Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Planet of Hats, Aug 21, 2016.

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  1. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    What's the only thing better than a New World? New Words, of course!
    Introducing...
    upload_2019-5-3_21-57-6.png
    The 100% Halal Sufi-Approved Nahuatl Ajami [translator's note: Arabic based script for non-Arabic language]!

    Some notes on the system:
    • Nahuatl's the easiest (major, well-attested) Mesoamerican language to make an Ajami script for-- not a lot of vowels or consonants. The real nightmares would be Yucatec Maya or Otomi's umlaut-vowels. And K'iche'... *shivers*
    • The script is based mostly on medieval Berber orthography and modern Senegalese Wolof Ajami (or Wolofal), with minimal influence from Spanish Aljamiado. I emphasized the West and North African elements because that's who is bringing Islam to Anahuac. I tried to take as little influence from Aljamiado as possible since most Aljamiado that survives today wasn't actually from the peak of Andalusi power. During that peak, everyone tried to learn Arabic. It was only during the Reconquista, when spoken Arabic had died out and Islam in Spain seemed to be going the same way, that the need to express spoken Spanish in a script that preserved Islamic heritage--the need for Aljamiado--became pressing.
    • The system of full vocalization (using fatha-kasra-damma at all times, even during long vowels) is inspired by Aljamiado and Wolofal. Neither of those languages really has long vowels, so I had to base the long-vowel system off of Berber (They don't have long vowels either, but what they do have is two coherent but separate methods of writing the same short vowels). This gives the script a somewhat alphabetic character.
    • Observers may note that various Ajami scripts' letters for /g/ resemble the Arabic "kaf". This is because before the new letters were invented, "kaf" (due to its similar sound) was used to represent /k/ and /g/ in those languages. This being unsatisactory, a similar-looking but graphically distinct letter was soon invented. The Sufis who created this TTL script used that similar-sound principle to assign "ba" to /p/ and "saad" to /tz/, but since Nahuatl has no real competitors (an actual /b/, for example) to those sounds, the choice stuck despite imperfections. For /tl/, a distinct letter based on "ta'" (ڟ) was judged to be necessary due to the distance of the sound from anything in western Islam's sound inventories. As for /ch/, the West African Sufis had developed that character (څ) for their own use so they decided to add it I guess.
    • Other flaws in the system include short /e/ and short /i/ looking the same (both use a single kasra). Wolof uses the kasra to represent all of its front vowels, so the script designers probably didn't see an issue with it. I also wanted to stay within Unicode's requirements and what I considered realistic developments (e.g. using the tanwin marks seemed like an oddball choice, as no Ajami script uses them for anything).
    • Wa-hamza is generally supposed to be used for labialized consonants and vowels, as in "Cuauhtemoc" (/Kwawtemok/).
    • Diphthongs are, in written from, broken up with a waw or ya, as per Aljamiado practice. /oa/ is written "owa", /ai/ becomes "ayi", and so on.
    • The sukun is used to break up consonant clusters. Aljamiado did this to an extent, but also had a dumb feature of "smoothing out" clusters by adding silent vowels ("entrar" became "entarar", "primero" became "pirimero"). It would still be pronounced the same way, but just written in imitation of Arabic practice.
    I'll be taking any questions, script challenges (you suggest a Nahuatl tongue twister, I try to write it without breaking my own rules), etc.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  2. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Yeah, I have a feeling that trying to make an Ajami script for Otomi would be, uh. A challenge. But, y'know. Me and languages.

    That's absolutely spectacular and something I could never have come up with.
     
  3. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    Thanks, man. I made it all Unicode-compatible for a reason though-- if you want to use it in a future post on the Nahua-speakers for added flavour, it's yours :D

    As for the Otomi... Arabic seems set to become a diplomatic and scientific language in the Algarves. But if Otomi survives as a language of commerce and daily life, once a large enough portion of the population has access to Islamic education (at least the first level, where you learn the basic rules of the script and rote-memorize a few Quran verses) an Ajami script seems more or less inevitable...

    (I probably won't actually make one though, lmao. All depends on whether I actually find an organic and not-ugly way to show tones.)

    EDIT: Minutes later, I think I've found a way. How well-known is Turkish in Andalus TTL? I know the West-East Schism is rapidly developing and that the Andalusis don't have much love for Turkmen customs, but have Andalusi scholars sought to study Eastern philosophy, poetry (someone like Jalaleddin Rumi or a TTL figure possessing his fame and renown, for example) and languages to any great extent?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  4. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Turkish is known but not in a broad way. There are some Mediterranean merchants who learned it in their dealings with merchants in Bataid Syria and Anatolia (and of late, Greece), and a handful of philosophers study it, but it's not in wide circulation and you'd have to go out of your way to know it. Some might, though.

    Tones are hard enough even before you factor in the fact that I'm writing a timeline about Arabic-speakers and I don't speak or write Arabic. :p
     
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  5. Threadmarks: ACT VII Part IX: Spice Fleets

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Excerpt: Trade Winds: Islam's Crossing-Era Economic Boom - Umar al-Sufali, Eastwind Press, AD 1997


    It is tempting to fixate on matters in the Gharb al-Aqsa as the most fascinating frontier of the Crossing Period. The most immediate impacts on Andalusian life and economics came not from these new continents, but from the fallout of Ibn Mundhir's circumnavigation of Sudan in 1342 and Ibn Ghalib's maritime hajj in 1350. These voyages proved that not only could the Sudan be circled, but that one could sail around it and reach Mecca - and all the trade routes Mecca had access to.

    A decade of remarkable discovery ensued. The spearhead of it was a remarkable explorer: Abd al-Malik ibn Qasi al-Shershi, who had been an 18-year-old deckhand on Ibn Mundhir's ship, was entrusted by the Hajib with four ships and dispatched to seek Hindustan. By all accounts, Ibn Qasi - a descendant of conversos who traced his ancestry back to a Gothic family - was a dynamic man with a thirst for adventure and profit, and he pulled together a crew of eager men before setting sail.

    The voyage of Ibn Qasi was a long one, but uncovered much. The ships stopped in the Kaledats, continued on to Labu, then sailed on into the Gulf of Sudan, where they stayed at Marsa al-Mushtari on the island of Mihwaria. After months of travel and a difficult crossing of the Cape of Storms, the ships reached the Swahili Coast, staying for a month in the trade city of Kilwa. From there, Ibn Qasi and his ships followed the advice of local sailors and waited for the seasonal monsoons to begin. The fleet followed the monsoon winds east across the Hindu Ocean,[1] guided by Somali traders. While one of their ships sank along the way after having its sail ripped off in a fierce storm, the remaining three survived and sailed, battered but triumphant, into the trading city of Goa.

    At the time of Ibn Qasi's arrival, Hindustan was in a state of transition. To the north, the Tarazid Sultanate was in a state of rapid fragmentation after the ruling dynasty's overthrow by an ambitious Karluk general, leaving Islamic power concentrated in the Indus River area. Islam had never truly caught on beyond that region, and power vacuums in Gujarat, northern India and Bengal were stepped into by local families. Goa had never been part of the Tarazid realm, owing its allegiance primarily to the Seunas of Devagiri at the time - but its busy port was no stranger to Islamic visitors or traders of myriad cultures and colours. The Andalusian ships were certainly a little unusual, but few raised an eyebrow until Ibn Qasi offloaded his cargo: Binu pepper, Sudani gold and precious dyes.

    Ibn Qasi's return voyage took some time; following the advice of his Somali guide, he waited for the monsoon winds to turn before setting sail again, winding up back in Sofala. It was not until late 1352 that he returned to Isbili, bringing word that he had reached Hindustan. While several of his sailors died of scurvy during the voyage and a second of his ships remained behind at Marsa al-Mushtari after springing a slow leak.

    News circulated quickly that it would be possible to reach Hindustan, however long the voyage. Circumnavigation from this point onward took on three purposes: Trade with Hindustan on east, exploration, and the hajj.

    Exploration proved simple enough, though perilous. By 1356, Muhammad ibn Qays al-Shilbi reached the island of Lanka, and by 1360, Abd al-Qadir ibn Safwan al-Ghamri pulled his ship into the harbour of Aceh in the distant region of Melaka, discovering Muslims who bent the knee not to a Caliph but to the Emperor of China.[2]

    Travelers for trade and the hajj proved more regular. Pilgrims began to travel to Mecca by circumnavigation as early as 1353, hoping to avoid entanglements with Genoese and Venetian traders in the Mediterranean or long overland jaunts through the desert. The sea route cost most and had its own perils, but wealthier sorts nevertheless took it up. The route was also enjoyed by those seeking to trade in ports along the Swahili Coast and in Hindustan proper, though most of these traders tended to set up shop in cities like Sofala, Kilwa and Zanjibar and trade with middlemen there - still a better prospect for both price and quantity than trading it through the traditional land-based routes.

    Infrastructure was the first demand these sailors created. Existing trading ports in the Kaledats, Labu and Marsa al-Mushtari would swell and grow as a result of stopovers by these ships, and they would often stop at the mouth of the Zadazir as well, but the biggest gap in the route was at the Ra's al-Awasif,[3] where foul weather often made passage tricky and a lack of cities or natural harbours made it difficult for ships to find a good place to hunker down. Most ships seeking to wait for poor weather to blow over would take shelter north of the cape itself, in a natural bay with good shelter from the winds and deep water, but little prospect for farming. That suited the captains just fine. The bay became known as the Kawf al-Hujaj.[4]

    The rigors of making the crossing would strain Andalusian saqin and tur-type ships to the limits of their design. While explorers in a well-built saqin could make longer voyages than virtually any other ship, including over endless kilometres of open ocean, most of these early traders would sail a larger tur, as a smaller saqins couldn't carry enough cargo or passengers to make a journey profitable. Yet even the tur was considered to have limits, and the race was quickly on to build larger, faster ships capable of more reliably weathering the brutal storms of the southern Sudan.

    The development of larger ships would take the form of the qurqur,[5] which is first attested in literature around this time but likely emerged for the first time closer to 1340, probably as a development of the pepper trade. These ships were larger than those used by the first wave of Andalusian explorers, and they were used primarily by merchants more concerned with cargo and stability in rough waters than with the speed allowed by the earlier types of craft. A typical tur would weigh in around 250 to 300 tons, while an early qurqur weighed in closer to 600, a mass which would swell to displacements of more than 1,000 tons by the end of the century as shipbuilders perfected the new style.

    It was these larger ships which formed the bulk of the eight-ship flotilla dispatched by the Hajib and the Banu Angelino in 1358, with orders to set sail for Hindustan and return with spices. These ships were the first Spice Fleet. It would become an annual tradition for a fleet under Hizamid hire to set sail from Isbili to Kilwa or Zanjibar, then follow the monsoon season to Hindustan to trade and return the next year with holds full of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, and other goods such as fine silks and blackpowder.

    The Spice Fleets proved to be the backbone of what would become an age of intense trade-driven economic prosperity. More trade money fuelled more exploration and allowed the Hizamids to earn more in taxation and tribute, which in turn led to more expeditions, more discoveries, more trade opportunities and more money. The rapid growth of the merchant class would result in economic booms not only in Al-Andalus, but in the Maghreb along the Dahab, in what was then the Simala Kingdom, after a powerful clan which assumed autonomous rule as the Mande Empire struggled and weakened beneath the raids of the Southern Blue Army. All the more remarkable about this period is that the Muslim powers held effective monopolies: Christian sailors did not enjoy the same advancements in ship technology enjoyed by the Muslims of Andalusia and the coastal Maghreb, though Basque and Galician whalers may have begun to adapt elements of it, and most ships in the Christian world remained either bulky coastal hulks or Mediterranean galleys (of which Al-Andalus and Ifriqiya each maintained fleets).

    The Spice Fleets and other mercantile efforts in the Sudan, Hindustan and Melaka would bring not only wealth, but ideas. The most important of these was likely the introduction of barud weapons.[6]

    Early firearms had made it to Al-Andalus through trade with the Levant, primarily in the form of the fire lance. The first record of their use comes in 1352, at the Battle of Atalayah Pass.[7] While no Arabic source for the encounter exists, the monk Pedro de Noia describes the Knights of Saint James being turned back by "a host of Moors brandishing Satan's fire, spewed from Hell itself," which allegedly disrupted a heavy cavalry attack on a smaller Muslim army. Reconstructionists tend to agree that this was the first notable appearance of a barud weapon in Western Europe. Through trade with Chinese merchants, barud weapons would increasingly become available to Muslims and slowly proliferate through Mesopotamia, the Maghreb and Andalusia.


    [1] The Indian Ocean.
    [2] The Strait of Malacca.
    [3] The Cape of Good Hope.
    [4] Pilgrims' Cove.
    [5] The word "carrack" may come from this word for "large merchant ship." The development is not exactly like a carrack; a qurqur is visibly more derived from a dhow, but the requirements of ship geometry are gradually pushing it to be more solidly-built and chunky than the current sleeker designs the Andalusians sail. Ship design is adapting to the fact that Andalusians don't need exploration ships - they need things with a big cargo hold that won't sink if they hit a monsoon or a horrible South African storm.
    [6] Gunpowder.
    [7] Near Cebreros.

    Authorial note: Yes, I'm still alive and still writing. Work and mental health consumed me alive. It's been a tough couple of weeks but I think I'm coming out the other end of it.
     
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  6. Hegemon of words and thoughts

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    Hope life gets better for you. I’m glad you’re feeling ok, at least.

    Also, I admire your timeline.
     
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  7. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Thank you. I'm really gratified that people are still reading this. There's still a lot of story to tell, too.
     
  8. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    From someone who's been though that dark pit for the past month, I hope you're getting well. :)

    Looks like Al-Andalus has finally become this TL's analogue of Portugal, and the innovations to ship-building will greatly help it along. I wonder what the Andalusis think when they hear of Aceh and co. bending the knee to Song China... would they see it as blasphemous?
     
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  9. snassni2 Well-Known Member

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    The age of gunpowder has arrived! Looking forward to see if the christian iberian kingdoms will survive it.

    Also, I'm wondering if Ibn Batuta will exist in this TL, would he still go to the east, maybe even visit Japan and Australia? Or will he visit the pacific coasts of the americas?
     
  10. agisXIV Digital Hoplite

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    Maybe end up a Qadi in a Mayan court?
     
  11. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Ibn Battuta got butterflied away generations ago but there are certainly people like him. Andalusians love the rihla genre, probably because so much of the world is new and astounding to so many of them. A majority of them view the world differently than a Spanish conquistador. They see wonders, wealth and opportunity.

    Of course, there are also scuzzy buckets like Mahmud ibn Asafu who see an opportunity to get rich on the backs of a bunch of people with crappier weapons than he has.
     
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  12. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Got a 2 question on race.

    How are Africans treated in andalusia?

    Also in america will there be larger african population due to blue army. Also culture will african american culture be more warrior focused? As most descent will be tracked to a bunch of blue lads going out to conquer.
     
  13. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Black Africans slot into the racial hierarchy in Andalusia. Sadly, they tend to be viewed in the same way Berbers used to be viewed under the Umayyads, maybe even a bit less: As good soldiers and servants, but not leaders. Black Africans are usually not generals, outside of the Black Guard. Black people can be productive and welcomed in Andalusian society - indeed, many men of Serer, Fulani and Mande background are important merchants - but there's also a profitable market for Black slaves, which tends to tinge how Andalusians view them.

    Berbers are viewed a bit differently. Arabized Berbers are considered basically Andalusi, but New Berbers and Veiled Sanhaja are treated with greater suspicion and likely to be viewed as Kharijites or people given to excess zeal.

    I think it's likely you'll see more Black and Berber presence in the New World. Especially in the Maghreb, the Northern Blue Army is fragmenting enough that many defectors will gladly ship out to the New World and take their chances as kishafa if it means money and the chance to provide for their families.
     
  14. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

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    Andalusia is making its move. I can’t wait to see what the Andalusians do once they find this alternate route to India. Is Bengal still under the rule of the Bengal sultan ITTL?
     
  15. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    Amazing timeline. I look forward to your updates. Mental health is super important, so take care and best wishes.


    Will the Andalusians coopt some elements of Mesoamerican architecture and combine it with their own style of architecture sort of analogue to OTL Indo-Saracenic architecture where the British combined the already syncretic Mughal architectural style with the Neo-Classical style.


    Also, will they allow those who practice Mesoamerican religions to keep their faith, but pay the jizya , forcibly convert everyone when they are capable of doing so, or be like the Mughals in India and allow the local populace to keep to their faith?
     
  16. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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    Another great update, I’m beginning to wonder though, will the Anadulsis demand territorial concessions in East Africa, India, and Indonesias or will they merely set up shop in trading districts within native controlled cities?
     
  17. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    So far the Andalusian model is to set up a depot or city at a key choke point and use it to control trade. They did settle the Canaries, Azores and Madeira and are settling Cape Verde and Sao Tome as well as Hispaniola and the mouth of the Amazon, but for the most part they aren't looking for empire - yet. The people they're meeting in East Africa are Muslims, and they tend to get along fine; there's no real religious animosity or conflict between the Andalusians and the speakers of Swahili. In more populous places they tend to try and find friendly harbours.

    It's harder for them to project power overseas because most of their oceangoing ships are armed mainly with archers. The warships of Andalusia are still Mediterranean galleys. Cannons are not yet more than an interesting curiosity they're just hearing about, and the ocean ships are bad at fighting galleys anyway - they're sail ships, not row ships, so steering them is reliant on the wind, and they're too highly-built for ramming.
     
  18. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    I know settler colonialism is a bit of anachronism for the Andalusians, but I wonder if a set of privately owned (or loosely state owned) cities that act as refueling ports are going to pop up around the Cape or Angola or Mozambique under heavy Andalusian influence as a means to speed up both the Hajj and the spice trade.

    Both of those would reinforce each other I bet and thus there's likely an incentive to invest, but I wonder how practical it would be. At least like a set of Portuguese Factorias.
     
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  19. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    There is, in fact, growing demand for hajj rest stops in areas south of the Zadazir/Congo. There's a big gap before and after the Cape where your best bet right now is to hide in Pilgrim's Cove, and that just won't cut it.
     
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  20. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    The Angolan kingdoms are going to profit off of this heavily. Whichever Ngola is able to set up a proper port and import rice/beans/cassava/etc enough to get a manpower boom alongside the inevitable foreign investment is ripe for taking over all his regional rivals one by one.
     
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