Map Thread XXII

If you were to mean that K or W is for foreign names you're half right. Plenty of Spanish names start with K: Katarina, Kortes (in some spellings). W is unheard of as the English sound doesn't exist in Spanish so William would be Hispanized as Guillermo. X is also pretty common and like you say, plenty of Mexican toponyms have it like Xochimilco, but it too exists in names like Xavier. In the pre-modern era, the transition from X to J's and K's to C's was never uniform and so quite a few stick around for today. When they do show up they're mostly a remnant from the olden days. An old-fashioned spelling for Seville I saw in a manuscript once was Xevilla, for instance.

But yeah, certain things don't "Spanish" well, and English/Germanic names are one of them. Like Marlborough, (the General) would be said something like "Mal-bah-ru"
Yes, makes sense. The German names seem to only translate well if they've been Latinized first. For example Roderik>Rodericus>Rodriguez, but there's no Roderik>Roderic.
 
X used to be used to spell the "Sh" sound in Spanish. It still is in Asturian and Leonese (sometimes in other Iberian languages as well), as well as in the romanisation of several Native American languages
Wow, so that's why they had Charlton Heston calling Sofia Loren Shimain (Ximena) in El Cid. And here I thought it was Hollywood not knowing it's supposed to be Jimena 😳
 
Ciudad Broderick, formerly Tucson, is named after the first leader of Buenaventura, Daniel C. Broderick, an Irish-American immigrant who moved to San Francisco as part of the Gold Rush and became the leader of the war of independence there, and due to the city’s extreme importance to the new country (and by him being an Anglophone Catholic and thus on both sides of the linguistic-cultural divide) he makes himself its foremost leader. He is hardly a Washington figure - aggressively partisan and controversial in his own time and in power (democratically) for fifteen years - but nevertheless he is popular enough that upon his death, the national capital (and center of the national railroad he got constructed) of Tucson is renamed after him. I very much mean for the city name to be awkward, representative of the country’s English-Spanish biculturalism. In-universe, the city originally had a bilingual name, but due to Tucson being a Hispanic-majority city the name of “Broderick City” fell out of use.
Same vein as Bernardo O'Higgins, I see.
 
Crossposting from the MOTF thread, as usual. Comments, questions, anything is welcomed!
Monrovia to Sagallo in 100 hours (and 30 minutes): a travellers' guide
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The second-longest rail route in the world, second only to the mighty Trans-Siberian Railway, the Trans-African Railway, going from Monrovia to Sagallo, crossing the United States of African from its Atlantic capital to its major port in the Indian Ocean (more precisely, in the Gulf of Aden), is no less of an impressive and challenging trek to the daring traveller. Finished in the 1960s, it is the pride of the country, and perhaps the only form of transportation there that runs on time, diligently fulfilling its 100 hours schedule each iteration.

Now, normally people don’t do the whole 4 days and 4 hours in a row. The vast majority of passengers are just heading from a city to another and, for the tourists, there are plenty of enchanting stops on the way. But after having accomplished the same feat for the Trans-Siberian last year, I decided this would be quite feasible. And so, carrying my laptop, a small pile of books and some chocolate, I boarded the train and found my cabin.

My three companions were African, one of them from Monrovia, going down to the Congo on business; the second a Yoruba man, going home to Lagos, and the last one an Abyssinian, going all the way to Axum. They were all quite nice, as most Africans are, in my experience, and seemed excited with the prospect of following a travel chronicler in my adventures. I fear I may have disappointed them. I suppose my chosen profession calls for itself an aura of adventure and stumbling into trouble, when in reality, our travels are hopefully as mundane as everyone else’s.

Our train departed impeccably on time at 10 AM, GMT time. A good presage towards that famed punctuality. For the first third of the journey, the train mostly follows the Atlantic shore of Africa, giving you a beautiful sight to behold. Over the first day, we pass through the beautiful shorelines of the region once known as the Pepper Coast, or the Grain Coast, both names derived from the availability of the melegueta pepper, that was also dubbed “the grain of paradise”, and that still compliments the region’s cuisine.

This region is also well-known for being Old Liberia, and hence the womb of the United States of Africa project. It was here that the American Colonization Society led its efforts to place freed blacks, who would lead a massive colonization project across the continent, rivalled only by their former masters’ project over North America. This old connection is still quite present in the region’s toponymy, with the three states making up Old Liberia, Kentucky-in-Africa, Mississippi-in-Africa and Maryland-in-Africa, being named after American States, from where patrons of the American Colonization Society hailed, but also present in city and street names, most notably Monrovia, capital of the country and named after James Monroe, American President at the time of founding of the colony.

Old Liberia is not only the centre of power in Africa, but also its wealthiest region and a predominantly conservative region, dominated by the Americo-Liberian community that settled there in the 19th century and built the country. Here, elections are still very much dominated by the True Whig Party, that can easily gather 98% of the votes in any given election, from Representative to school board member.

Night fell while we were still crossing Maryland’s African shore. Throughout the night, we passed through the States of Baule and the Ashanti. It was 4 AM when we stopped in Accra, an old colonial city, once Danish, then Dutch, and then sold to the Liberians, in their early expansions. During much of the 20th century, Accra was the centre of much of oppositionist movements in Africa, and although mostly dominated by the True Whig Party to this day, it is a much more secular and progressive version of the party, compared to what you’d find in Old Liberia.

It is also a favoured city for tourists, receiving millions of visitors each year, and also having a strong contingent of international students coming there to study at their prestigious universities and historical archives. Unfortunately, all I could see were the city lights as they passed by. Certainly, a place to consider on my way back.

Speaking of the night, you’ll be happy to know that the beds on the cabins are quite comfortable, and the curtains allow you to have very decent darkness. Which is useful as, this near to the Equator, the Sun will begin creeping in at 6 AM.

24 hours to the minute after having started our travel, at 10 AM, we arrived at Lagos. The largest city in the country, the largest city in the continent, this thriving melting point is a major cultural centre for Africa, with a vibrant music scene and amazing nightlife. I have been there quite often, and have written much already about what to see, what to eat and where to go hang out. I cannot recommend it enough, really. It was also here that we lost our first original travelling companion, who had arrived home and invited me, on the way back, to contact him so he could show me around the city. I will have to consider his offer.

Four hours after leaving Lagos, the train goes, for the first time, away from the shoreline. This is to avoid the Niger Delta. A major oil region, its once beautiful climate has been utterly destroyed by human exploitation, and the train makes sure to keep its distance. It is overall a pity, but it is also important for us to remember the damage our species is capable of.

Fortunately, the ocean view returns in time for dinner, starting at 7 PM. Speaking of the food, it truly is remarkable, with the menu being quite open and versatile, allowing for all tastes, and prepared quite well, given the limiting conditions of the train environment. Thanks to my companions, I was able to taste much of the local cuisines we crossed through. Considering the size and diversity of Africa, you can imagine the skills of the kitchen staff. Bravo!

We reach Buea, in Cameroon, four and a half hours later, but already past midnight. By entering Cameroon, we have crossed to the second time zone, adding an hour to our clocks. It is also here that our second companion leaves us, to now go south towards Congo, where he is to spend his vacation. He speaks very well of the beaches in Gabon, which piques my curiosity. In my notebooks, I note the idea of going there one day myself. This is also the last time, until reaching the Indian Ocean, that the train sees the sea.

Afterwards, we slept. Through the night, we could hear the sounds of the forest, as we crossed the dense Cameroonian jungle. Must be beautiful, but during the night, there is very little that can be seen. When the sun rose, we were already well entrenched in the savannah region, which is a pity, even if the savannah is no less beautiful. That being said, the forest returns as, by 4 PM, the train now runs for a long while by the Ubangi River and other rivers from the wider Congo River system, and its deep, impressive forests.

Across the river, is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That the Trans-African Railway runs so deeply to the south of the country, right by the border with a less-than-secure neighbouring nation, is very telling of the divisions and prejudices of the United States of Africa and its government. The train’s trajectory is, notably, all through the Christian regions of the country, in areas dominated by the ruling True Whig Party. To the north, in the regions that are traditionally more Islamic, and where the opposition’s Full Democratic Party has greater sway, federal services are noticeable less present and less impeccable than here. That my three travelling companions were all Christians is not surprising either, as most Muslims would find it much harder to buy a seat in one of these cabins. Of course, things are changing, and African Muslims have it better today than they had for most of the country’s existence, but this inequality is still quite visible, when you look for it.

By morning, we are halfway across Gazellia, and I have to remember to add yet another hour to my clock. Named after the literal millions of animals that cross the country each year, the world’s largest large mammal migration, it is beautiful countryside, and one that has, for decades, been the centre of a great effort towards colonization by Americo-Liberians, that have since come to dominate the local economy and landscape. It is a country of great inequalities, with the geological resources, and much of the wild landscape, being owned by Americo-Liberians, while native peoples struggle to make a living. Many tribes have been left in a planned backwardness, to add a further charm to the safaris, gazing not only at wild animals, but to “wild people”, left in a false backwardness.

Lunch is being served as we cross the Nile. It is interesting to think how, very much further up the river, we would reach Egypt and so different of a world.

It is already night time when we enter Abyssinia. This is the largest state in the country, population wise, and home to a very unique culture, with ancient Christian roots. The relationship between Ethiopian Christians and the Protestant branches coming from Liberia is somewhat complicated. That being said, the State is very strongly for the True Whig Party, although it is very much a unique and very divergent State party.

We reach Addis Ababa at 7:30 AM, and I say my goodbyes to my last travelling companion, who is now heading to Axum. Both wonderful cities to visit, unique centres of Abyssinian culture, a country that is unlike anything else in Africa or the world. Ethiopian food is astounding, and both cities have vibrant cultural centres very much worth visiting. My new friend invited me to go meet him back in Axum, and it will certainly be where I will be going next.

The final nine hours of my journey are spent alone. And much of the journey goes through the Awash Depression and, even if the train mostly follows the Awash River, we are still talking about one of the hottest and most desolate places on Earth. Suffice it to say, after the Congolese forests and the savannahs, it is not much of a sight. Bring books, people, four days are not a short trip.

We arrived at Sagallo, the final destination of the Trans-African Railway, precisely at 4:30 PM. Impressive. Sagallo is a curious city, built almost from nothing as the main Indian Ocean port for the United States of Africa. It is very much a modern city, with many tall buildings and a very much immigrant culture, with Americo-Liberians at the top and those working for them all around. It has its unique features, as all places do, but it is neither beautiful nor culturally enriching. It is not really a tourist destination, but a place where to depart for anywhere else, really. But that is quite fine too.

Sitting on a bar booth on the hotel in Sagallo, finishing my thoughts, I consider what else to add. What were my overall impressions of this travel? I’d say it gave me a unique opportunity to understand the true size of Africa, and how amazing it is that such a country, with so many languages, peoples, creeds, could exist in a single nation. I had written “live together in peace”, but that wouldn’t be quite true, would it? As noted before, there is a reason why all my companions, and all lands I passed through, were Christian, when almost half of the country’s population, and more than half by sheer area, are Muslim.

This is a complicated country, and this is a trip that confronts you with much of its contradictions and injustices. Which just make it all the more interesting. Fare well, everyone, and see you around.


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Not as detailed as I'd have liked, but I will be travelling in a few days and won't have any more time to do this. Besides, I liked how it turned out, so there's that.

Sea-to-shining-sea Liberia is an idea I have wanted to do for a while now, and this presented a very great opportunity to do just that. I had tried it before, but hadn't liked the results I ended up with, the borders didn't fully satisfy me, looked weird, but this... This I like. This is the Greater Liberia in my mind's eye. There's this Texas-esque thing in the Congo's flow that just made me go there, I can't explain it, and finally I got it to work.

Now how did we get here? I can give no coherent TL, I'm sorry. Just Liberians embodying the American spirit and going all the way to build a monstrosity of their own. I tried, in the text, to highlight some points of Greater Liberian history I thought would be interesting to explore, such as:

- The conflict between Americo-Liberians and native Africans being a very big part of the country's history, with the ruling Americo-Liberians ultimately giving ground but, rather than fully embracing the natives, being selective and going from Americans vs Natives, turning it into Christians vs Muslims, essentially adopting the native Christians and the converts, while still discriminating the Muslim communities, which probably would have a deeper history of resistance against Liberian rule, hence further justifying the injustices against them. Think of this process akin to the American WASPs embracing other whites in the 20th century

- A two party system between the True Whig Party, formerly the one-party dominated by Americo-Liberians, and now a more open Christian democratic party, that is still probably quite corrupt and autocratic when it can get away with it. And, for the opposition, the Full Democratic Party (I really just enjoy the two-word parallelism with the US 19th century party system), that started as a broad movement of opposition forces, probably with all sorts of socialist to localist to Islamic movements, fighting against the one-party system of the True Whig Party but that, as the True Whigs expanded to the native Christians, its audience became ever more Islamic and, therefore, the party itself became dominated by Islamic somewhat-democratic elements, probably with some good deal of patronage coming from the Muslim world. So yeah, both parties kind of suck, which just lends the whole thing some realism and nuance

- Internal colonialism within Africa, with places like Gazellia, Sagallo and maybe even the Congo having come to be dominated and even settled by Americo-Liberians, to the detriment of local populations. I didn't develop this too much, but I found it an interesting touch

What else? I thought of just giving it the Liberian flag, but I honestly find it quite boring, so I decided to try and do a "reconciliationist" flag, in the sense of being something the True Whigs, to appease their new native base, would do. It is inspired in the Juneteenth flag, to give it that extra "Made in America" flair, but with the Pan-African colours in the middle. I actually think it turned out interesting.

Anyway, I'm glad to finally have this idea put out there. I might do more with it in the future, now that I have the state shapes in a way I enjoy. Like I collected a bunch of data while making this, so might as well use it.​
Very interesting scenario, and I like the political system you developed. Actually, having a "mega-Libera" that expands over much of Africa like this used to be a trope I loved to play around with years ago when I was just getting into alternate history and mostly made maps for myself, so it's kinda nostalgic to see the concept actually put into fruition, and in a far better way than middle school me ever could've.

I'd personally be really curious to see more content from this TL. Africa would likely inevitably be the dominant power on its namesake continent, but does it project its influence elsewhere, and even act as a world superpower to an extent? What's its relation with the United States like? I'd also imagine a mega-Liberia would have major implications for European imperialism in Africa, and it'd be interesting to see how it interacted with decolonization movements, assuming they still happened. And did the United States of Africa ever go to war with any European colonial powers for territory? Or was its acquisition of existing European colonies and trading posts along the Gold Coast largely peaceful, as was mentioned with regards to Accra?

Could a POD here be the US embracing colonization of emancipated slaves after the ACW? That could give Liberia the manpower to push east like this
I'd wonder if it'd make sense for the POD to actually be a much earlier ACW/emancipation occurring for whatever reason, but having the same outcome of emancipated slaves largely being relocated to Africa. The mid-to-late-1860s might be getting a bit late for Liberia to beat European powers to key regions in West Africa, but if Liberia gets its population boost in, say, the late 1840s, I think its chances are a bit better.
 
Wow, what a well-thought-out scenario. Props for thinking out that far. How's the cultural situation in the country thus far? I would assume there would be some underlying tension with the immigration of Americans going West and Mexicans (New Spanish?) moving North as the Northern Provinces had much of the mining and Industry of Mexico OTL.
Bilingualism is the law nationwide but in general you can imagine language in this country as a gradient, Spanish in the southern part of the west coast and English in the northern part of California. English is perhaps more dominant as San Francisco, here the center of a grand metropolis and headquarters of commerce and business and all, is mostly Anglophone; however, it has a large stable Spanish-speaking minority as well, with many communities, most notably the Chinese, speaking Spanish long-term. Further south along the coast, it gets more Hispanic, with San Diego having much the opposite situation of SF (it is also the center of the country’s movie industry, which films them with both English and Spanish versions - with an eye towards selling it in both language markets worldwide) and southwards it’s Hispanic aside from more mixed-language resort and retirement country (which often caters to Americans), as well as ports. Yuta (which contains OTL Nevada) is largely Anglophone and very Americanized, with an economy fueled by mining - but it is also very sparsely populated (esp. with no Mormons).

In Texas, there is a very strange ethnic situation going on - on the one hand, due to the historic slave trade from the US to Spanish Texas, the majority of black people there are Anglophone, but on the other a lot of Southern Americans following the American Civil War (1869-76) moved there (for economic reasons or for politics, or for both). But again, there are many Hispanic people, and also Irish who sit on both sides of that divide. By the modern day, my thoughts are that Texas is pretty evenly divided, with even the Irish being divided into Anglophone and Hispanic communities, and English has a somewhat stigmatized reputation. But the real center of the west coast is the Rio Grande region, and in particular Monterrey (which, by being an industrial city, escaped the oil overdependence and Dutch disease which wreaked havoc on the country in general), which is majority Hispanic but, again, with a large Anglo minority, with an equivalent Sun Belt migration attracting a number of American immigrants particularly to Monterrey. And though this map cuts it off, Tampico is also a major Buenaventuran city due to the oil boom, and it is largely Hispanic in no small part due to Mexican migration.
 
Bilingualism is the law nationwide but in general you can imagine language in this country as a gradient, Spanish in the southern part of the west coast and English in the northern part of California. English is perhaps more dominant as San Francisco, here the center of a grand metropolis and headquarters of commerce and business and all, is mostly Anglophone; however, it has a large stable Spanish-speaking minority as well, with many communities, most notably the Chinese, speaking Spanish long-term. Further south along the coast, it gets more Hispanic, with San Diego having much the opposite situation of SF (it is also the center of the country’s movie industry, which films them with both English and Spanish versions - with an eye towards selling it in both language markets worldwide) and southwards it’s Hispanic aside from more mixed-language resort and retirement country (which often caters to Americans), as well as ports. Yuta (which contains OTL Nevada) is largely Anglophone and very Americanized, with an economy fueled by mining - but it is also very sparsely populated (esp. with no Mormons).

In Texas, there is a very strange ethnic situation going on - on the one hand, due to the historic slave trade from the US to Spanish Texas, the majority of black people there are Anglophone, but on the other a lot of Southern Americans following the American Civil War (1869-76) moved there (for economic reasons or for politics, or for both). But again, there are many Hispanic people, and also Irish who sit on both sides of that divide. By the modern day, my thoughts are that Texas is pretty evenly divided, with even the Irish being divided into Anglophone and Hispanic communities, and English has a somewhat stigmatized reputation. But the real center of the west coast is the Rio Grande region, and in particular Monterrey (which, by being an industrial city, escaped the oil overdependence and Dutch disease which wreaked havoc on the country in general), which is majority Hispanic but, again, with a large Anglo minority, with an equivalent Sun Belt migration attracting a number of American immigrants particularly to Monterrey. And though this map cuts it off, Tampico is also a major Buenaventuran city due to the oil boom, and it is largely Hispanic in no small part due to Mexican migration.
This is all very cool, and although I technically live within its boundaries, I'm suddenly struck by a desire to visit Buenaventura. Very good scenario. I'm curious to know: What are relations like between the various North American powers? There are clearly many that are large enough on their own to be heavyweights on the world stage in their own right: the US and Buenaventura for starters though I imagine Columbia and Canada align their interests closely and are big enough to throw their weight around a bit. Is there any drive toward pan-Americanism? Have there been any major wars? How does trade and customs work between them all?
 
This is all very cool, and although I technically live within its boundaries, I'm suddenly struck by a desire to visit Buenaventura. Very good scenario. I'm curious to know: What are relations like between the various North American powers? There are clearly many that are large enough on their own to be heavyweights on the world stage in their own right: the US and Buenaventura for starters though I imagine Columbia and Canada align their interests closely and are big enough to throw their weight around a bit. Is there any drive toward pan-Americanism? Have there been any major wars? How does trade and customs work between them all?
The United States is still a resource-rich country even without the Mexican Cession, and it still has a lot (albeit about half as much) oil, so it still has a lot of power to throw around. The Rust Belt is still a pretty impressive center of industry because the US has much less of the Sun Belt for that industry to go to, so the bite of not having the Mexican Cession isn’t as great as you might imagine. However, the US did not have the opportunity to become a superpower the way it had in OTL, as instead of the World Wars Europe had a series of nineteenth-century great wars that spilled over into the twentieth which the US sat out of. Thus, it’s a great power on the world stage, New York still gets to become the world’s financial capital, and in the era of decolonization it’s successfully able to push an image of itself as the first post-colonial country and make ties with the new countries. But not anywhere near enough to be a superpower.

Buenaventura, on the other hand, has suffered from the resource curse and massive amounts of Dutch disease due to it having half the oil of the OTL US, as well as the rich oilfields of Northern Mexico, while it being a different country from the US has inevitably hampered its ability to diversify. If I were to draw a graph of its economy, it would look an awful lot like a graph for oil price fluctuations. Beyond that, it was somewhat less successful relative to the OTL US in terms of desert irrigation projects due to having less initial power to throw around. But SF is still by far North America’s greatest Pacific port and a large city whose economy is not all about oil, and on the west coast Monterrey has become a massive industrial center diversifying itself to become the country’s unrivalled second city. More broadly the government has taken efforts to diversify the country’s economy, to general success. In terms of soft power, Buenaventura’s film studios in San Diego (California’s a great place for film in every timeline) are among the world’s largest, the only real competition being America’s in Pensacola and the Chinese film industry. Beyond that, you can imagine that there’d be recurrent trade wars between the US and Buenaventura because American oil is threatened by Buenaventuran oil and Buenaventuran industry is threatened by American industry, which have poisoned relations enough that there are passport controls all across the border (Yellow Rock International Peace Park aside), although aside from along Texas the border is pretty sparsely populated on both sides.

As for Canada…well, if you thought OTL Canada has an identity crisis of epic proportions, ITTL it has it way worse. It’s a solely Anglophone country which was formed by Upper Canada acquiring the Prairies for settlement, and spans the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and the far north of Quebec as well. With no War of 1812 it got more American immigration in the early nineteenth century, and that and more Irish immigration resulted in the Loyalist myth falling by the wayside. Instead, its great national myth is the Upper Canada Constabulary crushing the Metis at Saskatchewan, which suffice to say is Not Good. As a country, Canada here is very much dominated by Toronto, which despite being a fair bit smaller than OTL is in a smaller pond here and also the capital and thus relatively bigger. While its second city is Winnipeg, known as Selkirk here due to a more successful Selkirk Settlement, although despite this it has very strong trade ties to St. Paul, and Kingston is also bigger due to an earlier St. Lawrence Seaway. In general you can imagine this Canada is deeply Americanized as a country and, with MacDonald’s National Policy having never been a thing it’s extremely tied in terms of trade to the US. There are no passport controls, and Black Rock (OTL Buffalo) has suburbia which crosses the border.

I have not fleshed out Columbia in the same detail, but it got settled considerably later than OTL thanks to gold rushes and the British sending emigrants there. Before that it had a large Metis population, thus why Vancouver has a distinctly Catholic name. I would imagine it is deeply tied to the US (thanks to all the roads to and from Olympia) but has a better identity due to its geographical position. It’s also tied deeply to Alaska, which broke away from Russia following all the Gold Rushes there and there are plenty of roads up and down the coast, and I’m just now realizing a Columbia-Alaska Confederation would be a plausible and interesting detail to this. Ah well. Beyond that, though it’s small enough I couldn’t label it, the Maritimes is an independent country called Nova Scotia. Without MacDonald’s National Policy, it does a lot better economically and is deeply tied in terms of trade to the Caribbean as was the case before Confederation. Furthermore, it trades more with the US than with the rest of OTL Canada due, again, to no National Policy.

As for Laurentia - well, suffice to say, all the Metis crushing in Canada and Columbia really pissed off Lower Canada, and it elected a nationalist party to power in the 1880s. After an independence crisis which threatened to block the critical St. Lawrence trade and got the US involved on the sidelines, it was able to achieve near-total independence from the British Empire, with its eventual declaration of a republic a fait accompli. This has inevitably affected its national identity - it has a tricolor flag and fairly strong diplomatic ties to France, as well as an anthem based on the Marseillaise. Beyond that, Montreal having benefited massively from the earlier St. Lawrence Seaway, it is so huge that a majority of Laurentia’s population lives in its metropolitan area. Along with St. Louis and San Francisco, Montreal is a candidate to the title of second city of North America north of Mexico.
 
@B_Munro What basemap did you use for this early map? I think it is sufficiently small for my work and features pacific archipelagoes. I wonder if there is a version with New Caledonia and Fiji
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the map of the New Achaean League in 2025, a decade after the end of the New British Civil War, in the NALverse redux edition. (aka brainrot (affectionate))
 
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I am back to post more of my timeline into the map thread. If you don't know me, I am currently running a timeline that focuses on a Canada that is a defined superpower. If you are interested in seeing the other post/information, check out the thread. If you are interested, I do have a discord that you can join and you'll see me discuss the timeline with its updates, creation of maps, world development, etc. The next few post are going to be discussing the alternate American Civil War, so it will get more interesting from here on out. Hope to see you there, and enjoy!

THE GREATER NORTH
THE BRIEF HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA

History and lore:

The Road to Statehood


Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, Mexico would secede the territory of Alta California and many more to the United States. The United States had finally achieved its goal to reach from sea to shining sea, with its coast stretching from the 42nd parallel to the beaches of Sonora and Baja California, becoming a great Pacific power. Soon after, gold would be found in California and mass waves of immigration would follow, an event known as the Californian Gold Rush. California would soon have a large population beginning to develop in the San Francisco Bay region, creating an important port city for the Pacific. This rapid growth would have California applying for statehood, with claimed borders stretching from modern-day Redwood to Baja California. In Congress, it was agreed upon that California should be admitted as a state, however disagreements came when it came to a decisive issue that loomed over all federal policy. The fight between the free and slave states would not ignore California, as the slave states held a majority in the Senate over the free states. One side argued for a free California, and one side argued for a slave-based California, but there was a third option that was heavily debated.


The proposal was to partition California from north and south following the 37th parallel (the Missouri Compromise Line) and to have the north be a free state and the south be a slave state. This proposal became heavily controversial among the free states, claiming it was a way to undermine the balance by either maintaining the status quo or widening the gap between free and slave states. The bill to make California a state would not pass for some time due to the controversy, delaying the ever-needed legislation to develop the region. The Senate finally came to an agreement after a great debate on California, with the state finally being admitted as a free state in 1850.

The transcontinental railroad debate

The next conflict of interest regarding California would be a transcontinental railway to the Pacific. All parties agreed that a railroad should be built in California, but where that railroad would be built was the topic of debate. The free states argued that a railroad should be built above the 37 parallel and connect to San Francisco, while the slave states argued for one that should be built in the south—starting from New Orleans and extending towards Southern California and connecting to San Francisco along the central coast. The Senate had debated about cost, labour, resources, and who would pay for it, yet no one could agree upon where it would be built. This led to California feeling and in reality, being isolated from the Union, the only way the state could efficiently travel and trade with the rest of the Union was through naval transportation or a dangerous route along the California Trail.

The question of independence

Congress was becoming more disorganized as time went on. The question about the division of the newly acquired western territories, the bloody occupation of Yucatan, and the south’s plans to acquire more territory in the Caribbean and expand its slavery-dominant economy (an action that would affect foreign relations and economics) would bring the Union to a turning point, having nine free states and later two slave states with a low economic reliance on slavery begin to rebel and declare their independence in the Northeast United States to form the Free American Republic on February 26, 1859. While such an action wasn’t the most surprising, it still came as a shock to the Union, California, and the world. Eventually, as diplomacy was not working in the Union's favour, the war would break out in the Northeast and Washington D.C. would be captured by FAR forces. The Union's reaction was not light, committed to taking back the capital and keeping the Union together with the help of the Great Lakes' industrial capabilities. Despite this, a large portion of the United States population and industry were in this newly declared independent nation, so such a war would not be quick.

These events would have California questioning its future in the Union. If the FAR were to be successful in declaring independence, California would be at risk of being the main target of anti-slavery policies. It could see itself divided as originally planned, it may be forced to practice slavery and undermine its wages, or be forced to send its people into wars that would help expand the practice. Such questions would be too large of a risk to leave unanswered until it was too late, so California believed it was only right for its economic and social future to declare independence shortly after the FAR. Soon after, the western regions of the Utah Territory (mostly abolitionist compared to the rest of the territory) would also declare themselves a part of California.

In terms of actual fighting, California would not see fighting until 1860, but throughout the war, it would see pro-Union rebellions in the southern regions. Union troops gathered in the northern bank of the Gulf of California in Sonora and Arizona, launching an offensive into the north of Baja California. Californian defences were well prepared in this region as it was the easiest terrain to launch an offensive through. Union troops slowly pushed through the defences and reached the Salton Sink, having to penetrate through the Peninsular Ranges to settle San Diego and split Baja California from the rest of California. Californian Forces were able to defend the mountain range from continuous Union offensives, while still maintaining proper supply chains compared to its rival. This was due to California's population and industries being in closer proximity to the region compared to the Unions. The average Union force would take a month or longer to arrive, with naval shipments taking 5 months (even then, shipments through the Bay of California were risky when the Baja California Peninsula was under enemy control), while also having to maintain its eastern theatre with the FAR; costing more resources and lives than the Union could afford in the long run. California's war was not about winning battles, rather it was a logistical battle on who would break first, and California had the advantage. Despite this advantage, California would still see itself lose territory around the San Bernardino Forest, with Union troops pushing towards the outskirts of Los Angeles. However, California would be able to slow down the advancement in San Bernardino.
In 1863, Union forces would eventually penetrate through the Peninsula Ranges and occupy San Diego, splitting Baja California as planned to take over the region to secure their naval passage to the Gulf of California and push further into California. Despite this loss, California was able to hold its defences north of San Diego as Union troops started to expand across Baja California, but that did not matter as the eastern theatre was becoming increasingly difficult for the Union to maintain proper defences around Richmond, the de facto capital of the United States. This would cause the Union to pull back some of its resources from the Western theatre, creating the appropriate conditions for California to push back Union troops from San Diego and the Salton Sink. California had hoped to cut off the Union's supply chain by taking back the Salton Sink and slowly pushing them out of San Diego and into the Peninsula Ranges. The plan would work, but it would cost many lives and resources for both sides, mostly California. At the same time, pro-Union rebels would be seen at their largest during this time. This would create a problem for California’s army, as attempts and actions of sabotage and violence would break out occasionally between civilians and troops. A stalemate would occur until the end of the war.

During the fighting, it would not only be Californians who would volunteer to fight in the war. Many Native Americans alongside Mexicans would join the Californian Army to prevent Union forces from expanding into California. This unit would be a major help to California, as they were determined to deter the Union's goals.

In 1865, fighting would come to a stop in both theatres of the war as a result of a ceasefire to talk about the conditions for peace. These talks would be hosted by Britain in London, and they would not conclude until 1866 with the signing of the Treaty of London. The conditions for peace were as followed: The United States would recognize the independence of California and the Free American Republic, the United States would recognize the established borders under which the Free American Republic and California inherit, granting fishing rights to both nations in the Pacific and Atlantic, prisoners-of-war on each side are released, and territories captured by all sides to be returned without compensation. This would effectively allow California and the FAR to be independent nations of their own, and to seek their future with its neighbours.

Post-independence and California's economic growth, 1860-1900

After its war for independence, California would begin to develop its immigration, political, and economic policies for its future. It would choose its capital to be the city of Sacramento, and divide the nation into six states (Atascadero, Colorado, Nisenan, Redwood, San Francisco, and San Joaquin) and two territories (Baja California and Nevada Territory).

California's first step towards the economic power it is today was building railways to connect its large settlements and ports from the north to the south. Its first railroad post-independence would be the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad in 1869, with the expansion into San Diego, Baja California, and the United States by the end of 1876 known as the Southern Pacific Railroad. Another would be built to connect San Francisco with the rest of the Southern Pacific, officially connecting most of California's large population centres. These railroads would allow cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and many more to grow into the massive urban sprawls they are today, and would attract foreign investments from Europe and many other nations. California's agriculture industry would see massive growth between the periods of 1860 and 1900, just as the country itself did. At the time, California's economy would be mostly based on agriculture, resource extraction, and shipping.

In terms of immigration, many people from Europe, the United States, Canada, and Mexico would begin to settle in California. Most people would move into the San Francisco and Los Angeles regions, but as California began investing in larger ports along the Bay of California it would see larger settlements in Baja California begin to emerge, giving Baja California the ability to apply for statehood in 1869. The same would apply to Los Angeles, which gained statehood in 1870.

With its rapid population and economic growth, investments in its military would naturally follow. California would make large arms deals with Britain for guns, ships, and more while also beginning to build its military complex, developing large units and building a strong defence force for its southern border and small investments in the Nevada Desert. By 1910, it would have Armed Forces with the Army Department and the Navy Department. Its navy would have a heavy presence in the Gulf of California, designed to cut off the United States Pacific trade routes if a war were to break out.

The Great War

California would be one of the main theatres for the North American Front of the Great War. Before the war broke out, California would be a part of a military alliance with Canada and the FAR, hoping to deter any American aggression in the North as tension around the world began to escalate. The Americans had begun to industrialize outside of the Great Lakes after the banning of slavery, moving away from its Deep South agrarian origins and beginning to build the army it needed for its goals on the continent. This promptly started an arms race between Canada and its allies with the United States, building massive naval ships and large lines of defences along the border. In short, war was coming and the continent was preparing for it. American rhetoric began talking about the Great Loss of 1812 and the Civil War, and how Americans were cheated by Britain and its colonies to deter American growth and development. The final nail in the coffin would be clear when the United States began developing ties with Germany, stating Americans and Germans hold similar values and goals against British Imperialism.

When news broke out of American warships being deployed in the Great Lakes ( violation of the Treaty of Ghent after the War of 1812) and the stories of Canadian and American warships firing on each other in the early morning of June 28, 1914, it was clear that war had broken out in North America as it had recently in Europe. While fighting began breaking out in the Great Lakes, California would see large clashes at its southern border, a repeat of the Civil War. However, the United States now had a larger population, industrial base, and proper logistical infrastructure to maintain an offensive in California. It was clear the United States wished to see parts of Southern California as its own, particularly Los Angeles and the Baja California Peninsula. Such echoes of California's fight for independence would surface a stronger sense of nationalism across the nation for its new generation, with many men beginning to take up arms to fight against the United States.

During the war, the largest naval battle in the Californian theatre would take place north of La Paz, where most of California's Gulf naval fleets were located. The United States would be able to call itself the victor, but it would lose multiple ships and men as California would. California would also see a small naval battle on the outskirts of San Francisco Bay, with an American ship firing on the city of San Francisco and causing damage to civilian infrastructure.

The United States would see a successful offensive in the south of California, reaching the centre of Los Angeles, but with fierce and bloody resistance, California would be able to push back the Americans and begin a counter-offensive. Los Angeles would begin to see the disastrous effects of explosive artillery and trench warfare, similar to Detroit in Canada. During the fighting, the United States would cut off the Colorado Rivers water supply to California, causing many problems for the citizens living there and the soldiers who fought there. This action would later be solved at the end of the war, with California and the United States agreeing that the river's flow of water would be shared accordingly moving forward.

In the end, California would repel the Americans, but it would find itself with the task of having to rebuild its largest cities from the ground up in certain regions. California would begin to invest in projects to help rebuild its south and military, which it would not see completion until the 1930s. However, with these investments came benefits. California would begin developing its aerospace industry and become more influenced by its industrial industry rather than its agriculture sector. Its shift into the manufacturing industry would build great morale after the Great War, becoming a defining image of the nation's ability to come back after such death and destruction with a stronger sense of security after defending itself.

Rebuilding its relationship with the United States

Relations between California and the United States would not begin to improve until the early 1960s when Californian President Ronald Brown would begin to launch his foreign policy to promote a greater economic and social partnership with the United States.

The United States had just recently started to suppress its isolationist policies while also expanding its manufacturing base to more than just having to supply the country's needs, removing its dependency on its agrarian economy and resource extraction and promoting the production of consumer goods and business. This naturally attracted greater foreign investment to the United States, which opened a new door for California to build a stronger economic relationship.

California would become the most vocal in North America for a free trade agreement, which would effectively remove trade tariffs between the nations. California would do this by signing the California-America Free Trade Agreement, creating the conditions for what would soon become the North American Free Trade Organization (NAFTA). This agreement would allow Californian and American businesses to fairly compete in both markets and allow greater economic freedom and growth, while also incentivizing the two nations to develop large infrastructure projects that would benefit each other. Some of these projects include large highway systems to make travel between the nations easier, the Boulder Canyon Dam between Mojave and New Mexico to produce electricity for both nations along the Colorado River, opening ferry services across the Gulf of California to encourage tourism in the region, and overall making cross border travel much simpler. These approaches to common transportation and infrastructure would build an image between California and the United States as two nations who finally realized their relationship of shared history and values would allow for greater cooperation and growth.

The Pacific War

California would not see fighting in its borders during the Pacific War but would be heavily involved in sending its military, developing, and building weaponry for the coalition against Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Its investments into the aerospace industry would come with great benefit to itself and the war, creating thousands of new jobs and attracting greater investment to its economy. California would see a massive expansion in its navy, doubling in size and creating some of the most modern ships of the time, such as the aircraft carrier. By 1942, California would be creating its own Air Force Branch to help support the war. California would participate in training pilots in the Canadian Prairies and the Nevada Desert, an operation known as the Coalition Air Training Plan, the largest aviation training program in history.

California would have over 300,000 soldiers fight in the war, with most of them fighting in Southeast Asia alongside Canada. California's Armed Forces would participate in the Coalition island-hopping strategy, which had California and Canada working together to push closer toward the Philippines and the Japanese mainland, an important objective to cut off supplies to Japan and build the conditions of surrender for Japan. This participation would include all branches of California's Armed Forces, with most of California's fleets stationed in the Yukon and British Hawaii.

During the Pacific War, California would participate in the Granville Project. The project included Britain, Canada, California, and the FAR, intending to create a nuclear weapon. Most of the project would take place in North America, mostly along the West Coast. The project would employ 100,000 people across all four nations, helping to develop the first Atomic weapon. Most of the physical testing would take place near the once small city of Las Vegas in California, with major investments into the city’s infrastructure to support workers in the region, helping to create Las Vegas into the large city it is today. The site was chosen as it was cheaper to send goods to the region, and it was far from large population centres, but today, the site is a major tourist attraction as it was where the first successful nuclear weapon was tested. Despite being successful, the bomb would not be used in Japan as planned as the war came to an end before the weapon could be deployed.

The War on Terror

Despite not being a member of the Atlantic Accord, California had an independent defence pact with Canada. Currently, the alliance has only been invoked twice, during the Great War and the War on Terror. On August 8, 2008, Canada would call on its allies to help it seek for those who were deemed responsible for the terrorist attacks on August 6. California would be one of these allies, and while Canada was the only nation attacked that day, it would be called by many as an attack on the civilized world.

As a response, Canada led a coalition force to invade Yemen, where the perpetrators of the attack were located. California would support the invasion by sending its own troops into the war, being one of the main nations to help secure the capital of Sana’a and conduct air and intelligence operations as the fighting continued. California would later pull out all of its troops in Yemen when the operation was called a success by Prime Minister Harper.

Today, California still conducts air and intelligence operations with the Atlantic Accord across many parts of the world to combat terrorism and many other threats they face.

Modern-day

California today is a nation with a rich history, culture, economy, and positive image on the global stage. It is one of the richest nations on earth, globally ranked as the eighth largest GDP of $3.9 trillion between India and Germany and ranked fourth richest nation in North America. Its economy would be one of the leaders in the creation of computers, communication, education, environmentalism, and entertainment—it’s one of the most diverse economies, with a mix of technology, innovation, finance, and agriculture. Its technological industries are mostly located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles Area while the Central Valley is most known for its agricultural production. These regions are connected by large rail and road networks, allowing for transportation to be easier for tourists, shipments, and its citizens (if they beat the traffic, of course). The richest state of California is Silicon Valley, with a GDP of $1.1 trillion. The state is home to California's manufacturing, business services, and technology—one of California's most important industries. Most of its economy is reliant on trade with its neighbours and international commerce.

California is home to over 50 million people, roughly 35% of its population located in the San Francisco and Los Angeles Metropolitan Areas, with Los Angeles being its most densely populated and most populated state.

During the first decades of California's independence, most immigrants were coming from Latin America (the country's largest demographic), specifically Mexico and the Caribbean during the United States' colonization of the region. Today, most immigrants to California are of Asian origin after the Pacific War. The second largest group of immigrants would be of European origin, most of them arriving from the western United States and Canada. Another demographic group would be its African American population, where groups of freed slaves would immigrate to the country during the United States slave migration period. Despite these waves of immigration, most Californians are born in the country. However, with difficulties following climate change and the country's shortages of water, many Californians have been moving out of the country to other nations like Canada and the United States.

California's official languages are English and Spanish. The nation teaches both languages in its education system and requires all text of English and Spanish to be translated into either product labels or bills passed by the government. Most of the country's first language is Spanish, but most of California's population is bilingual. While English and Spanish are California's largest, a mix of Asian speakers creates California's diverse demographics.

Most of California's population is Christian, with an estimated 32% of the population aligned with the religion. While 27% of the population is not aligned with any religion, a demographic that continues to grow within the nation. The next largest group is the Roman Catholics, making up an estimated 28% of the population.

California's culture is a mix of multiple, with most of it being influenced by American, Canadian, and Hispanic cultures and the uprising of Asian cultures in its metropolitan areas. The nation is known for its coastal, resort-like culture, with its golden coast being an icon for its tourism and identity, a stereotype of all Californians being beach and surfing-loving people. Its economic culture is to be seen as innovative and obsessed over new technologies—this image is maintained by the government's focus on bringing these industries into and innovating in the country, bringing massive competition to its eternal and outer markets.

California's largest entertainment centres are located in Los Angeles. Despite them not being the largest, they are seen as important to Californians and continue to maintain their largest tourist attractions. Some of these are Disneyland and Hollywood, with others like Warner Bros and Universal Studios. Some of its largest tech companies are Apple and Google, which are the most popular and largest corporations in the world.

California is home to some of the most notable universities, such as the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Most of California's major universities are focused on the technology sector, but it also holds a great deal in trades and arts.

The Californian Armed Forces today is a military with experience, and a sustainable economy to help maintain it as one of the most modern and strongest armies in the globe. Its current active personnel is over 480,000 with its reserve personnel at 720,500. Its defence budget currently is $71 billion, making up 2% of California's GDP. Altogether, California would have three service branches: the Californian Army, the Air Force, and its Navy. Its largest arms producer would be Lockheed Martin, creating some of its iconic aircraft such as the F-22, F-16, and the C-130. Its navy would have a total of 98 ships and two aircraft carriers (the Winston Maitland, named after one of California's top generals during the Civil War, based in San Francisco; the Mason Reynold, named after the Secretary of Defence during the Great War, based in San Diego). Despite not being a part of the Atlantic Accord, California has a strong relationship with the alliance as one of its global partners.
Came here for a minor nitpick: it doesn't make TTL sense that your Conservatives are red and your Progressives are blue. The opposite colour associations are almost universal outside the US, and even in the US, the Republican=red Democrat=blue scheme only gained real traction in 1984 and didn't become a universal standard until just after the 2000 presidential election. There's a good summary of it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Origins_of_the_color_scheme So given how far back your PoD is, unless you can think up a compelling reason for the same weird colour assignment, it would make more sense to swap them around.

Amazing work overall though!
 
Came here for a minor nitpick: it doesn't make TTL sense that your Conservatives are red and your Progressives are blue. The opposite colour associations are almost universal outside the US, and even in the US, the Republican=red Democrat=blue scheme only gained real traction in 1984 and didn't become a universal standard until just after the 2000 presidential election. There's a good summary of it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Origins_of_the_color_scheme So given how far back your PoD is, unless you can think up a compelling reason for the same weird colour assignment, it would make more sense to swap them around.

Amazing work overall though!
Political colours are extremely arbitrary. Many parties were associated with a wide variety of colours historically, and often only really coalesced around one colour with the advent and widespread adoption of colour television.

For instance, the UK Conservative Party only officially adopted blue as its colour in 1949 (it had been using blue for a long time before then, it wasn't universally used). The Tories originally used red, white and blue, drawn from the Union Flag. Whilst the Whigs are traditionally associated with buff (a sort of tan colour), they also used blue.

Sure, whilst red = conservative and blue = liberal is a very American take, there's really no reason why a country in an ATL couldn't just have those same colour associations.

 
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