Rememberences of Map Contests Past

MotF 164: She Was Looking Kind of Dumb

The Challenge

Make a map showing the aftermath of a country or subregion after having went through the rule of a terrible or stupid leader.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when the PoD of your map should be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed.


This map is based on the real life Pope Gregory XVI who actively prevented the construction of railways in the Papal States calling them 'Roads to Hell'; only now him doing the same in the Universe were Napoleon became Emperor of the Greeks and the Papal States traded Romagna, most of Lazio and the Roman Marches with the Italians for the Holy Land in May of 1843.

Pope Gregory XVI did realize however that transport was an issue in the Holy Land; he therefor devised the plan to dig a great canal linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red sea via the River Jordan and the Dead sea. Work started on the first canal between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Galilea and the future great port city on the South shore of the Dead sea. In September of 1845 the city of Gregoria was inaugurated.

When Pope Gregory XVI died in June 1846 he was replaced by Pius IX, who did saw the benefits of railways. One of the first things he did is write the encyclical 'Proclamatio Locomotio' stating the it was time that Papal States was to make up time lost and move into the 19th century with the rest of the civilized world by way of the train. One of the ways he was planning on doing that was with the so called 'work pilgrimages' were heavy sinners worked on the construction of railways as a penance. The fact that rich christians and christian states were funding the project to get praise also helped. at the end of September 1846 the line between Jerusalem and Bethlehem was already operating.

The Roman Curia struck a deal with the Belgian Company 'Compagnie Cockerill de Seraing' to extend their Alexandretta-Sidone line along the coast and towards Jerusalem; freeing up money, time and resources to further speed up the Construction of a Railnetwork similar to the other European countries.
The 'Great Canal Plan' of his predecessor was also converted to rail in stead of a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea because the Suez Canal was reaching completion. The Canalization of Gregoria that had already begun was finished however, lending it the nickname 'The Venice of the Holy Land'.

By the year 1860 the Papal States had largely caught up with its neighbours.
MotF 165: Don't Stop Believin'

The Challenge

Make a map depicting a religion's struggle to survive against hostile faiths.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when the PoD of your map should be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed.


NOTE 1: No one in this future-history can be considered "perfectly good" or "wholly bad". Every group outlined below does some good and some bad. I tried to show a balanced and nuanced view. The following should be considered a bit of an in-universe artifact, with all the attendant baggage.

NOTE 2: The idea for this scenario/map came to me in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I live in Fort Myers, Florida and watched as the hurricane passed directly over my apartment complex. In the ensuing total power failure and partial internet failure, I was quite bored. Fortunately, I had little damage.

NOTE 3: After lurking on this site for years, this is my first map.

The Decline of the Mormon Faith

Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church) peaked in 2034, with 19,092,200 members. Membership plateaued just under that number for a generation, then began declining. Reasons for the decline were generally from two factors:

1) Stubbornness of the Church leadership in the face of progress and equality, or faithfulness towards the established doctrine, depending on one's biases. On a host of issues, the LDS Church promoted beliefs which ran contrary to the zeitgeist of the increasingly globalized culture, including cybersexuality, vaccines and genomics, and the use of chemical equalizers.

2) Persistent and universally negative portrayals in the popular media.

By 2150, membership had declined to just 389,950 (actively church-going) persons.

Geopolitics in the 2150s

Despite hiccups in the early 21st Century, the growth of international organizations continued apace. The EU, NAFTA, WTO, World Bank, ICC, UN, Global Environment Organization, Pacific Economic Authority, and others grew in power and scope. By the 2150s, the world entered a new era of peace and prosperity. War was nearly eliminated (though violence by non-state actors continued at low levels). Free and Fair Trade expanded to such a level that the per capita GDP of the poorest countries was finally more than half the per capita GDP of rich countries. Global warming was halted, then reversed, through massive worldwide investment in green technologies, while especially vulnerable countries were assisted in adapting to a temporarily harsher climate. Global overpopulation pressures were mitigated through increased women's rights, women's education, and birth control. Hateful speech was criminalized. The physical and economic security of every person was guaranteed. These advancements were made slowly and gradually through the concerted effort of many, many intergovernmental organizations. National governments continued to exist, but their power had been fully supplanted by regional and international organizations by the early 2100s.

Political Ideologies in the 2150s

New political situations created new political ideologies. Two primary ideologies competed for power by the 2150s: The Directionalists, and the Popular Vote Movement.

The Directionalists believed that the elites of society (political, corporate, academic, and artistic) should have the final word in declaring what is morally and ethically correct for that society. Directionalists pushed for greater economic, political, and cultural integration, and hoped for a day when all people were united in language, culture, belief, wealth, and politics. "Local" beliefs, traditions, and cultures were anathema to them, as they "stood in the way of unity". So much evil has been caused by these old, regional ways of thinking that they all ought to be relegated to the dustbin of history. Ideally, there would be no difference between a coffee shop in London versus a coffee shop in Bangkok, not in language or customs or even the races of the customers.

The Popular Vote Movement (individuals being called "Voters") believed that all truth must be decided democratically. If the Voice of the People is that the laws should be interpreted thusly, then the laws shall be interpreted thusly. If the Voice of the People declare that vaccines cause nanotech-resistant autoneurophagia, then all laws and all written word shall reflect that as fact. In any free society, only the people can be the final arbiter of truth.

These two ideologies are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Directionalists saying that all morality is decided by elites, while Voters say all truth is decided democratically. Functionally, these groups were permanently at odds with one another.

Space Travel, 2030-2150

SpaceX was the first organization to land humans on Mars, and did so on 9 November, 2031. This resulted in a major international outcry. Many people worried that Mars would become the playground of the billionaires, leaving the rest of humanity behind. Others were concerned about the possible contamination of Mars by Earth life, and vice versa. Elon Musk grudgingly responded to these concerns by sending a followup mission to Phobos (the largest moon of Mars) rather than make another landing. There, the SpaceX astronauts discovered an ancient, alien monolith partially buried in the regolith. A second monolith was discovered on the surface of the asteroid Vesta by an ESA probe and lander. These discoveries caused a short bout of excitement and fear, but that quickly died down as the news of alien artifacts became mundane with time. The artifacts were dated to between 31 and 36 million years ago, indicating no "alien menace" could be considered an urgent concern.

These artifacts, when translated, pointed to an interesting opportunity, however. According to the artifacts (later tested and proven correct), the properly timed emission of a modulated neutrino signal while a spacecraft is in the Sun-Venus L3 point would cause the appearance of a vast alien cylinder, hollow and kilometers long, around the signaling spacecraft. After a few milliseconds, the alien cylinder and the spacecraft inside would be transported to the orbit of a particularly large planetoid in the Sirius B (white dwarf) system. Other such locations were found in the Sirius B system to allow transit to yet more destinations. No evidence of living aliens or even thoughtful control was ever found, leading this to be named the Automated Transportation Infrastructure (ATI), colloquially known by the backronym "Alien Train Itinerary" due to the irregular timing of the "schedule" at which the cylinders would be available for "pick-up" and "drop-off".

Interstellar space was now open for exploration. The wary nay-sayers who were against manned Mars exploration were moderated by the discovery of (very) ancient aliens, and cautious expeditions were sent out to map the ATI. Exploration was slow, given that transport points would only be "available" for a few seconds every few weeks, with all pick-ups and drop-offs happening nearly instantaneously and just and simultaneously. The transport point at Venus L3 occurred every 21.6 days and lasted only eight seconds, with other transport points following similar rules. All ships wanting transport must be at the particular location at the same time, all broadcasting the modulated neutrino signal at the right moment to be transported by the alien cylinders.

The ATI formed a hub-and-spoke network commonly established by airlines to funnel travelers from regional airports to hubs and back to regional airports. Main-sequence stars like our sun had "commuter" ATI points, which led to "local" ATI points at white dwarf stars, which led to "regional" points at neutron stars, culminating in "hubs" at black holes. The trip between stars was measurably instantaneous, but maneuvering between planets and transport points within a system could take months, and waiting for the transport schedule often involved weeks of station-keeping.

Numerous habitable and partially habitable worlds were found. Few of these worlds hosted complex life, and none had been discovered with organisms living on dry land. Many of these worlds were too far away to be useful, given the long transit times involved (the closest habitable planet being 3 months away under ideal orbital conditions). All life on these worlds (none more advanced than jellyfish) seemed related to Earth life, possibly by panspermia (possibly instigated by the ancient builders of the ATI).

Furthermore, a lingering anti-space travel attitude persisted from the early days of SpaceX exploration. Directionalists concluded that the distances involved made colonization economically disfavorable and promoted a disunity of the people and their culture (new local cultures might arise on these newly colonized worlds). Voters questioned why anyone would spend money on expensive space travel when there were more pressing issues on Earth. Exploration proceeded slowly, and only a few off-world bases were established on a small number of habitable worlds.[1]

The LDS Church and the Economy

The LDS Church had long maintained sizable investments in many economic sectors. These investments continued to grow (through dividends and additional tithing investment) even as membership shrank. Church owned businesses, like Deseret Agriculture in Florida and Deseret Heavy Industries, earned tens of billions of dollars per year by the 22nd Century. Investments grew to include majority holdings in numerous non-Mormon corporations. By 2150, the net worth of the LDS Church was estimated to be in the single-digit trillions of dollars (values adjusted to year 2020 USD amounts). This equated to nearly ten million dollars per active member of the LDS Church.

As LDS influence in a company grew, said company became more conservative and risk-averse. LDS controlled companies refused to take out loans to further expansion, instead relying on cash-on-hand. This unwillingness to take on debt (at any interest rate) created market distortions. Interest rates plummeted, hurting the savings of the elderly while convincing other entities to take on unnecessary loans.

By the 2150s, views of the Mormon Church were very unfavorable worldwide, but especially in the North American Federation (NAF). Directionalists disliked Mormons due to the Church's economic intransigence and the membership's unwillingness to assimilate into the greater globalized culture. The Popular Vote Movement saw Mormon's belief in prophets to be an affront to the ideals of democratically-decided Truth. This reached a head in June 2151 when the NAF economic council voted to restrict LDS Church influence in its corporations, requiring them to be run by non-LDS managers (ones who would take on debt as normal entities, for example). After a tense court battle, the WTO struck down these regulations, but the LDS Church retaliated by abruptly divesting 80% of its North American assets, causing a minor recession.

The acrimony reached a climax as both sides accused each other of economic warfare. The Directionalists were confident the elites and bureaucrats would solve the crisis, but the Voters wanted more. Protests were held continuously outside LDS temples. Mormon owned businesses were hacked. Many Mormons were fired from their jobs to prevent their "contaminating influence". A century of growing antipathy culminated in NAF Popular Order 44. This order, established by referendum on October 27, 2151, read in part:
"The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be driven from the continent, if necessary, for the sake of justice and peace."[2]

The NAF hosted over 100,000 Mormons (mostly in Idaho and Alberta). The popular and growing protest movements made life for them increasingly untenable. While the International Criminal Court declared the Popular Order to be illegal and unenforceable, the unofficial persecution remained. Most Mormons in the NAF fled to friendlier areas with sizable Mormon communities, especially Accra (African Union) and Guangzhou (East Asian Economic Alliance).

Historians will forever debate whether or not the Mormons would continue to be persecuted, how long and violent that persecution would be, or whether it would end in peace and renewed acceptance. We will never know that potential outcome, because the LDS Church decided to give up on Earth itself.

The New Pioneers

Under the watchful eye of the World Trade Organization, the LDS Church slowly sold off the totality of its assets to fund the emigration of all willing Mormons to a recently discovered habitable world. Emigration would be facilitated by 12 large interstellar "cruise ships" retrofitted to serve as emigration ships. Each ship would make a number of trips to the new world, taking 19 months for a round-trip voyage.

The emigration ships would each carry 7,500 passengers for the 9.5 month journey to their new home. Conditions were cramped, food was both bland and sternly rationed, and morale ranged from bored to terrified and back as crises came and went.

The ships were named for various LDS hymns, and prefixed by CJCLDSSS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Star Ship):
CJCLDSSS Come, Come, Ye Saints
CJCLDSSS Choose The Right
CJCLDSSS Let Us All Press On
CJCLDSSS Called to Serve
CJCLDSSS Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
CJCLDSSS The Time is Far Spent
CJCLDSSS I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go
CJCLDSSS If You Could Hie to Kolob
CJCLDSSS I Am A Child of God
CJCLDSSS Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam
CJCLDSSS A Poor Wayfairing Man of Grief
CJCLDSSS We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

By the 3rd voyage, some of the ships began to break down. The CJCLDSSS The Time is Far Spent was in particularly bad shape after one of the eight fusion reactors catastrophically failed at Procyon-B. It was disassembled in Venusian orbit and used for parts for the remaining ships. More ships began breaking down after that, and the fleet was shrunk at the end of each voyage.

After six voyages of the Church's fleet, there were no more willing Mormons on Earth to transport. Many were scared of leaving the comforts of Accra or Guangzhou for a new and unfamiliar world. Others lost faith in the intervening decade between the beginning of the emigration effort and their turn in the emigration queue.

There were still ships, though. The sixth and seventh voyage, undertaken by six and four ships, respectively, carried whatever remaining supplies the LDS Church could afford. In addition, two more groups were invited to emigrate to the new world with the Mormons: The Bahá'í and the Polynesians.

The Bahá'í were a religious group originating in Iran in the 1860s, and who faced similar demographic challenges as the Mormons. Their message of global human unity was embraced by the Directionalists, though they remained "different" enough that they could not be efficiently integrated into the global order. They remained an unwanted minority in Iran and Florida until 2170 when more than 20% of the remaining Bahá'í chose to leave Earth and join the Mormons on their new world.

Many Polynesians faced similar difficulties. After losing most of their islands during the inundations of the 2040s-2090s, many fled to other parts of the world. Most of these refugees quickly assimilated into the predominant cultures, and eventually to the unifying global culture promulgated by the Directionalists and the Voters. A sizable minority held to their ancestral roots, and many in this group also decided to flee Earth for the new Mormon colony. There, they hoped to hold to their traditions with minimal outside interference.

It should be noted that the Mormons, the Bahá'í, and the Polynesians were far from the only groups to leave Earth during this time. Fortalezan Catholics, German Shia Muslims, Norse Polyandrists, various eugenicists, Vietnamese supremacists, Libertarian Feminists, Social Meritocrats, the Shariati-Beltane Clan, and others all formed colonies on a number of worlds. Corporations also created resorts on several worlds, attracting wealthy and eccentric tourists. Research stations were also established on scientifically interesting worlds by the Nobel Foundation and the Delhi Group. The populations of these worlds remained small, and the total off-earth population in 2175 was 4.1 million, just 0.1% of the total human population at the time.

Azure, the New World

The new world settled by the Mormons, Bahá'í, and Polynesians was entirely covered in a shallow ocean, and was actually a tidally locked moon of a super-earth, orbiting an F9 star. The world was originally called LPF2-12168-b-I, orbiting the planet LPF2-12168-b, around the star LPF2-12168. As these names don't quite roll off the tongue, new names had to be made. The original names planned by the LDS Church were "Perseverance" for the star, "Timpanogos" for the planet, and "Great Oceanic World" for the habitable moon.

These names were universally derided as "stupid" and "the worst". Mormons, tired of their home being towards the end of alphabetical lists ("Utah"), decided on a different route. The star was quickly renamed "Aureolin", the super-earth "Amaranth", and the moon "Azure".

Azure orbited Amaranth every 34.1 earth standard hours, and was tidally locked to it. Amaranth, and hence Azure, orbited Aureolin once every 398 earth days (280 Azure days). Azure has a radius of 0.76 Earth Radii, and a surface gravity of 0.71 gravities. Azure had almost no plate tectonics and no continental crust. The entire moon was submerged by water of depth 20m-1130m, which led to most of the challenges early in the settlement of the world. The atmosphere was somewhat thicker than Earth's, but had very little oxygen. Native life on Azure was limited to phytoplankton and other simple organisms.

A large section of shallow ocean stretches from the equator to the north. This area was selected as the initial colonization sector, and is called the Cerulean Plains by the poineers.

Initial Settlement

The early years of settlement were hard. The lack of dry land posed special challenges for the new residents of Azure, who numbered around 458,000 after the last emigration ships were decommissioned. These pioneers lived in orbital landing craft fitted with inflatable and buoyant habitats. All new structures were designed to float, anchored to some particular bit of sea floor. They generated electricity from a few low-maintenance nuclear reactors brought along and via tidal, wind, and some solar power. With no exposed land, mining was accomplished on the shallow ocean floor and by direct extraction of minerals from seawater. Agriculture involved seaweed farms and protein synthesis originally, though aquaculture fish farms were brought online as fast as possible.

The first generation of pioneers lived on a world not much better than their emigration ships: Cramped, with rationed food, and feverishly busy or painfully dull.

As time went on, new techniques were invented, industrial capacity was created, and the pioneers had sufficient resources to begin providing themselves a few luxuries. New settlements were built, all in the few shallow areas of the vast world-spanning ocean. Hurricanes were powerful, frequent, but fully predictable due to the uncomplicated ocean and atmospheric currents. Settlements were built in areas where hurricanes just did not travel.

The Pioneer's Centennial

100 years after the initial landings, the people of Azure live decent lives. Living standards are less than what their great-grandparents had on Earth, but people have enough food and decent places to live. The population now exceeds 1.3 million, thanks to the high birth rates of the Mormons, Bahá'í, and Polynesians. A modern (23rd Century) economy can't be sustained with such a small population, but they make do with technology resembling the mid 21st Century, plus some innovations from living on an ocean world.

Cities remain as clustered floating habitats, and all inter-settlement trade is handled by ship. In the early emigration era, the Bahá'í settled the northernmost cities of the Cerulean Plains, while the Polynesians settled the equatorial regions. The Mormons took everything in between. This demographic divide persists somewhat, though no settlement is without representatives from each group.

While the extreme scarcity of land didn't bother the Polynesian pioneers, the Mormons and Bahá'í took exception to it. Over the past century, all these groups have worked together to build polders to create land from the sea floor. One area in the central-southern Cerulean Plains has an average depth of just 20 meters, the shallowest depths on the entire moon. 28 meter tall dikes were slowly built up around that area, and terrific expense to the new colony (4+% of the entire industrial output for a century), and the encircled area was drained to create Bountiful Island, the first dry land in Azure's history, about half the size of pre-inundation Rhode Island. Settlement of this artificial land has just begun, and more of these lands are in the planning stages.[3]

Each settlement handles its own political affairs, with varying degrees of democratic decision making. The LDS Church has a great deal of power in political matters, both due to the votes of the members and back-channel influence given that they founded the colony. It is perhaps fortunate that all groups on Azure can generally agree to adhere to their own traditions and beliefs, and generally leave everyone else alone.

Early on, ships from Earth would visit at least annually. Azure has seen fewer and fewer ships every decade since then. The last ship from Earth came by more than 20 years ago, dropped off some Bahá'í proselytes, and departed. The Polyandrists of Jotunheim are now more frequent visitors, stopping by every couple years or so. They claim to have contact with Novo Vaticano and Blackburn, an old Nobel Foundation research station now inhabited by the descendants of the researchers who refused to leave when their funding ran out. Earth, meanwhile, has become more inward-looking. Space is an unnecessary distraction from the concerns of Earth and its three billion citizens.

The frontier is not without its challenges, but the people who choose to inhabit it are well prepared, through hard work, innovation, and faith.

[1] See map, showing the path from Sol to Aureolin. Map created with

[2] This is close to the actual text of Missouri Executive Order 44, with the bits about "extermination" taken out, effective 1838-1976.

[3] See map. Water at depth less than 100 meters indicated in light blue. Settlements are shown pictographically with the correct layout but exaggerated in size.

On the Origins of the Names:
Aureolin, Amaranth, Azure, Cerulean: Shades of yellow, red, blue, and blue, respectively.
LPF: Lunar Planet Finder
NS Brynner-Adams: Neutron Star in the "Magnificent Seven" Cluster. Named for the actor and character of one of the Seven.
Timpanogos: An unspellable mountain in Utah
Great Oceanic World: Salt Lake City was originally known as "Great Salt Lake City". Awful name.
Jotunheim: English reworking of the World of Giants in Norse mythology.
Novo Vaticano: New Vatican in Portuguese.
Blackburn: Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008.
Lotus: Named for the beautiful Bahá'í temple in India
Ringstone: An important symbol for the Bahá'í. Here, the city's shape is in the shape of the symbol.
Uchtdorf: Current Mormon apostle.
Helamã: "Helaman" in Portuguese, a Book of Mormon prophet.
Zarahemla: Capitol city of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon.
Moroni: Book of Mormon prophet. Also, the angel on Mormon temples.
Nefi: Spanish for "Nephi", another Book of Mormon prophet.
Hétóng: Mandarin transliteration for "Covenant".
New Manu'a: Named for a Samoan city.
Mataliki: Tongan name for the Pleiades.
Nafanua: Samoan warrior princess.

Any differences (and I'm sure there are some) between my Latin and correct Latin can be chalked up to the fact that the Latin of this map is actually Revived Latin, and undergone some grammatical changes during its revival. :p

Some credit is due to @B_Munro , whose excellent German Islam map (in turn based off work by @Venusian Si ) inspired this map.

The text from the map is displayed below:
In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, Western Christians once more began to take seriously talks of establishing an independent state for their people. Various organizations, most based out of the leading colonial powers of the day where Western Christians had the longest history of oppression, formed to advance the goal of a Western Christian homeland. Though many areas around the world were advanced for the Western Christian homeland, the area around Roma, significant for its role as the home of the Popes before the Taabrachtian sack and the homeland of the Latin language, used as the liturgical language of Western Christians. Roma was also claimed as important by the Taabrachtians, who had erected an important Irminsul there after the conquest. Eastern states had a more tenuous claim over Italia as the cultural homeland of the Roman Empire, whose influence was still felt throughout the eastern world. Though their goal was opposed by the ruling Turks, Western Christians settled in the area around the city of Rome, taking advantage of the disintegrating authority around them to break immigration quotas and import machinery to bolster their growing settlements. Settlement continued even after the collapse of the Ottomans and the creation of the Indian-run District of Romania in central Italia. Western Christian immigration skyrocketed in the run-up to the Second Universal War. Many settlers in Italia looked on in horror as their relatives were slaughtered by the Arabian government in both Arabia and Arabian-occupied territory. Popular opinion in the foreign ministries of the victorious powers shifted in favor of the Western Christians and, after a short war against the Indians, the division of Romania between an independent, Western Christian, democratic state and a Taabrachtian one was decided upon by the World Co-Operative Union. Only hours later, the new State of Latium was invaded by its enraged Taabrachtian neighbors, which intended to establish a Taabrachtian administration over all Romania. Against all odds the new Legions for the Protection of Latium (LPL) fought off the invaders, expanding Latium at the expense of Romania, which was occupied by the Apenninians and Hispanians. Latium moved its government to Roma, as it held more historical significance than the previous capital of Centumcellae. To this day, few states recognize Roma as the capital, and the vast majority of countries retain embassies in Centumcellae. In 1950, the Curia signed into existance the Law of Return, allowing Western Christians to acquire citizenship of Latium with few questions asked. With such liberal immigration laws, Western Christians worldwide and deportations by Taabrachtian states further grew the new state. Just eight years after independence, Latium, by then firmly in the eastern camp fought a short war alongside their former colonial masters the Indians and the Iranians to open the Kalpe Gut against the Egyptian-backed Hispanians who had closed it to eastern traffic. While Latium had aligned with the eastern states of the Greater Levant, after the French evacuation from Madagascar in 1966, Latium shifted towards the Collected Doukatias, who, within years became Latium's strongest ally and top supplier of weapons. In 1967, Latium again fought its Taabrachtian neighbors, preemptively invading and defeating them all within six days and reoccupying the Gaeta Strip and Sabine Hills while adding the Trasumennian Strip and the area around Neapolis/Naap to its control. In the next few years, Latium received many immigrants from Western Bloc countries, principally Egypt and Palestina. 1971 marked the a major terrorist incident in Latium's history, in which Romanian nationalist insurgents held much of the Latium Olympic contingant hostage during that year's games in Madinah. The attackers were driven from the hostages at the cost of 11 athletes and one Arabian constable. A series of reprisals against Romanian nationalists both secular and religious was conducted in response to the attack, and this campaign is sometimes cited as one of the causes for the 1972 Saxon-Latium War. Saxon forces from all neighboring states began their invasion on Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days in Western Christianity taking the fasting, praying population of Latium by surprise. Despite initial setbacks, Latium mobilized its military and defeated the invaders within a month, even going so far as to occupy Hispanian artillery emplacements around the Kalpe Gut in an act of bluster. In 1976, Romanian nationalists once again gained notoriety worldwide when they hijacked a flight en route to Roma with primarily Western Christian passengers. The prowess of Latium's commandos gained worldwide renown for their work in the relief operation, in which 102 of 106 hostages were saved at the cost of only a single commando's life. Throughout the 1970s, and influenced by international movements, Western Christians of European descent began to push back against the discrimination they faced in Latium. Under the Sarofim government in the late 1970s, steps were taken towards the equality of all Latian Western Christians. The 1978 Fort Daniel Accords, brokered by the Collected Doukatias, brought lasting peace between Latium and Hispania and saw the withdrawal of Latian troops from the Neapolis region. Despite the assassination of Hispanian First Consul Ilda by Taabrachtian fundamentalists several years later, the Fort Daniel Accords brought lasting peace between Latium and Hispania. By the early 1980s, however, Latium was embroiled in the sectarian civil war in its formerly prosperous neighbor, the Apennine Othlocracy. The government was forced to recall its troops except for those in a buffer zone along the border after news of massacres turned public opinion against intervention. Latium faced an economic crisis in the mid-1980s, solved by the introduction of a new currency, the New Denari. The first of the major Saxon uprisings, fought in the Sabine Hills and Gaeta Strip broke out in 1987, leading to a guerilla war only ended with international mediation in 1995. In 1993, the Latians tested their first nuclear weapon, and since have acquired a sizable stockpile to dissuade invasion by state-sized actors. Latium has, since the end of the First Saxon Rising, fared relatively well, and since the start of the War on Terror by the Collected Doukatias, has further aligned itself with the eastern world. Extensive surveillance programs and wall-building projects have been conducted since the Second Saxon Uprising in 2000 and the increasing rocket launches into Latian territory from occupied lands have led to increasingly anti-Romanian sentiment in the Government of Latium, and condemnation for acts based on those sentiments in the worldwide community. International opinion is slowly shifting in favor of the Romanians over the Latians.

The Plainsman:


"Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have... the Lord shall be merciful unto them."

"Therefore, saith the Lord: I will not utterly destroy them, but I will cause that in the day of my wisdom they shall return again unto me, saith the Lord."

Heleman 15: 12; 16

It was said, that in 1836, the Mormon Prophet and LDS church founder Joseph Smith Jr was given Revelation at the Kirtland Temple by the Ancient prophet-historian Moroni, that the Book of Mormon was to be translated into all languages, but most Specifically, Spanish. This commandment was given for the reason of spreading the gospel to the people of Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the America's, who were remnants of the Ancient Lamanite people. Work on the translation of the Spanish versions was slow going, given the fact it wasn't the Prophet's top priority to do, and the fact that it was difficult to find people who knew the language, and even more so those that would actually work with him. No significant work was done on the translations until after the Mormons settled in the Salt Lake Valley in New Spain in 1848.

It was finally that, in 1851, a completed Spanish translation was made of the Book of Mormon. It was distributed throughout the Spanish American colonies, and missionaries went out as well to preach the gospel. Surprisingly, they found a good amount of success in the colonies, but not in the way they would've expected or would have advocate for. In the Book of Mormon, a recurring theme it talks about is the importance of Liberty and freedom, and how much the people valued them in those days. Many new coverts in the Spanish viceroyalties, inspired by the teaching of Liberty and freedom, began to lobby for independence for there respective viceroyalty. Others protested against Spanish rule and demanded for independence, of at least for greater liberties.

One group of new converts in particular, compared to the others, were quite radical. They resided in the eastern part of New Granada, where a large number of LDS converts resided. While the converts throughout the America's experienced persecution for their beliefs, the ones in eastern New Granada had it the worst of it. Mormon meeting houses and businesses were desecrated - sometimes even destroyed - , people were killed, humiliated, or driven to and fro throughout the land, and even the government tried to ban the religion within the country.

This must've been the breaking point for the Mormon coverts, for in May of 1862, they organized a takeover of the two eastern departments (Venezuela and Orinoco) and declared themselves independent as the Lamanite Republic of Orinoco, setting up their capital in Angostura, renaming it New Zarahelma (Named after the traditional capital of the Nephites, oddly enough). New Granada were not amused that people of this peculiar Christian religion was trying to break itself from the rest of the colony. They sent armies to suppress this rebellion, but someow were beaten back just about everytime. This inspired people throughout Spanish America to do the same.

The conflict escalated to what is now known today, as the Great Lamanite Revolt.
MotF 166: England is My City

The Challenge

Make a map from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. Basically, show the misconceptions of a faraway land from the perspective of a country that doesn't understand much about said faraway land.


Based off of this world that I've been playing with for months. An alt-earth, mapped south-to-north, has been established for human settlement to learn from the mistakes here on earth. The problem is that only the immediate Caribbean region (aka Discount Earth from the shitpost thread) could actually be transported over to that world because of its diversity relative to the cost of ISOTting, and technology was limited (by design, so that humanity would never make some of the more devastating mistakes such as global climate change and nuclear/world war). Currently there are three states that claim to be the legitimate representation of Chinese people on alt-earth, with one also pushing claims to a large swath of *Indochina and its natives as well.


Paratemporal Institute Report

Despite Dr. Saunders' initial reaction, we do not believe that Artifact QM-176002a indicates an alternate geography on timeline Aleph-8644. Further evidence suggests that this timeline featured an Anglo-Saxon kingdom or state surviving into the 17th century or beyond, and taking part in an equivalent to the Age of Exploration. It is probable that the cartographer attempted to collate reports from multiple expeditions, suggested by the variety of dates given at points around the map. The inaccuracies most likely result from imperfect or incomplete information.


Recreation of a map attributed to Agathodaemon of Alexandria, 172 CE

The Roman expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa was made possible by several successful expeditions along the Nile towards Lake Victoria, treks across the Sahara towards the Niger and maritime exploration of the eastern and western coastlines in the 1st and 2nd Century CE. The following trade, conquest and colonization only served to further overextend and destabilize the Roman empire and the cities founded mostly fell to ruin or were conquered by the late 7th Century.

~90 CE
Motivated by reports of flourishing ivory, spice and slave trade Roman senators and governors start pushing for military expeditions towards the Horn of Africa under the guise of fighting piracy in the Red Sea. This campaign secures Lower Egypt, incorporated into the Province Nubia as well as the Province Barbaria which consists of what is today Eritrea and Northern Somalia.

~110 CE
After Reports of the resources to be found in Western Africa several independent merchants organize missions to exploit the region, settling at the mouth of the Dara (Senegal River) and the Festus (Gambia River). The North African mercenaries hired for protection soon prove to be unreliable leading to the merchants requesting military assistance by the Roman army. This is considered by many historians to be the first example of state sponsored colonialism in Africa.

~150 CE
Civilian Roman colonization begins in Western Africa, made possible by the vast technological and tactical superiority of the Romans compared to the West African Tribes and Forest people.
Colonization of Cabo Verde, Madeira and the Canary Islands begins in an effort to create a more reliable trade network along the African coast.
On the east coast Zanzibar is conquered in order to create an outpost closer to the large trade hubs in modern day Tanzania.

Curiosities and Innacuracies
The Garamantian Kingdom is perceived to be a large network of oasis states throughout the Sahara, despite only exerting direct control over its core territories around Garama. This is thought to be caused by their large trade influence and infrequent Roman contacts to the cities in question. Kanum and Buktums influence is similarly overestimated.

The tribes of southern Sudan and the Ethiopian highlands are also lumped together as united political entities, despite them being fractured and lacking the necessary infrastructure to run such an empire.

The existence Puntum seems to be a combination of the Egyptian myth of Punt and Roman ignorance to the complicated political relations between the local tribes and statelets.

Inability to circumnavigate and the believe in the three-continents system lead to the assumption that there was no further land south of Tanzania and Guinea. This lead to the creation of Antipodia (meaning opposite of the world) and the thought that Lake Victoria lead directly into the southern ocean. This was inspired by the similar idea that the Caspian Sea lead into an ocean north of Asia, hence the name Anticaspium. The Niger was also assumed to flow into the Nile, despite it's mouth being discovered.

The city of Urbis Antichthones remains a mystery to historians, though most speculate it to be an invention by the maps author. It is however cited as an inspiration for Thomas More's fictional city of Utopia.
MotF 167: The Switcheroo

The Challenge

Make a map reversing a common AH trope (i.e. Americanized Balkans instead of Balkanized America, Lesser East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, Northern Secession, etc.)


April 1940:
During Operation Weserübung the Kriegsmarine is intercepted by the Royal Navy. Unwilling to back down Hitler decides to commit to a Skagerrak-style battle. Germany still manages to invade and occupy Denmark and Norway, though their navy is rendered useless for the rest of the war.

June 1941:
Operation Barbarossa is put into effect. The German army makes huge gains deep into the Soviet Union.

February 1943:
After the German defeat at Stalingrad and the begin of Operation Uranus a German loss in the east is seen inevitable by the German High Command. This is made clear to Hitler who decides that Germany must be saved from a Bolshevik invasion by any means necessary. He decides to pull more troops from the Western Front in order to delay Soviet advances as much as possible.

Juli 1943:
Allied troops land in Sicily. Without a lot of German support Italy falls very quickly. The Southern Front is moved all the way up to the Po River and the Alps.

May 1944:
Without German naval harassment and Resistance intel that the Channel ports are relatively weak on defense Operation Overlord is able to take place a lot sooner.

April 1945:
In the west Allied Forces cross the Rhine. In the east the Soviets reach their original borders again after almost 4 years of German occupation. Stalin becomes increasingly concerned that the Soviet Union might not get the seat they'd like on the peace table without occupying a significant portion of Germany or occupied eastern Europe. His forces get bogged down in East Prussia and Poland by desperate and fanatical German resistance.

May 1945:
The Soviets finally breach the German defenses, but not in the significant manner they had hoped. The Germans are able to slowly fall back to the Vistula and not even the most optimistic Generals think that the Red Army has a shot at reaching Central Germany before the Western Allies capture Berlin. Thanks to the weak German resistance the Western Allies are able to launch diversionary Invasions in Denmark and Norway to accelerate the collapse of the Reich.

June 1945:
In a final attempt to break the stalemate in the east and expand his influence in post-war Europe Stalin orders the execution of Operation Sea Eagle which sees landings all along the Pomeranian coast. The ill-prepared invasion soon grows into a giant blood bath, not entirely unwished for by Stalin, seeing that the Divisions that formed the first waves were mostly made up of prisoner battalions or Ukrainian "repatriated" units. After the invasion almost ends in disaster the Soviets manage to gain a foothold behind the main lines of defense and the race for Berlin is truly on again. The Invasion becomes known as the "Human Tsunami" amongst the western press.

The Pale Continent

"The Mukwia[1] has been given every advantage in life. A cool climate, beasts of every sort, fields of coal that the savage pik-skins crush under foot without so much as a thought. The the Mukwia are clever, conniving, and yet they show no ingenuity, no desire to explore to invent, they only employ their intellects to find their way out of honest work. This is why I believe that it is our holy duty to civilize the people of this savage subcontinent."

-Ankaria Mwma

A Brief History of the Republic of Mwmakazi

It is often said that the turning point for African civilization was the so-called "Merovian Exchange", when the sack of the city of Meroe by the Kemetites led to the spread of advanced information down the coast of Africa, including the Merovian script, which remains in use to this day. Still others insist it was the Bantu Migration, bringing steel work and yet more advanced technologies, in addition to the race that today makes up the bulk of the population of the nations of Southern Africa. Most would agree, though, that the inherent superiority of Africans has something to do with it.

Regardles, the meteoric rise of Southern African civilization began and was centered in the highlands of Monomotopa. As the Kingdoms of the highlands sought to increase their advantage over their rivals, they expanded into the tsetse infested lowlands, and organized massive campaigns of extermination and adaptation. Over the course of centuries, the Monomotpan model of civilization had expanded itself from the Cape at the top of the world to the edge of the Sahel at the bottom.

Civilization went through its own history, its twists and turns. Few could have predicted that when the hated Fire Worshippers of Zanj immolated Zose Kil Vamwari, who claimed to be the living incarnation of all the gods of Monomotopa, he would rise from the dead, forge an empire stretching from the mounts of Simien to the isle of Diab[2], and craft the prominent faith of the world. Nor could anyone have predicted the sudden rise of the Cannibal Anziku, and its spectacular fracturing into the hundreds of princelets of West Africa and Zaire. Nor could the arrival of Malays on the isle of Diab have been predicted, or how it led to a fascination with exploration, culminating in the Zairean Tingway Mbutu launching a sailing expedition to the kingdom of Cathay, ushering in the age of African exploration.

Myths had always existed of the lands to the far north, a place of Wolf-Men, Horse People, screaming winters and endless foreboding forests, known to the people of Africa as Yapheth. But, for most of its history, it was little more than a curiosity, with nothing to offer beyond furs, silver and amber. When Phekezela Mnangagwa rounded the Cape of Kadik into the Wine Sea, he documented the city statelets that dotted the coastline, finding them to be somewhat civilized but surrounded by endless hordes of wild barbarians. Cities like Remes and Carthage attempted to assert something like civilization, but the dense forest cover and the constant outbreaks of bubonic plague kept them from advancing far into the interior.

The early stage of African colonialism was marked by trade concessions and factories, controlling the few rich cities of the coast, arranging deals with the savages further inland. When the Industrial Revolution came about in Monomotopa, a new interest came in the Pale Continent, and doubly so when it was discovered by West African pilots that the island of Alba had significant coal deposits. Though originally claimed by one of the West African kingdoms, Monomotopa muscled its way in to secure the coal supplies, primarily due to the campaigning of one industrialist by the name of Ankaria Mwema. Mewma raised up the island as his own personal project, encouraging Africans to settle the land, to tame it and teach the pink savages how to live as civilized men. In his honor, the colony was termed Mwmakazi, divided between its northern and southern portions.

Unlike most of the other African colonies in Yapheth, which were majority Mukwia ruled by a small administrative overclass, the African population of Mwmakazi was extremely large. As the colonizing powers began to liberalize in the wake of the Great Kemetite War, they abandoned their colonies one by one. They demanded that Mwmakazi open itself up to fair and free elections with full enfrachisement for pinks. Instead, Southern Mwmakazi issued a unilateral declaration of independence, declaring itself a free state in a move recognized by few. Joined by neither North Mwmakazi nor Eriuland, Mwmakazi finds itself a lone wolf, surrounded by enemies, especially in the form of the Collectivist post-colonial state of Gaul, which funded Collectivist an Pink Power groups throughout Mwmakazi.

Today, Mwmakazi remains a rogue state. It's development of nuclear weapons, thanks to collaboration with its fellow state North Africa, has ensured it will remain independent for the forseeable future. Eriuland, now named Scotia, and North Mwmakazi, now named Alba, both violently oppose the existence of the Mwmakazine State along with their Gallic allies.

The native tribes of Mwmakazi are brutally oppressed by the African minority, divided into tribal trust lands, constantly exploited. Collectivist revolutionaries hide out in the country side, launching hit-and-run campaigns to fight for the independence of their Pink brothers. The so-called Moor Wars are marked by atrocities on both sides, with the Mwmakazines keeping the fighting north of the arbitrarily drawn "Pink Line". The most notorious of the rebels is one Seisyll Rodos, who calls for the abdication of Prime Minister Mugabe, and the replacement of the State of Mwmakazi with a native name. Since the Cymru, the Cornu, the Donbun, the Frisones and the Lloegor have little in common with each other, Rodos has identified a national symbol in the form of the stone circles that dot the country side, signs of the glory of their people. With this in mind, he hopes to call it "Cromlech".