Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

Got a question watched a ted video about chocolate, has chocolate slavery started yet and the andalusian thrist for it become a thing.
With the current Set up, are the natives, both convert and pagans would still be trading them for andalusian wares, slavery is far ahead but is a chance as sudan(ie africa) some areas are islamizing, meaning black pagan slaves are availables for the future
 
Got a question watched a ted video about chocolate, has chocolate slavery started yet and the andalusian thrist for it become a thing.
I'll have some stuff in here about chocolate eventually, but it'll be one of those things Andalusis, Berbers and Sudani Muslims love. Expect to see a lot of chocolate, tomatoes, vanilla, peanuts, allspice and (in Senegambia, the Niger Delta and the Congo) cassava entering into the food chain.
 
I'll have some stuff in here about chocolate eventually, but it'll be one of those things Andalusis, Berbers and Sudani Muslims love. Expect to see a lot of chocolate, tomatoes, vanilla, peanuts, allspice and (in Senegambia, the Niger Delta and the Congo) cassava entering into the food chain.
And both kind of potatoes, those will be loved in all the MEA(as Sudan is now south africa, not need of N) region
 
And both kind of potatoes, those will be loved in all the MEA(as Sudan is now south africa, not need of N) region
Considering that especially Morocco's culinaric scene is quite potato-heavy due to its taste and economic and geographic reasons IOTL, I wouldn't be surprised that this earlier introduction of such a crop would further spark interest in the New World and its potential surprises for one's tongue. Coffee and Chocolate, I'm coming for you!
 
side question has brushing are teeth been invented yet?
Yes, the persians and arabs use Miswak from ARAK to brush their teeths since ancestral times, and i doubt diabetes, you need to consume those in massive quantities, but we will see a chocolate drinking(and later eating) culture alongside tea and coffee in the MEA region very fast
Wait sudan is south africa, i thought it was either western or central Africa.
All South of Sahara seems is Sudan ITTL..at least for now
 
By way of an update, I've socked away most of the next chapter, but writing crashed to a halt because of a family crisis. I'll be continuing the story but I've got to set a few things in order first. Look for it if not next weekend, then next week sometime.
 
ACT VIII Part XII: Steam, the Wu and the Haizong Emperor
Excerpt: Jade Sun Risen: The Story of Wu China's World Revolution - Anna Poloznikova, URSA Metropress, AD 2011


Retrospectively, it seems inevitable that China, with its advanced sciences, huge population of specialists and sophisticated systems of bureaucracy and education, would be the birthplace of steam technology. No other region of the globe had the confluence of factors necessary to develop and institute this type of technology, nor to engineer the slow, steady introduction which made its arrival possible.[1]

Steam technology had been known since the late 12th century, in use primarily to power carousels in the courts of various Emperors or for various other "wonder displays" put on to amuse this or that imperial family member. It was the invasion of what historians refer to as the Neo-Khitan Empire that put steam on the map as a practical tool. The alliance between the Khitans and the Jurchens saw the atrophied Song military overrun, with much of the north of the empire lost to the invaders and the Song themselves rapidly replaced by the Wu. The reorganization of China under Emperor Qingzu marked a steady pushback against the Khitans, a refresh and rearming of the military and a re-equipping with blackpowder weapons sufficient to stop a large army of horse.

Part of Qingzu's reforms included a comprehensive effort to update the military's equipment, placing enormous demands on weaponsmiths and armourers, particularly given the loss of facilities in the Khitan-held north.

Out of this environment came a particular weaponsmith by the name of Shi Jiang, who controlled a large weaponsmithing operation near Shanghai and participated in the rearmament. At the time, it was common for metalworkers in China to utilize waterwheel-powered bellows and trip hammers. Shi Jiang, apparently with connections to the old Song court, sought to win the favour of the Wu by out-producing any other weaponmaker. His solution was to draw on those connections to copy a steam boiler design used at a Song court, but to marry it to a trip hammer rather than a carousel.

While Shi Jiang's steam hammer design was incredibly primitive and simple, its use enabled him to expand his capacity. A boiler was soon married to a bellows as well. These facilities in and of themselves likely did not account for all of his success, but they added up enough, together with other methods of powering his operation, that Shi Jiang soon became the leading supplier of weapons to the Wu military.

At these early stages, steam power had disadvantages: The technology was expensive to set up and required a level of expertise beyond the understanding of most metallurgists. Shi Jiang seems to have been able to establish his steam hammer and bellows primarily by virtue of being a well-connected individual attempting to ingratiate himself to the new regime, a means likely beyond most in China at the time. Nevertheless, this marks the first known use of steam in an industrial setting, a first which would set the stage for further expansion of the technology.

Gradually, the Wu began to turn the tide against the Khitans, in part by bribing off some of their Tatar allies. Wu troops steadily took control of the areas around the Yellow River once overrun by the Khitans, rapidly rolling back the invasion as the Wu's more organized and better-equipped military set to work. Aside from a greater use of blackpowder, the Wu made better use of ships to transport troops along vulnerable coasts poorly patrolled by the Khitans, themselves being largely a terrestrial power reliant on superior cavalry. By moving well-trained infantry by boat, the Wu repeatedly out-maneuvered the Khitans, striking behind their lines and scoring several decisive victories.

In some ways, the Chinese use of ships under the Wu parallels the success achieved by Al-Andalus in the War of the Navarrese Succession. The Wu, however, lacked the same impulse to explore on a grand scale. As the Khitans were steadily rolled back, the Wu instead set to work rebuilding trade networks shaken up by the collapse of the Song.

The arrival of Andalusian merchants was viewed with mild indifference by the Wu, at least until the Xiamen Incident, when "the Da-shi" were formally warned to cease what the Wu administration viewed as piratical activities. However, while Chinese merchants would aggressively compete with Andalusians, whom they viewed as interlopers, the Wu themselves rarely stepped in. Qingzu and his successors had little trust for merchants and even less concern over whom they traded with - indeed, some of the merchants operating within China were themselves Muslims - but had greater concern with maintaining both domestic order and foreign recognition of the supremacy of the Wu Emperor.

In that respect, Southeast Asia became something of China's backyard as a trading ground, with the island of Lanka serving as a rough pivot point between an eastern trade sphere dominated by China and a western one dominated by an eclectic mix of mostly Muslim powers, with Hizamid Al-Andalus being the most acquisitive but the Warsheikh Sultanate, Oman, Kilwa, Maghrib and various Arabian traders also making up key elements of this trade fabric.

On balance, this trade delivered a boon to China: It created a new market for Chinese goods and opened up the prospect of trading for goods accessible only to Western Muslim traders at the time, such as mahiz and binu pepper. Throughout the 1400s, crops from the Algarves would begin to slowly trickle into China, creating the conditions for a new population boom, while increased maritime trade would spur economic activity and growth even while creating new challenges.

*​

Key to the reforms of Qingzu and his immediate successors was a rebuilding of the atrophied Song bureaucracy. The Wu divided China up into fifteen provinces and established new provincial administrations, further dividing each province into prefectures and counties. The traditional system of Three Departments and Six Ministries was winnowed down to the Six Ministries and a single overarching High Commission.

Beyond these reforms, however, Qingzu's most notable successor - the long-ruling and esteemed Emperor Haizong (1414-1469) - undertook the major task of restoring the Grand Canal, which had fallen into disrepair under the Song and had its northern reaches lost and damaged under the Khitans. This infrastructure project further increased demand for Chinese manpower, fuelling the economy by putting thousands of labourers to work. This project began in the 1420s but would continue for another two decades as part of Haizong's greater program of funding infrastructure across his domain.

While the steam engine had found use in Shi Jiang's operation before the work on the Canal, it surfaced again in a niche role as the Wu set to work on their restoration project. The work saw primitive steam-powered pumps used to drain massive amounts of water to allow for new dredging and the creation of new reservoirs. This was the first known use of steam-driven pumps, and it allowed for workers to access and deepen key areas of the Canal, allowing ever larger quantities of grain to be moved through China without the need to transfer it to shallow-water barges.

While it is sometimes reported that steam engines were used to power the locks along the Canal, in fact steam locks would not arrive until the later 1400s - some time after the death of Haizong. Nevertheless, the steam engine had found another practical use in China, performing a function that even China's massive workforce would have struggled to perform.

Slowly, the power of steam was demonstrating that it could be of use to China. Throughout Haizong's reign, more and more Chinese metallurgists would study the technology, looking for ways to improve it and refine it for other uses. The device which had once been a mere toy in the playrooms of various Song Emperors had begun to find its niche under the Wu, setting the stage for China's eventual world-defining vault into mass industrialization in the ages to come.

The focus on the Canal - and the tendency of Wu power to congregate in their geographic centre - led Haizong to move the capital to Suzhou in 1432. The city would expand dramatically under Haizong and the successive Wu Emperors, blossoming into one of the world's great cities and developing into a grand hub of trade, culture and splendid architecture. Numerous sources describe the city's proliferation of gardens, pavilions and temples, with notable landmarks including the 10th-century Tiger Hill Pagoda and the 15th-century Wu Palace, completed under Haizong. The city was dubbed "the Venice of Serica"[2] by the 15th-century pre-sail merchant Benedict Szegedi, a Hungarian trader remarkable for completing a long overland trip from Milan and on down the Silk Road and back by way of the Steppes, but can also be compared favourably to its opposite number in Europe: Isbili.

Despite trade tensions between the Wu and the Hizamids in Hindustan, Muslim traders from the West could find themselves at home in Suzhou, turning a tidy profit in the process. Chinese merchants do not seem to have made a habit of making the trip to Isbili just yet, however.[3]



[1] OTL, we consider Song China to have disadvantages compared to, say, England in its ability to industrialize. In particular China has a glut of manpower and a lack of wet mines in need of draining compared to manpower-strapped Britannia. This explains the drastic difference in how steam rolled out in this world: China has had the technology for 200+ years, but it's been something of a toy for the Emperors' amusement, only coming into use for practical tasks at a time when manpower is at a premium due to war.
[2] "Cathay" is derived from the Liao, who have a different course of existence here. ITTL, "Cathay" refers specifically to the area north of China, while the proliferation of Greeks through Christendom following the fall of Byzantium has led to "Serica" coming into widespread use for "China" in the Late Middle Ages and early Crossing Age.
[3] Sorry this one took so long. As mentioned, a bit of a family crisis descended and threw life into a blender just as the holidays ended. But we're back at it now, and there's still story to tell.


SUMMARY:
1380s: The weaponsmithing operation of Shi Jiang, in Shanghai, makes the first known industrial use of steam power, driving bellows and trip hammers to produce weapons for Emperor Qingzu's army.
1414: Emperor Haizong comes to power in China.
1420ish: Emperor Haizong begins a massive restoration of the Grand Canal. Steam engines are employed over the next two decades to drain water for dredging, deepening the canal and allowing for bulk deepwater transport of grains deep inland.
1432: Emperor Haizong moves the capital of China to Suzhou.
 
Population boom jesus you telling me china will have even more people!.

Sorry but they will be a hyper power, no one can even think of the idea of taking on china. How do you fight and win? How do you resist and expansionist emperor? Malaya, central asia, Indochina, siberia, japan will all be chinese.
 
Population boom jesus you telling me china will have even more people!.

Sorry but they will be a hyper power, no one can even think of the idea of taking on china. How do you fight and win? How do you resist and expansionist emperor? Malaya, central asia, Indochina, siberia, japan will all be chinese.
Ever heard of a Civil War?
 
Population boom jesus you telling me china will have even more people!.

Sorry but they will be a hyper power, no one can even think of the idea of taking on china. How do you fight and win? How do you resist and expansionist emperor? Malaya, central asia, Indochina, siberia, japan will all be chinese.
All those new crops are going to allow for more people, but if they go into the cities to find work (and I'm pretty sure that Suzhou's growth here is just from reshuffling of the population, not raw growth) that's an environment that selects for smaller families. Advances in medicine, sanitation, and health regulations will keep people alive for longer (tackle infant/child mortality) but there'll be less new ones every year-- and as France and Germany demonstrated in/after 1871, that can be a real disadvantage. France also demonstrates how innovation isn't a static quality-- the same country that revolutionized warfare under Napoleon was behind on railway density and had outdated doctrines compared to Germany, which had fought wars more recently. So starting this whole process earlier could in someways put China behind in the long run, especially if by that time China is dealing with political/social conflict, industrial pollution, nuclear energy gone horrifically wrong, whatever.

But then again, people don't really have to go to the cities. China's supply of land is finite... but on the other hand it's really not, not when Manchuria and Siberia are right there. You're gonna have land rushes, silver rushes (Nerchinsk), sea cucumber rushes (Haishenwai), maybe even a conflict with Japan over Hokkaido furs. But those people may not see eye to eye with the distant political elite, and their support for wars on other frontiers may be muted. There's only so many people that can die in the Vietnamese jungle/Japanese mountains before people start dodging the draft... and out in the northern wilderness they can run just about anywhere.

Besides that, I really like the way steam power use is depicted in this chapter. Feels totally natural, not at all like it just happened because the narrative needed it to.
 
Last edited:
The Wu divided China up into fifteen provinces and established new provincial administrations, further dividing each province into prefectures and counties. The traditional system of Three Departments and Six Ministries was winnowed down to the Six Ministries and a single overarching High Commission.
That's similar to the administerial reformations of the Ming dynasty. The Song dynasty is already divided into three administrative levels, though.

The focus on the Canal - and the tendency of Wu power to congregate in their geographic centre - led Haizong to move the capital to Suzhou in 1432.
Coincidentally Suzhou is the capital of the ancient state of Wu.
 
That's similar to the administerial reformations of the Ming dynasty. The Song dynasty is already divided into three administrative levels, though.


Coincidentally Suzhou is the capital of the ancient state of Wu.
Historically this dynasty is likely distinguished from its predecessors with appellations: Old Wu, Eastern Wu and Great Wu.

Suzhou is too good a location not to be very central for a dynasty with its power base in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang areas. Even in RL periods where the centre of power lay somewhere else, the city was one of the most important in China, to the point of being, I believe, the largest non-capital in the world at one point.
 
Damn, industrialization in the 1400's. I'm curious to see who will use steam power for ships first.
I'm not sure it's quite up to the scale of mass industrialization yet. The steam engine is finding use as a work tool, but at the moment it's more of a prestige thing or an experiment. In most of China, there are other, more economical options, like throwing bodies at a problem.

Basically, while steam arrived far earlier, its rollout will be more gradual. It will take China time to see why this new tool is economical and what they can do with it, and it will take longer for them to think it's worth the up-front cost when they can just hire a bunch of people. It will take eventually, though, and at that point you'll see progress accelerate: MiaJ-world in the modern era is quite a bit more advanced than our world in a lot of ways, even if a lot of common consumer-grade stuff seems familiar.

If you want a sneak peek at how tech looks in modern MiaJ-world: Iqal may be cruising around in ekranoplans, but there are maglevs in play, spaceflight is substantially farther ahead than OTL, climate science is a massive field of advancement, and whoever the superpowers are may have access to "rods from God"-style orbit-to-surface kinetic weapons. This has come with consequences: I've hinted at it a few times, but the modern age of MiaJ-world features a noticeable sea level rise brought on by early global warming, and much of the study of climate science has concerned how to repair this. Those fluffy cloud-filled skies aren't just for show: You might've noticed an earlier chapter in which it's shown that someone in the MiaJ-world of the 21st century has the technology to engage in large-scale cloud-seeding and benign weather modification.
 
Last edited:
Top