Overestimated historical states

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Koprulu Mustafa Pasha, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Talus I of Dixie The hymn of Tuva is just perfect

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    My dream is a timeline where Venice becomes a major superpower and unifies Italy under the Serenissima Repubblica d'Italia :openedeyewink:
     
  2. Gukpard hominem populist

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    So we can say that before the civil war, Brazil and the USA had the same international importance?
     
  3. Lenwe Well-Known Member

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    Brazil have a slight advantage, If only because the European powers smeared the Republic government and Brazil was and Empire with a long traditional Dynasty (Bragança) as their heads of State
     
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  4. Talus I of Dixie The hymn of Tuva is just perfect

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    If we say that Paraguay was the brazillian Mexico, yes :p

    Now seriously, in terms of international importance the USA and Brazil were viewed basically in the same form (Even if internally it's far from this). Regional powers that export agricultural products to Europe, the difference was that internationally (especially in Europe), the deliberate expansion of the US with the manifest destiny was viewed with great concern, so Europe, even though without admitting, was like crazy cheering for the CSA to win the war
     
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  5. Gukpard hominem populist

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    VERY WELL!

    MAY GOD BLESS OUR SO GENTLE NATION!

    HAIL OH GLORY, HAIL OH EMPIRE OF BRAZIL!


    BE EXAULTED BRAZIL, ON THE HEAAAAAAAAAAVENS!
     
  6. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    Don't.

    It's been a year.
     
  7. stevej713 Well-Known Member

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    My vote goes to Achaemenid Persia and the Ottoman Empire. A great deal of nonsense has been written about how both countries would have overrun Europe if not for a single battle. Those battles weren't defeats snatched from the jaws of victory, but were simply signs that both empires had reached their limits and could not expand any further. It's like saying a marathon runner could run another 40 km if he didn't collapse from exhaustion at the finish line.
     
  8. Diego Well-Known Member

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    Well, you know... if some countries can make their olympic rankings based on overall medals instead of gold medals, why can't we make the same with our navies?

    BTW... I find your lack of faith... disturbing...
     
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  9. Gukpard hominem populist

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    That is not so different from the Brazilian left reducing Brazil level of poverty by changing the classification of poverty and making people with hunger salaries be considered middle class :p
     
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  10. BBadolato Fifth Picturewraith

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    By what reasoning? Great Britain was more the accident of Stewart and Tudor successions. Ireland might count for this, if only because Protestantism allowed another dimension of Anglo-Irish conflict to spill into having the troublesome clan's exiled, but otherwise Ireland was hard to pacify but seemingly irrelevant. Unless your talking about conflict with Spain, which again does not seem to be all that significant.

    I would say Japan, despite my TL. Meiji and beyond expansion was not a sure thing. A united Japan beforehand would always have to deal with an indelicate balance of power with all of the regional lords having their own armies, that would make invading anywhere a problem and any theoretical colonies would be developed along a similar model.
     
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  11. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    How about Germany
     
  12. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Eh, their hand in the Americas was pretty weak when compared to the British, but they had extensive Caribbean possessions and were able to invade and occupy most of Mexico. So I'd say they had pretty decent power projection capabilities even in the Americas.
     
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  13. Diego Well-Known Member

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    See... thats what I'm talking, we can brush aside some minor details for a little healthy vainglory... or a good story...

    Now, seriously, about the topic:

    I've seen some people claim that the Thirteen Colonies were the richest colonies in the Americas, not in this forum though, but I think that sometimes people even here put too much importance in places that didn't matter that much at certain times like all those regions north of Virginia until the 18th century, or in another example, Gaul and Germany at Roman times.
     
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  14. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Well, they didn't really occupied Mexico, they installed a government there, but your argument is true.

    I gonna leave a counter argument that they did that, but they couldn't act on all continents at the same time. Germany could launch a invasion of China if they wanted but they didn't had a presence there and couldn't act on multiple continents like the UK could. We can use WWII as a example of how UK had a multi continent strike force, they could keep frontlines going in Singapore, Somaliland, Egypt and kuwait all going on at the same time.

    The average brazilian colonial peasant was richer than the american one on the 1700s, is that right?
     
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  15. Diego Well-Known Member

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    TBH I don't have the numbers to give exactly, but it is possible, unless you consider slaves as peasants, but the upper classes were far richer, that is for sure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  16. NegusNegast Well-Known Member

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    Since people have started mentioning non-countries that are also overrated, I'll add another: disease vs Native Americans. An increasing number of work in history of the Americas is showing that the narrative of "the Native Americans lacked immunity and simply died" is lacking a bit of nuance when you dig into it, seeing as these epidemics also occurred in the context of large scale population displacements, the conquest of native polities, trade route disruption, and a lot of other problems. Pointing out that "X many Taino people in Hispaniola died of smallpox" has to take into account that they likely would have been immunocompromised from malnutrition, for instance. Of course it would also be factually incorrect to suggest that disease played no role whatsoever in destroying indigenous populations, but I find that a lot of threads discussing post-contact Americas lack a nuanced discussion of how harmful these epidemics may be in the event of a less violent contact, or really any ATL contact, which makes me sad as a former biochemist.

    It also suggests that diseases like smallpox always existed in one super-virulent form that was going to kill Native Americans on contact, when viruses are always evolving and the most virulent form didn't evolve until the 1580s IIRC. In addition, there was a less virulent strain called variola minor which kills only about 1% of patients yet also confers immunity to its destructive cousin variola major, which due to its lower mortality rate rapidly outcompeted variola major by the time smallpox was eradicated. Given that variola minor most likely evolved due to selective pressure from the widespread adoption of inoculation, one could come up with a realistic POD in which inoculation becomes much more widespread in the Old World before it did OTL, not unimaginable given that dates for its invention range from the 10th to the 15th centuries and given its simplicity. Variola minor evolves earlier than OTL due to the same selective pressure, outcompetes its cousin, and when ATL contact happens smallpox isn't much of a killer, and even that only lasts until they learn inoculation from a missionary.

    Apologies if this is a hit-and-run comment that's also arguing against a popular conception but I largely wrote this to procrastinate IRL work.
     
  17. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    This is the kind of analysis that sounds very sophisticated, but doesn't really explain events. The Persian defeats at Marathon, Salamis, and Plataea were by no means foregone conclusions, which one can easily tell by simply reading Herodotos. The contemporary sources give very specific reasons for the outcome of every battle; they don't just say 'well Persia just reached the end of their tether', and the body of evidence doesn't really support this conclusion. In the opinion of Xenophon I believe, the Persians lost because of bad luck and their own mistakes. If they hadn't blundered away their advantage at sea, the Greeks were toast. They had no chance in open battle against an army with so many cavalry, and they couldn't hold the Isthmus if the Persians had free reign to devastate the Peloponnese by sea. The idea that the Persians were destined to lose when they began the invasion of 480 with an overwhelming advantage by land and sea is simply not credible.
     
  18. stevej713 Well-Known Member

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    My point wasn't that the Persians couldn't conquer Greece. My point was that many over the years have said that all of Europe would have been open to the Persians if Greece fell, which is a ridiculous assertion. The Persian Empire's limits might theoretically have included Greece, as the Ottomans might have been able to take and hold Vienna. But achieving victory in either area would not have opened the floodgates for continental conquest.
     
  19. water123 Really bad at names

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    Amen to this. It almost feels like the Native Americans in a lot of ATLs are, to put it bluntly, simply "in the way" of the colonizing European powers. No discussion of cultures or anything like that beyond "colonists from XYZ nation fought the natives and won and now live there now." Not to mention that there were Native American diseases that really only didn't cross-contaminate because a lot of the poor and hungry Native Americans really weren't anywhere near the Spanish themselves, and during the 1576 Cocoliztli epidemic there was a bit of chaos because the Spanish priests who were sent to tend to the dying started dying off themselves.

    A TL where Cocoliztli ends up on a Spanish boat to Europe in the 1580's is a fascinating concept that hasn't really been explored yet. It's not like European sanitation or living conditions for the poor were that much better than in the Americas.
     
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  20. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Sure, sure.;)

    Regardless, I have a hard time buying this assertion in lieu of any substantial argument. You can't just throw out concepts like 'limits of empires' without actual evidence; you would have to prove that other European peoples would be able and willing to resist the imperial power that ATL just crushed the largest European field army ever assembled to that point. Once Greece is subjugated, what's to stop the Achaemenids from gathering ~500 ships from their Aegean subjects and crossing the straits of Otranto to show those Tarentines what for? They're not likely to meet anyone stronger than the Greek alliance they just defeated; their ability to project power theoretically diminishes with distance, but each conquest adds to their strength as well, so I have a hard time imagining any power that could really resist continued Persian expansion after the conquest of Greece.
     
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