The World of Tricolors and Traditions: Human History Without Napoleon

Part 1: Bridge Over Troubled Water
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    "The principal weapon of the Corsicans was their courage. This courage was so great that in one of these battles, near a river named Golo, they made a rampart of their dead in order to have the time to reload behind them before making a necessary retreat; their wounded were mixed among the dead to strengthen the rampart. Bravery is found everywhere, but such actions aren't seen except among free people."

    -Voltaire, 1775

    Part 1: "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
    The Corsican Revolution


    Excerpt from: Chapter Four of A History and Guide to the Island of Corsica, by Napoleone Charles Buonaparte, 1883.

    [...] It was thus that the Comte de Vaux's campaign came to a mountain pass known locally as the Bocca di Bigornu, and to the French as the Col de Bigorno. In the interests of obtaining a speedy and thorough defeat of the Corsicans, the Comte had decided upon a strategy of seizing Corte and controlling the very centre of de Paoli's strength.

    The strategy, while perfectly sound in the tactical sense, was also decided upon with few alternatives. Indeed, while better supplied than the first French expedition to the island, the Comte de Vaux was operating under less than ideal circumstances. Advised to project French power into the Mediterranean, the King would purchase Corsica from the Genoese; advised to conserve resources due to the state of French finances after the Seven Years War, the King would send only what was thought necessary. Further compounding the Comte's difficulties was the state of the French navy, still in tatters after defeat only a few years prior. He had little naval support in his expedition.

    Thus, a land campaign, thrusting from what areas the French controlled towards the centre of the rebellion, was essentially the only option. de Paoli was aware of this, and it was quickly decided that the bridge at Porte Novu would be the strongest strategic point from which the French could be repulsed. Knowing that the Comte's strategy would rely on numerical superiority, de Paoli decided to meet the French ahead of the bridge proper. By sending two contingents of his forces forward, de Paoli sought to avoid a build up at the bridge itself.

    Wisely, de Paoli assigned a sizable contingent of his finest and most trustworthy troops to hold the bridge itself, reinforced with local militia forces. In order to diminish the numerical superiority of the French, de Paoli had managed to purchase the services of a large group of Prussian mercenaries, once assigned by the Genoese to assist in retaking the island. The Prussians, under the direction of Gentili, were to assist in the initial forward actions of the Corsicans. [1]

    For their services, although many would die, the Prussians would be paid handsomely from the national coffers. The Corsicans and the mercenaries met the forces of the Comte ahead of the bridge, and managed to hold favorable high ground above the road for some time. The advancing French were greatly unsettled, but soon managed to force their way forward, and push Gentili and his men into a retreat towards the bridge.

    Need I say more of the gallantry and bravery of those men, heroes all, who held that bridge in the face of overwhelming strength? Of the men who continued to fight, even after death, as part of the rampart of corpses from which the Corsicans fired? It was as the blood lept from each slain man, boiling hot, and scalded a dozen Frenchmen apiece! [...]


    The Battle at Porte Novu

    The success of the de Paoli at Ponte Novu would shock Paris and electrify London. The Grafton ministry was generally slow to consider the public mood towards Corsica, despite near Universal sentiments in favor of the nascent Republic as a result of the fervent campaigns of James Boswell. Lord Shelburne would open a British consulate on the island as a gesture towards the Corsicans, but his and Grafton's concerns remained generally focused on the American Colonies. Half-hearted attempts had been made to bring together a coalition of Spain and Sardinia to oppose French expansionism, but nothing had come of it.

    Yet the victory at Porte Novu made the Corsican situation impossible to ignore. Whereas before the Corsicans were considered plucky underdogs, now they were considered plucky underdogs with a fighting chance at victory, deserving of more support. Boswell declared that the "moral duty of Britain is to assist a brave people in their defense against tyranny." Even arch-Tories, skeptical of the highly liberal Corsican constitution, came to regard the Corsicans with grudging respect (though their attitudes were no doubt coloured by a preference for containing the French).

    Lord Shelburne was thus put in a quandary. Concluding an alliance with Corsica would risk war with France, if they pressed their claims. On the other hand, refusing to further aid the Corsicans would likely topple the Grafton Ministry. While the British Empire maintained absolute naval supremacy over France, Britain's finances after the Seven Years War were hardly better than France's.

    However, hardly better was still better, and the French coffers remained in a dismal state. Further, while a single military disaster at Borgo was excusable, a second military disaster (one featuring a French force with vast numerical superiority to the Corsicans) brought the entire mission into question. Could France throw an endless supply of soldiers at the tiny island whose determination seemed so resolute?


    William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (Lord Shelburne), after Sir Joshua Reynolds
    oil on canvas, late 18th century, based on a work of 1766

    Lord Shelburne, with Grafton's approval, therefore made the calculated decision to back the Corsicans more openly. The sabres at Gibraltar would be appropriately rattled, and a shipment of military supplies would be prepared to be sent. Implicit in this guarantee was that the ship delivering that precious cargo to the island would be well-guarded by the British fleet. Paris was appropriately outraged, but to its great concern the move was well received in Turin as well as in Madrid - the victory at Ponte Novu had been well regarded in Spain and Sardinia as well, helping to overcome their hesitancy to align themselves with the isolated British.

    Lord Shelburne's next move is rightly regarded as a stellar diplomatic maneuver. He recognized the advantages he possessed, while also recognizing that Paris would likely be unwilling to wholly exit Corsica without some means of saving face. A deal was thus struck, and like so many good compromises, it left everyone slightly dissatisfied: Genoa's debts, which had been the original impetus to pass Corsica on to France, would be assumed by Corsica. France would evacuate the island, having obtained what it was owed. Corsica would thus enter Europe as an independent state - one heavily in debt, but independent nonetheless. Shelburne additionally made it clear to de Paoli that the forthcoming alliance between Britain and Corsica would include some assistance on Britain's part in regard to the debts, and the British public would soon find it in their hearts to send along much-needed money to the Corsicans.

    The move was widely hailed in London circles, and gave the ailing Grafton ministry a boost of confidence it desperately needed. However, Grafton still found himself dealing with immense dissatisfaction from within his own government due to his conciliatory attitude towards the Colonies. From the other side of the aisle, the so-called "Junius Letters" continued to have an immense impact on the ministry's popularity; the success in Corsica would prove only a temporary reprieve.

    Excerpt from: “An Examination of Buonaparte’s ‘A History and Guide,’” The Contemporary Review, Volume 23, by A. Strahan, 1889

    Buonaparte, while spirited and perhaps even compelling in the retelling of the history of his country, speaks with great bias. Ultimately, the value of the work is most evidently it’s guide to the most beautiful and notable locales of that fair isle, if an adventurer is so inclined to venture there. [....]


    [1]: This is the Point of Divergence for the timeline. In reality, Gentili and the Prussians were put in charge of guarding the bridge; for unclear reasons, the Prussians would fire the Corsicans as they retreated from the advancing French, and much of the army would be slaughtered in the crossfire.

    Postscript I: An Introduction

    Hello, friends.

    Welcome to the timeline. This is a bit of a terrifying endeavor for me, the culmination of a great deal of brainstorming, writing, and something close to soul-searching. Much of my work in the AH space has been on maps and wikiboxes; this timeline got its start as a graphics TL over in the maps & graphics forum. I pretty quickly realized that creating a cohesive and believable world to set graphics in, at least from my perspective, required a thorough understanding of how the world got that way. From there it was a pretty natural move to begin work on a timeline proper.

    The timeline has a single point of divergence, noted above. The impacts, however, will be quite significant. Napoleon is one of those incredibly crucial individuals of history, who seem to rise above the trends and economics and culture of it all and almost make great man history seem plausable. With this POD I'd like to examine a world without him playing the central role he did. I'll do my best to keep it plausible, though if you have questions or concerns or suggestions I'll gladly accept them. I can only store so much knowledge in my brain, so please let me know of your ideas.

    My general notion for this timeline is for the POD to be like a rock dropped in a still lake. The first ripples will be quite small, and history will seemingly hew quite close to what we know. However, as things march on, the ripples will grow, and overlap, and produce all kinds of strange changes. I have some things in mind, but I'm sure other changes will develop naturally. This is as much an adventure for me as I hope it'll be for you all.

    Much inspiration came from Milites’s To be a Fox and a Lion, from Planet of Hats’s Moonlight in a Jar, and from CosmicAsh’s These Fair Shores. Please check these timelines out, they're stellar, and I wouldn't be pursuing this if I didn't have such fantastic inspirations to aspire towards.

    Thanks for reading!

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    Part 2: Desert Island Disk
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    "The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb."

    -Jorge Luis Borges, 1983

    Part 2: "Desert Island Disk"
    The Corsican Crisis and its effects


    Shelburne and Grafton, and Britain, were caught completely off-guard when Spanish General Juan Ignacio de Madariaga landed Port Egmont on East Falkland, overran the British colony there, and deported the entire population of the settlement back to Britain. Shelburne, having proven himself a skilled negotiator only a few months prior, advised Grafton to proceed with caution for fear of spooking the Spanish away from a negotiated settlement, and summoned the Spanish ambassador.

    The choice to attempt a negotiated settlement proved a poor one. The Spanish stonewalled any effort to discuss the matter at hand, preferring to dance around the issue with vague references to their long-held claim to the islands; Paris was recalcitrant towards any question of their intentions in the crisis; the British public and Parliament alike were enraged by the apparent passiveness of the Duke of Grafton, and even those outside the ranks of the war hawks believed a stronger line needed to be taken.

    Madrid's capture of Port Egmont was a calculated risk. The Spanish government denied foreknowledge of the naval landings, and denied ordering General de Madariaga to capture the colony; simultaneously, they defended the action (which they claimed not to have carried out!) as a legitimate expression of their claims to the Falklands. When the Pacte de Famille with France was accounted for, Madrid believed it could credibly compete with Britain's overwhelming naval and military superiority. And, ultimately, Spain was counting on Britain to be unable, or unwilling, to go to war over a pair of barren rocks in the South Atlantic. Unfortunately for Madrid, none of these assumptions would be borne out.

    "My minister wishes for war, but I do not."
    - King Louis XVI of France, in a letter to King Charles III of Spain, 1770

    The Falklands Crisis would not end British claims to the Falklands (though, as part of a secret settlement, would temporarily end British settlement there), but would end the Grafton ministry. Shelburne was widely rebuked for appearing to sit on his hands as Spanish soldiers occupied British homes, despite his desperate efforts to end Spanish stalling, and Grafton would be unable to beat back claims he was a do-nothing coward, unwilling to consider a military response to a military problem. The ministry of Lord North which replaced Grafton's government quickly rattled the appropriate sabres and mobilized the Royal Navy, though at that point the threat of war was already waning - it was evident that France was unwilling to intervene, despite how much they were still smarting over Corsica, preferring to continue their slow military and naval buildup in order to adequately compete with British power. The war-eager Duc de Choiseul was dismissed as First Minister of France, and (in a stroke of irony), secret negotiations produced a peace deal with Spain in which Port Egmont would be restored to Britain, who would subsequently abandon the colony, leaving only a disc-shaped plaque there to mark Britain's claim.

    The Falklands experience left deep impressions upon the governments in Europe, despite the crisis being over a pair of essentially desolate rocks in the South Atlantic.

    For the new Prime Minister of Great Britain, Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, the crisis proved that Britain could count on its military supremacy to muscle its way out of most situations. Shelburne's negotiated settlement, quite an accomplishment, was to be disregarded as a fluke and mere bit of good luck. The negotiating table should never be the first recourse of an embattled Britain, particularly not when it 'ruled the waves,' as it were. And, perhaps most critically, the colonies were prized possessions to be defended much in the same way the metropole was, or Britain risked losing credibility and prestige in the New World and beyond. Already drawing his parliamentary support upon hard-liners among the Bedfordites and Tories of Parliament, Lord North would give in to many of King George III's worst reactionary, authoritarian impulses, to disastrous effect.

    For Paris, the Falklands fiasco would prove the last straw. The King had preferred a policy of patience and prudence in foreign affairs, not eager to jump into a full-scale conflict with Britain too soon. The King was no coward, and very much desired revenge for the Seven Years War - but, until rearmament and a rebuilding of the French military, France would need to choose its battles carefully. Now, though, the time seemed ripe to move from a policy of caution to a more aggressive stance towards London, shifting from a reactive policy to a proactive one, searching out opportunities to undermine Britain and topple its hegemony. Indeed defeating Britain at any cost became an article of faith at Versailles, and over the coming years France would prove willing to forego regaining colonial holdings or influence as it sought allies in its struggle. This near-desperation for victory would prove crucial in the coming Indian and American campaigns....

    For Madrid, the Falklands invasion would prove a disaster for both prestige and confidence. Spain would be forced to admit its inability to actually compete with British power, and confront its reliance on France to accomplish anything worthwhile geopolitically. To this end, Madrid would devote itself to a series of reforms, political and military, which would prove beneficial in the short term but ultimately pointless in the long term.

    Only two of the Redcoats involved in the Boston Massacre of March 5th, 1770, would be found guilty, and even then only of manslaughter. The rest would be found not guilty, and the impassioned defense of John Adams would prove critical in swaying the jury.

    It didn't matter, though. The Boston Massacre would prove critical in swaying American attitudes, as colonists became increasingly critical of British authority (and authoritarianism) which had begun to assert itself in the wake of the French and Indian War. John Adams' brother, Samuel Adams, had watched the events in Corsica with much interest, and had come to admire the highly liberal constitution implemented there. Indeed, recognizing that the Corsican Constitution was modeled on the rights seemingly promised to each and every Briton, regardless of whether they were in Europe or the Americas, Adams and his colleagues regarded that document as an enumeration of British rights as much as it was one of Corsican ones.

    "The brave people of that small, fair isle," as stated in an anonymous broadsheet which made the rounds across the colonies, "have collected the liberties promised to each and every Englishman and shown their triumph over tyranny. So then why do those brave Corsicans benefit from such liberties while Englishmen in these colonies do not?" Corsica was a favorite topic of the Committees of Correspondence set up by Sam Adams and his compatriots. Corsica seemed an elysium of freedoms, a place where God-given rights were explicitly protected by the government, and became something of a goal to aspire to for some Americans.

    Increasing American radicalism, spurred on by "those gallant Corsicans," would be met in turn by what they perceived to be increasing British repression. In time these two camps would prove unable, or unwilling, to work out their differences, and war would explode on the American continent. The consequences for world history would be immeasurable.


    [...] the woman said, "the soldiers were in the right;" adding, "that before Tuesday or Wednesday night they would wet their swords or bayonets in New England people's blood.
    -A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston, 1770
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    Part 3: Stone Free
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    "In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure."

    -Charlie Chaplin, 1940

    Part 3: "Stone Free"
    The Atlantic Revolutions begin; or, a consideration of sedition


    The Engagement at Concord, Amos Doolittle engravings of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, December 1775, 1903 reprint

    Excerpt from: The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    The antecedents of the French Revolution are often overlooked as mere prelude to the 'big event,' as it were, but any thorough understanding of the Revolution which overtook Paris in the waning days of the 1780s requires an equally thorough knowledge of the events which it drew upon for inspiration. In the three decades, give or take, before the French Revolution, great rumblings of what was to come could be felt as a new generation of political and military leaders, steeped in the ideals of the enlightenment, came of age and began to pursue those same ideals with great vigour.

    As examined in the prior chapter, the intellectual underpinnings of what would come after were laid largely on the tiny island of Corsica, in the Western Mediterranean, a sea of little importance in terms of resources or military strategy, but a place with an outsized influence on the history of the continent, and the world. The genuine success of a largely enlightened, democratic revolution, with the assistance of a theoretically anti-revolutionary foreign patron, would inform very many leaders to come. The small peoples of the world realized with a start that their aims could be achieved by and through the games the Great Powers played on the geopolitical chessboard, and that the choice of a good friend could result in success.

    Not every revolution of the period succeeded, of course. Uprisings in the Netherlands and in New Granada failed to achieve their aims, and the astoundingly large revolt of Pugachev in Russia [1], after some initial success, was repressed. However, the intellectual legacy left behind by these revolts and others would be carried forward by others in the years to come, and thus in a roundabout way they were not complete failures. [...]

    The opportunity for Paris finally came about in 1775, as colonists in the British Colonies along the Eastern Seaboard of North America rose in open revolt. Unrest had been brewing there for a decade or more, depending on who one asks: some scholars point to the Proclamation Line of 1763, others to the Quebec Act in 1774. Others still regard the seeds of the Revolution to have been planted even before '63, perhaps becoming inevitable as soon as the first colonists set up the first democratically elected assembly on the Continent. Others still point to the fact that as late as mid-1776, the demands of the Continental Congress were quite Conservative and ultimately did not call for independence, but rather a re-balancing of the relationship between the Colonies and the Metropole.

    Regardless, rising tensions finally broke out into open conflict with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, names well-known to any United Stater schoolchild [2], though even after blood was shed the Continental Congress sent the so-called Olive Branch Petition to London. However, the North Ministry and the King openly rebuked any efforts towards reconciliation, and by August of 1775 Parliament had declared the Colonies to be in a state of rebellion. To be fair, while the Colonists did still claim they acted in defense of their rights as Englishmen, at this point colonist-created alternate governments had already overtaken those governors appointed by London, and war was taken by both sides to be essentially inevitable. It was perhaps a natural progression from outright rebellion to a Declaration of Independence, and within a year the political character of the war took on a bold new dimension.

    The parallels to Corsica were not lost on Paris, and Foreign Minister Comte de Vergennes very quickly realized the potential to get some small measure of revenge on Britain for the past decade of humiliations. Support to the Revolutionaries began hesitantly, but the surprising United Stater victory defending Fort Ticonderoga in 1777 [3] convinced Paris that the United States could prove a viable ally. Recognition soon followed, and by the end of that same year a formal alliance was concluded between the nascent United States and the Kingdom of France, marking the beginning of the Six Years War.


    The Six Years War, despite technically lasting more than 9 years, is named as such as it only took on its global character with the full entrance of France into the war, alongside its international partners in Spain, the Dutch Republic, and the Kingdom of Mysore in Southern India. Escalating what was a Colonial revolt into a greater war was a calculated risk by the Comte de Vergennes, who had generally spearheaded entering on the side of the United States; it would prove an excellent calculation, as the Franco-American coalition would achieve some measure of victory on nearly every front. However, the scale of victory varied wildly depending on which theatre was considered:

    On the North American continent proper, British control had nearly completely collapsed, and a stunning victory at Gloucester Point, Virginia with the surrender of the Earl Cornwallis catapulted the upstart United States into the ranks of independent countries. Some fifteen thousand kilometers away, East India Company control of the Madras Presidency completely collapsed as a successful Mysorean offensive pushed the British out of Southern India for good.[4]


    The Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775
    John Trumbull, 1786

    On the other hand, the goals of the Spanish and the French were left largely unaccomplished. Spain had entered into the war, despite it's hesitancy to back an independent republic in the Americas, and walked away only with the recapture of Minorca. While it had come close, the Great Siege of Gibraltar had failed, and efforts to gain territory in North America had been frustrated by back-channel negotiations granting the United States control up to the Mississippi, though control of East and West Florida would be regained by Madrid. Cold comfort!

    France, hoping to reverse some of the losses of the Seven Years' War, had received only the tiny islands of Grenada and Tobago [5]. It was hoped that the capture of Jamaica would help Paris recoup the massive debt it would build up at war, yet French forces failed to capture the island from the British. The British, while humbled, had not been wholly humiliated, and would gain revenge upon America in a mere few decades. France, for its efforts, had been essentially bankrupted, and domestic unrest was gradually increasing as the financial situation at home grew worse.

    For the average Frenchman or Frenchwoman, the Six Years' War raised many questions. Why was the Kingdom of France supporting the birth of a democratic republic abroad while still essentially an absolute monarchy at home? Why had blood and gold been spent with so little in return? What sense did it make to sacrifice lives and treasure on the United States when the average Parisian was starving?

    These questions would become all the more pressing in the years to come.

    Excerpt from: Russia and the Caucasus, a history, by Gerard Keay, 2001

    [...] yet the extent to which knowledge of the Corsican or United Stater Revolutions spread outside of the upper-class or intelligentsia is impossible to precisely determine. As with many nomadic societies, literacy was not very high, and the difficult terrain of the Caucasus made the spread of foreign news fairly difficult. However, it is known that some Abadzekhs peasant leaders were aware of the Corsican revolution, and some accounts from the period record some degree of reference to a notion of popular sovereignty a United Stater or Corsican revolutionary would find familiar. Formal references to United Stater or Corsican ideals would only be recorded with the ascension of Kizbech Tughuzhuqo to leadership in Circassia. Yet Tughuzhugo himself would refer to these ideals as having been rooted in what one translator records as "ideals of my forefathers and fellow-tribesmen."


    Haremde Goethe
    Painted by Abdul Mecid bin Abdul Aziz, depicting his Circassian wife reading Goethe, 1898.

    Regardless, it cannot be denied that the Circassian Revolution [6] was very much in the same tradition as the Atlantic Revolutions of the time. Of course, it was not known as such at the time. Today called "the Circassian Revolution," this monolithic title does not reflect the gradualist reality of the change that overcame Circassia from around 1770 to the late 1790s. As noted, the Abadzekh Tribe was the first to undergo some degree of societal upheaval, with peasant leaders successfully overthrowing their tribal noblemen, and slaughtering them before they could escape across the border into Russia. The movement, as it were, would spread to the Natukhaj, to the Shapsug (during which the 18 year old Prince Kizbech Tughuzhuqo would eschew his fellow nobility and join the peasants), and eventually to what would become the twelve provinces of modern-day Circassia.

    The Ottomans, as usual, were hesitant patrons of the revolts. The Russians, distracted by Pugachev's colossal Rebellion for nearly the entirety of the 1770s, would prove unable to benefit from the early chaos of the Revolution, despite their interests in the region. The Crimeans, undergoing their own successful upheavals at the time, were broadly supportive, despite the Crimean-Circassian Wars that had gone on during the past decade. The centralisation and consolidation of the Circassian tribes which would take place over the next decades was by no means an inevitability at this point, but the seeds had been well sown. [...]

    Excerpt from: A Girl from Grão-Pará, a Documentary of Self, directed Márcia Wayna Kambeba, 2001. [7]

    [...] learning in school about Túpac Amaru II [8] was when I first began to really think about my identity as an indigenous South American. Before then, everything I learned was Brazil, Brazil, Brazil! (laughs). I was Brazilian, you know, my family was Brazilian...

    But then, you know, I start learning in secondary school about the history of the continent, about Tawantinsuyu.... I was just shocked, you know? I just thought, well, there can't be anything outside of Brazil! (laughs) But here's this indigenous man, another South American just like meu papai, who stood up for his people, who fought on behalf of both men and women, who put his wife in charge of a battalion of rebels? I was just star-struck... it even made me like my British friends more, since apparently Britain had been pretty important to the rebellion succeeding. Really, more than anything, I wanted to visit Tawantinsuyu, I thought I could meet someone like him. I would, years later, go there, but I didn't meet the sapa! (laughs) I just ended up eating a lot of chicha [9] and trying quwi [10] for the first time. Not bad, if I remember correctly! (laughs) [...]


    Watercolor portraying José Gabriel Condorcanqui, alias Túpac Amaru II
    Unknown artist, c. 1784–1806


    [1]: All real events, though ITTL Pugachev's Rebellion is far larger than IOTL. Chalk it up to having more inspiration, particularly from Corsica.

    [2]: Though these sections are not excerpts from in-universe books, they are still narrated from in-universe, if that makes any sense. The demonym "American" is not widely used ITTL; thus, these narrated sections do not use the term "American." The reasons for this will become clear.

    [3]: Parallel to OTL Battle of Saratoga. British Campaign in Northern New York moves to recapture Fort Ticonderoga to support their push into New England and the Middle Colonies. American (and Vermonter) defenders successfully hold out, and a relief force takes the Brits by surprise.

    [4]: Here's what I suppose is the first really big butterfly outside of Europe. IOTL, the Mysorean campaign failed to follow up on a major victory at Pollilur. Here, they do.

    [5]: Outside of India, Grenada is the only difference between OTL and TTL Treaty of Paris.

    [6]: A real event, though expanded upon thanks to butterflies.

    [7]: Real-life indigenous poet from Brazil. Don't think she's made any documentaries IOTL, but.... butterflies!

    [8]: Another real thing, in the same vein as [6].

    [9]: A type of fermented beverage made by the Incas.

    [10]: Quechua term for Guinea Pigs. Yes, the Incas domesticated Guinea Pigs to eat them. Apparently they're quite good!
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    Part 4: Giant Steps
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    "Wear none of thine own chains; but keep free, whilst thou art free."

    -William Penn, 1682

    Part 4: "Giant Steps"
    August 1785-June 1789

    Excerpt from: "Chapter Seven: Constitutionalism and Compromise in the Americas," in The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    [...] the question so often posed by revolutionaries after the culmination of their efforts: 'What now?' For the United States, the Revolution was over, and they had walked away with quite a favorable peace: the size of the country had just about doubled, newly non-blockaded trade had the young country doing well for itself, and few young states could boast of such a good friend at birth. France's early and vigorous support had flipped a generation of leaders who had fought in the French and Indian War just two decades earlier from Francophobes to Francophiles. Lafayette's tour of the new country in 1784 had left him just about the most popular man in the United States, behind General Washington.


    Marquis de Lafayette
    Ivory Miniature, Unknown French painter, C. 1790

    This Francophilia was not universally accepted. A significant pro-British camp did exist, and counted among their supporters prominent leaders of the Revolution like Alexander Hamilton, future U.S. President Benedict Arnold, James Madison, and John Jay. A foreign policy favoring Britain should be pursued, the argument went, thanks to the UK's relative stability compared to France, their mercantile might, and the cultural closeness which remained between the mother country and her erstwhile daughter colonies. This faction was not in the majority, however. French involvement was widely credited for America's victory, and acrimony remained over the soon-to-be critical British presence which continued in the Northwestern areas officially ceded to the US at Paris. In the interest of trade and diplomacy, American merchants and intelligentsia were learning French, and trade with Britain was constantly being undermined in spite of Lord Shelburne's lofty hopes for America as a continuing economic partner. The North-Pitt Ministry which succeeded him saw to that. The country's first relations were established with the Sultanate of Morocco, consummated through a formal treaty of Amity and Commerce. Critically for American trade, as always a prime concern for young nations with tough financial situations, the Sultan had sworn himself to assist against what then-envoy to France John Adams recorded as "the spoliations of foreign cruisers" enacted by the "petty tyrant of Algiers." Trade agreements with Portugal, the Dutch Republic, and Prussia would follow.

    North and Pitt, wholly uneasy allies, were won over only by the might of the King himself, largely to avoid the influences of "that traitorous Whig, Fox." The Coalition took what wins it could, and neither side was very favorable towards the nascent Americans. The cessation of the Ohio River Valley was largely chalked up to Shelburne's incompetence, and London began making aggressive diplomatic plays in the region, particularly in regards to the region's natives. Indeed, native policy would prove a critical task for the early government, one it would prove wholly inadequate to deal with. Spurred on by the Brits, a band of Piankeshaw natives (an extinct splinter of the extant Miami tribe) slaughtered a small United Stater settlement near modern-day Cahokia, Indiana.

    The "Cahokia Massacre," as it was known, alongside a nascent farmer's uprising in Western Massachusetts, made it clear to some that change was needed. A five-state conference at Annapolis, Maryland, was officially broadened with invitations to the remaining eight states, and the Annapolis Convention would officially be tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation. However, agreement proved to be more difficult than even the most grizzled negotiators at the Conference expected [...]


    Slide from Mr. Connolly's Sixth-Grade US History Class
    William Blount Middle School, Franklin, US

    "There have been repeated outcries directed to me by the indigenous peoples of this and surrounding provinces, outcries against the abuses committed by European-born crown officials... Justified outcries that have produced no remedy from the royal courts [...]I have acted ... only against the mentioned abuses and to preserve the peace and well-being of Indians, mestizos, mambos, as well as native-born whites and blacks. I must now prepare for the consequences of these actions."

    -Túpac Amaru II, 1780

    After a glorious entry into Cuzco with some 70,000 indigenous troops, Amaru II was faced with the very same question: "What now?" The revolt had been launched largely in response to the highly unpopular Bourbon Reforms put in place by a centralizing Spanish Empire, yet had blossomed into a colossal Incan Revival movement. Amaru II had not expected such impressive success, a cause further bolstered by the capturing of La Paz by Túpac Katari. Amaru, Katari, Katari's wife Bartolina Sisa (a prominent military leader in her own right), these leaders among others formed an intellectual and military core for the movement which appeared on the cusp of actual victory over the hegemonic Spanish Empire.

    Indeed, the intellectual sway of these figures cannot be disregarded. The political and social elements of the rebellion compelled the great mass of disaffected natives to take up arms against a government once thought to be nigh-immortal. Yet the case put forward by these leaders among others was compelling: if the tiny island of Corsica could achieve victory against France, and if the scrappy Colonists in North America could achieve victory against Britain, surely this righteous cause could win victory against the Spanish?


    Painting of Tupac Amaru II
    Unknown artist c. 1784-1806

    As in those cases, Amaru II benefited from foreign assistance. London was close to desperate for allies, and found a native populace of both New World Continents eager for support. The irony was lost on none: in the French & Indian War only a decade or two prior, many natives had sided with France against Britain, perceived as a more harmful force towards indigenous people in the Americas. Britain's native policy was unabashedly more repressive than, say, the Spanish or the French, at least in terms of directness. Yet with the Proclamation line of 1763, the metropole had separated its interests from the land-hungry colonists who were now perceived to be at more fault, and certain native groups took due notice that London may prove a useful ally.

    So when the rebellion seized the coastal town of Arica, it is perhaps no surprise that British merchant vessels slowly churned towards them. Having resupplied at Buenos Aires, little did the Spanish there know that the British merchant ships were carrying supplies around Cape Horn to rebels against them on the other side of the continent. While the smuggled goods by no means made the rebel force a well-supplied army, the injection of arms and goods helped keep the movement on its feet. Successive attempts to retake Cuzco or La Paz would be repelled by the occupying rebels, though at great cost. The Spanish, on the other hand, while able to call upon far greater numbers and far better supplies, were wary of the impact the rebellion would have on other nascent movements across the empire. The situation was ripe for a negotiated settlement. However, Amaru II wisely preferred to send agents and advisors in his place to the first covert meetings with Spanish negotiators, concerned that he may be betrayed and executed. Late in the rebellion, much effort was put into keeping the locations of the revolt's leaders secret, to some success.


    Celebration of the Willkakuti, the Winter Solstice New Year
    Unknown Photographer, c. 2018

    In the end, the final settlement was appropriately unsatisfying to both parties - the mark of any good compromise. Dreams of an Incan revival, politically, were put on hold in exchange for a general amnesty, including for the movement's leaders; some aspects of the Bourbon reforms would be rebalanced in the favor of local nobles (including Amaru II, restored to his position as a Kuraka); local nobles would put the workers under their purview to work rebuilding areas destroyed in the uprising; some aspect of cultural independence would be restored to the natives of the area, as long as they stayed Catholic and agreed to help turn out those Jesuits still hiding out in the area. The Spanish appeared to have settled the revolt without losing any colonial holdings - they could not possibly know the upheavals to come in South America in just a few short decades.

    Excerpt from: A New History of the Continent of Australia, by Erina Pendleton, 1899.

    [...] however, the claim was not taken seriously due to a lack of effective settlement. Thus, around three years after James Cook's claim to the eastern coast of the continent, St Aloüarn would return to what he called the Baie de Prise de Possession [1], literally the "Bay of Taking Possession," with supplies, men, and a number of convicts. St Aloüarn's interest in the 'new continent' had happened to agree with the interests of some civic reformers back in Paris, believing that the social ills of the day could be dealt with best through transportation of the poor and criminal far from the cities of France. Thus it would come to pass that both of the first major settlements on the continent, at Botany Bay by the British and at Turtle Bay by the French, would serve as penal colonies. Later settlements, by other European powers, would largely take the form of trading posts and colonial factories, as lobbied for heavily by William Bolts in a number of Western capitals. Intended for trade with the Indies, China, and India, eventually trade with the continent's Aborigine natives would take greater precedence.

    The British took keen interest in the French settlement on the continent, and vice versa. No small scandal was caused by the refusal of British colonists to allow Jean-François de Galaup to land at their nascent settlement, and the geopolitical conflict between France and Britain would gain a new theatre. Both sides began lobbying the natives of the continent for alliances in exchange for support and trade [...]

    Excerpt from: The Zulus in Africa, by Mazisi Kunene, 2001

    [...] Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff, deprived of supplies, was personally crushed when he discovered that the States General back in the Netherlands had refused to interfere in the affairs of the VOC. He had largely been left out to dry. Xhosa incursions across the Great Fish River into the Zuurveld had only increased, inflation in the Cape Colony was skyrocketing, and worse of all, van de Graaff's own opulent living standards were threatened! [2] [...]

    [...] the agreement was hashed out despite the low trust fostered by the massacre which had capped off the First Xhosa War. King Gcaleka KaPhal was amenable to an agreement, though, and some small degree of forward thinking made it clear that a more permanent border was necessary to foster peace. KaPhal, whose advisors favored some degree of royal reform to centralize the power of the clans under the crown proper, realized the potential for a common cause to bring the uncooperative Gqunukhwebe chiefs in line.

    The Treaty of Kunap Fort, signed early in 1789, was a pivotal moment in African History. Uncommon for the white settlers, an uncommonly fair peace deal was hashed out, some level of recognition was afforded to the !Xhosa Kingdom, and a firmer political boundary was set at the Great Fish River. With such terms you would nearly think the Boers considered blacks to be their equals! [...]


    Boundaries of the Dutch Cape Colony, 1798
    From History of Africa south of the Zambesi, published 1916

    Excerpt from: Russian Foreign Relations Prior to the Revolution, by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, 1892

    The death of General Alexander Suvorov at the Battle of Kinburn proved the start of an unlucky streak for the Empire's forces abroad. Differences in interpretation over the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, a document infamous for its lack of clarity and the poor quality of its translations, had pushed Russia and the Ottomans into war yet again. Perhaps if the Ottomans had chosen a worse moment to attack [] or if the Hapsburgs had not felt slighted over the First Partition a few years prior, things may have gone differently. Regardless, those notions are to be reserved for the armchair historians and dilettantes of historical writing. The fact of the matter is that while Russia had a clear superiority of forces, tactical failings left the victory less robust than Catherine had hoped. Ultimately, 1792's Treaty of Jassy [3] would more strongly codify the situation as it should have been after the previous Russo-Turkish War: recognizing the full independence of Crimea (with only slight dependency on Moscow), small Russian acquisitions along the Black Sea, protections for Eastern Christians, and other small points. At that point, Russia was quite distracted by the French Revolution, and seemed willing to put Eastern affairs aside. For in July of 1789, a French mob stormed the Bastille, changing the course of history [...]


    The storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789.
    Line engraving with etching, c. 1790


    [1]: A real event, though St Aloüarn would die IOTL of tropical diseases after laying claim to W. Australia. That's butterflied here.
    [2]: The States General really did refuse to assist in the 2nd Xhosa War, though the opulent living standards of the Governor didn't seem to be under serious threat IOTL. Funny how a bit of stress on the right people can bring you to the negotiating table...
    [3]: OTL document which ended this particular Russo-Turkish War, though terms here are not as harsh for the Ottomans as they were IOTL. Notably, Crimea has held onto independence
    Part 5: Paris is Burning
  • Headersmall2.png

    "Too early to say"

    -Zhou Enlai, on the impact of the French Revolution [1]

    Part 5: "Paris is Burning"
    The French Revolution; or, a number of nobles lose quite a bit of weight

    Excerpt from: The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    [...] the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was thus an immense and radical move towards a new paradigm of governance. The mere notion of 'Rights of Man,' as the title intones, was an immense and instant break with tens of centuries of the prior status quo.

    What followed must be recalled with a certain degree of caution. To the readers of history, blessed with hindsight and the superiority of their point in time, the events of the French Revolution unfolded very quickly. To the men and women of the day, the events which followed (which did so much to shape the world) played out in the agonizing seconds and minutes of present time. No one was quite sure what would happen, particularly as nothing quite like it had ever happened before. Corsica and the United States provided antecedents, but just barely; for such a thing to happen in a monarchy stretching back practically to the Roman Empire was unthinkable.

    Yet proceed the Revolution did, in flippant disregard for all the centuries of history behind the French throne. King Louis XVI's seemed to shrink in stature by the day: crowned at his coronation as "King of France and Navarre," he would soon become "King of the French," and, finally, 'Citizen Louis Capet.' The King, of course, did not help his position much, and it seems much chaos and bloodshed may have been avoided if the man was simply less indecisive [...]


    Declaration of Pillnitz of 1791
    Oil on Canvas. Johann Heinrich Schmidt, 1791

    The Declaration of Pillnitz was a watershed event in French Revolution, and thus was a watershed event in world history. While previously, the monarchs of Europe seemed content to watch the unrest in France with only mild alarm (and perhaps even bemusement, depending on relations with Paris up to that point), as things became increasingly radical mild alarm turned to significant panic. If this could happen to the King of France, a blood relation of many of the continent's monarchs, there was no telling what could happen next.

    Like so many things in the lead-up to the Wars of Revolution that came to grip the continent, and the world, the Declaration of Pillnitz was a critical juncture largely by mistake. Signed by King Frederick William II of Prussia and Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, a Hapsburg and brother of Marie Antoinette, the conference at Pillnitz was largely concerned with issues surrounding the declining positions of Poland-Lithuania and Ottoman Turkey. A joint declaration promising war in case of harm coming to King Louis was watered down by Leopold, who carefully worded the promise to kick in only if the other powers of Europe went to war alongside Prussia and Austria - and Leopold was quite firm in his belief that Britain had little interest in war (it didn't). Thus, the Holy Roman Empire walked away, patting himself on the back for his crafty diplomacy.

    The response in Paris was quite different. Now, every wrong move made by the King seemed an appeal to the foreign powers who seemed primed to invade France and end the Revolution, including all of its gains for liberal laws and increased freedoms. So when King Louis fled by night, along with his wife (his brother took a different route, though came to a similar end), popular perception of the monarch as essentially well-intentioned and amenable to reform quickly soured. The King likely intended only to rally loyal troops to quell the Revolution, though his exact plans were never quite made clear. Regardless he could be credibly charged with fleeing into the "eager arms of his forsaken and malign siblings," as one pamphleteer put it, and the average citizen (for they were all citizens now) had very little reason to come to his defense. As the King was 'escorted' back to Paris, the crowds he passed were completely silent, where once they had cheered. Before the Flight to Varennes, monarchists and more moderate revolutionaries alike could believably claim that reforms had been made with the consent of a King amenable to change in his country.

    Suddenly, the powers behind the Declaration of Pillnitz, Prussia and Austria (leading the forces of the HRE) faced the realistic possibility of war. The revolution began to spread, quite literally, as the Comtat Venaissin, once the seat of the Avignon Papacy, would be annexed in September of 1791. The growth of the revolution was into an extremely tiny territory, yes. But it had crossed borders. In due time the supposed triggering clause of the Declaration of Pillnitz, harm coming to King Louis XVI, would come to pass, though by then war had already begun.


    Le Exécution de Louis Capet XVIme du nom, le 21 janvier 1793
    Etching print, unknown artist, 1793.

    Everywhere, the world seemed to be erupting into chaos.

    The Ottoman Empire was already falling quite ill by the early 1790s, and had begun to concede ground to the Christian powers of Europe. Suzerainty over Crimea and Circassia were largely handed to the Russians by this point, and minor revolts in the Caucasus, Balkans, and the Peloponnese constantly threatened to erupt into national revolutions, a la Corsica. Indeed, one had - the so-called "Kočina Krajina," a Serb revolt-turned-national-uprising, lead by the eponymous Korun "Koča" Anđelković and the Hapsburg-organised Serbian Free Corps. Although the Hapsburg Empire was officially neutral in the broader, ongoing Turko-Russian War, covert support was channeled to Serb revolutionaries eager for revolt against the Ottoman Empire, and the Free Corps were trained largely in the Austrian Banat. Taking advantage of an Ottoman Army largely distracted by the pressing threat from Russia, Koča and the Free Corps swept into Belgrade and managed to occupy a significant portion of the Sanjak of Smederevo. Revolutionaries in Belgrade called for the crowning of a Hapsburg King from just across the Danube, though the attention of the Austrians was by then already firmly fixed West. Perhaps, as it were, 'Belgrade would be worth a mass?' Or, rather, an icon?


    Volunteer of Mihaljević's Serbian frajkor (Free Corps)
    Reconstruction according to Pavlo Vasić, 2006

    Polish soldiers of 3rd Lithuanian Infantry Regiment in 1792
    Fedor Solntsev, 1869
    Far to the North of Belgrade came the Russo-Polish War of 1792. Reform efforts had long been underway in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a slightly unwieldy entity composed of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Following military defeat against its neighbors in 1772, the First Partition had significantly weakened the already-ailing Commonwealth, which effectively became a protectorate under the Russian Empire. The situation was arguably worse at home, with any effort toward modernization or institutional reform shot down at nearly every turn by the magnates and nobles, jealously protecting of their traditional rights - the 'Golden Freedom.' That Freedom, however, had significantly emptied the Commonwealth's coffers of gold, and the growing threat to the Commonwealth's very existence as a state made some form of Constitutional reshaping critical.

    Believing itself protected by a new alliance with Prussia, King-Grand Duke Stanisław II August and allied nobles convened the "Great Sejm," which in roughly five years had produced the Constitution of 3 May 1791. Reactions among the three major neighbors of the Commonwealth were swift: Austria was firmly opposed to the document, Prussia went as far as to conclude that the Constitution changed the PLC so wholly that the alliance signed no longer held water, and Catherine II was personally offended by the refutation of what she believed to be firm Russian control over Polish affairs. Thus, Poland was left largely without allies as Russian forces, aligned with the conservative nobles of the Targowica Confederation (who believed that Russian victory would merely result in the resumption of the status quo, and not further partitions), streamed across the border.

    Yet Russia's attentions were not undivided. Significant issues had arisen in the Caucasus campaigns against the Ottomans, requiring additional forces and greater attention. The outbreak of a small war with Sweden also left the Tsarina's forces spread quite thin, geographically. Further, the Poles held the advantage of the home ground, alongside a well-educated band of Polish commanders, many veterans of the Revolution in the United States. Even within the war, the Russians found themselves on the offensive in two separate theatres, to the North in Lithuania and the South in Ruthenia. These complications severely undermined Russia's otherwise superior numerical advantage.

    Still, they advanced. Commonwealth forces were pushed into a controlled retreat, and gradually began to fall back to the Vistula and Bug Rivers. The King, facing a divided cabinet and clear Russian numerical superiority, considered a negotiated capitulation []. However, swayed by Prince Poniatowski and Kościuszko, he decided to accept a final defense at the Vistula and Bug, which quickly proved a wise decision. Well-supplied and with high morale, Polish and Lithuanian forces were able to keep Russians to the right bank of the Rivers, as guerrilla forces throughout the Russian center kept the Russian invasion essentially divided.

    In the end, though, Poland could not hold out forever. It had proved itself willing and capable to fight in its own defense, yet against sheer numerical superiority home-front advantages could only last so long. While not completely defeated, many lives had been lost among the Polish and the Lithuanians alike, and many important cities had been taken - including the historic capital of the latter entity in the PLC, Vilnius/Wilno. The concession of some degree of territory to the Russians, perhaps along with a greater loss of control over Polish affairs, seemed inevitable. Yet the Poles had stood their ground, and the nations of Europe (for a brief moment, eyes darting from Paris) were greatly impressed by the courage and valor of the Commonwealth's peoples [...]

    Authors Note:

    Apologies for the delay and a secondary apology for the scale of the post, which was less than what I wanted. Ultimately I've decided to move quite a bit of what I was agonising over into the next post, both to limit the time stretch of this one and to actually get an update out. I've been in a rough spot between university exams, moving house, and getting a bad case of the flu, so my once grand plans for a post stretching a massive chunk of page were dropped. This post also at one point contained an extremely long aside on the French Revolution, until I realized I couldn't really do such a thing justice, and that I was basically just narrating OTL events, not really worth including. For the sake of sanity, much of the Revolution has played out the same as OTL. Oh, well.

    Ultimately this post will be a bit of a teaser for what's to come, as by 1793 the first direct impacts of a Napoleon-less France begin to be seen. For sake of simplicity, and since it made reasonable sense, a great deal has proceeded according to OTL up to now. Next post, beginning in February 1793, will have the first direct repercussions of the POD. Thanks for sticking around, looking forward to getting the next post out.

    [1] Yes, I know he was referring to the 68 student movement, and not the 1789 Revolution. But I'm not going to let facts ruin a perfectly good story.
    [2] A note on the time spans given at the top of each post: things will get more and more loosy-goosey with them as things go on. While I have a great deal planned out I'm learning new things all the time and I'm not immune to just forgetting to include stuff, so I'll probably reach back a bit quite often.
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    Part 6: Cannons
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "When Paris has a cold, all Europe sneezes."

    -Clemens von Metternich

    Part 6: "Cannons"
    The First Coalition and beyond; or, Robespierre's poor jaw

    Ultimately, despite the threats of the other European powers, France would be first to strike. On April 20th, 1792, the French Assembly declared war on Austria, and began its first campaigns across the northern border into the Austrian Netherlands. Operating alongside emigree armies of the Belgian/Brabantian Revolution so recently put down by the Habsburgs, the Lowlands Campaign would constitute the great majority of military action in the first year of the wars. The move was not universally accepted in Paris, particularly among the political left, who deemed aggressive action too risky to the progress the Revolution had already achieved. Ultimately their complaints would be overruled by a majority who believed (rightly) that the Revolution could be exported, and that the prior uprisings in the lowlands constituted a great opportunity to gain some of what France so desperately needed: allies.

    A microcosm of the first year of the war: La Marseillaise, what would soon become the French national anthem, was composed by soldiers on march from Paris to Strasbourg, then on the front lines of the incoming Austro-Prussian invasion. It was sung as French forces faced defeat after defeat in Belgium, and as they were gradually pushed back as the Revolution itself seemed to be under threat. And yet again it was sung as the French Republic gained its first victory at Valmy. By all accounts Valmy was an extremely minor skirmish, yet the victory would prove an immense turning point for the youngn French Republic. All of this, ups and downs, to the tune of a single song. After Valmy, French forces under Dumouriez quite literally overran the Austrian Netherlands, sweeping across the entire territory in barely over a month.


    La Marseillaise (The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792)
    Sculpture in Limestone. François Rude, 1833

    The stunning success of the French may appear to be a fantastic underdog story, a scrappy band of freedom fighters unexpectedly winning great victories off the back of their patriotic anthems and Vive la France-s. Yet a radical break from the past had allowed many of the inefficiencies of antetumultuaria European military organization to be swept away. The levee en masse and the requisite meritocratic promotion made necessary by the purging of the landed military caste produced a truly professional army that, after enough time had been given to quickly train and arm those troops, could rout less-developed forces of far larger size.

    And rout they did - after Valmy, forces to the North saw few direct military losses. Belgium would not be annexed formally until 1795, but France rarely left the region over the nearly three years between initial occupation and integration into the country proper. A severe winter in 1794 allowed French forces to literally walk across water and rivers to enter the Dutch Republic, solidifying the already-ongoing revolts in the Netherlands into a full-scale overthrow of the stadtholder and the declaration of the Batavian Republic.

    By November, the nascent Army of Italy had annexed Savoy and Nice. On December 17, 1792, the French Convention adopted Le Décret sur l'administration révolutionnaire française des pays conquis (‘Declaration of the French Revolutionary Administration of Conquered Lands’), and discourse in Paris spoke widely of ‘natural borders’ for the French Republic: the Rhine, the Pyrennes, the Alps, and the Atlantic. The war was now one of expanding the Revolution, and expanding France itself.

    Excerpt from: The French Revolution and the Continuing Threat to Western Civilization, by Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1988

    [...] anticlericalism continued to fester, unabated and expanding rapidly, through the early stages of the Revolution and past the execution of the King until it had essentially become one of the major tenets of the Revolutionary cause. The clergy had first come under scrutiny for the outsized position they held as an Estate all their own, alongside the enormous amount of land and treasure they seemed to hoard away from the people. Yet the Church’s quite open support of the King, and the antirevolutionary uprisings that gripped numerous French cities, in the Vendée and beyond, galled the increasingly radical statesman of Paris.

    It was no coincidence then that clergymen were frequently targets of the Terror. By this stage, sans-culotte goons and Robespierre seemingly held the country in their grips, and felt quite free to slaughter as many men of God as they pleased. Robespierre was, and is, infamous for his outsized role in the murders of anyone who professed their faith in defiance of the atheistic and evil ‘revolutionaries’ who sought to shake the very foundation of Western Civilization, the Church.

    To this end, the Montagnard-dominated government instituted successive challenges to the Holy Mother Church: Notre Dame was renamed “the Temple of Reason,” the Republican Calendar was instituted to replace the traditional calendar of the church, and the Cult of the Supreme Being was mandated as the state’s deistic (see: atheistic!) ‘religion.’ French Christianity has never recovered [...]


    Dodecacimal pocket watch including the day, month, and week in the Revolutionary Calendar

    French troubles to the South began at Toulon. Seized by an Anglo-Spanish fleet alongside troops from Sardinia and Bourbon Sicily, the city presented a significant thorn in the side of a French Republic theoretically in control of territory all the way up to the Alps. Attempts to seize the city were repeatedly rebuffed as a series of hastily constructed British forts made a seemingly incompetent French artillery corps essentially useless. Toulon presented a challenge to the Army of Italy’s efforts to push against Sardinia, which had begun making threatening excursions across the Alps into what had so recently become French territory. It took until February of 1794 to retake the city and attempt to regain some momentum. By then the French Mediterranean fleet had been either burned or captured by Spanish and English.

    Striving to gain an ally on the other side of the Alps, Jacobin agents and French propagandists headed to Genoa. While a Republic in name, the Republic of Genoa was in essence an oligarchy, ruled by an aristocratic ruling class a la the (now former) Dutch Republic. Jacobin influences had been trickling south for years now, and found eager reception among the ancien regimes of the Italian Peninsula. Yet Genoese revolutionaries were not nearly as well established as their French counterparts, and the ancient republic quickly fell into Fratricidal madness. While Piedmont-Sardinia was unable to mount an effective intervention, Genoa would not so soon turn into a Sister Republic - not yet, anyway.

    An aside on those Sister Republics:

    The foreign policy of the French Republic could roughly be boiled down to two priorities: securing the 'natural borders' in order to secure the Revolution behind highly defensible borders (and to expand the motherland into 'rightful territories'), and the exporting of the revolution abroad. The true reasoning behind the latter has been hotly debated.

    Some scholars point to Robespierre's long-pursued (often fanatically so) dream of the perfect republic leading to a theory he referred to as 'la révolution éternité,' an 'eternal revolution.' In order to create and maintain the perfect republic, Robespierre argued in a pamphlet relatively late in his career, the revolution should theoretically never end, inside and outside a country's border. This required broad societal upheaval on an essentially constant basis (as would be instituted by Robespierre himself before the Thermidorian Reaction) in order to wholly purge all pre-revolutionary, reactionary values from culture and society. Simultaneously, the forces of reaction would naturally seek to intervene, and reverse the change achieved, and thus to survive the revolution must spread. The immediate goal of a revolutionary society on stable enough footing to wage war would be the creation of a friendly neighborhood of Sister Republics, though eventually the forces of reaction from beyond that buffer would seek to intervene, necessitating further exporting of the revolution, and so on. Taken to the natural extreme, the Jacobin Left has theorized that the end goal of a revolution should be its replication until the entire world has become revolutionary. The Sister Republics were thus revolutionary praxis.

    However, it cannot be denied that France gained the most from the creation of the Sister Republics, particularly in the early stages of the Revolutionary Wars. Broadly speaking the language of business and government in every sister Republic was French, French administrators and military leaders were generally among the governing class of the young Republics, and more often than not France would gain territorially from ideological expansion. French annexation of Savoy and Nice would only be formally recognized with the creation of the Piedmontese Republic, for instance; while both sides hailed the move as a step forward for the "rationalization" of European borders, it would be naive to think that the nascent government in Turin had much, if any, choice. The Cisrhenian Republic provides a more blatant example of this, a Sister Republic along the Left Bank which would soon be subsumed outright into the French Republic. Ideological purity and praxis ultimately fell secondary to territorial expansion and the achievement of 'natural borders.' Ideological interests in diplomacy, broadly speaking, fell by the wayside, as alliances with the Empires of Viet Nam and Persia would be concluded solely to gain allies for expected future conflicts. Revolution would not be exported to the tribes of Australia, as Paris and London sought to garner Aborigine allies, nor would revolutionary principles matter much when protection agreements were concluded with a number of the Barbary States.

    Ironically, the main ideological fellow-traveler of the French Republic was the state that the pre-Revolutionary France had done more to create than any other: the United States. While the capitals of Europe had watched the French Revolution with a mixture of bemusement and horror, American opinion was generally favorable, and members of the Jeffersonian Faction (lead, unsurprisingly, by the eponymous Thomas) pushed even more strongly for a pro-French foreign policy - with disastrous consequences for the young country.


    "Champignons républicains" (republican mushrooms)
    Political caricature, France, 1799

    With that aside concluded, a return to the matter of Italy.

    The difficulties faced by France in the siege of Toulon convinced the Committee of Public Safety that a change of tact was needed. François Christophe de Kellermann, hero of Valmy, was appointed to the newly consolidated Army of Italy and Army of the Alps (referred to by the former's name), who set about at once instituting reforms. Despite his relatively advanced age compared to the up-and-coming commanders of the nascent Republican Army, Kellerman proved more than equal to the work at hand, and had a great deal of political capital to burn after successfully putting down counter revolutions in Lyons and other Southeastern cities. Given reasonably wide purview and prerogatives to improve the Army of Italy's performance, Kellerman shook up the ranks, exemplified by his dismissal of an entire Corps of Hussars due to insubordination. An early advocate of the Revolution and generally undeterred by the increasingly repressive policies of Robespierre, Kellerman instituted a ban on those royalist chants which remained, and went as far as to punish a small cohort of officers who had started up a cheer for "le vivre du roi!" The Army of Italy came to be one of the most staunchly Jacobin units of the entire French military, and spurred on by Kellerman, went about the business of war with redoubled ferocity.

    The Army proved its newfound fervor with the Alpine Offensive, executed by Commander André Masséna. Initial difficulties in dislodging the forces of the Austro-Sardinian coalition were soon overcome by carefully timed pincer maneuvers to capture strategically critical mountain passes, opening the way into Piedmont. These losses, combined with Sardinia's failure to take advantage of the chaos in Toulon to recapture Savoy and Nice forced Amadeus III of Sardinia to confront the sheer ineptitude of his generals. Aggressive commanders in the field on the French side successfully took advantage of the victory at the Battle of the Tenda Pass to push further into Piedmont, sparking widespread chaos in Turin. Largely ignoring the growing political chaos in Paris and the refusal of Minister of War Carnot to allow for an Italian offensive, Masséna won a stunning victory at Voltri followed up by a victory at the Turchino Pass. The way to Turin was wide open for the Army of Italy, and by late 1795 Sardinia-Piedmont had been knocked out of the war.

    The Truce of Alba returned French occupied-towns to Piedmont in exchange recognizing the annexation of Savoy and Nice, along with an exit from the anti-French coalition. The truce was a pragmatic one for a few reasons, and no sister republic was installed in Turin (yet). While local agitators had called for a Republic along French lines in Piedmont, the populace was by and large not primed for revolution. Further, it had become unclear just what 'along French lines' even meant: for the ground had given way beneath Robespierre, with significant consequences for France.

    Excerpt from: Reaction in Thermidor by Emmanuel Macron (translated from original French)

    [...] a betrayal of the revolution, feared with such great paranoia by Robespierre and his cohorts, would indeed come about. The general state of emergency had been extended and reinforced by the difficulties faced at Toulon, and the thin justification of ‘enemies within the gates’ was at least a passable excuse for the plethora of executions.

    To the average Frenchman or Frenchwoman, not involved with the Girondins or Montagnards, a death toll continuing to mount far from the front lines became less and less justifiable. The siege of Toulon would not be the last reactionary or royalist uprising, nor would it even be the last serious internal threat to the Republic (as soon shall be seen). Yet the siege of Toulon, bogged down by the failure of successive incompetent French commanders, proved a useful safety net for the increasingly embattled political vanguard in Paris.

    Once a breakthrough was finally achieved, though, it became evident that the terror could not continue indefinitely. The overthrow and capture of Robespierre was perhaps an inevitability as soon as Republic troops walked the streets of Toulon.


    Arrestation de Robespierre
    Engraving. Giacomo Aliprandi, 1796


    The Committee of Public Safety was, in legal technicality, little more than a committee of the National Convention empowered perhaps beyond the bounds of reason to govern the country. The Directory which replaced it was by design a more permanent, conservative body, empowered to consolidate the revolution and achieve greater success in the war. Composed of five members, it was a body very much intended for compromise - while the first five were very firmly part of the moderate camp, Directors were required to be regicides: those who had not voted to execute the King were not to be part of the governing establishment of the Republic.

    Although the events of Thermidor were certainly in reaction to the excesses of the Committee of Public Safety, efforts to install reactionary policies stalled fairly quickly. While Robespierre had spent much of the Siege of Toulon in a downward spiral of paranoia, concerning himself less and less with governance, more and more with abstract revolutionary doctrine, and the grand pursuit of death, the Jacobin Club and the Montagnards in particular had spent those months building a more secure position for itself in the dangerous early days of the War of the First Coalition.

    Thus, in the aftermath of the Thermidorian Reaction, many leading figures on the Radical Left would be arrested. While leaderless and rudderless, the Jacobin club would survive, and soon had a presence on the Directory itself: difficulties in the War of the Vendee and mass chaos in the streets of Paris during the events of 13 Vendémiaire brought the Left back to the forefront of Republican politics [...]

    The withdrawal of the Savoyards from the War of the First Coalition suddenly opened the way to Vienna. Given freedom of movement through Piedmont, paired with a campaign which quickly overran the unstable Swiss Confederation, made the threat to the core of the Habsburg realms apparent (for their part in the success of the Italian Campaign, the Savoyards would be rewarded in just a few short years, when they were expelled from Turin with the creation of a Piedmontese Sister Republic).

    The Army of Italy thus began its push forward through Northern and North-Central Italy. Having learned much from the debacle at Toulon, French commanders put special focus on artillery and positioning as they surrounded Mantua in late 1796. Masséna was in control of the city by mid-1797, and careful forward movements defeated five separate Austrian efforts to relieve the siege. Victory by Vaubois at the battles of Cembra and Calliano left the road to Venice, and to Vienna, wide open. By late 1797 the French overran the ailing Venetian Republic and the Austrians were forced to sue for peace.

    The subsequent Treaty of Udine radically changed the map of Italy. Receiving the continental territories of Venice as compensation, Austria was forced to recognize the host of Sister Republics constructed from the territories of Habsburg Italy, stretching from the Alps to the former Papal Legations in Romagna. French annexation of Nice, Savoy, parts of Switzerland, and even many of the island territories once belonging to Venice were officially acknowledged (though French control over the latter remained shaky as long as British naval supremacy remained).


    The Italian Peninsula after the Treaty of Udine, 1797
    Adapted from a Wikimedia Commons basemap

    Thus, the Italian Theatre of the War of the First Coalition came to a close with an unequivocal, if somewhat delayed, French victory. The Treaty of Udine laid the foundation for the radical reorganization of the peninsula that would follow over the next few decades and beyond, though the peace itself would barely last a few years. For the French had unwittingly opened the Pandora’s Box of Italian nationalism, with significant consequences for Europe in the decades to come.

    Simultaneously, events to the West and to the North continued to unfold. The Treaty of Udine was but one part of a larger settlement designed to end the hostilities of the War of the First Coalition, though as noted this peace would not last. The separate treaties concluded along the Pyrenees and along the Rhine would reflect the state of hostilities in each theater, though just as in Italy the consequences of the decisions made would have deep reverberations as time marched on…

    Author's Note:

    Hello all.

    Apologies for the longer-than-expected delay between updates. I don't intend for gaps to be nearly as long, and I fully intend to return to more regular updates from here on out. Between some minor health issues and having to pick up and move across an entire ocean, things have been a bit busy, and that's not even mentioning the usual rigors of the holiday season.

    Further, I ran into some issues working on this post, as originally I tried to include every theater of the War. Quickly discovered that the Rhine theater alone would fill an entire post on its own, since German mediatisation requires dealing with the fates of literally nearly 300 states. So this post went through some rewrites as I refocused on Italy alone, along with some domestic affairs, with some of the major divergences already appearing.

    Next post, hopefully to come soon, will deal with the Rhine (I think). Thanks for your patience and for sticking around.
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    Part 7: Restez Avec Moi
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    "The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected."

    -Sun Tzu

    Part 7: "Restez Avec Moi"
    The Aftermath of the First Coalition; or, the Swiss are Swiss-Cheesed

    Having already seized the Left Bank and overrun the Low Countries, annexing the Austrian Netherlands and creating the sororal (see: fraternal) Batavian Republic, a general truce had been agreed to through the winter months of 1796 allowing both the Austrians and the French to regroup and prepare for the inevitable resumption of hostilities with the Spring Thaw. The Rhenish Campaigns of the French in ‘95 had, without exaggerating too greatly, been a bit of a disaster. Political conflict at home, poor finances making the payment of troops difficult, and outright treasonous commanders greatly undermined the French offensive, leaving the Austrians in a favorable strategic position along the Right Bank of the Rhine as New Year’s 1796 rolled around.

    However disastrous 1795 had been, to underestimate the French would be sorely short-sighted. Though incursions across the Rhine and across the Pyrenees had fallen flat over prior years, both geographical barriers made counter-incursions into France proper (or what had recently become part of France) costly and difficult. Diplomatic maneuvering had pulled Prussia out of the war (and out of the nascent coalition aiming to partition the rump Polish Commonwealth), with Berlin trading any claim to the Left Bank for favorable French pressure in a future reorganization of the HRE that French annexation along the Rhine would inevitably produce. The Directory brought stability and a degree of diplomatic realism to France’s foreign policy that was desperately needed, and though it was not known at the time French finances would soon improve with the victory of the Francophile Jefferson in the 96’ elections. Spanish forces attempting to enter the choke points of the Pyrenees faced a meat grinder, and by 1797 they, too, would agree to a truce with Paris. Thus favorably positioned on nearly every front, a new push across the Rhine seemed near-inevitable by both sides. France and Austria thus both prepared for the invasion to come.

    Although difficulties to the South and in Italy sapped some strength from the Armies of the Rhine, the shuffling of commanders brought Moreau and Lefebvre to the Left Bank, respectable and superior tactical minds, respectively. What followed the Spring thaw in 1796 was something close to a game of chicken - split roughly in two, Moreau and Lefebvre poked and prodded at Austrian defenses, building and deconstructing bridges in brief feints, waiting for the opposing Germans to take the bait. In June the fish bit to the North, and Lefebvre began a frantic push into Baden and towards Basel. Though the Austrians quickly realized that Moreau’s attack had been a feint, as he began to withdraw towards the South, rotating to meet the threat took time - exactly what Lefebvre had hoped for.


    Taking one of the redoubts of Kehl by throwing rocks, 24 June 1796
    Sketch. Frédéric Regamey, 1905

    By August and September of 96’, the states of Southern Germany began to send peace feelers out to Lefebvre and his staff. The long-beleaguered Liberals of the Empire had received the French favorably, alleviating the hostility that living off the land (as Paris still lacked the finances to actually pay their armies!) inevitably generated, and while not a revolution, precisely, the French had been received in a number of the cities they occupied with not an insignificant amount of fanfare. Elector Charles Theodore fled from Munich to Saxony, fearing for his life, leaving a capitulatory Regency in his place, removing the last major Southern German state from the Coalition.

    Despite these capitulations (usually in exchange for favorable French pressure in the inevitable Imperial reorganization to come), and despite initial strategic beliefs that the path to Vienna ran through Southern Germany, Lefebvre’s successful advance proved to have been far too rapid, leaving French lines overextended. A successful Austrian offensive seriously threatened French supply lines, and Moreau’s efforts to join with Lefebvre were rebuffed by the Habsburgs. The difficult decision to retreat was made.

    The final Peace of Basel in 1797 followed, though it would not last. The map of Europe was radically redrawn, but not for the last time. Only Britain was left officially at war with France, though without a broader coalition London realized it had no chance of defeating Paris. Within barely a few years, a new coalition, the second, would be assembled…

    For now, though, a brief respite. Not that peace brought an end to maneuvering, diplomatic intrigues, or jockeying for position. Everyone realized that the peace would not last, that the settlement was not permanent, that death would soon erupt again on the continent. So, if anything, the peacetime behind-the-scenes machinations of the Great Powers exceeded what had been seen during wartime.

    A key strategic concern for France was broadening the young Republic’s strategic depth. Front lines of battle needed to be pushed as far from the actual borders of the country as possible - while the natural borders were very defensible topographically, incursions across were not impossible, as had been seen by some of the early Austrian counter offensives across the Rhine before the area was more firmly secured. As mentioned previously, one method of improving strategic depth was the inciting of rebellions, the co-opting of existing dissident movements, and the creation of Sister Republics.

    This method was put into practice yet again just months after the Peace of Basel, in Switzerland. Invasion of the Swiss Confederation was not an active consideration among leaders in Paris, yet commanders embedded within the Army of Italy had an ear closer to the ground, and recognized both the inevitability of some kind of Swiss revolution, and the opportunities it may yield for France.

    Most prominent of these commanders was Guillaume Brune, a division general stationed along the Northern Alps. The Army of Italy had already peeled the dependency of Valtellina away from the Confederation a year prior, and the political climate in Switzerland remained charged and unstable. It was under these conditions that Brune drew up fateful plans for the reorganization of Switzerland along cultural and geographic lines (Brune would have more important roles to play in French diplomatic forays, including a relationship with Persia that Brune would have a key role in securing).
    Events proceeded faster than even Brune had anticipated. An internal dispute between Swiss Cantons led to Vaud inviting a French intervention to protect them from Bern, not realizing that this invasion (for France would gladly accept, despite the unexpected nature of the request) would lead to the death of the Swiss Confederation which had stood for hundreds of years.

    In its place and over the objections of the Swiss themselves, Brune would put his plans into action and cobble together three unitary states upon the corpse of the Confederation: Helvetia, named for the ancient tribes in the region that had battled with the Romans, and containing the German core of the old Switzerland; the Rhodanic Republic, containing those French-speaking Cantons not already annexed into France proper; and Tellgovie or Tellgau, named for William Tell, a Federal shotgun marriage marriage of the old Confederacy’s Italian and Romansch-speaking cantons.


    Map of Switzerland after the French Partition

    The end of the War of the First Coalition had given France a newly strengthened foothold in the Mediterranean, a key strategic goal against one of the most prominent enemies of the Republic, Britain. Yet suggestions by some to make a direct drive to the East[1] were rebuffed - the alliance with Tipu Sultan was enough to further endanger the already embattled British Raj, without necessitating a direct link, and the Directory quickly realized the usefulness of a strengthened Franco-Ottoman alliance. The ‘sacrilegious marriage of the lily and the crescent’ could again be counted on to threaten the flanks of France’s rivals, and Constantinople was very keen on leveraging a new division within the ranks of the European powers.

    Similarly positioned were the Poles, greatly reduced in power and prominence and eager to gain an ally against the enemies who had taken advantage of it. The unsteady and widely-acknowledged-to-be unnatural pact with Prussia had long since fallen through, and the death of Tsarina Catherine had removed a leader who had considered Poland a personal fiefdom, though Russia retained a degree of power over Poland which remained highly embarrassing, such as unrestricted military movement through the theoretically independent Commonwealth and great influence over the country’s ailing political system. France found an eager ear in the figure of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a hero of the American revolution and rising officer in the (admittedly weak) Polish army[2] who was gaining prominence and popularity rivaling the (figurehead) king-duke of the PLC. Kościuszko had, conversely, observed the events of the French Revolution with great interest, though the opportunity for a revolution of his own passed him by. Instead, Kościuszko began cultivating a friendly cohort of insiders and pro-reform nobles, and began to put feelers out towards the King himself.

    An informal tripartite pact was concluded in late 1798 between the Ottomans, Poland, and France. While not an explicit guarantee of mutual defense, included among the provisions were expanded trade (especially in the newly-opened Mediterranean trade routes between France, Italy, and the Middle East), and the sending of a few friendly advisors to Poland to assist in reform efforts. Both of these moves were openly threatening to the established powers, particularly Russia and Britain, further ramping up the tensions which had already begun to intensify after the invasion of Switzerland.

    Excerpt from: Across a Wine-Dark Sea - History of the Wider Pacific in the Global Context, by Hugh Cook, 1943.

    [...] Although political consolidation and unification were the result of existing impulses and movements among the natives of Oceania, this process was encouraged greatly by the arrival of modernization-minded foreigners, particularly the far-flung and well-traveled members of the London Missionary Society (LMS).

    King Kamehameha, still known among the Sandwich Islands with his appellation “The Great,” was adopted at birth by his uncle, the King of the Island of Hawai’i, as his heir, as was tradition of the place. Prophecy decreed that he would conquer perhaps as far as the Australian subcontinent; to this end, fate provided Isaac Davis and John Young via well-timed shipwreck, two Europeans who would marry into Hawaiian society and help repair the archipelago’s image among skeptical Westerners after the death of Captain Cook. By 1795, Kamehameha had conquered the breadth of the Sandwich Islands, and with the further advice of his two European friends helped consolidate a semi-constitutional monarchy loosely modeled after Britain, whose flag would be placed proudly in the Hawaiian banner itself, although no formal relations existed between the two states - yet.

    Indeed, despite the head start of the Dutch and the Spanish, the British would emerge as the most important player in the wider Pacific and Oceania. Members of the LMS, landing on the island of Tahiti on 5 March 1797, brought Christianity at a crucial moment in the history of the Society Islands (named, not-coincidentally, for the LMS. It is in the opinion of the author that few organizations have more deserved such an honor, for the advocacy of the Society on behalf of native peoples across many continents is to be admired). Pōmare II, King of Tahiti proper, found himself apparently out of favor with the Chief God of the native pantheon; thus, the arrival of a new God to the islands was a welcome opportunity for the expansion-minded monarch. Although it would take some twenty years and a brief stint in exile, the modern Kingdom of Tahiti would begin to expand under the new Christian monarchy. [3]

    Only on the island of Australia would the British see serious competition in its efforts. The French colony near Dirk Hartog Island, near modern St Aloüarn, had been reasonably successful, remaining under government control thanks to the politically savvy governors there who had been able to guess which direction the wind would blow, so to speak, back in Paris. The expeditions of St Aloüarn, Lapérouse, and Bruni d'Entrecasteaux had sparked French, and European, interest in this ‘virgin continent.’ Famously, the arrival of the frigates Recherche and Esperance under d'Entrecasteaux to Van Diemen Island in search of Lapérouse, whose last expedition had gone missing, produced the now-iconic phrase “Le comte de Lapérouse, je présume?”


    The Recherche and Espérance
    Watercolour. Francois Geoffroy Roux, undated

    These tales among others proved a boon for the ailing career of one William Bolts, who had returned in failure to Lisbon after his scheme to support a Swedish colony in Australia had fallen through. Now, though, his services were called upon by the Portuguese, taking advantage of a lull in the continent’s warfare. Well-positioned from the city of Dili on the island of Timor, the Portuguese believed a trading post or factory on the Northern coast of Australia could prove beneficial to help wrest some control of East Indies trade back from the Dutch, particularly in their current moment of weakness. To this end, Bolts’ legendary Last Voyage would travel from Lisbon, to the British-controlled Cape Colony, to Goa, to Dili, and soon to the archipelago known variously as the Bolts Islands or the Tiwi Islands. The first settlement upon the islands was named Piedosa, in honor of Maria I “the Pious,” Queen Regnant of Portugal.

    Contracting with a number of native guides, the Portuguese opened trade negotiations with the Yolgnu, a prominent Australian tribe on the Northern tip of the mainland, along with the Tiwi, Woolna, and others. This move brought them into competition with the French and British, both of whom having concluded treaties and agreements with the native groups in close proximity to their first settlements: the Malgana, Wajarri, Nhanda, Yinggarda; and the Eora, Dharug, Gweagal, Dharawal, and Bidjigal clans, respectively. Both the British and French had very little appetite for conflict when the fires of war threatened to erupt again on the continent of Europe (and they soon would), while Portuguese control even over Dili was fairly tenuous, and making agreements with peoples of the Indies seemed a reasonable strategy to replicate in this new venture.

    Dealings with the natives of the island was a mixed blessing, for both parties, as it so often is when two greatly different societies make first contact. Rapid societal and technological change came to the natives of Australia, along with a not-insignificant amount of dying thanks to new diseases, though some visiting by the traders of the East Indies to the North of the island blunted that blow there. For the first time, the natives of the island had the technology and impetus to coalesce, though more sweeping change in this regard would only emerge later [...]

    Excerpt from: "Chapter Seven: Constitutionalism and Compromise in the Americas," in The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    [...] Jefferson’s campaign was further assisted by the successful negotiation of the Treaty of Tripoli, finalizing a series of mutually beneficial pacts between the young United States and the Barbary States, particularly trading certain American resources and weaponry, alongside cash payments, for complete protection against Barbary piracy [...]


    Excerpt from: Selected Writings (1920 - 1969) by Nguyễn Sinh Cung

    [...] British control of Prai and Penang, on the Malay Peninsula, along with its occupation of the Dutch Cape Colony, made it appear that a British invasion of the Dutch/Batavian East Indies was a serious threat to the French bloc. Control of the East Indies could doom French Australia and France’s allies on the Indian Subcontinent, such as Tipu Sultan in Mysore, besides the obvious effect of depriving the Republic of a lucrative source of income via the Batavians. Never mind that VOC Control of the East Indies remained tenuous, at best, with the company near-bankrupt and control more often existing only on paper than in reality. Luckily, there was already an ally for the French to call upon to compete, at least by proxy, in wider Southeast Asia and Indochina: Viet Nam. Part of it, anyway.


    Monseigneur Pigneau de Behaine in mixed Franco-Viet Outfit
    Mantienne reproduction of Vietnamese painting, 1805

    The ascendent Nguyễn dynasty, led by Nguyễn Ánh, had concluded the 1787 Treaty of Versailles with France thanks to the close personal friendship of Nguyễn Ánh with French bishop Pierre Pigneau de Behaine. Although the Bishop’s influence had waned since the Revolution, a great number of French volunteers and advisors remained in Viet Nam, assisting the Nguyễn as it rapidly advanced against the rival Tây Sơn, now on the defensive to the North of the country. A new arrangement, formalized with the Treaty of Huế in 1796, would prove very beneficial for both parties: realizing that effectively countering the British in Southeast Asia would necessitate a modern, European-style military, further advisors would be dispatched to assist in further development, particularly in the realms of naval construction, drilling, and army organization, to an even greater degree than had begun in 1789 [4] - the aspects of the French military which had achieved such a startling victory in the First Coalition War were to be brought to Viet Nam. In exchange for a military that would crush the Tây Sơn by 1799, Nguyễn Ánh promised support against Britain’s bases in Malaya, the East Indies, and even India. French officers such as Jean-Marie Dayot, Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau, and Olivier de Puymanel were given official ranks, and the Nguyễn military would soon emerge as the finest fighting force in the region [...]


    Crown Prince Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh of Viet Nam in mixed Viet-French Outfit
    Oil on Canvus. Maupérin, 1787

    [1] - The Egyptian Campaign of Napoleon. No Bonaparte, no Bona-problem.
    [2] - IOTL he was never given commission.
    [3] - This section, besides the notes on Australia, are largely the same as OTL. However I wanted to provide some context as both Hawai'i and Tahiti will be seen again in future updates.
    [4] - A lot of this was already in place IOTL 1787 onwards, but ITTL it intensifies more quickly.

    Author's Note:

    Hello, all. I've set up a poll to guage what sort of update readers of this TL enjoy more: longer posts that jump between countries, regions, and events (the current format of the TL), or shorter posts that focus on individual countries or specific regions.

    The timeline will never be exclusively either format, since certain big events like future wars require kind of a broad understanding of events and players going forward, and I have future updates in the works to focus specifically on South America and South Asia, for instance.

    However, I'm interested to see how people lean writ large. If most people prefer longer posts, I'll continue on pretty much the same path. If people prefer more focused posts, I may be able to get more out but they'll each be smaller.

    Please answer here: POLL

    Thanks for reading!
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    Part 8: L'Enfance
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    "The tradition of past generations weighs like the Alps on the brains of the living."

    -Karl Marx, 1852

    Part 8: "L'Enfance"
    The War of the Second Coalition, the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and the impacts thereof

    Excerpt from: The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    [...] the irony was not lost on the intellectuals and writers of the young Republic: a body installed really in the name of reaction, designed explicitly to encourage a less radical government that could more conservatively implement the business of governance and conduct a war on many fronts, was near-constantly embroiled in controversy and chaos for the first stage of its existence.

    Unusually for an institution, the blame for the issues of the Directory could be laind at the feet of a single individual: Paul Barras was, in all essence, synonymous with the Directory, as the leading figure of the body and the most prominent Director. Yet Paul Barras was also infamous as a philanderer, corrupt morally and financially, ideologically unreliable, and militarily unskilled. Barras was constantly embroiled in one sex scandal or another, having been caught red handed with both the wives of other prominent Frenchmen and other men as well. Barras, to his credit, was careful in his management of threats to the Directory originating from both the right (particularly the War in the Vendee and an abortive coup in Year V) and the left (another abortive coup in Year III, shortly after the foundation of the Directory). Yet in doing so he had earned the ire of every major ideological bloc, to say nothing of the personal hatred he gained of the multitude of cuckolded husbands and wives he left in his wake.

    Undercut from within by an untrustworthy leader, and heavily reliant on the military fortunes of the Army of the Republic, for legitimacy and popularity, it was clear that *some* change was necessary. The question was: who would be first to enact that change? And how sweeping would it be? For the plotters of all sides, timing was a necessary concern. Early success in the War of the Second Coalition gave the Directory itself some room to breathe, and the French public seemed willing to give Barras an undeserved amount of slack. A wholesale overthrow of the Directory appeared to be out of the cards. A more subtle approach would be needed.


    Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord
    Oil on canvas. Baron François Gérard, 1808

    Enter Talleyrand. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, a former clergyman, had been a key player in the Coup of 18 Fructidor, producing a decisive shift in the balance of the Directory towards the left. Yet while 18 Fructidor had seen Talleyrand delivering power right into the hands of Paul Barras, Talleyrand took note of which way the wind was blowing - a consummate political survivor, Talleyrand quietly shifted from being a key supporter of Barras to the key to his downfall. It is unknown if the great sum of money Talleyrand accumulated as a bribe was actually delivered to Paul Barras, or if Talleyrand kept it for himself; either way, the promise that Barras would be allowed to keep much of his illicit winnings from his stint in government and could retire in luxury. The vacancy created would be filled by popular general Lazarus Hoche, who also assumed the nominal leadership of the Directory [...]

    Excerpt from: The Atlantic Revolutions, 1765-1805, by Albrecht von Closen IV, 1916.

    [...] though the Committee of Public Safety was soon deposed, its historic decision to abolish slavery outright in all jurisdictions controlled by France would stand. The General Emancipation was spurred on by both ideological and practical concerns: many left-Republicans genuinely favored abolitionism, and some held notably equitable racial beliefs for the time. Simultaneously, the situation in the remaining French colonies (or, rather, ‘colony’) made dealing with slavery a necessity.

    The past decade of chaos in the metropole had had serious repercussions on the island colony of Saint-Domingue, the last remaining, yet most valuable, part of the old colonial empire. Revolution in the metropole had brought about a colossal slave rebellion, after white plantation owners refused to go along with the first tentative steps the Revolutionaries had taken towards equality between races. What resulted was perhaps the significant slave uprising since Spartacus’s time. Over a hundred thousand slaves would throw off their chains and slaughter their masters and within a year, controlled nearly half of the colony.

    To call the situation chaotic would be a laughable understatement. Before the abolishment of slavery in Paris, the nominal leaders of the revolts pledged some degree of loyalty to the King of France, Robespierre, the British, and even the Spanish (who controlled the other portion of the island). However, the revolt would only take on the character of a politically-charged revolution with the rise of François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture to a position of premier prominence in 1792.


    Painting of Citizen Toussaint Louverture, 1818
    Oil on canvas, unknown painter*

    [...] having expelled the Spanish and the British, his erstwhile allies (the former spectacularly so, obliterating a Spanish expeditionary force in the 1795 Battle of Gonaives), Saint-Domingue was nominally restored to the French Republic as a colony. However, the pre-revolt status quo could obviously not be resumed. Slavery had been abolished; even with the naval tensions between Britain and the United States, trade between Saint-Domingue and the metropole was under constant naval pressure; and, perhaps most notably, Toussaint Louverture was in essence the sole ruler of the colony, and any settlement going forward would be predicated on his acceptance.

    In the end, Paris was really in no position to make demands, and had little interest in making things more difficult than they needed to be. The French position in North America had been greatly improved by the election of Jefferson and the beginning of the Stater-British ‘Quasi War,’ and Louverture (ever the crafty negotiator) appeared content to remain under nominal French sovereignty as long as his position was secure. The appointment of Étienne Polverel as governor-general of the colony by Hoche in 1798, putting one of the champions of abolition in the negotiator’s chair opposite Louverture (who maintained a friendly relationship with Polverel) clinched things. Crucial, too, was the timing of the negotiations: the conclusion of the War of the Second Coalition had made the transfer of Spanish Santo Domingo to France a distinct possibility. The result was a win-win: Louverture was offered the chance to control the entirety of the island, under French suzerainty; the French benefitted from a reliable partner to carry out a treaty provision that they were unable to carry out themselves. Louverture was appointed governor-for-life, and pledged his allegiance to France.

    It would take roughly a half-decade more for Louverture to fully assert control of the entire island and even longer to properly undertake the reform and governance thereof, by which point his autonomous fiefdom would adopt a new name: Quisqueya, the Taino name for the island prior to colonization. The name was picked by Louverture’s chief lieutenant and future governor of the island, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, to honor the indigenous roots of the land; the name stuck, and remains in use today [...]

    The War of the Second Coalition brought about very little change in the map of Europe, and the engagements of the war widely-remembered are few and far between. The war was brief, lasting only from late 1798 to just past the dawn of the 19th century, brief and yet bloody: some 300,000 lost their lives. Yet beyond the death toll, the war had outsized consequences for the course of world history. Despite brief setbacks early in the conflict (in which it appeared the French may be pushed back from the Rhine and past the Alps), the gains of the Revolution were not just confirmed but expanded; the anticlerical forces of France managed to briefly occupy Rome and expel the pope; the Sister Republics of Italy were expanded into both the Papal States and Tuscany; the Coalitionary forces failed to take advantage of the brief faltering of the system in Paris, and the Republic’s legitimacy was reinforced and strengthened as a result; the French proved both adept and lucky at gaining support from unlikely allies.

    Indeed, the last point must be emphasized. At the dawn of the First Coalition War, France appeared isolated, yet by the end of the Second, it had gained a number of crucial partners and allies (though none were yet proper co-belligerents). France appeared reliant on the forces of its sister republics, yet Polish grain and Ottoman cotton quietly flowed into the Republic whenever there was an opportunity to run the blockade. Critically, a trade war had erupted between the United States and Britain, a diplomatic and economic conflict that verged on outright hostilities at all times: the Quasi-War. The ascension of an avowed Francophile like Jefferson to the Stater Presidency, and the victory of his party in Congress, extended a critical lifeline of food and materiel to the embattled French Republic.


    Alignment map of Europe after the War of the Second Coalition
    Adapted from a wikimedia commons basemap

    The Treaty of Nancy which ended the conflict, as mentioned, did little to actually alter the borders on the continent of Europe. French forces had swept across central and southern Italy, establishing a sister republic in nominally-neutral Tuscany and annexing the Papal Legations to the Cisalpine Sister Republic. The Pope was expelled from Rome and died in disgrace in Vienna, and a Napolese Republic was briefly formed on the territory of the Two Sicilies, though neither situation lasted beyond a year. More important on the continent would be the recognition of de facto borders, both for France and the embattled Poles. Malta, briefly occupied by the French, would be returned to the Knights Hospitaller under British protection, and the Septinsular Republic was acknowledged as a neutral, independent state.

    Instead, more change was seen overseas: the Eastern portion of the island of Hispaniola, the colony of Santo Domingo, would be transferred to France, for the Spanish had been more wholly humiliated in this conflict than it had been in the War of the First Coalition. The First War of the Pyrenees had been a veritable meat grinder for both parties, ending in a bloody stalemate, but the Second War there had been a disaster for the Spanish on both fronts, leaving the route to Madrid open through both the Basque provinces and Catalonia. The Spanish army almost completely folded in the face of a new, vicious Spanish assault spearheaded by General Jacques François Dugommier (who would actually die near the end of the offensive, of disease).

    Such a wholesale defeat left Spain with two options: cede whatever territories in the New World France desired, or submit to the separation of provinces from the Kingdom proper to France or the creation of Sister Republics on Spanish soil. Prime Minister Godoy chose the former. In Haiti, direct French control was difficult to establish, as naval rebuilding was still underway and expeditionary forces were hard to spare. Yet losing Santo Domingo was a significant embarrassment for the Spanish, and was perceived as a serious threat by the British. Both would be forced to respond accordingly in the very near future.

    The Spanish weren't the only ones forced to return seized colonies. Peace with Austria had brought about formal recognition of the Batavian Republic, and though a treaty with Britain would take some time thereafter to be settled, Britain would soon be forced to do the same. With recognition came an obligation, insisted upon by Paris and the Hague alike, to return the colonies seized with the advent of the Batavian Revolution. The return of the Cape Colony and much of the East Indies was a critical turning point, the first major instance of a Sister Republic acknowledged in action, not just in words, as a legitimate political successor state. In this case, the transfer was much the same as it was with the Spanish: control was loosely re-established by local allies in the Cape Colony (any European control of the Cape was predicated upon the goodwill of the Xhosa and the emergent Boer class, and for the time being the Dutch could rely upon both) and barely asserted in the East Indies, thanks to the near-obliteration of the Batavian fleet. In both cases, as with the Spanish cases, control was tenuous, at best.


    A Merry Go-Round in Honor of the Peace
    Political Cartoon. Piercy Roberts, 1802

    The Treaty of the Somme, concluded in 1802 between the United Kingdom and France, dealt not only with the East Indies, but multiple other Asian territories. Britain would be formally barred from southern India sans the city of Madras, and Ceylon was to be returned to the Batavians, alongside a formal recognition of the independence of the Carnatic Sultanate as a neutral buffer state between British India and the French-aligned Mysorean Kingdom. Although not a result of the Treaty of the Somme, 1802 saw the final victory of the Nguyễn dynasty over the Tây Sơn dynasty, leaving Gia Long in control of all three portions of modern Dai Nam: Cochinchina, Tonkin, and Annam. Another native kingdom, the Kandyans of Ceylon, saw success as well, though in this instance to the detriment, not benefit, of the French and their allies.

    The Kingdom of Kandy had maintained itself as the sole remaining native polity on the island for some two hundred years in the face of Dutch imperialism through a mixture of careful diplomacy and guerilla warfare. Forced to withdraw from Ceylon and return the island to Batavian control, Britain decided to make the island a poisoned apple for the returning Dutch: the British went from opponents of the Kandyans to their strongest ally, supplying the kingdom with weaponry, arms, and supplies, encouraging a stand against the nascent Dutch presence. Emboldened and armed, the Kandyans went on the offensive to break out from being a landlocked insurgency to become a Kingdom in control of the entire island.

    The most noteworthy territorial changes to come to Europe would not be through conquest or treaty after the Second Coalition fell to pieces. Instead, the recognition of France’s annexation of the Rhineland left the Holy Roman Empire with a very tricky situation: how could it retain the allegiance of the German states and their princes if it did not compensate those rulers who had lost their holdings along the Left Bank? The debate had been raging for years at this point already, yet recognition of France’s gains brought the issue to a head. Princes, rulers, electors, archbishops and kings began to descend on the Free Imperial City of Regensburg, the home of the Imperial Diet and the de facto co-capital (alongside Vienna) of the Holy Roman Empire. The next weeks and months would bring a flurry of debate, lobbying, arguing, and soul-searching, as the Holy Roman Empire was forced to reorganize, modernize, and face the future…


    "Is it the wagon that is too big or the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe that is too small?"
    Political Cartoon. Unknown artist, 1834

    * - Generated using stablediffusionweb

    Author's Note:

    You may notice (or you may not notice) that the date range has been replaced with a basic summary. I've found the date range to be kinda useless since the posts increasingly overlap and will continue to do so even more in the future as I jump around from region to region. I imagine that no one will mind, since the date range was basically for my own purposes, and a subtitle describing the events of the post may be more appreciated. Worry not, the music-themed titles will not change :p

    Thank you all for responding to the poll. Seems like the preference is for the current style of longer omnibus posts, with a general openness for more focused updates. As teased at the end of this part, the next post will focus largely on the equivalent of the OTL Reichsdeputationshauptschluss (formally the Hauptschluss der außerordentlichen Reichsdeputation) and the general reorganisation of the HRE, something I've been anticipating and planning for quite a while. It'll be a test run for the more focused post style and will likely feature a map of significant size and detail that I've already started plugging away at.

    Also, I'm very very pleased and a bit surprised to say that this timeline has been nominated for a Turtledove Award in the Colonialism & Revolutions category! Many many thanks to Sweet Basil and TheBerlinguer for the nomination and seconding, respectively. The response to this timeline has been really amazIng and I'm so pleased that people seem to enjoy what I post - it's a pleasure and an honor to have my work appreciated, and it really does mean a lot.

    Thank you all again!
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    Part 9: Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "Mocking politicians may thus always laugh about the Holy Roman Empire that is neither holy nor Roman nor an Empire; they may call it a many-headed Hydra. So much the better it is. So much the more difficult it becomes for the French Hercules to conquer it."

    -Anonymous German author, 1803

    Part 9: "Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen"
    The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss (formally the Hauptschluss der außerordentlichen Reichsdeputation), and the resulting mediatization and institutional reform of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation; or, the author getting really amused at just how long German words can truly become

    By 1802, the French Republic had already controlled the Left Bank of the Rhine for nearly a decade, the princes and prince-bishops of the region had long been exiled from their ancestral holdings, and the stability of the Holy Roman Empire had been under French pressure on more than one occasion. Yet only after the Treaty of Nancy (or, among Germans, the Treaty of Nanzig) were the leaders of the Empire forced to acknowledge that territorial losses would not be temporary. Acknowledging the loss of the Rhineland was not easy on matters of pride alone, and while holding out hope for its recapture may have only delayed the inevitable, it also gave some breathing room and time to consider the more serious problem presented by the sacrifice of territory across the Rhine than mere injured dignity: the compensation of the Rhenish princes.

    Some within the empire argued that previous losses were borne solely by the losers, and that in essence each member of the empire had stood alone; others, including the rulers of most of the major member states and the Emperor himself, argued that the loss of the Rhineland and the threat of the French Republic represented a more existential threat than the Empire had ever faced before. A new approach was needed: not only did the territorial boundaries of the Empire's member states require adjustment to offset the Rhenish losses, but fundamental reform of the Empire's institutions were deemed necessary to respond to the French menace.

    The first and most evident change necessary would be to the college of electors: all three of the Ecclesiastical electorships (the prince-archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne) lay across the Rhine and thus had ceased to exist (all three did, technically, have swaths of territory still within the HRE, yet those retained territories were generally peripheral to the eponymous cities lost to the French). The balance of the electorates hadn't been maintained in nearly four decades, either: for example, Bavaria had absorbed the County Palatine of the Rhine in 1777, yet no replacement elector had been elevated. Compensating the Ecclesiastical electors at all would be cause for scrutiny, as the secularization of the Empire's many ecclesiastical territories had been a long-standing proposal among the princes of the empire, who often coveted ecclesiastical lands. For the princes and families hurt by the annexation of the Left Bank, seizing the holdings of the prince-bishops seemed to be a reasonable proposal. Yet secularization was also pushed for by the French, who, while still unsteady under the nominal leadership of Hoche and only involved in the mediatisation process as a consequence of the provisions of the Treaty of Nancy, still promoted an anti-clerical agenda abroad. Regardless of his already-present preference for the preservation of tradition, the French favoring secularization made the notion all the more distasteful to Emperor Francis II.


    Holy Roman Emperor Francis II in imperial regalia
    Oil on canvas. Ludwig Streitenfeld, 1874

    Emperor Francis II Habsburg, the 35-year-old Holy Roman Empire, was, in no particular order, a shrewd political operator, a paranoid reactionary, a passable chess player, an untalented pianist, husband to his own double-first-cousin, and more or less completely lacking in a sense of humor. Francis II was faced with the most undesirable situation a reactionary can face, namely, enforced change, yet his practicality tended to prevail, and he and his corps of advisors and diplomats chose to take the enforcement of terms as an opportunity for positive change, within reason. He and his court joined the veritable tidal wave of rulers, nobles, and diplomats descending upon Regensburg, the home of the Imperial Diet. Hammering out a plan of compensation and reform took well over a year: more than a year of negotiating, arguing, of back-room deals and front-parlor backstabbings, of practical conclusions dealing with impractical matters, of considering the needs of stakeholders both within and without the Empire. For, indeed, numerous foreign powers had a significant stake in the process of mediatization.

    First were of course the French, who, while hostile to the notion of Kingship or Empire, was held from enforcing its potential demands through the Treaty of Nancy. The Treaty of Nancy did give the French a notable degree of influence over the proceedings as one of many 'mediating powers,' yet continuing political instability at home under the still-unsteady hand of Louis Lazare Hoche in practice restricted the sway of Paris over the process. The British also had a stake, as the King of the United Kingdom, King George III, was also the Elector of Hanover, with the two territories held by him in a personal union. Similarly, King Christian VII of Denmark was simultaneously the Duke of Holstein, and King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden was additionally Duke of Pomerania. Other countries were also recognized as mediating powers, for a variety of reasons: the King of Poland was at this point Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, who was thus tasked with balancing the interests of a territory within the Empire and a territory outside the Empire; while Tsar Alexander I of Russia did not have a direct territorial interest in the HRE, his infamously arbitrary ego did not allow him to simply watch as a significant event was occurring in Europe; even Pope Pius VII, despite being under constant threat of another French invasion (his predecessor had died after being expelled from Rome by the French), sought influence over the proceedings.


    Map of the Holy Roman Empire after the Great Reform of 1803*

    The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss was the result of a number of practical compromises. While some secularization would occur, not all ecclesiastical properties would lose their prince-bishop. The number of ecclesiastical electors would remain at 3, with left-bank prince-bishops compensated with new principalities elevated to the level of archbishopric. Secular Rhenish rulers would receive new holdings across the empire but particularly along the right bank of the Rhine and along the Dutch border. The Hohenzollerns, already out of favor among their cohorts due to their stubborn neutrality during the Second Coalition War, would provide much of the territory for these new right-bank principalities, yet would in return be given firmer control over Franconia, be allowed to add the entirety of their realms to the Empire, and finally gain official recognition of their title of Kingship which had formerly been a legal fiction. The number of Electors was raised to eleven in total: the existing Electorates of Bavaria, Bohemia, Saxony, Brandenburg, and Hannover would be joined by the replacement ecclesiastical electorates of Salzburg, Würzburg, and Münster, along with the new secular electorates of Württemberg, Baden, and Hesse-Kassel. The College of Electors would thus reach near-parity between Protestant and Catholic Princes (Saxony, Brandenburg, Württemberg, and Hesse-Kassel representing the former, and the rest representing the latter) for the first time, though the Emperor would remain a Catholic and a Habsburg.

    Francis and the Imperial Diet were careful to balance the needs of modernity and a respect for tradition. Beyond just retaining the ecclesiastical polities, tradition would be upheld by reinforcing the Teutonic Knights, only slightly younger than the thousand-year-old Empire itself, with formal sovereignty over their headquarters in the form of a new Free Imperial City of Mergentheim. The Electors retained titles like Arch-Cupbearer, held by the King of Bohemia; thus, the Emperor was his own Cupbearer; and Arch-Bannerbearer, held by the Elector of Württemberg. Yet the needs of modernization and the expectation of resumed war with France necessitated the gathering of spending powers and military organization under proper authorities who could carry out an imperial agenda. For instance, the title of Arch-Treasurer was given actual abilities to raise revenue and spend it; the position was held by the Elector of Hanover and the responsibility thus fell to British King George III. However, considering the fact that George III did not speak German as his first language and was intermittently insane, actual power in Hanover was usually exercised by his son, Viceroy-Prince Frederick. Elector of Saxony Frederick Augustus III's title, Arch-Marshal of the Empire, took on actual military significance for the first time, as Augustus III would be tasked with organizing a defense against further French incursion.

    * Adapted from Wikimedia Commons basemap by Astrokey44

    Author's Note: This is an update I've been anticipating for basically the whole time I've been working on or planning the timeline, and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out, if you'll excuse a bit of self-congratulation. The map is probably the most complicated I've ever thrown together, even if it draws quite a bit from wikimedia commons resources, but I think it turned out quite nicely. The survival of the Holy Roman Empire has been, as I mentioned, one of the things I've most anticipated putting in place, and while I of course can't/won't spoil how long it lasts, if it does, I'm very interested in the institutions of the Empire and will be revisiting it again in the future.

    I'd like to say thank you, again, for the Turtledove nomination! It's not an obligation and I'm not one to beg for votes, but the voting thread has been posted, and voting for multiple entries is possible, and I really do appreciate every vote. Win or lose I'm really honored and pleased to have received the nomination on my first timeline, and it's definitely given me that much more passion for the project (not that I wasn't passionate before!), knowing that people out there are reading and liking what I'm putting out.

    Thank you all again for reading, and for all your support.
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    Part 10: Poor Places
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "I do not have to forgive my enemies. I have had them all shot."

    -Last words of Ramón María Narváez, when asked about his opponents in life, 1868

    Part 10: "Poor Places"
    A wide variety of events from a wide variety of places, and the beginning of the next war.

    Excerpt from: The First Republic, by Pannacotta Fugo, 2011

    [...] by this point, Jean Bernadotte had already been head of the Army of Italy for nearly 18 months, his position was secure despite the downfall of his former patron, the Director Barras. Hoche and the post-coup Directory had ventured to sack many of the more corrupt or unworthy of those appointed by Barras, yet Bernadotte had proven himself a venerable military mind and an adept political infighter. Indeed, though many of Barras’ appointments were made in exchange for a pouch of coins, Bernadotte had actually earned his position, appointed by Barras to place a reliable ally in a key position as unrest against the Republic (in reality, against Barras himself), intensified. Ultimately, Bernadotte’s sheer geographical distance left him uninvolved in the War in the Vendee or the unceremonious dismissal of Citizen Barras.

    Bernadotte, ever the controlling sort, found himself in the awkward position of being an occupying authority - while the Cisalpine Republic was essentially a French puppet state, Bernadotte himself held very little sway over the proceedings there, other than being the iron fist within the velvet glove of fraternite. However, placed in control of both the area’s French Army as well as the organization of a Cisalpine Italian military to assist in the campaigns no doubt soon to come, Bernadotte was, without directly implementing policy, the most important actor in Northern Italy.

    His invasion of the Papal States and Naples had gained territory for the Cisalpine Sister Republic, gaining him goodwill among the liberals and secularists of Northern Italy who represented the revolutionary vanguard of pan-Italianism. It was his goodwill among a key constituency of powerful stakeholders that wedged open the gate to greater control of proceedings in Italy - acting, essentially, as the go-between of France and the Cisalpinese, keeping a foot in each camp, with real credibility in both. Thus it was through Bernadotte that the authorities of the Cisalpine Republic voiced their desire to unite more of the peninsula, and it was through Bernadotte that authorities in Paris voiced their desire to consolidate borders and widen the recruitment base for the Italian Legions…. and it should thus come as no surprise that Citizen Bernadotte became First Director of the new Republic of Italy. The Republic of Italy would, in the years preceding the War of the Third Coalition, be permitted to absorb the Republic of Liguria as well as the nascent Republic of Etruria. This expansion, largely thanks to the lobbying of Director Bernadotte, earned him a distinct power base on the Italian peninsula, and the trust of the region’s revolutionary stakeholders [...]


    The Republic of Italy in 1807, featuring engravings of Bernadotte and a personification of Italy.

    Excerpt from: The Rising Continent: Africa's Tumultous Past and Hopeful Future, by Eugene McClaskey, 1999

    [...] France choosing to abolish slavery, and seeming to actually stick to it vis a vis its recognition of Haitian autonomy, put new pressure on the United Kingdom to take action. While abolitionism had gained traction in France as a result of revolutionary circumstances and foreign policy concerns, it was Britain’s relatively well-developed (for the time) civil society that brought slavery under increasing scrutiny among the English.

    Slavery had already been made illegal within the Kingdom proper since the 1772 court decision Somerset v Stewart, though no mention was made of the practice among the colonies nor the international slave trade. Domestic pressure for further action on slavery remained strong, and abolitionist committees of correspondence had grown in popularity far beyond their original supporting cohorts of free blacks and quakers to include a wide supporting base of liberals, intellectuals, moralists, and even everyday Brits who began to speak their mind on the subject more forcefully.

    By 1806, the political power of the abolitionists, known as ‘The Saints’ in the House of Commons, had increased to the point that outlawing the slave trade had become increasingly likely. Yet for the decades prior to the actual abolition of the slave trade, the movement of enslaved African people across the Atlantic had been one of England’s most profitable businesses. A middle ground solution between outright abolition and the gradual winding down of the slave trade was decided upon - a scheme of African resettlement.

    The Sierra Leone (literally: ‘Land of Freedom’) scheme had not been universally accepted. In general, resettlement and back-to-Africa plans were more likely to be encouraged by conservatives and landowners who desired a ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of an increasing population of free blacks, who made up the backbone of the abolitionist movement. Yet the Freetown settlement did have supporters among Britain’s blacks and those free blacks present in the colonies; the town had been settled by free blacks from Britain proper in 1792, and grew with settling cohorts from Nova Scotia and Jamaica in 1792 and 1800, respectively.

    The colony had gotten off to a bit of a poor start, by any reasonable measure. Indeed, the Cline Town settlement had nearly been sacked by the nearby Temne Chiefdom, and successive waves of settlers more often than not brought rebellious captives from the various Maroon Wars and slave uprisings Britain experienced over the 1790s. Gradually, though, conditions improved - Freetown began to grow, and the Tenme agreed to allow further settlement along the northwestern Grain Coast. However, growing British interests along the coast of West Africa had brought them into increased contact with the native polities of the region. European factory posts along the West African coast had long necessitated some degree of informal diplomacy with the Kingdoms of the area, yet the generalities of native political organization necessitated little more.

    Prior to sustained European contact, African statehood was a fairly loose affair, in which state power emanated outwards from the capital and from towns in a series of increasingly large concentric rings, fading into the periphery of actual state control into the wilderness. For Africa simply had quite a lot of room - if a tribe or even an entire village wasn’t keen on pledging loyalty to a King or Chieftain, it was a simple enough affair to simply relocate away. Relocation of large groups had thus been common for many centuries, perhaps dating all the way back to the great Bantu migrations. Yet the more concerted arrival of the Europeans, with their strange ideas of firm international borders and more exclusive Westphalian sovereignty forced a shift in perspective, at least among those polities set against the settlements and factories the white man had constructed.

    To this end, different African authorities responded in different matters. The densely populated Niger River region and delta had long been home to kingdoms and empires more recognizable as states by the Europeans, a trend only continued with the rise of the Sokoto Caliphate and the other Fulani Jihadi states which had spread out across the Sahel. In spite of being called the Fulani Jihads, and being led largely by Fulani warrior-clerics, the Sokoto Caliphate was culturally anchored in an emergent syncretic Fula-Hausa people, and gradually grew outwards towards the South and the richly dense farming lands along the Niger. To the West, Fouta Jallon and Fouta Toro expansion brought them into direct contact, and occasionally competition, with the declining Jolof Kingdom as well as the French holding of Fort-petit-sud (formally Saint-Louis), through which European goods and arms began to flow.


    Photo of the Asante Golden Stool with its immediate caretaker, 1935

    Indeed, it was competition and trade which would create the incentive to consolidate politically and expand externally: the numerous trading posts set up along the Gold Coast, maintained by the Dutch, the British, and even the Danish, gave the ascendent Ashanti Empire a number of useful trading partners and even the opportunity to play potential threats off of eachother, if the realm’s leaders were adept enough. To the great fortune of the Ashanti, they possessed the skills of Konadu Yaadom, the Asantehemaa Queen Mother of the Empire. In 1803, Yaadom successfully engineered the suicide of sitting King Panyin, having left him no other options other than outright civil war that he would most certainly lose, and saw one of her many sons installed as ruler, whose early death saw him replaced by another son of Yaadom, whose eventual death by disease saw another son of hers installed… altogether, from the coup until her death at 94 in 1844, Yaadom would be Queen Mother for three of her sons, and was for the entire duration the real power behind the throne (or, as it were, the stool).

    Yaadom cultivated a distinct political base in the Empire, and realized quickly the benefit that could be gained through cooperation with the Europeans. Some historians have argued that the Ashanti-Fon Wars of 1806 to 1808 should really be considered a theater of the War of the Third Coalition, which overlapped with this African struggle for nearly two years - with the Dutch on the side of the Ashanti, and the British on the side of the Fon Confederacy, the battle took the shape of a proxy battle [...]

    Excerpt from: The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire Volume IX, by Muhammad Avdol, 1987

    [...] although encouraged by the British to undermine the Ottomans from within, the Mamluk chieftains Ibrahim Bey and Murad Bey did not actually benefit from British arms. Thus, although the struggle was fierce, the Ottoman army under Muhammad Ali Pasha was able to re-establish control of the Egypt Eyalet. This was, in theory, carried out on behalf of the Sultans in Constantinople. Yet despite being carried out by an Ottoman general, the settlement of the final Mamluk revolt was largely conducted by Albanians, who were really solely loyal to Muhammad Ali. Ali’s ability to carve out an independent base of power in Egypt, best summarized in his declaration of himself as Khedive of the province despite the illegality of such a move by a mere military commander, stands as a key example of the collapse of Ottoman authority over its provinces over the course of the Wars of Revolution.


    Massacre of the Mamluks at the Cairo citadel
    Oil on Canvas, Horace Vernet, mid-19th century

    Turkish loss of grip upon the hinterlands began in Serbia, which soon became a key flashpoint in the escalation of tensions ahead of the War of the Third Coalition. The chief matter which so greatly escalated tensions between the Ottomans and the Russian Empire was the nominal autonomy of the principality of Serbia. Tolerated as pseudo-autonomous since the Hapsburg-supported First Uprising, Ottoman desire to re-establish absolute control over the small principality brought them to loggerheads with the Austrians as well as the Russians, who sought by any means necessary to undercut tacit Turkish support for the French Republic and Poland. Indeed, the fact that the Hapsburgs and the Romanovs had found a common foe left Ottoman Turkey extremely vulnerable to a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ along the periphery.

    There was an opening, a way out, for the Porte, in the divergence between Russia and Austrian aims. The Hapsburgs were most interested in pursuing the strategy already mentioned - peeling off territories along the borders of the empire, particularly in the Balkans, to provide buffers against the Turks. In this, the British were largely in agreement, having cast their lot with Muhammad Ali Pasha, and working to expand European presence along the Barbary coast to get at the source of Mediterranean piracy, rather than just attacking the pirates themselves. Theoretically under Ottoman suzerainty, the Beyliks of Tunis and Algiers received European dignitaries to their courts throughout the conflict, and the more astute among the Barbary rulers found success at playing the Coalition and the French off of eachother.

    The Russians, meanwhile, kept their eyes squarely on the straits. Ever on the hunt for warm water naval access, breaking out from the Black Sea and gaining a foothold into the Mediterranean was the primary goal of St. Petersburg throughout the period. Of course, Russian aims also included the protection of Christians within the empire, with particular focus in the Caucasus and the fellow-Slavs of the Balkans. The Tsardom still regarded the autonomous principalities of Crimea and Circassia as their exclusive subjects, although under existing treaties the Ottomans remained their nominal protectors as well. These considerations were certainly important to Tsar Alexander I.


    A Chronic Case
    Political Cartoon, Charles Bartholomew, 1903

    Still, the opportunity existed for the Porte to play St. Petersburg and Vienna off one another. The Habsburgs (and, indeed, the Brits) were opposed to the Russians coming to the Mediterranean, and the Russians were resentful of any attempt by the Austrians to influence the Slavs of the Balkans who were viewed as natural Slavic brothers who belonged under Russian protection. Both were distrustful of each others’ designs on the territories of Poland. Had the Porte been well-led, they perhaps could have navigated these stormy seas. Unfortunately, they were not.

    Reform efforts by Selim III, spurred on by the conclusion of a partnership with the French and in expectation of the re-eruption of war in Europe, had proved highly unpopular among the Janissary military class, whose privileged position in the Porte’s bureaucracy was directly threatened by military reforms. Many Janissaries, especially those in and around the Empire’s Turkish heartland, had very few actual military duties, instead acting as a kind of non-landed militant gentry. However, the Janissaries did command the arms of the Empire, and, just as seen with Muhammad Ali, their non-Turkish origins often allowed prominent Janissaries to carve out distinct bases of power.
    The Yamaks, recruited from the Muslims of the Balkan sanjaks, proved a particularly dangerous threat to the Porte’s authority. Indeed, the instigator of the Coup of 1807 was a Yamak by the name of Kabakçı Mustafa, who was able to call upon a small but loyal force of Bosnian militiamen (along with a number of fellow Janissaries), removing Selim III and Mustafa IV as a puppet emperor. The new regime, generally considered the first of the Janissary Aghanate, attempted to chart a middle course - to abandon the French alliance, of course, would leave the vulnerable empire at the mercy of the already-hostile Russians and Austrians. [...]

    Excerpt from: Native Title in the Australian Colonies , by Rupert Murdoch, 2002

    [...] reinforced by a number of unexpected allies: Irish convicts, transported to the continent as a punishment for participation in any number of abortive risings or nationalist organizations. The exact number of Irish convicts who fought on the side of the Australians is not precisely known - at least one was responsible for teaching Bembulwoyan some modicum of English, and it’s known that at least two Irishmen were present during the signing of the Treaty of Botany Bay, the first of the various aboriginal treaties hashed out between the British and native Australians.

    The Botany Bay Treaty is quite rightfully considered to be a landmark event in the history of Australia, if not all mankind. The figures that came together for such a step forward are giants in this particular corner of the earth, figures who have more than earned the books written about them, hailing from diverse and unique backgrounds yet coming together for an important step forward in the history of relations between people. Bembulwoyan’s nascent confederation, whose martial skills were complemented by the breakout leadership of his son Tjedboro, were given a seat at the table by figures who crossed over between the communities like Yarramundi, who would become the first Australian to marry into a Euro-Aussie family, Yemmerrawanne, and Bennelong, all of whom spoke English.


    View upon the Napeans
    Aquatint with hand colouring, Joseph Lycett, 1825

    The Botany Bay Treaty, over the span of many decades, would eventually be largely superseded by other Treaties as European settlement spread outwards from the coast. Yet legal recognition of the Eora’s traditional connection to the land, and the treatment of the nascent Confederacy as a partner (an unequal partner, yes, but a partner nonetheless) who could and should be negotiated with fairly, set a critical precedent. The bar was set for dealings with the native Australians, a standard that both the French to the West and the Portuguese to the North were forced to observe, in general. Dealings with the native Australians would not always be as equitable or fair, yet with the threat of war hanging over the European powers, it was determined that native uprisings could not be spared, and thus revolts could not be risked. [...]

    Excerpt from: The Mexican North, by Manuel Espinoza, 1999

    Despite repeated demographic blows due to occasional flare-ups of smallpox and other Old World diseases, the Comanche remained extremely well-positioned, and controlled perhaps the first real native ‘Empire’ seen north of the old Aztec heartland in Mexico. Critical to keeping numbers ‘above water’ would be the assimilation of other tribes and groups, including via the capture and assimilation of Europeans, particularly Spaniards and Spanish Louisianians. For the Spanish-Comanche relationship would prove critical for the nation’s future - theoretically sovereign over the entirety of the region from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Spanish control was in reality quite thin, and would only become thinner with the oncoming chaos that would grip the Spanish empire. The Comanche would take advantage of this, in due time [...]

    Excerpt from: The Industrial Explosion, by Robert Speedwagon, 1895

    [...] The Pyréolophore was truly an ingenious piece of technology, though even its creators were unaware of just how important it was. The creation of the internal combustion engine, quickly followed up with the addition of a functional temperature compression mechanism and an early fuel injection system, produced an invention that quite literally drives modern life, pun intended! [...]


    Reconstruction of the original Pyréolophore engine

    Excerpt from: The Third Coalition, by Albrecht von Closen, 1921

    [...] the root of the War of the Third Coalition, which so decisively shaped the future of Europe (and beyond), can be found in the bad blood between a father and son.

    King Charles IV Bourbon of Spain had the dubious fortune of presiding over two distinct embarrassments to the upstart Republican French. His popularity was low, and the loss of colonies to the French had greatly diminished his prestige, along with the prestige of the Kingdom as a whole. His Prime Minister, Manuel Godoy, was even less popular: a womanizer and flirt who had committed the grave misdeed of being an ambitious man from common background, his continued presence and closeness to the King had pushed a not insignificant portion of the nobility into the camp of Ferdinand VII, a reactionary and brutish fellow whose grim legacy is well deserved. Resentment was beginning to bubble over against the King, against his son, against the nobility. A famine was ongoing, the average Spaniard was going hungry, and there was a distinct impression in the air that the Kingdom was headed in exactly the wrong direction.

    And yet when the Tumult of Aranjuez did erupt into furious violence in April of 1808, the country and indeed the nations of Europe were surprised. The nobility were less surprised when Ferdinand sprung into action, forcing the issue to bring about Godoy’s resignation and, in time, the abdication of his father. One cannot fault Ferdinand for being an opportunist in this situation, for the state of the country was grim. Yet the tumult did not cease, and rioting began to spread. The long-starved residents of Madrid began to march, and the powers of Europe began to see grim reminders of 1793.


    The Fall of Godoy
    Engraving, Francisco de Paula Martí, 1814

    What happened next, though, remains controversial, and will likely never be fully understood. In those chaotic days, the court did not keep very good records, and lord knows that fleeing one’s home makes bookkeeping rather difficult to maintain. Some things are clear. As chaos in the streets of Madrid began to intensify, a cohort of Spanish liberals led by General Rafael del Riego made a public request to Paris for intervention, to bring about a stabilization of the country and its hinterlands, whose semi-autonomous Basque and Catalan areas had been more gripped with unrest than the core of the Kingdom. Whether the nascent popular revolt was started or at least encouraged by French instigators cannot be known, and despite the privileged position del Riego would enjoy under French occupation, his actual ties to Paris remain a mystery.

    Unlike the unfortunate Louis, the Bourbons of Madrid managed a hasty escape, and perhaps saved their necks from the guillotine. The precise thoughts of each man is not well known, as none kept a diary; of the three Bourbons claimants, only the papers of Charles V have been preserved, and are today held by the Mexico City Museum of National History. The now-former King Charles fled to the North, bringing with him a small entourage and, of course, no diary, leaving his decision to announce his resumption of the Crown to be explained only by the dubious memoirs of Godoy. The nascent King Ferdinand and Carlos, his brother, fled South, perhaps knowing that the British fleet at Gibraltar could save their skins. Still largely in command of the Mediterranean, the Balearics became King Ferdinand’s capital in much the same way that the Savoyards had fled to Sardinia. Carlos’ decision to flee to the New World would be perhaps the most mystifying if unexplained; thankfully, as stated, his papers remain, and it is possible to hear the man’s reasoning in his own words - he simply deemed being as far as possible from France, for the time being, to be the wisest course of action. Not unreasonable!

    Yet the forces of history, now set in motion, cared very little for the family drama beginning to unfold between a father and his two sons. In those days of confusion, the French soldiers who began their arduous trek through the mountain passes of the Pyrennes experienced very little opposition to Paris’s delight. For, indeed, Spain had been a particular thorn in the Republic’s side! Even with the superior numbers and training of the levee en masse, the previous two Wars of Coalition had been wholly undesirable from a tactical perspective, with France facing two major fronts, at least. The potential for success to the East had thus been constantly held back by the difficulties the army continued to face in the West, although in the waning days of the Second Coalition War it appeared that the Spanish army was on the verge of collapse. Now, the opportunity stood wide open to sweep across the entire Iberian peninsula, eliminate the second front, and be able to focus entirely on the Holy Imperial armies across the Rhine. It was as a result that the Third Coalition coalesced, as the fall of Spain would perhaps doom the rest of Europe to the French…

    Author's Note: March is always a busy month for me, so I hope this update was worth the wait! I still hope to minimize such long periods between updates, but with this being my last semester before concluding higher education, and perhaps the last year spent wholly in America, I've got quite a bit going on.... however, the past few weeks weren't spent solely on my own business.

    I have a general idea of where the timeline will be going, and I've confirmed to myself that at some stage I'll transition over to a graphic TL set in modern times, like after getting into the 20th century. A lot is still to be done, and plenty will be decided as the events unfold, but I've roughly sketched out the broad trends to take place.

    Thanks again for reading.
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    Part 11: March of the Pigs
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "And the Lion said: come and see, I have brought Hell here. Every day I will bring Hell to the strong-girded men who you send me, and when I stack their corpses high enough, I will climb your walls and bring Hell inside."

    -Record of the War of the Stones

    Part 11: "March of the Pigs"
    The fundamentals of the War of the Third Coalition

    Excerpt from: The Third Coalition, by Albrecht von Closen, 1921

    Certain historians, no doubt cheeky figures who think themselves clever, have called the 3rd Coalitionary War the ‘Second War of the Spanish Succession.’ Such an appellation, of course, forgets the theaters of the war not primarily concerned with Iberia. Yet the wry nickname does contain a kernel of truth, for the War of the Third Coalition began with the question of who, exactly, should rule Spain?

    This question, exacerbated by familial feuding, would spark a war with theaters on nearly every continent, and untold death on a massive scale. Had the Spanish Royal Family been less dysfunctional, perhaps the political situation in Spain could have been resolved, managed by the Coalition. Yet where similar Royal flights in Italy had produced Courts-in-exile on holdings that could be protected by the Royal Navy, a la the Sardinian Savoyards, the Spanish case was far more complicated. The Tumult had come about as a result of infighting between father and son, King and Heir. With the Madrid Putsch and the organization of a revolutionary militia (or, rather, a whipped-up radical mob), both men had fled from the capital to the North and the South, respectively. For the moment, legally, Ferdinand was the recognized King of Spain, having compelled his father to leave the throne.

    Ferdinand, having fled to the port city of Alicante, enlisted the aid of the Royal Navy to ferry him to the Balearic islands and officially declared war on the French Republic, in tandem with the Coalition. Despite his safety on the Baleares, Ferdinand was nevertheless unpopular with the citizenry, particularly thanks to his decision to permit the landing of Royal troops in a number of Spanish cities to occupy them and hold against the threat of revolution. Already struggling to secure his legitimacy, Ferdinand was now seemingly under the sway of the British (protected largely by British troops, his islands protected by British ships), the long reviled protestant enemy of the Spanish, giving away more Gibraltars.


    Ferdinand VII of Spain in his robes of state
    Oil on Canvas, Francisco Goya, 1815

    Over the protests and advice of the Portuguese and the British alike, King Charles took the opportunity to make his move. Full of bad blood for his treacherous son, Charles had fled to Galicia and had quickly cobbled together a loyal army. Now, with his son's popularity low, Charles declared he had been forced into abdicating under duress, and his son's current rule was declared naught but an interregnum between two non-consecutive reigns of Charles IV of Spain.

    Further, Charles declared that his firstborn would be officially disowned, and that the heir to the throne would instead be the second-born, also named Charles. The junior Charles, known more popularly in English texts as Don Carlos, had fled across the Atlantic to New Spain. Close-minded, power hungry, bull-headed and ruthlessly stubborn, Don Carlos had long sought power and it now appeared to fall into his lap. In the coming days, Carlos' position far across the ocean would become immensely important to the politics of the metropole and the empire. What exactly was the state of politics in Spain proper? A Civil War, to put it bluntly.

    The revolt in Madrid, anchored among the urban intelligentsia and the liberals of Madrid's salons, appealed to the common man more on the grounds of the monarchy's failure than any perceived alliance with France. While technically invited into the country by del Riego, to the average Spaniard the French were, at best, interlopers. The situation was worsened by the French strategy of peeling off sister republics, in this case encouraged by the Basques and Catalans who had ascended to positions of influence in the French Republic - in particular, Dominique Joseph Garat.

    Garat, the last representative of Labourd and an unsuccessful advocate for the retention of Basque autonomy in the face of Jacobin centralism, found himself with a great degree of power over the fates of his brethren across the Pyrenees. Lazare Hoche may not have been the most astute political infighter, but knew how to best use the personnel at his disposal, and Garat was one of the first civilian officials sent across the border to begin establishing governing authorities along the Pyrenees. New Phoenicia, named for the ethnological theories of the time concerning the origin of the Basques (the Phoenicians, it was claimed, had made their way along the Iberian Coast. A ludicrous theory, yes, but one Garat believed), was established with Garat himself at its head as First Citizen. Garat was tasked with whipping up Basque nationalism as well as organizing the new Republic along modern lines - the young Republic would live or die by Garat’s hand, with a Sword of Damocles in the form of direct French annexation hanging over his head.

    In Aragon and Catalonia, meanwhile, the French craftily played to both progress as well as tradition. Since the 1707-1716 Nueva Planta decrees, traditional Catalan and Aaragonese autonomy, including their respective parliaments, had been abolished in favor of absolutist centralisation in Madrid. Now, the invading French attempted to allay local concerns and discontent by re-establishing local administrations for Catalonia and Aragon, in Barcelona and Saragossa, respectively. Occupying authorities were careful not to state the exact nature of these governments, whether they were national or subnational within some future Spanish government, and the mandates for these parliaments were kept similarly hazy. In this way, the French could have their cake and eat it too.

    Responding to the invasion, and to the Jacobin regime headquartered in Madrid, local juntas began to crop up wherever a local base of power could be carved out. As the war continued into 1808 and 1809, ambitious local generals and meek former bureaucrats alike began to declare themselves for either of the governing courts, when (to quote one angry Spaniard), the ‘disillusioned second son chose to stick his nose in where it didn’t belong.’ Don Carlos, declared by the senior Charles to be his heir, now declared (much as his brother had done) that his father was unfit to remain on the throne, and claimed the throne for himself. Suddenly the two-way civil war on the royalist side gained a third side!


    Excerpt from: The Third Coalition, by Albrecht von Closen, 1921

    [...] while the offensive South had yielded no small gains, French efforts to the East had been largely frustrated in the face of more concerted German defense. Institutional reform had reinforced the Holy Roman Empire’s ability to respond to invasion, though Prussia remained resentful and leaning towards Paris, and German troops found it impossible to make a real push back across the Rhine. Instead, the French-German border became something of a bloodbath, waves of troops throwing themselves against the defensive encampments each side had spent the past few years constructing.

    To the South and East, the Ottoman and Polish fronts. An Austrian offensive into Bosnia and Southern Serbia, assisted by the Serbian legions long fostered in the Banat, had managed to capitalize against ineffectual and demoralized Turkish troops, still reeling from the Janissary uprisings that had rocked Constantanople over the past few years, and smaller local uprisings against Turkish suzerainty across the Balkans made conducting forward offensives difficult. Yet with force of numbers Ottoman troops had managed to prevent a rout, or a deeper push into the Turkish heartland.

    Poland, meanwhile, benefitted from Prussian neutrality, leaving one long frontier militarily negligible. A two- or three-front war would prove more difficult, but with Austrian forces split between the French and Turks, Polish-Lithuanian troops could focus on the Russian border. The Commonwealth’s military leadership and their French tactical advisors determined that a push to the South could yield results: the territory of Ukraine and ‘the Wild Fields,’ still settled sparsely only by bands of Cossacks and former Ottoman dependencies, had been subject to increasing centralizing pressures of centralization since the last rounds of Turkish-Russian wars. Military and political leaders alike praised both the proud independent traditions of the Ukranians as well as the past ties between Poland and Ruthenia.

    On the Italian front, the French and Italian forces decided on a ‘South-first’ strategy, designed to eliminate the last thorn in the side of Revolutionary control of the peninsula: the Kingdom of Naples. The Bourbons had briefly been pushed from the ‘boot’ of the peninsula in the 2nd Coalition War, yet a combined British-Sicilian naval-land counter-offensive had established the Bourbons in the city of Naples yet again. Yet nationalist fervor also desired the freeing of Venetia from the Habsburg yoke, conceded to the Austrians under difficult circumstances but lying right across the Padan Plain, ripe for the liberation. While the island of Sicily was largely protected by the still-unchallenged British navy, eliminating the hostile Bourbons from the Italian mainland was an achievable goal.


    On The Extinction Of The Venetian Republic
    Robert Anning Bell, 1907

    While the British navy was defending the islands of the Mediterranean, they were also on the offensive among the islands of the East Indies. There were bright spots for the Revolutionary coalition, largely thanks to allies on the ground. For instance, a surprise attack by the growing Vietnamese fleet upon the Dutch navy resulted in one of the first outright naval victories by a non-European navy upon a European one since the dawn of modern imperialism. Yet this strategy had also been co-opted by the British, who could depend on native kingdoms in Southeast Asia and the wider East Indies to keep the Vietnamese contained and, chafing under unsettled Dutch rule, throw off the Batavian yoke.

    Indeed, Britain remained largely unchallenged at sea and a constant threat to the North. Multiple French cities faced potential food shortages as grain shipments were made impossible along both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the British had enacted a doctrine of naval harassment within nearly the entire Atlantic basin. Impressment became a key strategy for the Royal Navy, serving both to reinforce troop numbers and to restrict potential trade to France, and if a ship was seen flying the flag of any power not explicitly allied to the British Empire or the Third Coalition, it was under constant risk of capture. The other edge of this sword would prove to be the entrance of the United States into the war.

    The United States and the United Kingdom had been engaged in an informal, off-and-on-again naval trade war, the so-called ‘Quasi War,’ for most of the first decade of the 19th century. The young country’s second President, Thomas Jefferson, was an ardent Francophile, and had praised even some of the greatest excesses of the French Revolution. His successor after two terms in office, James Monroe, was caught between the horns of a dilemma - a Virginia planter personally opposed to the excesses of the French revolution, Monroe had spent a great deal of his post-US-revolution career as Minister to France, and had inherited a simmering conflict between the United States and its erstwhile parent. Yet there was theoretically no need to enter a formal war with the United Kingdom, until Monroe was made an offer he simply could not refuse.

    As will be noted below, the collapse of domestic tranquility in Spain had disrupted the management of Spain’s vast New World empire. While one party to the civil war, Don Carlos, had hitched his metaphorical wagon to the resiliency of Spanish rule in Mexico, Spanish control over its colonies was made largely nonexistent by the presence of three royalist claims, each of whom jockeyed for the allegiance from individual juntas to beef up their legitimacy as well as their armies. The Madrid Government, meanwhile, cared very little for the faraway colonies when the priority was clearly to establish stable governance right at home. Colonies could be a matter of prestige, yes, but in the case of Spanish Louisiania, a colony could also be a useful bargaining chip.


    Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto
    Oil on canvas, William H. Powell, 1853

    The trade would be simple. The Madrid government, despite its insurrectionary nature, did benefit from the legitimacy of holding the Spanish capital, as well as presenting a more unified front as compared to the three-way split among the royalists. Thus, if the nascent Spanish Republic was to, say, agree to return the Louisiana territory to France, they could be well within their right to do so. And if the French Republic was to agree to sell the Louisiana territory to the United States for pennies on the dollar, giving a key ally control over the continent’s waterway and one of the most valuable ports in the world, New Orleans, they too would be justified. The 2nd Treaty of Fontainebleau would thus more than double the size of the United States - but not for long. Spain (or *a* Spain, in any case) may have consented, France may have consented, and the US may have consented, but Britain certainly did not. Thus, as the US began to move troops and officials over to New Orleans, they were greeted by British frigates in the harbor. Within just a few weeks, and just after a regency had been declared for King George III, the man who had lost the colonies, his son and regent would formally declare war on the United States.

    The ‘second revolution,’ or ‘Mr. Monroe’s War,’ whipped up no small amount of nationalistic fervor at the outset. Not all within the boundaries of the United States agreed, of course - native Americans, drawn together by the pan-Indian movement led by Tenskwatawa (‘the Prophet’) and a Shawnee Chief named Tecumseh, had held a number of back-channel discussions with the British via the remaining British forts throughout the Great Lakes area (which were cited as well for a justification for war) and believed that the only way to prevent American settler expansionism was to ally with the British - but broadly speaking, the public was in favor of the war. Even the Federalists of New England, generally more Anglophilic, were whipped up in the momentum of events, with the growing importance of French trade to even New England playing no small part. The United States seemed entirely united against the British menace - little did they know the disaster this war would bring.

    Author's Note: Since it's been a longer writing process than I'd wanted, I decided to split the 3rd Coalition War into two posts - background in this one, resolution in the next one. Next post should be far sooner, assuming the process works out well.
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    Part 12: Welcome America
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "The three greatest fools of history have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote — and I!"

    -Simon Bolivar

    Part 12: "Welcome America"
    The War of the Third Coalition in the Americas

    Excerpt from: The Foolish Fatherlands, by Óscar Amalfitano, 1985

    [...] the collapse of Spanish authority let loose the seething, bubbling undercurrent of popular discontent which had gripped Spanish America since the conclusion of Túpac Amaru II’s revolt. That revolt, which had seen the successful capture of Lima by rebel forces and forced a general settlement between the rebels and the Viceroyalty, had fostered a highly autonomous neo-Incan elite led by Amaru II himself, his royal lineage recognized and much imperial land title restored.

    That title had passed to Andrés Túpac Amaru, the II’s nephew, lately Amaru III. Amaru III was the de facto leader of a rising Aymaru and Quechua elite in the Viceroyalty of Peru, whose extensive influence among the indigenous peoples of Upper and Lower Peru made him and his advisors the real center of power in the region, not the Viceroy. The region had garnered a reputation for producing strong military leaders, many women among them, and Amaru III (through his local subordinates) could call upon an ad hoc army of many thousands - something he very well did following the Tumult in Spain. Headquartered in Cuzco, Amaru III’s army began to establish a government parallel to the legal authority emanating from Lima as early as 1808. With the collapse of the royalist side into feuding claims, the position of incumbent Viceroy José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa was made precarious - who, if anyone, should he declare for?


    View of the Spanish troops’ entrance in the city of Quito in 1809
    Oil on Canvas, Francisco Javier Cortés, 1810

    An ardent absolutist monarchist, Sousa chose the senior Carlos, and was quickly “replaced” by candidates from each of the rival candidates (though neither of these replacements could actually make the trip). This move was generally smart, and necessary, and was likely responsible for Sousa’s ability to hang on (for dear life) in the coming years. Yet the declaration generated discontent in the ranks from the already-shaken Spanish armies of Peru, and limited the offensive military moves he could make against Amaru III. Largely in control of the Peruvian highlands and the Inca heartland, Amaru III moved to champion his late uncle’s cause, and officially declared the restoration of the Inca State. The State’s de jure claims were quite wide, yet de facto Tupac’s territory was hemmed in: to the South, the La Paz junta was locked in combat with loyalist forces, and a number of smaller juntas had been established, contributing to a general chaos. To the North, Sousa’s operationally limited yet tactically powerful force of royalists held Lima and much of lower Peru. Local authorities in Chile came out on the side of Sousa, yet even during the height of Spanish control over South America, control over Chile and its governance from Lima had long been hazy. The thin strip of mountainous territory slipped, too, into civil conflict between royalists, federalists, and centralists.

    To the North were other declarations of independence. The first came from Caracas, soon bringing about the establishment of the First Republic of Venezuela, though much of the Republic’s claimed territory was in fact held by royalists of different shades. Complicating matters would be chaos in Bogota, the center of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. Fighting broke out between differing royalist factions, providing an opening for the establishment of the Junta de Santa Fe and its subsequent declaration of independence. Yet while this nascent state claimed possession of the entirety of the Viceroyalty, the area it held (known as Cundinamarca) was in reality quite limited. Other nationalistic juntas had arisen to the North and East, and much of the coasts remained in the hands of royalists. New Granada’s royalists were split between the rival claimants, yet the revolutionaries, too, were split between Federalists and Centralists. In this turbulent period, a number of distinct declarations of independence were passed by major juntas. To the West, the aforementioned unitary Free and Independent State of Cundinamarca was joined by the Federalist United Provinces of New Granada, which claimed the entirety of the former Viceroyalty. To the West, the First Republic of Venezuela was formally organized into the American Confederation of Venezuela, which itself would be overrun by Royalists, only to be re-established yet again in 1813 as the Second Republic of Venezuela, headed by creole patriot leader Simon Bolivar.


    Simón Bolívar in La Paz
    Oil on Canvas, José Toro Moreno, 1920

    To the South, the May Revolution had outright removed the reigning Viceroy of the River Plate, bringing political chaos to the region. A new Viceroy was appointed in the city of Montevideo, while a series of wobbly juntas in and around Buenos Aires attempted to settle questions of regionalism or centralization through military force, sending out armies against both royalists as well as rival juntas being established in areas nominally within the Viceroyalty. One such area, the Guarani-dominated region later known as Paraguai, secured its independence fairly peacefully, with the local royalists largely too inept to prevent liberation. While nominally part of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, by 1814 authorities in Buenos Aires were unable to re-establish control. For by then the Viceroyalty was split in twain - to the West, the Liga Federal, formally the League of the Free Peoples, and to the East, the Centralist Congress of Tucuman. The former, headquartered in Montevideo and extending into the region known as Mesopotamia, while the latter controlled Buenos Aires and much of the sparsely populated hinterlands of the country.

    The one bright region for royalism was the far North, the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Having relocated to Mexico City upon The Tumult, Don Carlos had carved out a base of support for himself among the powerful Creole landowners of Mexico, eventually gaining firm control of the entirety of the Mexican heartland. Yet control of the periphery evaded him, due in no small part to his priorities: Don Carlos, at the time, only saw himself as an exiled King, and his forces were largely concerned with planning trans-Atlantic landings upon the Iberian Peninsula. Don Carlos (a thoroughly thick-headed man) was generally unconcerned with the chaos unfolding in South America, and was even dismissive of the nascent revolts unfolding in Central America. The only real concern he had was a French-backed American invasion through Louisiana - a concern shared by the British, who obligingly intervened in Carlos’ stead (though this was mostly motivated by self-interest on the part of the Brits, who saw American control of the Mississippi as an existential threat to Prince Rupert’s Land and islands like Jamaica).

    It would be Carlos’ illusionary control over the periphery that would doom him, though. His reign was from the start not particularly popular among the criollos and the emerging American-born middle class, who regarded the young pretender as an unwelcome usurper. Others still, beginning to dream of a distinct Mexican identity, found the Iberian hegemony he directly represented to be a threat to their aspirations. They, however, found it difficult to act out as some were doing in South America, though a number of informal Congresses were organized, and Mexican equivalences of the Stater ‘Committees of Correspondence’ began to build up an intellectual tradition, as well as a deep bench of patriots - figures like the pastor Miguel Hidalgo, wealthy businessman Vicente Guerrero, army captain Ignacio Allende, and many others. Yet while Carlos counted upon the support of Conservative landowners, on the edges of the Viceroyalty those who had begun to stake their claim to the vast stretches of land found themselves increasingly left out to dry. It was at this time, with the Brits and Spanish alike wholly distracted, that the Comanche began more concertedly to consolidate their hold over New Mexico and the plains of Spanish Texas.

    The Comanche economy, at this time, relied heavily on raids and what trade could be conducted through the Comanchero trading class. Raiding and the capture of European or Creole settlers had gradually grown the Comanche population, though central political institutions were fairly ephemeral. In the 1780s, a number of Comanche chiefs had decided upon a single figure to represent them at peace negotiations with the Spanish. This man, a chief named Ecueracapa, had died around 1793, and had been followed by Encanaguané, whose death in 1810 brought a man named Tahuchimpia to the position of war chief. Generally speaking there was little need to negotiate with the Comanche before war erupted in North America. After hostilities began, though, the Comanche were recognized as important regional stakeholders.

    For any campaign into Louisiana, and any control over the territory, relied heavily on how permissive the Comanche were feeling. Don Carlos, characteristically, was largely uninterested in anything that did not concern Europe. The British, though, saw the Comanche as a distinct threat to the stability of the Louisiana territory, and thus their campaign against the United States. Additionally, it was clear to anyone with half a brain (thus excluding Don Carlos) that the British in fact held ambitions towards the Louisiana territory, particularly in regards to the Mississippi River and the extraordinarily valuable port of New Orleans. To work with the Comanche would be to cement British control over this contested land. To this end, intermediaries who spoke English and Comanche (as well as Spanish) were recruited to put out feelers. Yet again, the Comanche were faced with the need for some sort of central political figure, a role that would be filled by the young Tahuchimpia.


    War on the Plains
    Oil on Canvas, George Catlin, 1834

    The place that was chosen for negotiations would be the central watering hole of Comancheria, an area later known as Big Spring. A small permanent post would soon be established there, creating a permanent European ‘embassy’ in Comancheria for the first time. Negotiations would prove fruitful, both sides walking away mostly happy - the Comanche would continue to receive European manufactured goods, particularly firearms, as well as fine riding horses. The British were comfortable turning a blind eye to Comanche raids, as long as they were directed to the South and West, away from Louisiana. Thus, the British were comfortable with the knowledge that the British rear would not be raided or harassed by Comanche war bands, and additionally knew that if a permanent British presence were established in the Louisiana country, there would be a healthy trade of Comanche furs, meats, and goods waiting for them.

    As the War of the Third Coalition progressed, British interests turned more and more to the re-establishment of significant British influence in North America. In mid 1811, the Red River Colony was founded by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, creating an agricultural colony that extended civilian settlement further into the Great Prairie. Without an active player in Central America, the British moved to secure their claims in Belize, opening a new fort and naval base on the island of St. George's Caye, solidifying British control over the contested area. Just to the South, an uprising by the Miskito people, a long-time British ally along the coast of Honduras and Nicaragua, rose up in revolt and expelled the Spanish from the capital of Bluefields, re-establishing the Miskito Kingdom under George Frederic Augustus I, himself largely guided by the newly-reappointed British superintendent, the physical representation of the re-established British protectorate.

    The invasion of Spain helped bring about a new dawn for the ailing French navy. For many years, dating back to the burning of the old navy in Toulon, France had been pressed in on all coasts by the Royal Navy, and found it eternally difficult to resupply foreign holdings in the Indies, Australia, or the Caribbean. Yet the interbellum period had provided a useful reprieve, and a valuable time for construction. Adding to this was the capture of the Port of Cartagena by Revolutionary forces, where a sizable share of the Spanish Armada had been located. The rejuvenation of France's naval strength could not have come at a better time. Île-de-France, in the Southwest Indian Ocean, had been seized in an ambitious British naval raid by 1812, and the growing port of St Aloüarn in Western Australia was only barely hanging on with the assistance of local native allies. Critical to French naval success was the entry of the United States to the war, providing pressure upon the British Atlantic Fleets that France’s other allies, Poland and Turkey, could not provide on their own.

    On that note, a brief aside, to examine one of the stranger episodes of naval history. In 1811, a Stater sailor, unsuccessful pirate, and recreational seal hunter founded his own country. Yes, really. Landing on the uninhabited island of Tristan da Cunha, Mr. Jonathan Lambert of Salem, Massachusetts, became the first man to permanently settle upon the desolate rock. Accompanying him was an Italian man named Tomasso Corri, an Englishman named William Stukeley, and a fourth named Andrew Millet - as well as Mr. Stukeley’s wife. The five began to busy themselves growing grain and raising pigs (and, in the case of the Stukeleys, children). Lambert, displaying more than a little of the grandiose insanity he would gain so much prominence for, declared the island, less than half a dozen people large, to be an independent princedom under his reign as Lambert I.

    Yet the little islet became the center of military controversy when a frigate and a merchant vessel, British and Stater, respectively both sought to resupply there. Whichever side he chose would surely incur the wrath of the other! Caught between the horns of a dilemma, Lambert was saved by what he declared in his memoirs to be an “Act of the Lord,” though in reality it was an act of booze. On the night of January 14th, 1812, a drunk sailor on the British vessel knocked a cigar (stolen from the captain’s supply), stumbled and lit up an unsecured powder supply on the ship’s lower decks. The resulting explosion flung burning rubble far and wide, which quickly set the Stater merchant vessel alight! Suddenly, Lambert found himself the de facto leader of a straggling band of British and Stater survivors, hundreds and hundreds of miles away from homelands which did not yet know what would happen…


    The story above is, no doubt, an amusing anecdote, with individual men and single vessels playing their roles like actors in a play. Yet the confrontation in the seas around the Islands of Refreshment (as the islands had been named by Lambert) also works as an encapsulation and simplification of the Anglo-Stater theater of the War of the Third Coalition: namely, a British frigate destroying a United Stater trade ship, with no small amount of sheer luck playing an important role.

    The Stater land forces had achieved some minor success in the wars’ early days, advancing past the St. Lawrence into British North America and Quebec. Yet years of cuts and mismanagement under successive Jeffersonian administrations had left the army, and especially the navy, in poor shape for conflict. The Royal Navy quickly asserted naval supremacy along much of the US’s coast (though the move required diverting some ships from the mission of harassing French shipping, thus fulfilling one of Paris’s goals when it brought the US into the war in the first place!), and had thus staved off the threat of the Canadian Maritime Colonies being cut off by land with largely unchallenged resupply missions by sea.


    Combat between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere
    Oil on Canvas, 1813, Michel Felice Corne

    Early Stater land successes were further undercut by the overstretching of their lines and the difficulties of resupplying through a largely hostile hinterland. Enemy tribes continually launched hit-and-run guerrilla attacks on Stater convoys and harassed the Stater rear whenever a larger-scale push was attempted into British-held territory. Any military movement around the Great Lakes ran the risk of coordinated Native-British guerrilla strikes on supply lines, leaving the initial successes of the invasion high and dry - literally, with a wave of dysentery at one point spreading through the Stater ranks thanks to contaminated water supplies.

    By the Spring of 1814, Stater offensives had generally stalled and in many places had been forced to retreat for lack of adequate supplies. British forces, some still stationed in de jure US territory in a number of Midwest forts, proved implacable to the militias raised against them, and by the end of the season the Brits had taken Fort Detroit. Yet worse humiliations were yet to come, and at the height of summer, August 1814, the British marched (largely unopposed) through the streets of Washington D.C., and sacked the US capital. The Presidential Mansion and the Congress were both torched, with British soldiers infamously taking possession of the meal left in the Mansion (for the President and his wife had fled on very short notice), and toasting to the health of Mr. Madison. The spectacular occupation of Washington, D.C., though lasting only a few days before torrential rain forced the British out, was a complete and utter humiliation. Worse yet, and oft-overshadowed by the rout at Washington, was the subsequent occupation of Baltimore and the sacking of that city as well.

    Worse yet would be the ill-fated battle of New Orleans. Acting without authorization from Washington (or, by then, Philadelphia), Major General Andrew Jackson led an army of some six thousand recruits, militiamen, and allied Natives, into the Old French Quarter of New Orleans, having severely underestimated the number of British troops occupying that city. Nearly the entirety of the Stater contingent, including Jackson himself, would be surrounded and slaughtered by a British defending force a size and a half larger than what the young Major General had mustered. While the destruction of the capital city had been a serious blow, the abject failure to take New Orleans (whose theoretical purchase had been the entire basis for the war!) convinced a number of influential Stater politicians that the conflict was largely in vain. For opposed to the war from the start had been the Federalist Party, long-unsuccessful yet highly influential, who garnered more and more support as the ill-prepared military foundered.


    Battle of New Orleans
    Oil on Canvas, 1815, Jean Hyacinthe de Laclotte

    The United States would fall largely into a defensive posture for the remainder of the war, and British forces began a push into the Northwest Territory and across the Eastern Seaboard (at one stage seriously threatening New York City, though such a landing was dissuaded by poor weather). The 1814 election was a rout for the Jeffersonians, as the Federalist Party seized control of both houses of Congress for the first time. Yet the circumstances and the conduct of the election were quickly called into question.

    The failures of the past decade and a half had only served to enlarge Hamilton’s influence, and worsen his distrust of the “rabble” and the masses. In response, a somewhat shadowy elite began to cultivate power behind the scenes. Some especially paranoid Jeffersonians began to decry the influence of Freemasons over the proceedings, yet it could not be denied that outside organizations, particularly the Society of the Cincinnati, the country’s premier hereditary military order (and, as some believed, aristocratic society). With most popular elections held under threat of British military incursion, and a general state of mayhem having set in both on the coast and in the periphery, the election of much of the House of Representatives and many State offices were dubious, at best. Chapters of the Society of the Cincinnati, along with Federalist grassroots organizations like the Washington Benevolent Societies, largely selected the winners from among their own ranks. Tellingly, the winner of the 1816 Presidential election would be Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, influential Federalist and chairman of the Society of the Cincinnati. Even before the election, the United States had sent out peace feelers to London, a process which accelerated with Pinckney’s victory as well as with the general process of peacemaking that brought the War of the Third Coalition to a close.
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    Part 13: It's No Game, Pt. 1
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    "It is now the middle of July, and we have not yet had what could properly be called summer. Easterly winds have prevailed for nearly three months past ... the sun during that time has generally been obscured and the sky overcast with clouds; the air has been damp and uncomfortable, and frequently so chilling as to render the fireside a desirable retreat.!"

    -The Norfolk Intelligencer

    Part 13: "It's No Game, Pt. 1"
    A summary, at the end of the Third Coalition

    The War of the Third Coalition came to an end not with a bang but rather with a whimper - many whimpers, thousands of them, as Europe began to starve in 1816. The end to the war came not from the action of any king, and was quite uncaring of the whims of conquerors. Instead, 1816 proved a critical and catastrophic year for the entire world, thanks to a volcano far from the prying eyes of spies and soldiers.

    Mount Tambora, one of the tallest peaks of the East Indies, erupted catastrophically over the first few weeks of April, 1815. The noise of explosions could be heard for miles around, and observers in Batavia (then under British occupation) recorded vast clouds of smog and gas rising titanic leagues into the sky. This plume of ejected material, a colossal amount of fine ash particulate, happened to coincide with a period of low solar activity as well as a period of unusually frequent volcanic activity, bringing about the Year Without a Summer: 1816.

    In the days and weeks following its climactic final eruption on April 10th, an estimated 100,000 people would die across the Indonesian Archipelago, including the complete obliteration of the local Tambora Culture, about which very little is known today. Yet the deaths that would result from the period of global cooling brought about by the eruption, a volcanic winter, would be a degree of magnitude larger. If the nations of Europe were at peace, perhaps the Year Without a Summer would have been an unfortunate low point for the continent, with scattered hunger and difficult times. Instead, the Year Without a Summer compounded with the stresses of war on a continental, if not global, scale, and caused untold death and suffering.


    Temperature Map of the 1816 Summer Temperature Anomaly
    Source: NOAA

    General crop failures occurred across much of Western and Central Europe, particularly severe in Southern France, Northern Spain, and parts of Ireland and Britain. The systems of cultivation, already stretched to the brink from the demands of the increasingly vast armies necessary to wage war, in many places began to give out altogether. Hunger struck the poor worst of all, yet even the rich did not eat particularly well. Food stockpiles were depleted quickly and, in some instances, broken into by angry food rioters and dispersed among the needy. Even the most tactically sound supply lines began to collapse, and by early 1817 all sides were ready to call a halt to hostilities in order to respond to the crisis.

    The Truce of Amsterdam, signed in the Batavian Republic, was by design quite temporary. Very few territorial changes were recognized, and most active conflict zones were essentially frozen in the status quo. French and Italian forces had, for instance, successfully taken Naples, and the Bourbons had fled to Sicily, yet control over the peninsula was still contested. The Spanish Civil War continued apace, though military movements had simplified the fronts greatly: the French continued to occupy the East, the Republicans still held the center and the South, and the Senior Charles held the Northeast, much of the Portuguese border and Galicia, and Ferdinand remained safely stationed on the Baleare, with his British allies holding a number of port cities and the Canary Islands. Russian forces had made gains along the Polish front, seizing much of de jure Lithuania, as well as occupying parts of the Danube Principalities of Romania along with their Austrian allies. The Turks, dealing with coups and intrigues in Constantinople, were essentially forced to abandon their protectorates in Romania and Serbia, and a Greek uprising had begun to achieve some success to the far south of the Balkans.

    Yet for now, all sides appeared willing to compromise. Lazare Hoche was, for one, no longer President of the Directory, having been replaced in 1815 by the far more conservative Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès. While Hoche was a military man, and a ruthless one at that, Sieyès was a former abbot and had long attempted to strike a balance between the most revolutionary changes that the revolution had brought about and France’s traditional social backbone. Perhaps it was his religious background as a Catholic that saw French forces, having captured Rome, largely leaving the Pope alone, other than imposing a fairly lax ‘house arrest’ in the Vatican. To the Coalition, this move flagged that the government of the Republic had taken a more conservative, and reasonable, turn, and peace feelers were soon put out by the British to prominent Dutch diplomats in the Hague. At the end of the day, the Truce was a no brainer - nearly every country in Europe was in crisis, along with large parts of the Americas and Asia, and after some 8 years of conflict, even the most bloodthirsty warmonger was exhausted (and hungry, for that matter). To this end, an examination of those countries will follow.

    BRITAIN (and Ireland)​

    William Wyndham Grenville, the 1st Baron Grenville, had by 1817 been Prime Minister for the past ~4 years, following the collapse of the Second Portland ministry. The Second Grenville ministry was the second unity government under the Baron Grenville, including the inheritor’s of Charles James Fox’s political movement (the so-called Foxites) to create a broadly liberal-leaning government. Persistent debates surrounding trade restrictions had undermined Conservative unity, and while the ascendent liberals favored a more broadly laissez-faire trade regime, many prominent parliamentarians continued to advocate erecting new tariff barriers in order to protect British agriculture against the pressure of cheap grain from the continent and especially from North America.

    The circumstances of the Quasi-War with the United States, and the subsequent ‘Second Anglo-Stater War’ had already put pressure on the grain trade, though, and the past decade and the rise of widespread crop failures had quieted much complaining about the protection of British agriculture, as it appeared that on its own the farmers of Britain were wholly unable to adequately feed the country. Any effort to restrict the import of grain would certainly result in the worsening of persistent food riots and the expansion of famine. On the contrary, the conclusion of hostilities was widely hailed for the possibility of new grain shipments without French or US harassment of British shipping. Relief agencies began to be set up in hard-hit areas of Wales and Scotland. However, it would take until major political reform, the Acts of Union of 1817, for relief to come to Ireland.

    Grain relief, and even the promise of Catholic emancipation by Grenville, were extremely effective incentives that the government could dangle over potentially uncooperative Irish Peers in Dublin, and the fusion of the Kingdom of Ireland into Great Britain was a popular measure among the Protestant Ascendency of the island. A number of small, nascent Irish revolts had sprung up during the past few decades of war, yet the specter of a larger uprising sparked by food shortages and hunger hung over Dublin Castle and Westminster alike. In 1818, King George III became the first King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Accompanying the Act of Union would be the Act of Catholic Emancipation, passed in both houses by the thinnest of margins, allaying the fears of many Catholic stakeholders that Union would bring about new degrees of oppression. Emancipation had been opposed by George III, yet by 1818 he was near-utterly insane, and his regent and son, the future George IV, was largely ambivalent on the issue. Instead, Grenville and his whips argued that Union without Emancipation would in fact worsen the chances of a general Irish revolt, not lessen them, and provide a key opening for the French in the conflict to come.


    Anti-Catholic Emancipation Political Cartoon: The Testimonial - to be erected in the Phenix Park Dublin
    Hand-coloured etching, William Heath, 1829

    Indeed, everyone recognized that conflict would inevitably return to Europe. Once the current difficulties passed, as they no doubt would, conflict between the Revolutionary Bloc and whatever Coalition that would oppose them would surely erupt, and thus Grenville’s concerns beyond the borders of the United Kingdom focused on keeping allies close and nullifying potential threats. One such threat was the United States.


    The peace process for the American Theatre of the War had actually started well before the general armistice process began in Amsterdam, and the US was the sole revolutionary power to sign a formal treaty with the coalition. For the US had seen near-total defeat on all fronts, and now found itself forced to accept nearly any peace plan which may be imposed upon them by their victorious once-overlords.

    Early fears of wholesale re-annexation by Britain, raised by the Jeffersonian Republicans (in opposition for the first time in the country’s history), were quickly dispelled when it became clear that the Brits were uninterested in trying for another go-around in the 13 colonies. Rather, the Treaty of Baltimore was designed primarily to nullify the threat of the US in future conflicts with Revolutionary France. Northern Maine, contested by the US and Britain, would be ceded to the latter as the Colony of New Ireland, and the United States would rescind its purchase and claim over the Louisiana country. Tecumseh’s Confederacy, key to Britain’s recapturing of the contested Northwest Territory, would be recognized as the independent Indian Border State long envisioned by British officials in Montreal. However, the US would not wholly abandon the Northwest Territory, as it deemed ceding those areas already highly populated by Staters to be a bridge too far, and Tecumseh would be forced to settle the boundaries of his Confederacy at lines similar to those set out by the Treaty of Greenville, despite his personal hatred for that agreement.


    Map of the Great Lakes region of North America, 1821

    In the end, the Brits resolved not to punish the U.S. too greatly. Forcing the Staters to cede too much territory would only engender revanchism and likely spark future conflict, while the actual aims of Britain was to nullify the North American theater as well as the naval conflict over Atlantic shipping. The Brits were thus accommodating to the demands the Staters were in a position to make - those lands already ceded to, and settled by Staters, like the Vincennes Tract and lands south of the Wabash river, were not included in the new Indian Confederacy, despite Tecumseh’s wishes. More unclear would be the status of the area known as 'Little Egypt,' with the Southern tip of the Confederacy left vague in official documents.


    Sieyes took the reins of a French government that was nearly bankrupted, militarily extended, and in dire straits socially. Twenty years of near constant societal and military upheaval had worn down even the most revolutionary Frenchman. Yet the Jacobins remained a significant political force in the National Council and in the Directory proper - more or less half of both bodies, and a significant share of those Jacobins leaned towards the radical left. Any efforts to shore up the societal foundation of the French Republic that appeared to roll back the reforms of the past few decades would be viciously attacked in the government and in the radical press as a reactionary affront. The Sans-Culottes remained a non-insignificant constituency, necessitating great caution. Yet to do nothing would doom the future of the republic.

    Sieyes was already on shaky ground in the eyes of the left. The republican press trumpeted that the former Abbé was intent on restoring the cardinals to power, with one newspaper running the headline that Sieyes intended on ‘CROWNING THE POPE AS KING IN THE NOTRE-DAME’ - the relatively lax treatment of the current pope, while popular abroad (especially when compared to what was essentially the murder of the previous Pope) and among conservatives, had generated scorn on the left. Yet revolutionary faith movements, including the Cult of the Supreme Being, and the Cult of Reason, both of which had been instituted under Robespierre and continued under his successors with varying degrees of support, had minimal support outside of urban centers. Some level of Catholic worship, either tolerated or forced underground by the government at varying points, remained dominant in the countryside. Traditionalist views still held sway in rural areas, and while most major royalist revival movements had been nullified, the hinterlands of France represented a point of concern for Paris.

    To this end, Sieyes was heavily constrained in the sorts of societal changes he could make. Sieyes was able to bring together a slim majority among the 500 members of the Legislative Council to end the criminalization of Catholic worship, and under his watch a number of prominent religious critics of the government were freed from custody. Yet the control the French government began to exert over Catholicism was deeply worrying to theologians abroad, and indeed it was at this time that French Catholicism essentially began to diverge from the Roman Catholic Church. For all the religious dissidents freed by Sieyes, the Pope was kept under French-enforced house arrest in Rome, largely prevented from making public appearances or pronouncements, and silenced from speaking his opinion as religious reform continued apace in France. In a stroke, Paris came to exert a strong degree of direct control over even the lowest grassroots level of the Catholic faith.

    For instance, the French government reserved the right to appoint each and every parish priest, took control of the French translation of the Bible within the country’s borders, and reserved the right to alter Catholic doctrine for worshippers within the country. Of course, many of these powers would be assumed only later on using a somewhat expansive view of those laws which had been passed to regulate the relationship between church and state, as no conservative or royalist would back such a radical proposal if it had been specifically enumerated. Yet the powers were there, hidden between the lines.

    Religion was still an illogical and unreasonable holdover from the distant past for the radical left, and those thinkers among the fervent republicans began to consider the means by which logic, reason, and science could be extended to all realms of society. It was now, a generation after the revolution had come to pass, that the most important theorists of political economy began to write their masterworks. These philosophers of the natural and industrious world, observing the radical break with the past the revolution represented for society, sought radical steps forward of their own.

    Henri de Saint-Simon, born to an aristocratic family in Paris, knew where the wind was blowing with the beginning of the Revolution in the 13 Colonies. As France began its own radical transformation, Saint-Simon tried to find his own break with the past in the emerging field of economics. The door was unlocked by Adam Smith (Saint-Simon’s personal hero), and now Saint-Simon would throw the gates open and, as he would say, “exposed the inner workings of the world to the piercing light of reason.” Saint-Simon wholly rejected both the old three-estate model as well as the inefficient economic institutions that had defined feudal Europe, and believed that the revolutions of the Atlantic world had planted the seeds for a transformation into the natural state of humanity - an ‘industrious society,’ where reason and economics determined the economic laws which governed man’s activities (for, Saint-Simon argued, all activities were economic, and all history could be reduced to successive waves of economic change), where men advanced or were reduced in proportion to their industriousness and merit, not their birth or background, where indeed the government would keep it’s hand from the workings of the economy and would instead operate solely within the spheres of national defense and diplomacy, working to create the most ideal circumstances under which men could work and build and create. While Saint-Simon preferred to call his modes of thinking ‘industriousness’ or ‘Smithian productiveness,’ the nebula of his works and beliefs would come under the label of Saint-Simonism within his lifetime. Within his lifetime, too, he would see his ideas become some of the ruling notions of his country.


    Lithograph after a photograph of a plaster bust of Saint-Simon.
    Lithograph, Mansard, 1859

    Saint-Simon was probably the most practical of the great French thinkers of the era, though even he was perhaps half-mad. François Marie Charles Fourier, meanwhile, was no doubt fully mad: Fourier believed that if his ideas were not adopted, and society did not improve, humanity ran the risk of being replaced as the dominant species on Earth by the ‘wise and industrious’ beaver. What did the beaver have that Fourier so admired? Cooperation, perfect social harmony, and the exact allocation of goods to needs. It were these tenets, among others, that Fourier believed would be valued in the perfect world to come - for, indeed, the utopia of which he dreamed had to become a reality, in his eyes - it was inevitable. For Fourier the French Revolution was but a first step towards a final, radical transformation of the entire world, organized into units of ‘Phalanxes’ numbering perhaps twelve hundred strong, with each allocated a specific role that he or she would follow for life.

    More practical than Saint-Simon, though surely far more boring, was Jean-Baptiste Say. It is not an exaggeration to acknowledge Say as the founder of the field of neoclassical economics, and his ideas on the relationship of demand and supply were largely accepted as law for nearly a hundred years. Over the course of his career, Say would provide an academic foundation as well as a set of achievable policy goals, and in this way was perhaps more influential and more successful than his colleagues. However, Say did not argue as Fourier did that humans would live to be
    one hundred and forty-four years old, of which all but the last twenty years would be spent primarily pursuing blissful sexual love, nor did he agree with Fourier that new species such as the anti-bear and the anti-whale (both docile and as highly industrious as their human compatriots!) would emerge with the transformation of the world, so he is generally far less interesting to write about.


    Hohenzollern Prussia was the odd duck of Europe, and had been for near two decades now, thanks to the decadence of the Royal Court, with Frederick William II at its helm. Here was the downside of royal absolutism in action - a great system when you could call upon the services of a Frederick the Great, not so much when you were left with his not-so-great son. Frederick II was, without any exaggeration, a fat and indolent layabout, constantly in poor health due to his prodigious weight (he was known popularly by his subjects as der dicke Lüderjahn, literally ‘the fat scallywag’) and, in stark contrast to his father, had very little patience for the nitty-gritty world of conflict and diplomacy, greatly preferring to host lavish balls and eat his weight in rich food.

    Having been forced to accept a humiliating peace in 1795, losing all Prussian enclaves past the Rhine, Frederick William decided that war simply was not for him, and allowed such concerns to take a back seat to other affairs of state, namely dances and fine architectural projects. It was at this time that Berlin began to undergo transformation into ‘the most beautiful city in Germany,’ highlighted by the erection of the Brandenburg Gate and the construction of the Marmorpalais just outside the Kingdom’s capital, and it was also at this time that Frederick William meekly acquiesced to a decidedly poor deal at the Congress of Regensburg, with the Hohenzollerns losing much of their interest to the West and gaining only a contiguous Franconian state in exchange, barely breaking even in terms of square acreage.

    In spite of his poor health, Frederick William would rule well into the late 1810s, gout-ridden and obese, slowly whittling away the state’s finances and allowing the military to fall to pieces. A stroke in 1819 felled him, at long last, and the people mourned him only out of necessity. A charitable assessment of his reign would note that he had never been properly educated by his ‘Great’ uncle, and would highlight the artistic and religious steps he had managed to achieve during his time on the throne. An uncharitable assessment, and the one largely preferred by German historians of the coming centuries, would note that Frederick William II gave his successor, the ‘quivering and indecisive’ Frederick William III, very little to work with.

    Frederick William III was a man cursed with poor luck. His father, whose reign had disgusted Frederick III yet left him no recourse to affect positive change for the Prussian state, had delivered him onto the throne of a Kingdom with a number of fancy buildings, lovely palaces, abysmal finances, a poorly maintained military force, and essentially no prestige in the international space after some two decades of sitting on the sidelines. Frederick III was further cursed with an indecisive, nervous attitude, made doubly worse with the passing of his first wife in 1810. Princess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz had been a forceful woman, uncommon for the time, and would no doubt have swayed the new King in a positive direction had she not been felled by a botched goiter operation [1]. Louise had been the keystone of the loose circle of advisors and experts who had begun to assemble with the goal of reforming the Prussian state, yet after a near-decade long gap between her death and the ascension of her widower, the cabinet who would advise the perpetually-nervous Frederick III was of mixed quality.


    Portrait of King Frederick William II of Prussia
    Oil on Canvas, Johann Christoph Frisch, 1794

    [1] this one was tough to determine. IOTL she died in the same manner, after a goiter procedure. Her death and poor health would popularly be blamed on French occupation, which left me wondering whether she would survive ITTL; however, even when performed by the best surgeons under the best of circumstances, which an unoccupied Berlin probably gave the best shot at, the procedure still had a ~40% mortality rate, so I felt justified in not really butterflying her death away.

    Author's Note: I've just completed my (last ever!) round of uni exams, and while I had written an update bit-by-bit during the study period, I opted to split part of it off as a separate update (a part I, as you may note above) and finish the rest in another update, so as to keep the wait between posts shorter.

    Also, I've created a Discord server for the timeline, feel free to give it a look. I'll be charting progress, working on WIPs, and asking research questions - if enough knowledgeable people join!

    Thanks again.
    Part 14: It's No Game, Pt. 2
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "They that die by famine die by inches."

    -Matthew Henry

    Part 14: "It's No Game, Pt. 2"
    A continuing summary, at the end of the Third Coalition


    Princess Charlotte of Wales
    Oil on canvas, George Dawe, 1818

    For the United Kingdom, the price of peace appeared to be one more life. Although very young at the time, Charles Dickens would later write of the interwar years that "the entire country seemed draped in black, and among the graves of soldiers and the paupers who starved on every street corner, the Princess joined the shadowed mass of departing shades."

    For in early January of 1818, Princess Charlotte of Wales, heir apparent to the British throne and beloved of the entire Kingdom, would die in childbirth. Such a thing was not uncommon, in those days, and Dickens was not wrong to include Charlotte among the multitude of deaths in those difficult days. Yet Charlotte's death was on a completely different level, sent the King permanently into a spiral of madness, and left the entire nation in mourning. Her death, for a time, would overshadow the son she died to bring into the world, baptized Fredrick Louis Augustus. At great cost, the British monarchy had secured an heir.


    For the Russian Empire, a tipping point was near, though the Tsar's subjects did not yet know it. Tsar Alexander I, “the Blessed” was infamous for his contrarianism, described as the ‘biggest baby in the world’ by Austrian foreign minister Metternich, and yet ruled over (at that time) the most expansive land empire on earth. Alexander’s priorities seemed to switch by the minute - to one diplomat he would be magnanimous, merciful, honorable, and to another he would be domineering, authoritarian, downright hateful at times. He was impossible to work with, simply speaking, and yet spurned advisors and subordinates who tried to guide him - and he only got worse with age.

    By 1820, Alexander had been driven further and further from his early liberal beliefs by the deaths of his two young children and the stubborn continuation of France and her sister republics, along with the repeated inability of the forces of reaction to reverse the revolution. Indeed, it was remarked that “every day which Paris passed under the Jacobin calendar, the Blessed himself seemed to grow in resentment.” Russia seemed to sag under a weight, like a machine overheating in the hot summer sun, a massive weight sitting on the chest of the empire.

    The institutions of the empire were built on near-constant geographic expansion, yet expansion had slowed over the past few decades after internal revolts and external defeats. Russian agriculture was infamous for inefficiency, and the traditional prerogatives of the wealthy landowners (particularly to own the lives of their serfs) made any effort to reform agricultural policies nigh-impossible. The past decades had followed the usual model of Russian agriculture: over-intensive agricultural production, worked entirely by bound serfs, the exhausting of soil quality, and the move to newer pieces of real estate upon which the cycle could continue. Yet military defeats had left quality land in short supply, and the traditional breadbaskets of the Ruthenian and Ukrainian heartlands had been stretched thin. The Russian poor began to go hungry at an alarming rate. Boyars and landowners seemed content to squeeze what profits they could from their pseudo-enslaved serfs, while the officer class of the Russian military was gradually overtaken by second or third sons of landed aristocrats, possessing little real military experience and instead largely pursuing what pedigree they could not inherit with their elder brothers in the way.

    Some among the elite and the intelligentsia did dream of a brighter future. Nascent Jacobinism and strands of humanism grew, quietly, in the intellectual underworld of the country’s universities and cities, and the institution of serfdom came under growing scrutiny among a cohort of thinkers and writers, in committees of correspondence, referred to euphemistically in pamphlets and literature to evade the eye of censors. Loose networks of change-minded leaders began to coalesce, slowly but surely.

    Alexander, made aware of the growing undercurrent of dissent through his corps of spies, vacillated between direct oppression and benign indifference, depending on what suited his whims and moods. Sometimes, he would order arrests, while on other occasions he would invite dissidents to a private audience and promise that change was coming. Fundamentally, though, domestic affairs came to disinterest the ‘infant on the throne,’ and Alexander began to style himself as the chief protector of tradition (competing, as it were, with the Holy Roman Emperor, who will be examined shortly) and the guardian of Christian europe against the “two headed beast of atheism and islam, France and the Turks.” A roadblock stood between Moscow and Paris, however, and the Tsar was frustrated by the obstinate refusal of Poland to be conquered.


    The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, though forced to make territorial concessions to secure a peace at the end of the War of the Third Coalition, stubbornly clung to independence through the interbellum period. The throne had passed to the House of Wettin, creating a personal union between the Electorate of Saxony and the Commonwealth under Frederick Augustus I, Prince-Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Yet this personal union united two fundamentally opposed powers under a single man, leaving him ‘between a rock and a hard place.’ Frederick Augustus was forced to tread the line between the obligations of being a member state of the Empire, and his obligations as King/Duke of the Commonwealth.

    To this end, a careful state of highly limited hostilities had to be engineered to avoid any kind of internal conflict between two realms under one man. To this end, marginal territories in the Polish Galicia would be ceded to the Hapsburgs, while a state of non-aggression would be codified between the Empire and the Commonwealth. In prior years, the members of the Empire could conduct diplomacy and prosecute warfare fairly independently. However, since the Reichsreform, the King of Saxony’s role of Arch Marshal had taken on more formal importance, and Augustus I had personally overseen the reorganization of the Empire’s defenses. To have the nominal head of the Empire’s collective armies simultaneously ruling a Kingdom at war with the Empire was obviously a non-starter.


    Tomb of Anna Jagiellon, completed 12 November 1596
    Sigismund's Chapel, Krakow.

    The Treaty of Krakow, which ensured peace between the Commonwealth and the Empire in exchange for limited territorial concessions, quickly became highly unpopular among the more militant members of the Polish nobility. At the confluence of nascent nationalism and the jealous guarding of the ‘Golden Liberty’ was the nobility of the Commonwealth, who found themselves under a German king at a time when war between France and Germany was a constant reality. The nobility and the monarchy had often found themselves at loggerheads, particularly over the degree to which the Commonwealth would centralize political power in the person of the King. Any degree of centralization would naturally see the Golden Liberty restrained, yet the past decades of extreme external instability had seen the gradual rolling back of aristocratic prerogatives, usually couched in the rhetoric of national defense.

    The Treaty of Krakow pushed those tensions to the limit. Among the lands ceded were a handful of noble houses and aristocratic land, and needless to say aristocratic consternation was significant. A small noble rebellion kicked up in the southern Commonwealth in mid 1815, yet was quickly put down by Polish armies ostensibly mobilized for the war, now turned on the citizens of the Kingdom. What followed was, in simple terms, a brutal and efficient purge. The privy council was dissolved, and a number of prominent landowners in Warsaw were arrested on suspicion of supporting the brief revolt; most weren’t involved in the slightest, yet Augustus took the opportunity to restrain the traditional autonomy of the landed nobility in favor of a more modern, centralized system. Aristocratic prerogatives had been slowly and surely rolled back over the course of nearly three decades of constant, brutal war, and the last gasp of the Golden Liberty was systematically put down.


    A time of disaster for most of Europe was a period of immense opportunity for the Portuguese empire. The midpoint of the decade, 1815, saw the reorganization of the Portuguese empire into a pluri-continental political entity, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. The UKPBA stretched across nearly every single populated continent: anchored in Africa in Angola and Mozambique, in South America by the elevated Kingdom of Brazil, in Asia by Portuguese India and the Port of Macau, as well as in Timor, and on Australia with the port of Cristóvão de Mendonça and the city of Piedosa on the Greater Tiwi Island. The Spanish hegemon, usually dominant over Iberian affairs, was in pieces. Ferdinand’s Court in Galicia and Leon had permitted Portuguese garrisons in certain cities, extending Lisbon’s influence East, and Portugal had gained a position of prominence in the anti-French coalition as a naval power second only to Britain. The chaos of the Spanish American independence wars had allowed Portuguese colonial troops to capture the Banda Oriental and the region known as Mesopotamia from the Platans of Argentina. On the other side of the world, the ailing Dutch Empire had been overtaken by Portugal as the most prominent power in the eastern East Indies.

    Yet beneath the glossy exterior were roiling crises waiting to leap free. The metropole was largely backwards outside of a handful of large cities, underdeveloped, poorly educated. Artificial monopolies over swaths of land and resources, granted sometimes hundreds of years prior by Kings long since dead, undermined the ability of Portuguese entrepreneurs to innovate and kickstart an industrial revolution. While the country’s far smaller population as compared to other European powers could be somewhat offset when Brazil and the colonies were included, the greater portion of colonial citizens were unreachable and undraftable. Much of Brazil was still reliant on agricultural plantations manned largely by slaves, and the empire often seemed more trouble than it was worth.


    The Acclamation of King Dom João VI of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
    Oil on canvas, Jean Baptiste Debret, 1834

    Of particular concern was the growth of liberal sentiments across the newly-United Kingdom. Queen Maria I’s severe depression from the late 1780s onwards had left a vacuum of power filled by her absolutist son and regent, John, who ascended to the throne after her death in 1815 as John VI. John VI’s reign was marked by conflicts within and without, suffering through family crises, a series of unhappy marriages, nascent liberal revolts, and the coming of war to the gates of Portugal.

    Brazil would prove a constant headache for John. Brazil had overtaken Portugal as the most populous subdivision in the UKPBA decades prior, resistance to the subdivision of the Kingdom into more manageable territories made colonial reorganization impossible. Nascent independence movements had to be put down periodically, and fears were high that Brazil may become a “second Haiti.” The North, Center, and South of Brazil were essentially isolated from each other culturally, demographically, and economically, and across the Kingdom a growing class of creole and native-born elites had been taking note of political developments across the Americas. Why, after all, should a tiny country an ocean away rule a vast swath of land in the New World with a distinct culture and a population larger than its forebearer? This question would prove critical in the years to come. For now, though, pacified by the elevation to Kingdom and slowly coming into its own, Brazil would stay peaceful.


    The one region of Europe where conflict did not cease through mutual agreement or by the necessity of starvation was Spain. The boundaries between claimants had stabilized, and in some places frozen, yet despite the hunger of the peasant, they fought on.

    To the Northwest, Charles IV and his loyalists remained in control of the provinces of Galicia, and much of old Leon. Charles seemed to be aging more rapidly than ever, and it was evident that the Court would soon be rudderless. Yet the prospects for his replacement were not ideal: his first son, Ferdinand, remained holed up in the Balearic Islands, with his and his British allies’ men left holding just a scattered handful of southern coastal cities. While Carlos was desperate to mount an expedition to make his glorious return to the mainland, he very much lacked the capability, and had lost the few footholds he had in Europe over the intervening years.


    Worst yet was the rapid success of the Republican forces on the field. The erstwhile Valencian and Southern Cantons had been brought under the government in Madrid, the rival Toledo government had been vanquished, and much opposition in Grenada had been quashed. The famines which gripped the countryside drove formerly loyal peasants into the waiting arms of the Liberales, and their ranks swelled. On 11 February, 1823, the Spanish Republic was declared in Madrid.

    Yet all was not perfect for the young Republic. The French, who had invaded Iberia supposedly to foster the success of the Spanish Revolution, had not yet left the areas it occupied. The French still maintained provisional regional governments in Catalonia and Aragon, both of which did not recognize the jurisdiction of Madrid, and worse yet had peeled away the Basque provinces from Spain with the creation of New Phoenicia. Madrid and Paris began to trade barbs over these areas and those liminal zones still under French military governance, and the young Republic made clear it would refuse to recognize the independence of a Basque Sister Republic on claimed Spanish territory. As the saying went among the political class in Madrid - “if Garat was so desperate to create a state for the Basques, he should have done so in Labourd, and left Biscay alone!”


    The War of the Third Coalition was both a vindication and an omen for the reform platform of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. On one hand, the defenses rallied by the Empire were successful in keeping the French from seriously marching across the Rhine as it had in conflicts in the past. The success was limited, of course - the Empire was once again proven unable to reclaim the Left Bank, and the Rhine border remained a heavily-militarized meat grinder that swarms of young Germans and Frenchmen were thrown against and obliterated by. The extent to which the Reichsreform improved the military position of the empire was primarily important in defensive terms, with the offensive capabilities of the Empire’s armies still hamstrung by the retained independence of national military commands.

    The careful balance that Francis II and the newly-appointed Metternich wanted to strike was between preserving the traditional independence of the small German states, and preserving the Holy Roman Empire in the face of an existential threat which required a degree of military and political unity generally impossible to a multitude of petty Kingdoms, Principalities, and Duchies. Of particular annoyance were the Ecclesiastical states, a thorn in the side of any consolidation-minded emperor, once again a stumbling block for any secularizing (and useful) reforms.

    While the geographic reorganization of the empire had yielded some results, with the expansion of Further Austria providing a useful land corridor to the military frontier, it had also yielded significant discontent. The creation of the Duchy of Franconia for the Hohenzollerns had predictably angered the Bavarian Wittelsbachs, who'd long sought the expansion of their realm, and while the alliance with Britain made Hanoverite electorship an acceptable short-term proposition, the sentiment was growing that allowing an English King to vote on German affairs was something of an affront - for, after all, how long would the alliance with Britain last? Larger polities sought the absorption of their smaller neighbors and particularly the Free Cities enclaved within their territories, while smaller territories jealously guarded their sovereignty despite the undeniable military and political efficiency of larger political units.

    Metternich’s role in the Imperial Court would prove critical to the diplomatic stature of the empire. The clear determination was made that the primary threat to the Empire was the French Republic - while Poland and even the Ottomans were allied with the French, and both presented a danger to the Empire, it was the radical and revolutionary French that would, if allowed, no doubt overrun the countries of Germany, split the Empire from within and without, obliterate the Church and its lands, and slaughter the Emperor. A common joke of the time among the more sardonic of the German intelligentsia went thus:

    “Why do the French keep trying to cross the Rhine?

    Because the Kleinstaaterei means there are so many ruling nobles to put into the guillotine! The French want to get to the buffet!”


    Some ten years into the rule of the Janissary Aghanate, ruled by the Yamak Kabakçı Mustaf through his puppet Mustafa IV, the Ottoman Empire seemed in dire straits.

    The rule of the Janissary Class was, it must be said, deeply unpopular within the Empire. The Agha lacked legitimacy, even when holding the puppet-strings of the Emperor-Caliph, whose loyalty was always questionable. Paranoia gripped Mustaf’s circle of advisors, who realized the nominal Emperor could establish an independent base of power and strike against the Janissaries, as his predecessor had tried to do, and fears of an assassination attempt against the leaders of the Coup that had brought the Aghanate into power left the chief Janissaries fearful for their lives.

    The Empire’s diplomatic standing similarly left much to be desired. The coup leaders, and the Janissaries writ large, had come to power in opposition to the perceived Francophilia of Selim III, and in general were not in favor of the French alliance. Yet the coup’s proximity to the beginning of the 3rd Coalition War, paired with subsequent Russian and Austrian incursions into Ottoman territory, had pulled the Empire into the war on the side of France regardless. Now, with the powers of Europe taking a collective breath, the Aghanate could take the opportunity to diplomatically realign Turkey.

    The terms of the Treaty of Belgrade, for the nascent nationalists of the Empire, were less than ideal. Constantinople would withdraw its protectorates over Crimea, Circassia, Serbia, and (perhaps most embarrassingly), the Romanian principalities. Crimea and Circassia, formerly shared between Russia and the Ottomans, would fall under exclusive Russian protectorate, as would the Dacian states of Moldavia and Wallachia. Serbia would create a Regency Council, rumored to favor a Hapsburg for the throne, bringing the young Principality well into the Austrian sphere of influence.

    Yet the Treaty of Belgrade also allowed wholesale diplomatic reorientation away from the French bloc. A ten-year period of neutrality would be established with both the Austrians as well as the Russians, and the alliance founded with Paris would simply be discarded, much to the displeasure of the French. Yet they were unable, or unwilling, to corral their erstwhile partners. For the time being, the Ottoman Empire would choose to turn inwards.


    The continents of North and South America spent the first decades of the 19th Century consumed in flames. From the chaos of the Viceroyalty of New Granada to the unrest of the Mexican provinces under Carlos, from the bubbling war between Rio de la Plata and Brazil to the brutal mountain warfare between Spanish loyalists and Incan nationalists, to live in the New World was to live through war. Only time would tell what sort of New World would emerge from the ashes…


    Author's Note: This took far longer than expected, but I'll be moving forward from here as I settle in to a new place and a new job. As usual, the goal is to minimize time between updates and lean into the graphics, but we'll see how that pans out.

    Once again, there's now a Discord server for the timeline where I've been getting some very helpful historical insights and advice from those with expertise. If you have any interest in helping to guide the TL going forward, feel free to drop in.

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    Part 15: Short Disco
  • headersmall2-png.795583

    "A cat that can catch mice doesn't purr."

    -Chinese proverb

    Part 15: "Short Disco"
    Cultural and economic developments across the Eastern World
    Excerpt from: Personal Writings of an East India Companyman by Hugh Elliot

    [...] yet, moving beyond Awadh was quickly made impractical, purely for a lack of manpower and sufficient arms to threaten the Hindustani heartland.

    Indeed, the road seemed open and clear to the old Imperial capital of Delhi, where the Moghul Khan himself, ripe for the plucking off of his chair! But my urgent letters, in fact, my begging, went greatly unheeded. Of course, I do not dispute the need for arms that the looming war in Europe demanded, and I could not deny the threat of daggers pointed into the heart of the Kingdom from across the channel [...] still I wonder what could have been. Before us fell the Moghuls and Marathas in kind, and the squabbling feuds of native Princes a grand chance to retake much of what had been lost prior. What was given was paltry at best, and could not truly be leveraged into success on the battlefield.



    The Indian Subcontinent in 1825


    and thus distance from the brutalities of war played an important role in Bengal's economic development. Isolated from the fervours of conflict, governed not by a Kingdom readying for war but a Company with distinct realities, Bengal became a hotbed of economic activity, commerce, and industry. Calcutta ballooned in size, growing from around 120,000 souls in 1750 to more than half a million by 1800, growing out and up to meet the demands of entrepreneurs and the state for hands and work. Textiles, long a premier art of India, became the backbone of the Company's production, with centralized textile Mills coming to dominate the urban landscape of not just Calcutta, but many prominent Bengali cities. Seemingly overnight, the mighty waters of the Bengali Delta were tapped - Dhaka became known as "the city of waterwheels" for a reason. [...]

    Excerpt from: A New History of the Continent of Australia, by Erina Pendleton, 1899

    To live on the Australian frontier was to know bloodshed, intimately. Windradyne's early successes against the small farming settlements which dotted the countryside surrounding Botany Bay and Sydney obliterated much of the progress achieved by convicts and colonists alike. Indeed, it was said that 'the British had slaughtered the kangaroos and now the natives would eat beef.' A low-intensity insurgency, mostly cattle raiding, slowly escalated as Windradyneand his cohorts were emboldened. A counter-raid against Windradyne's home village found the area abandoned, emptied and scoured for goods.


    Statue of Windradyne, aka the Chief Saturday
    Botany Bay, New Wales, Cooksland

    Yet among the deserted settlement was found a single rifle cartridge, determined to be of French make. Of course, it had been unofficial British policy to conduct diplomacy and supply covert support to the aborigines along the Western coast of the continent, in an effort to displace the French settlement of St. Alourane. Yet to find that the French were returning the favor came as an unpleasant shock, and sparked significant recriminations regarding native policy. The Botany Bay treaty had proved quite inadequate for the purposes of securing a colonial frontier as settlement had expanded beyond a narrow strip of coastline, and it was determined that new negotiations were necessary.

    However, Britain chose to first strengthen their bargaining position by improving their strategic position. Some small amount of exploration had already been conducted towards the Southern coast, and a naval fort had been established on the northern tip of Van Dieman’s Island, yet it became apparent that the only route covert French support could flow through was the Bass Strait. To this end, the colony of Charlotte was settled, centered on the small settlement on Sullivan Bay, and the United Kingdom officially claimed Van Dieman’s land.

    In response, French expansion accelerated to the South as well. Having already concluded tentative agreements with the Malkana, Yinggarda, and Nhanta tribes, a formal treaty with the Noongar allowed an informal claim to Nouvelle-Vendée, to yield the settlement of Nouvelle Poitiers at the continent’s most Southwestern point. Australie had been a convenient method to relieve political dissent at home, and the new colony’s nomenclature reflected the large presence of exiles from France’s politically conservative northeast. While successive radical governments had maintained the settlements around Turtle Bay as something close to penal colonies, a more politically centrist government under Sieyes had seen a shift in colonial policy. Most political prisoners, while not permitted to return to the Metropole, were essentially given rights as freeholders, and allowed to move South. The territory of New Vendee was thus quite royalist and generally conservative, and was from the start dominated by legitimist exiles who sought to regain their former glories as hereditary landholders on a new continent [...]

    Excerpt from: Selected Writings (1920 - 1969) by Nguyễn Sinh Cung

    Particular note should be given to the economic development of the Mekong Delta during this time. The conquest of the Mekong region, largely from the Champa, was largely completed by the dawn of the 19th century, yet the Mekong River Delta remained largely untamed and untapped, under only tenuous control from the imperial city of Hue. The nationalist concept of Nam tiến, the ‘march to the south,’ involved the settlement and, indeed, colonization of the wild Mekong Delta. Key to this strategy was the city of Saigon, captured in 1798 as a base of operations for the Ngyuen against the Tay Son. While the military frontier against the Siamese lay nearby in the Khmer heartland, the growth of Saigon became a prominent aim of the Vietnamese and French alike. For French missionaries, Saigon became the primary point of contact to the Ngyuen, and likewise, for French investors, Saigon became the most prominent port of call.

    Saigon was a convenient relief valve for the burgeoning class of wealthy Frenchmen abroad, seeking to escape both war and a Jacobin class they inherently distrusted, and proved a little oasis for Gallic traders. “Le Quartier Français,” known today in English as Saigon’s Frenchtown, blossomed overnight (in spite of the climate which so many Frenchmen despised) into a heart of investment for the growth of domestic industry in Vietnam.

    Excerpt from: A New History of These Islands, by Koesno Sosrodihardjo

    [...] it was unpredictability that truly ruined the Batavian project in the East Indies - an irony, considering that the capital of said realm, in Java, was titled Batavia.

    Colonial administration and treaty obligations across Southeast Asia were made problematic by the realities of war. Java in particular was invaded and counter-invaded numerous times over the first three decades of the 19th century, having switched allegiances through naval landing and native revolution some three times in the Great Revolutionary War alone. Qualified administrators and Dutch merchants fled the colony, and during periods of British occupation, admirals and occupational authorities usually preferred not to stay.

    By the mid 1820s, European control over Sumatra and anything East of the island of Java, save Portuguese Timor, was ephemeral at best. The best example of this could be found in the Padri movement of Sumatra, an Islamic revivalist movement intent on expunging syncretized practices, the adat. Despite appeals to the Batavian officials and the British navy alike, little was done as the movement grew across the Minangkabau highlands. The establishment of the Padri Sultanate went little-noticed in Europe, by then already consumed by the renewed fires of war, yet marked a significant failure for European colonial policy in Southeast Asia.

    With colonial influence restricted to just beyond the boundaries of Batavia/Jakarta, native states began to pay little heed to the whims of the foreigners. Anglo-Batavian competition did continue: Bali fell to British occupation in 1817, and the Straits settlements were reinforced, as per the policy of Resident Governor Sir Stamford Raffles of Bencoolen. As noted above, the Portuguese Empire remained in control of the island of Timor, and grew to include the island of Flores by 1821. Batavia retained the nominal fealty of the petty kingdoms across the islands of Sulawesi, the Moluccas, and southern Borneo, but in reality they did not have the military presence necessary to actually bend those states to their will.


    The experience of the ailing Spanish administration in the Philippines was similarly difficult. The collapse of colonial authority across the Americas was not precisely replicated in the Spanish East Indies, though the chaotic questions of legitimacy did provide an opening for native powers, the Sulu and Maguindanao Sultanates, to re-assert territorial control after decades of military pressure from the Spanish. Instead, a Manila Junta was assembled, composed largely of Filipino creoles. Long ignored in favor of peninsulares, an undercurrent of nationalism had been gradually growing for some decades as the creole intellectual class grew in wealth and clout. It was this community, close-knit and independently minded, which was thrust into the spotlight with the collapse of royal authority eliminating from Madrid.


    Reproduction of the flag flown by the Manila Junta

    The Creole government set about expanding its governance beyond Manila, exercising control over native armies and ensuring local delegations were managed, at least on a de jure basis. The acting governor-general, Mariano Fernández de Folgueras, had long been favored in Manila for his well-known sympathy to creole governance. Folgueras earned the favor of locals when he made his opposition to the importation of Peninsulare administrators well-known, earning his place as something akin to a figurehead executive of the Manila Junta. While fealty was theoretically still paid to Madrid, in practice this was the birth of the Filipino Republic.


    The rise of the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam was not ignored by the region’s other major power, the Rattanakosin Kingdom of Siam. The ascent of Siam had been about as swift as Vietnam’s: despite having only been founded upon the ashes of the old Thonburi Kingdom in the early 1780s, the Lao principalities of former Lan Xang had been conquered or forced into a tributary relationship by the 1810s. Yet Vietnamese expansion to the south, and the subjugation of the Champa, proved a direct menace to the Thai.

    The main bone of contention would be over the lands of the former Khmer Empire of Angor. Cambodian lands, rich and densely settled, had been in a state of flux since the fall of Kambuja, and now proved ripe for the picking by both Vietnam and Siam. Small skirmishes broke out over the region between the two, including minor proxy conflicts after an usurpation of a pro-Vietnamese kingdom by pro-Siamese forces resulted in a power struggle around the area of Phnom-Penh. Yet the two would fully come to blows by 1826, when a pro-Siamese revolt in an area of Vietnamese suzerainty resulted in a full-scale invasion of Cambodia by Thai forces.

    Through their base of operations in India, British support of the Rattanakosin Kingdom turned the war with the French-backed Nguyen Empire into a full-scale proxy war, foreshadowing the Great Revolutionary War which would erupt in the next few years. Of course, neither side knew this for certain, though both knew that as agricultural conditions improved at home, conflict seemed likely. Yet until then, both Britain and France opted for a strategy of war-by-proxy. This is not, of course, to say that the Siamese-Vietnamese wars of the early 19th century were merely pawns acting out parts in a larger game. Yet the international dimension of the Anglo-French conflict cannot be ignored, and indeed would prove critically important to the coming development of Asia, and the world.

    The long prosperity of the Qing Empire came to an end in the first decades of the 19th century.

    Long the richest and most powerful polity on earth, Manchu-ruled China faced existential threats to its continued prosperity though the 1800s, and ultimately proved unable to survive near-continuous assaults upon its stability from both within and without. China entered the 19th century amidst the brutal and catastrophic White Lotus Rebellion, and to put it simply things did not get much better for the Celestial Empire in the years to come.

    Putting down the White Lotus Rebellion had been costly, bloody, and largely incomplete even by the 1810s, some thirty years after the revolt had broken out. A smaller offshoot of the White Lotus movement struck perhaps a greater blow against Qing rule than it’s progenitor ever had: the Eight Trigrams movement, led by a sect of the White Lotus millenarians, stormed the Forbidden City and managed to kill Crown Prince Mianning, heir to the throne and favorite son of his father, the Jiaqing Emperor. Heartbroken, the Jiaqing Empire became something of a recluse, and the court eunuchs usurped yet more power. Rumors persisted of eunuchs who backed the Eight Trigrams and perhaps even permitted them access to the Forbidden City, yet the historical record ran dry. The Emperor died, a pale shadow of a man, some five years later in 1818. The Qing ‘tradition’ of eldest sons failing to succeed their father would continue.

    In the place of Mianning, Prince Miankai would ascend to the throne under the era name Huijing (恢徑), ‘restored path.’ Yet any effort of the new emperor to put the Qing Dynasty back on a path to stability would prove for naught. Rebellious millenarian movements continued to plague the countryside, roving corps of bandits managed to seize control of entire towns as the domestic economy slumped and livelihoods dried up, and the Forbidden City became a hotbed of complicated political intrigue as court officials began to scrabble only for their own pockets rather than the success of their country. It was a time of decay.

    Mianning proved inept and easily-swayed. Manchu eunuchs convinced the emperor to reinforce the Willow Palisade system, diminishing legal migration into Inner Mongolia and the Northeast Provinces, and increasing penalties for those farmers who had already moved into the old Manchu heartland. Theoretically this move could be framed as an effort to restore traditional Manchu prerogatives in their homeland after centuries of sinicization within the ethnically Manchu leadership of the Qing Empire. In reality the scheme was one among many designed to increase tax revenue, partially to fill a growing gap in the imperial coffers, more likely a means by which new opportunities to skim funds ‘off the top’ could be created. Simultaneous schemes attempted to levy new tariffs on trade with the outside world and even to increase tax burdens on peasants, in the end only serving to increase discontent.

    Indeed, much as the Proclamation Line of 1763 proved a turning point in the development of a distinct, and rebellious, identity among the 13 Colonies, the re-emergence of the Willow Palisade gave rise to a restored vigor for Han nationalism. The actions of the outside world did not go unnoticed among the intellectuals of the empire, and sympathy for the White Lotus and Eight Trigrams movements became fairly widespread among the average Chinese villager - the Qing crackdown had been fierce and perhaps indiscriminate, and when paired with increased taxes and decreased opportunities to settle elsewhere, generated even further unease. Things would not yet come to a head, but the foundation was laid for the chaos that would soon follow.


    Lin Qing, leader of the Eight Trigrams Movement
    Sketch, anonymous,,1813
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