are overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Cook is killed in battle, his obvious stature as “chief” making him a target whose death would bring glory. The surviving crew are enslaved but are given high status due to their exotic appearance, traded as curiosities and blacksmiths along the Queensland coast. Many of them would die of malaria in what was, for them, a tropical hell, including the expedition’s Tahitian translator Tupaia.

1773 AD: 2 follow-up expeditions trying to find the lost Cook explore Australia. The British navigator Furneaux follows Cook’s original orders, sails to Tasmania and circumnavigates it, finding no trace of Cook or the Lapitan-descended culture of the mainland.

The French explorer De Bougainville turns north, and lands as Cook did near Sidney harbor. Sailing further north, at Magnetic Island he finds a white man-an English botanist named Joseph Banks. This upper-class scientist and unlikely survivor of the disaster relates to de Bougainville the sad fate of the expedition, and warns him about the north. De Bougainville buys Bank’s freedom and manages to hire a sailor from among the Magnetic Islanders who guides him past the Great Barrier Reef, returning to Europe with the tale of Cook’s ill-fated expedition. He would also bring samples of gold jewelry and spices hitherto unknown in Europe.

1774 AD: The French offer the British access to the Australian coast in exchange for them leaving Bengal and Canada. The British refuse this deal, arguing that the east coast of Australia was theirs already based off of Captain Cook’s claim. The French would take this as causus belli for what would come to be known as Captain Cook’s War, a war which would rage across the globe and deliver historical consequences.

1775 AD: Horses move into the Murray-Darling basin as the Maric peoples to the north start to raid the agricultural communities for slaves, integrating the women and children into their society and selling the men off to the Portuguese in Arnhem land. The peoples of the Murray-Darling react defensively. Agricultural communities start to concentrate together in newly fortified towns, while the hunter-gatherer bands pushed into arid territory by the spread of agriculture start to adopt horses for their own use.

1779 AD: The Captain Cook War ends. Technically speaking, it was a French victory, as in the aftermath of the war the British acknowledged French claims to any “colonies and territories” in Eastern Australia, and as an added bonus, the focus on fighting the French diverted British resources during a colonial revolution, which saw Britain lose control over much of its North American colonies.

Practically speaking, it was quite a pyrrhic victory. The French had expended a lot of blood and gold to not gain any additional territory in the New World or India, and had lost much of their fleet in a futile attempt to invade England. Limping from this supposed “victoire glorieuse”, the French would look to recoup their losses in the new land de Bougainville had claimed, but the British would not forget “brave Cook” who had beat the French to this land.
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Credit for the good map goes to Alternative History Wiki; the mess-ups are all my own.


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Things are getting very interesting!

It's a pretty neat clash, the rising horse cultures versus the agriculturalists. Although that's going to change real soon.

Loving this.

Thank you!

What are things like for the Native Tasmanians?

The native Tasmanians have been unaffected. I considered having a temperate Australian hunter-gatherer culture adopt catamarans with sails which would allow them to make an accidental drift voyage to Tasmania, and then introduce dogs and bows to the Tasmanians, but decided against it. I don't think the impetus to adopt that technology was there among the indigenous people, and while we did see Polynesians move into temperate latitudes and become hunter gatherers, the Austronesians of TTL's Magnetic and Great Palm Islands have been drawn into a trade network which keeps them in the tropical and subtropical areas of Australia so they are unlikely to duplicate that. As such, Tasmania is still isolated.
Mercantile Period
1780 AD: Sailing for La Companie de France Antipodes, the French naval officer La Perouse establishes contact with the southern Widje Empire at OTL’s Sidney, establishing a factory which he calls “Jarang” after a local term referring to the meeting of two rivers.

From Jarang, the French would trade iron goods, European cloth, and, in an attempt to get in the good graces of imperial officials, guns. In return, the imperial officials had large amounts of spices brought to the French. Unknown in Europe before de Bougainville’s expedition, the indigenous plants domesticated in the subtropical climates of eastern Australia would fetch handsome prices.

Initially the nobility of the WudgieWudgie Ngumbhin Dynasty would trade some gold with the French, but this was in short supply and its use as a status symbol locally outweighed the good it would do to trade it. Travel into the interior to trade for ore was increasingly fraught as the horse cultures were now in ascendance, which dampened enthusiasm for gold mining expeditions

1782 AD: The CFA opens up trade with the northern Widje Empire, shipping tons of sugarcane to France for a pittance of iron goods. France-and Europe in general-realizes that there is a lot of money to be made in Eastern Australia as the Companie turns ever greater profits. The southern Widje Empire realizes that the whites are perfidious, and cannot be trusted to adhere to oaths of loyalty. The CFA officials would have been very surprised to find out they had made such oaths had it been brought to their attention, but the southern Widje expected loyalty and had not received it-and so would not return it.

1784 AD: A British penal colony is founded in Tasmania as officials decide that transporting prisoners to Canada or British Georgia after the American Revolution was out of the question. The First Fleet brings thousands of colonists and smallpox, both of which would devastate the Tasmanian Aborigines. Many of the colony officials hoped to get in on trade, but are disappointed to find no spices or gold, just wet and cold.

1789 AD: Political unrest is narrowly avoided in France by King Louis XVI seizing many of the assets generated from companies in the colonies to pay for and distribute grain during the bad year. The costs incurred would lead him to create the “policies of 1789”, placing new taxes and enforcing new policies meant to wring as much wealth from the French colonies as possible.

1792 AD: The Tusk Kingdom is conquered by the Babinda Confederacy. Armed with guns, the confederacy hoped to forcefully integrate the kingdom, and have its chiefs add labor corvees to the sugarcane harvest.

The Tusk kingdom would submit to joining Babinda Confederacy, but would not accept a subordinate position. They had their own access to guns and European goods through indirect trade with the Portuguese via Outrigger merchants in the Gulf of Carpentaria in exchange for pearls and sugarcane. The incorporation of the Tusk Kingdom would create a political counterweight to the Northern Widje Empire in the Confederacy.

1793 AD: The Colonial Revolts shake France’s empire, fallout from the policies of 1789. In Sainte Domingue, white planters revolt against new taxes on sugar and rum, soliciting and receiving weapons from British Georgia. Opposed to them are free blacks and mulattoes, who take a pro-Royal stance in the hope that they will be granted new rights. The white planters fight them brutally, radicalizing many of this community who start to reach out to maroon communities of escaped slaves for assistance, fanning smouldering embers of rebellion that would feed a fire of revolution.

In southern India, attempts by the French East India Company to take control over all aspects of sandalwood harvest to make money serves to confirm rumors that France will ban all Muslim and Hindu religious practice for the people. Native auxilliaries rise up against the French. Although the revolt is put down, French armed forces in southern India are devastated; reinforcements from Europe are slow in coming, and many rogue troops defect from French-controlled areas to scatter over India, agreeing to serve various independent-or worse, British-influenced-rajahs, nawabs, and sultans, training their armies in European-style drilling and tactics.

The Companie de France Antipodes does not technically revolt, but disobeys orders to send troops to India and commits instead to helping the southern Widje create forts in the headwaters of the Darling river. These forts would serve as points for which gold ore could be traded, and would defend the local farming peoples against incursions from horseback raiders.

1796 AD: The Thura-Yura peoples of OTL’s South Australia adopt horses. The Kaurna use them mainly as pack animals, ferrying packs of material goods from the coast to the mountains in their yearly migrations. Like the contemporaneous Apache and Navajo, they did not fully change their lifestyle to suit their new pets, but only used horses to supplement their livelihood of seal hunting and wild plant gathering. Other tribes like the Barngala became more fully horse people, hunting from and fighting on horseback and eating horses when the hunts were not successful.

1800 AD: The French begin to buy slaves from the Maori to sell to the Widje Empire, trading muskets in exchange for captives. In addition to disease, the effect of war and export of slaves would cause the Maori population to plummet.

1803 AD: Louis XVI suffers two humiliating defeats. The first is the latest war against Britain, which sees France’s American holdings irrevocably lost; Louisiana is seized and incorporated into British Georgia and Canada. The British also seize Saint Domingue, and while they have no more success than the French in putting down the slave rebellion smouldering since 1793, they have denied this useful colony to France going forward.

The second defeat is on the home front, where French commoners inspired by the American revolution force him to accept a new government. Despite seeing himself as defeated by his own people, Louis XVI is actually quite popular; his actions in averting famine in 1789 are not forgotten, and much of the unpopular actions of his government are interpreted as the responsibility of the upper nobility, “the king’s evil advisors”. His submission to the ‘people’ and institution of a new Parlement drawn mostly from the representatives of the Third Estate seal the popular view of him as the people’s champion rather than an aloof monarch.

1806 AD: Based on the legal claim that France only has a monopoly on the “east” and not the “south” coast of Australia, the colony of Tasmania expands to the mainland with free settlers granted permission to settle and trade in OTL’s Victoria. Initial contact between the native peoples and the British are friendly, as the British are seen as a potential guardian against the depredations of the southern Widje. Although hunter-gatherers, the skills of the southern Aborigines in preparing plants such as acacia seeds for consumption made them valuable slaves to the settled Widje.

1810 AD: The Buonaparte Expedition is launched from Jarang. Aimed at circumventing any further British claims and lead by an ambitious soldier named Lucien Buonaparte, the expedition was to lay claim to the entire Murray-Darling basin for France and attack the British colonies in the south.

It was an unmitigated disaster. The Southern Widje Empire had increasingly been forcing the peoples of the Murray-Darling to pan for gold or provide food to their fortresses. Increasingly resentful against this intrusion, the river peoples were more willing to fight back against further attempts to extend control despite the French belief that they would submit before the forces of “civilization”.

Lucien Buonoparte made things worse by alienating the Widje general leading the Aborigine auxilliaries. Feeling treated like an inferior, the general departed with his men and so took away most of the French manpower. When the French were ambushed at the Battle of the Ford, they had few men and faced down a horde consisting of the Ngiyani, a confederacy of mounted hunter-gatherers who had formed to push back against the Widje. Using their cavalry skills and ambush tactics, the Ngiyani seized the French supply wagons and scattered the French into the outback, where many died of thirst or were hunted down. The Ngiyani themselves seized French guns and metal, this single battle giving them the tools necessary to forge an empire where the mounted warriors extracted tribute from the farming peoples in exchange for not attacking them and protecting them from the Southern Widje’s attempts to enslave them.

A few French survivors struggled back to the gold forts of the Widje to relay their story to the CFA. It looked like the British were here to stay on the continent.

1812 AD: The Ohio War breaks out between Britain and the US as the two powers fight over control of the Ohio Territory.

In Australia, stinging from “the Corsican’s” defeat, the French reassert themselves by helping the Northern Widje conquer “the barbarians” to their north. Seeing as the Northern Widje was technically in a confederacy with these barbarians the “glorious conquest” can be interpreted more as the French being manipulated into aiding an inglourious coup d’etat, but potato/patate.

1815 AD: The United States of America signs the Northwest Treaty, recognizing British dominion over most of the lands west of the Appalachians, thus ending the Ohio War. This treaty was seen as a victory for the Federalist Party which wanted to rapproachment with Britain and a focus on trade, and a major defeat for the Democrat-Republicans who had promoted the disastrous Ohio war.

The treaty was also a victory for Abolitionism. In light of the Slave Revolt of the now independent Black Republic of Saint-Domingue (in practice, a protectorate of Britain) the British and Americans agreed that slavery would be limited to a parallel drawn at the border of British Georgia west of the Appalachians (thus greatly limiting it in British North America), and the import of slaves to North America should cease.

1835 AD: Facing populations crashing in the north as disease ravages the people and revolts flare up triggered by labor corvees and enslavement, and facing a collapse of the Maori slave trade as disease and warfare decimates the New Zealanders, the French begin to import Tamils from their Indian holdings to work as indentured servants in northeastern Australia. They charge exorbitant prices to the Northern Widje nobility for this labor, compounded with high interest, and through this loan sharking for labor start to take control over much of the land in the north.

1837 AD: The British cross the Great Dividing Range, and begin to settle in the interior. The Ngiyani welcome them initially, seeing the British as potential allies and a source of material wealth.

1845 AD: Relations between the British and the Ngiyani deteriorate.

A potential bridge between the peoples were increasing numbers of settlers with Ngiyani wives, but kinship relations meant that the Ngiyani relatives of the women had the right to take livestock and material goods from their husbands, which the British husbands saw as stealing. Their use of violence against their male relatives to guard their wealth was especially shocking to the more collectivist Ngiyani, who would take reprisals out on the ‘miserly’ British as a whole.

1846 AD: Ngiyani raiders cross the Great Dividing Range to attack British settlements, carrying off women, children and livestock.

1848 AD: Slavery is abolished in the United States in a narrow senate vote.

French colonists settle in Western Australia, a development that worries the British but does not divert them from their main goal of directing emigration to the North American colonies.

Europe sees multiple uprisings as people demand reforms based on the French and American revolutions. Despite being more muted than the demands IOTL, the reaction of monarchies is still to crush their people. This would rapidly lead to radicalization, and increased demands for more changes in government-something along the line of the transformative Haitian Revolution.

1850 AD: The Treaty of North Wellington sees the southern Widje Empire annexed by the British. While officially their treaty made the empire an autonomous protectorate, in practice the people of the empire would lose much of their land, ‘purchased’ from nobility who may or may not have had the right to actually sell it. As British farmers flood into the subtropical east coast, many of the Aborigine peasants are reduced to hired labor in their own homeland.

Other land grabs are seen at the site of OTL’s Adelaide, where the Kaurna cede their lowlands to the British and retreat to the Flinders range with herds of sheep purchased from the Ngiyani, abandoning their old lifestyle. From their lowlands, the British would launch a bloody conquest of the surrounding land, cutting off the opportunity for the French to spread from West Australia and driving many refugees from the conquered tribes to merge with the Kaurna.

1867 AD: The Battle of the Dividing Range pits the British regular army against the Ngiyani. The British are crushed, with over 1,000 soldiers massacred by Ngiyani horsemen and many guns and livestock taken by the tribe. This was a great victory for the Ngiyani, but it was also the beginning of their end as the Australian colonists now saw their defeat as an existential issue.

1868 AD: The Antipodes Rangers and Indigenous Mounted Police are formed as British settlers and Aborigine recruits from the coastal people take defense against Ngiyani raids into their own hands. They would patrol known mountain passes and trails used by the Ngiyani, and in response to raids would roam into the outback to launch punitive raids against Ngiyani bands-whether this particular band was responsible for raiding or not.

1888 AD: The French, Portuguese and British formalize the borders of Australia. The Royal Province of Timor Sur extends from roughly the Pilbarra region to the west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. From OTL’s Brisbane to the center of the Great Victorian Desert and south to the Nullarbor Plain will be Britain’s domain. The remainder belongs to France.

France Antipodes is split into two jurisdictions, Nouveau Louisiane in the southwest and Bougainville in the northeast.

Nouveau Louisiane would grant citizenship to the Noongar-Metis and other mixed-race peoples. Immigrant laborers from India face the hurdle of needing to convert to get citizenship, but Indians who accepted Catholicism could expect to get as much respect and rights as were afforded to Italian and Irish immigrants-so not a lot, but something.

Bougainville hordes citizenship for French whites, with the landowning Grand Blanc class grumbling that they have to share this privilege with the unworthy Petit Blanc class of merchants, craftsmen and workers, many of whom were excluded anyway due to being non-French immigrants, mostly Irish from British Australia. To extend this citizenship to the swarms of negres, mulattoes, et indiens whose sweat in the sugarcane fields and goldmines created the colony’s wealth? Unthinkable.
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Surprised that this turned to such a huge Britwank, but still an amazing TL. Any chance for a map?

I kind of vacillated between a Francewank and a Britwank, ended up leaning Brit since I'm typically biased towards France. I should add though, currently Britain does not have much control of India, and despite setbacks France controls the wealthiest part of that subcontinent. While Britain on paper controls a large chunk of North America, their control over these colonies is kind of tenuous (Louisiana and Quebec are not exactly in an easy relationship with their overlord).

Since I kind of fucked up the last map, while it is coming I want to take my time with it. Please keep in mind that I'm somewhat fat-fingered and currently don't have a Photoshop budget, so it may take a moment.
I kind of vacillated between a Francewank and a Britwank, ended up leaning Brit since I'm typically biased towards France. I should add though, currently Britain does not have much control of India, and despite setbacks France controls the wealthiest part of that subcontinent. While Britain on paper controls a large chunk of North America, their control over these colonies is kind of tenuous (Louisiana and Quebec are not exactly in an easy relationship with their overlord).

Since I kind of fucked up the last map, while it is coming I want to take my time with it. Please keep in mind that I'm somewhat fat-fingered and currently don't have a Photoshop budget, so it may take a moment.
Now that I thought of it, this might actually lead to a France-wank. That is, if the theory that the population decline of France was inadvertently caused by the agricultural reforms during the Revolution, then if it is averted TTL, France might retain its massive population. If they can match the Germans in population, that changes a lot of things.