Rememberences of Map Contests Past

So, one more then:

MotF 90: Not Built in a Day

The Challenge

Make a map showing the territorial evolution of a country.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when your PoD or map may be set. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed, but blatantly implausible (ASB) maps are not.

First, Dr Nodelescu:

End Of Prussia

Here we go again. After my last "illegal" attempt of necromancy, I hope that your demand for a radical redesign to make this entry legit will finally be satisfied. And it's all in Jaffa Cake orange chocolate, yummy... I proudly present: The regression of Prussia into nothing!

After the Stresemann and Schumacher presidencies, the now consolidated German Republic found enough peace to deal with comparably petty problems known to any kind of modern industrial country, e.g. streamling its administrative system which in Germany turns into an agenda up to eleven as it affects its structure of federalism. Tiny exclaves and enclaves have already been streamlined, like Oldenburg's being absorbed into Prussia just like Lübeck, the absorption of the Hohenzollern lands into Württemberg, of the Anhalt into the Prussian province of Saxony while ceding the Erfurt precinct thereof to Thuringia, not to mention the merger of the two Mecklenburgs. But in essence, all these things were just a foretaste of what to come. The map below shows the lands that yet didn't stop to be part of the Prussian Free State by 1965.

The denizens of the western provinces have always considered themselves as "Muß-Preußen" or "have-to-be-Prussians", be it the Rhinelanders that came to Prussia after the Vienna Congress of 1815 or the Hanoverians who just happened to be on the "wrong" side in the Prussian-Austrian conflict over Schleswig-Holstein that led to their annexation by Prussia in 1866. And when the dust in political Germany settled and the East Elbian reactionaries were no longer able to run the show, these rogue provinces began to negotiate what should become a Reich-wide compromise. Of course, the have-to-bes were the first ones to bail out one by one, but in the end it became a free-for-all.

In about five years, all the gains from the 19th century were gone and the remainder in the East started to feel less loyal, too. Saxony-Anhalt desired to cooperate in Central Germany with Thuringia and Saxony as an equal instead as an appendix of Berlin, Silesia was itself enough as well, Berlin couldn't bother less if its hinterland was called Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany or even the entirety of Europe. East Prussia and Pomerania generally felt less and less welcome among the rest, so even there did resistance against a dissolution of Prussia start to wane. By 1983, Prussia was indeed history.

Yet this map won't bother to answer other questions. What about the Ruhr split up between Rhineland and Westphalia, may they even have merged soon after? What may have happened to the whole quagmire in Lower Saxony? Where would the Lippe states go? Would Braunschweig have been absorbed as a (w)hole-in-one or would tiny bits go to Saxony-Anhalt? What's the fate of Bremen and Hamburg? Questions over questions that will not be of concern here.

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And Blomma's riposte: :p

1917 - The Russian Revolution starts, the front crumbles in the east.
1918 - The treaty of Brest-Litovsk end hostilities in the east. The Germans
launch the Spring Offensive in the west and reach Paris. The French army is
plagued by mutinies, and with revolution on their doorstep, the French
government rushes to get a favorable armistice. The Germans occupy
everything to the east of the Meuse, including the riverbanks to the west of
the Meuse. All German colonies are awarded to France, Britain and Japan.
The war has officially ended.

1919 - The treaty of Berlin finalises the borders in the east with the Soviet
Union. Roughly all territory gained by Prussia in the Third partition of Poland is
annexed to Prussia as the provinces of Lodz and Southeast Prussia. The
United Baltic Duchy is made a member of the German Empire. Lithuania,
Finland and Ukraine are established as independent states.

1920 - All French and Belgian territory east of the Meuse is annexed to
Germany in the final peace treaty with France. The Belgian territories and a
small part of former French territory is annexed to Prussia as the province of
the Ardennes, the rest goes to the Imperial Land of Alsace-Lorraine.

1923 - All German troops leave French and Belgian territory. Belgium elects
anti-German parties.
1924 - Civil unrest in Belgium. The German army moves in. The rest of Belgium
is annexed to Prussia as the province of Flanders. The Belgian Congo is split
between France and Britain.

Alex Richards:

From A History of Modern Arabia, by Abdullah bin Muhammad Faroukh, New York Press, 2011.

The British involvement in Arabia had long focussed on the reduction of Ottoman Power in the area in favour of their own puppets, protectorates and otherwise influenced states. This was, to a large extent, achieved with Stockholm. The two middle sons of King Hussein I of Hedjaz, Princes Abdullah and Faisal had been instituted as Amirs of Mesopotamia and Syria respectively, after much bartering with the French in the latter case, and while Faisal due to his position was recognised in London as treating with France more than with Britain, it was seen that given the familial ties with the British backed regimes in Baghdad and Mecca that he would at least not be actively antagonistic towards the British crown. Crown Prince Ali, meanwhile, had been installed as Amir of Palestine, a position that would give him a solid grounding in diplomatic juggling due to the many conflicting interests in the Sandjak which included a sizable Jewish minority that Zionists across Europe and America, not to mention the Anti-Semitic who sought the expulsion of that people from their lands, were eagerly attempting to increase with funding for the establishment of Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and other locations. While Ali did institute a yearly cap on the number of Jewish immigrants that prevented the trickle from becoming a flood[1], he still had to recognise that the main source of funding for the modernisation and growth of Jerusalem at this point was the Zionist’s settlements that had grown up to the west. Tact was used to try and create compromises that would allow the Jews visiting the Western Wall and the population of the neighbouring Moroccan Quarter from ruffling each-other’s feathers, while non Jews, including Arab Christians, Muslims and Palestinians, were encouraged to create their own neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem to create a more ‘varied’ city while reducing the ability of extreme Zionist nationalists to claim that Jerusalem had become a ‘Jewish City’. Equally, foreign tourist and pilgrimage groups began to increase as peace brought a new interest in Antiquarian studies and greater freedom of movement. Early British concerns over whether it was wise to allow the heir to a throne they wanted control over to get diplomatic training were allieved when Lawrence, appointed soon after the war as British Resident in the Hashemite realms (a position that allowed him to act as an adjunct to the diplomats within the each state while not being tied to permanent residence in either one) pointed out that the King of Hedjaz would need to tread lightly around the situation in Syria and his relations with the Muslim world just as much as the British would, and certainly it would be advisable to have someone willing to recognise the futility of King Hussein’s dream of a united Arab Kingdom which, though pushed from public view by the successes for his house at Stockholm was still his eventual goal.

The immediate post-war situation, lasting from 1919 to 1923, saw the British experiment with several different diplomatic viewpoints with respect to gaining complete dominance over the Arabian Peninsula, based on the existing British colonies and protectorates in Aden, Oman, Nejd and the Gulf. Hopes of a simple ‘Peninsular Ideal’ had been dashed by the failure of the British backed House of Saud, who at the time ruled the Amirate of Nejd and Hasa, to conquer and neutralise the Ottoman backed Rashidi Sultanate of Jabal Shammar[2] in the years following 1916. At the same time, the growing backing of the Hashemites began to relegate the Saudis to a secondary place of importance in British strategic thinking. Stockholm saw the ‘Arab Circle’ created, where the Rashidis were surrounded by British friendly states, though the Amirates of Upper and Lower Asir and the Qasimi King of Mutawakelite Yemen remained outside the British sphere. Syria too represented a weak link. The Saudis were biding their time and gathering their strength for new attacks at this point, while the British started currying favour with the Idrisids of Lower Asir, offering both power over Upper Asir and protection from Yemeni claims to their southern territories. This was strengthened by deals between Hedjaz and Lower Asir to delineate their mutual border. In 1921, however, Ibn Saud declared himself ‘Sultan of Nejd’ and sought greater independence from Britain. London stayed silent, refusing to endorse the title but at the same time wary of losing what had been a valuable ally, even if it had proved lacklustre in the last few years.[3] 1921 also saw the death of Amir Muhammad bin Ali al-Idrisi and the succession of his son Ali. The next two years of weak leadership would be tough for Asir and saw a decline in her prospects with respect to Nejd and Yemen.

The rising prospects of the House of Saud would, however, take a turn for the worse in late 1921 during the latest attempt to conquer the Rashidis. With their forces flagging and the Saudi army taking the capital of Ha’il and laying siege to Al Jawf and positions on the caravan routes towards the Wadi as Sirhan, the Rashidis appealed to the French[4] for protection as they once had the Ottomans in similar circumstances. Paris at first supplied only a small quantity of arms through a private merchant who could be sacrificed to appease the British afterwards if necessary, but as the Rashidis continued to hold out into early 1922, managing even to retake Ha'il in a stealth attack during the summer, this blossomed into a full support agreement in return for a protectorate over the Amirate. London, recognising a fait accompli when presented with one, firmly but politely requested that ibn Saud stop his attack ‘in light of the new diplomatic situation’. Ibn Saud reluctantly agreed, though he resented the British for, in his view, stealing his victory, and for the pointed addressal as ‘Amir of Nejd and Hasa’ showing their opinion for his self declared Sultanate at last. The British-Nejd relationship cooled, and Ibn Saud began preparations for a new attack in between low scale raiding of the British-Ottoman (in practice British-Mesopotamian) protectorate of Kuwait, border probing that was both deniable and indeed denied by Riyadh.

1923 saw a new Amir of Asir as Ali bin Muhammad hand the reins of power to his uncle Hassan bin Ali, a distinctly plain character, though one with more ability than the nephew. French support was finally stabilising the turbulent family politics of the House of Rashid by allowing the ruling Amir, Abdullah bin Sa’ud bin ‘Abd al-Aziz[5] to pay off the less troublesome members of his family and force the more troublesome into exile in Anatolia where several would have fatal ‘accidents’. Already the first of the 4 Amirs since 1906 to have ruled for more than a year, his now strengthened rule would make him the most successful in a generation, halting the decline of the Rashidis relative to the Saudis. It was the Saudis that would make the biggest change however. In late 1923, Ibn Saud launched an attack on the Kingdom of Hedjaz, long his greatest rival for power in Arabia, and began a campaign to conquer the state with the capture of Taif, a moderately important town Southeast of Mecca. London was horrified. While under different circumstances, even a few years earlier, this would have been tolerated, it was now believed that should they fail to protect the Kingdom of their father, the sons of Hussein would take a more anti-British stance. There was not much Abdullah could be expected to do, given his greater reliance on the British, but both the Crown Prince in Palestine and especially Amir Faisal in Syria could easily shift from a pro-British and friendly stance to ones more neutral, or even outright antagonistic, ruining the entire British diplomatic and strategic position in the former Ottoman Empire.

Immediately a battalion of Indian Muslim troops was transferred to Mecca, and given the order simply to ‘defend the Holy cities of Mecca and Media from attack’. Hussein was tasked with the actual defeat of the Saudi forces, but the message was sent that Britain would not stand passively by and watch the Kingdom fall, while the defence of the holy cities without an offence against fellow Muslims was useful propaganda in the Empire itself, though the Wahhabist following of the Saudis would later be used to justify any offensive moves required. As the Hedjazis fought the Saudis in the area surrounding Taif, the Rashidis now used their new strength, with French and tacit British approval, to attack Najd itself, the young Amir riding into battle to prove his mettle to those who were still wary of supporting him. The lightening campaign saw the region of al-Qasim, taken by the Saudi’s during the troubled years of 1906/07, retaken for the Rashidis. Saudi troops now began to withdraw from the Hejaz towards Riyadh to defend the capital if required, and the Hyenas that had been circling, waiting for a sign of the direction of the war, pounced. A joint Mesopotamian-British force began marching into al-Hasa, officially claiming that the region should be part of Mesopotamia due to the previous Ottoman ownership, but quickly showing that a simple land grab and creation of a new British protectorate were more on the cards. Asir strengthened her control over Upper Asir, still requiring most of their strength to defend the southern reaches around Hodeida from Yemen, who at that point were securing territory surrounding Najran.

The battles soon moved from Hedjaz to Najd, and then to the gates of Riyadh itself, before Ibn Saud finally surrendered to the joint Hashemite-Rashidi-British-French force in September of 1924. The Rashidis had their occupation of Qasim recognised, the Asiri and Yemeni gains were likewise confirmed as were the British protectorates over both[6] in a classic case of divide and rule, Saudi settlers and nomads were expelled from the lands east of the Anglo-Ottoman Blue Line, the territory of which was now to be divided between the various British protectorates in the area, now including the new Amirate of Hasa, stripped from the Saudis by the British and as a final indignity the new Amir was King Hussein’s last son, Prince Zeid. The French protectorate over the Rashidis was again confirmed, while the Saudis lost British support and were neutralised, a fact that would see the Rashidis once again capture Riyadh and extinguish the Third Saudi State, with Abdullah bin Mut’ib[7], a particularly troublesome relation, installed as a new French backed Amir of Nejd in 1927. The remaining undefined borders in the region were further delineated, and the British diplomatic situation now shifted to the ‘double crescent’, the two interlocking arcs of the protectorates of Kuwait, the Trucial States, Oman, Aden, Yemen and Asir, and the Hashemite Quintet of friendly, allied and influenced states in Hedjaz, Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia and Hasa. Fought in many ways as a sideshow to the events in Russia and Europe at the time, this would shape the future of the peninsular for years to come.

[1] Among other things 1917 saw no Balfour declaration due to the stronger hand of the Arabs vis a vis the situation in Syria and Mesopotamia
[2] The author is a tad presumptuous here. Jabal Shammar would remain an Amirate until the Peace with the Saudis in ’24 when, as part of their victory, they raised themselves to the sultanate.
[3] This is essentially OTL, with some small differences with regards to Asir mainly focussing on greater efforts by Britain to delineate the boundary with Hedjaz. The same dynamics are present up to this point after all.
[4] Syria actually has a border with the interior of Arabia TTL.
[5] Not assassinated in 1920 due to butterflies.
[6] Don’t expect Yemen to last while the King still hopes for a greater Yemen...
[7] Surrendered to the Saudis IOTL.


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Following the fall of Hashemite Iraq in February 1958, the Nixon Administration reversed course in the Middle East. Previously the regime had been extremely hostile to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, though it had quietly allowed a Syria teetering on the brink of communism to merge with Egypt in December 1957. At the time, the Administration figured, over the objections of the British, that the expansion of the new United Arab Republic into Iraq was preferable to the new Iraqi regime falling under communist rule. [1] The retired General Eisenhower, who cast a long shadow over Nixon since he made his decision not to seek a second term in 1956, approved of this, commenting that "Since we are about to get thrown out of the area, we might as well believe in Arab nationalism." [2] With quiet American support, the new Iraqi regime was encouraged to join the UAR. This enraged the British government, who lent support to King Hussein of Jordan in his last-ditch attempt to salvage the Hashemite dynasty in Iraq. The resulting fiasco would lead to the fall of Jordan to a Nasserist-inspired revolt, and was derided throughout the Western world as "The Second Suez". By the end of the year, Jordan was in the UAR and MacMillan was out of Downing Street. Rab Butler led the Conservative Party to a landslide loss in the following election. After the Second Suez, Lebanese President Chamoun's appeals for intervention to steady his regime against the Muslim majority's pro-UAR protests was unthinkable, and Lebanon too joined the UAR by the end of 1958.

Following the disastrous 1958 Midterm Revolution, President Richard Nixon was reduced to a rump President in domestic affairs, as Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson was able to pass his New Society legislation with a veto-proof majority. Nixon turned even more to foreign affairs, and his greatest accomplishment as President is generally deemed his 1960 visit to Cairo. However, this was not enough of a boost to give him victory for a second term. Nixon lost the popular vote by a razor-thin margin, but it was his loss in the electoral college that proved most humiliating: the State of Illinois was declared, after several recounts, to be a tie between Nixon and Johnson. Johnson won the coin flip, and thus, the Presidency. Domestically, the Johnson Era continued.

By 1964, the United Arab Republic was nearly in tatters. Nasser consolidated too much power onto himself. His Iraqi deputy, Abdul Salam Arif, had managed to persuade Nasser to allow considerable autonomy for Iraq. But Arif was the only politician in the entire UAR that Nasser respected enough to consider giving up on his power. To placate Syria after a 1962 officer's revolt, Lebanon and Jordan were joined to the Syrian Province, undoing the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement that had carved up Syria instead of supporting a united Arab Kingdom centered in Damascus. But by 1964, the Syrians were again agitating for more autonomy, and Nasser was reluctant to give it to them. This all changed when Israel, feeling increasingly encircled by its Arab foes, invaded the UAR in what would be known as the One Day War. Just two hours after the war began, the USS Liberty was accidentally attacked by the IAF. In response, the US Navy's Six Fleet carrier, the USS America, launched nuclear weapons at the Israeli base in charge of the Liberty attack. The Liberty incident caused the Israeli government to fall, and by the end of the day, the Israelis had withdrawn and the war was over.

In the Arab World, the Liberty incident was seen as a miraculous punishment from God in revenge for Israeli aggression in 1948, 1956, and 1964. In Saudi Arabia, a power struggle between King Saud (assisted by the Free Princes movement, Oil Minister Abdullah Tariki, and increasingly large Saudi army) and Prince Faisal (assisted by the ulema, the Sudairi Seven, and the increasingly large and newly-reformed Ikhwan) came to a sudden end when Nasserists in the army and Ikhwan officers came together in a successful coup. The new regime demanded immediate accession to the United Arab Republic, "according to God's will." After making sure that there would not be an American intervention (not only was it an election year, but Johnson was loath to get involved in a war after winding down Nixon's unpopular foreign adventure in Indochina), Nasser accepted. This set off Nasserist coups in Libya and Sudan, who also promptly joined the UAR. Ben Bella, President of Algeria, had always been the most pro-Nasser of all the Arab statesmen. Nasser had hosted him in exile during the entire Algerian War, and was viewed by Bella as a paternal figure. Bella joined the euphoria after divine victory over Israel, and Algeria joined the UAR.

Nasser was now on top of the world. In less than a decade since his triumph at Suez transformed him into the only credible Arab head of state, he had largely united the entire Arab world under his leadership. But cracks were threatening to break up the new union. The Nasserists in Libya and the former Saudi Arabia had been naive enough to let Nasser to what he wished, and he quickly established his power in those provinces. But the political class of Algeria and Sudan were extremely reluctant to kowtow to Cairo, and their voice combined with the Syrians and even Arif's Iraqis in forming a proper federation. Nasser was enraged, and the largely secret negotiations took up nearly the rest of 1964. Nasser ultimately scuttled the talks entirely in order to focus on the nationalization of the oil industry. In October 1964, Nasser announced that he had managed to get a 60:40 deal in ownership of oil between the UAR and the oil companies in the province of Iraq. The resulting celebrations in the streets boosted the unity of the the UAR, despite the near-fracture it had endured just months earlier.

On January 1, 1965, Gamal Abdel Nasser died. Coming just a few months after he gained control of oil for the Arab people for the first time, and less than a year after he had united the majority of the Arab world under his rule, he was mourned more extensively than any leader before or since in the Arab memory. Nasser was succeeded by his Iraqi Vice President, Arif. Arif would dismantle Nasser's Arab Union Party, choosing to spread the influence of the Ba'ath Party as a civilian counterpart to the United Arab Free Officers Movement. Knowing he would never reach the heights of Nasser's power, Arif successfully negotiated with local elites in Syria and Sudan over autonomy, though he had to send in the military to crush an aborted anti-Bella coup in Algiers. Arif also warmed relations with the United States, who had been growing increasingly wary of the UAR as it had gained more power and territory. As Arif would explain it, "Nasser had finally broken the back of colonialism. Once we had Arab unity, we could deal with the Americans eye-to-eye." But colonialism was not completely eradicated. Arif successfully invaded the newly-independent British client states on the Arabian peninsula. The last colonial puppets cried out for a savior, but the British Labour government, unwilling to "go for a Suez Round Three," met their pleas with silence. With this, colonialism in the Middle East ended. Arif was able to use his political capital from the successful war to go to Tel Aviv, who were relieved that the UAR did not really long to drive them into the sea after all. Instating the Right of Return seemed like a small price to pay. Complaints by many Palestinians that a "visa error" would not let them actually return to their lost homeland were mysteriously absent from the Voice of the Arabs.

After surviving an assassination attempt from anti-Israel extremists, Arif became paranoid that the near-breakup of the UAR would have happened again had he died. He worked to further institutionalize power in the Ba'ath Party instead of centralizing it on himself, though he remained without a doubt the paramount leader of the party. Arif also became interested in expansion to Morocco, as the addition of the populous Arab state on the edge of Africa would further blunt charges of Egyptian hegemony. He actually got his chance in Tunisia first: President Bourguiba was convinced that Arif was plotting to invade his country, and ordered a hit on Arif. After surviving his second assassination in a year, Arif declared that God was protecting him, and publicly called out Bourguiba on Voice of the Arabs for his complicity in the assassination attempt. While Arif viewed the issue of Tunisian accession to the UAR with disinterest, he was enraged. So were the Tunisian people; Arif was by now nearly as popular in the Arab world as Nasser was. Tunisia joined the UAR in a popular referendum a few months after Bourguiba fled to Paris, though the narrowness of the vote (it was democratic) offended Arif. Following the referendum, Nasserist officers in Morocco launched a coup. However, the King Hassan held firm, and Arif was forced to intervene. Paranoid that Morocco would view itself as a conquered province, Arif launched an invasion of the Spanish Sahara and Mauritania the following year, fulfilling Moroccan nationalist's dreams of a Greater Morocco. Arif also redesigned the provincial borders in Arabia in a similar bid to quell a simmering rebellion in the backwards Yemen Province. These events were greatly played up by the Voice of the Arabs in 1972, while the quiet independence of New Sudan was downplayed. Arif spent the rest of the 1970s consolidating Ba'athist hegemony over the UAR, often with the help of oil money. One last small war of expansion would occur in 1980, during a brief the Arab intervention in the Iranian Civil War. As an Iraqi, Arif was particularly proud of the liberation of Khuzestan.

Arif's rule came to a sudden end when the 1998 Arab Spring forced him to call for free elections. Ba'athists maintain that Arif expanded the Arab nation's land, health, education, and living standards, but his opponents deride him for his authoritarianism, corruption, and drifting from Nasser's socialist vision in exchange for American support. In the 2000 presidential election, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Qaboos bin Said won a convincing victory in a three-way race, with the Ba'athist Mohamed Heikal coming in second, and independent Khalid Abdel Nasser coming in third. President Said was reelected in 2004 rather easily, though the strength of the second-place finisher, Neo-Nasserist Muammar Gaddafi, came as a great surprise. The Ba'athist candidate, Rafik Hairiri, got third. Said's Vice President, Leila Khaled, was elected over Gaddafi by a frog's hair in 2008, with Ba'athist Bassel al-Assad coming a distant third. Gaddafi refused to accept the election, and his supporters staged several demonstrations against Khaled in an attempt to force his resignation. After this stunt, observers were even more surprised that Gaddafi did as well as he did in the 2012 election, when the Ba'athists finally reentered power with the victory of Saad Hariri, who opponents criticized for his perceived nature as puppet to Ba'athist power brokers and the bias coverage he received from the still-influential Voice of the Arabs. For the first time, the Muslim Brotherhood placed third, though the unpopular incumbent put up a spirited campaign.

[1] The Eisenhower Administration and MacMillan Government were at odds over the same issue IOTL.
[2] He said this IOTL. However, Nixon goes through with the détente with Nasser more thoroughly.


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MotF 94: This is Planet Earth


The Challenge
Make a map showing the initial stages of a worldwide unification.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when your PoD or map may be set. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed, but blatantly implausible (ASB) maps are not.



"After nearly a century of global hardship the people of the earth have decided on taking the first tentative steps towards global unification. The come to this point in our common history we had faced many hardships: wars, inter-ethnic and religious violence and global environmental catastrophe of the rising sea level or the “Slow Flood”.

With the formation of the "Eight Great Unions" a couple of decades ago we laid the first foundation for a world government and with the will of the people of the Earth and their leaders - notably American President Haughton, granddaughter of a famous American Musician and Humanitarian, and President Koothrappali of India, grandson of a famous Indian Astronomer – we will remember this day, the fifth of June as a truly historic event – humanity first step towards global unification."
– Reuters Pundit at the first session of the First World Government in Bahia, 5th June 2100

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The Kiat:

It's an idea I had back around the turn of the century. Unfortunately, I never committed any of it to paper and it's been lost. What I do remember, I'll relay.

The Unification movement had its origins in the 1960s when the Super Powers fought a series of proxy wars. Instead of being chess pieces to the United States or Soviet Union, nations in a non-alignment movement pledged to aid each other in a series of political, economic and military alliances. By the 1970s, the Unified Earth Front had a strong presence in India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico and even Australia. In that same decade these nations signed treaties with each other and other nations promising aid overt and covert. The UEF was most active in Angola during its civil war.

In the following decade, the UEF grow in strength in Egypt and Jordan due to a resurging Pan-Arab movement. Volunteers from Ethiopia and Kenya moved into Somalia to prop up a pro-UEF government. In the 1990s, inspired by the European Community’s closer bonding, the UEF began to consider its own into greater union. In 1997, the Unified Earth Front gained enough influence in various parliaments and congresses to establish a supranational union. On June 21, 1997, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed the Unified Earth Charter.

The Charter bound the nations together in an economic, military and political union similar to the European Union. The primary requirement for any member state is that they have a representative government. This is such a vague requirement than constitutional monarchies like Jordan and one-party states like Cuba could join. Another requirement made membership in Unified Earth take priority above all other international agreements, including membership in the United Nations.

The governing body, the Earth Senate met in New Delhi, the acting capital of Unified Earth. UEF’s headquarters remained in Geneva, with the hope that one day it would be Earth’s capital. By 2018, few European states have joined the Unified Earth and the extensive infrastructure in New Delhi rendered the city a permanent capital. Member states remain largely independent in terms of internal affairs. As long as the Charter is not violated, members are free to run themselves as they see fit.

In the twenty years since its establishment, Unified Earth has established a common market, common financial system and a common currency, the Earth Credit. The name was chosen due to much of the economic activity being done electronically. A common military, called the Earth Defense Force and is supplemented by the national armies of its members

Not all of the states that have joined Unified Earth joined peacefully. Though most entered through national referendum, carefully supervised by the UEF, a few were brought in via coups. Pakistan in 1999, a united Korea in 2002, the Republic of Arabia in 2003, Sudan in 2008 and the UEF and Unified Earth currently are involved in aiding the pro-UEF factions in a Venezuelan civil war. In all except the first case, the UEF had humanitarian issues as a justification for taking the actions the weakening UN would not.


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A while ago I did a map involving the Song Dynasty industrializing and allying with the steppe tribes to conquer Eurasia. Political control was divided between the Emperor in Kaifeng and the four Khagans, who were effectively independent. In the original map, the Empire was on the brink of collapse due to the Imperial government attempting to exert real control over the Khagans.

In this version, the Imperial government successfully brought the Empire under its control, but only with the assistance of the Western Khagan in Cairo. The Western Khaganate was allowed official autonomy, and helped shape the new empire to its advantage. The Khagan ensured that most of the local rulers would not be Imperial appointees, and became the patron of many of these local Lords. Now, a Cairo-based merchant company has discovered the New World.

In the future, India, Catholic Europe, and the American colonies will join the Western Khaganate in wanting independence, and a federal structure will be established based mostly on religious affiliation, a feature deriving from Cairo's use of pan-Islamic sentiment to extend its influence. The world-state will be fully established and stable by 1750.

The religion map only shows the official religions, by the way. There are still a lot of Orthodox Christians and Muslims in the Northern Khaganate from the time when they were tolerated, but the current Khagan is trying to suppress them.


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This one's going to be a two-parter, done in the esteemed Munroist "wall-off-text-then-map" style. It's a map of the Earth in a sci-fi setting I've been working on off and on since January. The most concise description I can think of is "the bastard biopunk lovechild of Altered Carbon and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but with more political axe-grinding." At some point I may post a sample in the Writer's Forum.

But I digress. Time for the description! (*WARNING: WALL OF TEXT INBOUND*)

The year is 2123 CE, and the world has definitely seen better days. While the human species has colonized the stars, the world has been consolidating planetside. While still technically made up of independent states, most of the globe is consolidated under the rule of United Humankind, a powerful international organization which has served as a successor to the United Nations since 2079. Unlike the UN, however, UH has teeth, and isn't afraid to bare them to maintain hegemony. If you don't believe me, just ask the people of Montana (if you can find any who survived the orbital bombardments, of course. The 2097-2104 Flyover Rising was not a pleasant affair.)

A global pseudo-federalism is slowly being hashed out, chiefly through trial-by-error. UH styles itself as progressive humanitarian aid group first and foremost: member states are all signatories of the UH charter, known as the Declaration of Standards, which mandates that said states maintain certain "cultural and political standards required of responsible governance". Cutting through the fog of political-speak, what that means is that if a member state deviates in any way from the UH-accepted guidelines for social democracy receives an immediate "regime guidance intervention" courtesy of the Peacekeeping Force's orbital barracks. The Declaration of Standards mandates all states institute a progressive income tax set no lower than 40%, a full civilian weapons ban, a welfare state that makes early 21st-century Sweden look like Galt's Gulch, enact "anti-fascism" (read: anti-free speech)laws, cut their military spending by 75%, and join the Global Monetary Union (the UH Credit is the only legal tender recognized in UH territory, although the space colonies are sometimes given special exemptions from this rule). Member protectorates are also "strongly encouraged" to nationalize major industries and ensure government control over the commanding heights of the economy. All citizens of the protectorates are also automatically citizens of UH, which has negotiated open border and visa agreements with most of its members, although member states do have some say in border matters. Of course with UH citizenship comes additional UH taxes, which are paid to the United Humankind Revenue Service headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina (While the UH capitol is in Cádiz, Spain, it was seen as prudent to spread the crucial institutions out somewhat). Each member state (including those in space) elects one representative to the Interplanetary Assembly for a period of six years. In most countries, these assemblypeople have more influence than the actual heads of state, and are therefore the elections people pay the most attention to. Almost all representatives are members of their nation's Progressive Party, and have been for decades. This, of course is evidence of a "Mandate of the People" and the "Onward March of Social Justice", and has nothing whatsoever to do with the unfortunate accidents that tend to befall opposition candidates. Funny how journalists reporting such incidents never seem to receive any airtime, isn't it? Perhaps they should've re-read the UH resolutions banning "fringe, false, abusive, or offensive speech"...

Without a doubt, the most powerful player in UH is the European Union. It was able to weather the environmental crises of the late 21st century very well, in comparison to the US, which dissolved into bickering paralysis between left and right, and China, which absolutely imploded in 2026 and is only barely reunified now. Rich, safe, and obnoxiously self-righteous, Europe is once again the colossus astride the world. Federalism has been good for the EU, as it's allowed them to consolidate their resources and project power both globally and interplanetarily. It receives immigrants from all over the world, has the most highly-regarded universities, and has a population of almost a billion. It's also a world leader in UH social and cultural policy, which is best described as "uber-Tumblr feminism". Gun and blade control is approaching airtight (ignore those scandalous rumors of a "black market", Honored Citizen), the minimum wage is buttressed by an income cap, and it's considered the height of rudeness not to ask for someone's preferred pronouns when you first meet them. It also has the highest suicide rate in the world. Offworlders like to snark that Europe's slowly boring itself to death. Also part of the EU's alliance structure is the European Expanded Partnership, a larger alliance of UH states wedded to the EU at the hip even if some (*cough-the UK-cough*) would deny it. Some, like the Bosnian Confederation, are slated for eventual EU membership. Others, like the inordinately creepy Norwegians, are...not.

(Norway deserves its own mini-explanation-- it suffered a coup in the 2090s by totalitarian gender nihilists who are remaking it in their own image. Norway today is a grey-skied wonderland of eerily androgynous women. It's not a fun place to be male--your fate is either to be aborted at six months and harvested for genes or be castrated and walk the streets in a burka-like contraption to avoid oppressing women with the "patriarchal hegemony" in your gaze. Sweden is flooded with Norwegian refugees.)

The second-tier powers after the EU within the UH system are the permanent members of the UH Council for Justice and Security, the UH analogue to the UN Security Council. The whole Council has 13 members, 8 of which (9 counting the EU) are permanent. Decision-making is streamlined by a plurality rather than an individual veto, and each of the permanent members (Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, East Africa, Thailand, Japan, United States of Luna, Commonwealth of Mangala) is expected to supply troops and materiel for the Peacekeeping force in addition to their own armed forces. The primary strategy of UH is the decapitation strike: land as close to the target as quick as you can (preferably from orbit) and strike with overwhelming force. Then, send in occupation troops for regime-building. Most of the current fighting is taking place either in the Central African Reconstruction Zone (climate change is a real bear if you're poor and African), occupied Flyover (now being resettled with "more socially aware and responsible" Mongolians and Tunisians), or on Mangala (formerly Mars; more on that later).

There are middle-ranking powers as well, generally subordinate to the EU and the UHCJS. The astute reader of the early 21st century may be surprised to see many unexpected names on this list. "The USA, China, India, Russia? But they're the up-and-coming powers of our time!" you cry out. Well, just because they're not on the Council doesn't mean they have no clout within the system. India, for example, is the world's #2 economy and has an enormously successful Mars colonization program going. It's going so well, in fact, that Mars is almost 80% ethnically Indian. They even got UH to officially rename the Red Planet by its Sanskrit name Mangala. Yes, even without a say in security affairs, India's still got power. The same, however, cannot be said about the other three. China, as was already touched upon, imploded in 2026 when their economic bubble burst. First a cabal of high-ranking civil servants took over and implemented democratic reforms. Then the military launched a counter-coup and imposed martial law, then the civil servants joined with student protesters and launched a counter-counter-coup, then a rogue Chinese sub nuked Beijing, and before you know it everyone's fighting. By the time the (radioactive) dust had settled in 2051, almost 200 million people were dead and the nation's infrastructure was destroyed. The situation's improving, but slowly. China was a mess of competing states until 2118, when they re-unified under an extremely decentralized framework. The EU (and by extention UH) is watching the situation earnestly. A unified China could be just the sort of competition they don't want, especially the way Chinese geneticists have been going around with decidedly un-progressive ideas about the genetic superiority of the Han People...

Russia and the US, once bitter enemies, have now bonded over their mutual bitterness at their lost stature on the international stage. Russia had been doing fine up through the 2050s as well, until it bit off more than it could chew and went to war with the EU and Japan in 2061 over mineral rights in Siberia. The so-called Siberia War was an unmitigated disaster for Russia, ending with a kinetic rod strike on a hardened Russian command bunker deep in the Urals. Russia was pointedly humiliated in the resulting peace treaty, having to give up its hard-earned gains in eastern Ukraine and (even more galling) cede Sakhalin back to the Japanese. Now Russia's sunk back into alcoholism and corruption. By contrast, the US was doing fine for most of the century. Puerto Rico received statehood, and they accepted an offer of annexation by Haiti. Life was pretty good. It wasn't a superpower, but it was still up there. But then in 2097 a controversial president from the internationalist Responsibility Party made it his first act in office to sign onto the Declaration of Standards. The libertarian-leaning states of Montana, Idaho, The Dakotas, and Wyoming seceded from the Union to form the Free Republic of Flyover. They revoked the Declaration and closed their borders to any and all UH citizens.

Needless to say, this would not be tolerated. After an initial landing by Peacekeeper forces was foiled, the orbital bombardment of Boise, Billings, Bismark, and Helena began. After that, the Peacekeepers came back in for a grueling guerrilla campaign in the countryside, which only ended in 2104. Since then, UH has placed sanctions on America, which will only be lifted when they "have achieved certain hallmarks of social privilege awareness and a desire on the part of its government to address its irresponsible governance". This put wind in the sails of the growing Social Justice Movement (again, think Tumblr feminists with political power), and forcing the government to take steps to curb "reactionary and counter-progressive elements in American society". This re-structuring, dubbed the "Gold Scare" by offworld pundits, led to the chief opposition Conservative Party purged for "inciting treason" and reduced to a toothless regional party in the Midwest. You'd think things would have calmed down now, but instead the SJM seems to be turning on itself, calling out its own members for "patriarchal oppression" and "creeping cishet hegemony" left and right. Instead of initiating a second Era of Good Feelings, America's cannibalizing itself while economic sanctions reduce the flow of imports. And all the while car bombs are still going off in Flyover.

Few areas of the globe exist outside of UH control, and even then only precariously. The most powerful "rival" to UH is the United Emirates, an Indonesian-dominated union of mostly Islamic states (plus Australia) dedicated to halting further UH expansion in southeast Asia. Unlike the social-democracy-with-small-scale-capitalism-grudgingly-tolerated model of UH, the UE is unabashedly capitalistic and freewheeling, with an emphasis on genetic engineering. Taxes are low, business is good, and governments generally leave you alone. However, they are as a rule inordinately paranoid about UH encroachment on their borders, especially in the Arabian Peninsula and in the Burmese Union (In 2048 India and Indonesia agreed to split Burma up into largely-independent provinces administered by publicly-traded corporations operating out of Singapore). They have a solid space program and control of three space elevators, which have enabled them to establish a presence on Mangala alongside UH. However, the proxy conflict on the Red Planet between UE- and UH-funded mercenary groups may threaten to bring the two blocs into a costly conflict that the UE know they can't win. They're currently trying to find a way to extricate themselves without endangering either their sovereignty or their colonists. So far it doesn't look good.

And then there are some states that aren't part of any group, of which the only really interesting one is our old pal, North Korea. Yes, these crazy bastards are still going strong. It was iffy for a while after China's implosion, but an influx of ex-Chinese technical advisers and advancements in vertical farming have enabled them to become an almost completely self-sufficient prison state. They're still ruled by the Kim family, too, only over the last century veneration of the Dear Leader has combined with local Buddhism to form a creepy-ass cult where "the Kim" is seen as a bodhisattva who continually dies and is reborn ("There is no son; there is no daughter; there is only the Kim and his avatars", as the chant goes.) Scarily enough, they have a space station in Earth's L5 Lagrangian point and periodically send suicide bombers into South Korea. Nobody's really sure what to do about them, but nobody wants to provoke them.

Technology in 2123 has a heady biopunk flavor to it. Genetic engineering is commonplace, albeit heavily restricted, in UH territory, while regulations are lax and body modification correspondingly weird in the UE and offworld. Biotechnology has also led to some truly amazing advances in an extraordinary technology: Neuron Plus. With a small nodule of Neuron Plus, called a cortical polyp, inserted at the base of a person’s skull, their consciousness can now be stored and easily inserted into a new body, making death a minor inconvenience for those who can afford a new body (why yes, I do like Altered Carbon! However did you guess? ). Most developed nations on Earth have a universal re-embodiment program, while the colonies have much stranger and varied policies on it. Power is mostly provided by fusion and solar power, with some recent experiments near Jupiter involving antimatter show some promise.

Limited extrasolar colonization has even begun, although not in a manner one would expect. In 2082, a probe passing Jupiter noticed an anomaly in high-radiation plasma torus which was later found to be a microscopic wormhole. An international scientific effort to study the wormhole, dubbed Charybdis, was eventually able to widen it enough to send a smaller probe through the other end, which opened up into the Mizar-Alcor sextuple-star system, some 83 light-years away (remember, it's sci-fi! ). Almost as soon as the discovery was announced, governments and NGOs began drawing up plans to colonize the new frontier. As of 2123, Mizar-Alcor contains a little under 3 million people on various planetary bodies and scientific stations. However, a full accounting of that political situation would be an utter mess, and at any rate is beyond the scope of this map.

However, crunch time for UH is approaching. While a most people either don't want to leave Earth or just can't, long-view thinkers within the UH establishment are worried by the "brain drain" as smart and productive people pack up and head offworld, where they can escape UH's cloying, ever-expanding grip. This is creating a severe budget problem as people with money leave and start businesses out in the Main Belt, Jupiter, or Mizar-Alcor. While UH propaganda has been able to play this off as just "decadent capitalists eager to shirk paying their fair share", that won't pay the bills. The outer settlements are far enough away that they can afford to just ignore UH's demands on them, which they specifically left Earth to escape. They won't fall in line willingly, and soon the crisis will come to a head.

With pro-freedom unrest increasing offworld and Earth's economy teetering on the brink, a drastic decision has been made. The United Humankind Revenue Service has dispatched a team to go to Archipelago, a station at the Mizar-Alcor L5 and the unofficial leader of the rebellious outposts, to go and bring them back in line "by any means necessary to avoid all-out war"...

(Bruce: So it's got political axe-grinding. Haven't we all done that a bit?)
Alex Richards:

So this is somewhat inspired by my ongoing research for Imperium Resurgam, but going in a different direction.

The first indications of the emerging economic order came with the free trade links between the EU, Caribbean and Canada which, with the addition of the US in 2031,
saw the creation of the North Atlantic Economic Area. As existing trade agreements were expanded upon, agreements with South Africa, India, the EAF and the Pacific Islands Forum
soon blossomed to a unified economic community, with Brazil, Korea and Japan joining separately from any one community, ASEAN and ECOWAS being recognised as
associates due to the existing links with community members.


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Throwing my hat into the ring of MotF. Don't expect to win, my maps ain't pretty or clever.

In this world, things got nasty in Japan in WW2, necessitating an invasion that brought Japan low and secured it for Democracy. But it came at the cost of thousands of American lives. There was no appetite for a Marshall Plan or lengthy occupations in Europe after the war, and America turned back into isolation, concentrating on cultivating democracy in the Americas, clashing with the Communists only when it directly threatened American interests, as in the Korean War.

The Soviets realised they wouldn't have any competition and absorbed the Eastern European Peoples Republics. The Anglo-French Union was resurrected from the paperwork and the Soviets were stopped from invading West Germany. The Anglo-French began rapidly decolonising, delegating responsibilities to Dominions carved out of their colonies. When responsible government was granted to West Germany and Austria, they joined the Anglo-French Union, now reorganised as the European Union. Most of Europe joined up out of fear of the Soviets with the exception of Spain and Portugal which was having no truck with the Communists or the pinko Europeans.

Fast forwards to the 1990s. The USSR has recently opened up. It underwent a transition in the 1990s as Russians lost their majority, and democracy has spread. Talk of a limited association with the world-spanning United Commonwealth has been mooted, though the prospect of theoretically of placing themselves under the theoretical rule of Queen Elizabeth has made some members of the Politburo throw up a little. The United States similarly is considering links with the UC. The Indian economy is booming and the Indian Ocean is becoming a new centre of power in the UC, and the Americans want a slice of that pie but the Commonwealth Market requires a level of association they balk at. Africa is a growing powerhouse, a steaming juggernaut of industry which has drawn condemnation from environmental activists.

Only now, looking at the breadth of their domain do the legislators in Paris realise the full possibilities of the European Union and the United Commonwealth. If a Federal arrangement could be reached with the Dominions and the Associated States, then the United Commonwealth could be truly united, and if the remaining countries of the world associated themselves, then maybe the House of Windsor could be suzerain of all the world...

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While Chinese influence throughout the world increasing, many believed that it was only a matter of time before the new superpower engaged in a Cold War with the existing one. However, the economies of both America and China were too closely integrated for the two to truly be at odds with each other where it counted, and the Sino-American Partnership would dominate the world, especially after China liberalized, ending with its reformation into the Federal Republic of China. Chinese and American investments helped a lot in the development of Africa, especially Nigeria and Liberia, which incorporated Sierra Leone. America went through a second phase of Manifest Destiny, especially in its backyard, where Sino-American assistance helped bring the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America up to first world standards of living. However, things were not so peaceful in Europe. With the legacy of the Eurocrisis still looming over the Europeans, the EU ended up splitting in two after the UK left, between the Polish-dominated rump EU and the increasingly socialist German-dominated European Republic(ESR). Russia once again was split between the West(Europe) and the East(America and China), and ultimately joined the two superpowers, wanting a say in this new world order. To possibly have counterweights against both America and China, the ESR formed the Brussels Pact with fellow anti-Globalist nations Brazil and India, and oppose the increasingly federalist turn the Sino-American dominated UN was taking. The ESR, Brazil, India, East Africa and their allies withdrew from the UN, and at the dawn of a new century, the world is now divided into a new Cold War, between the Globalist UN and the Socialist Brussels Pact.

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MotF 95: Ab Urbe Condita

The Challenge
Make a map showing one or several city-states.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when your PoD or map may be set. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed, but blatantly implausible (ASB) maps are not.

A city-state must be a mostly autonomous political unit focused on one urban area. This includes, but is not limited to, countries like modern Uruguay - where over half of the population lives in the capital of Montevideo - and mostly autonomous areas of sovereign states - such as Hong Kong and Macau.

First, islander:

Like Singapore but not.
i'll kick this contest off then i guess.

Alex Richards:

The Stadtkantone of Switzerland

This is a world in which what we know as the Old Swiss Confederacy, though in this world that's not a distinction that tends to be made, by and large escaped the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Confederacy thus evolved more naturally into a modern confederal state, weathering the storms of the Revolutionary period of the 1793-1809, and then the increasingly turbulent 19th Century,
even gaining territory from Sardinia-Piedmont during the Italian Wars of the 1840s and 50s.

Matters were to come to a head, however, in 1863 when, inspired by the example of Lausanne, the Italians, the recent Brandenburg Revolution and the French 2nd Republic, the region of the Vaud
broke into widespread open revolt and revolutionary fervour against it's German rulers in Bern and the Sieben Zenden. The result was a 5 year Civil War- merging with an alt-Sonderbund War-
that saw a new Confederal constitution drawn up in a series of long-running Congresses throughout the late 1860s and 1870s. Vaud was admitted as a new Canton, the federal system
was reformed, the Condominiums dissolved- either through annexation to one of the cantons in the relevant partnership, or through creation of a new Canton where no agreement could be reached-
and cantonal constitutions reformed to become more democratic over the next couple of decades. Gradually, the Associate States and Protectorates of the Confederacy would join as full cantons
over the coming decades to create the modern Confederacy as shown below.

More information in the map. I'm supplying a smaller 'thumbnail' resolution as well as it's very page-stretchy.


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