WI: Russian Malta

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Bad@logic, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Bad@logic Well-Known Member

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    During the negotiations for the Third Coalition in 1805, one of Russia's demands for entering the coalition was that Malta be evacuated by Britain. The British, desperate to have Russia as an ally, ultimately accepted to this, and prepared to seize Minorca from Spain instead as an alternative base (something which was by no means assured of success). However, while the orders for this were en-route, Napoleon annexed Genoa, Austria thus entered the alliance, and the Russian demand was scratched.

    So what if Napoleon held off the annexation of Genoa for a period of time, and Malta was evacuated by the British, becoming independent but with Russia as the protector of the order, per Alexander I who styled himself "Protector of the Order." What would be the long term effects of Malta being independent, if under Russian influence, and Britain not having it as their base in the Mediterranean? Would they have to instead pursue Minorca to the detriment of relations with Spain (if that is even possible, since it might not be possible to take it), or do without a purposeful Mediterranean base of a whole?
     
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  2. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    If it ends up with almost the same as OTL, Crimean War included the island will fall to Britain anyway.

    Post-Napoleon I can see the Greeks being armed and supplied from Malta.

    One thing is sure, the Russians will deport the Catholics, most of them at least. The island will be then populated by Orthodox Greeks. Russia had this in mind with Menorca during Catherine the Great's reign.
     
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  3. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like an incredibly stupid idea, if only because that would be an immediate pretext for war by the Catholic nations surrounding the island.

    Seriously, Spain, France, and/or Italian nations would jump at the chance to protect the Maltese while removing Russian influence, especially since the latter’s power projection would be very weak.
     
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  4. Bad@logic Well-Known Member

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    I find it doubtful that there would be no butterflies for fifty years of Russia holding an important Mediterranean naval base and a dramatically different Mediterranean strategic outlook.

    Furthermore I find it unlikely that the Russians would deport the Catholics, when they are formally the "protectors of the Order".... Paul I may have been the most exaggerated in his support for the Order, but I doubt any of the later ones are going to decide to ethnically cleanse the region.
     
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  5. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    I imagine that there might be an attack by some of the states of the Barbary Coast. Though I wonder if the Spanish and Italians fighting to avenge the Maltese would be better for the French or British. The Corsairs raided plenty of European or Christian areas for centuries, but if they manage to sack or enslave a large portion of an entire island it might draw even more attention to the event. Apparently states in the area never stayed around long enough to smash any of the pirate ports completely, but this might spur them into action. And if not? Well, it would make whoever comes to occupy the area much more appealing, and possibly open space for some colonists.
     
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  6. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    The order has already left Malta. And Paul I reign ended in 1801. So Alexander I will decide. Considering Catherine the Great had these plans for Menorca for religious reasons that doesn't mean Alexander I will stop going for it.
     
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  7. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    It is in the middle of the Napoleonic war. Countries will not stop to avenge Malta. Not until there is peace in Europe. And I doubt the Barbary corsairs can enslave the Maltese population, not even in hundreds. By this time the Russian Navy was one of the best + they also have a base in Corfu. There is no way a succesful raid happens without a Russian rescue operation.
     
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  8. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    The Napoleonic Wars had various gaps between them. The base in Corfu does suggest they would be able to move over pretty quickly. And I didn't mean to imply the majority of the population would be enslaved but... Come to think of it, this was after Napoleon had come through the area on his way to Egypt. According to the tour guides when I was on the island, he grabbed whatever was valuable as he left. So the big stuff inside the fortified city would be gone, and not much to grab in the countryside or areas where raiders could strike. And of course the Corsairs would have no way of knowing about the transfer of sovereignty... Yes, the Corsairs would mostly be a distraction, though those come up at times during wars.
     
  9. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    Wait, I thought the whole potential deal with Russia would see the Knights of Malta return to the island and become a protectorate of Russia, which presumably does not mean all Catholics get deported in the process.
     
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  10. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    During the Napoleonic War the French won't be a problem. Napoleon has other ideas than guarantee the Freedom of Maltese Catholics. Post 1815 they will likely protest but they can't do much against the Russians. In 1815 Russia is the strongest landpower in Europe and one of the best Naval powers. Spain is no match to the Russians in the early 19th century. If it was the 18th century with Menorca I'll give Spain a chance, likely to succeed as well. I won't even talk about disunited Italian states, they are no threat for the Russians.

    If a possible deportation happens and with succes, it has to happen between 1800 and 1814. Nobody can or will enforce/demand the return of Catholics to the islands. After 1814, the British and French will form an anti-Russian alliance. The British for Naval dominance, the French to regain power status in Europe.
     
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  11. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire Gone Fishin'

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    Well that is an option and most likely with Paul I who had good ties with the order. Alexander I, who values his believes more than the ties with order. For strategic reasons having an Orthodox population on Malta secures Russian rule against future Frencg threats. The Russians were not kind to Polish Catholics nor Crimean Greeks for the same (strategic) reasons. Why would they changw for an island with a much smaller population?

    I don't know what you would do if you were Alexander I. But if before 1814, I would definitely go for it to guarantee it. You'd have a loyal Orthodox population between the Catholic and Islamic lands.
     
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