Portuguese Asia timeline planning thread

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Gintoki Sakata, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Gintoki Sakata Tsinoy AltHist Enthusiast

    Background: If you may have not known, as a person who is very interested in Portuguese history lately and with a background in Asian (especially East Asian) history, coming from the previous threads and posts I made since late last year, I am planning a timeline in which the Portuguese Empire largely survives, with the focus on the colonial possessions in Asia and its expansion, and leaving the rest of history intact with only Portuguese history changing (although I'm expecting butterflies). My drafts are still in the works, with some concepts and a portion of the beginning chapters done, and it might get delayed due to my commitments in my education and work.

    If you see on my sig, the working title of the timeline is based on the chorus line of the Portuguese Monarchist song "Deus, Pátria, Rei," which has its roots in the events surrounding the Monarchy of the North.

    Here's what I'm planning:
    • Surviving Aviz dynasty, with King Sebastian surviving
    • Either a Portuguese victory at Alcácer Quibir or the battle does not happen
    • Portuguese South Africa, Australia and New Zealand
    • Bigger Portuguese presence in India, TTL's Estado da Índia will extend to the entire Malabar and Konkan coasts, as well as Kathiawar in Gujarat
    • Bigger Portuguese Arabia with Oman, Yemen, Socotra and Hormuz, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain
    • Portuguese Java (through a successful Luso-Sundanese alliance), Lesser Sunda Islands, Northern Luzon
    • Sulawesi and the Maluku islands might be Portuguese or Spanish, or could be partitioned between both
    • Portuguese Formosa and Ryukyu islands
    • Oda Nobunaga surviving the Honnō-ji attack, leading to a more Catholic presence in Japan, mostly limited towards Kyushu.
    • A no sakoku but non-expansionist Oda Shogunate (perhaps they go on campaigns abroad for tribute) that lasts until a Meiji counterpart happens
    • Portugal and Brazil exist as one country (maybe when I get to the modern age there could be a joint-rule Estado Novo with Salazar and Vargas, but butterflies)
    • Maybe an Axis China vs an alternate democratic Japan in an alternate Pacific theater of WW2? But again, butterflies
    • The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, Galicia and the Algarves surviving to the present day
    • TTL's Metropolitan Portugal is the OTL territories but with Galicia, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Annobon, Fernando Po, Newfoundland, Bermuda, perhaps Barbados and its North African possessions in Ceuta, Tangier and Mazagão
    @kasumigenx @Joao97 @Viriato @Lusitania @Torbald @ramones1986
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  2. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    Making the Luso Sundanese alliance work will do that Portuguese Java plan in the bullet in that list
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  3. Joao97 Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2016
    Hum... I get the appeal of Sebastian surviving but by that time there had already been plenty of blunders and missed opportunities in Portuguese colonial history. I would go with a much earlier POD that butterflies Sebastian away from existance.

    In my aborted Portuguese Asia TL (it may still come back one day) I started prince Afonso, son of king John II not die in 1491. My main intention was to avoid the rule of Manuel I, who is traditionally considered to have been a pretty good king, and I don't exactly disagree, but I think his reign ended a very positive trend of centralization and a move towards rennaissance values and a more capitalistic mindset, all of which was happening under the rule of his predecessor. Manuel allowed the nobility and the clergy to recover much of their lost importance, and his conciatory approach towards power struggles in the Kingdom led to infighting in the colonial institutions and to a generally lawless behaviour from Portuguese traders in Africa and Asia (maybe these things would still have happened anyway, but I like to think that a monarch like John II would have managed to impose a higher degree of discipline and administrative centralization). Manuel also allowed religious proselytizing to take a much larger role in colonial expansion, which led Portugal to spend ridiculous amounts of resources, manpower and military talent in pointless wars against the Arabs, and it also created an impression of the Portuguese as fanatics trying to convert everyone to their religion.

    By the time of Alcaçer-Quibir, most of Asia had a pretty negative preception of Portugal, and that's obviously a bad thing for diplomacy...

    Now, besides having prince Afonso survive, there are also other possibilities at around that time. You could have João II succeed in legitimizing his bastard son Jorge, or maybe just have João live a little longer and produce another heir (he died at age of 40 IOTL, and more years with him charge would certainly be a good thing).
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  4. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

    Oct 9, 2014
    You need to seriously curb the fidalgos and get the local governors to take alliances seriously.
    I was reading the Pérégrinations and it's shocking how much their allies get screwed over and how they act like cartoonishly evil pirates.

    Get coordinated plans, maybe Albuquerque survives a few more years, or maybe Aden is taken. The Red Sea is cut and the Ottoman Empire never expands into the Indian Ocean
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  5. Gintoki Sakata Tsinoy AltHist Enthusiast

    I remember seeing the fidalgo and the Albuquerque lives longer reference on my AHC map challenge for Portugal's Asian possessions. The latter one is going to be my POD, as well as stronger centralization and getting the Portuguese traders to change their mentality and being placed under strict supervision from the crown, as well as having the opportunity of colonial ventures open to everyone.

    I read articles about King Manuel I and I do agree that he was an effective ruler, but just only one small flaw led to the slow decline of the Empire he saw and grew. I was thinking that the Portuguese do not waste their time in Morocco until the era of "New Imperialism," limiting themselves to only the Tangier peninsula and Mazagão and the Portuguese only using Arabia as a vital trade site and not for like any opportunities for missionaries to convert, even though in one of the chapters in one of Viriato's Luso-wank TLs that there are population transfers of Middle Eastern Christians, especially in Bahrain.

    Speaking about Catholic proselytization, my draft concept is to get at least the urban areas in India (only in Goa, Bombay, Vasai, Calicut, Mangalore and Cochin) and most of Celyon to be Catholic in the subcontinent, as well as getting the Lesser Sunda islands and a third or half of Java (predominantly in Sunda and Galuh) and part of Sulawesi and most of the Maluku islands to be Catholic as well. Due to the Vatican siding with the Jesuits in the Chinese Rites controversy, Macau becomes (OTL Macau is around 10% Catholic I think) the bastion of Chinese Catholicism and due to Oda Nobunaga uniting Japan with Portuguese assistance, Kyushu is Catholic, as well as the Ryukyu islands after their seizure by the Portuguese (my proposed POD for Portugal taking the Ryukyus is going to be by the time the Satsuma Domain invades the islands in 1609 if it still happens, but were defeated due to Portuguese aid to the Ryukyu kingdom).
  6. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    You need to stop the expulsion of the Jews. It severely weakened us and gave rise to the Dutch as well as increased strength of the Ottoman Empire.

    I am going to reference the other recent thread about Portuguese intervention in the Castilian war during the 1470. While iotl Portuguese did ok and both guaranteed their naval power and strength it still gave rise to much larger and powerful Spain next door. An alliance with France that could leave the Portuguese / French alliance in control of half of Castile and France threaten Aragon could result in the split of Castile between Portugal and Castile/Aragon.

    Portugal gets the following:
    1) Galicia
    2) Leon
    3) Badajoz
    4) canaries

    France and Portugal guarantee independence of navara.

    The new country of Spain still is larger but not dominate the peninsula.
    Portugal could then brush off Spain’s demands that all converts, Jews and Muslim be expelled from Portugal.

    This larger and richer country could have resources for better colonial empire. Rest upto you.
  7. Gintoki Sakata Tsinoy AltHist Enthusiast

    Well the Portuguese Jews were close to getting a pass and were expelled due to pressure from Spain, so that is another POD I can use. My alternate Portugal will have Galicia and the Canary Islands, the latter if I recall correctly because of some EU4 overhaul mod that there was a deal to buy the island of Lanzarote around the mid 15th century and transfer the vassalage of the Kingdom of the Canary Islands to Portugal, I googled it and few to no results refer to such a deal.

    Also what would be the importance Leon and Badajoz if they are part of Portugal, like important resources? Isn't Leon and Extremadura more closer to Spain than Portugal?
  8. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    Both are against Portugal border.

    Our biggest problem is size and small size of our population. Theses areas provide us with good population base to add to our own make us richer and of corse just as important reduce Spain size both in terms of size and population a few notches.
  9. BBadolato Fifth Picturewraith

    Jul 5, 2012
    Okay, I'm sorry if I'm throwing in my opinion here. An Oda Shogunate is one thing, but you really have to consider what Japan looks like politically after unification and a lasting power structure is put in place. The Tokugawa Shogunate used a system of rewarding supporters and weakening enemies because they came to power with an alliance at their back, and had to drastically alter the political landscape. The Oda have the advantage of military force to unite Japan, assuming the unite the land quickly, but that raises the question of what to do with The Mori and Hojo clans. The expansion of an Oda Japan would be very difficult as the Japanese did not have worthwhile ships or naval tactics, and a Japanese conquest of China would be an administrative nightmare.

    The problems with Catholicism in Japan is threefold. First, the Catholics could be seen as more of a problem than the warrior monks could ever be. Especially if there comes to be serious issues between native Japanese beliefs and Catholicism, this happened with Confucianism and Catholicism, despite the respect the Jesuits had for it over the outright disdain for Buddhism. Especially if we are talking about a Catholic Church during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Also, Christian Daimyo were never really powerful on their own, even the most powerful clan with a Christian head the Otomo were only strong in theory. However depending on when your POD is you could have Ouchi Yoshitaka survive, who made Yamaguchi a Christian center, the only problem is what the hell do you do with the rest of Japan which is not easy to answer.

    Second Nobunaga's toleration of Catholicism would not necessarily be shared by his sons, and their successors and even his toleration was more because it was useful to counteract the Buddhists temples of the Kansai region. Nobunaga was both an atheist and someone if the church even became close to a threat as the Ikko Ikki would have it burnt down to the ground if need be.

    Third what is to stop a Shogun from promoting Protestantism? Protestantism at least in terms of religious hierarchy or lack there off could mesh well in Japan and a prudent Shogun could use to create a religion that could be more respectful of Japanese traditions and not to mention easy to gauge where their loyalties lie.

    As for Portugal proper, avoiding or winning Alcacer Quibir means Ottoman influence in North Africa is going to a problem Portugal cannot ignore. Expanding into Arabia and India requires not being stretched too thin, and again dealing with the Ottomans. Luckily with Southern India, it has been thrown into chaos with the battle of Talikota disrupting the Vijayanagar state.
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  10. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    Portugal getting Northern Luzon would be an unknown POD, because the sacking of Tondo and the Lowlands converting to Islam is an unknown POD, you can also prevent the sacking of Tondo altogether by Bolkiah as a POD.
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  11. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

    Oct 9, 2014
    He seems to have listened to whoever spoke last, which is an issue. Imagine if he'd had full trust in Albuquerque and even allowed him to name his successor. I know I talk about him a lot but compare the Empire before him and after him. There was no big expansion after him, but he was clever enough to work with locals like in Goa.
    Curbing Morocco is a great idea as it will limit the crusade piracy mindset of the fidalgos. Most of them came from Moroccan battlefields where atrocity were common. That led to massive excesses in the East

    My pet theory is that the expulsion of the Jews allowed for the financing of Gama's expedition (and or the possible secret expeditions)

    I will do a shameless plug and point out I did a whole podcast season on the Portuguese empire, from Ceuta to Albuquerque. It's in my sig, but it's in French
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  12. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    While the expulsion as you stated did provide some temporary benefit, over the long run it was devastating to Portugal and most important provided great economic benefit to two of Portugal’s rivals Dutch and Ottoman Empire.

    It is also my theory that the expulsion of the Jews contributed to the ability of the Dutch to steal the Portuguese sailing charts on how to sail to India. Take the expulsion away and the Dutch are economically clipped in terms of being able to sail to India and east Asia. This along with the Portuguese not being part of Iberian union takes a huge target off our back plus not having our hands tied behind our back in dealing with Dutch.

    As for Ottoman Empire the loss of the riches the Jews took over to them will also help Portuguese be they in North Africa or Arabian peninsula. For our greater economic strength and their weakening (in comparison to their growth iotl) would bode well for us.
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  13. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

    Oct 24, 2017
    I hope my participation is appreciated :p

    - Perfectly possible... Not sure if Portugal can capitalize their victory. The battle does not have to be avoided. Just have the king not lead the Army or let him flee...
    - Possible. The Cape is really a desired place for trade routes to Asia. Australia and New Zealand are a bit harder as Portugal does not have the population for both Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. But if your TL has a better population growth within the possibilities of Portugal then that should be fine as well. It might even have addition of Catholic refugees (from the Netherlands, England and Scotland etc...) These can assimilate in the dominant Portuguese culture...
    - It can be bigger... Some kind of luck is needed but yes...
    - Arabian interior is not really desired until the late 19th century... But coastal towns, peninsula such as Qatar and islands could be desirable. And they were... The UAE is really useless until the 19th century. Yemen needs an army more than 10,000. It is more populous, closer to the Ottoman Land Forces and Zaydi Forces. More investment in Navy needed though to maitain it.
    - If the Dutch succeeded then so can Portugal...
    - I don't know if a joint Portugal-Brazil is desired as one state as at some point, Brazil will dominate the state. Unless it is a confederacy of Portuguese speaking states and colonies... But if Brazil will like it... can't tell...
    - Moroccan possessions can be held as well although it might face even more aggression from Moulay Ismail of Morocco. He was half way there in reconquest anyway...
    - Spread of Christianity in Japan may work as well.. Again, it needs luck and these kind of things happen every once in a while, maybe here as well...
    - Galicia could end up Portuguese if Spain is still one of the "Bad Guys"... I can't tell...
    - Going past 1800 is really stretchy. It can go millions of routes causing massive butterflies...

    For your designs in Arabia, I could help you in what you could expect.

    Edit: Aden and Mocha could be a good addition in Yemen. The interior is again, useless until the late 19th century and in hostile hands.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  14. Gintoki Sakata Tsinoy AltHist Enthusiast

    Even though I originally want my timeline to have Portugal acquire Galicia and the Canaries, after much hesitation, I think it doesn't hurt to have Portugal to have Leon as well. Pentapolim suggested that it could be like the UK in that thread, with the regional identities being intact. Probably a successful La Beltraneja in the War of the Castilian Succession can leave a weakened Castille-Aragon and attach the Kingdoms of Galicia and Leon to the Portuguese realm, in addition to buying Lanzarote and the Canaries stuff that's adapted from the EU4 mod.

    I was thinking that a separate Latin liturgical rite in a successful Catholic Kyushu would be a better option (I'll call it the Nagasaki rite, which is going to be a Japanized form of the old Portuguese Rite of Braga), where Catholic beliefs are reconciled with the concepts of Shintoism, like the kami re-envisioned as angels, demons and it would be like a type of folk Catholicism like for example, in Peru and how it reconciles with the Quechua identity and remnants of the old Inca religion, or in my home country where we practice things like the use of amulets (anting-anting) and in the Chinese community, venerating the Virgin Mary using joss sticks and having statues of Jesus, Mary and the Saints alongside the Buddha and the traditional Chinese deities.

    Also I don't think Protestantism would have that much appeal in Japan since it was Portugal and to the lesser extent, Spain and Jesuit missionaries from Europe that primarily shaped Christianity in Japan in the mid-16th century until the Tokugawa era. The Dutch had no interest in spreading their Calvinism from Dejima and it's strictly only for trade. Even today, the Christianity that is portrayed by Japanese pop culture is based on Catholicism.

    • Since I'm thinking that Portugal really needs to have a bigger population base (I'm contemplating about adding Leon in addition to Galicia and the Canaries), it could probably take in Catholic refugees from the British isles (Ireland and Scotland I think?, but that might damage the traditional Luso-English friendship/alliance that I want to maintain and grow TTL) to settle them into Australia and New Zealand. I want to emulate the settler colonialism and the hyper population growth that Viriato has in his Luso-wank timelines, like in his Portuguese South Africa and Portuguese America TLs.
    • Portugal and Brazil existed as one country shortly after the Napoleonic Wars as a single state with three kingdoms. But in this TTL the full name will be the "United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, Galicia, Leon, the Canaries and Algarves," which is a bit loaded.
    • As I mentioned earlier, I believe having ambitions in Morocco and being obsessed over getting the coast or maintaining forts would be a waste of time for Portugal until the era of "New Imperialism" kicks in. Having only Ceuta, Tangier and Mazagão will do.
    In addition, I found a map (source) that would be my ideal boundaries for what a bigger Portuguese Arabia would look like, minus the land in Iran. What do you think?

  15. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    Ok South Africa would be a important first place for settlers. Australia and New Zealand for the 18th century. Also supporting a small to medium colony in New England/ Atlantic Canada. (See variato’s TL about possibility.)

    As for equal country (Brazil) that is for after 1700 when its population and size starts becoming larger. In the beginning till about 1650-1700 there was no independent colonies plus the colonies were very dependent on home country for all its manufactured goods since most colonies were producing goods and raw materials.

    Portugal can become a welcoming center for Christians fleeing persecution be they Coptic from Egypt, Greek and even German Catholics during the 30 year wars. Italians and of course Irish English Catholics.
    Now what does Portugal do about the expulsions from Spain? Welcome some, welcome all or none?
  16. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    The thing is start in the 15th century and slowly build your TL and over the 16th century it will slowly grow. What happens not sure. By 1600 huge butterflies already.
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  17. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    My suggestion is let the TL grow and do not plan it. See where it takes you. Do not have any pre conceived notion past 1600 for it will be a completely different world by then. Read what each country was like during each era and what the major political and social economic events were happening during each era. Then adapt the TL to address or deal with them. Remember the closer to Portugal each of them were the more profound the possibilities are.

    Example Do the Portuguese go to Japan ? If they do how they interact with the locals and those in power? Will the smaller Spain reach the new world under Columbus? Maybe but does megellan still sail around the world? Maybe not so no Spain in Philippines.
  18. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    Yes, Tondo not being sacked by Bolkiah butterflies Magellan.
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  19. Irene Professional Cactus

    May 16, 2013
    Second Choice Haircutters
    Build up gradually, there's no reason why there should be a modern Axis with an European POD in the 16th century. So let's start off with the basics of what Portugal needs for an Asian empire:

    Population: IOTL the empire was run on a shoestring budget and taxed the kingdom materially and manpower-wise. How is Portugal going to garrison and police the vast regions? You need to seed settler colonies without affecting the Indian trade which was the primary motive behind the entire enterprise, they will pay off eventually but the problem is squeezing out enough money, ships, and people when the Indian route was so taxing.

    Control: IOTL Portugal's authority was nominal and thin in many parts it claimed, with their legitimacy resting on "we'll bombard your ports and raid the high seas"; this policy was ruinous in the long-run and required constant drains on manpower, ships, and wealth in the short run. They had no control over river trade, the inland pepper growing areas, or coastal night smuggling; if the growers decided that the prices weren't worth it the Portuguese couldn't reach inland and beat the farmers until they submitted (even Ceylon's control was limited IOTL for cinnamon bark), if smugglers weren't paying the extortion tolls the best the Portuguese could do was indiscriminate punishment against some local authority, if the interior traders shifted trade or did less trade once again the Portuguese were limited to indiscriminate punishment against some local authority. They really needed to do some administration and brokering instead of the feudal lord's extortion, so that the natives had a reason to cooperate besides the threat of violence. Take for example the Mughals, which based part of their legitimacy on arbitration between the various subjects, or the Dutch which managed to carry freight at a cost that no one could compete with.

    Trade: Portugal had little that traders in Asia wanted asides from their meager supply of silver, hence why they resorted to violence from the first voyages IOTL. The second problem was ubiquitous across all the Indian companies; that is why ship pepper back to Lisbon when the locals are often offering better prices? Combined with the lax supervision this was an endemic cause of corruption, since it was technically forbidden by Lisbon which wanted both cash and pepper shipped back, in reality the governors cheated Lisbon discretely by fulfilling their obligations technically with the weight of pepper but of the second-choice quality while selling the highest quality pepper in more lucrative Asian markets. There was also the added complication that the Cape of Good Hope, Madagascar straits, tropical high-pressure zones (no wind zones) took anywhere from 25%-50% of the lives and ships on average from the Indian Armadas. IOTL when the Portuguese in India wanted to send priority messages back to Lisbon quickly and safely (at great expense) they did so through the Middle East routes.

    Succession and war: Nothing derails a good project like a war or succession crisis, Portugal needs good institutions to ensure smooth successions, to buffer the kingdom against the excesses of bad monarchs while making nice with Castile.

    PR: Starting from the earliest voyages the Portuguese resorted to extortion and intimidation yet this was poor long-term policy as it showed IOTL, it only took the Indians a few decades to copy Portuguese naval designs, for most of their outposts to be raided at an intensity that a kingdom of a few million half-a-world away was never going to be able to sustain against, and for the next European kingdom to displace them by a show of force and offering a better deal.

    Culture: this ties in with PR, Portugal was a kingdom carved out by crusaders which after two centuries was culturally ingrained. Change needs to happen fast, or the captains needed to be non-Portuguese as a short term solution.

    Leaders: Portugal had its share of shitty leaders *cough* Da Gama *cough* that made the entire project harder, you can tilt things better though no country gets an unbroken string of good leaders. The early captains they sent weren't diplomats but rather good zealots that were cocky, insecure, and prejudiced. I would recommended the simple yet effective trick of giving Portugal shitty leaders during the good times every so often while inflating the overall quality.

    Good suggestions, I would add that a growing butterfly net is necessary to keep the scale manageable. Every region Portugal touches something and changes is going to be adding onto the amount of research and writing.
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  20. Coluber Dirty Degredado

    Nov 3, 2018
    This one has to start out earlier. Maybe have the Portuguese successfully conquer the Canary Islands for more people; get a better hold of that tip of North Africa which has Ceuta and Tangiers in it. Find a way to provide Portuguese forces with better military organization (they never had permanent regiments or anything similar, just war bands) in this time, create a military religious order capable of doing that, providing uniform military equipment and training to soldiers in the name of God; I know that religion is disliked by many here, but it has provided some form of organization in the past. Conquer Ceylon and stop dicking around. Take the islands of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean for more people and resources. I think that Goa should expand to the so-called 'novas conquistas' earlier, if possible, and fortify that border.
    That's all I can think of right now.
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