Chapter 1
  • Separated at Birth

    “The story of the twentieth century is a story of two brothers separated at birth, one raised in America and one in Africa. Their father was British, their mother French, but as is always the case it was their upbringing that shaped their characters.”- Wolf Hugeson, The Eagle and the Dragon, 2010


    “He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their Transportation thither… determined to keep open a Markett where Men should be bought and sold.”- Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1776


    “The descent from Adam issues forth two radically different lineages, that of Cain and that of Seth. We are told to revile Cain, but it is to Cain that the bible attributes the building of the first city. It is Cain’s descendants Jabal and Jubal who initiate the domestication of cattle and invent musical instruments, and their descendant Tubal-Cain who invents metallurgy. As for Seth- those who worship the philosophy of handicapping eagerly claim him as an ancestor, but the bible attributes not a single great accomplishment to either Seth or any of his descendants prior to Noah who is the antithesis of the handicapped ideal… There are two lines of man, let us claim the one of city-builders.”- Elvira Naldorssen, I Grant You Dominion Over Them, 1901


    Chapter 1

    It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that a TL diverges from OTL. Often the initial POD will be something tiny and unrelated to its broader consequences- some peasant in China plowing one extra furrow, or a homeless beggar in Baghdad opting to sit on a different street corner that day. It’s not until the butterflies have been flapping for a while that we see the real changes start to emerge.

    As such while it’s difficult to say exactly when the “Separated at Birth” timeline first diverged from OTL, the differences start to become apparent when looking into politics in the southern American colonies in the 1750’s. The early changes are minor- different wording appearing in speeches delivered in colonial assemblies, meetings being held on different dates, certain persons taking greater or lesser roles than they had in the history most familiar to us- but these changes accumulated. By the early 1770s it was clear that the Loyalist movement (those calling for loyalty to the King in opposition to the Patriots who wanted independence) was noticeably (if only marginally) stronger than OTL and also more based in the Southern Colonies than the Middle Colonies (as was the case IOTL). In Georgia- the most loyal of the colonies- this was enough to tip the balance ever so slightly against the Patriots. Georgia abstained from participating in the First Continental Congress in 1774 and initially sent no official representatives to the Second Continental Congress in 1775. ITTL Patriot efforts to organize a Second Provincial Congress for Georgia that would have sent delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia were disrupted and fighting between a Loyalist militia led by Thomas Brown and armed Georgian Patriots ended in a victory for the Loyalists. As the other twelve colonies rose in rebellion against the Crown Georgia would remain loyal- albeit with a simmering insurgency in places such as St John Parish and eventually a Patriot government for Georgia-in-exile located in neighboring South Carolina.

    In Philadelphia the absence of the Georgian delegates (the Georgian Patriots would eventually send representatives, but they arrived too late) led to the narrow adoption of a passage proposed by Jefferson but rejected in OTL that condemned slavery (and slave revolts) into the Declaration of Independence. This led again to just a bit more loyalism in the Southern Colonies and contributed to a growing sense among many Americans that associated Loyalists with slave owners and the South, aided by the absence of the OTL Dunmore’s Proclamation due to the Earl of Dunmore failing to flee Williamsburg before he could be seized by the Patriot mob.

    In OTL this antislavery clause composed by Thomas Jefferson in the rough draft above was excluded from the Declaration of Independence due to opposition from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.

    The American Revolution in the world of Separated At Birth was a much closer-run thing than it was OTL.

    Britain went into the war with greater confidence that there was a Loyalist presence in the colonies to support them and had some decent luck. In the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania George Washington made the unfortunate decision to turn and look behind him at the wrong moment, prompting Patrick Ferguson to shoot him down as he didn’t need to fear shooting a man in the back. Fortunately Washington’s second-in-command Artemas Ward of Massachusetts (a fellow veteran of the French-Indian War and popular Patriot leader) was able to take his place as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and managed to force the same stalemate in the north as OTL, prompting Cornwallis to make his OTL decision to adopt a “southern strategy” and invade the Southern Colonies (this time via loyal Georgia).

    The fighting there went much better than OTL with greater support from American Loyalists and Patrick Ferguson (already well-known for having killed the rebel leader Washington) proving the efficacy of his Ferguson Rifle (an expensive but highly effective early breechloading rifle) in several victories including an alternate Battle of King’s Mountain. Desperate for more soldiers to stop the British advance Artemas Ward extended the OTL practice of promising freedom for slaves who enlisted in the Continental Army. OTL this policy only existed in New England, resulting in one fifth of the soldiers of the northern regiments of the (racially integrated) Continental Army being black. ITTL Ward’s desperate decision to make this offer to any slave who could reach the Continental lines will result in the American forces being a fifth black overall and will see Sir Henry Clinton refrain from issuing any version of the Philipsburg Proclamation.

    "Every man of every color and description has a natural right to freedom."- OTL John Jay quote

    The response by the Continental Congress was to narrowly pass a bill stating that any slave belonging to a Patriot who enlists without the permission of his master will have to be returned to slavery but declaring that all slaves belonging to Loyalists are free regardless of their willingness to fight. The Jay Declaration (named for its author John Jay) was an act of desperation, intended to pressure Loyalists to switch sides out of fear of a slave rebellion and to deprive many Loyalists of their most valuable property (slaves).

    The tide began to turn not long after (probably not due to any effect of the Jay Declaration, but that won’t stop later American politicians from trying to draw the connection) with new victories and the entrance of France, Spain, and the Netherlands into the war on America’s side. The war became somewhat international, with Admiral Richard Kempenfelt capturing Dutch Kaapstad in Africa and the Royal Navy taking Trinidad and Hispaniola in the Caribbean. None of this would prevent Lord Cornwallis from being cornered at Yorktown as he was in OTL, with the Americans on one side and the French navy on the other. In the end the Revolutionary War concluded with the Second Peace of Paris, recognizing American independence and shuffling around the colonial possessions of the European powers involved; Britain losing Florida but gaining the Dutch Cape and the other Caribbean islands being returned to their respective owners.

    A slave beating another slave at the behest of his master in the Dutch Cape prior to British colonization.

    The war’s aftermath diverged further from the familiar beaten track of OTL however. Many of the slaves who enlisted to fight in the Continental Army were re-enslaved by Patriot slave-owners who had supported the revolution but thousands who had been freed by Ward from Loyalist owners remained freed. With little interest by either the northern or southern states to accept large populations of black freedmen many of them proceeded to settle in Georgia which already had a large number of freedmen due to having had such a high percentage of Loyalist slave-owners. Ward had permitted them to settle territory confiscated either from Loyalist landowners or from Native American tribes who had backed the British and been driven from their lands. A state constitution imposed from Philadelphia granted universal male suffrage and allowed African-American military veterans (only) to vote, making it an attractive place for Ward’s veterans to settle. While Georgia’s initial state government was controlled by white Georgian Patriots an attempt by said government in 1785 to expel black members of the State Assembly and make the franchise whites only was defeated in the Jay Rebellion when mixed-race freedman Seth Jay (he named himself after the Founding Father whose declaration had freed him) led a rebellion of black veterans who seized Savannah and together with white allies took control of the state government.

    Jay’s Rebellion proved one of the first major hurdles of the new American state with the weak national government under the Articles of Confederation unable to intervene and the defeat of a volunteer militia out of South Carolina by Jay and his men raising the specter of a war between states that could create an opening for European powers to interfere. In the end Ward intervened as peacemaker, the “Father of the Country” hammering out the Compromise of 1786 (as historians would eventually dub it, connecting what people of the time knew as ‘that deal in Columbia’ to later political compromises). Under the Compromise the Continental Congress recognized Seth Jay’s government as the legitimate government of Georgia and Georgia agreed to keep slavery legal, passed a very strict law promising to permit agents of other states to enter Georgia and recover fugitive slaves if need be, and paid an (unfairly high) restitution to all whites who were injured or lost property in the rebellion.

    IOTL there were black soldiers who served in the Continental Army, which did not segregate units by race as the later US Army would do. Rather more former slaves fought for this British than the Americans however- but not in this timeline. Instead we have a large pool of experienced African American veterans who risked their lives for American Liberty.

    The legacy of Jay’s Rebellion would be strong support for a new constitution to create a stronger federal government by southern states eager to prevent such things from happening in the future, and the inclusion of an African American state with majority rule (it probably wasn’t African American-majority at the time of the rebellion, but certainly was by the census of 1790) in the Union almost from its inception. While Georgia would be forced to retain slavery, subject to slave-catchers hunting unrestricted for runaways among its population, reduced to penury by the restitutions forced upon it, ignored by beneficial national policies, see its representatives in New York mocked and excluded by political parties and factions, be used as a dumping-ground for unwanted free blacks by the other states, and have its state politics controlled (initially) by an aristocracy that was merely black or mixed race rather than white, it would nevertheless offer an example of successful black self-governance for America.

    As for the half-million Loyalists (about 25% of the white population of the 13 Colonies), something odd happened.

    Approximately 150,000 of the “King’s Loyal Americans” fled the colonies after “Separated at Birth’s” version of the Revolutionary War. About 30,000 settled in the Canadas as they did OTL, approximately 25,000 relocated to other parts of the empire, but an unbelievable 95,000 moved (not all at once, over half settled at first in the British Caribbean before continuing on) on to the Cape Colony of South Africa, newly acquired from the Dutch. Certainly the British Parliament was eager to encourage loyal Britons to move there so as to better cement the new colony into the British Empire, and certainly they offered larger land grants for settlers in South Africa than were offered in either Canada or the Caribbean, but it’s still hard to understand. Why South Africa over the much closer and well-established Canadas? Why did so many Hessian mercenaries who had fought in the war also take up the invitation to settle there?

    Well history is like that sometimes. The authors of fiction are called upon by their public to make sense- reality has but one author and he has shown little inclination to respect the opinions of his public (often in patently absurd ways).

    Just hang that lampshade anywhere.

    The new colonists found themselves rapidly drawn into conflict with the native Africans, partly because the land-grants they had been issued often intruded on native land and partly because most of the Loyalists were from the south, had lost the majority of their slaves in the Revolution, and so sought to acquire new ones. Culturally the colonists doubled down on their sense of loyalty to Britain and the King, their faith in the Loyalist Ideology and a hierarchical class structure, belief in the importance of the Church of England, and desire to be “more British than Britain”. As part of this “ultra-plus Anglophilia” a request is made by some among the colonists to rename the Cape Colony which was granted its original name by the pro-American Dutch. Rather, they would like to call it after a famous British hero and explorer.

    London saw little harm in their request, and on May 4th, 1789 of the Christian Era- two months after a new constitution had come into effect in the United States of America and 182 years to the day after the founding of Jamestown Virginia- the Crown Colony of Drakia was formally inaugurated.

    *cue thunder*

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    Chapter 2

  • Chapter 2

    Artemas Ward was a profoundly different man than George Washington.

    Where Washington was the first-born son of a southern aristocrat Ward was the sixth child of a middle class New Englander. Washington was a slave-owner and a career soldier, Ward flirted with teaching and later owned a small business. Washington was only grudgingly persuaded to become active in politics, while Ward felt called to public service and held a series of elected offices both before and after the Revolution, abandoning his political career only when his health forced him to. Both men were dedicated Patriots and sincere believers in the American Republic, both were popular with their troops and the fellow citizens of their nation. Artemas was more charismatic than the Virginian, Washington a superior general.

    In this universe, with Washington dead to Patrick Ferguson’s bullet at the Battle of Brandywine, it is Artemas Ward who led America to victory in the Revolutionary War, gained the acclaim and adoration of the nation, and acquired the moniker “Father of the Country”. The cult of personality that made Washington uncomfortable was embraced by Ward and he needed little prompting to run in the first presidential election. While his victory was all but predetermined the Vice-Presidency was not, and a collection of different candidates sought the office- mostly southerners seeking to ensure that the South was represented in America’s first administration. Henry Lee III won a plurality, leaving the first Presidency geographically balanced between the Virginian Lee and the Massachusite Ward. The Constitution they operated under was almost identical to OTL, with only a few token differences and the absence of the 3/5ths clause- a victory by the southern states who wanted to count slaves to grant themselves greater representation in the House over northern states who didn’t want to count non-citizens at all so as to reduce southern representation. The capital also ended up remaining in New York (which served as a provisional capital OTL) as part of this deal, although a chunk of southern Manhattan was carved away from New York State to become alt-DC (roughly corresponding to what would have become the OTL Financial District).

    Artemas Ward. Largely forgotten OTL, but Father of the Country in the Separate-verse.

    Later Americans will attempt to attribute to Artemas Ward a variety of positions and attitudes that he did not actually hold, in particular he will be held up as some as an antislavery abolitionist despite his actual behavior. While neither a slave owner nor terribly racist, and while he was responsible for the Compromise of 1786 that preserved Georgia as a self-governing African America state, he had raised little objection to the post-war re-enslavement of the slaves of Patriot owners who had enlisted in the Continental Army without permission. Faced with a South that was deeply unhappy over the situation in Georgia and openly hostile towards petitions to outlaw slavery nationally (this happened OTL) he sought to calm the situation with concessions to the slave states. This included a strong version of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 and policies that banned slaves from enlisting in either state militias or the new US Army and made it impossible for new black immigrants to gain American citizenship.

    To his credit however, Ward was a strong believer in universal male suffrage and openly campaigned against property qualifications for voting. Unlike Washington he traveled often across the country, visiting all of the thirteen states to encourage national unity and overseeing the incorporation of Vermont as the 14th state. Many of the same figures ended up in Ward’s cabinet as Washington’s albeit with some differences (Jefferson served as Attorney General, John Jay as Secretary of State) and he endorsed many of Hamilton’s financial suggestions (opposed as per OTL by Jefferson). There was a Bank of the United States and early efforts to develop national infrastructure. Most notably however, Ward departed from Washington’s policies in his decision to actively support France during the French Revolutionary Wars against Britain and refrained from issuing any version of Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality.

    Instead Ward permitted Citizen Genet to raise a pro-French militia in the United States and recruit Americans privateers to fight for France while continuing to repay America’s debt to France. This triggered to hostile actions by Britain against American shipping and saw a British policy of encouraging the Western Confederacy to attack American settlers pushing into the Northwest Territory. Ultimately tensions between the United States and the British Empire culminated in Ward’s decision to honor the Treaty of Alliance, drawing the United States into the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. The war between America and Britain resembled a combination between the Northwest Indian War and the War of 1812, plus an ill-conceived American invasion of Florida. It would draw off British forces to the Canadas and the Caribbean who were deployed to Europe OTL, this (along with some very good French luck) resulted in a very different outcome to the French Revolutionary Wars.

    If we'd stuck with this alliance instead of hanging France out to dry the way Washington and Hamilton had wanted... but I have no strong feelings on the matter.

    I’m not going into too much detail into the alt-French Revolutionary Wars but butterflies saw a different series of events with OTL individuals playing different roles or no roles at all. Robespierre never rose to prominence, instead a shorter but no less intense La Terreur occurred under the leadership of Jean-Paul Marat followed by the rise of saner governments. Napoleon still gained prominence thanks to his leadership abilities that he leveraged to enter politics, but the circumstances that IOTL led to his assuming the title of Caesar and establishing a monarchy never occurred. Instead Napoleon ended up First Consul of a rather authoritarian French Republic (without the need for the OTL coup, it was a semi-voluntary reorganization of the Directorate), successfully led France to victories and launched invasions of Britain and Ireland. While the invasion of Britain was a rapid failure the invasion of Ireland prompted a general Irish uprising that was only suppressed with great difficulty and brutality (France tried to invade Ireland OTL and actually landed troops at one point).

    The French Revolutionary Wars (no one calls them the Napoleonic Wars ITTL) ended in 1812 much more satisfactorily for France than OTL. Napoleon preserved the French Republic under his personal dominance (there were at least regular elections and a legal opposition, but no real chance of the First Consul ever actually losing) and Sister Republics in the Netherlands, Italy, and part of Germany. Italy and the alt-Confederation of the Rhine (a Republican affair ITTL) both “elected” Napoleon as their head of state and Spain ended up a client state of France under the shaky rule of Charles IV. While France gained different pieces of various neighbors one of their proudest achievements was the successful prying away of the Channel Islands from British rule.

    Ah, Jean-Paul Marat. It's difficult to say whether he was actually crazier than Robespierre or not, but I've long cherished the impression that the pain-maddened newspaperman reached heights of madness the lawyer from Arras could only dream of.

    For France the legacy of the Revolutionary Wars would be a vast (and overstretched) empire in Europe, the loss of most of its overseas colonies, and a dangerous sense of invincibility.

    For Eastern Europe the legacy of the wars will be a continuing Holy Alliance of conservative powers against the liberal threat of France.

    For Latin America the legacy of TTL’s Peninsular War would be the emergence of a collection of juntas controlling most of the different Spanish colonies and nominally loyal to the exiled King Ferdinand VII. As in OTL the Portuguese monarchy fled to Brazil, elevated the colony to the status of an equal kingdom, and opted to remain in Brazil even after the withdrawal of French forces from Portugal at the end of the war.

    For America the legacy of the “Anglo-American War” would be one of defeat.

    The Royal Navy dominated the Americans at sea while the British and their Native allies won victory after victory over the untrained and unprepared US Army in the Northwest Territory, the Canadas, and Spanish Florida. New York was burned from the sea, forcing the government to flee to Philadelphia, and a force out of Canada briefly occupied Boston before sacking the city and withdrawing. The American military was all but hopeless at this point IOTL and ITTL there is no reason why that should be any different. Canada was less populated than OTL but the British garrison no weaker, and it was swiftly reinforced by Britain once the war began. Ward’s second and last term (he died in 1800 both ITTL and OTL and declining health prevented him from running for a third) was badly embarrassed by American military failures, although the American people will opt after his death to put the blame on his generals. America under President Thomas Jefferson agreed to a humiliating peace with Great Britain in 1807 that dropped American claims to disputed territory between Maine and British North America and between Georgia and Spanish Florida. America’s sole consolations were the defeat of the Western Confederation and the withdrawal of British forts from the Northwest Territory (the US eventually got its act together well enough to win victories in those areas).

    The attitude in America shifted to a grim sense of national unity tempered by a perception of military inferiority and a widespread fear that Britain’s distraction fighting France was the only thing that prevented a far worse conclusion to the war or even (according to some alarmists, this was never a real possibility) the reconquest of the United States and its forcible return to colonial status. Military experts will be imported from France to help America build up a strong, disciplined, professional armed forces. Both France and America noted the superior firepower of the Ferguson Rifle (whose success in the American Revolution prompted Britain to retain the expensive but otherwise quite effective weapon in general use for British marksmen) and America will eagerly study the advances of the Swiss-French gunsmith Jean Samuel Pauly whose inventions will not be ignored as they were OTL. The need of taxes to pay for this new military will be grudgingly accepted by voices otherwise resistant to such things, and the need for foreign allies- the Treaty of Alliance that Washington set aside in 1793 OTL will remain at least symbolically in effect for as long as France and the United States both continue to exist.

    ITTL’s future historians will note Thomas Jefferson’s successful purchase of Louisiana as of the few successes of a generally dismal administration.

    What’s that you say? There was another country that was profoundly influenced by the events of the French Revolutionary Wars? Well we’ll get Britain and her little colony in Africa next chapter.

    Have no fear.

    "Hey EBR, do you take constructive criticism on your post-French Revolutionary Wars Europeans borders?"

    Chapter 3

  • Chapter 3

    There was never any real chance of the French invasion of Britain succeeding. The Royal Navy rapidly cut off the initial landing force, sank attempts to resupply and reinforce it, and British forces converged from across the island to destroy it. But the psychological impact on the British people cannot be understated. Not only had the French managed to successfully land troops and even capture a moderate-sized British port, but once cut off from resupply the French troops resorted to pillaging to keep themselves supplied. Once they realized their defeat was going to be inevitable they turned to a panicked spiteful rampage, devastating the area where they made their last stand. The battle for Ireland proved much more hard-fought, with the United Irishmen proving a bitterer foe than the French expedition who backed their uprising.

    The United Irishmen marching into battle. Did you that there was a time when Irish independence was supported by both Catholics and Protestants in Ireland? Sadly it will end in sectarianism just as it did OTL.

    For the British people the events of the French Revolutionary Wars shook their faith in British invincibility and planted very real fears of a future and more successful French invasion (ironically at the exact same time when Americans were fearmongering over the possibility of a future and more successful British invasion). The loss of the Channel Islands- integral British territory- was the final humiliation, even if the French, Dutch, and occasionally Spanish colonies that Britain acquired as a result of the wars were almost certainly more valuable. (Britain had little colonial competition in the aftermath of the French Revolutionary Wars- the Netherlands and Spain were French clients, Sweden and Denmark-Norway were focusing on the Holy Alliance, the Holy Alliance was focusing on France, Portugal was consumed by internal strife, and France was too busy in Europe to do any more by way of colonizing than back mostly unsuccessful attempts by their Spanish client retain control over its colonies- it held the Philippines and Puerto Rico and nothing else. The Spanish monarchy-in-exile tried to hang on to those of its New World colonies that it could, but Ferdinand’s incompetence saw all save for Cuba slip away.)

    But the British were not stupid- they could hardly have built the empires they did IOTL and ITTL if they had been- and in typical British fashion Parliament appointed a commission to consider Britain’s failures during the war and how to avoid them in the future.

    The Russell Commission was named for and headed by Thomas Macnamara Russell, a minor figure from OTL who played a key role in the defeat of the French Invasion ITTL and was catapulted to a degree of fame and herodom reserved in our universe for men such as Nelson. Russell himself played relatively little part in the Commission’s deliberations, his role being a largely ceremonial one, but crucially it was he who rephrased the goals of the Commission in a way that would echo down the ages.

    The questions the Commission needed answer (according to Russell) were three;

    1. How can Britain better prevent future invasions?

    2. How can Britain better respond to future invasions if they cannot be prevented?

    3. Given that it is impossible to know for certain what sort of weapons and tactics will be used in future wars, what can Britain do to strengthen itself in preparation for future wars in general?

    The Commission should not- Russell argued- waste its time on blame and recriminations over the conduct of individuals during the invasion. Instead it should emphasize what Britain can do to better fight France (or really anyone) in the future.

    Admiral Thomas Macnamara Russell of the Royal Navy

    Government committees usually get a bad rap whatever country you’re in, but they exist for a reason and that reason is that they work (better than having one individual take their place at least) on average, and the Russell Commission proved quite successful. Its finally report made a variety of recommendations, but two stand out in response to the third of Russel’s questions; a call for wider adoption of breechloading rifles (or at least a serious project to develop a cheaper and more easily manufactured version of the Ferguson Rifle), and the correct identification of the military benefits of greater industrialization. These may seem like common sense observations to my readers- and indeed governments identified similar things IOTL- but Britain ITTL made the decision to turn them into policy in an unprecedented way. The simultaneous British, French, and American investments into breechloading rifles will spur rapid advancement- particularly as they are aware of rival projects in each other’s countries and will not stop with practical breechloaders. They are a way off yet, but the technological race that began with breechloading rifles will continue to yield deadly fruits in ever newer and unexpected ways.

    As for industry, Great Britain realized that regardless of tactics or technology, industry will always be an advantage for the country that has more of it. In response they started launching programs that we will generously compare to the Five Year Plans of Nehru (as opposed to certain far bloodier and more unpleasant five year plans from certain other countries). Such programs- happening as they did in Britain in the early 19th century- would be far less sophisticated than those of the good Mr. Nehru and they had issues (sometimes quite severe) with corruption and profiteering, but they will achieve success. Aimed at developing heavy industry and spurred on by the fear of French Republicans/Irish Rebels/American Traitors on British shores they will see the still young industrial revolution skyrocket ahead. On the other side of the Channel France will answer with its own crash industrialization programs out of a concern over being left behind.

    And of course, none of this occurred in a vacuum- the Industrial Race and the Arms Race will be noticed by other countries, spurring participation by America and Prussia and other nations in time. The Separate-verse is on track to be more industrialized more quickly than OTL and to advance more rapidly down some (but not other) technological paths.

    National governments promoted industrialization IOTL, but this sort of crash industrialization is happening much earlier and much more frantically than OTL.

    Drakia was initially left out of the Industrial Race and its participation in the Arms Race both then and later will mostly consist of the Drakians eagerly and rapidly adopting other people’s inventions, but the French Revolutionary Wars and their aftermath were still tremendously influential on the development of the young colony.

    Drakia was only peripherally involved in the FRWs- the colony spent much of the time engaged in wars with neighboring Native African peoples as it expanded to accommodate an ongoing wave of mass immigration (those 95,000 Loyalists still in the process of immigrating in, most now from temporary homes in the British Caribbean)- but its inhabitants eagerly consumed news and reports of the fighting, particularly in North America. Accounts (often exaggerated or invented) of the exploits of the Drakian Legion, a small unit of Drakians fighting in Canada and New England, were devoured and retold. For the Loyalists who had fled their homes in the Thirteen Colonies for Southern Africa the Anglo-American War offered the promise of revenge and the Legion gained a name for brutality against American “traitors” in incidents such as the sack of Boston. Condemnations and hostile dissections of Republicanism as an ideology- whether French or America- abounded in Drakian broadsheets and pamphlets of the period and doctrines of equality were denounced from religious pulpits. The Loyalist Ideology that existed among the OTL exiles to Canada began to crystalize into something different in Drakia, but still had only taken the first steps down the road to Naldorssen and its final form.

    Of particular influence to Drakia during this time period was French immigration.

    Later Drakians will make much of the immigration from France after the French Revolution, presenting it as a wave of French nobility whose blood (once mixed with that of the exiled British Aristocrats of American) created a “nation of nobility”. In point of fact only one major French noble- the Duc de Choiseul- actually immigrated to Drakia after the French Revolution and a mere smattering of minor nobility joined him. The overwhelming majority of the French immigrants to Drakia were actually commoners, conservative French peasants from Brittany and other parts of northwestern France. During the 1820s and 30s they fled France in droves, seeking to escape political repression on the part of Napoleon whose willingness to tolerate a tame republican opposition did not extend to tolerating an opposition that was actively counter-revolutionary. Many were former members of the Red Army, a monarchist insurgent group whose rhetoric, symbolism, and name will be borrowed by conservative and reactionary rebels across the France and its client states.

    The Catholic and Royal Armies of Vendee, Brittany, and Normandy (aka the Red Army) were French Royalist conservatives who fought against the French Republic OTL even though most of their members were peasant and virtually all commoners. You know that thing in a TL were an OTL name, phrase, or symbol ends up having a totally opposite meaning for reasons of irony? We're doing that thing.

    Britain at this point in time was in the middle of a truly staggering wave of anti-Catholicism and Francophobia for obvious reasons, making it deeply unwelcome to any common French immigrants regardless of how conservative they were. Canada- which was already less Anglophone than OTL- had zero desire for additional Francophone inhabitants, and while America was undergoing a period of general Francophilia and considerably more tolerant attitudes towards Catholicism, most conservative French peasants weren’t interested in fleeing one republic for another closely allied to their former homeland.

    Instead a sizeable minority migrated to Drakia.

    It’s ironic that Drakia was so welcoming to the new French immigrants given their earlier history of Xenophobia- the Drakians had been deeply hostile to “un-English influences” upon their initial arrival in the Cape and their efforts to repress and eliminate Afrikaner culture would spur TTL’s Boer exodus. It’s difficult to think of a group regarded as more “un-English” than the French, but the Drakians embraced them with open arms. The French peasants were hard workers happy to help with the labor needed to settle Southern Africa and willing to take up arms in the constant struggle against the tribes as population pressure from immigration drove Drakia to expand. What truly endeared the French immigrants to the Drakians however, was something more fundamental.

    These French were fellow loyalists who- like the Americans Loyalists- had fled retribution at the hands of a victorious Republic. They shared Drakian values of monarchism, belief in the need for a social hierarchy, and the central nature of religion to society. Drakian society identified with the experiences of the French Royalists, sympathized with their treatment at the hands of the French Republic, and regarded them as kindred spirits. The French were welcomed with open arms and consciously integrated into the colony.

    It is ironic to note that periods of Francophilia swept both the United States of America and the Crown Colony of Drakia at roughly the same time in the early 19th century, with American obsessing over Republican France while Drakias favored a romanticized and largely imaginary version of the Ancien Regime. This Francophilia would have a permanent influence on the culture, identity, and politics of both countries, but much more so on Drakia which absorbed large numbers of actual Frenchmen.

    The Duc de Choiseul did a fair bit of wandering OTL- even ending up in India at one point- and it's faintly plausible he might somehow find himself in South Africa.

    Further immigration to Drakia drove additional expansion and conflicts with the Natives, and it was in the 1820s that the Drakian concept of the “citizen-soldier” began to emerge, a belief that any rights (which they did not regard as inherent in anyone) were earned through fulfillment of responsibilities- most notably the responsibility to serve the state by fighting for it. It was a theory closely connected to the European feudal concept of noble responsibilities to protect the common people present in France and Noblesse Oblige, as of course the largely common Drakians conceived of themselves as filling the role of the nobility in their emerging social order (even if they did not yet begun to assert the doctrine that all Drakians were nobility). More practically the citizen-soldier was a response to Drakia’s demand for soldiers to fight the Natives coupled with the inability of its economy to support a real standing army. Instead social pressures and formal policy by the British colonial governors pushed most Drakian men to learn basic fighting skills, making it possible for Drakia to mobilize small units of unprofessional soldiers on a part time basis to defend communities or for brief campaigns against Native Africans tribes. These disorganized and semi-trained troops were inferior in quality to European or even the increasingly professional American forces, but they were better than nothing and enabled a process of gradual and piecemeal expansion.

    Alliances with Native Tribes proved essential to victory in the Early Wars of Expansion. Peoples such as the Ndebele and the Fengu had been displaced by the Zulus in the expansion of the Zulu kingdom and were often happy to fight with the Drakians against their common Zulu and Xhosa enemies. Drakia focused on expanding into the territory of larger regional powers (the Zulus, Xhosa, and the Swazi) while respecting the territory of their weaker Native allies, whose land was usually not the best anyway. Professional British military assistance was often necessary regardless to keep things on track, but Drakia and its clients controlled about eighty-percent of OTL South Africa by the early 1830s. Increasingly the Drakian society that identified Drakian colonists with the nobility of traditional European culture began to regard conquered natives as naturally fitting into the slot of the subservient peasantry (even though for most either their ancestors or they themselves had been subservient peasants back in Europe).

    Drakia’s first territorial gain that came not at the expense of the African Natives but a European power was from Portugal.

    Portugal sold Mozambique to Britain after a series of unfortunate events, beginning with the devastation of Portugal by multiple French invasions during the French Revolutionary Wars, a period of effective British rule during which the Portuguese economy was subject to British economic needs, followed by a revolution that forced the King to return to Portugal from Brazil, a civil war between Absolutists led by the King’s younger son and Liberals who wanted to maintain a constitutional monarchy under the King that was won by the Absolutists and ended in the King’s death (OTL it was just a failed coup that the King won), then a second civil war when Pedro I (Brazilian independence was delayed long enough ITTL that the two countries were still united at this point) led a Brazilian army to invade Portugal and avenge his father’s death at his brother’s hands (or rather the hands of one of his followers acting without orders, but who’s counting) ending in Pedro’s defeat (OTL he won and gave up the crown of Brazil for Portugal), and then a final civil war when Portuguese radicals attempted to overthrow the deeply unpopular absolute monarchy of Miguel I and replace it with a republic (OTL this was an uprising calling for constitutional monarchy against a different monarch entirely, but the butterflies have been at work).

    King Miguel I "the Usurper" of Portugal.
    Stirling having Portugal sell its African colonies to Britain was actually one of the less ASB parts of the Drakaverse. Portugal had a truly miserable time of it after the Napoleonic Wars and it doesn't take a lot of alternations to the timeline to make that worse.

    With Portugal devastated by repeated wars, most of its colonies (including Angola and Portuguese Guinea) in the hands of a Brazilian Empire whose monarch still claimed the throne of Portugal, and King Miguel’s government fighting for its life against republican rebels, the bankrupt usurper chose to sell Mozambique- the last major colony that still recognized his government- to Britain to raise much needed funds. With the purchase of Mozambique in 1834 Britain was able to open the former Portuguese colony to Drakian settlement, relieving population pressures in the colony and bringing the Early Wars of Expansion to an end.

    Attitudes in Great Britain were generally positive regarding Drakia at this point in time. The Drakians were vocally loyal and had actively pushed to expand the territory of the British Empire with minimal investment by Britain itself. True, they had widespread slavery but it wasn’t terribly intense slavery- most Drakian farmers had a couple of slaves to help out on the farm while better off families had a few domestic slaves- as the mass plantation slavery of places like the Caribbean and the American South was uneconomical in South Africa. British legal protections had even granted slaves in the colony the rights to marry and live with their families, and restricted how they could be punished. Drakia lobbied successfully to be exempted from the Slavery Abolition Act of 1835 along with the territories of the East India Company, Ceylon, and Saint Helena, but it was generally understood that this exemption would be temporary and that slavery would shortly be abandoned there.

    Maybe once the ratcheting tensions with France and America have been dealt with they can start firmly but politely bringing them in line with the rest of the Empire.
    Chapter 4

  • Chapter 4

    Events were in progress in the Americas.

    Most of the Spanish colonies asserted their independence through revolution and civil war as the de facto independence that they had assumed during the French Revolutionary Wars became de jure in the face of an unacceptable French client in Madrid and an incompetent asshole at the head of the Spanish government-in-exile. Cuba remained under King Ferdinand VII who reigned from Havana and Puerto Rico was preserved for the French puppet Carlos V, but everywhere else went its own way. In the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata members of the Creole upper class overthrew the colonial junta in a revolution inspired by the United States, proclaiming a federal republic that they dubbed the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata . They successfully strangled an attempted Paraguay in the cradle, retained control over the southern part of the Banda Oriental, and persuaded Chile to join their loose union voluntarily. They lost Upper Peru to forces of the Lower Peruvian junta however, which simply renamed itself the Union of Peru and ruled as an independent autocracy. In New Granada liberal elements led by Antonio Narino fought a civil war against loyalists to King Ferdinand VII, ending the with the creation of the Republic of Colombia, a federal republic uniting the former Viceroyalty of New Granada and the Presidency of Quito.

    Mexico was where Ferdinand and his Royalists attempted to make their stand and after a brutal civil war with an ephemeral republic led by Jose Maria Morelos and different iterations of Royalist administrations ultimately losing out to a short-lived Mexican Empire under Augustin Iturbide. Iturbide’s empire lasted for a mere two years before his death and the division of Mexico between a northern Republic of Mexico under Vicente Guerrero and a southern Mexican State under the dictator Anastasio Bustamante. Bustamante proclaimed himself King of Mexico after only a year and Guerrero transformed himself into President-for-Life of the Republic in 1825. Nicolas Bravo followed Guerrero as dictator of Mexico after his death in 1830, reunifying Mexico under an authoritarian government that defeated Bustamante’s kingdom and launched a bloody invasion and occupation of Mexico’s former Central American provinces who had separated from Mexico earlier and formed a brief Federal Republic of Central America. Far northern Mexico remained weakly under the control of the distracted central government which invited immigrants from Ireland and France (a large portion of the same wave French conservative refugees who were settling to Drakia) settle in Tejas as a counter to American filibusterers who had been trying to move into the area illegally.

    Iturbide, Emperor of Mexico. He lasted a little longer IOTL.
    Haiti got by under the rule of Toussaint Louverture who died at the ripe old age of eighty ITTL, the authoritarian President of a French-style republic with a tame opposition. He successfully liberated Haiti, beat back a French attempt to conquer it, conquer/liberated neighboring Santo Domingo, normalized relations with America and the European powers, and established a stable (if somewhat oppressive) foundation for the Haitian Republic. His successor Joseph Brunel retained his Republic with its nature essentially unchanged, aligning Haiti with Britain in opposition to Haiti’s former colonial oppressor France and the slave-holding United States.

    Not that America was entirely slaveholding.

    In OTL the South tended to dominate American politics in the early years- the first President and three of the next four were Southerners and deals like the 3/5ths Compromise and the Compromise of 1820 ensured at minimum equal Southern and Northern representation in the House and Senate. Effectively this meant that control over the American government was impossible without some degree of Southern support prior to the election of Abraham Lincoln.

    ITTL this was reversed. The first President was the New Englander Artemas Ward and the greater importance of northern Founding Fathers such the explicitly abolitionist John Jay, plus the inclusion of Jefferson’s anti-slavery clause in the Declaration of Independence, and the existence of Georgia as a black-governed Southern state, gave America of the Separate-verse a much less racist, much more antislavery outlook from its founding. The absence of the 3/5th’s clause gave the South control over the House of Representatives but the unwillingness of Virginia and North Carolina to surrender OTL Kentucky and Tennessee to a northern-dominated Federal Government left the smaller, more numerous Northern states in control of the Senate. The Compromise of 1822 came about during the disintegration of Spanish-America when American settlers in western Florida declared independence as the Second Republic of West Florida and Ferdinand VII agreed to sell all of Florida (plus Spain’s claim to Oregon). Unlike the OTL Compromise of 1820 TTL’s Compromise of 1822 agreed only to maintain more than a third of the Union as slave states so that the Constitution could not be amended without Southern agreement and the admission of both East and West Florida as slave states to help balance out the more numerous northern ones.

    The Floridas.

    Either fortunately or unfortunately depending on one’s perspective, fear of the dangerous threat of Britain and greater national unity kept Southern grumbling to a minimum. Control of congress usually required support in both halves of the country and the two main parties- the Jeffersonian Republican Party and the Hamiltonian Patriot Party- both had northern and southern wings and neither took a hard stance on slavery. Instead they were distinguished by their attitudes towards the alliance with France, the power of the Federal government, and the ongoing immigration by English, Irish, and Polish Catholics fleeing either British anti-Catholicism or Prussian oppression. Sectionalism was also calmed by the willingness of Northerners to make concession to the South, as was the case in the Dahlonenga War.

    The Dahlonenga War was triggered by the discovery of gold in northwestern Georgia near Dahlonenga. Gold-seekers flooded into the area, triggering a conflict between the new arrivals and the pre-existing inhabitants- most of whom were members of the Cherokee Nation. Further conflict emerged between Georgian gold-seekers who were mostly black and had state land grants (which completely disregarded Cherokee land claims) and gold seekers from elsewhere in the Union who were mostly white and had no land grants whatsoever. When the State of Georgia began attempting to evict white squatters without land grants and tried to forcibly remove the Cherokee to make room for black settlers it set off a national crisis with black settlers and Georgia State Militia squaring off against white squatters, Cherokee fighters, and the North and South Carolina State Militias that threatened to cross the border and invade Georgia.

    Poor Cherokee. Don't worry, he'll get better.

    At this point the Federal Government (stronger than it was at this point in time OTL) stepped in. The South might not regard Native Americans as equal to whites, but when asked to pick between the slave-owning Cherokee who had converted to Christianity and adopted many European Cultural Practices and the black Georgians they came down firmly on the side of the Cherokee, and the North (despite outrage from the Midwestern states over the government siding with “red savages” instead of men whose families had fought with Ward for independence) let them. The Supreme Court recognized Cherokee ownership over the land in question and the State of Georgia was forced to back down in the face of threatened Federal intervention to protect their right to property. In the end Georgia came under tremendous pressure to cede its western territory and folded, giving up the mostly Native American lands that in OTL would have become northern Alabama and Mississippi, plus the northwestern corner of OTL Georgia itself.

    Four of the Five Civilized Tribes- the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw- lived entirely or almost entirely within the new Yazoo Territory and they came together in 1831 in the Congress of New Echota. Hoping not to have to rely indefinitely on the support of friendly whites advocating on their behalf to a foreign government in order to preserve their lands and sovereignty, the four tribes formally applied for statehood. Their goal was to acquired the constitutionally protected powers and rights of an American state.

    Their request triggered a flood of controversy, but eventually testimony from experts as to how “civilized” the tribes in question had become plus lobbying by the South which wanted another slave state, carried the day. The new Native American-majority slave state was named Jefferson, for the Founding Father who had insisted that natives were the equal to whites and called for their assimilation, and its representatives in Congress generally sat as Southern Republicans who voted for Southern interests. Georgia’s former goldfields mostly ended up owned by former white squatters.

    The admission of the State of Jefferson to the Union had two major impacts. One was that it directly led to the downfall of the black aristocracy that had controlled Georgia since Jay’s Rebellion as its failure to achieve such basic goals as the abolition of Georgian slavery and the preservation of their territorial integrity delegitimized them in the eyes of Georgia’s emerging middle class. The other impact was the message that it sent to Native Americans. IOTL the Trail of Tears and the forced relocation of the Five Civilized Tribes sent a message that no matter what religion they adopted, what clothes they worse, or what language they spoke, no native would ever have rights that the United States government or the governments of its several states were required to respect. The message of the State of Jefferson- particularly the public debates in Congress over whether the natives there were civilized enough to grant them a say in America’s political process- was that if a tribe assimilated and became “civilized” it could use American laws and courts to protect itself from outright ethnic cleansing at the very least. This was not an entirely positive message as it demanded cultural suicide on the part of Native Americans as the price for human rights, but it was a more positive message than OTL (and boy isn’t that a low bar).

    The locations of the Five "Civilized" Tribes at this point in time, plus how they were removed OTL.

    As Northern attitudes swung increasingly in favor of black rights and equality the South emerged as the advocate for Native Americans- particularly if the tribe in question was “civilized” and if it occupied a territory that was likely to become a free state if settled and admitted to the Union.

    What united Americans regardless of region however, was a mutual fear of Britain and a desire to wash out the stain of their defeat in the Anglo-American War. Through the early 19th century the young republic went to great lengths to build up a modern, disciplined, professional standing army with the help of French advisors (one legacy of which was truly glorious uniforms for the American military). There were national programs geared towards building infrastructure and a National Bank that offered easy loans to spur industrial development. By 1835 the United States had a military that matched the best European standards and a national economy noticeably larger than OTL.

    British war planners continued to assume that America’s primary role in a future war would be as a distraction from the important fighting in Europe. The British experience in the Anglo-American War and the American Revolution had confirmed the opinion that while America could effectively defend itself from invasion it had little ability to project power and was only dangerous in conjunction with its French ally. Their war plans mostly revolved around defending Canada as the bulk of Britain’s military might focused on France.

    The war that Americans dubbed the “Canadian War” and Europeans either the “War of Liberation” or the “The War of Subjugation” depending on their loyalties began with a riot in the Upper Canadian town of York.

    Upper Canada was home to the United Empire Loyalists- the descendants of 40,000-odd Loyalists who had fled the 13 Colonies for the Canadas at the end of the American Revolution (this is about half the number from OTL) rather than Drakia. A small association UEL judges, politicians, businessmen and religious leaders known as the Family Compact dominated Upper Canada socially and politically to the exclusion of the “Later Loyalists”- immigrants from America who had moved to Canada after the Revolution to take advantage of cheap land grants. The originally apolitical Later Loyalists were distrusted by the UEL’s who suspected them of Republican tendencies. The Later Loyalists were a majority of the population of Upper Canada OTL, ITTL they were a much larger majority and therefore prompted much more fear among the United Empire Loyalists. Repressive measures silenced reform-minded newspapers, arrested outspoken proponents of reform, and ultimately dissolved the elected Provincial Legislature- which while powerless had been used by the Later Loyalist-majority as a platform to call for change. The Family Compact employed the Orange Order to violently suppress the opposition, which organized its own “Vigilance Committees” to protect the Later Loyalist community. Lower Canada was similarly dominated by the Chateau Clique composed mostly of Protestant British immigrants and their descendants, despite the fact that Lower Canada was predominantly inhabited by Francophone Catholics. In a world with fewer Anglophone inhabitants in Canada and the legacy of a French invasion of England during the French Revolutionary Wars, the Quebecois faced considerably worse oppression than OTL including laws designed to suppress the use of the French language, suppress the practice of Catholicism, and force them to assimilate, coupled with the same political disenfranchisement as the Later Loyalists.

    The Canadas were primed to for a conflagration and the spark came with a clash between the Orange Order and the Vigilance Committee of York, Upper Canada on November 27, 1835. The fighting grew rapidly into a riot and from there into a general uprising in Upper and Lower Canada. William Lyon Mackenzie proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Canada in Upper Canada and Louis-Joseph Papineau proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Lower Canada only days later. Unlike in OTL the uprising had popular support in both Upper and Lower Canada (as opposed to just Lower Canada) and a far higher number of actual participants among its supporters. The rebels were able to seize York and a few other towns, but it still looked like Britain would probably be able to put the rebellion down once reinforcements arrived from the mother country.

    Flag of the Republic of Canada

    Enter President Richard Rush of the United States of America (an ATL brother of the OTL Richard Rush with the same name and parents but different life experiences and personality). Rush sent a single letter to Napoleon Bonaparte and the First Consul sent him a single letter in reply.

    Tensions with Britain had been inching towards war for a while- particularly in Europe where Britain had been openly sponsoring the Red Armies in Spain and Germany. Napoleon was done tolerating British provocations and America felt ready to avenge its humiliation in the last fight. Why wait for a war they all knew was coming when there was a situation to be taken advantage of in Canada? Besides the First Consul had long harbored a disappointment over his failure to successfully invade the British Isles. He was ready for another round.

    The world at the end of 1835.
    Chapter 5

  • Chapter 5

    The Canadian War (it is my god-given right as an American to use American names for things even if most of the fighting was in Europe) was at least in part a war of technology.

    The arms race between the great powers since the end of the French Revolutionary Wars had borne a variety of deadly fruit, not the least of which was standard issue breech-loading rifles for front-line troops on all sides. Major use of military ballooning occurred on the part of France (Napoleon had in fact experimented with hot air balloons for reconnaissance in the 1790s both ITTL and OTL, but this was on a larger and more professional scale) and some minor use by the United States and Prussia. Crude and prone-to-error lever-action rifles were employed in small numbers by the US Cavalry and several Prussian brigades were equipped with an early bolt-action breech-loading rifle. France made use of basic metal cartridges, Britain experimental grenades. Heavy French investment into artillery (Napoleon wanted a gun capable of firing from France across the Channel into England) resulted in a staggering collection of French heavy artillery, much too big or too weird (like a multi-chamber accelerating gun) to be useful but some with remarkably modern innovations concerning indirect fire (although nothing capable of firing a projectile the 20+ miles required to get it across the English Channel). Little in the way of impressive new technology emerged from either Russia or Austria- both countries did more in the way of adopting other nation’s technology than inventing their own- but Austria introduced a rather primitive sort of self-propelled gun in a form of a light piece of field artillery combined with a steam wagon that could only run on roads, broke down frequently, had laughable fuel efficiency, and of the twelve made only three saw brief use towards the end of the war. But it certainly paved the way for later things.

    The war began when the arrest of some private Americans citizens who tried to cross into the Canadas to support the rebels was seized on as a pretext and America declared war on Great Britain.

    The United States Army advanced into Canada.

    French military balloon

    Britain was caught by surprise- they hadn’t expected an America attack at that time- and the British garrison in Canada was caught up trying to suppress the rebellion. The Americans began winning… and kept winning. The professional American army of 1835 was a far cry from the disorganized militia that had been sent to invade Canada twenty years ago and it had advantages in numbers and friends behind the British lines. York was already in rebel hands, the emergency capital of Bytown was captured by the Americans soon afterwards, the Patriotes then took Montreal with American help and the fall of Quebec City to the United States sent what remained of British forces reeling back to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

    France declared war on Britain as soon as word of the American attack arrived and Napoleon immediately realized that he had miscalculated. Despite French hopes (reinforced by internal assumptions) that the Holy Alliance would remain neutral, the powers of Eastern Europe immediately invaded Germany and Italy. Insurgencies in northern Italy and the Confederation of the Rhine erupted into major uprisings by the German and Italian Red Armies while the Spanish Red Army rendezvoused with a British Army marching out of Portugal (where the civil war had finally lapsed into a semi-peace) and drove on Madrid. The French Army was suddenly fighting both invading enemies and a fifth column that extended from their sister republics back into territory that France had annexed during the last set of wars. Napoleon’s second invasion of England proved unable to clear the Royal Navy from the Channel and landed only a small part of the invasion force which was surrounded and annihilated. It was clear that while both sides had spent the 20s and 30s preparing for the next war, Britain and the other loosers from the last time had prepared harder and more effectively than a France that had made assumptions about its original advantages holding true in the future.

    For once, First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte had bitten off more than he could chew.

    That the French Republic survived at all without foreign troops marching down the boulevards of Paris can be attributed first to infighting among her enemies, and second to Achille Boulanger and La Boulangerie.

    Let's pretend this is a drawing of Boulanger. I did tell you that references to other TLs would creep in here and there.

    The Red Armies were conservative, but they were also populist (as armies mostly composed of conservative peasants and rural farmers populism was unavoidable), an expression of early national identities, and their members had been exposed to enlightenment ideals whether they had wanted to or not since the French Revolution. When the Holy Alliance first advanced into French Italy and western Germany the Reds initially welcomed them as liberators. When the Holy Alliance began attempting to redraw borders in the liberated areas and install monarchs for the restored states however, that rapidly changed as communities who had come together to fight the French found themselves being divided by borders that hadn’t existed in decades. Many of the new rulers considered the Red commoners to be a threat to their power and tried to suppress them, or at least didn’t bother to offer them a voice in government. This wasn’t a problem in Spain, where the 5-year-old Cuban-born Ferdinand VIII was in no position to do much governing and his new Cortes was quickly dominated by Spanish Red Army leaders, but in Germany there were protests and disruptions to the war effort and in Italy the Italian Red Army (which had been fighting against one occupier for twenty years and didn’t want another) actually rebelled against initial Austrian rule.

    Which gave General Achille Boulanger a chance to smash the invading Austrians in southern France who were now cut off from Austria proper.

    Boulanger (we’re into fictional people now) was originally a young, promising officer who took command of a small French army when his mentor General Jean Maximilien Lamarque who had come out of retirement for the war died in battle. Now in command of a force of second-line troops he proceeded to defeat an Austrian army four times his size by discovering attack routes that the Austrians had not considered passable and therefore not bothered to defend. He rapidly emerged as France’ best general, pioneering an aggressive strategy of mobile warfare that relied on light field artillery and mounted infantry to rapidly reposition smaller forces around the battlefield. He was joined by the so-called La Boulangerie, a collection of other young French commanders- almost all former classmates of Boulanger’s at Saint Cyril’s- who rose through the ranks on the basis of competence and dynamism, replacing older French generals who had been in command at the start of the war. They successfully started to turn around the French defeats from the opening of the war, making it clear that France would not be easily beaten.

    The Italian Red Army fighting either the French or the Austrians or the Swiss or fellow Italians.

    Napoleon- concerned about the emergence of a clique of officers within the French military who were led by a young, skilled, charismatic, and newly famous general (remind you of anyone?)- relieved Boulanger from his command and summoned him back to Paris. Boulanger returned… and successfully overthrew the First Consul in a military coup supported by Napoleon’s formerly tame political opposition. As the new leader of France, the general made peace with the Kingdom of Italy that had been formed by the Red Army under Orlando Lorenzi (once again, no link), ceding most of France’s territory in Italy in exchange for peace with a newly independent Italy that was fighting their mutual enemy Austria. Elsewhere he countered multiple invasions, regained control over Germany west of the Rhine, and drove an Anglo-Spanish force south of the Pyrenees. In the later part of the war Boulanger even deployed forces to Italy to fight with the Red Army against the Austrians and preserve the independence of an Italian buffer state.

    The Canadian War lasted for three years and was almost an unqualified success for the Americans. Upper and Lower Canada fell into American hands quickly and the Republic of Canada promptly voted to join the Union as the State of Canada. Despite considerable improvement the United States Navy remained unable to defeat the Royal Navy however and Britain held on to Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. Ultimately this defined the post-war settlement, with the Republic of Lower Canada joining the Union as the State of Quebec (after President Rush personally presented the Congress of Lower Canadian with a newly passed bill from the United States Congress explicitly permitting American states to use French as their official language) and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Labrador being annexed as the America Territories of Ward, Acadia and Labrador, while the British kept Rupert’s Land (or at least their claims over it) along with the islands.

    The addition of two new free states was unpopular in the South which still controlled enough of the House of Representatives to force the Compromise of 1839. The Compromise stated that the House would allow the admission of Canada and Quebec as free states and the Northern-controlled Senate would agree to admit the states of Arkansas and Cimarron (Oklahoma) as slave states once they had the population to do so (Arkansas was promptly admitted as what would be the USA’s last slave state). There was also a less publicized understanding that America would seek to acquire new territory from Mexico in the future, as slavery was utterly uneconomical in the “far north” but there were parts of Mexico where slave states could plausibly be established. The Compromise of 1839 was deeply unpopular in most part of the North where TTL’s abolitionist movement was gaining steam and there were growing calls for the Federal Government to halt the expansion of slavery entirely.

    President Richard Rush of the United States of America, the man who added the important bits of Canada to the Union.

    For France the war meant the end of its hegemony over western Europe, the loss of all of its sister republics except for the Netherlands and territorial concessions (French Italy to the Kingdom of Italy and the Channel Islands back to Britain, although France gained some parts of the Helvetic Republic). It also meant the restoration of democracy to France, as Boulanger not merely organized new elections but declined to stand in them and ended the Napoleonic-era policies of election rigging and political suppression. The First Consul found himself on trial by the Second French Republic for drawing France into the unsuccessful Canadian War and spent the last few years of his life imprisoned.

    In one of the greatest of ironies the ultra-conservative Kingdom of Italy introduced a diet with limited suffrage and aligned itself with France voluntarily as it now considered Austria a greater threat.

    For the Germanies the war meant the creation of a Prussia-led German Confederation that grudgingly appointed leaders of the Red Army to high ranking positions in the restored governments of the former members of the Confederation of the Rhine. Neither Austria nor Bavaria participated, instead signing close agreements with each other, and Hannover with its personal union to Britain under Earnest I also declined. Austria regained Venice but failed to take control of most of northern Italy either directly or indirectly.

    For Spain the war meant the restoration of its independence with the infant Ferdinand VIII (Ferdinand VII had a son ITTL) assuming the throne under a regency and reuniting his birthplace of Cuba with the Spanish homeland and what remained of its empire.

    The Holy Alliance persisted (albeit barely with considerable tensions between its members) as the French Republic and a truncated French bloc incorporating Italy, the Ottoman Empire, and the Netherlands still remained as a threat to the old order. Spain and Portugal were aligned with Britain as was Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on the other hand joined the Holy Alliance.

    For Britain and Drakia the War of Liberation was the ending of one era and the beginning of another.

    "Huh EBR, those borders don't seem to have changed much outside of Europe and North America."


    "I mean, I know it was just four years but you've got the Draka expanding-"


    "And I'd expect at least a little-"

    Last edited:
    Chapter 6

  • Chapter 6

    For Great Britain the Canadian War brought victory and defeat.

    The second French invasion of England was swiftly and effectively defeated, a friendly government was restored to Spain, and the Channel Islands were returned to British patrimony. British attempts to invade France itself however- either via Spain or at Pais-de-Calais- were failures and the war in Canada itself was a catastrophe. It was the second time that Britain had lost colonies due to internal rebellion and their failure to decisively defeat France soured the victory in Europe. The French Republic remained a threat and Eastern Europe was still in the hands of an unfriendly absolutist coalition. Drakia had a better experience, having spent most of the war fighting against the Boers (who were a collection of independent republics friendly towards France and America, and therefore a potential threat to be eliminated) and their Tsonga allies. The Boer areas became the Vaal Colony while the Tsonga lands were added to Mozambique. As had been the case during the French Revolutionary Wars a small Drakian Legion served with the British Army overseas, seeing service in Nova Scotia and Spain.

    As they had done at the end of the last war the British Parliament convened a special commission of inquiry to contemplate their failures and make recommendations on how to improve. The Agnew Commission (after its chair Lord Agnew) provided a wide variety of suggestions, but once again we are only going to focus on a couple of them- particularly those that pertain directly to Drakia and the British colonies.

    In OTL the Rebellions of 1837 in Canada led to Britain realizing the need to provide greater responsible government for its settler colonies, a shift towards the merging of settler colonies together into larger units, and ultimately the creation of the British Dominions. In the Separate-verse the Canadian Revolution of 1836 and the following Canadian War led to Canada being lost almost entirely to Britain, apparently following a very similar pattern to the loss of the 13 Colonies and the American Revolution. The lesson was a much sharper one, and it resulted in a general recommendation by the Commission that Britain begin granting greater degrees of responsible government to Britain’s colonies- particularly its settler colonies. This was accompanied by another recommendation that Britain take steps to better enable colonies to defend themselves, in recognition of the fact that Canada was almost entirely reliant on the mother country for protection but their need for protection came at the same time that the British military was most needed in Europe.

    These recommendation plus a variety of other factors, will shape a new era for the British Empire.

    With France effectively quarantined by Europe and Portugal and Spain mostly focused on France, Britain faced little competition for colonizing abroad. The loss of Canada meant that they would turn their resources away from the New World- focusing heavily on Africa and Asia, particularly after a Metis Rebellion in 1853 broke off the southern part of Rupert’s Land as the independent Red River Republic. Unable to defeat the rebellion and either effectively control or defend Rupert’s Land Britain sold the colony to the United States- the beginning of warming relations with America- in exchange for a tidy sum and an agreement that the Hudson’s Bay Company could continue its operations in the area tax free (the Red River Republic joined the Union somewhat grudgingly, becoming America’s second Francophone state). British colonies rapidly received responsible government- beginning with Newfoundland- and soon dominion-status- beginning with Drakia in 1851.

    Scene from the Metis Rebellion.

    Eventually- not right away, but eventually- Britain will come to a realization about the nature of colonialism. This will be similar to realizations had by certain countries IOTL, and it can be summed up by the statement that “colonialism costs money”. You have to pay to maintain, administer, and defend a colony, while hoping that the profit obtained from using the colony as a cheap source of resources and an open market for goods will offset your costs. But a self-governing dominion (or a banana republic if you’re OTL America or a newly independent former colony with a puppet government if you’re OTL France) can take on most of the expensive parts of actually running a colony while still providing a cheap source of resources and a market for your goods. In other words, Britain will come to realize that it’s cheaper to lead a family of British dominions run by settler populations that remain under British economic dominance, than to directly rule colonies stretching around the globe.

    Like I said, this realization is gradual and won’t be complete until much later, but it began with the changing British approach towards its colonies in the years after the Canadian War. For places like Australia, Newfoundland, and eventually New Zealand this will result in majority-ruled democracies similar to OTL. For India, Drakia, the East Indies, and the West Indies it will mean white colonial minorities ruling over disenfranchised native majorities. The British Empire ITTL will end up much more willing to grant white settlers a say in things, but with fewer colonial competitors and with imperialism taking on the appearance of a much more straightforward conquest it will be considerably more racist and far less willing to grant natives any say in how they are governed.

    It’s not that natives won’t end up being involved intimately in British rule- there will be favored classes of native soldiers, low-ranking administrators, and potentates everywhere in the empire. But as unwilling as Britain was IOTL to let Africans or Asians have a voice in colonial governance, they will be even less willing here.

    But as a new epoch was beginning for Great Britain, Drakia was experiencing a new era of its own, one that would shape the national character of Drakian people. Later Drakian historians will dub it the Tutelage Period when Britain and Drakia fought together for expansion and dominance, Britain imparting on its firstborn son the principles of empire and supremacy in the days before the homeland fell to decadence and weakness. It was the days of the Drakian Gold Rush when large numbers of immigrants flooded into the country and Drakia began truly exploiting its mineral resources for the first time. It was the time when the industrial revolution first spread to Africa and received a uniquely Drakian stamp. It was a period of cultural flowering, with authors such as Adam Burton and Raymond Leroux producing novels and poetry advancing a concept virtually identical to Kipling’s White Man’s Burden. It was when Drakia took its first steps of self-government and elected its first Premier- Wilard Berthold- and his immediate successors.

    And of course, it was when the foundations of the Bonded Labor System were laid out.

    A nice an early South African Gold Rush ought to give the Draka the money and population boost they need to really get started.

    Drakia received responsible government in 1845 along with a law abolishing slavery that offered them no choice in the matter. The anger from many Drakians over this surprised the British- for Drakia as in the OTL American South slavery had become a matter of ideology and tribal identity more than an economic system or a source of cheap labor. They had little say in the issue however, and Berthold himself argued strongly that while the decision over slavery should be Capetown’s and not London’s to make, he held that they did not need to keep slavery. The traditional European societies that Drakia idolized- pre-revolutionary France and aristocratic Britain- did not rely on slavery, therefore neither should they. Rather, traditional European society relied on an underclass of free serfs or peasants under the paternal eye of their overlords- this, Berthold insisted, was what they should aspire to. Once the colony had gained responsible government and the descendant of American Loyalists and Hessian Mercenaries had been elected its first Premier, he inaugurated “the New Serfdom” of the Bonded Labor System.

    Berthold’s BLS replaced slavery with a system under which Bondsmen (initially composed only of former slaves) would be required to work to pay off their former value and eventually earn their freedom. This proved identical to OTL debt slavery as crooked book keeping could easily keep families enslaved for generations and it was not hard for free non-whites who fell into regular debt to be seized as Bondsmen. Of course, debt could be bought and sold, making it possible to transfer Bondsmen from one employer to another. The use of Bondsmen expanded considerably in Drakia at this time, as labor-intensive forms of agriculture became economical in newly acquired territory and as mining emerged as important to the Drakian economy. It was occasionally possible for a Bondsman to gain his freedom though, and some did through individual acts of heroism or employers choosing to forgive debts on their deathbeds. While escape short of literal escape from the BLS was impossible for most, it would never become totally closed.

    One of the primary new ways in which Bondsmen were used was in the spread of the industrial revolution to southern Africa.

    Part of Britain’s plan to ensure that their colonies could protect themselves involved permitting the larger ones to develop their own military industry so that they wouldn’t be reliant on long-distance imports of weapons and munitions from the homeland that could be subject to disruption in wartime. Despite a deliberate attempt to prevent the industrial production of civilian goods in the colonies (so that they wouldn’t end up competing with Britain economically) this will eventually lead to the emergence of general industrial production, but industrialization in the British colonies/dominions began with military factories. For Drakia this meant a surging demand for Bondsmen in mining coal, iron, and other mineral resources and it also meant the use of Bondsmen (and women) in manufacturing itself. Bonded workers in factories and industry often had privileges that Bondsmen didn’t have in other areas- they had access to a company store, could rent company housing, and if they worked long enough and hard enough could realistically expect to earn their freedom within 50-60 years. It had an emphasis on child labor as young children were easier to intimidate and control, but extra privileges and the thin promise of eventual freedom offered more motivation to work than standard slavery and of course injured bondsmen were generally freed and cast out to spare their employers the cost of taking care of an injured worker who was unlikely to be productive (this occasionally led to Bondsmen deliberately injuring themselves, but the consequences of an injury bad enough to make an employer abandon their investment kept this to a minimum). Drakian industry was labor heavy in any case, relying on large amount of cheap Bonded labor to make up for more primitive industrial machinery (and because marginally-less-forced labor and complex industrial equipment make for a bad combination).

    Just to make sure that you’re properly visualizing this- imagine a crowded wooden building in the sweltering heat of southern Africa. The long building is lined with tables, each surrounded by young African children around the ages of eleven, twelve, or thirteen. Each table has at least one adult supervisor- also an African native and a Bondsman, one occupying a more privileged position in the Bonded hierarchy with extra perks and wages in form of scrip that they can use at the company store. The children labor in the stifling heat for fifteen to sixteen hours a day, no child responsible for more than a single repetitive action performed over and over again as part of the assembly of an early metal cartridge. They are beaten, bullied, and whipped by the supervisors to keep them productive and it goes without saying that there are no protections against sexual abuse at the hands of Bonded supervisors, their white Drakian managers, or their fellow workers. They are often injured by the tools that they use, sickened by the repetitive labor and dire working conditions, or simply by normal diseases taking advantage of immune systems weakened by forced labor. If their injury is minor or they seem likely to recover then they will be cared for- each represents an investment usually of a few shillings needed to purchase their debt- those maimed into worthlessness are cast out to fend for themselves and those with illnesses too expensive to treat or unlikely to abate are left to die in an infirmary. If this later group recovers anyway then they are returned to work as soon as they are judged ready. Officially the factory that purchased the debts of the children- in some cases they were sold into bondage by desperate parents, many others are orphans created during Drakia’s wars of expansion- is educating them and converting them to Christianity. Their education consists of the work they learn to do, their religious instruction of the small wooden crosses around their necks and a weekly sermon delivered by a wandering clergyman whose arrival is welcomed by the boys and girls- more for the break they get to listen than for his words. If they live long enough, they have a chance to be transferred to other duties- perhaps even more privileged ones like their supervisors- and may earn their freedom by the time they are in their seventies and old enough that their labor begins to lose its value. More will die first, or gain their freedom through a crippling injury, or attempt to escape and end up sent to the mines. A few may even escape successfully to the bush and be quickly replaced.

    This is what the industrial revolution in Drakia looked like. This is the face of the New Serfdom.

    The best part of this is that the Drakian Industrial Revolution is only marginally worse than the OTL IR in America and Britain.

    But most of Drakia’s native subjects weren’t Bonded, most were ordinary Africans with Drakian Residency subject to a Hut tax that could be paid through money, commodities or labor. Since most Native subjects of Britain’s firstborn dominion couldn’t afford to pay the tax through money or commodities, they were forced to pay through labor and were used by the state to build new towns and infrastructure central to Berthold’s economic programs including roads and eventually railways. As a firm believer in the Continental Imperative- Drakia’s destiny to unify and civilize all of Africa- Wilard Berthold pushed for the early versions of these infrastructure projects in order to better tie together the British colonies in southern Africa and was an early advocate of confederation between the colonies in question.

    While Berthold arguably launched the “Middle Wars of Expansion” with the Drakian invasion of Tsawana territory after the discovery of diamonds there, it was under the third and last Premier of the Crown Colony of Drakia, John Thomas, that expansion resumed in earnest. Despite attempts by later Drakian historians to characterize these wars as “Drakian” conquests, for the most part they consisted of British expansion motivated by Britain’s loss of its primary colonies in North America and the hostile situation in Europe. As disease remained a problem in the interior expansion during this time was mostly focused along the coast of East Africa, with conquest pressing into the territories of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, OTL Tanganyika, and up into OTL Kenya. British outposts were first established in OTL Namibia as well, and after the purchase of Angola from Brazil (which was dealing with internal unrest including an uprising in the south, plus the aftermath of a slave revolt that saw the rebels granted transportation to Brazilian São Tomé in exchange for giving up) included the expansion of Angola further into the interior and a partially successful war with the Kingdom of the Kongo. Drakian involvement included the contribution of troops for these conquests and growing responsibility to police them and put down rebellions after conquest was completed. This increasingly became the case after Drakia gained Dominion status in 1851 and the beginning of Drakia confederation.

    As Premier of the Crown Colony Thomas- himself a war hero and a military man- formalized the militia system as the Royal Drakian Guard with all able-bodied Drakian men required to do two years’ service at the age of eighteen and then remain in the reserves until age thirty. He restructured the Colony’s military in general when he became the first Premier of the Dominion of Drakia, emphasizing a small but highly trained professional army with the best available weapons backed by the more numerous but less elite Guard. It was Thomas who- recognizing the advantages a technologically advanced army enjoyed over a technologically inferior one- created the Bureau for Technical Progress. Though envisioned as being responsible for technological advancement, the Bureau will end up mostly being concerned with monitoring and adopting new innovations from overseas as Drakian society is not the sort that will lend itself well to domestic inventions. Their lack of a sense of technological conservatism will serve them well however, with some foreign discoveries seeing more rapid adoption in Drakia than in their countries of origin.

    A good example of this is the airship, with the first steam-powered dirigible making its debut in France in the second half of the 1840s. The Second French Republic was less eager to invest large sums of money into experimental technologies after Napoleon’s expensive boondoggles into heavy artillery however, and while many countries tinkered with powered airships it was Thomas’ government in Drakia that took the plunge into deploying what he conceived of as a more mobile and effective means of aerial reconnaissance than pre-existing military hot air balloons. These early airships were small, short-ranged, and very dangerous, but saw effective use for scouting in the deserts and grasslands of southern Africa and in the savannahs of East Africa and Angola.

    This is what we're talking about when we say Drakian dirigibles in the 1850s and 60s. Small, a crew of maybe two or three, short ranged by modern standards. Not really capable of carrying weapons, they're used almost exclusively for reconnaissance.

    Of course, no account of Drakia’s technological progress in the 1850s would be complete without mentioning Doctor Henricus Calvet.

    Calvet was a doctor at a camp established to hold captured enemy combatants during a Native rebellion in Mozambique against the deeply unpopular hut tax. Conditions at such camps were universally miserable, with inmates surviving on limited rations in filthy and unhygienic conditions. Calvet took things one step further however- while in charge of medicine at the Pondo camp he engaged in a variety of deeply unethical “scientific” experiments upon the inmates. These included deliberately injuring prisoners and then applying different treatments for their injuries and dosing prisoners with a variety of toxic or dangerous substances to see what would happen. At the time the doctor was a largely unknown individual whose experiments were low profile (there was very little oversight of the treatment of captured Native rebels) and his strange biological and racial theories plus a lack of scientific rigor meant that his data was useless. Calvet is noteworthy for two reasons however; the first is that he originated a practice of human experimentation among the Drakian medical establishment (such as it was) and the second was the steps that he took towards manufacturing a new and terrible weapon.

    Using urine collected from camp inmates the doctor produced moderate amounts of yellow phosphorus using the method pioneered by Hennig Brandt in 1669. At the time phosphorus was a curiosity, intriguing for its glowing properties but otherwise useless. Calvet observed its toxicity by giving it to inmates to ingest, but it was brutal consequences of an accidental ignition that gained the attention of a visiting military commander. Later experiments by the Bureau for Technical Progress (sidelining Calvet entirely) produced a very early and very dangerous type of grenade using chemicals similar to OTL Fenian Fire.

    It was during Last Crusade that they would first see use.
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    Chapter 7

  • Chapter 7

    Gold changes everything.

    For whatever reason the human fascination with gold is sufficient to trigger a mad rush of people leaving their old homes for new territory, desperate for a chance at that famous yellow metal. Gold rushes transform local economies, demographics, and the balance of politics. They can lead to the displacement of native peoples from ancient traditional hands (the OTL Georgia Gold Rush caused the Trail of Tears, the California Gold Rush triggered less dramatic but still deeply unpleasant consequences for Californian Natives) and fights between prospectors and even foreign governments.

    There’s no particular reason why the gold rushes in Georgia, South Africa, and California should all happen early in this timeline other than *plot*, but happen early they did- even if only by a few years. ITTL the 1842 discovery of gold in California would prove a pivotal event in the history of this version of Mexico. Nicolas Bravo presided over a deeply authoritarian Republic of Mexico that had successfully reunified itself a little over a decade before, not merely reacquiring the lands of the equally oppressive Kingdom of Mexico but also those of formerly New Spanish Central America. The decision to conquer Central America saw Mexico struggling with a bloody and ongoing occupation that left it even less able to settle or police its northern territories than it was OTL. This was not as fatal to Mexican sovereignty in the north as one might think- the Mexican government had opened up Texas to settlement mostly by conservative French colonists fleeing Napoleonic oppression and Irish looking to escape British rule, leaving American filibusterers who moved into Texas illegally (they insisted that it was part of Louisiana and therefore the United States) a visible but clear minority. The majority-Francophone Tejaneaux largely governed themselves, but generally had few issues with the Mexican government and the primary challenge to Mexico’s control in its northern territories came from Comancheria whose control over large parts of OTL Texas and New Mexico was so secure that most Mexican authorities in the area deferred to the tribes.

    Comancheria is one of those native states/tribal thingies that I really ought to cover with my US history students.

    The discovery of Californian gold rapidly disrupted the delicate balance of Mexican influence over the northern half of its country. Large numbers of new foreign settlers and prospectors began to migrate into California, the largest number (a plurality but not a majority) originating from neighboring America- some by sea, others via the American presence in Oregon. Bravo’s regime now had immediate and powerful reasons to start exercising their authority over the north, both to control California’s gold and to control the growing number of non-Mexican inhabitants. Nervous over the presence of the new immigrants who were now a majority in California, the Mexican government limited their influence by creating complex bureaucratic hurdles to prevent them from gaining Mexican citizenship and through a combination of taxes, tariffs, and regulations over the gold industry. The increasingly established non-Mexican community- including emerging business owners- began to agitate for a greater say over their own political and economic fates. The large American segment of the Californian population was used to federal democracy and pushed back against the Mexican dictatorship, demanding the rights to freely elect their own provincial government and federal representatives, and demanding a justice system whose judges were, y’know, at least semi-impartial and not puppets of the regime. They were joined in these calls by many other immigrants from democratic or semi-democratic countries in Europe and South America, and universally the newcomers wanted the taxes on gold and mining equipment that they paid to be spent on internal Californian improvements instead of being sent back to Mexico City to be used elsewhere in the country.

    America, meanwhile, was increasingly looking at Mexico as a target for further expansion following the Compromise of 1839 and the admission of Canada and Quebec as free states. The South wanted to carve new slave states out of Mexico (particularly Texas and California), the North wanted new territory for nationalist and Manifest Destiny reasons, and everyone agreed that California with its valuable gold-fields and majority English-speaking population would be an excellent addition to the United States. The South was particularly concerned as the growth of the northern population had finally broken southern dominance in the House of Representatives. Southerners had been reduced to a minority in that chamber after the Census of 1830 but Virginia had remained the state with the most seats and greater party unity in the southern states allowed the South to control the House anyway. The Census of 1840 made this impossible however, with ever more seats given to northern states and New Yorkers replacing Virginians (remember Virginia still has West Virginia and Kentucky) as the largest delegation. As opposition to slavery became increasingly ardent in the North and fears mounted in the South that an attempt to make them abandon slavery by force was in the offing, regionalism began to tear apart the American party system. The external threat of Britain had enforced a degree of unity, but fear of invasion had abated following the American victory in the Canadian War.

    For President Jeremiah Sherman (an ATL grandson of Founding Father Roger Sherman) of the Great State of Ohio, a war with Mexico offered an excellent tool to rally Americans of all stripes together and distract fraying tempers from the slavery debate.

    Some of our fine American prospectors hunting for gold in California.

    In 1844 the United States government dispatched a strongly worded protest to the government of Mexico on behalf of the American community living in California, demanding greater rights and freedoms for the immigrants living there. As a protest by a foreign government in the name of a domestic group within Mexico mandating changes to internal Mexican government policies, it was a deliberate provocation and Nicolas Bravo denounced it in no uncertain terms, stoking outrage in California and the United States (and to a lesser extent in Texas where the Tejaneaux majority and the Anglophone minority resented the assertion of long-absent Mexican authority). American newspapers ran lurid accounts of the mistreatment of American prospectors in California and President Sherman found the excuse he needed in the execution of three American citizens by Mexican authorities in California on charges of inciting insurrection.

    The First Mexican-American War was billed in the United States as a war of liberation- akin to the Canadian War- but it was also very much a war of conquest and for the first time an anti-war movement (albeit a small one) made itself heard in opposition to a major American war. A majority of the inhabitants of California might have welcomed the arrival of a small American militia from Oregon (swelling its ranks through an uprising of their own that proclaimed a brief Republic of California inspired by the Republic of Canada that promptly requested annexation) but Texas’ reaction was far more lukewarm. The American community in Texas supported the invasion of course, and the Irish generally viewed it positively, but the Tejaneaux did not, and when a Republic of Texas (drawing the same inspiration and existing for the same purpose as the Republic of California) was proclaimed by supporters of annexation from among the Anglophone community, Tejaneaux landowners convened and declared the independence of the “Republic of Tejas” to seek true independence (General Linfield B. Patterson of the US Army ordered it dissolved). Of course, the other inhabitants of northern Mexico- whether Mexican or Native- had little desire to be part of the United States either.

    The war was fortunately short and victorious for New York (TTL’s US capital, remember?) as America was objectively stronger and more advanced than it had been at this point IOTL, while Mexico’s military- though more experienced thanks to its occupation of Central America- had not improved over OTL to the same degree. When Bravo withdrew his forces from Central America to face the Americans the subcontinent erupted in rebellion, and when the Mexican Army began to repeatedly lose battles in the face of multiple enemies in different directions a group of conspirators seized control of Mexico City and killed him. Initially they attempted to inaugurate a new democratic government, until a general who had sided with the conspirators- General Jose Gutierrez- overthrew them and proclaimed himself president. He was in office for only a month during which he vainly attempted to reach a deal with the United States, until the Ejercito de Enfermos- a revolutionary group of political dissidents under the aged hero of the Mexican War of Independence (at least ITTL) General Jose Alvarez de Toledo y Dubois – overthrew him and installed General Toledo as President. Following the fall of Mexico City, Toledo surrendered to the United States.

    Poor Mexico, so far from god, so close to the United States.

    It is a fact insufficiently acknowledged (probably cause it’s embarrassing) that many of the staunchest opponents of American Imperialism in OTL were in fact enormous racists.

    The annexation of Hawaii was opposed the most strongly not by liberal individuals who sympathized with Hawaiian sovereignty and the cause of Liliuokalani, but by southern racists who didn’t want to add a bunch of Asians and Pacific Islanders to the United States. When Hawaii was finally annexed during the Spanish-American War, once again many of the loudest voices against annexing the Philippines were not those who recognized that the Philippines deserved to exercise its own self-determination but again racist assholes who didn’t want a bunch of non-whites in America. When the All-Mexico Movement called for President Polk to annex all of Mexico their most determined opponents were… well John C. Calhoun said it best when he observed that;

    “To incorporate Mexico, would be the first departure of the kind; for more than half of its population are pure Indians, and by far the larger portion of the residue mixed blood. I protest against the incorporation of such a people. Ours is the Government of the white man.”

    While I have generalized (there were indeed some quite dedicated decent Americans opposed to imperialism IOTL) it is an uncomfortable fact that a less racist United States is also a more imperialistic United States. ITTL the prospect of absorbing such a large number of non-whites was less intolerable to Americans who were more concerned with culture than race, although the racists and sane people were still influential enough that America did not actually annex all of Mexico.

    Instead it annexed California to its rightful borders, Texas, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Durango, Sinaloa, most of Zacatecas, and about half of San Luis Potosi. On top of that the Republic of the Yucatan that had broken away from Mexico during the war was overthrown by a native Mayan revolution that proclaimed the State of Ixcanha and applied to join the United States out of fear of a Mexican reconquest. Ixcanha offered to become slave state and their application was endorsed by the South.

    In OTL the Treaty of Guadeloupe-Hidalgo striped Mexico of 55% of the its territory and some 3% of its population, leaving America with 80,000 Hispanic Mexicans to assimilate. ITTL the territory that President Sherman saw transferred from Mexico to the United States (not including the Yucatan) was closer to two-thirds of OTL Mexico with 15% of its population- not counting Central America which had been part of Mexico ITTL before the war and was also lost to the country. The United States was left with 850,000 Hispanic Mexicans to assimilate, although as there would be 25.6 million Americans living outside of TTL’s Mexican Cession when the Census of 1850 was completed that wasn’t an entirely unmanageable number.

    Note the fleeing Native Americans as the United States symbolically pushes west into the Mexican Cession.

    General Toledo was overthrown as President of Mexico a mere eleven months after having assumed the office and the new government under General Pedro de Ampudia who also lasted less than a year before being his liberal policies prompted his overthrow by a cabal of wealthy Mexican landowners who elevated General Manuel Chavez to replace him, but Chavez refused to be a pliant puppet and was assassinated again after less than a year. A civil war between conservatives and liberals began that would spill into the early 1850s and end with the nominal victory of the liberals, although their leader Juan Jose Perez would then betray the revolution and proclaim himself Emperor Juan I, beginning the Second Mexican Empire.

    America had still bitten off rather more than it expected to be chewing.

    The United States immediately found itself in conflict with Comancheria and the Pueblo and Navajo peoples of the western desert. An uprising among the Mexican inhabitants of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon ended up having to be suppressed in 1847 and another one in Zacatecas in 1848. Both saw large numbers of Mexicans forcibly expelled to Mexico by American troops. New American settlers streaming into the Mexican Cession triggered conflicts with the people who already lived there. The Republic of California had claimed all of Las Californias and when it became a state it maintained those claims over areas that it didn’t and couldn’t actually control.

    The biggest problem however, was slavery.

    The First Mexican-American War briefly drew the country together against a common enemy as President Sherman had envisioned, but once it ended the debate over slavery erupted back to the fore. The South wanted to admit Texas, California, and Ixcanha at the very least as slave states, helped by the fact that the Republic of Texas had asked to be a slave state and Ixcanha had indicated its willingness to be one as the price of admission. But most actual inhabitants of Texas- the Francophone Tejaneaux- were opposed to slavery, Ixcanha was at best ambivalent, and California’s government was actively hostile. On top of that abolitionists in Congress had gained enough influence that they were able to block not only the admission of new slave states from the Mexican Cession but also the admission of Cimarron (Oklahoma) whose admission as a slave state had been agreed to in the 1839. In the election of 1848, the northern Republicans split with the party (remember the Republicans are the Jeffersonian party) when it nominated a southern slave owner and instead endorsed the Whig candidate Robert M. Butler, while the southern Whigs broke off and formed the National Party. Butler- a moderate abolitionist who was openly opposed to slavery but believed that its abolition had to happen on the state level- won the election with the help of Canada and Quebec.

    After the census of 1850 further increased Northern control over the House of Representatives and the election that year saw a number of abolitionist candidates win victories across the North Butler had the votes to admit California, Texas, and Canaan (Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon) as free states. He also oversaw the purchase of Rupert’s Land from Britain after the Metis Rebellion and pressured the Red River Republic to join the United States as yet another free state, both in 1851.

    And this is the point at which the center cannot hold.

    I'll let you know when I figure out whether or not this is pro- or anti- slavery.

    Northern/anti-slavery dominance over the federal government has reached a point at which it can effectively legislate without any southern input or agreement needed at all. Compromises are no longer needed. The government is making no serious attempts to abolish slavery in the South, but the free states now have the numbers that they can amend the constitution to outlaw slavery should they ever choose to do so. External threats have kept the South in the Union thus far, but we have reached a point where it is no longer realistic to keep American sectionalism under control.

    So, what happens now?

    You, dear reader, are assuming that there will be a civil war. After all there is always some version of an American Civil War over slavery or race relations in an AH TL- particularly in ones that deal with America. Thande’s LTTW has a version of the ACW, so does HeX’s More Perfect Union, and Napoleon’s Madness-verse, and Stirling’s vanilla Drakaverse, and Turtledove’s Atlantis, and Barnes’ Lion’s Blood, and plenty of my own works. Perhaps it is that the experience of the ACW is so central to the American identity and experience that we cannot imagine a world without it? Certainly, it makes sense at this point in our TL to have one, but I don’t know that it is quite so inevitable as all of that. The South is clearly outnumbered and outmatched and it may be a bit more realistic in its assessment of its chances. The odds of British intervention are certainly higher than OTL given the absence of a Canada that would need defending which could encourage the different parties to try harder for peace (or it might convince the South that foreign help is more likely). For that matter, with France certain to support the Union and Britain more likely to back the South, what are the odds of a civil war- if it happens- becoming international?

    Hmm. I wanted the Last Crusade to be a European and Middle Eastern conflict but now one of my readers has been giving me ideas. Let us ask that other Author what he thinks.

    First, we inquire whether there should even be a civil war at all. Let us say that any number on the D20 below 10 indicates a smaller conflict than OTL with 5 or below indicating no war at all. Anything above ten is a larger conflict than OTL and above 15 means it spills over into war in Europe and merges with an early version of the Last Crusade. Second, we shall ask how successful the alt-CSA should be- I think a DC of 18 should be required for victory given how much the deck is stacked against it. If it falls below 15 then some of the slave states will remain in the Union. Lastly I’d like to know what European intervention will look like- over 15 means we see British/Drakian/other troops fighting with the South in North America and every two points above ten the die achieves will add 1 point to the second roll for the CSA’s success.

    Unfortunately my dice were left in the bungalow, but Google has a lovely dice simulation if you search for it. Let’s see;

    Question 1:

    Question 2:

    Question 3:

    *Battle Cry of Freedom intensifies*

    Chapter 8

  • Chapter 8

    The Ottoman Empire was in decline.

    It was doing better- considerably better- than it had IOTL thanks the absence of a French invasion of Egypt and the resultant butterflies. It had France as a protector providing relatively modern weapons (never quite up to current standards, but whatever it was France had just replaced), and countries like Russia were more focused on containing France than promoting Christian rebels in the Ottoman Empire. But the underlying factors that led to the OTL disintegration of the Sultanate were still in place- conservative elements were happy to accept French weapons but French training and organizational reforms were opposed by the military and the shifting markets of the era undermined the Ottoman economy. Uprisings in Serbia and Greece had been suppressed only barely at great cost and by 1850 the Sultanate was standing, but extremely brittle. Russia was beginning to nose around, looking for ways to peel off territory and help liberate its Orthodox Christian brothers whose nationalist movements had been by no means eliminated in the suppression of their revolts.

    As Russian and French influence clashed in the Ottoman Empire the Holy Alliance itself was threatening to unravel.

    Prussia, with France directly on its border and British Hannover (keep in mind that the King of Britain is Earnest Augustus ITTL) an indigestible lump to the north, was content to remain allied to Russia. Austrian and Prussian interests were colliding in the other German states however, with Austria and its fellow Catholic Bavaria attempting to increase Austrian influence in the mostly Catholic states of the Rhine even though they were within the Prussian-led German Confederation. Austria also resented the treatment of Catholic Poles at Prussian hands (a tad bit hypocritical given their own treatment of the Poles), and Russia’s lukewarm assistance during a Hungarian uprising a few years earlier. Ironically, they were beginning to drift closer to Paris- despite Italy’s annoyance at that development- due in no small part to the rise of the Red Movement.

    Hungarians making a brave but doomed attempt at independence.

    The Red Movement was the ideological child of the reactionary Red Armies who had emerged as insurgent groups opposed to the First French Republic of Napoleon and its client states. Initially the armies were simply reactionary conservatives calling for a return to the pre-French Revolution state of affairs. But “conservative” for the peasants who made up most of the rank and file of the Red Armies meant things like “deeply religious”, “wanting to kick out the occupying foreigners”, and “being loyal to the king” as opposed to “restoring ancient noble privileges” or “keeping the common people down”. After the defeat of France in the Canadian War the victorious and least semi-victorious Red Armies in Spain, Italy, and Germany gradually morphed into the Red Movement, a political movement that advocated for the interests of the rural peasantry who made up its members and for a deeply traditional Catholicism that was never-the-less more interested in the needs of its common followers than those of the rich and powerful. I say “Catholicism” because while Red Protestants existed, it was mostly a Catholic movement particularly after the investiture of Pope Pius IX (not the OTL Pope of the same name) who was from northern Italy (his imprisonment by the French during their occupation and fervent opposition to Republicanism had played a role in his selection as Pope) and sympathized with the Reds.

    The Red Movement was not Christian Democracy- it had no uniform economic philosophy and explicitly condemned democracy and republicanism. It was also deeply nationalistic. But it called for a greater voice in government for its members (like every genuine political movement ever) which paradoxically meant that it endorsed representative government and greater rights for the common people. With most liberal opposition movements banned outside of France, the Red Movement drew reformers and critics of government policies- even in countries where the Reds were in power- who used it as a platform for airing grievances. By 1850 the Reds were in power in Spain, Italy, and Bavaria. In France a conservative-but-not-monarchist alliance strongly influenced by the Reds had won the 1848 elections and President Jean-Baptiste Houdon famously made a pilgrimage to Rome to ask Pope Pius IX’s forgiveness for the earlier French conduct towards him (said forgiveness was granted and the Pope officially recognized the legitimacy of the Second French Republic). They were also increasingly influential in Austria and were a growing but suppressed movement in Naples and Sardinia.

    With Russia apparently a greater threat to Austria than France, and with the Reds in government as either senior or junior partners in Vienna and Paris it stood to reason that Austria and France should start drawing closer together as part of a developing Red bloc (to the continued aggravation of Italy, which still wanted Venice back). Meanwhile Britain remained staunchly hostile towards France, opposing French colonial efforts and any sort of rapprochement between France and Austria. London wasn’t fond of the other members of the Holy Alliance either- Russia was a competitor in Central Asia and Prussia wanted Hanover in the German Confederation, but it still preferred both over France and anyone allied to it.

    Meanwhile there was an ongoing arms race to create newer and better weapons, and an industrialization race, both of which were continually heightening tensions.

    ITTL those guys are Catholic Populist/Conservatives, ignore the hat on the flag.

    The Last Crusade began with a ladder.

    It was a small ladder of Lebanese cedar sitting under the window of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the holy city of Jerusalem. The ladder was irrelevant in and of itself- no one had actually climbed it in over half-a-century- but it symbolized a frozen religious conflict. Different Christian churches had for many years contested who got to control the holiest sites of the Christian religion, culminating in a series of bloody riots on Palm Sunday in 1757 between different Christian denominations that resulted in triple-digit casualties and the Greek Orthodox Church taking control of many of the more important sites including most of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Christians of all stripes believe that Christ’s resurrection took place. Annoyed at all the Christian infighting and its potentially deleterious effect on public order, Ottoman authorities announced that they would freeze what denominations controlled what, and that in disputed sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, and the Church of the Nativity, no changes could occur to the buildings or their contents without the agreement of all the disputing parties. This enforced “Status Quo” favored the Greek Orthodox, but the presence of five other denominations controlling lesser parts of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher meant that nothing about that church could be changed without agreement from the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches simultaneously. Because no one was willing to spend the political capital needed to convince all six churches to co-operate in moving a pointless ladder, the ladder had remained there from 1757 to 1852 being periodically replaced with a newer identical ladder whenever it started to rot.

    It became a symbol of the forced stagnation of the Status Quo, and for Christians like the Roman Catholics who resented the presence of other churches (particularly the Greek Orthodox) in their holy places it was a symbol of heretical control over the most sacred Christian sites.

    The Immovable Ladder in an 18th-century engraving, you can see it in the upper right window of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

    In 1852 President Houdon of France sent a letter to Sultan Mustafa V (not an OTL sultan) of the Ottoman Empire requesting that Turkish authorities end the Status Quo and transfer control over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and other sites to the Catholic Church. As a conservative and a devout Catholic Houdon certainly desired to see these holy places in the hands of his faith, but the very public letter was also part of Houdon’s project repair French relations with the other Catholic nations of Europe and the letter was endorsed by Emperor Francis II, Pope Pius IX and other Catholic rulers once word of it spread. The Ottomans desperately relied on French support to maintain their empire and Mustafa V was personally suspicious of Orthodox Christians who he regarded as a potential fifth column in the case of war with Russia (his oppression of the Orthodox would conveniently make this paranoia a reality). The Commander of the Faithful considered the letter and agreed, issuing orders that several Christian holy sites be turned over to the Roman Catholic Church in their entirety.

    On September 19th, 1852 the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem came down to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where he personally removed the ladder and smashed it on the cobblestones. The following “Ladder Revolutions” (a couple of the groups used actual ladders as symbols) began as a series of mass protests and rioting by Christians across the Ottoman Empire who weren’t Catholic (which was most of them). In Greece the rioting turned into rebellion as the Romios (for the Greeks ITTL had settled their national-soul-search by identifying with Rome and Byzantium instead of ancient Greece and kept the Medieval and Ottoman-era name for themselves) launched another bid for independence. They were joined by the Serbs and the Bulgars- fellow Eastern Orthodox Christians outraged at the loss of the Holy Sepulcher. The Ottomans called for help from France which pledged to answer and Czar Konstantin I of Russia (an alt-brother of the guy in the link) declared war on the Turks in a thundering proclamation that called for a “a new crusade” to “reclaim holy Jerusalem” and free Russia’s oppressed Orthodox brothers. The Holy Alliance split, with Prussia and the German Confederation joining Russia and Austria and Bavaria standing with France and Italy. Pius IX called for devout Catholics to come together to protect the oppressed Catholics who were subject to depredations by the Russians and Prussians, and to keep the Holy Sepulcher in Catholic hands. Spain joined the war on the same side as France and the Ottomans to the surprise of many.

    An 1842 lithograph- note the ladder.

    Britain initially remained neutral- they didn’t want to fight against their ally Spain and they didn’t want to ally with France even if France was fighting their enemy Russia. But it was events in America that eventually drew Britain in.

    In November 1852 President Butler won a second term on a platform of bringing the expansion of slavery to an end in the United States for good. At the same time a new constitutional amendment was introduced to Congress to outlaw slavery wherever it currently existed. It didn’t have the votes to pass yet, but this was a bridge too far for the South. West Florida became the first state to secede from the Union and was followed within days by South Carolina. Jefferson and Louisiana joined them, as did North Carolina and Arkansas. On January 15th, 1853 representatives of the seceding states met in Raleigh, North Carolina and formed a new government; the familiarly named (to my OTL readers) Confederate States of America. Ixcanha participated and joined the Confederacy as a state of its own. Butler attempted to negotiate some kind of peace deal, but he could offer nothing other than a promise that he wouldn’t try to interfere with slavery in the slate states- the South wanted a guarantee that no constitutional amendment would ever be passed to outlaw slavery and this he would not and could not give. The American Civil War began when Georgia refused to return an escaped slave to South Carolina, leading to a confrontation between Georgian and South Carolinian state militias. South Carolina won the fight and with the failure of peace negotiations President Butler began mobilizing the US Army and ordered the deployment of Federal troops to protect a now-isolated Georgia. Great Britain recognized the new country now that it was clear there was going to be a civil war in America, and Virginia, Missouri, Maryland, and Cimarron Territory joined the CSA- prompted partly by Butler’s decision to use force and partly because with British help victory seemed possible. Delaware alone of the slave states was kept in the Union whether it wanted to be there or not.

    General Archibald Freeman of the Georgia State Militia, later the first African-American General in the United States Army in the Separate-verse

    An uprising began by Hispanics within the Mexican Cession and Emperor Juan I- seeking to secure his shaky rule (as a liberal leader who had proclaimed himself monarch he was unpopular with both liberal and conservative Mexicans)- mobilized every adult Mexican man he could get him hands on and launched the Second Mexican-American War with an invasion of the United States to reclaim Mexico’s lost territory. The rebels greeted his army as liberators and further north Comancheria intensified its conflict with the US government. France, Haiti and most of Central America pledged support for the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Spain for Mexico and the Confederacy. Hostilities between Britain and the United States began when the US Navy fired on British ships bringing military aid to the Confederacy, hostilities between Britain and France began when British ships fired on French ships bringing aid to the Union.

    The American Civil War and the Second Mexican-American War had merged into the Last Crusade.

    The war was a confusing tangle of alliances- in North America Spain supported Britain and the Confederacy, in Europe Spain was allied to France and at war with every member of the Holy Alliance except for Britain. Portugal was allied to Britain and the Confederacy in the New World but neutral in the Old. In Europe the Protestant and Orthodox Alliance stood together against the mostly Catholic Brotherhood of Nations, but Catholic Sardinia and Naples fought with the Alliance (as did most of the Rhenish Catholics of Germany), while Catholic Mexico was allied to Protestant Britain and the Confederacy in North America, proving that religion was less a cause of the war than its trigger. Pope Pius IX’s decision to issue a papal bull endorsing the Brotherhood’s war to secure Catholic control over sacred sites in the Holy Land and the United States of America’s war to free the slaves of the Confederacy proved very controversial. It won the Pope and Catholicism in general quite a bit of good will among American Protestants and was extremely popular within the members of the Brotherhood, but Catholics in Mexico, Drakia, the Confederacy, and Portugal were hostile towards a Papacy taking an active role in the wars and alliances of temporal nations (because that’s never happened before).

    I'm posting another picture of the ladder because I love how ridiculous it is so much. Yes, I know my religion has plenty of ridiculousness of its own. Photograph from 1885 OTL.

    On July 4th, 1853, four months to the day after the start of his second term, President Robert M. Butler was attending a public event in New York when an Ohioan haberdasher named Jules Henry shot him in the shoulder. Ironically Henry wasn’t motivated by racism, a love of slavery, or sympathy for the South. Despite later efforts by many to paint President Butler as a martyr for the cause of liberty the haberdasher’s grievance was over his only son, Martin Henry, who had volunteered to fight in the US Army and been killed by accidental friendly fire from another green recruit during training. The President lingered for over a month after the bullet was successfully removed from his initially nonfatal wound by a doctor who hadn’t washed his hands, eventually dying to hospital gangrene. His Vice-President was a much more radical abolitionist originally chosen to balance the ticket and ensure support by Whig radicals for Butler’s first candidacy.

    Who was the man upon whom the awesome powers and duties of the Presidency had just devolved?

    He was President William Lyon Mackenzie of the United States of America.

    Bet you weren't expecting that wham line, were ya? Here I go, droppin' bombshells like Curtis LeMay.

    Photo I took with my cellphone of the ladder in June 2019 (OTL). Why don't more people know about this? It's the most beautiful piece of crazy bureaucracy that I've ever seen.
    Chapter 9

  • Chapter 9

    The Last Crusade was a real mess of a war and it sucked for just about everyone involved.

    In Europe you had Russia and Prussia trying to smash the Ottomans and Austria while Orthodox uprisings in both countries- the Hungarians got in on this too- undermined them from within. France fought to hold the Rhine while also deploying expeditionary forces to Italy, Austria, and the Sublime Porte in an effort to keep its allies in the fight. Britain still had the best navy in the world but France and America were strong enough at sea that they had to really work to maintain their supremacy and London was sending its own expeditionary forces all across the map- from Germany to Ottoman North Africa- trying to help the Alliance achieve victories wherever it could. In North America the United States had a stronger military than during the OTL 1850s, but struggled to fight the Confederacy and Mexico and the Mexican rebels and the Comanches and to disrupt if not stop British aid to its enemies.

    Of course, everyone was more industrialized than OTL and technology considerably more advanced.

    Multiple nations were already fielding ironclad warships when the fighting began, and the war started with repeating weapons similar to the OTL Agar Gun and the Gatling Gun were already in wide use. There was even an early recoil-operated repeater akin to Jacob Steubel’s OTL design that had been invented in Sweden, and weapons based on it would proliferate considerably by the war’s end. Various experimental airship projects were hastily developed for practical use- Britain had a major advantage there thanks to Drakia having employed airships for practical military purposes for several years before the war and sent a squadron of four ships with experienced crews and groundcrews to Europe. These airships remained vulnerable to bad weather and had not yet reached a point where they could carry bombs or cargo in useful amounts, but they rapidly demonstrated their value and there was not yet any practical way to shoot them down deliberately. Both the Brotherhood and the Alliance lionized their airship crews who risked their lives every time they went up in the still dangerous craft, turning them into heroes for the next generation. Steam powered mobile artillery and steam wagons went from being minor curiosities in the Canadian War to practical weapons… as long as there was either flat terrain or good roads and reliable sources of fuel. Different people experimented with submarines and spar-torpedoes. And of course, this was the war in which white phosphorus (even if it was being called yellow phosphorus) and poison gas saw their true debut.

    American studies of the phenomenon of “Angel’s Glow” during the war would lead to the first breakthroughs in antibiotic research after its end.

    American military airship being launched in Texas.

    Trench warfare was common in Europe and the Old World.

    Most of the Balkans was rapidly overrun by the Alliance as Russia swept through Ottoman territory with the help of the Romios (remember TTL’s Greeks use a different name), the Bulgarians, and the Serbians while Austria was still struggling to deal with the Hungarians and France had not yet delivered its forces where they needed to be. Russia’s goal was to capture Istanbul while a separate Russian army advanced through the Caucuses and Armenia (where the Armenians were launching their own Ladder Revolution) and into the Turkish heartland of Anatolia. If the Ottoman Empire was knocked out early then it would be difficult for the Brotherhood to manage much of any victory at all. Of course, this didn’t happen- a series of defensive lines across the narrowing neck of Thrace stopped the Alliance long enough for French reinforcements to arrive and bolster the heroic Turkish defense, and the mountains of Anatolia proved more difficult to press through than Moscow had imagined. Meanwhile Prussia threw the newly formed Combined German Army (mostly Prussian, but with the armed forces of the other German Confederation allies integrated into a single command structure) at the Rhine, combining weapons that were just as good if not better than France’s with tactics that had failed to keep pace. Early machine guns and dug-in entrenchments kept the Combined German Army across the Rhine. France remained on the defensive on its own border and in the Ottoman Empire, focusing its available forces on helping the Italians push south into Naples where another series of defensive lines- mostly erected and defended by Britain- struggled to keep them out. Things were more fluid in Central Europe, but you still had pretty bad sieges of major cities where Russia, the Hungarians, and the Combined German Army fought to defeat the Austrians, Bavarians, and Poles.

    Spain continually aggravated both sides with its failure to totally commit one way or the other. Because Britain wasn’t sinking Spanish ships, they were able to play a major role in providing soldiers and supplies to the expeditionary force in Istanbul, whilst simultaneously refusing to attack Gibraltar or allow France through their territory to do so. Nor would they contribute to French efforts to cut off Britain’s forces in southern Italy- part of the mad tangle of naval warfare in the Mediterranean as both France and Britain tried to support their respective forces overseas and cut the other side’s supply lines. Both the Alliance and the Brotherhood hated Spanish indecision, but neither felt confident enough to risk driving Spain into the arms of the opposing coalition wholesale.

    Part of the Brotherhood trenches in Thrace.

    In North America on the other hand, the war was far more mobile. Union airships scanned the relatively wide expanses of the New World from the air, spotting enemy positions and signaling to forces on the ground via heliograph. Various armies chased each other in a war of maneuver or assaulted fortified positions. Mexico’s strategy relied on numbers- they had little else- with large, poorly trained and equipped armies overwhelming Union forces with help from rebels in former Mexican territory and trying to survive off of foraging in place of barely extant supply lines. The Confederacy occupied Georgia and then tried to offer Georgia back in exchange for peace, when that failed they struck north into Pennsylvania and Illinois in an attempt to make the war too bloody for the Union for it to be worth it. Most of the British aid to the South actually came from Drakia- Britain needed its resources for the fight in Europe and so it was Drakian guns, ammunition, and steam wagons that were delivered from Africa to help the South (actual Drakian soldiers didn’t make an appearance, most of their professional army fought instead in the conquest of Egypt and Ottoman North Africa). The value of this foreign aid is questionable- it also cost the Confederacy legitimacy in the eyes of many as the Union condemned the government in Richmond (as it was OTL) as a puppet of London and Capetown. More important was the defection of just over half of the pre-war career soldiers in the US Army to the CS Army when the civil war began. In the Caribbean British, Spanish, Drakian, American, and French ships tangled while a Spanish expeditionary force supported Hispanophone rebels in the eastern half of Haiti.

    Despite a variety of advantages for the Union the American Civil War was longer and bloodier than OTL, beginning with major Federal defeats in the Mexican Cession, Georgia, and the Upper South. The tide began to turn with President Mackenzie’s deal with Comancheria- he sat down personally with Chief Pawuurasumununu and worked out a deal by which Comancheria would join the Union as the State of Sookobitʉ, similar to Red River and Jefferson (when it wasn’t in rebellion), and thus the tribes would keep control over their land and retain their own independent government. In exchange the Comanches would have to cede some territory and would commit to becoming “civilized. Pawuurasumununu himself was baptized under the name “Luke Johnson” and sent his son to the prestigious New England boarding school St. Matthews to be educated alongside the sons of Senators and business leaders.

    Paramount Chief Pawuurasumununu of the Comanche Nation, later the first Governor of the State of Sookobitʉ.

    With Comancheria no longer a distraction, the Union adopted a stance of containing the Mexican Empire and focused on defeating the Confederacy- there was also an ill-conceived attempt to invade Newfoundland that was probably America’s biggest disaster of the war. The fighting wasn’t quiet or easy- the South had to be ground down over the course of a hundred battles and the war with Mexico took on characteristics of ethnic cleansing as the Mexicans attempted to kill or expel Anglo and African American civilians from the areas they occupied and the American Army took revenge on Hispanic civilians when they counterattacked. But ultimately the North had industry and numbers that the South lacked, and the huge, slow, low-quality forces fielded by Mexico lacked the logistics to challenge professional, front line US Army regiments. President Mackenzie arranged for the passage of the 13th Amendment (same number as OTL- there weren’t really any butterflies capable of derailing the first twelve) banning slavery permanently, counting three-fourths of the states not in secession as the necessary number to get it passed. He also set aside large tracts of the Mexican Cession (in OTL northern Mexico) to be granted as free land to former slaves (this both provided restitution to freed slaves and planted a reliable population in former Mexican territory) and established a Freedman’s Bureau to help ease the transition of slaves to free citizenship. Mackenzie was also the driving force behind the desegregation of the US Army in a return to the mixed-race units of the old Continental Army.

    It was important, he said, that Americans of different backgrounds and different races fight side-by-side.

    When it became clear that the Confederacy was doomed the State of Ixcanha reached out to New York and offered to surrender and abolish slavery in exchange for admission to the Union. As Ixcanha had never been in rebellion against the United States by virtue of not having been part of the United States before the war, their offer was accepted with no putative punishments for its leaders or inhabitants. The Native Mayan state had largely sat out the war in any case, beyond a few minor battles with the Union-allied Federation of Central America.

    In Europe victory came by way of technology. British and Drakian phosphorus grenades were horrible, but not horrible enough to force a breakthrough- that required a far crueler weapon. It was deployed at a time when the war seemed to be shifting against the Alliance. France and Italy had defeated Naples in the Italian Peninsula, the Combined German Army had bled itself white trying to break through the Rhine, the French and Austrian Armies (plus the Croats who did not want to be part of an independent Hungary) were winning the battle in Austria, and a new Prime Minister in Madrid hinted that Spain was on the verge of breaking with Britain for real- threatening to challenge Britain’s ability to keep its force in the Balkans supplied. Desperate to break the siege at Istanbul before the war could irreparably turn against them, King Earnest I of Great Britain authorized the first use of modern chemical weapons.

    (This was proposed but turned down in OTL’s Crimean War)

    Britons release chlorine gas on the Franco-Ottoman lines protecting Istanbul.

    They experimented initially with cacodyl cyanide but settled on Chlorine gas, only one major use of which was required to break through the French and Ottoman lines around Istanbul as soldiers unaccustomed to gas broke and ran in the face of an unprecedented weapon. With Istanbul and Jerusalem in British hands (Britain had conquered most of Turkish North Africa with the co-operation of local rulers who were interested in dumping Ottoman authority- not that British authority would prove much of an improvement in the long run, and then invaded the Holy Land) the war seemed won by the Alliance. Additional attempts to defeat France and Austria using chlorine produced some initial victories that were turned around when the Brotherhood discovered that you could protect yourself from Chlorine gas with nothing less than a wet rag over your mouth and nose. Faced with a choice between giving up and trying to push through the Balkans to liberate Istanbul as what remained of the Ottoman Empire rapidly collapsed, the Brotherhood of Nations reluctantly agreed to peace negotiations in Copenhagen.

    After three grueling years the Last Crusade was over.

    The final settlement saw the Status Quo restored in the Holy Land, minus the parts of holy sites administered by the Catholic Church that were transferred instead to the Anglican Church. (A new copy of the ladder was placed back beneath the window of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.) A tripartite commission composed of representatives of Russia, Britain, and the German Confederation took over administration of the country holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The Ottoman Empire was reduced to an Anatolian rump-state with its capital in Ankara, while Ottoman North Africa became part of the British Empire and Armenia, part of Kurdistan, and most of Mesopotamia sans a small portion that Persia grabbed fell under Russian patrimony. Hungary secured its independence from Austria (without Croatia which gained its own parliament and autonomy within the Austrian Empire) and Serbia, Bulgaria, and “Rhomania” (Greece, not to be confused with “Rumania” the name of the now united countries of Wallachia and Moldavia) gained theirs from the Ottoman Empire. Albania and the Hejax remained at least nominally part of the Turkish Sultanate and Syria became a colony of the German Confederation- still a confederation of sovereign countries, but with an increasingly powerful Confederal Government. Russia acquired former Austrian Galicia and the city of Istanbul/Czargrad itself. The Kingdom of Naples (minus Sicily), the Papal States, and the Kingdom of Italy became the Italian Federation with sub-national monarchies persisting in its different members and the Pope as Italy’s ceremonial head of state. They included Sicily but not Sardinia- which remained in Britain’s sphere- and retained a claim on Austrian Venice.

    Basil I of Rhomania, First Citizen and Autocrat of the Romios proclaims the restoration of the Roman Empire.

    No one was left satisfied with their gains after the heavy sacrifices of the war. The Brotherhood at least could blame their enemies for the Last Crusade’s bloody legacy with little accomplished, the Alliance was faced with the challenge of explaining to its people how what it had acquired was worth what it had lost.

    For America however, the only flies in the ointment of its victory were the failure to invade Newfoundland and the loss of the eastern half of Haiti which was restored to Spain as a colony- in fact all of Haiti was occupied by Spain and it only regained its independence at the bargaining table. The fighting in North America dragged on after the conclusion of the Last Crusade in Europe and the Middle East, but by that point there was no question who would win. Georgia was liberated, friendly Whig governments installed in black-majority South Carolina and Louisiana, and the Confederate government that had fled to West Florida after the loss of Virginia ultimately surrendered. Juan I was overthrown when the US Army approached Mexico City and the Mexican Empire surrendered unconditionally. Concerned that a peace agreement similar to the last one would lead to another round of instability and another war with Mexico in a few years, President Mackenzie dissolved the Mexican government and placed what remained of the country under military occupation. Two possibilities were advanced with regards to the country’s fate; either an American-style democracy should be established before restoring some degree of independence to Mexico, or it should undergo an “Americanization” project prior to being annexed. Neither was terribly attractive.

    Mexico probably suffered the most of any of the combatants- military tactics including frontal assaults on fortified positions had killed large numbers of men, but many more died from hunger or disease in the large under-supplied army groups that Juan I fielded, followed by additional deaths among prisoners-of-war who were placed by the Americans in poorly provisioned POW camps. So many men were conscripted by the Emperor that a labor shortage disrupted the harvesting of crops and triggered a famine followed by epidemics of cholera and typhoid. Ultimately Mexico suffered demographic losses similar to (although not as bad as) Paraguay in the OTL War of the Triple Alliance, its population falling from approximately 6.8 million in 1850 to 4.9 million by the war’s end in 1855 (not counting the Mexican population in neighboring Ixcanha, the Mexican Cession of the United States, or parts of the Federation of Central America), of which under two-fifths were men. The dead were predisposed towards the lower classes, as the Creole elites had been better able to avoid conscription. President Mackenzie successfully restrained some of the worse impulses that the American Army had engaged in while pushing back the Mexican Empire, keeping the war crimes north of the border, and Mexico settled down into a numbed exhaustion under military rule.

    A much greater dying was about to begin in Sub-Saharan Africa, however.

    Free internet points to whoever can guess what's about to happen in Africa. Here's a hint- the Drakians didn't do it deliberately.
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    Chapter 10

  • Chapter 10

    Drakian culture revered the rugged, pioneering spirit. In their minds they were carving civilization out of a vast and dangerous wilderness, bringing civilization to the barbarian and Christ to the unbeliever. By the end of the 1850s a majority of Drakians endorsed the Continental Imperative- the belief that it was their divine right and duty to unify all of Africa. But unlike America- which also reveres the rugged, pioneering spirit- this did not go hand in hand with a belief in individualism. In America it had been possible at times for an individual or a family to buy some supplies, pack up, and carve a new life for themselves on the frontier. American settlers both ITTL and IOTL spread west so fast that government authority was unable to keep up with them, leading in the short term to the lawlessness of the Wild West, and in the long term to an ideology arguing that Americans don’t need the government that has dogged America until the present day. For Drakians however, settling the frontier as individuals or individual families was a much bigger risk and the Natives far more dangerous foes. You did not go out on your own, you settled in armed groups with military assistance not too far away. The American national myth was of settling an “empty” west where the Natives were villains seeking to steal their stuff at worst and childlike primitives at best. The Drakian national myth was that of the conquering crusader, explicitly subjugating dangerous inferiors. Where America was individualist Drakia was collectivist, viewing the group as the primary entity and the individual as secondary. Britain’s Firstborn Dominion considered itself a country under siege, perpetually at war with vast hordes of black people who would overwhelm them if they made the slightest mistake. Against that the pressure to conform, to find your place in society and fill it, not to question, arose naturally. The Anglo culture of Drakia had made room for French influences that it cherished and celebrated, it made no room for anything else. Not for the Afrikaners, or for the descendants of Portuguese colonists in Mozambique and later Angola, or anyone else who wouldn’t assimilate. At least when it came to their white inhabitants, the country expected unity.

    There were three pillars to Drakia’s society; the class system, the military, and the church.

    It was in the years after the end of the Last Crusade that the Drakian class system began to crystalize into its modern form. It was a complex Frankenstinian production whose existence was central to the anti-republican and anti-enlightenment ideology that had made itself inseparable from the Drakian national consciousness since the first of the United Empire Loyalists placed down roots in the cape. Most Drakians (they were never a monolithic entity) believed that society needed a wise and guiding upper class to rule over the common masses or else demagogues under democracy would drive the nation to ruin and self-destruction in response to popular whims. Of course by this point Drakia regarded that “wise and guiding upper class” to include all or most of the white inhabitants of the dominion (they were a “noble nation” thanks to intermarrying with French Royalist nobility supposedly)- it was only the Natives who needed to be ruled and guided without being granted any say in the matter. But even among the Natives there were differing degrees of necessary guidance, there has never by a system of slavery in which some slaves were not favored above others, nor a system where it was totally impossible for a slave to become free, nor a system where a freed slave could not acquire at least most of the same rights and privileges of the freeborn.

    Magic white people coming in to civilize the Native Africans, as imagined by Drakia

    Drakia was no different. Their class system was approximately as follows;

    1. At the top was the Drakian Aristocracy, most descended from the original United Empire Loyalists, most at least claiming intermarriage with French nobility. They were major land and business owners and generally controlled the dominion’s politics

    2. Next were majority of the Drakians, descended from the UELs, Hessian mercenaries, French conservatives, later Confederate die-hards and assimilated persons from a variety of sources. Together with the aristocracy they made up over 1.5 million people by 1855. There was social mobility between the Aristocracy and the greater Drakian community and they were very much the ruling class.

    3. After that you had other Europeans who weren’t culturally Drakian- the Afrikaners, the Jewish community, Lusophone descendants of Portuguese colonists, German and Scandinavian immigrants, and others, they would later be joined by a wave of immigration from Latin America. They were Citizens and had the same legal rights as Drakians but faced barriers to upward mobility unless they assimilated. In 1855 there were around 400,000 in Drakia.

    4. Honorary White was the highest rank that a non-white could aspire to and the lowest rank of the Citizen class. Their numbers were made up of communities of Asian descent- mostly Indian immigrants- and Native African collaborators with Drakian rule. They ranged from the descendants of pre-colonial African elites- the rulers and nobles of Drakia’s Princely States- to skilled and successful ordinary free Africans. Most of the mixed race inhabitants of Drakia had Honorary White status, and some African tribes and nations who had allied with Drakia had it for all of their members. Even Bondsmen could gain the Honorary White label by volunteering for military service, although the holder of their bond needed to grant them permission to do so and such permission was commonly used as an incentive. Honorary Whites were Citizens with almost all of the rights of white Drakians, with the exception that they could not vote and they faced marriage restrictions when it came to whites (but not absolute restrictions, if one was mixed race and less than one quarter African, or one half Asian one could marry in and have children who would be full Citizens). They were exempt from the Hut Tax and many served as managers, administrators, bureaucrats, and non-commissioned officers in the colonial administration. There were only about a million of them in 1855, but their numbers would grow rapidly as Drakia expanded to become the largest citizen class by 1870.

    5. Non-citizens were officially known as Drakian Nationals. The highest-ranking Nationals were the relatively affluent ones who were able to afford to pay the Hut Tax - although it was no longer connected to Huts in any way- with money. They were generally involved in smaller businesses or employed by larger white owned ones, they were more likely to be educated or to be Christians.

    6. The largest segment of Drakian society in 1855 were Nationals who couldn’t afford to pay the Hut Tax with money or stock, and so paid with labor. They were required to work three months of the year for the government- although the government often seconded them out to work for private concerns. While many lived in areas with weak government control and so avoided general mistreatment, they (along with more affluent Nationals) faced restrictions on movement, land ownership, and a limited education designed to prepare them to become a laboring class. They were the largest of the Drakian social classes in 1855, but the massive expansion of Bondsmen as Drakia grew soon relegated them to second place.

    7. Bond Labor was slavery. There were ways to escape it, but none were in the control of the Bondsmen and women themselves- you could only escape your bond if the holder of it released you. Most Bondsmen were eventually released after they became too old for their labor to remain profitable, their debts were passed on their next of kin, and they were “freed” to a brief life of penury. Nationals who failed to pay their Hut Tax were vulnerable to becoming Bonded, as were those who fell into normal debts. While the Bonded had some rights under the law, an absence of enforcement meant that effectively that had no rights that Citizens were bound to respect.

    Bonded laborers in a factory dormitory

    The second pillar of Drakian society was its military. As a paranoid people constantly afraid of the Native Africans who outnumbered them, Drakia elevated its military to one of the most respected institutions of the state. The concept of the Citizen-Soldier and the formation of the militia created a common tie that bound most male Drakian citizens to each other. “What unit did you serve with?” was a normal question on meeting a new person and the experience of military service for all Citizens served as a unifying factor. Military service also dovetailed nicely with the Drakian philosophy that unalienable rights did not exist- you earned your rights through service to the state, you did not acquire them simply by being born- and military veterans occupied a place of prestige and esteem. After the end of the Last Crusade Drakia replaced its militia with a Reserve, requiring all male Drakians to serve two years in the professional military before becoming reservists with twice monthly training to keep their skills sharp should they be needed. The result was a reserve all of whose members had received professional training and experience and enough regular refreshers that when called upon they were superior to most conscript forces fielded by other nations. The regular Drakian military and the Reserve were supplemented by the African Auxiliary (later just the “Auxiliary”), an all-volunteer (because forcibly conscripting Natives and then giving them weapons and military training seemed a poor idea) force of Native troops with training and equipment up to the standards of European regular armies. Service in the Auxiliary was one of the most available routes for Nationals and Bondsmen to Honorary White-ness, but about half of their members were recruited from the ranks of pre-existing Honorary Whites- mostly African nations who had opted to ally with Drakia as it expanded.

    Members of an African Auxiliary unit in Somalia. Although they served in segregated units with white officers, the experience of fighting for Drakia helped to cement the loyalty of favored Native groups.

    The final leg that held up the Firstborn Dominion was the Church. A couple different churches as a matter of fact, although most Drakians were members of the Anglican Church of Drakia. The second largest group were Catholics- descendants of the French conservatives who had settled there- the third members of the Church of Christ the Savior, a Christian church founded in the 1840s in Drakia. The churches in question had different doctrines and answered to different leadership, but (in Drakia at least) they shared a belief that the “civilizing” of the Africans was divinely and biblically mandated. For the Catholics this meant only a belief that the Natives needed to be converted to Christianity, for the Saviours it meant the natural dominance of the true Israelites (the Drakians) over the descendants of Ham. For Drakia church was a social fixture, the place where everyone went to see or be seen, the center of the community. For most- including women who didn’t do military service (not with the pressure on them to have babies)- the Church was a common institution and experience that acted as a unifier. Together with the military and a class system that put white Drakians on top, religion helped to cement the nation together as a single unit.

    St. Mary's Cathedral in Capetown, seat of the Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Cape of Good Hope and later the center of the Sedevacantist Catholic Church.

    The end of the Last Crusade was the beginning of the break between Britain and its Firstborn Dominion.

    The British people were left angry after the heavy sacrifices of blood and treasure needed to… carve up the Ottoman Empire and acquire new colonies in North Africa apparently. It didn’t seem worth it, and after the death of King Earnest I two years following the war, previously suppressed calls for democratic reforms resurfaced with a vigor. Unlike his father, George V (not to be confused with the OTL George V) was more open to parliamentarianism, to expanding Westminster democracy to more of the people, manumitting the British Catholics and reducing the property qualification to vote. From Drakia’s perspective this was the start of when the home country began its degeneration, although at least it was not yet ready to push reforms on its colonial subjects. Britain’s victory in the Last Crusade had been close- exceptionally close- won solely thanks to a new and experimental weapon. But more chemical weapons like white phosphorus and chlorine gas require research, and how better to pursue that research than with human subjects? However, they could hardly experiment in Britain itself lest word escape.

    In the end it was Great Britain that imposed scientific rigor and legitimate experimental protocols on Drakia’s research using Native Africans. The research they conducted was designed to create new war-winning chemical and biological weapons and later- with the import of usually Irish criminals- to find ways of dealing with the effect of the diseases of Africa on Europeans.

    But speaking of diseases.


    Rinderpest is a virus that is harmless to humans but deadly to two-toed ungulates, including cattle, oxen, sheep and goats. It probably originated in Asia during the Neolithic, but by the 19th century had not yet spread to Africa and the susceptible species there had developed no degree of immunity to the virus. During the Last Crusade the movement of people and animals in and out of Drakia introduced rinderpest to Mozambique by way of goats from Britain carried onboard Royal Navy ships as a source of fresh milk. Over the next few years rinderpest swept through Sub-Saharan Africa from South Africa to Ethiopia, wiping out 90% of the cattle in the region as well as large numbers of wild two-toed ungulates including wildebeests, buffalo, and giraffes.

    Cattle lying dead of rinderpest during the epidemic (technically epizootic, but who actually says that?)

    The impact to the Native peoples was incalculable.

    For the pastoralists their cattle were their primary source of wealth and food, and the epidemic meant starvation. Hungry pastoralists with no other options descended on agricultural communities who had just lost the beasts of burden they relied on for farm work, massively cutting into their own food production. Waves of violence convulsed the continent as starving people fought each other for food, including several substantial uprisings against colonial rule. The migration of impacted groups seeking food helped to transmit smallpox, cholera, typhoid, and other European diseases that many parts of Africa had not yet become accustomed to, which tore through human populations whose immune systems had been weakened by famine. The vast reduction in grazing allowed expanses of African grassland that had been formerly used as pasture to turn into woody thornbush- which permitted tsetse flies to dramatically expand their range over the next decade, carrying with them sleeping sickness that affected humans and animals such as pigs and horses who were immune to rinderpest. A second wave of death and famine followed.

    For Drakia, the rinderpest epidemic would end up being a positive development. It reduced Native populations massively and shattered many of the organized Native states that had emerged in eastern and central Africa who had halted colonial expansion. The Drakians themselves were largely unaffected by the famine- they had the military capabilities to simply take food by force to feed their white population if they needed to- and hungry Africans eagerly signed up to join the Auxiliary for the promise of regular meals, providing Drakia with soldiers it needed to suppress famine-inspired uprisings and then to expand. Expansion into areas weakened and depopulated by hunger and disease was relatively rapid, further eased by new advances in Malaria prophylaxis in the 1860s and 70s, and by basic anti-tsetse fly protections (wearing long-sleeves and early bug spray to keep the flies from biting, essentially. Don’t knock it, that what the WHO recommends). Immigration (sponsored by the Drakian government) from the United States began at this time, composed of ex-Confederates who sympathized with Drakia’s white supremacy and social system, and provided an extra hundred thousand loyal white citizens. A British government dealing with the popular and economic after-effects of the Last Crusade (not a Great Depression by any means, but the war was very expensive) was happy to cut costs by transferring the administration of its colonies in the area over to Drakia, shifting Britain’s colonial focus to West Africa and the East Indies.

    From Britain’s perspective Drakia had done well at pulling its weight during the war, contributing weapons and munitions to the Confederacy, and sending troops to fight in North Africa and in India when a massive uprising threatened British rule over the subcontinent. The war in India led to the death of over a million Indians in the rebellion and its aftermath from acts of cruelty by Drakians putting down the rebels and India’s own famines and epidemics that followed. Attitudes in TTL’s more racist and white supremacist Britain (while there were reforms to colonial policy in India, no equivalent of Victoria’s OTL promise that Indians would receive the same rights as other British subjects materialized) were largely positive towards Drakians, albeit with the usual sense of superiority of Britons born in Britain over the descendants of colonists (Rudyard Kipling complained a lot about this OTL). Calls for political and labor reform in Drakia were limited to the radical wing of the Liberal Party and some human rights-minded activist groups.

    Indian rebels being executed by "blowing from a gun"- tying a person to mouth of a loaded cannon and firing it.

    But the post-rinderpest struggle that closed out the Middle Wars of Expansion south of the Sahara, impacted Drakian society in other ways than just the acquisition of new territory. Partly this included an expansion of the role of women- with men being called out to fight women were needed to fill civil managerial positions and their rights to own and administer land, business, and property grew. Partly it included a greater willingness to look the other way on issues of male homosexuality- the demand for white soldiers meant that provided he was willing to fight and fight hard for the empire a man could do what he liked in his spare time (women OTOH were expected to be producing children). But perhaps the largest and darkest influence of the Middle Wars of Expansion were in the revival of Bonded Labor at a time just before mechanization could start reducing the need for it.

    Drakia’s expansion into the tsetse belt brought it into a region where animal husbandry was all but impossible due to rinderpest and sleeping sickness. In the long run the dominion would rely on Zebroids- the crossbred offspring of Zebras and horses- that were immune to sleeping sickness and rinderpest, but in the short term military logistics required large numbers of porters to transport supplies for the troops. Agriculture in the tsetse belt was also human heavy, as was construction, and basically anything that in another region could have at least partially made use of work animals. Population losses among free Nationals and Bondsmen during the epidemic and famine meant that there was already a labor shortage in Drakia, and the acquisition of tsetse infested territory only intensified it. The result was increased pressure to push free Nationals into Bondage for non-payment of the Hut Tax, and the wholesale capture of large numbers of “prisoners of war” (most of whom were civilians) in newly conquered areas who were then enrolled as Bondsmen through various excuses (“it cost money to capture and imprison you and you have to pay it back” was the most common). Straightforward human trafficking with forged bond papers for its victims flourished as much of the official establishment turned a blind eye. For the first time significant numbers of non-Africans entered Drakian Bondage in the form of a revived Indian Indenture wherein unlike previous Indian indentured servants who had faced treatment no worse than OTL, the debts incurred in transporting Indian workers were treated like those of African Bondsmen (i.e. permitted to grow through high interest and crooked book-keeping, and then passed on to the children of the original workers) and the Indians involved found themselves trapped in slavery.

    We have spoken before of how slavery begins for economic reasons but then can be defended- as it was in the South OTL- for purely ideological ones. As de facto slavery became more and more widely employed in Drakia and more and more money came to be invested in the “debts” of a continent, ideology intensified, and the human loathing for cognitive dissonance did its wicked work.
    Interlude: "Grant us the means to do and we will do."

  • Interlude

    Let us consider Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish of the United States Army.

    Evan Pharrish was a lieutenant in the Massachusetts State Militia who enlisted in the US Army when the civil war began. As a captain he distinguished himself for bravery in an early Union defeat while it was trying desperately to reach Georgia with reinforcements, winning a promotion to major. In the Battle of Moorehead, Virginia he was rallying troops who were on the verge of breaking when a Confederate shell went off mere feet away from where he was standing. The explosion lifted Evan Pharrish’s body into the air before slamming it back onto the ground, shattering his spine and breaking almost every bone in his body. Carried with the retreating Union troops, he was given a deathbed promotion to Brigadier-General by General Raymond Marchand. Such promotions were a common practice in the United States Army, a final way to honor dying men for their courage and to ensure that their widows received a larger pension. After promoting him as high as he felt he reasonably could, General Marchand left the Massachusetts man with the assumption that he would never see him again in this world.

    Only Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish refused to die.

    Despite the unbelievable damage to his body and an infection usually considered a death sentence by most doctors he recovered after a months-long fight, defying all medical predictions. His survival was hailed as a miracle. Unfortunately for Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish the damage to his spine proved too severe to heal and he was left paralyzed from the neck down, able to speak but do little else. At a loss for what to do with a quadriplegic Brigadier-General who refused to resign or retire, and not wanting to discharge a war-hero against his will, the army put him in command of Fort Chittenden in Illinois well away from the fighting. There he could oversee the training and outfitting of new recruits despite his inability to move a limb.

    And there Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish remained, at least until the Illinois Campaign of Confederate Lieutenant-General Deliver-Me-From-Evil MacLathagain.

    MacLathagain’s goal in invading Illinois was not to conquer and hold the state, but to deal as much strategic damage as possible, and so to break the Union’s resolve to carry on the war. He led a relatively small force mostly composed of cavalry and mounted infantry that out-maneuvered the larger but slower Union armies meant to keep him confined to Missouri. As he went in Illinois he operated without supply lines, relying on forage to keep his men fed, and dealing as much strategic damage as he feasibly could. The cavalry units that the Union sent to stop MacLathagain- the only forces they had capable of catching him- weren’t capable of beating his mounted infantry whose breech-loaders multiplied the pre-existing advantage of (relatively) modern infantry over cavalry which made nice big targets. He wouldn’t be able to keep away from them forever, but he could do a lot of damage in the short-term.

    And so Lieutenant-General Deliver-Me-From-Evil MacLathagain set his sights on the major industrial city of Chicago.

    He had successfully drawn away the better part the garrison assigned to defend it and hoped to sack the capital of Illinois before abandoning it and returning south. He was almost there when he found the 27th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment of not-yet-entirely-trained Union soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish blocking his way.

    Pharrish had correctly guessed where MacLathagain was headed and set off with his recruits to get there first. His was now the only major force between the Confederates and Chicago, a unit of out-numbered, less maneuverable troops who were so green that in his words “they still had sap oozing out their ears”.

    The battle that followed would enter into the annals of American warfare as the quadriplegic Massachusite- he issued orders from his litter- successfully fought the Confederates to a stand-still through calculated but brazen use of his small army and a nearly supernatural ability to guess what his counterpart was going to do before he did it.

    Lieutenant-General Deliver-Me-From-Evil MacLathagain eventually withdrew- concerned over the loss of men and ammunition that he could not replace through forage- and made an attempt to reach Chicago by using his superior speed to go around the 27th Illinois. He got away from them but was forced to abandon his plans to take the city when the extra delay allowed reinforcements from Ohio to reach Chicago by boat.

    Brigadier-General Evan Pharrish became a hero to the Union and in particular to Chicago and the State of Illinois. He was personally decorated by President Mackenzie and on his request received a combat command for the rest of the war in which he served ably and competently, albeit without any great drama. After the war he served as the military governor for Arkansas, and after retirement pursued a successful political career as a US Representative for Massachusetts’ 15th Congressional District. A spokesman for the new Fascist ideology, he spent much of his time in Congress speaking on behalf of physically disabled Union veterans, arguing that the country owed a debt to such men and that the loss of a limb or an eye or the use of either should not stand in the way of being a productive citizen.

    In 1878- a few years before his death when modern eugenic principles were just starting to be debated globally and the disabled were being dubbed a “social burden” by some- he said at a meeting of the American Society for the Blind;

    “The crippled are only a burden on society when society chooses to make them such. Grant us the means to do, and we will do.”
    Chapter 11
  • upload_2019-8-8_21-9-26.png

    Chapter 11

    President William Lyon Mackenzie remained in office from the death of President Butler in 1853 until the end of his second term in 1864. In those eleven years he guided America through the chaos of the Civil War and the Second Mexican-American War into the era of Reconstruction that followed. Reconstruction was considerably more radical than OTL- southerners unwilling to swear loyalty oaths saw their citizenship revoked and many individuals who had held notable positions in the Confederate government and military had their land and property confiscated. Readmitted rebel states were given constitutions written in New York and required to ratify several constitutional amendments introduced during and after the war that banned slavery, required that voting not be restricted based on race or previous condition of servitude, and a couple other matters. The Freedman’s Bureau helped to integrate ex-slaves into the work force and played a crucial role in the emergence of a black political class outside of Georgia. Black majorities South Carolina and Louisiana took control of the governments of those states permanently. American pioneers were settled into the southern part of the Mexican Cession and the territories of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila were gradually admitted as states with English-speaking majorities, albeit with strong Mexican influences. The former Emperor Juan I was put on trial, as were many of his higher-ranking officials for crimes committed against both Mexico and the United States.

    There are pluses and minuses to this sort of approach.

    On the one hand the South faced considerably worse punishments than OTL and much was done to derail the rise of the sort of Jim Crow business that happened in our America. On the other hand, the reintegration of the southern states into the Union- not just legally but psychologically and in terms of a national identity- was delayed. The number of southerners who fled America was much higher than OTL, the overwhelming majority moving to Drakia which was eager for more white citizens as it expanded, willing to pay for their transportation across the Atlantic, and happy to grant them free land. The association of the Republican Party with the Confederacy, slavery, and more importantly figures like Lieutenant-General Deliver-Me-From-Evil MacLathagain who devastated regions of northern states, saw the party largely wiped out in the North where Northern Republicans joined the Whig Party wholesale. On the Pacific Coast the Republican Party affiliates attempted to put together a conservative “American Party” and it was only in the South that the Republicans survived as a state-level party of white-supremacy and what IOTL were called Redeemers. This left the Whig Party effectively the only political party with a national presence and they faced no real competition to control either the Presidency or Congress from the end of the Last Crusade until the late-1870s. In the long-run one-party rule would lead to the sort of corruption and status-quo conservatism that always emerges in these sorts of situations, in the short term it fostered the rise of a new political ideology that reconceptualized the Whig platform and the abolitionist cause for an America without slavery.

    That ideology was Fascism.

    The wonders of a reconstruction that wasn't as much of a shit-show as OTL. Not that it's a high bar.

    The Fascists both reflected pre-existing social and political tendencies in American society and intensified those tendencies by giving them a name, a logo, and a movement. The tendencies in question being a shift towards an American identity based not on race or religion, but on a shared set of moral and political values. The Fascists (You know that thing in AH where the name of an OTL political movement ends up meaning the opposite? We’re doing that thing.) adopted the old Roman Republican symbol of the fasces, representing strength through the unity of the people. For the Fascists the bundled sticks of the fasces represented the different races of Americans united through their love of the Republic into a stronger whole. Initially they focused primarily on the unity of African and Anglo Americans into one nation, but eventually the Fascist vision of America would expand to include Native, Asian, and Mexican Americans as well. In time Fascism would move beyond mere racial unity to endorse religious pluralism that included Catholics and Jews with America’s different Protestant Churches as part of the grand American identity. Fascists such as Evan Pharrish called for disabled persons to be considered one rod of the fasces, and early women’s rights activists suggested that women should be one too. They believed in Manifest Destiny- the unification of America through diplomacy and force- and a strong federal government for the United States to stamp out future attempts at secession. The Fascist Movement was heavily supported by some minority groups (African Americans in particular), but it had members within the white Protestant majority as well and was a major wing of the Whig Party.

    An important branch of the Fascist Movement were the southern Unionists.

    The Unionists were a movement similar to the OTL Readjuster Party of Virginia- an alliance of African Americans and poor whites who came together in opposition to the white supremacist Republican Parties of the planter elites. The different Unionist parties mostly used the Whig Party label and only really existed in states where African Americans were the minority and so couldn’t control the government without forming an electoral alliance with at least part of the white community. As a biracial coalition their platform focused on issues like education that benefited all of the inhabitants of their states, and they had incentives to protect voting rights since they couldn’t get into power without black votes. Virginia, North Carolina and Jefferson all had political systems contested between the Republicans and Whig Unionist coalitions, they also all had limited degrees of segregation but the influence of black Unionists meant that this was mostly segregation on the part of private businesses and when it was state-mandated (such as in education), the black side of things was as well funded (if not better funded) than the white side. Only in a few states, in East and West Florida and Arkansas, would segregation along the lines of OTL eventually emerge in the 1890s, and even there it relied less on voter suppression to emerge than the fact that the white majorities in those states genuinely supported it.

    Text from a law passed by the Unionists whereby defendants could be judged by a racially-mixed jury on request. It wasn't ideal, but it was a good step in the right direction.

    While TTL’s Fascism was generally a force for good, it had its problems. It might genuinely believe in a multiracial and religiously pluralistic America, but it didn’t want a multicultural America and while accepting of people who assimilated it was hostile towards groups that maintained an independent cultural identity (like the Quebecois). It was also expansionist, believing that the American Melting Pot could successfully assimilate additional foreign peoples into the American Nation.

    Enter Henry Jarvis.

    One of the Union’s greatest generals of the Civil War, Jarvis stepped up to run for president when the elderly (he ended up living five years longer than OTL) William Lyon Mackenzie ended his career after an unprecedented eleven years in the executive. The man who captured Richmond was swept to an easy victory with little organized opposition once he had secured the Whig nomination to become America’s first president to subscribe to Fascism.

    The Jarvis Administration was more than just a reimagining of the Grant Administration by your wonderful author. The corruption scandals that emerged towards its end were the surfacing of problems that had begun in the late Mackenzie Administration, and they were more connected to the Congressional and State level Whig parties than the largely honest Executive. And of course, the former general was considerably more successful at enlarging the United States than Grant was. Joining the United States had been a mainstream position in Haiti since it had been conquered by Spain during the Last Crusade and liberated only through American diplomacy at the bargaining table. Becoming a state seemed like a very good way to ensure American protection in the future plus stable democratic governance, and they would hardly be the first Francophone or black-majority state. It’s not clear whether or not the majority of the Haitian people were pro-annexation or not, but Henry Jarvis certainly persuaded Haitian President Enel Philipe and enough of the Haitain political leadership that it was a good idea to get them to hold a plebiscite whose 88% approval was probably a bit higher than reality. The President was not fond of Haiti’s Francophone nature, or its unique culture, but he was confident that it would assimilate in time.

    However, the addition of Haiti to the Union paled besides the formal annexation of Mexico.

    President Jean-Pierre Colbert of Haiti- later Governor of the State of Haiti- welcoming the US Navy during the annexation.

    Mexico had remained under military occupation since the end of the war- a remarkably quiet occupation as for most Mexicans the United States was just another authoritarian ruler, and a fairly competent one at that, who didn’t demand much in the way of taxes. That most Mexicans would have preferred an independent Mexico- albeit a more stable one than what they’d had in the past- was a given, unlike in Haiti where majority or plurality support for annexation was plausible. There was however one class of the Mexican population who were strongly in favor of becoming part of the United States- the white Criollos. Between a tenth and a quarter of the Mexican population belonged to the European-descended upper class of old colonial New Spain. They tended to be wealthier, more conservative, and they had been on the losing side of the civil war that brought Juan I to power. The Second Mexican Empire had been bad for almost all of them, as the nominally liberal regime confiscated their land and homes and awarded them to supporters and cronies of the Emperor. The Americans had returned much of the property in question- recognizing that the Criollos as a class were enemies of the old government and the new owners of their former land were allies of it- but they were terrified that if the Americans left then some new Mexican government might expropriate them again. The half-hearted Americanization programs pursued under the Mackenzie Administration when New York was still going back and forth on what to do with Mexico had established a series of English Language schools across the country and many Criollos took advantage of them to ensure that their children could speak English.

    After all it was always good to speak the language of your country’s occupiers.

    The result was that by the later part of Jarvis’ first term a large portion of the Criollo youth were bilingual, and for the most part they and their parents favored the United States over an independent Mexico. Race probably played a role in it as well, Henry Jarvis and the Fascists might minimize the importance of race, but the Criollos generally didn’t share their views and identified as whites who preferred not to go back to being a minority in a non-white country. (At least not when they weren’t a ruling minority in said country.) A group of leading Criollo landowners and businessmen sent a petition to New York endorsed by General Joseph Catt who headed the military government, appealing for annexation. They were ready to be Americans they insisted, and the best way to Americanize Mexico would be to annex it. The widespread use of English among the new Criollo generation was clearly proof that Mexico could be absorbed by the United States, and that Mexicans were coming around to wanting to be Americans.

    Jose Romero Martinez, one of the authors of the Annexation Petition. Later as "Joseph Martinez" he became the first American governor of Guerrero.

    Henry Jarvis needed little convincing- Mexican annexation was bread and butter for his base and he was a true believer in Manifest Destiny. In 1868 Mexico was officially annexed as the four states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Jalisco, and Hidalgo just in time for them to participate in the Presidential election that year and help vote Jarvis back into office. This was the beginning of the so-called “Corrupt Bargain” that would govern Mexico until the early 20th century. Under the Corrupt Bargain the Criollo class dominated the states of “Old Mexico” politically and economically with the acquiescence of a US Federal Government that looked the other way. They used literacy tests to keep non-English speakers from being able to vote or run for office- benefitting the Criollos who were almost entirely bilingual by the end of the 19th century- while keeping pro-independence groups silence and suppressed (sometimes brutally) on behalf of the United States. There was room for Anglos who settled in Old Mexico in the Corrupt Bargain, and for European immigrants to America, and even for the occasional successful mestizo who learned English and passed the tests. But it was the Criollos who dominated the region, and they maintained their identity as a separate class even as they intermarried with Anglo Americans and adopted some outward practices of American culture.

    The assimilation of the Mexican people may actually have been slowed by some of the policies of the Corrupt Bargain, as its primary beneficiaries had no real desire to see the mestizo majorities in their states gain political influence by becoming Anglophone and socially aware. Instead Americanization mostly took on a cosmetic form- like the renaming of towns and cities such as Mexico City which became “Metropolis” and Veracruz which took on the name “Zenith”.

    Metropolis in the 1890s.

    There were things other than corruption scandals and the Corrupt Bargain that dirtied Jarvis’ record, however. It was during his administration that the United States introduced the boarding school system to better Americanize the children of new immigrants by separating them from their parents at a young age and raising them in an English-speaking environment that would impress upon them American culture and values. The children of Asian immigrants were particularly targeted for this, as was the immigrant community from Eastern Europe. Native American boarding schools existed but were actually an improvement over OTL as their teachers and principals were generally Native Americans themselves, and some (but far from all) of the OTL abuses were avoided.

    What can I say? This America is on average better than OTL, and the Fascists’ willingness to accept people of other races and religions but not other cultures is a step up from many OTL Americans who were unwilling to accept any of those three. But this TL isn’t going to be any sort of utopia, and this America is perfectly capable of finding new and unique ways to suck.

    On a lighter note the Suffragette Movement got off to a nice early start and faced less organized opposition.

    By the mid-1870s the will for another party to challenge the Whigs was growing among the American people. The Whigs were increasingly partnered with American industry and business leaders, who leveraged their partnership to avoid regulation and taxes. They were also growing conservative outside of the Fascist wing of the party that had returned to being junior partners after Jarvis’ second term ended. A handful of different regional parties flirted with being that party in question, but as new ideas and ideologies swirled through the world’s intellectual landscape it was only a matter of time until the Nationalist Party entered onto the scene.
    Chapter 12

  • Chapter 12

    Of course, while we focused on America and Drakia things were going on around the world.

    In the 1860s a civil war in China saw the rise of a religious sect called the “Tiandao” or “Way of Heaven”, an offshoot of the Xiantindao religious movement that syncretized some elements of Christianity with its belief in a universal Dao that worshipped the unborn ancient mother goddess Wusheng Laomu. The Tiandao followers were ultimately victorious, overthrowing the Qing Dynasty in favor of a new “Tian” Dynasty whose rulers claimed merely to be the stewards of Wusheng Laomu, conveying her wishes via automatic writing. The new dynasty was unapologetically Han-supremacist, discriminating against other ethnic groups in China- in particular the Mongols and the Manchu. Manchus saw their land and wealth seized and were forced to denigrate themselves through public humiliations. Russia- which had finished off the khanates of Central Asia- took advantage of the civil war to seize outlying parts of China, including Xinjiang, Mongolia, and Manchuria itself (the usual suspects) and install a puppet monarch in Korea.

    Increasing Russian industrialization gave the empire the military capabilities to do this, but at a cost of growing social disruption as the Czars sought to acquire the power of a modern industrial economy without the accompanying modern socio-political change.

    When it came to European imperialism, Russia and Britain were two of the only games in town. France successfully grabbed some islands in the Pacific and launched unsuccessful attempts at intervention within Indochina. Spain conquered Morocco and found itself tied down trying to deal with the restive and deeply unhappy African country. The Italians purchased Albania from the failing Ottomans. Germany ran Syria as a neo-crusader state- technically its own kingdom within the German Confederation it was ruled by a class of colonial nobility with a Christian-only military whose officers referred to themselves as knights.

    Tiandao rebels during the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty.

    Outside of Morocco Britain, Drakia, and various ephemeral British dominions were able to keep other parties out of Africa. But in Asia and the Pacific they were not just challenged by Russia, but by the United States.

    America never went isolationist ITTL after all, and New York’s influence started colliding with London’s in the Asia-Pacific region as early as the 1840s when the two powers clashed over Hawaii. A different American opened up Japan than Commodore Perry, and a different Shogun bowed to his demands, but otherwise the opening up of Japan ran similarly to OTL. Britain intervened in TTL’s version of the Boshin War in favor of the Shogunate, prompting American intervention in favor of the Imperial Restorationists, leading the conflict to take on characteristics of a proxy war. The victory of the Emperor (someone who knows how Japanese imperial names work can help me come up with a name for him) saw Japan continue to modernize with help from an America that considered a strong ally in Asia to be useful against Britain. (OTL there was a wave of Americophilia in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries- ITTL it will be even stronger and more pronounced.) An American adventurer secured control over Sabah in Borneo, and the United States annexed Hawaii in the 1870s after a pro-British Hawaiian monarch tried to align his kingdom with the British Empire and an alliance of American planters overthrew him (for what it’s worth he’d aligned himself with Britain to prevent exactly such an American overthrow in the first place).

    With Spain diplomatically isolated following its attempt to play both sides during the Last Crusade there was no one to protect it in 1884 when an incident on the Haiti-Santo Domingo border led to the Spanish-American War. Peace in 1886 saw Cuba and Santo Domingo added to the Union as states (Cuba woulda been IOTL if the South hadn’t nixed it for reasons of racism)- voluntarily on the part of Cuba, an insurgency would simmer in Santo Domingo for decades to come- the Philippines becoming an American Protectorate that ceded territory for American military bases, and Puerto Rico remaining Spanish. The Red government that had controlled Spain under different leaders since the Canadian was toppled, and an absolutist revolution ended with King Ferdinand IX realigning Spain with Britain (to the disapproval of the majority of Spaniards).

    The American and Spanish fleets face off in the Caribbean.

    But the point of this chapter was not to spend all of our time focusing on America and Drakia.

    Stuff happened in South America as well.

    Colombia (it was never officially named Gran Colombia in either OTL or TTL) fought a civil war won by the Liberals, La Plata fought its own civil war won by the Federalists. The Banda Oriental (Uruguay) province passed back and forth between La Plata and Brazil in a couple of wars but ended up staying with La Plata. When the liberal Emperor Pedro II (genetically the half-brother of this guy) began passing democratic reforms and initiated the process to ban slavery in Brazil, rich landowners and elements within the Brazilian military came together in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy and replace it with a Republic. They successfully killed the emperor, but his son Pedro III vengefully crushed the revolt and followed it with a purge of suspected Republican sympathizers. This sparked an exodus of Brazilian aristocrats and conservatives (who ironically weren’t monarchists), about 25,000 of whom settled in Drakia, where they joined the pre-existing Lusophone community.

    Peru (which includes OTL Bolivia ITTL) had an interesting time of it, including a revolution in the 1840s by Native Quecha who proclaimed a restored Incan Empire, followed by a period of military rule, followed by an attempt create a republic along utopian socialist lines. By the late 19th century however, the country had settled down under a fairly normal (by OTL standards) republican oligarchy.

    La Plata began focusing heavily on the conquest and settlement of Patagonia, opening the land there to an eclectic variety of European immigrant groups, not unlike OTL Argentina. As America began to expand its influence over what remained of Latin America- acquiring Panama from Colombia after a war in 1886- the Platineans remained friendly with New York, regarding the United States as a fellow federal democracy.

    A Platinean homestead in Patagonia.

    But let’s talk about ideologies for a bit.

    With an earlier, more extensive, and more intense industrial revolution the factors that drove the OTL rise of social reform and Socialism emerged in spades. The Red Movement split into a conservative wing affiliated with the Reds who had gained power back when the French Sister Republics were taken down, and a Christian Democratic wing called the Christian Populists. Radical forms of Socialism akin to OTL Communism emerged in the absence of substantive change, but unlike OTL there was another radical and ultimately revolutionary ideology that was born alongside it. That ideology was Geoism- albeit rather more than just the simple economic school that you’ll find if you click on the link. Geoism doubled down on the connection between the common people and the land, on a romanticized image of “down to earth country folk”, and the truth that the value of land rises because of the efforts of the community, generating landowners more money without them providing any investment or contribution. It called for a tax on economic rent (google it) in lieu of other taxes that can depress economic activity or be passed on to consumers, and it wanted common ownership of natural resources by the people. Geoism demanded a form of basic universal income funded by the profits off of natural resources, and it wanted land reform, but it didn’t propose to abolish capitalism or- initially- to radically restructure society. Unlike Socialism it was pro-organized religion (within reason) and socially conservative in a number of ways. Peasants, farmers, the rural poor were attracted to Geoism in the face of a transforming global economy that was leaving them behind and edging them into a financially precarious existence. This meant that it struggled to gain adherents in urbanized countries like France and Britain where the Socialists had the support of factory workers, but in more rural countries like Russia- where it evolved from TTL’s version of the Narodniks- Geoism could emerge as a real force. In the United States Geoism took the form of the Nationalist Party, a rural party of French-style positivism and Geoist economics (Christian Populists would eventually join the Nationalist coalition, giving it an urban wing) that called for state ownership of railroads, free coinage of silver, a single tax on economic rent, and an end to the crop lien system. The National Party rapidly became the primary opposition to the Whigs and remained moderate as it proved able to achieve some of its goals through legislation. In other countries though- such as Russia and Spain- Geoism was suppressed by governments that regarded it as dangerous, driving it underground where it festered and radicalized.

    Nationalism got big as it did OTL, with people across the world identifying with their country and wanting to see it grow in power- or simply exist. The Polish nationalists sought independence from Prussia and Russia, the Finns from Sweden. German pan-nationalists successfully brought Hannover into the German Confederation after a British-allowed plebiscite that firmly reoriented Germany from the Russian bloc into the British one, and unsuccessfully agitated for unity in Bavaria, Austria, and the French Rhineland. Italian nationalists pulled off a coup in the Republic of Ragusa with the help of Italian-speaking elites there and saw it annexed to the Italian Federation (to the annoyance of Ragusa’s Slavic majority). They also called for a similar annexation in actually Italian-majority Sardinia to no avail. Zionism emerged as a Jewish response to racial nationalism that refused to admit that Jews could ever be loyal citizens of their different home countries, and a version of the Jewish Colonial Association settled Jewish agricultural colonies in parts of America, Argentina, and the Holy Land. The Scandinavianists were far more successful than OTL, securing official support from the governments of Denmark and Sweden (each of which had ambitions to unify Scandinavia under itself). The Schleswig War of 1880, in which Denmark and Sweden fought together against the German Confederation and won, with Danish and Swedish airships dropping white phosphorus bombs on Berlin, brought the countries closer together and ultimately a dynastic marriage between the House of Glucksburg and the House of Bernadotte led to the United Kingdoms of Scandinavia in 1888.

    A Scandinavian airship during the firebombing of Berlin.

    On a side note; those Danish airships that bombed Berlin were opposed by early heavier-than-air flying craft carrying light machine guns. These were not OTL airplanes though, invented in Austria in the 1870s they were four-winged ornithopters (the forward wings were fixed, the aft wings flapped, it’s no less practical than a propeller design really). Initially known as “libellen” they were later dubbed “drachenflieger” after some cross contamination between English and German and pilots deciding “dragon flier” was more badass name than some kind of bug (this is my etymological hill and I will die on it). While their use in the Schleswig War and several other late 19th century conflicts demonstrated that drachenflieger were a cheaper but effective substitute for airships when it came to military reconnaissance, the total inability of German drachenflieger to notably damage let alone shot down a single one of the Scandinavian airships during the Schleswig War left most countries convinced that drachenflieger were not an effective weapon against airships. This opinion was reinforced when Russian experiments in the 1890s aimed at developing an incendiary bullet capable of igniting the hydrogen gas in airships (instead of poking a small hole and passing right through like an ordinary round), concluded that the use of incendiary bullets against airships wasn’t practical either. The bullets failed to ignite in the absence of oxygen once they entered the airship’s hydrogen cells, and so Russia (and everyone else) reasoned that nothing short of a large artillery shell could effectively take down a modern military airship. Military aviation thus focused its attention on developing heavy anti-aircraft weapons to take down airships, ignoring drachenflielger which were good for reconnaissance and shooting down each other, but nothing else.

    Someone is in for a rude awakening sooner or later.

    The annoying thing is that they only ever built like two of these OTL, so there's only like two decent pictures of them.

    Anyway, back to ideologies. American Fascism influenced some schools of thought abroad, but America’s unique situation meant that most countries had little use for a multiracial, monocultural society, and those who could have (like Drakia or the other minority-white British dominions) were fundamentally hostile towards it. Fascism did influence France towards greater acceptance of its Afro-Caribbean and Polynesian citizens though, and it played a role in Scandinavia’s project to create a pan-Scandinavian culture (while suppressing the cultures of the Sami, Finns, and Inuit). The ideology had more success in Latin American countries like Brazil, where the government promoted it as an alternative to the old race-based colonial ethnic divisions. It was the Japanese however who embraced Fascism whole-heartedly, de-emphasizing the importance of the Yamato Race compared its national identity OTL, and incorporating the Ainu and the Ryukyuan peoples into Japanese society wholesale- provided they assimilated of course.

    At the same time another ideology was spreading across the globe, sinking down roots and influencing almost every country that engaged with it.

    A certificate issued by a Eugenicist in Drakia issued to young persons for the purpose of whatever passed for dating there.


    Modern Eugenics- in the Separate-verse as in OTL- arose in part from a growing awareness of genetics, evolutionary theory, and the nature of artificial selection. Eugenicists argued that through selective breeding of human beings it was possible to reduce or eliminate the prevalence of inherited genetic diseases, low intelligence, criminal behavior, immoral behavior (including dishonesty, selfishness, and cruelty), mental illness, and a great many things, many of which were not actually controlled by genetics. They wanted to breed out these things partly by encouraging “superior” persons to have more children, but also partly by preventing “inferior” persons from reproducing through a variety of methods, some more unethical than others. Eugenics was popular because it reinforced existing social and economic hierarchies- it argued that elites were privileged thanks to superior genetics and that the disadvantaged were disadvantaged due to their inferior biology. It did not directly attack individuals such as Evan Pharrish who received their disabilities later in life through circumstances outside of their control, but by arguing that a person born blind or unable to walk “could only ever be a burden on society” the ideology implied a corollary that people who received disabilities later in life became burdens. Eugenics also fathered a subsidiary ideology- Scientific Racism. After all, if superior genetics explained why some people ended up in the ruling class and others in the masses, then surely superior genetics explained why certain races ended up ruling over other races? Eugenics offered a “rational” and “scientific” justification for the rule of white Europeans over black Africans and “yellow” Asians, suggesting that non-whites could never become the equals of whites, no matter what religion they espoused or what culture they practiced. Their inferiority, it argued, was a biological issue outside of any one individual’s control. In such it was directly opposed to TTL’s Fascism.

    Discussion of Eugenic principles began in the 1870s, implementation of its policies first began twenty years later. An earlier start made sure that the movement was more global and longer-lasting than it was in OTL.

    A pro-Eugenics display in America.

    Eugenics had a fair bit of popularity among the upper and middle classes in Europe and the Americas for whom it reassured their superiority. Eugenic programs in those places offered compensation for “inferior” individuals who voluntarily subjected themselves to sterilization, and even forcibly sterilized inferior persons who were imprisoned for crimes or hospitalized for mental illnesses. Occasionally euthanasia of inferiors occurred via lethal neglect on the part of doctors and hospitals. But that was extreme- to give credit where credit was due there were relatively harmless and even occasionally positive Eugenic programs in many places. They played a role in opening up greater access to contraceptives, sexual education, and abortion for women that those in power deemed inferior while denying such access to women in the middle and upper classes. The identification- earlier than OTL- that drinking alcohol while pregnant led to a variety of disorders spurred some quite reasonable public health projects to discourage drinking, smoking, and sex while pregnant in order to reduce the rate of children born disabled. In parts of Europe this was paired with efforts to improve pre- and post-natal nutrition for the same reason. After the French Eugenicist Auguste Charbonnier came up with the pseudo-scientific theory that physical fitness allowed individuals to improve the genes they passed on to their children, it sparked a global craze for fitness and calisthenics. But this was Eugenics as it presented itself in places where it faced staunch opposition from Fascists and Liberals and religious Christians (including the Papacy which condemned forced sterilization and euthanasia categorically), forcing it to moderate.

    This was not the case in Drakia and the White minority-ruled dominions of India and the East Indies.

    For White colonial minorities Eugenics was incredibly attractive. It legitimized their rule and offered a scientific excuse for the exclusion of Natives from government and their exploitation at the hands of their rulers. Drakia in particular loved Eugenics, and under the government of Premier Benedict Westermann in 1889 began to adopt Eugenic policies that would reach their maturity in the first decade of the 20th century. Like many they misunderstood the rules of evolution, forgetting that it was the adaptable that it favored, choosing instead to believe that evolution preferred the strong. And who was stronger than Drakia? Drakia with its unending wars of conquest against the Natives to keep it sharp, wars in which the weak lost and the strong conquered. Drakia with her people drawn from the nobility and aristocracy- and therefore the most genetically, physically, and morally superior stock- of Britain and France, and by extension of Rome and Greece. The Firstborn Dominion glorified ancient Sparta, and of course the Spartans had performed a form of Eugenics themselves. To be sure superiority was a matter of degrees, there were relatively superior Natives who could become Honorary Whites, but they would never be able to achieve equality with true Drakian stock.

    An anti-miscegenation Eugenics display in Capetown.

    Most of what Eugenics accomplished in other countries it achieved in Drakia- in particular the craze for physical fitness which built on pre-existing Drakian trends- and then it kept going, and going, getting progressively worse and worse into the early years of the 20th century.

    In British, France and parts of America there was involuntary sterilization of convicted criminals and the severely mentally ill. Drakia imposed forced sterilization on members of the general population it identified as having inferior genetics- persons classed as “feeble minded”, persons with alcoholism or addiction, persons with diabetes, persons with epilepsy, persons who were physically deformed, persons who were blind, persons who were deaf, persons who suffered from Huntington’s Disease, persons who expressed “anti-social behavior” (which included prostitution, criminal activity, homosexuality, and anti-government activity). Euthanasia targeted “burdens on society” who not only had inferior genetics but were disabled such that they “were not worthy of life” (i.e. could not perform labor). Persons thus categorized included persons with severe intellectual disabilities, persons with Down Syndrome when accompanied by blindness or deafness, persons with microcephaly, persons with hydrocephaly, persons born with deformation of the limbs, head, or spinal column, persons born deaf and blind, and persons with moderate to severe Cerebral Palsy. Such Drakian Eugenic programs were aimed far more heavily at Bondsmen and Nationals than Citizens, and considerably more at Honorary Whites than Whites. Though defended as being for the good of Africans and the only way that the African race could be truly improved and civilized, in practice it was a means of population reduction and social control- if you wanted inferior genetics in yourself or your family to be overlooked then you were obedient and you made yourself useful to your rulers.

    The application of the Eugenic policies was far from universal. Despite heavy investment into roads, railroads (including the Cape to Cairo connection), telegraph and telephone lines, and general infrastructure there were still swathes of territory where Drakian control was weak and government policy could be exercised only intermittently. Within the nominally autonomous Drakian Princely States Eugenics were moderately applied, if at all.

    From a French Eugenics "medical" text for identifying superior and inferior genetics on the basis of a person's appearance.

    Inferiorities tended to be overlooked among White Citizens if they weren’t visible- alcoholism and male homosexuality for instance- as Drakia wanted such people reproducing to keep its numbers up. When it came to “anti-social behavior” among otherwise genetically superior Citizens, they were often left unsterilized regardless- particularly if they were women. The Dragon’s Nest Project was initially conceived of as a way for unmarried pregnant women with superior genetics to give birth out of wedlock discretely and safely in out of the way places, after which their children could be adopted out to suitable Citizen families. It expanded however to incorporate general adoption programming- finding desirable orphans in Europe or America and rehoming them in Drakia- and “treatment” for women who displayed anti-social behavior. For the most part this meant Drakian women from three different sources- women who had engaged in sedition or anti-government behavior, women who had engaged in prostitution, and women who were homosexual. The so-called treatment involved hypnosis, drugs, physical exercise, psychological abuse of various forms, and was not considered successful until the woman in question had been married to a husband and given birth to a child. The women who passed through the program were then released into their husband’s custody- usually a lower ranking soldier who had finished his service in the Drakian Army- and were to be sent back if their previous behavior re-emerged.

    Of course, these programs were impossible to keep secret. And it’s worth noting that the worst of it was never submitted to the parliament in London for approval- as Drakia was legally required to do. The Premier simply secured the approval of key members of the Drakian Parliament and then acted in violation of British law.

    Woman undergoing "treatment" for "anti-social behavior" at a Dragon's Nest facility.

    The mass forced sterilization was public from the start and strongly criticized even in Britain, where attitudes had been liberalizing steadily towards the mistreatment of colonial Natives- let alone Whites. But that was really just a more extreme version of what was happening already in many parts of Europe, and Drakia could get away with it. Not for much longer- not with criticism mounting of the Bonded labor system, Drakian Eugenics, and the Firstborn Dominion’s general cruelty towards the Native Africans. But it wasn’t until word broke of the Euthanasia program, until the testimony of Audrey Ratcliff before the British Parliament, until Black Lamb’s Blood entered publication in Scandinavia… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

    Give it a few years.

    And a world war.

    Separate-verse in 1900. I know the different British dominions are a little hard to tell apart- particularly Nigeria and Drakia- but don't worry. It won't take long.
    Chapter 13
  • upload_2019-8-15_19-14-19.jpeg

    Chapter 13

    The Separate-verse was a world on the brink in the early years of the 20th century.

    The old alliances of the Last Crusade- still shaped by the French Revolutionary Wars and reactionary fears of enlightenment transformation- had largely broken down and realigned themselves in accordance to the principles of self-interest instead of religion or ideology. With the Russian colossus sitting astride Asia and threatening British India, British had broken its ties with Moscow. London was joined by Berlin and Athens, both of whom were terrified of Russian dominance over Eastern Europe, on top of which the (now-federalized) German Confederation was also quite happy with Britain for letting it acquire Hannover through referendum, and Rhomania had revanchist claims over Russian Constantinople. Forced to pick between Italy and Austria in the ongoing territorial dispute over Venice France picked Italy, driving Austria and Bavaria into British arms as well as they sought protection from Russia and France. Portugal remained allied to Britain as it always had been, and Spain under the absolutist regime of Ferdinand IX committed itself to brotherhood with the coalition that would in time dub itself the Central Powers.

    Standing opposite the Central Powers was the Entente, an alliance centered around a deal with the devil.

    Increasingly surrounded by enemies, France and Italy had been forced to look for whatever friends they could find. America was always a reliable ally (it was the Franco-American Entente that lent its name to the alliance), but it was questionable what help the United States could actually give France in a European conflict- they hadn’t been any real help in the Last Crusade after all- and so Paris was forced to cast its gaze further afield. There was only one other major power that Britain feared, and neither France nor Italy shared a border with it. But the brutal and totalitarian government of Czarist Russia was deeply unpopular in Republican France and the Italians loathed Russia for its victory in the Last Crusade. Even worse American and Russian influence was colliding in East Asia where America’s ally Japan was fomenting resistance and Pan-Asianism in Korea and Russian-ruled Manchuria, putting France’s most powerful friend at odds with Britain’s most dangerous enemy. Realpolitik came first however, and despite their mutual hatred Paris and Moscow engaged in secret negotiations over a hidden alliance against a common foe.

    Scandinavia sat in an uncomfortably neutral position, sharing a long land border with Russia and a mutual hostility with Britain’s ally Germany.


    Flag of the United Kingdoms of Scandinavia

    Tensions between the different power blocs remained high. There was an ongoing naval race as France and the United States sank increasing portions of their national budgets into trying to build fleets capable of taking on the Royal Navy, and Britain invested more and more resources into trying to maintain its advantage. Dreadnaughts had first begun appearing in the 1880s, and by the 20th century huge Super-Dreadnaughts were central to most naval strategies. All of the major powers had vast dirigible air fleets inspired by the example of the fire-bombing of Berlin, intended to devastate enemy cities from the air with incendiary bombs. The effectiveness of gas in winning the Last Crusade for Britain motivated an international obsession with chemical weapons- TTL’s version of the Geneva Convention (signed in Stockholm) laid out rules for treating captured soldiers, rights for POWs, and protections for civilians, but there were no internationally agreed upon regulations to what sort of weapons a country could use in battle. It was clear to most observers that the great powers all expected another major war and were preparing to fight it- their preparations inevitably increasing the likelihood of such a conflict.

    Short victorious wars by the great powers against smaller countries only increased the sense in their nations that war could be made easy and victorious. These included the American conquest and annexation of Honduras and Nicaragua (even if protracted guerilla resistance continued in both countries), the Franco-Dutch War of 1901 when the Netherlands tried to reassert its independence from France, the Second Russo-Persian War, the First Sino-Japanese War, the South Atlantic War between Britain and La Plata, and the Police Action by Britain against its own Dominion of Jamaica. France wanted to redeem the disgrace of its defeat in the Last Crusade and remembered how it had been winning up until the point when it started losing, the new generation among the military leadership of Britain, Germany and Russia wanted to win the glory that their predecessors had. America wanted to complete Manifest Destiny with the unification of North America and was already engaged in the undeclared “Klondike War” after the discovery of gold in isolated parts of Russian Alaska where the Russian government had little to no control spurred a mass influx of American prospectors.

    American prospectors heading into the Klondike region. The Americans in the area would form the "Provisional Government of Alaska", treated as a domestic insurrection by the Russian Empire and the recipient of private aid from American citizens.

    In Paris military analysts planned out contingencies and were optimistic. If they could keep America and Russia away from each other’s throats then they could bring three of the world’s great powers together against Britain and a Germany considered to be the least of the great powers. Still, they worried that it wouldn’t be enough. The British Empire was unquestionably the strongest country in the world, with dominions on every continent save Antarctica and near total control of two continents. It had over 507 million inhabitants- counting British dominions and protectorates- or 29% of the world’s population. Many British dominions were industrialized, capable of contributing large armies to any war effort that they could keep armed, fed, and supplied. By comparison there were only about 40 million Frenchmen and 105 million Americans (counting around 9 million Hispanophones who spoke no English and probably didn’t consider themselves Americans, but not the 8 million inhabitants of America’s Filipino protectorate), making Russia an essential ally if they were to have a chance at winning.

    What wasn’t immediately obvious to the planners in Paris was that the British Empire was deeply sick.

    Britain had cultivated an assemblage of autonomous dominions to administer different parts of the Empire in its name. This allowed most of the expenses of imperialism to be shuffled off onto the dominion governments, while the profits- in the form of cheap raw materials and markets within which to sell British goods- remained in British hands. This ensured that there was a large positive flow of wealth from the Empire back to the British Isles, making many Britons very rich and supporting one of the world’s largest economies.

    Is it any wonder that so many Britons were willing to overlook colonial abuses in Drakia or India or the East Indies for so long?

    Bondsmen who had attempted to escape doing penal labor.

    But the problem was that the dominions themselves did not benefit from this system. They bore most of the costs of the Empire but reaped few of the rewards. Industry that had been permitted to exist for purely military purposes had flowered into general production of goods that put colonial economies in direct competition with British producers. The elected governments of the dominions began pushing for economic policies that would better serve their own constituents and resented it when the Parliament in London vetoed such policies in the interests of maintaining British profits. Initially most of the discontent was limited to the majority-ruled dominions- Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and a few other places- which weren’t as afraid of ‘vengeful native hordes rising against their white superiors’ as dominions such as Drakia and India who were more loyal. But democratic reforms in the United Kingdom in the 1860s alienated many in the minority-ruled dominions (particularly Drakia) and growing calls from within the British reform movement for changes to colonial policy left many in those dominions deeply concerned. There were elements within the British Liberals who sympathized with American Fascism- a fact that white minorities found terrifying- and the willingness by Drakia and other such dominions to tolerate British economic dominance waned.

    By the 20th century Britain was embroiled in political and economic controversy with its dominions- whether majority or minority-ruled- going so far as to intervene in Jamaica militarily when the government there began enforcing laws that it had passed but London had vetoed. The conflict with Jamaica would pale however, next to the controversy over Drakia.

    The Firstborn Dominion had always been unusually autonomous for a dominion, and while it had a history of London needing to step in to make it fall in line- banning slavery being one of the more obvious examples- it generally got away with acting independently. Therefore, it was with considerable shock that Drakia greeted a set of mandatory reforms to the Bonded Labor System imposed by London in 1900. The changes were minor- an attempt to limit the interest rates on labor bonds to make it easier for Bondsmen to earn their freedom- and not terribly difficult to circumvent. But it sparked considerable outrage purely for the principle of the thing- rationalization of the Bonded Labor System had driven many Drakians to regard it as central to their national culture (not unlike many Southerners and slavery in the United States before the Civil War) and many considered an attack on it as an attack on themselves. The vociferous response from Drakia briefly quieted things down as the British government- which had not expected to face such opposition- stepped down pressure on the dominion.

    But that only lasted until Black Lamb’s Blood.

    Premier William Nisbet of Drakia rallying in opposition to Britain's demands that the dominion reform its system of labor.

    Black Lamb’s Blood was a book written as an expose of the Bonded Labor System. Its author- Adam Schonland- was himself a white Drakian with aristocratic family ties and a veteran of the Drakian Army who had managed Bondsmen after the end of his military service and received an inside look at how the system worked. Disgusted with Bonded labor and with himself for aiding and abetting the system, Schonland composed his book in order to lend strength to calls for change. Initially he tried to publish it in Britain, but pressure not to rock the boat prompted the author to bring Black Lamb’s Blood to Copenhagen where it was picked up by a Scandinavian publishing house. The book offered an unflinching description of physical and sexual abuse within the system and the use of actively illegal bookkeeping to keep families in debt for generations. It stressed how many of the Bonded were Christians of one kind or another, and of how rights that they had been legally granted were violated casually and often. The result was an unprecedented international outcry. There had already been overseas organizations calling for an end to Bonded Labor in Drakia, now their numbers and membership swelled massively. Heads of state around the world spoke out against Bonded Labor, the Pope condemned it in an encyclical, boycotts of Drakian products were implemented, and Parliament launched an investigation.

    Among the many Drakian letters, articles, books, and opinion pieces written in defense of Bonded Labor were a series of essays by a previously unknown young woman named Elvira Naldorssen that would be published in book form the following year. Under the title I Grant You Dominion Over Them she drew on arguments from classical philosophy, the Christian Bible, and modern Eugenic theories to argue that the natural state of human society was a hierarchical one in which moral, cultural, and physical superiors ruled over inferiors for their own good. Most of what was presented as Christian Morality in the modern day, Naldorssen asserted, had in fact been invented by the weak and the immoral as part of an ideology of “handicapping” to allow them to control the moral and the strong. Dominion claimed that god really wanted was superior humans assuming a “custodial” role over their inferiors, not superiors “elevating” their inferiors (an oxymoron according her) to a destructive role in governance. As tempting as it is to say that her version of divinely mandated morality was radically new, the truth is that much of it consisted of the same justifications traditionally used to justify the rule of conquerors over the conquered, repackaged for a modern audience.

    Greater attention towards the abuses of the BLS led to revelations over the nature of Drakia’s Euthanasia Program. “Mercy killing” the disabled had a surprising number of defenders even in countries like France and America, but the sheer size of the program and the number of victims who were children horrified the overwhelming majority of people. Even many Drakians expressed misgivings over the magnitude of the program, although their criticism focused on the treatment of disabled white children as opposed to those of the Natives. It became politically impossible for His Majesty’s Government to do anything other than order Drakia to abandon its Euthanasia Program and dissolve the Bonded Labor System, while for the government of Premier William Nisbet any concessions beyond minor changes to the Euthanasia Program were unacceptable to the clear majority of Drakian voters. As it was only the outbreak of the World War temporarily saved British Imperial unity.

    White children subjected to Euthanasia as part of Drakian Eugenic policies.

    August 1, 1907 was a hot day in Jerusalem. The holy city was unusually restive- even for the era of conflicted and ineffective governance that had begun with the creation of the Tripartite Commission of the Holy Land. Crime was on the rise and public order plagued by minor outbreaks of violence between the Muslim and Christian communities and between different types of Christians. Both groups targeted the Jews. Despite its increasingly inability to govern (the Russians vetoed anything the British and the Germans introduced, the British and the Germans vetoed anything the Russians proposed) the Commission had maintained policies designed to push Muslims into converting to Christianity while continuing a project to establish a non-denominational Christian Cathedral in Solomon’s Stables. Meanwhile Russia had adopted a practice of bringing in large numbers of Russian Orthodox settlers to strengthen its claim on Holy Land, leading to a similar German settlement project in retaliation. The influx of new Christian immigrants (and to a lesser extent Jewish Zionists) plus the aforementioned policies, had badly incensed the region’s Muslim majority, while putting the Christians themselves at each other’s throats. Everyone knew that violence was imminent, the only question was what would trigger it.

    Last time it was a ladder, this time things started with a chair.

    Nekrestyanov Petr Petrovich, a Russian Orthodox monk making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, was praying in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher when he decided to move his chair a few feet out of the summer sun and into the shade. In doing so he inadvertently moved into a formerly Catholic part of the church that had been transferred over to the control of the Anglican Church in 1855. Interpreting this as a hostile act designed to expand Orthodox control over the CHS in violation of the restored Status Quo, a group of Anglican clergy marched down and forcibly removed Petrovich, precipitating a general riot between Protestant and Orthodox faithful. When word of the riot reached Lord Addison Monaghan (the British High Commissioner for the Holy Land and all-around religious firebrand), Monaghan dispatched soldiers from the British garrison to protect the Anglicans and arrest Petrovich for starting the fight. What they found were soldiers from the Russian garrison sent by Count Tsyrinsky Lavr Fyodorovich (the Russian High Commissioner for the Holy Land) to protect the Orthodox and arrest the Anglican clergy who had tried to expel Petrovich for starting the riot. One thing led to another and soon you had Russian and British troops shooting at each other in the middle of Jerusalem- the crisis compounded when an attempt by a squad of British soldiers to fire down on the Russians from inside the Mosque of Omar proved the spark for a general Muslim revolt.

    For the British government this could not have come at a better time- and “better” isn’t a typo. War offered a valid excuse to put off dealing with the question of Drakian reform and the presence of external enemies was an excellent means to enforce unity among the Empire’s dominions. Besides London was legitimately concerned about the size and power of the Russian Empire that had absorbed most of Asia and threatened Britain’s own Asian colonies. Thus the diplomatic crisis was permitted to spiral into unacceptable ultimatums and the world once more stepped off the edge into madness.

    I'm thinking that we'll just have every global conflict in this timeline start with someone doing something with an article of furniture in Jerusalem.
    Last edited:
    Interlude: Knights of the Air

  • Interlude: Knights of the Air

    Rhomania was never the richest or the most powerful of countries.

    TTL’s version of Greece had come out of the Last Crusade with territorial disputes from almost all of its neighbors- most notably Bulgaria and Serbia- which had driven it into the arms of Britain and the Central Powers. Victory in that war had relied partly on high morale among the Romios, and partly on the fact that the Turks had been under attack by half-a-dozen enemies simultaneously. Said victory had not relied on industrialization or advanced technology (at least not on the part of the Romios) and by the time the World War erupted Rhomania’s military continued to lag behind powers like Russia and France in terms of industry, technology, and funding. This was not due to a failure on the part of the country’s leaders, who had done the best they could to close the gap, but they were working with limited resources and a shortage of capital.

    The Rhomanian army instead stressed training, organization, and fanatical devotion to make up for its other shortcomings, and its air fleet was no different.

    Rhomania’s air fleet largely consisted of drachenflieger, regarded as a cheaper but equally effective tool for aerial reconnaissance and a superior means for shooting down enemy drachenflierger than air ships. Without airships the second coming of Byzantium lacked strategic bombing capabilities, but its tactical proficiencies were on par with those of the great powers. When the war began Rhomanian drachenflieger were mostly second-hand German models that been recently cast-off by the Combined German Air Fleet, but it made up for the slightly outdated nature of its equipment with highly practiced pilots exhaustively trained to co-ordinate together in jointly destorying the enemy. When Entente forces invaded Rhomania her air fleet successfully maintained localized air superiority, hiding Rhomanian troop movements from their foes and providing up-to-date intelligence for where the enemy was and how best to aim artillery at it.

    What it couldn’t do was protect Athens.

    Russian military strategy for the World War included knocking Rhomania out early so that it could focus its attention on Germany, Austria, and Bavaria. Defeating the Romios would also open the Aegean to the Russian Navy, which could then link up with the French and Italian fleets and hopefully take control of the Mediterranean away from Britain. When fighting bogged down in mountainous northern Greece where Rhomania lines were shorter, Moscow was forced to seek an alternative means to break the “mad little country”.

    And so Czar Konstantin III of Russia unleashed the Russian Air Fleet.

    On March 28, 1908 no less than twenty-one Russian airships bombarded Athens with incendiaries, leaving thousands dead and almost twenty-thousand homeless. The bombs were directed towards the naval facilities in the city, but many fell indiscriminately among the civilian population and the fires that they started were not restrained to military targets. The second raid a month later was larger- thirty-three airships- and largely devoted to deliberately causing as much destruction as it could to non-military targets. These included the Parthenon, one of Rhomania’s greatest national symbols, and the country’s parliament buildings, as well as ordinary neighborhoods. Russia’s goal was to break the will of the Romios to fight, and indeed the psychological impact of the air raids was enormous. The Russian Air Fleet could deal death and destruction from the sky, and it seemed that Rhomania was helpless to protect its citizens.

    Conventional wisdom held that while air ships were often lost to bad weather (this was the number one cause of air ship losses), only heavy anti-air artillery could stand a chance at shooting them down deliberately. Even then anti-air was only occasionally successful, certainly not successful enough to make air raids prohibitive. As for drachenflieger, it was widely believed that they were useless as an anti-airship weapon. Rhomania- which could afford only a limited amount of anti-air artillery- did what it could to prove attitudes towards drachenflieger wrong. It deployed the ornithopters to target the engines and rigid framework of Russian air ships, hoping that these would be more vulnerable to bullets than the gas cells, revived previously failed trials with incendiary rockets and bullets, and even experimented with suicide attacks.

    None of this was more than mildly successful prior to Karolos Artinides.

    Karolos Artinides was a twenty-something pilot in the Rhomanian Royal Air Fleet. Like air pilots in most militaries during the World War he belonged to a celebrated and mythologized class, one of the “knights of the air” who risked life and limb in a school of combat that would have been unknown a hundred years before. In OTL he would have been described as an ace for the number of enemy drachenflieger that he shot down, he was thrice shot down himself and thrice survived- once slipping across enemy lines to return to his homeland and vault again to the skies in new aircraft. He took part in the mostly futile attempts by the air fleet to punish Russian airships when they bombed Athens, cursing as the minor damage he was able to inflict proved insufficient to save the city where he was born.

    When an incendiary bomb landed on his own childhood home, killing his father, mother, and two of his younger siblings, Artinides was crushed.

    After a drunken, hopeless binge that lasted three days, the pilot pieced himself back together. Animated by a self-professed “black rage” Artinides vowed to dedicate himself solely to the dual causes of Revenge and Rhomania, swearing that the next time the Russians returned he would bring down at least one of the enemy air ships or die in the attempt.

    He didn’t have long to wait.

    On May 21st, 1908, mere weeks after the last air raid, Russian sent its airships in a third time. Waiting for them was Karolos Artinides, with a drachenflieger loaded with every experimental weapon that he thought might give him a chance. Weaving in and out among the enemy vessels, the expert pilot tried all of them to no apparent avail. Neither of the two rockets he had brought hit their mark, and as the Russians themselves had once discovered his incendiary bullets would not ignite within hydrogen cells in the absence of oxygen.

    “I resolved that all else having failed I would crash my flier into one of the vessels, that like Samson in the temple of the Philistines I could slay the enemies of our great nation with my death.” He later told a journalist. And so Karolos Artinides picked a spot amidships on the Russian airship Dormition of the Mother of God and flew straight at it, steadily firing his machine guns at the place he planned to hit as he screamed a final wordless cry of defiance.

    Mere seconds before his ornithopter would have collided with the ship the hydrogen cell that he had been firing at began to glow and started to burn, the Romio pilot barely managing to pull up in time to save himself. He watched in astonishment as flames spread across the Dormition, tearing the Russian airship apart.

    What Karolos Artinides had discovered was that while incendiary bullets do not generally ignite in the absence of oxygen within an airship’s hydrogen cell, if you shoot enough of them at a single location eventually you’ll do enough damage that eventually one will catch fire and the hydrogen will light.

    Much of the city of Athens could see the death-throes of the Dormition as it burned against the night sky. The Russian airships had become a source of almost superstitious terror, agents of fiery death that killed families and children with near impunity, and now for the first time one such vessel was suffering the same fate at the hands of a Romio knight of the air. As the first drachenflieger pilot to shoot down an airship and live, Karolos Artinides became internationally famous overnight. The Athenians who had seen his victory with their own eyes dubbed streets, parks, and schools after him. In the week that followed the death of the Dormition alone no less than half-a-dozen babies were named “Karolos Artinides” in his honor, and “Karolos” (without the family name Artinides) became one of the most popular in Rhomania for newborn boys. The pilot was showered in medals and honors. Women mailed him undergarments, young Romios pretended to be him while at play. His “Artinides Technique” for shooting down airships with drachenflieger was swiftly adopted by air fleets on both sides of the war. Airships were no longer nigh untouchable and could not be deployed on air raids without protective escorts of drachenflieger. Military aeronautics turned away towards the development of heavier-than-air-craft to replace airships for strategic purposes.

    Artinides himself would die tragically in combat less than a year later- although not before shooting down two more enemy vessels in different engagements- and what remained of his body received a state funeral. But the Romios vowed to never forget him, and that he changed the face of aerial combat forever cannot be disputed.
    World War Dice
  • Right. I still can't find my dice, so we're going to use Google again for this. We're going to roll for the alliances as a whole and then for the individual members. I'll work out what the numbers mean using the highly scientific; "this is how it feels" system.

    For the Entente as a whole:

    For France:

    Uh oh.

    For Russia:

    I swear the dice just did this on its own.

    For America:

    Libertas et Imperium.

    For Italy:

    Oh, poor Italy.

    For Japan:

    Better, if marginally.

    I'm not going to roll for the minor Entente countries.

    Now the Central Powers;

    Oooh! Not a good night for anyone.


    They had us in the first half, not gonna lie.


    Well Germany certainly handled France and Russia at least.





    Basileia Rhōmaiōn!

    Phew, that was interesting. Now to reflect it in the narrative...

    EDIT: I totally forgot the other co-star of this TL;

    For Drakia.
    Chapter 14

  • Chapter 14

    The World War began with Britain and Germany against Russia. France promptly joined Russia’s side rather than risk an Anglo-German victory that would have seen the French position grow even more precarious than it was. Britain then called in its allies, Spain; Portugal, Sardinia, Rhomania, Austria, and Bavaria, and France and Russia called in their allies; Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. The United States initially stayed out, only joining when Russia agreed to sell it most of Alaska (the fact that most of the Yukon gold was played out by this point made that possible), bringing Japan with it when it did. America’s puppet government in Colombia followed them, as did its ally La Plata. The only major neutrals were the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and Scandinavia- Brazil nominally joined in towards the end just to make sure that it was on the right side.

    While there were certain similarities to OTL’s World War I, the World War was a very different conflict. Air power was highly important- drachenflieger were technologically on par with fighter aircraft from the OTL late-1920s and although heavier-than-air bomber technology was well behind OTL, airships could conduct bombing raids on par with smaller ones from World War II. It was also very much a naval war. The Entente navies clashed with the Royal Navy in the Atlantic and the Pacific, pitting dreadnaughts and super-dreadnaughts against each other. Seaplane Carriers - or rather “Seeflieger” carriers- were common on both sides. There were armored cars that rapidly transitioned into early tanks, and flamethrowers that well-predated the start of the war. Major amphibious invasions occurred across the planet, some successful (the Philippines twice, Ireland, and Sicily) some unsuccessful (yet another French invasion of England). Trench warfare proved a major factor in western Europe along France’s borders with Germany and Spain… for about a year and a half.

    Have a gander at an early seaplane carrier, the daddy of the aircraft carrier.

    France entered the war with a doctrine that called for grand, overly detailed war plans in which her generals attempted to plot out the positions and movements of every company. They planned to break through the German lines using overwhelming numbers, heavy artillery, and chemical weapons coordinated in a massive top-down fashion, while holding off Spain on the Pyrenees. However, Germany had learned something from its dismal failures trying to break through French trenches in the Last Crusade and Danish defense in depth in Jutland during the Schlewig War. Instead the Combined German Army began the war experimenting with a new set of tactics, which it had perfected by the end of 1908. Unlike French human waves German tactics relied on small units of elite soldiers who would attack after a brief artillery bombardment, supporting each other and authorized to make use of tactical initiative, including the ability to call in artillery strikes and airstrikes on their own. These units- called “Blitzsoldaten”- would avoid enemy strong points and instead break through weaker parts of the line, opening the way for forces carrying heavy weapons (portable machine guns, grenades, flamethrowers, recoilless rifles, etc.) to expand on their breakthroughs. Enemy strongpoints could then be surrounded and destroyed once they had been bypassed, making it possible for the Germans to effectively break past the Rhine and into the French Rhineland using infantry with relatively little in the way of new technological inventions other than the “super-solder” pills.

    Super-soldier pills (as they were commonly known) came out of Drakia. Amphetamines were discovered in Japan, and methamphetamine hydrochloride by the Japanese chemist Uyeno Koetsu, but methamphetamine joined the ranks of overseas discoveries learned of by the Bureau for Technical Progress and then pioneered for practical use in Drakia before anywhere else. Through human experimentation protocols- part of the general Drakian project of giving disposable subjects various substances to study their effect on the human body- Drakian scientists became aware of the effects of methamphetamine on human beings. Initially it was looked into as something to give to Bondsmen to increase productivity, leading to the discovery of its addictive potential which was regarded as a positive development- if you could addict the Bonded to a substance then you could use that as an additional means to control them. When the World War broke out Drakia expanded its use of meth to the military- particularly the auxiliaries. Give a three-milligram dose to a tired, miserable soldier who had been sleeping in mud and filth for months while his friends and comrades died around him and his exhaustion faded, his attention sharpened, and he was “infused with a sense of well-being”. He was also energized and excited, capable of fighting harder- sometimes unbelievably so- and going without sleep, at least until the dose wore off and he had to deal with a brutal two-day hangover. To avoid addiction (the long-term side-effects of meth weren’t fully known, but its addictive potential was) Drakia only dispensed it to the troops right before major attacks, particularly if those attacks were at night, prohibiting regular reliance on the drug. Use of super-soldier pills spread to Britain and Germany and was institutional among the Blitzsoldaten.

    This was the beginning of Drakian attempts to enhance human capabilities through science- it would not be the end.

    Blitzsoldaten pushing forwards whilst blitzed out of their minds.

    Russia had attempted to base its war strategy around new technology- investing large amounts of resources into various boondoggles- but ended up battering its forces hopelessly against the defensive lines of Rhomania in the Balkans, and against the Indian Empire during a poorly-thought-out attempt to invade India by violating the neutrality of (a very pissed off) Afghanistan. Faced against the Germans- who were of course bolstered by British troops- Russia performed even more poorly, giving ground rapidly as its military faced an actual modern foe (as opposed to merely bandits and rebels in Central Asia, Manchuria, or Mesopotamia) for the first time since the Last Crusade. Not that the Entente in Europe was entirely unsuccessful, France won a series of stunningly asymmetrical victories against the Spanish as the absolutist government of Spain flung large numbers of troops at reinforced French positions in the Pyrenees mountains to virtually no avail. Austria and Bavaria held back the efforts of Italy (whose nominal head of state had- despite some soul searching- come out firmly in favor of the war against the wicked British Empire and its Drakian lackeys) but crumpled in the face of a Russo-Hungarian advance. Still, despite being forced to split its forces three ways Germany was able to advance up the Baltic coast towards St. Petersburg and deep into France towards Paris.

    Meanwhile America pressed the war against Britain and its dominions- at sea and across the world.

    This time the invasion of Newfoundland was swift and successful, Bermuda followed. The US Navy achieved rapid dominance of the Caribbean, before pushing into the bloodier and more drawn-out struggle for supremacy over the Atlantic. In the Pacific Britain had some limited initial success but America and Japan co-operated in the Liberation of the Philippines after a campaign of island hopping that created a safe route from California to East Asia. While America had a disadvantage to Britain in terms of tonnage, the USN’s greater willingness to adopt the use of indirect naval artillery fired from beyond line-of-sight (aimed using seeflieger that would find British ships and radio back the co-ordinates) at the beginning of the war gave it a major advantage. The pivotal Battle of the Celtic Sea was the first major sea battle in which opposing ships only laid eyes on each other in a few incidental contacts and the fighting was mostly conducted in the air or with super-dreadnaught artillery. It ended with a crushing defeat for the Royal Navy and the rise of American dominance at sea. Control over sea lanes made it possible for the United States to land expeditionary forces in British colonial possessions, which were joined by Native uprisings that tore through Northern and Western Africa and the East Indies. It also opened the way for seaborne attacks such as the Raid on Capetown that forced the Drakian government to relocate (temporarily in theory, but they never left) inland to Aurica (ATL Johannesburg).

    American naval artillery blazing away at Capetown.

    It was Drakia that took point in fighting against the Americans and their rebel allies. The belief in the Firstborn Dominion was that if the Drakians proved themselves in the World War by fighting for the British Empire then Britain would reward them by backing down in its demands that they reform their labor system and society. The fact that calls for Drakian reforms were shelved in London during the war tended to encourage this view. At the same time Britain believed that the war would demonstrate Drakia’s need for Britain’s protection and that the excuse of wartime exigency would be used by the Drakians themselves to make the necessary reforms. The fact that Drakia considerably reduced its Euthenasia program during the war encouraged this view among British leaders.

    Regardless of these crossed wires, Drakia mobilized and went to war with a vengeance. To increase the labor pool available for the Auxiliaries it permitted Bondsmen to volunteer- if you survived then your bond was forgiven and you were at the very least a National if not an Honorary White Citizen. The logistics of waging war in West Africa were difficult to say the least but they made it work with forced labor extending roads and railroads, the use of airships to carry supplies, and tried and true methods of porters and zebroid-drawn carts and wagons. North Africa was more straightforward- the Cape to Cairo line and the Nile made it so- but in both places the fighting was vicious. Anti-insurgency tactics by the Drakians used chemical weapons and flamethrowers to wipe out villages. Frequently they simply identified which ethnic groups were most engaged in rebellion, allied themselves with said groups’ enemies, and then ethnically cleansed those groups from whole regions, reducing the survivors to Bondage. But that was against the Natives- the Yankees were a whole different story.

    For the first time American and Drakian forces faced each other in major engagements where other nations forces played a minor role.

    In the Drakian mindset Americans were bogeyman. They were the rapacious revolutionary hordes driving the Loyalists from their homes, inspiring the French Republicans to slaughter the nobility, tearing down the honorable society of the Old South. America was both a weak, corrupt nation of mongrelized Inferiors and a lethal threat to the Noble Nation of the Firstborn Dominion. In the minds of those Americans who bothered to care about who and what the Drakians were, they were regarded as the losers of history. America’s enemies who had fled to the bottom of Africa with their tails between their legs.

    Drakian and American opinions of each other in the early 20th century, colorized.

    Ultimately while both countries were surprised by the effectiveness of the their enemies, Drakia took America more seriously than America had taken Drakia and the American expeditionary force in West Africa (continued British/Rhomanian control over the Mediterranean made sending an expedition to North Africa impossible) wasn’t large or heavily armed enough to carry the day. But for all of Drakia’s trumpeting their great victory over the Yankees, the truth was that the Americans never considered Africa to be an important front and withdrew their forces in good order when New York decided that the men and material more needed elsewhere.

    Like the Liberation of Ireland.

    Had it not been for the United States, it’s likely that the Entente would have lost the war. Paris fell to the meth-fueled shock troops of the Blitzsoldaten towards the end and the Combined German Army drew close enough to St. Petersburg that the Czar fled to Moscow. Mass conscription in Russia had mixed men from all backgrounds and beliefs together, making it easy for radical ideas such as Socialism, Utopianism, Geoism, and Rodinaism to spread to individuals who had never been exposed to them before, even as they received military training and combat experience. Russia had clung to an absolute autocracy instituted earlier than OTL out of fear of French Republicanism, and there was plenty of discontent among the Russian public before the World War even began- made worse by greater demands for taxation and labor fueled by the larger Russian Empire. The Flight of the Czar prompted mass mutiny and rebellion, and soon the second largest country on Earth was plunged into civil war. This led to the collapse of Russian lines in the Balkans and opened the way for Rhomania to advance rapidly into Italian Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria. A desperate all-out offensive by the Hungarians (who had already taken Vienna a year earlier with Russian help) captured Rome to the utter astonishment of all, but came short of capturing Munich and immediately fell apart.

    With Russia in chaos, Paris in German hands, Constantinople in Rhomanian hands, the first Papal Renunciation in almost five centuries in Rome, and an Anglo-Drakian invasion of Sicily, there was a genuine possibility that the war might end with a Central Powers victory in Europe.

    While the Royal Navy largely handled transport, it was Drakian troops who made up almost all of the invasion force that landed in Sicily.

    But the Liberation of Ireland proved a success, with the US Army (and a small Japanese expeditionary force) greeted as liberators south of Ulster and Dublin falling towards the end of 1910. Britain was placed under blockade and the British Dominions began seeking separate peace with New York. American troops landed in France and were rushed to the front, retaking Paris and pushing the overstretched Germans (who were still fighting on all sides of their country) back. In the end Britain sued for peace rather than face an invasion of Great Britain itself that might have succeeded. America cut a deal with Rhomania that sold out Italy and Russia, and Berlin and Paris (under pressure from their Americans liberators who wanted a swift end to the war) cut an agreement that let Germany keep some of the German-majority territory west of Rhine and avoided a drawn-out Entente invasion of Germany.

    It appeared briefly that the bloodied countries of Bavaria and Austria might join the German Confederation, but America and France nixed that and they merely united with each other under King Ludwig IV of Bavaria as the country of Bavaria-Austria.

    The World War ended with the world under a general American hegemony. All the other Great Powers were either defeated, broken, allied to the United States, or some combination of the above, including the British and Russian Empires (although the British Empire didn’t break right away). Peace had been achieved, but the First Russian Civil War was still ongoing, the Anglo-Drakian War was yet to come, and instability elsewhere would end in revolution in France, Spain, and Italy. There was no League of Nations ITTL, American triumph admitted no equality in the post-war order and in doing so planted the seeds for the conflicts of the mid-twentieth century.


    The Bavario-Austrian Flag, because such a nation must exist somewhere in the multiverse.

    The war profoundly affected many nations’ understanding of the world. For Japan it proved beyond a doubt that the Japanese were capable of going toe-to-toe with Europeans and removed the looming threat of the British Empire. For Rhomania it was the glorious culmination of the Neo-Byzantine aspirations, with the relocation of their capital to an (ethnically cleansed) Constantinople and the creation of an empire stretching from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. The Italian national identity was severed from that of the Papacy, the war left the Catholic Church to a period of soul searching and ultimately a withdrawal from temporal affairs after the removal of its symbolic executive over Italy and the schism of many Drakian and British Catholics into Sedevacantist Catholicism.

    But let’s talk about Drakia.

    From Drakia’s perspective, the World War was one victory after another, albeit often difficult and hard-fought victories. It was Britain who had failed them- it was the Royal Navy that had been unable to protect Capetown or keep the Yankees from landing in West Africa, it was the Drakian Army who had defeated the American invaders and put down Native revolts across the continent. In the eyes of the Drakian nation the World War proved that they could protect themselves without British help, and even that the mother country was a liability. After all, hadn’t Drakia been winning when the government in London sued for peace? That peace came as a great frustration for the government of Premier Lloyd Mcrae, who watched the gains his homeland had achieved undone one by one at the peace table. The empire was to lose ownership over the holy land, withdraw its forces from Sicily, and even grant “independence” to colonies in West and Northern Africa (they were to become protectorates of America and France). The inclusion of a requirement that Drakia abolish Bonded Labor and its Euthenasia program was to many a final betrayal. The Firstborn Dominion was in a pivotal moment, questioning its old beliefs and loyalties even as a new political ideology began to coalesce from the national zeitgeist. Elvira Naldorssen’s The Final Society had come out in the last year of the war, and booksellers couldn’t keep it in the shelves. Paul Delacroix was giving speeches across Drakia and the other African dominions. Father Vern Schönberger had launched the Saviorite Revival.

    It was then that a twenty-eight-year-old Englishwoman named Audrey Ratcliff stepped off a boat in London and immediately burst into tears.


    Interlude: The Final Society

  • Interlude: The Final Society

    Elvira Naldorssen was born to a lower middle-class Citizen family that had immigrated to Drakia from Kiel to escape the Schleswig War when she was a small child. Like many women of her generationin the Firstborn Dominion she received an education at a women’s college where she majored in a humanities subject, in her case; history. It was then that she was exposed to the writings of Plato- one of her greatest influences- as well as the Polish-German philosopher Andrzej Bialk (TTL’s version of Niezche), and Drakian thinkers including Samuel Bawden, Aaron Plantier, and Percival Foster. As someone who faced the stigma of being an immigrant (admittedly a mild stigma in Drakia where being a white Citizen was more important than any other factor) yet had spent her formative years growing up in Drakian culture, Naldorssen was loyal to her adopted homeland with the fanatical zeal of a convert. As international criticism mounted of the Bonded Labor System and Drakia’s euthanasia program she developed a sense of deep outrage at the foreigners that were attacking her homeland, its way of life, and by extension Naldorssen personally. She became politically involved- writing essays and opinion pieces in defense of her nation under siege.

    Naldorssen’s well-crafted arguments in favor of Eugenics, Euthanasia, and Bonded Labor on philosophical, religious, and moral grounds brought her to the attention of the public and culminated in her first book I Grant You Dominion Over Them that saw some minor literary success and bought her entrance into the inner circle of the Drakian nationalist movement. I Grant You Dominion Over Them was an edited collection of previous published essays and articles by Naldorssen rebutting the claims of Adam Schonland in Black Lamb’s Blood in fiery (and occasionally ad hominem) fashion. Still it was a bit dry for most people, and like her second book When Adam Spake and Eve Span it failed to gain a mass following. She did gradually build up a reputation for herself, particularly among certain segments of the Honorary White Citizens who liked how her assertions of Drakian-supremacy included a view that certain types of Africans were superior to certain types of Europeans and that superiority had more to do with an ill-defined “strength” or “superiority” than skin color.

    Not that Naldorssen didn’t think that Drakian Whites were superior to even members of the African Martial Races, but she argued that their superiority was because of things like the successful wars of conquest that had made them strong and culled their genetics rather than an incidental aesthetic like skin color. Extrapolating from that, she quite cheerfully considered the “pinnacle members of the African race” who made up the ranks of Honorary Whites superior to say, the Irish. Or the Poles. It’s also quite easy to acknowledge that eventually Eugenics will allow blacks to be equal to whites when you don’t expect that to ever happen during your lifetime.

    It was on the advice of one of her early supporters that Elvira Naldorssen began working on an entirely different sort of book from her first two. Written during the World War and published shortly before the armistice, The Final Society was not a collection of essays or a long religious and political treatise, but a novel. Intended to appeal to a wider audience, it was an author tract with periodic filibusters set in the distant future and centered on a protagonist named Moses Cadden.

    In the unspecified distant future of Naldorssen’s novel there are only two countries left; the “Atlas State” and the “Machine State”. Atlas is a strictly hierarchical society with a king “descended from all the great royal houses of Europe” ruled by a “Custodian Race” that while originally composed just of Europeans has over the centuries incorporated the “pinnacle members” of the Asian and African peoples who achieved equality through selective breeding (that incidentally whitened their skin till they became functionally identical to Europeans). Below them is an “Aspirant Race” of mostly African individuals still in the process of breeding their way to superiority, and below them is a “Servitor Race” who though quite superior physically and mentally to past generations (but still inferior to the modern Apirants and Custodians) are “suited by their nature” in a Platonic sense to be servants and followers. The Servitors are still noble in their own way we are told, for there is a nobility in work, and they happily occupy their natural place in society. Strict Eugenic policies have bred the Custodians to a pinnacle of strength and greatness, with members of that race not suited to lead “drifting downwards” to the Plebians while members of the Plebians who show promise rising via the Aspirants to become Custodians. “Anti-social” tendencies have been all but weeded out.

    Naldorssen leads her reader to understand that Atlas is close to its final Eugenic victory- promising individuals have grown ever-rare among the Plebians and individuals unsuited for leadership even rarer among the Custodians. The Aspirant Race is shrinking, heralding the “closure of humanity”.

    The hero Moses Cadden is presented as very nearly what Naldorssen considered to be an ideal man- strong, intelligent, unflinching at pain, protective to those below him, loyal to those above him, devoted to his race and prepared to bear the needs of the collective good upon himself. He is an unflinching patriot of the “Atlas State”, that by this point in history is one of the only two remaining nations on Earth. His sole flaw at the novel’s start is a streak of naiveite, which leads Cadden to agree to take part in a peace mission to the Machine State- Atlas’ ancient enemy.

    The Machine State is a vast republic that has grown decadent and corrupt under a constantly changing political leadership divided by quarreling political parties, but remains dangerous. It rejects the Hobbesian social contract in favor of a an obsession with equality that results in it regarding its citizens as “interchangeable cogs within a social machine, equal in value regardless of their skills, abilities, or moral fiber”. It has historically won battles through superior numbers and basic but competent logistical skills, and its armies have famously been able to continue advancing even in the absence of surviving generals or high-ranking officers. Individual units will just keep grinding forward, following the same protocols they would have had their commanders still been alive. The Machine State has recently elected new leadership that is potentially sympathy to the philosophy of Atlas, and Cadden and the peace mission have hopes that they may be able to avert another war and guide the Machine down the same path that they have followed.

    Cadden’s visit to the Machine State is used by Naldorssen to excoriate the social, political, and philosophical positions that she hated. The country across the sea with its “obsession with stolen and distorted Roman symbols” is shown to have fallen under the sway of “handicapping”- the use of “invented fake morals” by the weak to handicap the strong and keep them controlled by their lessers. Where Atlas devotes resources to highly celebrated scientific and artistic geniuses, the Machine State degrades such persons while insisting that anyone is equally capable of art and science (causing it to a possess neither). All of its children are educated in the same schools, resulting in substandard education for everyone. The insistence that all people are equally deserving of having children has led to a brown-skinned, mixed-race populace rife with physical disabilities and mental inferiorities. Because their ideology rejects the idea that people should obtain wealth or power on the basis of skill or hard work, the “human cogs” are randomly chosen on a periodic basis to receive awards of huge amounts of cash and fine houses (Atlas has abolished money of course) and most proceed to ruin themselves due to their inability to handle such a windfall. While all the people of Atlas are devout Christians and a reunified church is a state institution, the Machine’s belief in secularism has resulted in the extermination of religion. Most human cogs have no collective loyalty, frequently expressing sedition against their government and behaving in ways damaging to the national whole- despite this they continue to fulfill their roles in the social machine and reject the possibility of either changing things or defecting to Atlas.

    The social machine is thus presented as simultaneously consisting of dangerously chaotic individualism, coupled with the suppression of individual accomplishment and ability by the unchecked masses.

    Cadden encounters a man named James Cross (seriously Naldorssen)- one of the few superior individuals left in the Machine State, a man who, despite abilities that would qualify him to rule a nation, is forced to live as a simple carpenter (seriously Naldorssen) while secretly preaching a version of Christianity that would horrify most OTL Christians to a small underground congregation of twelve (seriously Naldorssen) naturally subordinate individuals on par with Atlas’ Servitors. Cross introduces the protagonist to the true rot within the social machine, causing him to realize that the Machine’s leadership is irrelevant. As all persons are equal and interchangeable cogs, its nominal leaders are powerless to actually do anything substantial to change the system, and in any case the President who seemed to have sympathy with Atlas’s ideology was only saying things to get elected (since democracy, according to Naldorssen, only rewards outwards displays of ideas and policy, unlike unelected leadership that doesn’t have to worry about its popularity and can actually focus on doing things). The peace mission was therefore doomed from the start. Cross further reveals to Cadden that because the Machine State is rapidly falling behind Atlas technologically due to its suppression of human inventive genius, it is preparing for a final and desperate assault on Atlas before it falls behind irrevocably, or more likely undergoes social collapse.

    Who is driving these preparation in the absence of real leadership or a population that can’t resist constant sedition and selfish social parasitism is never explained.

    Fortunately, the wise leaders of Atlas foresaw this, and in fact the peace mission has brought with it a lethal and fast-acting disease, deadly to those with inferior physicalities but harmless to the highly bred and physically superior. Cadden learns of this from one of the leaders of the mission- a beautiful woman named Elizabeth Nisbet (Naldorssen, please) with whom he has had a long-running romantic sublot- and is led to understand by Cross in one of his sermons that the only way to defeat the Machine State is to exterminate it utterly. The human cogs of the machine are too far gone from bad breeding and their poisonous ideology to even be considered people- most are now no more than “cattle that speak”. Now firmly determined to do “what must be done for the greatest good of humanity” Cadden agrees to participate in this extermination. In the end Cross guides the protagonist and Nisbet to a means to introduce the disease such that it will spread across the entire Machine State by way of a food distribution system that is the sole means for the human cogs to access their equal daily rations. The plague soon wipes out almost all of the inhabitants of the Machine State except for a few “hidden superior humans” like Cross and his flock, and even spreads to Atlas where the last remaining inferiors die painlessly. The unnamed and powerless President of the Machine State that Cadden and the peace mission originally came to meet with dies feebly, his incredulous last words; “You cannot break the Machine!”

    With the Machine State gone Atlas is free to unify the world under the titular and biologically and morally perfect “Final Society” without war, strife, disease, or poverty. The remaining members of the Aspirant Race are either inducted into the Custodians or demoted to the Servitors, leaving humanity “closed” into what have become two separate species. Cadden and Nisbet are married by Cross and prepare to face their perfect future together.

    The last chapter of the novel is a straight description of the utopian Final Society without the bother of putting Naldorssen’s words in the mouth of one of her characters.

    The Final Society proved an immediate bestseller, turning Naldorssen from a minor public figure into Drakia’s bestselling author and an international celebrity (even if her book was generally panned, and even burned, in most places abroad). Its contents found fertile ground among Drakian Citizens disturbed by the results of the of the World War and American ascendance, and received rave reviews. Premier McRae described her as “one of the greatest men fighting for Drakia and its way of life”, which she considered an incredible compliment (to be referred to as a man). A new political movement began to coalesce around the Danish immigrant and her ideas, developing from the broader nationalist current in Drakia into something altogether different.

    From the movement of her supporters would emerge a new ideology.

    Naldorssen was not its sole founder any more than Marx was the sole founder of Communism IOTL, the ideology in question owed as much to her as to contemporary figures such as Paul Delacroix and Father Vern Schönberger, and in a real way had been evolving in Drakia since it was first founded as a colony. It drew from the old Loyalist ideology, from mediaeval French ideas of class structure and feudal responsibility, from the 19th century mission civilisatrice, from Drakia’s old Continental Imperative, and from modern Eugenics. Its followers claimed it was very old- a reflection of “the ancient biological hierarchy that had existed since creatures as primitive as the lobster first appeared”, but in their hearts they understood that it was a new thing, a new social order. Its concepts were not vestigial; what made it thrilling was that the new ideology made imperialism forceful again. It was not just a veneer for capitalism, nor simply a vehicle for power. It was a different way of wielding power. It shrugged off old moral inhibitions. It scoffed at liberal restraints and ignored traditional conservative reservations. It was Christian dada, surrealism for the colonial order. It was the Right of Conquest made fresh for the industrial age, vital and strong, muscular yet vulgar.

    Its ultimate goal was the destruction of all that had come before it in favor of a Final Society, and from this goal it took its name.


    *thunder rolls*

    It rolls a 19.

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    Chapter 15

  • Chapter 15

    While Drakia had come under a great deal of criticism for almost every aspect of its Eugenics program, the world had generally been content to overlook the Dragon’s Nest.

    This may appear inexplicable to our modern OTL sensibilities, but in-universe it makes sense. To the extent that the rest of the Separate-verse was aware of the Dragon’s Nest, most knew of it only as a program for women of “superior” genetics who had conceived out of wedlock to quietly give birth in a safe and healthy environment before giving up their children for adoption. This struck most non-Drakians as commendable- an alternative to either abortion or social censure of single mothers, considering that there were still places in Britain and America where an unmarried mother could find herself in a psychiatric facility. That there were Dragon’s Nest facilities for women who had engaged in “anti-social behavior” was not as widely known, but these too inspired little outrage among those who were aware of them. “Rehabilitating” female criminals instead of jailing them was unlikely to excite much concern, and treating homosexual women as if they had a mental illness that could be cured was relatively progressive compared to the still very common attitude that homosexuals were sinners and criminals who should be imprisoned. In fact, the Dragon’s Nest “treatment” for female homosexuality gained such high regard that some high society families in Britain and other parts of the British Empire were known to send lesbian family members for discrete treatment in Drakia. There were even complaints from Honorary Whites that their taxes helped pay for the Dragon’s Nest, but it refused to take non-white women for treatment.

    It’s still only 1911 after all- attitudes towards the LGBT start bad and get worse.

    But what very few people outside of Drakia knew was how the Dragon’s Nest also served as a tool for social and political control. European women who had interracial relationships, or agitated for racial equality, or were politically active in ways that challenged the foundations of the social system could find themselves diagnosed with “anti-social behavior” and sent to the Dragon’s Nest. Men who were involved in the same sort of politics were silenced by the threat of having a wife or a daughter taken away to disappear into the network of Dragon’s Nest “hospitals”. Women who were taken thus were subjected to similar treatments as homosexuals and prostitutes in the form of psychological and physical abuse designed to break them down mentally before returning them to society. The treatment was considered successful when the woman in question had been married to a husband who had been chosen for her and conceived a child with him- it was believed that having a child would create an emotional bond that would prevent the “anti-social behavior” from resurfacing.

    While it was impossible to keep these practices totally secret, most people outside of Drakia didn’t know about them, and those who did were mostly part of organized anti-Drakia groups whose accusations were dismissed as slander by the defenders of the Firstborn Dominion.

    Women diagnosed with "anti-social behavior" being restrained in a Dragon's Nest hospital.

    In 1908, just after the beginning of the World War, a group of three women and two men were arrested in the Drakian city of South London for “seditious activities” namely; distributing anti-war and anti-Bonded Labor propaganda, and trying to organize a strike at a munitions factory for better working conditions. Seditious activity in wartime was regarded very seriously by the authorities and within forty-eight hours all five had been sentenced to years of prison labor, although the sentences of the women were commuted to treatment at the Dragon’s Nest for anti-social behavior, as was common for white women convicted of such crimes. There was little about the incident to draw attention except for one thing-

    Drakian officials had made a mistake.

    One of the three women was Audrey Ratcliff- a Englishwoman with British citizenship and a middle-class background who had moved to Drakia three years ago to work as a school-teacher while staying with a Drakian cousin. She had become involved in the political opposition there, leading to her arrest and imprisonment in the Dragon’s Nest. Her family was not informed of her arrest or her sentence, and her increasingly desperate parents reported her missing to British and Drakian authorities who reported being able to find nothing on the matter. With a global war going on it was difficult for the Ratcliffs to pursue the issue and Audrey’s fate remained unknown until she appeared unexpectedly in London in 1912, having been missing for four years.

    She relayed her story to her family, their relief quickly turning to outrage once they learned the trials she had undergone. Ian Barrow, Audrey’s maternal uncle, was a successful businessman and he brought her to the attention of a Liberal MP who arranged for her to be called to testify before Parliament about her experience in Drakia.

    Audrey Ratcliff, after returning to England.

    Aubrey Ratcliff’s testimony shocked and horrified the British public. She described being refused basic necessities such as adequate clothing or bathroom privacy, being beaten, and being sexually assaulted by Dragon’s Nest staff and fellow patients. She described being forced to perform physical exercises until she collapsed from exhaustion, forced to chant phrases and slogans about the greatness of the dominion, its leaders, and its institutions (including Bonded Labour), and forced to debase herself both verbally and physically before doctors. Audrey had been hypnotized (or at least they tried to hypnotize her- hypnosis isn’t actually mind-control and it’s largely impossible to hypnotize someone against their will) daily and was frequently restrained while sound recordings of phrases telling her to be loyal and obedient were played repetitively into her ears- sometimes while she was trying to sleep. She described how one patient committed suicide, and how another went mad and spent all day repeating the phrases from the sound recordings over and over. Her treatment improved after Aubrey was married against her will to a Drakian soldier newly returned from the war with a missing arm. He would visit regularly to rape her while she received food, rest, and pre-natal care in the hopes that she would conceive. Eventually she became pregnant and was taken home by her husband who kept her locked inside his house and used the threat of being sent back to the Dragon’s Nest to scare her into obedience. He knew that Audrey had been a political dissident and frequently called her a traitor and told her that she deserved to suffer for her actions and her beliefs.

    After miscarrying due to stress and lack of sleep she became afraid that she would be sent back to the Dragon’s Nest and so escaped, stealing money from her husband that she used to buy a ticket back to London and successfully flee the country.

    In Britain there was a vast outpouring of sympathy for the brave young woman who broke down several times while giving her testimony and faced harsh counter-questioning from MPs who were still sympathetic to Drakia. Yet the MPs in question were in the minority. Building sympathy for black African Bondsmen or homosexuals was an uphill battle, but for a white woman whose only crime was to agitate against a war that had since proved an utter failure for Britain it came easily. Public opinion that had already swung against the Bonded Labor System now swung firmly against the Drakian government in general that had allowed such injustices to occur to Audrey Ratcliff. The Liberal-Socialist coalition government that had taken power after the end of the World War openly called for criminal prosecution of her “husband” and individual doctors and staff within the Dragon’s Nest project that Ratcliff had been able to name. In the ongoing peace negotiations with America the British government shifted policy, indicating a willingness to comprise on Drakia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in exchange for concessions like being allowed to keep Ulster (Great Britain wasn’t in a very good bargaining position).

    Negotiators at the Dublin Peace Conference in 1912.

    This has often been cited as the development that drove Drakia to withdraw from the Dublin Peace Conference, but in fact that had been coming for a while. The agreed cession of Britain’s colonies in North and West Africa to become independent American protectorates run by Native Africans prompted outrage in Drakia far earlier in the peace talks. Drakian blood had been spilled to drive the Americans out of those colonies and to put down Native rebellions within in them, and now they were to be given away without the ghost of a fight. Meanwhile there was the United States of Borneo offering an unpleasant example of what such protectorates might look like. The Americans and the Japanese had occupied British Borneo during the fighting in the Pacific, and New York organized a new government for Borneo- the aforementioned USB- even before the war ended. Said government proceeded to expropriate the land and possessions that British companies and individuals had held on the island and went after “collaborators” with a vengeance. Collaborators included the Native royalty, nobility, and aristocracy, as well as whole groups (like the Malays) that the colonial administration had favored. Former Native elites saw their property confiscated and quite a few faced violence or summary arrest and punishment. The handful of remaining British colonists were caught up as well- for the people of Borneo it was a time for revenge. While the settling of scores only lasted a couple of months before America pulled the USB in line and saw to it that it replaced its first president with someone less excitable, its violence inspired quite a few stories that only grew with the telling.

    By the time Audrey Ratcliff gave her testimony the example of Borneo had ruling white elites (and their Native collaborators) in Drakia, India, the East Indies, and the rest of British Africa terrified at the prospect of American-sponsored majority-rule and increasingly unwilling to co-operate with any peace deal that risked such a scenario. Ratcliff’s testimony was the final straw; partly because she turned British public opinion against Drakia, but more so because she turned Drakian public opinion against Britain.

    In the eyes of most Drakians it was obvious that what Audrey Ratcliff claimed to have been done to her had never happened, and that if it had happened, she was exaggerating, and that if she wasn’t exaggerating then she deserved it. The greatest sin one could commit according to Drakian social values was to betray the nation, and even if Ratcliff wasn’t Drakian by testifying against Drakia they saw her as guilty of betraying the Noble Race regardless. That Britain would allow such a person to say such things about Drakia- whether true or not- was a wound that cut deep, that the British would not only believe her words but care about them made it worse. The British government’s willingness to require Drakia to make reforms that risked giving equal rights to the Natives and creating another Borneo- let alone compromise the territorial integrity of the Firstborn Dominion- was the ultimately betrayal.

    And so Drakia did the unthinkable.

    A Societist rally in New Rennes, Drakia. The man in the dark coat on the left is Lindsey Stoker, still just a minor figure in the movement.

    Premier Lloyd McRae withdrew the Dominion of Drakia from the Dublin Conference on February 15, 1913. Seven days later the Drakian military acted to seize control of British colonies in Northern and Western Africa- the McRae government proclaimed that it was acting to protect the British Empire from American aggression and that the British government in London had betrayed the Empire. The Anglo-Drakian War had begun.

    Britain did what it could to oppose Drakia…

    … and fought hard (11 v. 19) but it had been badly weakened by the World War and Drakia already had soldiers stationed in or near most of the colonies in question (as it had been the Drakian Army that had been responsible for most of the defense of British Africa during the war). Several other British dominions joined Aurica (remember the Drakian government relocated to near the site of OTL Johannesburg) in condemning the Liberal-Socialist government of Prime Minister Rufus Palmer as illegitimate and announcing that they were acting to save the British Empire from destruction. These included the other African dominions- which almost certainly could not have survived long-term without either British or Drakian support- as well as the Indian Empire and the East Indies. A couple of others might have gotten involved- Jamaica for instance- had it not been for the immediate presence of American forces preventing them. The white-minority-ruled dominions hoped to force the Palmer Government out of power and see it replaced by a Conservative government more determined to protect their rights in the peace negotiations. There was even serious talk in Aurica and Delhi of somehow landing troops in Great Britain itself and capturing London so they could “restore the rightful leadership of the Empire” (if Britain had fumbled its roll, and if America wasn’t a factor, then this might have been possible, but there’s no way it could happen under the current circumstances).

    America supported the British government in the Anglo-Drakian War…

    …quite effectively (14 v. 19), although not effectively enough to defeat the rebel dominions entirely. Between the USN and what was left of the RN it proved possible to cut off the rebel dominions from coming to each other’s aid by seas as they were exceptionally weak navally (but not so weak that Drakia couldn’t maintain links to Madagascar and Aden after they were captured). The United States occupied the East Indies and leaned on the British government to officially grant India independence, sparking a huge uprising in southern India against the tottering Raj. The new Republic of India was recognized by New York and quickly became the recipient of quite a lot of World War surplus arms. By the spring of 1914 all of the white-minority-rule dominions outside of Africa had been defeated- only Drakia and its little brothers remained. While Britain and America were capable of beating the rest, Drakia had successfully defended Africa on its own once already and it was clear that nothing less than a massive sea-borne invasion an order of magnitude larger than the Liberation of Ireland would be required to successfully invade the Dark Continent. The last foothold from which the Anglo-Americans could have feasibly invaded North Africa- the Holy Land- fell to Drakian forces and the colonial government of German Syria (which had been slated to be turned over to the United States to become a protectorate) declared independence and aligned itself with Drakia. The rulers of Britain’s protectorates in Yemen opted to ally themselves with Aurica as well rather than risk being removed from power by the Americans, making it possible for Aden (captured by Drakia in the early days of the war) to remain in rebel hands.

    The popular and political will didn’t exist in America for the massive sacrifices that a full-scale invasion of Africa would have required- not after the World War and with the United States’ new global responsibilities. Meanwhile Drakia was forced to give up its hope of restoring the British government of earlier times. The Conservatives that MacRae had hoped would take power condemned his rebellion, as did King Edward VII (not to be confused with the OTL monarch by that name), and his allies outside of Africa had all been defeated. The Anglo-Drakian War came to an end with an armistice in late 1914 but no formal peace treaty- America and Britain had never recognized that a legal state of war had even existed at all, and refused to recognize the de facto independence of the Dominion of Drakia, let alone its annexation of the British crown colonies in Africa, the other African dominions (all annexed by 1917), or Syria (annexed in 1915). New York instead adopted a policy of actively sponsoring rebellions and uprisings within Africa, hoping that without British support the Firstborn Dominion would collapse on its own, or that Native rebels would be able to carve out enough territory to make an American intervention possible.

    The Dublin Peace Conference brought the World War to an official end with the Treaty of Dublin in 1915. Great Britain ceded all of its remaining crown colonies plus Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Dominion of Newfoundland either to the United States or France, and agreed to hold elections with universal suffrage in all of its remaining dominions. The new non-white-majority governments of the East Indies, Burma, Jamaica, and the Lesser Antilles joined India in proclaiming themselves independent republics, the Lesser Antilles, Guyana, New Zealand, and Australia opted to retain dominion status under the British monarchy. The Republic of Ireland came into existence controlling all of Ireland (a development that was not entirely to the benefit of the new country’s stability) and Bavaria-Austria granted independence to a small Czech State. Rhomania made off like a bandit, securing recognition of its acquisition of Albania (now a kingdom in personal union with the Rhomanian monarchy) and Ragusa from Italy. This was helped by Italy’s utterly inability to take back these possessions without outside help and America’s lack of desire to help- New York had never been officially at war with Athens and it had Drakia and Russia as distractions once the World War ended. The German Confederation ceded Syria on paper but kept some ethnically German territory beyond the Rhine.

    Colonial troops in Syria, preparing preparing for the formal annexation ceremony of the rogue Germany colony.

    France and Italy were both left deeply unhappy despite having technically been on the winning side of the war. Most French were displeased at the loss of lands west of the Rhine that had been held by France since the French Revolutionary Wars, even if they received the Channel Islands and a collection of other minor British islands elsewhere as colonies (much was made of the return of St. Pierre and Miquelon to France in accordance with the original Treaty of Alliance between America and France in 1778). The Italians were even less happy about losing Albania and Ragusa and only gaining Malta in return. But neither country was in a position to object. Both had been devastated by invasions of their territory- both Rome and Paris had fallen to different enemies- and their populations were exhausted and war weary and willing to accept the loss of lands that weren’t ethnically French or Italian in exchange for a speedy peace. A revolution in Italy in 1911 at the tail end of the war saw the federal constitutional theocracy that was the Italian Federation replaced by a unitary presidential Republic of Italy. A general strike in France in 1914 was joined by mass protests on the part of recently demobilized soldiers, and culminated in the Spring Revolution that overthrew the Second French Republic and replaced it with the democratic socialist Third French Republic.

    The revolution in Spain was far bloodier and more radical than those in either France or Italy. The Spanish people- no longer afraid of a military that had battered itself uselessly against the Pyrenees for over three years, and radicalized after decades of political oppression, rose up against the totalitarian monarchy of King Ferdinand IX. The rebels were led by the radical Geoists of the Partido Suelo Negro (Black Soil Party) and they triumphed after a year-long civil war that ended with the installation of the Republic of Spain and the flight of the King, the nobility, and most of the Spanish monarchists either abroad or to Spanish Morocco. The first elections to the new Cortes produced a PSN majority that voted to dissolve the Spanish Republic and replace it with the “Spanish Poblado Republic”- the world’s first Geoist government. As radical revolutionaries of all stripes always do upon seizing power they launched a purge against their political enemies, then set about restructing the economy in accordance with their version of Geoist doctrine. A rump Spanish Republic-in-exile persisted in Puerto Rico, while the monarchist government in Morocco lasted until it started to look like the Native Moroccans were going to successfully overthrow it and King Ferdinand asked Drakia for help. Morocco would end up a Drakian province with Ferdinand as king of a subnational monarchy there (he and his heirs kept their claims to Spain though) and the Spanish colonists and refugees there accepted as Drakian Citizens.

    The Continental Imperative had bee fulfilled- Africa was at last unified under Drakian rule.

    Pobladisto revolutionary in Spain.

    The Pobladisto Revolution was still nothing compared to the First Russian Civil War that pitted a rebel alliance of liberals, radicals, and extremists of various stripes against the Czar, with separatists for a variety of different captive nations caught in the middle. America and Japan both intervened, as did the Ottoman Empire, Japan, Drakia, and Scandinavia. All ended up taking their pounds of flesh- selling Alaska to the Americans ended up being the price the ultimately victorious rebel alliance paid to get New York to recognize their government in 1915. The Ottomans snagged most of West Armenia back, the Scandinavians grabbed Karelia and the Kola Peninsula, and Japan annexed Korea and Manchuria (the Emperor of Japan adopted the titles of “Emperor of Korea” and “Emperor of the Manchus”). Attempts by the Tian Dynasty of China to expand only demonstrated how outdated and ineffective its military had become since it had overthrown the Qing, and although the Tian did successfully occupy Mongolia and Qinghai they found themselves in contention with Japan along a hotly disputed border.

    Drakia intervened in Mesopotamia to rescue the Czarist colonial government there from Arab rebels in a situation very similar to Morocco, although in this case annexation included an alliance with the Kurds (the Kurds were not keen on being under either Arab or Turkish rule) who gained their own princely state under their own sultan with status as a martial race in exchange for their help.

    Only Lithuania (which had help from Germany) and Poland (in a somewhat different location than OTL due to alternate ethnic movements under Austrian, Russian, and German rule) managed to successfully gain their independence from Russia in the First Russian Civil War, but the Ukraine, Central Asia, and the usual suspects made another play for independence when the newly minted Russian Republic collapsed into the Second Russian Civil War in 1919 as the different factions of the rebel alliance turned on each other.

    By 1920 the United States of America had finally unified North America outside of the Caribbean (Costa Rica and the Federation of Central America had been coerced into annexation in the glow of victory after 1911) and wasn’t about to let the ongoing insurgencies in Central America prevent it from celebrating the ultimate achievement of Manifest Destiny. The Land of the Free stood supreme as the sole global superpower, American hegemony was at its height. The American-led Grand Alliance included all of countries of South America, most of those of the Caribbean (including the Spanish Republic-in-exile), much of Europe, all of the new Republics that had broken away from the British Empire, plus Japan, Persia, and half-a-dozen others. Britain and its remaining dominions didn’t belong to the Grand Alliance but they were clearly aligned with it, Germany didn’t belong either but it was smart enough not to be confrontational. The only holes in the New Order for the Ages envisioned by President Adam Dixon were Pobladisto Spain, a Russia that was descending back into civil war, and of course the regime that stretched across the Dark Continent from Capetown to Alexandria and from Dakar to Jerusalem and Baghdad.

    Drakia, now with the upper hand in its struggle against Native rebels, still maintaining the fiction that it was a British Dominion, was preparing to reinvent itself for the final time.

    Hic sunt dracones.

    "So we don't get to see the borders of the different factions in Russia?"

    "Just use your imagination."
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    Chapter 16

  • Chapter 16

    Totalitarianism is a broad category. It incorporates regimes with left-wing ideologies, regimes with right-wing ideologies, and the governments of purely self-interested despots. The arguments and justifications for totalitarianism range from Stalinism to Juche to Fascism to Japanese Militarism to whatever de Francia was doing with Rousseau’s ideas in Paraguay. But at same time totalitarianism is also very uniform- whatever the ideology or justification behind it, the practices of the totalitarian state almost always follow similar patterns. There is always the Cheka, the State Security Department, the Gestapo, the OVRA, the Special Higher Police , the Pyragues, by whatever name. There is always the Party or the Movement or the Cause whose re-dedication is a constant presence in everyday life. There is always the Man of Steel, the Supreme Leader, the Duke, the Father of the Country with his cult of personality demanding reverence.

    And there is always the terror- the ever-pervading fear hanging like fog over the citizens of the nation.

    So, it is in OTL, and so it was in the Separate-verse. The economic ideas behind Geoism weren’t inherent to the peasantry and rural interests, but that was the segment of society within which they caught on, and the ideology had been unbreakably married to Agrarian Populism ever since. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; the Geoists might be rather socially conservative, they might glorify the farmer as the foundation of society, and they might be distrustful of the modern industrialized city, but their ideas were more progressive than conservative and the rural concerns that they advocated for were generally valid concerns. William Jennings Bryan would have found himself largely on the same page with them, as would Milo Reno. But the extremist flavors of Geoism- the Pobladistos of Spain and the Rodinaviks of Russia- were a very different animal indeed. They sought nothing less than the total dismantlement of the old order and the ushering in of an entirely new society, and were prepared to pave the road to their utopia with the bodies of their foes. In both countries there were mass purges of the nobility and suspect members of the intelligentsia, the hammer falling hardest on the despised “urban elites”. In both countries there was state religion and ultimately the suppression of other faiths (the Pobladistos started with Sedevacantism and eventually picked their own Anti-Pope). Nominal tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities proved a thin shield for minorities, be they Kazakhs or Catalans. The Spanish Poblado Republic was less extreme than Russia, it grudgingly maintained a degree of industrial manufacturing even if it placed industrial workers on the very bottom of its social ladder and regarded them as potential Socialist or Utopian enemies of the people.

    Pobladistos storming a Royalist position in the Spanish Revolution.

    Meanwhile the “Rodina Zemlya” (Homeland Earth) emerged from the Second Russian Civil War victorious over its Socialist, Utopian, Liberal, and Anarchist enemies under the tight fist of Rudnikov Semyon Danilovich. Rudinkov was a fanatic who proclaimed his country the beginning of a world government that would in time expand to absorb the entire globe. His efforts to create a purified agrarian Geoist republic included the large-scale forced relocation of the urban masses to the countryside, where they were “resettled” in new villages- many created simply by picking spots on the map and putting a village there. Millions died in the “Re-Settlement” (Peremesheniye) and the starvation that accompanied it, millions more perished in forced labor and the massacres of enemies of the people. In keeping with Rodinist doctrine that manufacturing did not produce value, but merely spent resources to rework materials produced by farmers, miners, and laborers, the RZ attempted to dismantle its national industry almost totally, preserving only a small amount of low-level cottage industry and what was needed to maintain its armed forces.

    By the time Rudnikov was assassinated in 1926 and replaced by saner figures he had done irreparable damage to Russia’s industrial base and infrastructure and was responsible for the death of tens of millions.

    But of course, Radical Geoism (not to be confused with the moderate form of the movement) was not the only totalitarian ideology to rise to power in the aftermath of the World War. Societism was just as brutal, and no less bloody.

    According to the Drakian historians of the 1950s the World War and the Anglo-Drakian War were the start of the Late Wars of Drakian Expansion, an ill-defined era whose end depended on the opinion of the historian in question. The period after the end of the Anglo-Drakian War they dubbed “the Crucible” although the Drakians actually living in that time knew it as “the Crisis”. The Dominion of Drakia (for it was still officially a dominion) had expanded far too rapidly, adding swathes of additional territory at a time when it had just been cut off from the invaluable support of Great Britain and every other part of the British Empire that wasn’t in Africa. Not only was Drakia economically severed from markets for its raw materials, not only had it lost the backing of the Royal Navy, but it was diplomatically isolated as well. By 1917 all of Drakia’s land neighbors with the exception of Russia were members of the American-led Grand Alliance and actively hostile to the Country of the Dragon. Arms, ammunition, money, and even military advisors and agents of the Black Chamber flowed across these borders into the Drakian Near East, or were smuggled ashore into West and North Africa as part of a vast project by the United States to undermine its estranged younger brother. Native rebellions, uprisings, terrorism, and sabotage were chronic during the Crucible, as long-exploited subject peoples struck back against an overlord weakened and bleeding from a thousand cuts.

    It is telling that the demands of the Crucible in terms of funds, resources, and lives on Drakia was proportionally almost twice as high as similar costs for the German Confederation during the World War when the Germans were fighting on three fronts simultaneously against heavily industrialized and modern enemies.

    Rebels dig in against a Drakian assault in the mountains of Algeria.

    The Drakians struggled desperately to effectively project power away from their heartland in Southern and Eastern Africa into the newly integrated Western and Northern parts of the continent, to say nothing of the challenges of the Near East. The vestigial Drakian Navy was expanded drastically- partly in the form of gunboats to support land operations along the coasts and up major rivers, but mostly in the form of large numbers of basic, low-cost, low-to-moderate quality naval cargo ships. They would have been easily swept from the sea by any foe with a decent naval arm, but as long as the armistice with America held the Drakian Navy was able to significantly reduce the logistic strain of land operations elsewhere. The Drakian Army initially abandoned control of large parts of the African interior in favor of defending the coasts, major cities, strategically important roads, railways, rivers, and sources of vital raw materials. From there they gradually pushed back, using heavy artillery, air power, and an arsenal of chemical and incendiary weapons that by 1919 included G-series nerve agents plus their old standby of white phosphorus.

    This is not to imply that the Crucible was easy, or straightforward, or that Drakia’s victory wasn’t in question until the very end. Ultimately the deciding factor was the existence of a pro-Drakian Native (and occasionally non-Native but also non-Drakia) minority that actively supported the regime.

    The military government that took power following Premier McRae’s resignation in 1915 made a series of compromises that would have been politically impossible in a less desperate situation, conceding ideological purity in the name of survival. Victory meant numbers, and numbers meant manpower, and immigration to Drakia didn’t resume in any real numbers until the situation had stabilized in the early 20’s and it was clear their country wasn’t going to collapse in the near future. So General Saxon did what he could. Mixed-race persons who were 25% or less African or Asian were universally declared “white” and offered citizenship, as were all of the former citizens of the other African dominions, regardless of race (none of the dominions in question had extended citizenship universally to their Native inhabitants, but several had on a case-to-case basis). Citizenship was extended to the British, German, and Russian colonists of the Holy Land, Syria, and Iraq, and to the Spanish colonists and refugees in Morocco. The inhabitants of Egypt were declared to be part of the “Misri” martial race descended from the ancient Egyptians and separate from their Arab neighbors, and they proved to be essential allies in the fight to hold North Africa (or at least the portion of the Egyptian population convinced to continue to tolerate Drakian rule provided an essential non-rebellious base of operation there). The Zionist community in the Holy Land had co-operated with British and German authorities against the Arab Revolt during the World War, after Drakia took control of the area General Saxon was desperate enough for allies that he offered to allow a Jewish princely state in the OTL Israeli Coastal Plain and to make any Sephardic or Mizrahi Jews living within its borders Honorary Whites (most of the Ashkenazim had received citizenship as former British, Russian, or German citizens, other types of Jews hadn’t). Despite the fact that the Drakian government had actively suppressed Zionism among the Drakian Jewish community the deal went ahead, causing a split in the global Zionist movement between those who considered working with Drakia an acceptable evil to protect the Jewish community in Eretz Yisroel from the Arabs, and save Near Eastern Jews from Drakian Bondage, and those who rejected any such co-operation and turned their focus to sponsoring Jewish agricultural colonies in Patagonia and OTL Western Canada.

    Drakia fostered nationalist movement among certain Near Eastern and North African ethnicities - the Jews, the Druze, the Egyptians, the Assyrian Christians, the Yezidis, and others, in regions where Arab Muslims had long been dominant. General Saxon’s reasoning was that while such groups might never get full independence under Drakian rule, they would receive autonomy and privileged treatment that they would never get if the rebels won.

    Any negative repercussions to this strategy, the general reasoned, could be dealt with if the dominion survived. At the time it still seemed likely that they would lose the Near East at the very least- who cared what promises the government in Aurica made?

    Zionist militiamen during the Crucible. Of course there is no possible way that giving a Geoist- and Socialist-influenced movement whose goal is total sovereignty over its Holy Land a non-sovereign pseudo-state that doesn't control any of its major holy sites could possibly backfire for Drakia. Surely Jewish nationalists will be loyal to a totalitarian Christian dictatorship that holds some of their coreligionists as de facto slaves and temporarily held an even larger number of their coreligionists who are now freed and possibly even serving in the army of said pseudo-state.

    That’s not to say that simply being declared an Honorary White or even a White Citizen automatically turned one into a loyal subject of the Country of the Dragon. Even among the ranks of favored castes from before the World War you had Honorary Whites- and a few Whites believe it or not- who supported, participated in, and on occasion led rebel elements. There were Auxiliary units that mutinied wholesale and Native Princes who led their princely states to seek true independence. But when the rebels couldn’t get their hands on their Drakian oppressors they settled for targeting their Native collaborators, and most rebel armies didn’t distinguish between different members of the martial races or anyone who had received special treatment while they groaned under the abuse of colonial misrule.

    The fear of being massacred by the anti-government rebels caused many who might have wavered to remain loyal to the state, and drove minority groups that might have otherwise sided with the rebels (the Arab Christians, the Sephardim, etc.) to co-operate with Drakia.

    This, along with the inability of many rebel groups to work effectively with each other, proved key to the victory of the Noble Race.

    As the tide turned and the army pushed back into regions it had previously abandoned, Drakia inflicted an inhuman punishment on those who had defied its rule. Villages and towns were wiped out with gas and phosphorus, populations were removed to become Bonded Labor in a content-spanning network of forced labor camps, tribes that surrendered were spared total annihilation but forced to relocate far from their original homelands. Millions died in the massacres and in the camps. Millions more were sent fleeing abroad as refugees. To call the events of the Crucible a genocide would be in no way an exaggerated, there were entire cultures that were wiped out save for a few individuals and it is estimated that more than 15,000,000~ African and Middle Eastern civilians died in the fighting and its aftermath (to put that in perspective 17-22,000,000 Chinese civilians died in the Second Sino-Japanese War in OTL). Roughly a 800,000 White Drakians- 8%~ of their total population (in OTL Germany lost about 4% of its population in World War I)- died along with their enemies, so did 5,000,000 Native Auxiliaries and soldiers in the armies of the princely states.

    Captured civilians from a rebel tribe in West Africa in a forced labor camp.

    Resistance to Drakian rule never truly ended in either Africa or the Middle East, but by 1918 the rebels had ceased to be an existential threat and by 1920 they were reduced to a collection of regional insurgencies of diminishing intensity as American aid dried up and the United States redirected its resources elsewhere. Immigration to Drakia began to pick up from the truly desperate with nowhere else to go- the former white settler populations of India and the East Indies and groups that had been favored under British colonial rule such as the Punjabis, Indian Muslims, and Chinese Indonesians, fleeing putative treatment by India and Indonesia. They were soon joined by Russians desperate to escape Rudinkov and Basques and Catalans attempting to get out of Spain. Most such immigrants were either accepted as Citizens or as Honorary Whites by a government eager for more loyal inhabitants (most were loyal, if simply out of gratitude for a safe place to live). America was going through one of its nativist phases, the British economy had imploded, and there were few other options for a refugee. But this wave of immigration didn’t really occur until the 1920s proper, in 1920 itself there were 89 million people in the Dominion of Drakia. Brutal and exploitative rule at the hands of Drakia and Britain slowed African population growth from OTL even before the mass deaths of the Cruicible and other wars are taken into account- in OTL there were 120 million~ people in Africa alone in 1920 without considering Mandatory Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Of those 89 million persons some 9.1 million were White Citizens- slightly larger than the population of OTL Canada at the same time- a number that included a million-odd mixed-race persons who had enough European blood to receive full citizenship from the military government, and even a handful of non-Whites who had held citizenship in the other African dominions before they were annexed. Around 21 million more were Honorary Whites, and an additional 9 million were Nationals- the overwhelming majority of whom could afford to pay the Hut Tax with money and worked in White-owned business concerns. The remaining 50 million inhabitants of Drakia were classed as Bondsmen of one kind or another.

    Drakian society was profoundly affected by the Crucible; it became vastly more militarized, more paranoid (Drakians were always conscious of America’s hand assisting the rebels), and more nationalistic. It was also more egalitarian than it had been, opening up avenues for women that had been previously closed (including combat positions in the military, although women were mostly removed from those once things calmed down), and much more accepting of Honorary Whites who had achieved positions of power and influence that they had previously never possessed. The Church of Christ the Savior grew considerably, although the Sedevacantist Catholics and the Drakian Church remain major cultural fixtures.

    While General Saxon’s junta had successfully brought the country through the Crucible, the heavy casualties taken by White Drakians were deeply unpopular, and the country’s economy was barely functioning in the absence of foreign trading partners and with most industrial production (expanded massively through the use of additional forced labor) dedicated to military needs. This was to say nothing of the unhappiness of a civilian population that had been on a total war footing since 1907. In response to mounting pressure not just from the Drakian public but from within the military command structure itself, Saxon agreed to step down and allow new elections.

    General Saxon, military dictator of Drakia from 1915 to 1920, aka "The Black Knight"

    The 1920 Drakian National Elections were the final gasp of the country’s increasingly moribund Westminster democracy. They saw what remained of the establishment and the old Drakian aristocracy thoroughly defeated and witnessed the victory of the Societists under the leadership of Lindsey Stoker. The Societists stood for a meritocracy that favored Drakians not from the once-dominant aristocratic families. They stood for an acceptance of Honorary Whites not as equals, but as junior partners instead of mere servants in the social order, part of the “Aspirant Race” of Naldorssen. They stood for a social safety net for veterans, particularly injured veterans, and for Citizens in general. They also stood for a hierarchical society, an explicit rejection of the practice of democracy and the concepts of equality, natural rights, and consent of the governed. They wanted Eugenic extremism, state-enforced religion, and the de facto chattel slavery of the Bonded Labor System. There would be no more open elections under Societism, just one-party rule under a Premier and a Cabinet seeking to guide the evolution of the population towards the eventual “closure of humanity” and the creation of the Final Society. The new Bureau of Social Defense took on the responsibility of suppressing dissent and political opposition, and the regime wasted no time in extending its ideology from the highest echelons of the state to the bedrooms of its subjects.

    One of Stoker’s first acts once in power was to bring to an end the charade that Drakia was somehow still a British dominion. Gone was the Red Ensign- in its place flew the Dragon Banner with its three white stars representing the either the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or the Servitor, Aspirant, and Custodian races of humanity. It was inconceivable that Drakia should cease to be a monarchy, but who was to be her king? Various options were considered (including the exiled King of Spain and members of various other noble houses who could claim royal blood), but the decision of the dictator was as surprising as it was inevitable. Only one person was worthy of being the ruler of the Noble Race, and that was the Prince of Peace himself. The constitution of the new government claimed Jesus Christ as its official head of state, to the near-universal condemnation of the rest of Christendom and the misgivings of more than a few Drakians themselves.

    On November 1, 1920, All-Saints Day, the Dominion of Drakia came to an end, and the Empire of Drakia proclaimed itself to the world.

    The flag of the Empire of Drakia.
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