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. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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  2. Ayub Well-Known Member

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    The Christian powers of Europe may not be immediately interested in the new world however, since the Andalusis haven’t knocked over all the native states and aren’t bringing back the boatloads of gold and silver, that enticed other nations to get in on the gig OTL.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019 at 2:58 PM
  3. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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    *stares in crusade*
     
  4. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    It's likely what will bring interest will be the grand banks fishing at first. Then as soon as they land, the fur trade will pick up. Europeans will probably end up in North America rather than South/Central America.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: ACT VIII Part I: Ugliness and The One-Fifth Rule

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    A palm tree I beheld in Zama
    Born in a place far beyond the sunrise
    A place far beyond the wingbeats of the Entrant
    Flying from home into exile
    Flying on wings made of wood and canvas
    Over the waters which once formed the bounds of earth
    In the shade of his fronds lies the mercy of mighty God
    In the breadth of his boughs, he encircles the very earth


    - 'Ubayd ibn Abd-Allah al-Bayezi, 1427
    A tribute to the famous poem of Abd ar-Rahman I


    ~


    The discovery of the Gharb al-Aqsa and years of contact with the peoples both of the Farthest West and the deepest reaches of the Sudan injected concepts into the Andalusian worldview that it was frankly ill-prepared for.

    Aside from independent military adventures in Zama and Mawana, contact with the Gharb al-Aqsa had largely been spearheaded by freelancing merchants, spice traders, fortune-seekers and mercenaries, with Muslim presence limited to the makzans set up at key trading stops along various coasts. The prevailing opinion in those early days tended to lean on a backdrop of the ruling of the Maliki jurist Abd al-Gani ibn Mas'ud ibn Salama al-Hafiz, an imam from Anaza in the Kaledats, who authorized jihad against those pagans in the Gharb al-Aqsa who raised their hands or broke their covenants against Muslim merchants, but in practice it was uncommon for military force to be brought to bear due to logistical difficulties.

    A new challenge became apparent as time went on: Visitors to the Farthest West increasingly found cities abandoned or thinly-populated, and more than a few new lands appeared unpeopled altogether.

    In fact this was a result of epidemic diseases rapidly outpacing Muslim explorers, following indigenous merchants along pre-existing trade routes and tagging along behind early Muslim adventurers to ravage native populations with no inbuilt immunity. However, even Andalusian medical knowledge - by then among the most sophisticated outside of China, with understanding of concepts such as hygiene - did not grasp what was happening. With no theory of epidemiology and no solid understanding of why disease would spread so rapidly among a virgin-field population, along with no prior knowledge of many of the settings they visited, all these early explorers saw in many places was abandoned cities or outright empty land, when in fact many areas had been widely populated only decades before.

    In Anawak and Kawania alone, the toll of disease had created a gruesome societal disruption. Population figures prior to the Crossing are vague, but scholarly estimates suggest an overall population in the area of 17 to 20 million people. But early waves of five devastated that number within 30 years of contact. The rapid sweep of smallpox through Anawak killed an estimated seven million people within the first decade, followed by an even more severe wave of illness the Otomi knew only as the Dathi, or the Sickness. Science has been inconclusive as to the identity of this illness, and in fact it may have been several at once, but it claimed millions of lives over the next several years, as high as 10 million.[1]

    From its pre-crossing peaks, the population of Anawak and Kawania collapsed to no more than four to five million people by 1381 - a death toll of 75% in just 30 years. By the turn of the century, it would drop to no more than 2 million to 3 million before beginning to stabilize.[2]

    The societal toll was devastating to the native population, and urban areas were ravaged most severely. Entire cities were abandoned and swallowed up by jungle. In the Yukatan, the hegemony of the League of Mani crumbled as entire Mayan city-states were depopulated. The population of Zama fell catastrophically around the time of Hasan the Majestic's takeover, to the point that Hasan and his entourage - perhaps a hundred kishafa - were sufficient to maintain order in the city. Other settlements were outright depopulated, with a few becoming known to early Muslim explorers only as ruins, and even more going undiscovered for decades or even centuries, joining the bevy of already-extant ruins dotting the peninsula. Larger centres, like Mani, Zama, Chichen Itza and Ekab, held on despite rampant depopulation.

    Andalusian explorers had no idea of the toll their exploration was taking. All many of them saw were sparsely-populated cities surrounded by empty land.

    The toll of epidemic diseases was not always as severe in the Sudan, where existing trade networks ensured that the populations the Muslims met had immunity already. Some groups were more affected than others, most notably in the southernmost part of the landmass, where contact was much more sporadic.[3] But in many of these areas, the societies encountered by Andalusian explorers were hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads. While the cities of the Swahili Coast and the Bight of Benin were seen as relatively sophisticated, the lack of major urban areas south of the Zadazir raised questions.

    Andalusian society had rested for centuries on a framework of racial hierarchy. Prior to the muwallad takeover of society in the wake of the Great Plague, Al-Andalus was effectively an ethnic hierarchy with Arabo-Andalusians at the top. The transition improved the lot of most Andalusis and Berbers, but new ethnic hierarchies had come to form as the purchase of Sudani slaves became more common and the employment of Saqaliba became more cautious. As exploration proceeded, these attitudes translated to the peoples Andalusi and Berber explorers encountered.

    Andalusi attitude towards indigenous people of the Gharb al-Aqsa and the Southern Sudan is summed up by the naturalist 'Abd al-Qawi ibn Muhammad ibn Gharsiya al-Istiji, who described both groups as "people who know not God or civilization" and attributed their lifestyles to a lack of intelligence or constitution. These views, while abhorrent, permeated Andalusian upper society in various forms, ranging from a patronizing sense of superiority over the peoples of the Farthest West and the Sudan to occasionally a deeper dismissiveness, and in some cases even contempt. As to the ruins being discovered by some explorers, they were seen as curiosities.

    The biggest question was what would become of lands the explorers viewed as empty. Early in his term as hajib, Abd ar-Rahman the Seafarer - who had traveled in the Gharb al-Aqsa and seen abandoned towns and lands in Anawak, even fighting against the Chichimecas - gathered influential men at court in Isbili to debate the question in view of sharia.

    Emerging from the debate was a ruling of the imam Nuh ibn Muhammad al-Narixi, who established a key piece of jurisprudence which would guide how Abd ar-Rahman would view the New World. Al-Narixi determined that any lands captured in jihad (as in Mawana and Zama) must be considered war booty, and by sharia, one-fifth of the captured lands should be "for Allah, and to the Messenger, and to the near relatives, the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer," with the rest to be shared among the mujahidin who claimed it. In practice, this meant that explorers had the right to carve out territories in the Gharb al-Aqsa, provided they granted a fifth of the lands to the Caliph, or rather, to the hajib on behalf of the Caliph, for distribution along the lines of proper sharia - and provided they paid a persistent 20% slice of all revenue from their lands to the treasury in Isbili.

    In Zama, Hasan the Majestic acceded to these new rules, and a large chunk of the city itself was set aside as a caliphal estate of sorts. The remaining Maya population of the city were treated as something below dhimmi, allowed to carry out their daily lives, but subject to taxation and bans on elements of their religion which went against Islam.

    Mawana would prove more resistant. Mahmud ibn Asafu had died in 1375, leaving his son Tashfin to rule the island. Approached by the emissaries of Abd ar-Rahman, Tashfin refused to pay the taxes demanded of him, instead beheading the lead emissary and sending the head back to Isbili in a box. Abd ar-Rahman responded by mustering a flotilla of ships and loading them with 500 Saqaliba and 500 Andalusi soldiers, bankrolling the fleet and charging them with removing Tashfin by force of arms. The initial wave of kishafa in Mawana having grown old by that time, they had little chance of resisting, and the flotilla arrived and quickly assumed control, establishing a caliphal overseer on the formerly Taino-majority island.

    The overseer, reporting directly to Abd ar-Rahman, assumed control to find himself ruling an island in which over 90% of the population had died. In 1348, the island was home to about 600,000 people, but that number was well below 40,000 by the time Abd ar-Rahman established control, with most of the surviving Taino either enslaved in the Mawana-controlled south or declining in the allied north. Mahmud and Tashfin's administration had been brutal, with the natives forced to toil in mines and on sugar plantations to try and extract profit for the kishasfa regime, devastating their numbers.

    The regime put into place by Abd ar-Rahman was somewhat more merciful. The administrator - one Fulays ibn Abd al-Nur al-Qarmuni, an Abd ar-Rahman loyalist - lessened the work demands on the surviving Taino and ended the harsh punishments instituted by Mahmud. His regime continued to enslave the southern Taino, but permitted slaves to buy their freedom through mukataba contracts based on work. Slaves who converted to Islam were manumitted, though Al-Qarmuni continued to view them as second-class citizens. While overall productivity declined, life expectancy increased, and revenue actually began to trickle into Isbili.

    Seeing that the Taino were particularly vulnerable to illness, Al-Qarmuni began to import slaves purchased in Tekrur or the Bight of Benin. Sudani slaves were viewed as hardier and more resistant to sickness and injury, and the long history of slavery in the region made obtaining labourers fairly simple. While in Al-Andalus and Maghrib, the majority of Sudani slaves were women, Al-Qarmuni pioneered the practice of utilizing male slave labourers, drawing on practices taking place in the Mufajia Island sugar plantations. In that respect, Al-Qarmuni, for all that he ended the worst cruelties, is viewed[4] as a figure of evil among many Algarvian indigenous movements, known as the father of the Intercontinental Slave Trade.[5]

    The so-called One-Fifth Rule, or Spoils Rule, would govern how Abd ar-Rahman would approach matters in the Gharb al-Aqsa and Southern Sudan, including in lands the Muslims viewed as "empty." The approach came at a time when expansionism in particular would eye the Sudani coastline, with mariners seeking places to establish layover ports for the increasing number of Muslims seeking to go on the hajj via the sea route. These ports, and their associated fortifications, would be considered to be established on lands "won" from the pagan inhabitants and would be subject to the 20% tax.

    As population decline gutted the Farthest West, this policy loomed in the background of Abd ar-Rahman's approach. Trade remained the focus, and merchants continued to wheel and deal with surviving natives, particularly the Totonacs and Otomi - but for other explorers, particularly those of a martial mindset, the promise of being able to keep 80% of what they could take raised the prospect of simply being able to sail into the west and seek a fortune.[6]

    At a time when the Andalusian population was swelling, many would succumb to the allure of sailing into the west in search of their four-fifths of whatever they could find.


    ~


    "DAYS OF SAIL AND STEAM"
    AN AGE THAT WILL DEFINE A WORLD'S FUTURE


    ~


    [1] These figures somewhat follow the curve of how things went in reality, unfortunately, with a key mitigating factor: OTL, the epidemics of cocoliztli in the New World coincided with a megadrought. Here, it did not, but that's not going to stop a determined plague in a virgin field population.
    [2] The population of OTL Mexico alone falls from about 20 million to a maximum of 2.5 million, in point of fact. In other words, epidemic disease and sporadic violence kill 87.5% of human beings in classical Mesoamerica alone. This is probably the single greatest tragedy in human history, and there's sadly no way for me to write a history without confronting what happens when Old World diseases meet New World populations.
    [3] Khoisan groups in particular are vulnerable here.
    [4] Rightly. Al-Qarmuni may treat his slaves with a more even hand than the monster Mahmud, but he's still a slaver. He is objectively a bad man.
    [5] As always in this timeline, this is one of those things I hate to write about.
    [6] Trade through the makzans remains the predominant model, but the unintended consequence of the One-Fifth Rule is that some avaricious Cortes type can take a crack at some land-grabbing and keep the other 80%.


     
  6. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Well shit the atlantic slave trade is beginning even earlier. Its a shame really hoping this tl african americans to be descendents from the blue army because that would be cool, but alas slavery it seems will be the main factor in african american heritage here.
     
  7. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    There's a Blue Army segment! A huge chunk of kishafa mercenaries are out-of-work Berbers from the Blue Army who take cash to escort merchants to the New World.
     
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  8. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Was not weird to Africans/black muslim to have all colour of slaves either OTL...so that is something unique.
     
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  9. Ayub Well-Known Member

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    How will the slave trade affect state formation in Africa? The transfer of tech and crops may be negated if all those people from a population boom are sold into slavery.
     
  10. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The scale is not nearly enough to slow down state formation substantially at this point.
     
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  11. Ayub Well-Known Member

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    Also have the Bantu arrived in South Africa yet? If so the conflicts with the future Cortes style expeditions into the interior are going to get interesting.
     
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  12. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    If the "El Dorado" legend never arises, colonization from Christian Europe may be pushed along primarily by religious dissenters, or others fleeing persecution (Huguenots, Pilgrims, Mennonites, etc.) until the fur trade or amount of available farmland expands enough to draw in more business-oriented colonists. The Papal conflict could have some interesting implications.

    "Slavery doesn't technically exist in our glorious enlightened Caliphate that totally learned the lessons of the Zanj Rebellion, but if it did then hypothetically these Sudanis could be used as slaves..."

    Yeah, it's disheartening that a "kinder colonization" is more or less impossible after a certain point, but this too is something Andalus has to reckon with as it continues evolving. For all the promise it holds, it too is a society founded on ethnic chauvinism and until quite recently was literally run by kids kidnapped from war zones in Eastern Europe. On stuff like slavery I can see matters in the greater Andalusi realm getting worse before they get better. Saqaliba may be off-limits for farm slavery, considering their historical prestige and lingering influence in Andalusi society, but maybe other Europeans could be on the menu...

    Well, I would guess that, to an extent, it would actually encourage the growth of state structures. In Coastal West Africa (Dahomey, Benin), in the Sudan/Chad area (Bornu, Wadai), and in East Africa (Zanzibar), you see plenty of states that rise to new heights by catering to outsiders' demands for slaves, and are heartily repaid with guns, cannon, and military advisers (the first guns in Central Africa were brought not by Europeans, but Bornu raiders who bought them from the Ottomans) on the expectation that they make more war and capture more slaves. And these larger states often ended up sponsoring the development of smaller satellite states-- the Sultanate of Dar el-Kuti, the first such state founded in the territory of the modern Central African Republic, was sponsored by Wadai and sustained itself by raiding the Banda people of central CAR. So TTL maybe you'd see this pattern extended to zones like South Africa, with Zulu/Xhosa kingdoms growing quicker but then also getting mired in an early Mfecane which the Andalusis then toss guns into.

    Such states weren't only engaged in slave capture, but the most profitable export was usually slaves. This dependency on slaves left them ill-equipped for economic diversification, partially because it kept populations sparse. And worse still, this dependency all but guaranteed they'd be caught off-guard when the European attitude shifted from "we need to be involved in Africa to get more slaves" to "we need to be involved in Africa to end slavery and spread civilization". Such a fate seems unavoidable TTL unless some other economic sector is able to outpace slavery (Kongo ends up being such a rice bowl that it feeds half the makzans of the Sudan, the Zulu settle Johannesburg, etc.) and then the rulers can think about banning it without causing economic suicide... which may work, or may not.

    The one blessing for Africa, honestly, is that Andalus 1) has way more places to get slaves from, and 2) isn't competing with other colonialists to get them. One can hope that this means depopulation is spread out more instead of X area(s) having to bear most of the load.
     
  13. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The other difference here is that converting to Islam is seen by Berber and Andalusian slave buyers as a get-out-of-slavery-free card. That probably means you'll see West African populations hold much steadier than OTL, since Mali and Senegambia are already Muslim-ruled areas and the faith is spreading steadily into the Bight of Benin and even up the Kongo. Populations south of the Kongo and in the interior are likely to suffer more. Basically you're much less likely to see slaves of Mande or Serer ethnic groups and much more likely to see slaves coming from far up the Kongo, or from the interior by way of the Afro-Hilalian trade to Egypt, Somalia or the Swahili Coast, or for that matter from the area inhabited by the Mbundu people.

    You're also likelier to see slaves from diverse backgrounds, not just black slaves. They're more numerous because of the preexisting salt-gold-slave trade, but they're not a racial caste, and there are a lot of free black people who go to the New World too. The biggest slaving entity right now is likely the Bataid Empire, importing not just Zanj slaves, but slaves from the Caucasus and the Steppe (Circassian slaves in particular are becoming very important in the upper echelons of Bataid government). Some of these slaves end up sold into Andalusia, Ifriqiya and Maghrib, so you could end up with black slaves working alongside Slavic slaves, Cuman slaves, Argyn slaves, Circassian slaves, et cetera.

    You're actually not likely to see racial slave castes. What's liable to metastasize is a picture of slavery grounded in ethnoreligious chauvinism: Society organized into a hierarchy of Muslims, then recent conversos, then dhimmi, then slaves.
     
  14. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    I guess this makes things a little less bleak for Africa, but with the East-European/Caucasian slaves probably not being as abundant and the Bataids taking their cut of profits black slaves might still be considered the cheap/effective/plentiful alternative. Either way, they'll have more social mobility after landing in the Algarve so that's good. But with Shia Islam making its way steadily through the interior, what happens when Sunni traders run into a Shi'i population (expeditions up the Zadazir running into the southern Husseinids, expeditions from Comoros meeting the Ganda)? After the initial surprise at Shia Islam still being around (and in such a strange place!) wears off, would the slavery exemption apply fully or be tempered in some way?

    Also, I understand this isn't really your focus atm but has Poland considered an expedition into Russia? Hungary is probably concerned about all the wars/migrations to their north and might appreciate a trusty Catholic state stabilizing that front and letting them focus fully on the Bataids. And the Germans in the Polish ruling class are probably as land-hungry as ever. Seems like there'd be plenty incentive for Poland to give it a go, with a casus belli of "protecting the Catholics of Galicia" or something.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 4:32 PM
  15. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    But what about the jewish population? Youe updates did mention a black jewish population.

    Oh important question on the subject of slavery i just remembered no norman conquest slavery should be still active within england. Is this the case is slavery happening on mainland England. Where would most these slaves be from ireland, wales, scotland?
     
  16. inawarminister Well-Known Member

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    I seriously think any North or South Tropics of Cancer Andalusian colonies will have (Christian?) European slaves instead of Africans, especially if the Bataids keep winning in the East. Pre-modern Vitamin D deficiency really sucks...

    Also, where are the Barbary pirates analogue in this timeline? :confused:

    Could be fun to see those here, after all. Although Andalusian overseers of free Blacks importing chattel Blacks are also... Ironic too . . But truly believable with the time's socio-economic conditions
     
  17. snassni2 Well-Known Member

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    How different is african Shia Islam from Sunni in this world? Are they part of the Zaydi branch or twelver?

    It would be very cool if a ship drifts north and discovers Iceland and/or Greenland.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 12:57 AM
  18. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    Shia Islam in Africa is predominantely of the Ismaili type if I'm not mistaken. Iceland is already discovered and I think Greenland too.



    But, is Iceland under the crown of Denmark or Angland or are they independent? I know in OTL they accepted Norwegian rule by this time and before that they were an independent Commonwealth.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 12:29 PM
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  19. snassni2 Well-Known Member

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    I meant discovered by the muslims.
     
  20. last admiral Nusantara Confederate Alliance founder, Monarchist

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    Mosque made of ice is available?!:eek::eek:

     
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