Xianfeng's Map Thread

Just a place for me to dump my maps so I can catalogue them better--a forum doesn't really have the most intuitive interfaces for looking back on previous posts. Feel free to comment on the thread, though I'll likely reply more in depth to questions in the Map Thread proper.

My maps aren't the best, and I rely mostly on Microsoft paint, so do be forgiving if possible. Some of the older maps were positively...well...disgraceful, made in my less-experienced, low-effort days.o_O

EDIT: I also adore rambling on and on about inspirations and whatnot in this thread, so be warned.
 
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[Series] Katyusha Series
This was my first series of maps, when I just had far too much time on my hands and could engage in wildly long write-ups. Looking back at it, it's implausible, repetitive, terribly sinocentric and somewhat uncreative, with the maps being fairly unpleasing too look at, but I do look upon it fondly as my very first maps. The sinocentric part is fairly obvious in how my only Neo-stalinist leader I could come up with was Lazar Kaganovich in the 90s of all things. It also features my first (and as of today, last) foray into wikiboxes, which I honestly didn't enjoy making all that much. The write-ups were fun though.

Territorial Evolution of the PRC
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The Second Warlord Era
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On the morning of another snowy March 15th, 1969, a Soviet patrol met a force of 300 men planting the Chinese flag on Zhenbao Island. The Soviet patrol opened fire and picked off a dozen Chinese soldiers, yet one armored car was no match for the combined fire of hundreds of men, finally forcing the armored car to flee for the nearest Soviet outpost. That very day, the Chinese consulate in Moscow was recalled, and the gears of history seemed set to destroy yet another empire, be it China or Russia.

The second Sino-Soviet War was to many, an inevitable conflict between the two communist behemoths; on the contrary, the short stalemate that followed was unexpected, as the entire Eastern Block bearing down on China and Albania could not prevent the fall of Vladivostok and the collapse of Soviet resistance in the East. The initial Chinese offensive proved successful beyond belief with Mao receiving reports from across the northern border of a string of Chinese victories. Very soon, Chinese forces were bearing down on Vladivostok.

This string of victories did not last in the West. With the arrival of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe, Chinese ragtag armies that were ever intended for holding the line crumbled before the Soviet advance, while Chinese forces became bogged down in guerilla warfare on the Mongolian front. The UN made efforts to mediate a peace, however, negotiations came to an abrupt end with Chinese forces finally punching through Soviet lines after the one-month siege of Vladivostok. The admiral of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, had other ideas. Using whatever token forces that were left not bombarding the Chinese coast, Vladivostok was destroyed with the turn of a key.

From this point on, dozens of nuclear devices would be detonated, for strategic and morale purposes alike. Sometimes they would hold back an offensive for a few days, but for the most part, both armies pushed forwards relentlessly. By this stage of the war, radiation sickness would kill many, many more than the war itself. The second city to be destroyed in nuclear hellfire would be Harbin, which was answered by twin strikes on Irkutsk and Soviet occupied Urumqi. Ulaanbaatar, Hohhot, Tomsk and Karamay would follow suit.

3 years, 90 million deaths and 7 cities of various sizes destroyed later, it was clear that there was no way the war could be continued in any reasonable manner. The Soviet Union had been bled dry, and China, while far from said situation had seen her industrial heart of Manchuria devastated. War was impossible if the either the CCCP or the CCP were to survive. In mid-1972, an armistice was signed, and a demilitarized zone was to be established along the Sino-Soviet border. Both nations claimed victory—the Soviets proclaimed that they had gained a new SSR in East Turkestan; while the Chinese proclaimed that they had finally reclaimed Outer Manchuria after over a century.

The CCP would however have precious little time to celebrate. On October 10th, 1972, just three months after the 2nd Sino-Soviet War, Project National Glory was launched as Chiang, with limited American backing saw that the time was right to reclaim the mainland. The PRC, just reeling from its previous war finally collapsed under its own weight. While the PRC’s centralized nature had made initial Nationalist attempts to sway provincial leaders end in repeated failure, the disappearance of Zhou Enlai and his presumed defection to the Nationalists would prompt the civilian government of Fujian to defect and other pro-Zhou forces to join Chiang’s cause, albeit begrudgingly. In a mere month, the Fujian front had went from a stalemate to a complete Communist rout.

The domino effect that followed would see the central government under Mao Zedong lose its Western provinces, most notably the Sichuan commune under Deng Xiaoping. This combined with the riots that had risen throughout the nation, the rebellion of Tibet, and finally, the capture of Shanghai left an insane, frothing Mao who constantly screamed for non-existent forces to defeat rebellion after rebellion and plug in gap after gap. This would end in heir-apparent Lin Biao leading personal forces into Zhongnanhai and placing Mao under arrest. Arrest was however not needed for Mao would put a bullet through his own head instead of face capture and humiliation. Curiously though, Jiang Qing would disappear without a trace.

Lin would then bring whatever forces that would heed his command to bear against Deng, starting with what remained of China’s nuclear arsenal. On February 15th, 1972, the capital of the Sichuan commune—Chongqing was vaporized as the 4th Chinese city to the destroyed in these 4 years along with Deng. Nie Rongzhen would surface as the new leader of the commune and relocate the government to an underground bunker in Chengdu.

The nuclear destruction of Chongqing would not have its intended effect. Instead, it prompted other governors to act. Backed by various medium ranking generals and Nie’s Commune, the governors of Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan declared their independence from Lin’s government and formed the Constitutional Protection Army allied with Sichuan. This grave miscalculation on Lin’s part let his credibility collapse amongst his own junta. Immediately, rival factions arose—foremost of which was the aging Peng Dehuai.

Across the nation, many of the red guards who had vowed to follow Mao Zedong were disillusioned. Mao had, as far as they knew lost the will to live, and loyal servants of Mao they had thought heroes turned on each other to fight over the scraps of Mao’s empire. Finally, the intense factionalism of the remaining Red Guards broke into full blown conflict. Across the nation, gangs broke out into brutal fighting as they attacked each other and army convoys—regardless of faction to scavenge military equipment. While many lay down their arms to peacefully mourn the death of the chairman, many more became increasingly violent and cruel. Very soon, entire armies had to be rerouted to defeat raving bands of red guards instead of other warlords. Sichuan however would see itself relatively unscathed by the guardsmen with her armies marching out to reclaim what was left of Chongqing. The general consensus amongst these lunatics was, however that Mao was dead and Lin was his rightful successor.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist advance would not falter. In May 1974, Guangzhou—birthplace of the revolution was seized; in November, there was no need for the provisional capital of Taipei as Nanjing was liberated from the hands of a crazed guardsman-warlord. To the inner circle of the party, Lin Biao was increasingly reminiscent of his predecessor in Chairman Mao. At day, he screamed at his marshals for a way—any way to stop the crumbling of his empire; while he sobbed like a child at night. More bad news found its way to Lin though—Jiang Qing had resurfaced along with Mao’s last surviving son of Mao Anqing. Within the summer of 1975, Jiang and her son had utterly destroyed any and all opposition from the Constitutional Protection Army in the provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi, leaving Sichuan standing alone once again. Mao Anqing, under the close watch of Jiang claimed to be the successor to Mao’s ideals and the one who would unite China once and for all under the red banner. Most disturbingly, he called Lin a traitor who had forced the elder Mao’s suicide.

The last accusation rendered Lin absolutely enraged, and with that, the Central Security Bureau had finally had enough. Commander Wang Dongxing of Unit 8431 launched a coup against Lin’s regime on the morning of Chinese New Year’s Day, 1976 and Peng Dehuai was flown in from his former posting along the Russian border to Beijing, immediately assuming his new role as Chairman of the CCP and 3rd President of the People’s Republic of China, with his first order of business being the arrest and trial of Lin Biao. Lin would however flee westwards from his cell in Beijing to Lanzhou, where he declared the 2nd People’s Republic. Peng, while livid at Lin’s flight would decide that the restoration of order took precedence over all else, starting with entering peace talks with the Nationalists. Chiang, while reluctant at first would accept the peace due to the Republic’s severe overextension and it’s increasingly shaky hold to the west. The government was also relocated to Shenyang, far away from the seat of power Lin had built for himself during his rulership.

With Lin having fallen from grace, his formerly fanatical supporters quickly turned to Madame Mao (or the “Dowager Empress”, as she was now known amongst the peasentry) already attacking everyone in the nation and what remained of the Lin camp in the West and in Yunnan. While Peng launched a purge of his opposition. Peng’s first month as Chairman would see his personal forces storming through the streets of Beijing, rounding up Maoists—or former Maoists and executing them with immense abhorrence. Meanwhile, the PLA would engage in border skirmishes against the Lanzhou regime and root out Red Guard strongholds wherever they were. Very soon, Peng’s grip on the north was firm, and it seemed for a moment that sanity had returned to China.

It has now been 10 years since madness had engulfed the Communist world. To the North, Peng rules over a much diminished, albeit finally stable People’s Republic of China; to the East, a dying Chiang Kaishek gives out his last decrees to the reconquered Republic; in the center, Sichuan stands alone on the defense against a 7-year siege; to the West and to the South, two mad regimes lash out as incarnations of the dying breath of Maoism.
ROC


“The sky cannot have two suns.”

Chiang Kaishek lies on his deathbed, and is just happy that perhaps his beloved republic will be restored to its place in the sun. Cities like Fuzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing have been pacified and have even begun the slow process of rebuilding. Now is a time for consolidation and preparation for the final push that is sure to come in the near future.

1-Chiang’s men watch fearfully in the 3-year staring contest against Peng’s forces. The two nations are unofficial allies against the forces of madness, but no one knows how long that’ll last.

2-The Hunanese push is stronger than anything Chiang had anticipated. One thing everyone is sure of, is that they’re not the savages everyone expected.

PRC-Shenyang


“I want to be a Hai Rui!”

Old Chief Peng’s PRC is littered with rebellions. But hey, it’s better than it was under Lin Biao! For one, Manchuria is completely rebel-free and has rebuilt itself, free from major strife in the last 7 years, which is a record high in China. Yes, Russians are quite literally shot on sight and “Maozi” is the new favorite word of a Manchurian, but that’s a price worth paying for the stability. Peng’s armies are, as ever, hard at work campaigning against the Maoists.

3-Xi’an has fallen to a guardsman-warlord, and some in the PLA say that the guardsmen are here to stay.

4-A pro-Chiang rebellion is intent on marching into Beijing. Despite the unofficial alliance, Peng is not letting that happen.

5-Pan Mongol Rebellions have broken out as well. Mongolia itself though, looking southwards in absolute horror is having none of that shit.

6-Very much Han now.

7-Peng, unlike Chiang, knows that the Hunanese are a threat, and he has so far been able to keep them from linking up with the Red Guards in Xi’an.


The Fanatics

“I was Chairman Mao’s Dog, I bit whoever he asked me to bite.”

While the Hunan Soviet is officially under the glorious leadership of dear leader Mao Anqing, there is no illusion as to who is the real power behind the throne. The younger Mao does whatever his stepmother tells him to, and that has worked very well so far. For the moment, the Shenyang regime, or alternatively, the “Manchu Dogs” are the greatest counterrevolutionaries that had ever graced the face of the planet.

8-Jiang is really happy about this. Suicidal charges do work after all.

9-The Hunan Soviet is after all, the Hunan Soviet.

PRC-Kunming


Yunnan has reverted to its tribal roots in this period of isolation from outside rule. It has so far been able to maintain a tenuous peace with other factions and portrays itself as a willing collaborator to anything Sichuan or the ROC might want to do.

10-Really poor. Bandits and remaining Red Guards are at present the main concern of the PLA.

Sichuan Commune


“Nie Rongzhen is the new Lu Zhishen.”

Sichuan is under siege. To the east, the Red Guards are ever a nuisance; to the south, Yunnanese bandits have been ransacking Sichuanese villages since what seems like an eternity; to the north, Lin still wastes his precious few bombers on “revenge strikes”. Nie Rongzhen has proved to be your average military strongman, and has been immensely popular since the newly rechristened SCAF (Sichuan Commune Air Force) stopped a crazed Lin’s newest attempt at Nuking Chengdu. This hasn’t stopped Sichuanese boys from having to fight on the radiation-capped peaks of the Sichuan-Gansu border.


Union of Mongolia


Freed from her Soviet masters following the Soviet Civil War and the subsequent Russian Civil War, Mongolia appeared finally able to pursue her own destiny, at the cost of Ulaanbaatar. As a consequence, the UoM is far less centralized than her Communist predecessor. Modern Mongolia is also far more peaceful and has rejected Pan-Mongolianism as an ideology. The reason why is quite evident when looking at China and Russia.

11-Mongolia is not a nation to be underestimated, as the Fascist Russians very quickly found out following their ill-fated attempt to reclaim Tuva.

The 2nd People’s Republic


“One word from Chairman Mao is worth ten thousand from others. His every statement is truth. We must carry out those we that understand as well as those we don't.”

No matter his personal thoughts, the exiled Lin Biao continues to pay lip service to Maoism. His crumbling empire has regained its footing and has been able (albeit barely) to hold the line against Peng; launch a terror campaign into Sichuan and subjugate unruly Tibet. The West is however beginning to be drained dry of men, and Lin’s personal forces have been forced to press entire villages into service simply to hold the line. Lin meanwhile looks southwards towards his mortal enemies in the Hunanese for inspiration…

12-Lasha fell quickly one Lin’s forces got around to subjugating Tibet.

People’s Democratic Union of East Turkestan


Much like Mongolia, East Turkestan gained her independence following the dramatic collapse of Soviet power. So far, it has found itself far from any nation’s prying eyes and is one of the many buffer states stopping the Chinese and Russians from committing wholesale genocide on each other. East Turkestan is however far from a happy place. It is perhaps one of the few places that beats the Shenyang regime at being overrun by rebels, especially with the virtual nonexistence of central authority following the destruction of Karamay and Urumqi.

13-Han rebels fighting over the ruins of Urumqi. Spend as much time fighting each other as fighting Turks.

14-Yes, Pan-Mongolians made their way here as well, and neither Mongolia nor East Turkestan can do anything about it.

15-Despite the lack of central authority, East Turkestan still managed to snag this.

Empire of Tibet


The Empire is certainly one of the more bizarre of the various post-Communist splinter states. It all started when the mayor of Lhasa, a Han saw the writing on the wall as Sichuan declared its independence and founded the Empire of Tibet. Fighting amongst loyalist and separatist police and military forces lasted for a couple of days until the separatists finally prevailed on 1st March, 1972.

The mayor went on to proclaim how he was in fact, a secret Tibetan who had always been fighting for Tibet’s liberty, then sought the approval of the Panchen, and eventually Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile as a whole, while quite disgusted by this mayor would assent to the proposal after a few days of consideration. Separatist forces, along with local militia would seize Lhasa Airport from remaining loyalists by force, and invited the Dalai Lama to Lhasa shortly after. Tibetan militiamen would proceed to gain control over the nation along the next 4 years, while the mayor himself made himself at home as the world’s newest despot. He would however have very little power outside Lhasa.

It was only in 1975 that the Dalai Lama would gain the loyalty of the separatist Han garrison of Lhasa, and thus control of the whole of Tibet. This was short lived as Lin Biao’s Second People’s Republic came knocking soon after, leaving the Dalai Lama to flee Tibet once more.​
Europe Following WW3
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Downfall of the Soviet Union
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To understand the former Soviet Union as it is now, one must first understand the rise of the Kaganovich regime and the Third World War. And to understand that, one must in turn understand one fateful 8th May. By 1972, the Eastern Bloc was in tatters. The Sino-Soviet War had claimed 90 Million lives, of which 24 million belonging to the Soviet Union, more specifically the Russian SFSR. That was however already one-tenth of the Union’s population.

Brezhnev was extremely unpopular in the period immediately following the war, especially amongst the Russians, with many ultranationalists believing that the Union had done more harm than good to the Russian nation, and thus to be disbanded. On March 15th, 1973, a year since the end of the war, Russian protesters defiantly opposed the martial law the government had strictly imposed on pain on death and gathered in Red Square in the first political protest on the site since 1920. These protestors were mainly led by workers dissatisfied with the government in various areas, along with the odd student or veteran. Yet they were all united in the belief that the Sino-Soviet War was a great betrayal of Russia.

In over 67 years, Red Square would once more see the Russian Imperial Eagle flying proudly along with the flag of the Russian Republic. Brezhnev while far from insane like his counterpart in China was at the time was, for the first time in his life, genuinely scared. Following a top secret meeting of the politburo, it was decided that the square was to be cleared before the Victory Day parade. The 1st Guards Tank Army would be secretly redeployed from Garrison Duty to the country around Moscow where it maintained a direct hotline to Brezhnev and stood ready at any moment. On 7th May, State run media warned residents of Moscow to stay indoors, a warning that many heeded. It seemed for a moment that the crowd was actually going to disperse with a bit of motivation, yet by nightfall, the crowd had scarcely shrunk.

64 days into the protest and on the morning before the initial scheduled 1973 Victory Day Parade, Brezhnev took action. 800 tanks from the 1st Guards Tank Army would move into Red Square as police forces cleared out any and all cars from the Moscow roads.

The Moscow garrison would proceed to move through the sprawling metropolis towards the protestors that had occupied much of Moscow’s city center, centering on Red Square, clearing the streets of all pedestrians in the meanwhile. While many of whom sympathized with the protestors ran to alert the crowd, most of them were chased down and arrested for crimes against the state. When what sympathizers reached the crowd, the 1st Guards Tank Army had already arrived. Some of the protestors attempted to sway the tankers by offering them flowers or telling them of how their duty was to the Russian people.

Citizens of Moscow who had decided to heed the government’s warning the day before rushed onto the streets, creating makeshift barricades to stop the military advance, not believing that the Union would use military force against her own people. At one point, whole trees were cut and dragged to the front lines on site.

The frustrated commander of the 1st Guards Tank Army would fire warning shots from machine guns. This only infuriated the crowd which now climbed onto tanks and hammered their armor with bricks, some taken straight from the Kremlin’s walls all the while howling insults. By this point, many individual tankers across the square had decided that there was no persuading the crowd and had ceased their warning shots, instead firing their cannons into the crowd. At 10:00 AM, the commander of the 1st Guards Tank Army gave the order to attack, and with that, the Victory Day Massacre Began in full force. On state television, Brezhnev denounced the “foolish attempt by counterrevolutionaries to overthrow the Soviet government”, and called for those loyal to the Soviet state to “take to the street and defeat the forces of counterrevolution”. Of course, very few would decide to answer his call, and Brezhnev could only watch from within the impregnable walls of the Kremlin as the crowd was slowly but surely crushed by his armies. The military did not treat the protestors with any sympathy, and instead drove straight by at full speed, guns blazing as their treads compressed layers of bodies beneath them.

By 16:40, the crowd had retreated to form a small cordon around Lenin’s Mausoleum. Seeing the inexorable advance of the 1st Guards Tank Army, many protestors proceeded to deface Lenin’s tomb, smashing open the glass coffin and dragging out Lenin’s body. Many communist members of the protestors would attempt to protect Lenin, but many of these communists were turned on by the angry mob, which beat them with whatever crude weapons they could find.

Mounting Lenin’s body on a truck along with the twin flags of the Russian Republic and Russian Empire, the protestors paraded Lenin’s body around the parts of the square they still held.

At the very same time, a cadre of officers would march into Brezhnev’s office, swatting aside whatever resistance faced them. No questions were asked as they barged in and Brezhnev’s brains were blown out of the cranium. In his place, Lazar Kaganovich was installed as the new premier, yet the cadre decided to postpone the announcement until the end of the massacre.

By nightfall, 200 protesters remained, the thousands others either dead or dying in Red Square. These protesters had fractured in the span of hours, but stood united for their last stand, singing first the Worker’s Marseille, then God Save the Tsar, the latter of which was sung by significantly less of the crowd.

These 200 protestors were, of course massacred to the last man. Spetsnaz forces disguised as part of the Moscow garrison would search Red Square for any survivors that night, and kill them on site. It was only after this that Lazar Kaganovich appeared on state television to denounce Brezhnev’s actions as counterrevolutionary, then announcing his own rise to chairmanship, and most importantly, the dawn of a new era of unmatched glory.

Kaganovich’s Soviet Union was characterized by fiercely anti-American rhetoric centered around a strange Soviet take on Russian nationalism. Almost immediately, whatever remained of tolerance within the union was lost. Ukrainians, Turks and East Asians found themselves demoted, or even jailed for the slightest of offences. While stopping short of Stalinesque purges, Kaganovich would put non-Russian generals under close watch. When Kaganovich met with US President Richard Nixon, he would however tell Nixon that his rhetoric served only to give the Russian people a common enemy, thus preventing the Union from descending into a crisis much like China’s Second Warlord Era. Nixon, with his hands full in the Vietnam War and its spillover in the Southeast Asian Wars chose to believe Kaganovich, while patting himself on the back for a potential war defused and a job well done. NATO chose to believe this lie even as rebellion after rebellion was crushed in the Eastern Bloc, and Soviet forces stood ready along the German border. In a little over 3 years, the Soviet Union had reoriented her fragile economy to an atrociously unsustainable one centered on the production of yet more military equipment and sending yet more of the Soviet Union’s youth to the army.

Midnight, 21st June, 1976, STAVKA transmitted the signal “Revanche” to all its armies, signaling the commencement of hostilities. Armies already at jumping off positions across the West German border pounced on a holy crusade against Western fascism, smashing aside their comparatively feeble opponents. When hurried American commanders received news of the full scale attacks all across the border, Soviet bombers had already devastated Germany’s infrastructure; long range missiles had wiped airfields off the map; and NATO forces were in full retreat. Kaganovich would however refuse to employ nuclear weapons—it was simply against his interest to escalate the war. Kaganovich needed a clean, quick victory that would give the Soviet Union new legitimacy.

Aided by Spetsnaz forces stirring up as much confusion as was humanly possible, Soviet forces pummeled through the Fulda Gap towards the Rhine, then swung northwards to meet with the Soviet northern flank to capture Bonn. The Soviet Southern push headed for Munich, yet Bavaria would prove a harder target for the Soviets. Munich would hold out until its very fiery end. But other than that hiccup, the plan was flawless and Soviet forces reached the Rhine in a mere month.

The next logical target would, of course be Paris. Soviet commanders proceeded to launch repeated assaults across the Rhine River, hoping to overcome the French Army via the element of surprise, and in cases pure numbers used to storm past Germany. Aside from the successive captures of Brussels and Amsterdam, Soviet forces would be faced with defeat after defeat—it seemed that the element of surprise had finally worn off.

By September, the Soviet Union had worn out much of the advantages it had as the bloody stalemate dragged on. Soviet commanders called for the use of nuclear force against the French Army, but Kaganovich fiercely objected—legitimacy, not annihilation was what the Soviet government needed. Instead, it would fall to the French to unleash the nuclear genie. France’s Force de dissuasion had been left untouched. NATO was waiting for the Soviets to launch the first blow. They would wait no more. One the 25th of the same month, the French submarine L'Inflexible launched a nuclear strike against the port city of Sevastopol, vaporized along with much of the Soviet Black Seas Fleet.

In March 1977, Eastern Bloc forces had retreated across the Rhine. In June, Leningrad had fallen to an American push. In July, Crimea was firmly within Turkish hands and Kiev seemed to be next. When Polish forces rebelled against their Soviet Masters en masse, Kaganovich began preparing for a “Stalingrad” of his own in the vain hope of beating back his opponents at the last moment. It was however the Russian Revolution of 1977 that finally brought down the Soviet Union. Kaganovich’s Stalinism had failed his main supporters in the Russian ultranationalists, and now he would be brought down by those he failed. By December, Russian rebels had seized Moscow and Minsk, while the demoralized soldiers defending Kiev surrendered without a fight. Military forces in the East declared their independence in hope of jumping off the sinking ship that was the Soviet Union, establishing the Siberian Republic.

Kaganovich would flee further west, this time to discontent Budapest. Kaganovich knew that this was now the time to retaliate with his own nuclear arsenal while they were still under his control. Unlike his counterparts in China, Kaganovich was painfully sane all this time. He didn’t lash out wildly, screaming commands—he instead sank into a deep depression in an isolated bunker in Budapest. On 2nd April, Kaganovich gave his last order—the nuclear destruction of Munich, Amsterdam and Brussels. NATO would retaliate by destroying Sofia, Kiev, Perm, Arkhangelsk and Stalingrad.

The very next day, Kaganovich was found dead in his bed, having apparently passed away peacefully in his sleep. Hours later, the Soviet Union’s last premier, Georgy Malenkov announced on television the unconditional surrender of the Soviet Union, ordering all Warsaw Pact forces around the globe to stand down.

The treaty of Islamabad, signed on 16th May marked the end of the Third World War. It had claimed 30 million lives, and could have gone much, much worse.

The Second Russian Civil War(1)
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By mid-1978, Russia saw herself left destitute. She had lost 50 million people to war and secession. Her belligerence and nuclear trigger-happiness had made her an international pariah, and it was all about to get worse. Much like the German Fascist Hordes that Lazar Kaganovich ranted on relentlessly about, Russia too was seen as a threat that was on the brink of not being allowed to exist, and the government that had allowed such horror to commence had been thrown off by nationwide rebellion.

The Russian rebellion stormed through the industrial heart of the Soviet Union and smashed aside all loyalist remnants as Moscow was made the capital of a new state—the Union of All Russia, with Ivan Gerasimov—the Ukrainian commander of the now notorious 1st Guards Tank Army taking power as Grand President of the Union.

Meanwhile, in American-occupied Leningrad (promptly renamed to Petrograd), General Pyotr Grigorenko had been smuggled out of Lubyanka in the chaos of the collapsing Soviet Union and appointed president of the Republic of Russia. The Republic was established as little more than an occupational authority during the Third World War, only transitioning to a functional government to allow NATO forces to move on Westwards for pacification efforts in the horror that was war-torn Eastern Europe. Grigorenko himself enjoyed popularity amongst Liberal circles in Russia as a known Soviet dissident who had condemned Soviet warmongering and the ruin that it had brought to Russia, and it was by his proposal that reunification with Moscow, in hopes of securing the stability of Russia was established.

It took months of negotiations and much pressure from occupying forces in Petrograd, a compromise was hammered out. First and most importantly in the eyes of the Western allies, the capital was to remain in Petrograd; second, the United States was to make a 3 billion dollar loan to the city of Moscow, for “matters of national stability”; finally, Gerasimov was to be made president.

Strangely though, soon after the agreement was finalized, massive protests broke out across central Russia, with protestors blockading all securing routes between Petrograd and Moscow; while Soviet remnants and Russian cliques alike took to the skies, putting the central government’s forces on the backfoot. Immediately, Gerasimov granted himself the position of President of Russia. Acquiescing, the NATO occupational authority in Petrograd recognized Gerasimov as President, while Grigorenko accepted the arrangements, albeit begrudgingly.

As soon as the government took power, the web of interweaving political alliances that held the Russian Caucasus under Russian jurisdiction fell apart like a house of cards. They had stuck with Moscow simply due to each clique not wanting to fall under the Georgian-dominated Transcaucasia, yet with the Moscow clique now becoming the nominal ruler of all Russia, it all fell apart. All across the Caucasus, individual generals declared their ascension to presidency in new subject republics within Russia, and not all of them had official posts—some, as seen in the unfortunate case Chechen Republic had 3 presidents simultaneously, 2 of them recognized by the central government and 4 separate rebel leaders at the height of the fighting. This coincided with the shattering of the Transcaucasian Republic into her three constituent states. The peace would however be kept by an Iranian intervention in the region. The Iranian occupation of Armenia would however raise tensions with the Turks.

While the Western core of Russia was busy being an incomprehensible mess, Siberia, where much of the Soviet residue military leadership resided saw much clearer—and much more decisive engagements.

Siberia in 1978 was an artificial construct, and that fact was glaringly obvious to even the most ardent Siberian nationalist. The president of this young nation was the popular reformist Mikhail Gorbachev. Despite being a fresh face of change amongst a crowd of emotionless Soviet bureaucrats, Gorbachev was a mere figurehead. The real power behind the Siberian Republic was former admiral of the Pacific Fleet, Nikolai Smirnov, who used Gorbachev to circumvent his own ever growing unpopularity following the nuclear destruction of Vladivostok and the chain of events that followed it. Yet, Smirnov only held power in the Eastern fringes of the republic around the capital of Ulan-Ude. Yegor Ligachev, a bureaucrat-turned-general held power in Siberia’s largest city of Novosibirsk; while Vasili Kuznetsov held power in Omsk. The clique of generals and bureaucrats each held bitterly opposing ideologies, and with the Soviet Union finally destroyed, there simply was no need for Siberia to exist.

Scarcely after the ink had dried on the Treaty of Islamabad, Kuznetsov rebelled, declaring his loyalty to Moscow. That was followed by widespread anti-Russian riots across the republics of Buryatia and Sakha, both of which shortly declared their independence from Siberia. Even former Soviet vassal Mongolia would take their chance to reclaim Tuva. A panicking Smirnov would proceed to ask the United States for protection. However, the US, already busy in Korea and with Nixon unwilling to involve himself in yet more quagmires would decline.

The Moscow clique would welcome this chance to reclaim Siberia with open arms, and very soon, Western Siberia was back under Russian rule without a hitch. Ligachev practically ran towards the Russian army following his speech at Omsk Dormition Cathedral, where he figuratively prostrated himself before Kuznetsov, while weeping rather unconvincingly as Omsk’s tanks rolled by. Omsk’s armies would continued their leisurely drive towards Ulan-Ude, and swatted aside any resistance the Sakha and Buryatia Republics could ever hope to offer.

It was then that French President Jacques Chirac intervened. In a much publicized show of force, the French navy sailed into Petrograd without invitation, knowing full well that no one was going to stop them. At the head of the fleet was L'Inflexible—the submarine that had destroyed Sevastopol. The message was clear—the Russians were to stop their invasion of Siberia, or else. A livid American NATO occupational governor would storm out of his office, rush to the Petrograd docks and order the nearest destroyer captain to delay the scrapping of his ship and rush out to face the French navy.

The admiral of the French fleet, not expecting such an aggressive from who he thought to be Russians drove further forwards, daring his counterpart to turn back, not wishing to show any weakness before a lesser enemy. When the Russian captain was ordered to turn back, the orders were perhaps lost in translation, or perhaps a malfunction in the machinery had taken place. Whatever the case, L’Inflexible crashed head on into the hull of the Russian Destroyer, causing an explosion that engulfed the Winter Palace.

This incident sparked tremendous outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, with both sides refusing to back down. Nixon blamed the French for their stubbornness and Chirac blamed the Americans for their relatively small participation in the pacification of Central Europe.

NATO occupational command would still sternly order Omsk to cease its invasion of Siberia, a request that Kuznetsov begrudgingly accepted. NATO’s bypassing of Moscow’s authority would anger Gerasimov, but he was too tied down in the Caucasus and too dependent on Western aid to say otherwise.

A frustrated Kuznetsov then turned his armies to the Mongol border, where he, without approval from Moscow or even a declaration of war drove into Tuva. The Mongolian government to lodge a formal protest against Moscow, appealing to Gerasimov in hopes that he would rein in his uppity subordinate.

The Mongol-Omsk War initially seemed look like a massive Siberian victory. By Mid-1978, Soviet forces were at the doorstep of what used to be Ulaanbaatar. The Mongol army resorted to hit and run guerilla tactics that slowly, but surely drained Kuznetsov’s forces. Eventually Kuznetsov, realized he had much more important matters to attend to and proceeded to declare, again without any warning or contact with Moscow that his 3 month war was at an end.
'': (2)-The Mongol-Omsk War
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Gerasimov would now come to a realization—he had been used by Kuznetsov as a mere backup plan to fall back on. Kuznetsov’s invasion was declared as illegitimate, and all his supporters were rounded up andimprisoned. Gerasimov then turned to Ligachev as a replacement for Kuznetsov. Mere hours later, Kuznetsov declared Omsk’s secession from the Republic of Russia.

Grigorenko at this point had too had enough. Forming an alliance with Gerasimov’s enemies in the Caucasus, the Republic of Russia was declared defunct as Grigorenko declared his own Russian Federation on 15th August, 1978. As the Russian Bear began to stumbled, vultures circled around its corpse. The Russian Baltic Fleet, with the backing of the French Government took over Petrograd and declared their neutrality. The young Ukranian Republic raised claims on the Russian Autonomous Republic of Novorossiya. The Belarusians declared their independence, storming Minsk.

As insanity faded in China, a new wave of insanity reached out for Russia.
 
From Pax Japonica to Asia
One of my efforts at breaking from Sino-centrism. Heavily inspired by The Man in the High Castle--indeed, I made it right after I finished season 1--it features a victorious Japanese Empire, but made more plausible. I had a lot of fun making the borders and flags, something that would characterize my style of map-making for quite some time. It was when I was getting to grips with map-making, and one of my favorite works. Didn't quite like the write-up though.

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【大日本帝国年号 Heisei 29 平成29年】
【大满洲帝国年号 Kunfeng Year of Ascension 坤丰元年】
【农曆 (中国暦) 丙申年 】
【グレゴリオ暦 2017年4月8日】
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From Pax Japonica to Asia—a modern history of Asia (Trump, Donald J.)
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Chapter 0
The Japanese Empire—or alternatively the Dai Nippon Teikoku stood secure in the post war world. The German-Japanese world order dominated their personal lakes of the Pacific and Atlantic and the Western allies had been completely defeated from the shores of Britain to America’s industrial heartland. Yet despite the seemingly friendly celebrations of victory in both Germany and Japan, there was no illusion within the two nations as to what would follow the defeat of the allies. With the destruction of Chicago during the final stages of the war and the prompt surrender of Communist Russia in the face of a German-Japanese joint invasion, there were simply no threats to the rule of this duo. And thus, the two giants began maneuvering for their inevitable clash.

In the crackling flames of the American Pacific Republic’s Mojave Desert, it began. Japan had the bomb.

The Cold War, as it came to be known as, was a conflict that did not see war erupt between the two powers—all had seen the raw carnage nuclear weapons were capable of in the form of unsuspecting Chicagoans. Instead, the Cold War was fought in the form of proxy wars, such as the Australian Revolution and Bangkok Crisis, both hurdles Germany had placed in Japan’s way.

Yet Germany’s strongest blow came much closer to home. Always having been dissatisfied for his subordinate position to Japan, KMT Chairman Wang Jingwei rallied Chinese warlords loyal to him and declared the Republic of the 18 Provinces (十八行省)—a state based primarily on the Han Nationalist ideals of the pro-German HPP (Han People’s National Socialist Party汉人民族-社会主义党). Following its formation and secession from the Greater Pan-Pacific Co-prosperity Sphere, The 18 Provinces initially made great gains, approaching the outskirts of Changchun at one point, but was ultimately defeated after 3 years of grueling warfare. It was a war that cost millions of lives, be they Chinese, Manchurian or Japanese, and was at best a pyrrhic victory.

But this war also allowed the Japanese military government to realize just how vulnerable the empire they had carved out for themselves was. To secure this empire, the Japanese imposed a much tighter grip on China. To the North, the long scrapped plan of a North Chinese state in the Northern Ji Anti-Communist State (冀東防共自治政府) was put into action. In China’s periphery, the warlords of Yunnan, Guangdong and Shaanxi were given their own states to rule over. Shanghai and Guangzhou, previously under joint Sino-Japanese control would now be consolidated and expanded to encompass their economic reach and declared the Japanese protectorate of the Legation Cities, more commonly known as Hu-Yue (沪粤). Finally, the remnants of Wang’s Republic were dismembered and crippled.

Japan would also begin the integration of South-east Asia into the Japanese Empire proper, in an effort to maintain a cheap, steady flow of resources to feed Japan’s rapidly growing economy in the post-war era, most successful of which was Vietnam, who’s Red River Delta would be directly incorporated as a province by 1963.

As for internal matters, Japan’s ruling clique began to loosen their grip on the Japanese populace, with Japan’s brand of “Imperial Democracy” being instituted across the Co-Prosperity Sphere. This “Imperial Democracy” saw provincial-level elections beginning throughout Japan, but would be often criticized as undemocratic and fundamentally flawed, as elections were frequently rigged and provided only military pro-government canidates that passed “ideological examination” by the central government.

In retaliation to German efforts at destabilizing the Empire, Japan would also make her own moves in the form of the Russo-Japanese alliance and the constant effort of the Japanese foreign office to portray Japan as not just a bulwark of Pan-Asianism, but also an avid supporter of Pan-Africanism, the latter of which would soon bear fruit.

In 1965, a massive wave of unrest swept through the African continent. Initially, the Lagos uprising in British Nigeria seemed like yet another doomed rebellion, but a combination of weather, incompetence of the local garrison and experienced independence fighters saw a minor rebellion spreading all over Nigeria. Soon, copycat rebellions sprung up in the German Congo, then throughout French Africa. By 1967, things had spiraled out of control with Algeria’s Pied Noir forming a new French Republic very close to Festung Europa.

With chaos in Africa, the bureaucrats in Berlin initially faced this problem as they always had—by throwing men and Reichsmarks at it. This proved able to retake Algeria for them, but an invasion of Mittleafrika cost countless men and lives. Despite all the technology the Reich had, she was very quickly being bled dry. Japan saw this as a chance to recreate their experience in China against the Wang Jingwei government for the Germans by covertly arming numerous rebel groups throughout Africa.

In 1968, Reichskommissariat Nord Amerika experienced a communist revolution and saw the extremely unpopular government toppled in but a few weeks. This was followed with France declaring her loyalty to the Italian sphere and twin revolutions in Reichskommissariats Ukraine and Ostland.

Germany was eventually able to suppress all unrest in Eastern Europe during Goebbels’s administration some 3 years later, but with horrendous losses on all fronts it had soon become apparent that it was impossible to cross the vast Atlantic or the Sahara without simply costing the Reich more than it was worth.

Germany would soon see herself besieged on all sides by a vengeful Soviet Union, growing Italy and rebuilding America. However, she would fell into greater chaos with the death of Adolf Hitler, aged 79 in his Bavarian resort. While Hitler had long passed administrative duties to Himmler, Himmler would be deposed by Goebbels in 1969 in a military coup. Goebbels’s reign as Fuher saw the beginning of what would he termed the “Great Germanic Cultural Revolution”, a particularly gruesome chapter of history that shall be detailed later in this book.

As the ‘70s dawned, winds of change too began to blow in the Empire. While the Imperial government proclaimed nearly daily that the goals of Pan-Asianism (Pan-Pacificism if you happened to live in the American Pacific Republic) were being realized, the truth remained that very little had changed since the Great East Asian War. That was something particularly obvious in inland China and Japanese Southeast Asia, both of which had seen their pre-war situations—namely warlordism and colonialism having barely changed at all.

The recent war in China, while justified to many of the predominant, pro-government Pan-Asian school of thought had also brought doubts as to how Japanese rule was carried out, one of them being “Unit 731” of Manchukuo. Unit 731 had been a subject often discussed in non-governmental news sources, and had even seen Manchurian Emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi break with official Imperial policy by neither denying nor admitting of its existence, commenting, “I can’t say.” on a television interview.

A new wave of Pan-Asianist thought that placed the equality of all Asians as first and foremost in its creed was readily embraced by much of the urban citizenry in the Japan’s satellites and colonies alike. While the urban citizenry reaped the profits of Japanese economic growth and overlordship, they still remained a second class to the Japanese. This combined with one of Japan’s few threats, Germany now actively tearing itself apart, the people expected liberalization.

Despite all this, Pax Japaonica grew ever more secure. Japan was mighty and the world’s undisputed hyperpower. There were little in the way of threats to Japanese rule.

For the moment.



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China Marches West
After I read the book China Marches West (which I didn't quite understand), I was inspired by my overly zealous Qing-o-phillia, I made this map. The map is very cluttered, and the borders low-effort ones, so I'm not really happy with it. I also remember a highly bigoted (on my part) exchange with an American member on why China wouldn't be genocidal colonists. I was, obviously, wrong, as I learnt more about the genocides committed by Hokkienese and Hakka settlers in Taiwan and the Dzungar Genocide. It was certainly ban-worth, what I said, but I guess I was (unjustly) forgiven for being a relatively new member. I would take it back if I could, but I guess it’s a reminder on how much of an asshole I was in my earlier forum-going days. Nevertheless, here's the map.

It was also in the middle of a surge in ISOT maps, hence the first line in the writeup.

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Standing defiantly against the ISOT bandwagon!

In honour of the (so-very glorious) surge in Qing & Dzungar-related threads, here’s a (fairly lazily made) map on the two. The basic idea behind this map is the Dzuangar becoming a permanent force in Asia, China becoming a “gunpowder empire”, the Qing having a Yongzheng-style character a bit later on, and East Asia never falling too far behind the West in terms of technology. Also not an especially thought out scenario Europe-wise.

Also my first Qing map.

Emperor Kangxi

Reign: 1661-1720)

In 1676, a young Manchu prince of little consequence named Yinzhen, 4th son of the Kangxi Emperor dies of smallpox. While a seemingly insignificant occurrence, Yinzhen’s death has far reaching consequences.

Instead of Yongzheng IOTL, a fairly corrupt Manchu Prince named Yinsi becomes successor to Kangxi.

Kangxi’s rule, unlike OTL, was not the most glamorous of reigns. The Revolt of the Three Feudatories was a pyrrhic Qing victory, where much of the Chinese South was crippled in a series of devastating defeats to Wu Sangui’s Empire of the Great Zhou. While Qing forces do eventually push back hard, much blood was shed before the war’s conclusion, and a wave of rebellions swept through the South of the nation. The Qing did eventually pacify the South, including a successful expedition to Taiwan, but was unable to conquer Yunnan completely, and left the Zhou to rot away in their kingdom of ragtag warbands.

The result to this was several wars with the Russians requiring the full attention of the Qing military and an increased devotion to adopting new firearms from the West, much of that experience coming from conflict against the Russians.

Emperor Zhengan
Reign: (1720-1756)

To the West, instead of China marching West, the West marched to China—the West as in the Dzungar. Aggressively expansionist, the Khanate swept through Xinjiang and Mongolia, eventually threatening to wrest back control of Outer Mongolia from their Qing rulers. The New Emperor—named Yinsi and bestowed with the regnal name of Zhengan failed to meet this challenge despite his best efforts.

Other than wars along the Dzuangar border and skirmishes with the Russians and Zhou, Emperor Zhengan's reign saw massive corruption in the court, as many of Zhengan’s court allies saw fit to reap the rewards of his ascension--rewards that obviously theirs by right. Zhengan did attempt to solve his nation's many problems, but he found that his power to dictate court affairs and manage the nation with efficiency was increasingly hampered by the very corrupt court allies he had helped groom.

However, what historians of later centuries would lament most would be Zhengan’s life—more specifically the great length of it. As the years dragged on and Yinsi’s elation at his new status declined into a frown, so did the fortunes of the Qing Dynasty. Zhengan fell into frustration, depression, and eventually decadence.

By then, the Dzungar had grow into a power sprawling across the steppes. They had defeated the declining Russians on the field a great many times and secured her hegemony over Central Asia, and now saw fit to strike her mightiest blow.

Sweeping through Tibet and Mongolia, the Dzungar assaulted the Qing’s core directly, devastating multiple Western provinces, causing great famine, unrest and disease amongst the populace. While Dzungar forces proved too few in number and too unsuited to the climate to make many gains in Sichuan, they had the full capability to wreak havoc further north.

When Dzungar forces broke through into Guanzhong, they marched straight for Xi’an, sacking the city for all its wealth. News of a foreign invasion of what was perceived as an impenetrable heartland spread quickly. When it reached Zhengan, Zhengan came to an awakening, decreeing in grief that he was responsible for the pains that the nation had undergone. Zhengan eventually died of a crippling depression in 1756, aged 75, while Dzungar forces yet rampaged across the West.

Emperor Longqing
Reign: (1756-1772)

The new emperor, Emperor Longqing ascended to the throne and immediately saw the flaws of the Qing Dynasty as it was. Much like the Ming of just over a century ago, the Qing was facing a threat that could grow to engulf the Qing's entire realm if left unchecked. In a bid to gain some form of recognition, Longqing led generals loyal to him and launched an expedition to expel the Dzungar from Sichuan and Guanzhong. While itself not a terribly difficult campaign, with the Dzungar already in withdrawal, it was nevertheless a victory and marketed as such at court. Zhengan’s immense incompetence had botched up the war, but it nevertheless exposed fatal flaws within the Qing military and government alike.

Emperor Longqing first tackled the nation’s internal affairs by reforming the state’s tax-collecting system and purging, reorganizing and expanding the beauraucracy to accommodate greater expenses and a need for better communication between Beijing and the provinces. Longqing’s reign also saw great reforms to the army, and with the aid of French military observers seeking to secure an ally in the Far East to counter the colonial ambitions of her rivals. While a slow process, the Qing finally evolved into a true gunpowder Empire. Still quite a bit behind the standards of Europe, but modern nonetheless.

Longqing asserted Qing lordship over much of East Asia, with a short intervention on the behalf Tibetan rebels winning the Qing her first major victory against the Dzungar following the Sack of Xi’an.

Emperor Longqing died at 37, having worked himself to death (much like OTL Yongzheng), leaving behind a rejuvanated--but not great empire.

Emperor Yongguang
Reign: (1772-1823)

For someone ruling over a newly rejuvenated Empire, Yongguang was remarkably complacent and lacking in ambition. Having never been one for war, Yongguang focused on the economy, taking national income and redistributing them to defenses and the economy of frontier provinces. He was also an able administrator who continued his father’s hard work making the Qing beauraucracy something that was befitting of a nation of this size.

While military affairs were of little consequence to Yongguang, diplomatic affairs were a different story. His achievements included bringing the Zhou in Yunnan into the fold—albeit begrudgingly; convincing the Korean King the benefit of adopting new Western technologies, and making inroads into Tokugawa-ruled Japan. Further southwards the Lanfang Company was founded by adventurous Hokkien merchants.

The first modern universities and institutions were founded during this period of consolidation, and by Yongguang’s death in 1823, the Qing was well on its way to the modern world.

While some commented that he was weak-willed and allowed the Dzungar to catch up to the newly modernized Qing, some credit him for the robust Qing economy and increasingly able provincial governance under his supervision.

Yet now, the growing European conflict in the Austrian Wars of Expansion and the French response has given the Yongguang Emperor’s successors a chance to expand Westwards without the Russians or the French poking around.

China marches West.
 
[Abandoned] The Apparati Schism, Bharat
A original sci-fi scenario on my part, one that I'm fairly proud of. The ensignas were a bitch to make, and my hand was...not in the best of shapes. Yet again, way back when I was amazingly free. I never did come around to making a writeup, though from what I remember, it was a war between cyborgs and pure-strain humans. many of the ideas I had here were kept in later attempts at sci-fi scenarios (all of which are in eternal WIP)
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And here's this map's larger, more original son: Bharat. Loosely linked to the above scenario, it was originally intended to be a possible future, where a combination of Indian culture and cyborgs have conquered the galaxy. The writeup (which is, unfortunately, lost) is positively gargantuan, with passage upon passage on the finest details of the pilgrimage to Earth, the conflicts of the galaxy and individual personalities. Some 8000 words if I remember. Her step brother, one more plausible and less Indian is on the way, coming presumably, somewhere in 2030.
 
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Medvedev's Folly
Finally! Proper worldas! This is my attempt at my prediction of the future, one that I consider the watermark point between my Dark Ages and Early Modernity as far as maps are concerned. I do still hold true to many of the predictions I made (sans less prominent changes like Cascadia, Argentina, Gran Colombia and the Russian Balkans). I do believe I underestimated Russia and America; while overestimating Poland by quite a bit. It was made by copious amounts of binge-watching on the geopolitics channel Caspian Report, which is in essence my first teacher in world politics. The borders here are...mediocre, but it shows signs of improvement.

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Putin’s legacy was one of victory. In his presidency, Russia had accomplished the majority of her goals—she was safe from the West; she had proved time and again that the European Union was weak before Russian threats; she had seen America’s global empire implode on herself and slowly retreat into the Americas. Russia had even forged the Eurasian Union, reasserting herself as one of Eurasia’s dominant forces. That was not to last. Shortly after a great recession in 2027, Putin passed away, leaving behind a broken state, that while strong on the outside, was increasingly fragile on the inside, with the economic woes and social unrest making her a state living on borrowed time. Dmitry Medvedev would succeed the president, yet it was obvious to all that Medvedev was not half the man Putin was.

Medvedev sought to change this.

2028 began with Russia turning Westwards once more. In face of widespread anti-government protests, Medvedev sought to prove himself in the eyes of the people by smashing Russia’s greatest rival—the Visegrad Group. Medvedev used the age-old tactic of Russia’s minorities. Pro-Eurasian protests began in the streets of Riga, then spreading to Tallinn and Vilnius. Russian forces masquerading as militants took over the streets of border towns, and soon, a full scale Russian invasion was underway. The European Union had been proved weak this way, and Medvedev was to prove the Visegrad Group weak in the same way. Instead, Medvedev was proven wrong. Polish forces engaged Russian forces directly and moved into Kalingrad. Baltic armies escalated the situation and drove Russian armies off their borders. Medvedev, seeing that he had lost his first game of political brinkmanship backed down humiliated.

To say that the Russian people were outraged would be an understatement. Rioting occurred as livid citizens found that with but one defeat, Russia’s economic woes had been torn open for all to see. It was time for the already unpopular president to go. The North Caucasus was, as expected, the first to spiral out of control. Russia’s armies found themselves overwhelmed by the tide of militants—many of them Russians.

Things only went downwards from then on. Realizing that a full-blown revolution was now underway, Medvedev folded. The Sino-Polish intervention came and stayed, propping up a new state wholly dependent on whatever Beijing and Warsaw could spare to keep Siberia's resources flowing.
China
The world of 2070 is a very different place. China is, without a doubt the world’s greatest power, yet with the exception of the world economy, it is in no way as dominant as America was in her heyday. The PLA-N’s reach spans the globe and enforces stability and order on all continents. Previously industrial cities like Tianjin have been transformed into glamorous metropolises than house tens of millions of residents. Each day, the world's trade passes through the ports of Shanghai, and feeds into China’s global trade empire. It is truly the apex of the Chinese Empire.

Further North where China had secured her first conquest, China has made Siberia wholly dependent on Beijing and turned it more Chinese than Russian. Not only that, Siberia’s demographics have been altered throughout the decades--what started out as a trickle of peasant farmers has turned into a stream of East Asian immigrants that have begun to dominate the nation. China has even gone as far as to occupy the length of the trans-Siberian Railway and expanded her influence deep into the Russian heartland. And China knows that lines drawn on the land can easily become lines on the map.

Europe
The fall of the European Union had brought about the implosion of American power across the globe, but what it had not done is break the back of European unity. The Federal European Republic took up the mantle of Pan-European nationalism and has worked towards that goal ever since. Before the dramatic collapse of Russian power, the Republic seemed locked in a never ending struggle against Istanbul, Warsaw and Moscow alike. The course of history has allowed Europe breathing space to advance southwards and complete what even Carolus Magnus couldn't.

However, the Visegrad Group stands in opposition of the Republic, of which Warsaw has turned into the beating heart of Eastern Europe. Along with China, Poland is working on carving up Russia into spheres of influences.

The Americas
America had seen her economy collapse, unable to sustain her bloated military in the face of overextension. Yet as China began meddling in the Americas in the creation of states strong enough in resist American influence, America responded. The American intervention in Mexico began, with the intention of scaring off the Chinese and warning them from advancing any further northwards. Only time will tell how Beijing responds.

Russia
Russia would finally lose the geopolitical game in the early 21st Century. And over the years, it has been subjected to occupation by Chinese forces along crucial access routes such as the trans-Siberian railway or what Russia still holds in the North Caucasus. Despite China’s constant urging, Russia has failed to reform herself and ease the dissent that plagues the nation.

India
India has more or less been a willing partner in China’s economic conquest of the world. Indeed, China has offered great concessions to New Delhi to get the Indians on their side. India has now taken up the mantle of “Factory of the world”, and the world’s two giants have become increasingly inseparable entities.

The Middle East
Despite Russia’s fall, Iran has won herself a place in the sun, in part due to Indian aid and the American retreat into isolationism. Her only true rival is Turkey. One needs not to be an expert to see that the Caucasus is going to have rough times ahead.
 
[Series] Wang Jingwei's Northern Expedition
I’ve always been a fan of the warlord era. It was just a fascinating period in Chinese history. This map shows my attempt to showcase a world where Wang Jingwei—not Chiang Kaishek led the Northern Expedition. I myself have never liked Wang Jingwei, in my opinion really just a weak statesman, but I do sympathize with him and his purging from ROC history. It was my first foray into M-Bams, which really is the perfect size for high-effort , regionally-focused works. Very proud of the work, and I often look back at it for inspiration. I am thinking of a sequel, or at very least a spiritual successor.

Pictured: Xianfeng's extreme love for Yan Xishan, colourized (2017)
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Note: Soong Qingling is mislabeled as Soong Meiling
In 1926, Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek began his march Northwards with 250,000 men at his back in what would go down in history as the First Northern Expedition. As one of the most well-trodden subjects in Chinese history, it is discussed nearly daily in historical circles on how it was so wildly successful—and why it ended the way it did.

Sweeping aside resistance from the traitorous federalist Chen Jiongming, the National Revolutionary Army crusaded Northwards, as she swept aside untrained warlord troops, many of them teenagers conscripted mere days before battle. These warlord troops carried a variety of ancient weapons—some of them witnessing the opening shots of the Opium Wars, while some brigades relied entirely on the traditional Chinese sword—the Dadao and were gunned down mere seconds into the battle.

It was this foe that the NRA sliced through effortlessly, marching from Guangdong—a city that many of them called home, to the Yangtze River in but five months. In but five months, they had conquered a tract of land the size of Western Europe.

Yet it would not be all smooth sailing. The Northern Expedition was built upon a deal with the devil—that being the Soviet Union. In return for the training and capital he had received in the earliest days of the idea’s conception, Sun Yetsen had entered an alliance with the Chinese Communists, and already there were grumblings of discontent from the KMT’s right.

With the Zhongshan Warship Incident, the KMT flew into a frenzy as the Left and Right wings erupted into all-out civil war. Under the leadership of Chiang Kaishek, the right wing of the KMT began attacking Communists in Shanghai and purging left wing elements of the party. The Left and the Right soon entrenched themselves in the cities of Wuhan and Nanjing (Renamed later to Jiangning) respectively.

As much as this was an ideological conflict, this was too a conflict between the KMT’s two leaders: Chiang Kaishek and Wang Jingwei. Yet with the support of the army as generalissimo, Chiang obviously had the upper hand. Wang realized that he was at a severe disadvantage if he were to allow an actual shooting war to begin between the party’s two wings.

And so Wang too, made a deal with the devil. By utilizing his alliance with the CCP to the greatest advantage, Wang infiltrated Chiang’s bloc with Communist agents and began the process of slandering generals and governors of the KMT Right. Eventually, the Communist witch hunt began hunting members within the right itself, with Chiang powerless to calm the ever-growing frenzy of his lieutenants.

Eventually, calls for reconciliation began as the Fengtain Clique grew ever stronger as the Anhui Clique waned. Under the mediation of Li Zongren, Chiang finally saw where this was all headed and folded in disgrace, his bid for power having failed miserably. He abandoned his witch hunt and his overall command of the NRA in disgrace.

The NRA was greatly shaken by these events, and discipline had fallen with Chiang’s lack of presence, but they were still far stronger than the warlord armies that opposed them, and by 1929, the nation had been pacified.

The Second Northern Expedition—or the Second Expedition for short began in 1927 when Wang had pacified the party with the exception of the creeping Communist influence. Further Northwards, Zhang Zuolin, “Old Marshal” of the Fengtain Clique was marshalling his forces to face the resurgent Nationalist threat, and planned to first vanquish his Western foes in Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan’s Anhui Clique remnants.

As the NRA and the Fengtian Clique quickly filled the void left by the Anhui Clique, they began skirmishes. While Fengtian soldiers were one of the best of the Northern warlords, they nevertheless proved weak before the NRA’s highly motivated, skilled regiments. Very quickly, the Fengtian Clique collapsed and could only yield all the land south of the Yellow River to the NRA. More and more men were also called in from Shanxi and soon, Fengtian armies were in retreat on all fronts.

The Autumn of 1928 saw Yan Xishan capture the old capital of Beijing (which was promptly renamed Beiping) and Zhang Zuolin flee his seat of power for his power base in the Northeast. The Old Marshal believed that perhaps, with the aid of his Japanese patrons, he would be able to retain his holdings and hang onto at very least the Northeast. But while confiding with his son Zhang Xueliang, the Young Marshal, it was eventually decided that they would collaborate with Wang’s government—in exchange for limited autonomy of course, and a certain degree of influence in Beiping. After all, the NRA was growing tired, and enthusiasm for continued wars was dipping. Moreover, Wang’s grip on the nation was weaker than ever and was unable to extend his influence deep into the Northern provinces from faraway Wuhan.

This decline in control was in part due to Wang’s perceived Communist leanings that was now breeding dissatisfaction even in the KMT’s Left. Eventually, this growing pressure forced Wang’s hand. By dismissing many of his Soviet advisors and refusing to meet any Communist members of the National Yuan, he made it clear that he had no Communist leanings.

Effectively sidelined, the Communists took to the hills and began guerilla attacks on the KMT-aligned warlords of the Southwest and began disrupting lines of communication, supply chains and trade.
As of 1931, the Republic of China stands united, yet warlord power is ever present.

Northeastern Army (Zhang Zuolin)
To the Northeast, Zhang Zuolin is dominant and remains in contact with his Japanese patrons--a fallback option that he has if anything were to go wrong down south. However, the Japanese are none too pleased of Zhang's manipulation and are to searching for other contacts in the nation.
Jin Clique (Yan Xishan)
Yan Xishan was one of the greatest winners of the Northern Expedition despite having been nominally at war with the ROC for a period of time. His work in the Second Expedition has earned him recognition from Wang's Government and the fetalty of his lesser, Feng Yuxiang being one of the more important ones. Despite the Zhang's nominal influence over Beiping, Yan also has connections in the city's mafia and is willing to use them to his greatest advantage.
CC Clique (Chiang Kaishek)
While Chiang lost his bid for power, he is still very much in the warlord game. He isn't technically a warlord and directly commands few troops, but he has the allegiance of two provincial governors, and of course, the Huangpu Graduates, many of whom still remember Chiang's days as headmaster. It is hard to see in a survey of the National Yuan, but many in even the KMT's Left have begun to see Chiang as a preferable alternative to Wang.
CCP (Chen Duxiu)
With Wang's betrayal, the CCP took to the hills of the nation's Southwest. Yet Chen's ineffectual leadership, uncharismatic personality and weakness of character have greatly weakened the Communist cause. Moreover, Chen is a orthodox Communist who dances to Moscow's tune. That has proved disastrous for the unity of the CCP. For one, Zhou Enlai, head of the "Reconciliation faction" has begun negotiations with Wang, even securing the CCP representation in the National Yuan as, nominally speaking, the only opposition party. Not only that, but...
CCP (Mao Zedong)
Mao Zedong broke away from the CCP in 1930 as Chen Duxiu grew ever more unpopular. His message of a Revolution spearheaded by China's argarian class and not the laborers as Chen argues has resonated with the populace and made him leader of a thriving rebel group.
The end of the Northern Expedition marked the reunification of China under a single, stable regime for the first time since the Qing conquest some 300 years prior. With this new unity, China would have to begin rebuilding herself into a respectable power of the orient once more if Wang’s regime was to stand any chance of surviving, and even reach the point where it could thrive.

However, Wang found that he faced numerous challenges to his reign as Grand President from everything from cliques of generals and warlords to the Communists and even the gangs of Shanghai. In order to reforge the nation to his own image, Wang would have to first cement his legitimacy as sole successor to Sun and shun any thoughts of betrayal and disloyalty from his lessers.

In accordance with the Three Stages of Revolution and the policy of Dang Guo proposed by Sun Yetsen at the dawn of the Northern Expedition, Wang’s regime was to carry out three tasks. The first task was military unification, completed successfully by the National Revolutionary Army. The second was "political tutelage" in the form of a government led by the KMT to educate the populace on the Three Principles of the People, while the third and final stage was a constitutional government.

Wang declared that the Kuomintang was presently at the 2nd Stage, and therefore had the duty of rebuilding the nation and removing “unsavory elements” that stood in the way of a national revival.

In 1932, the Anti-Radicalist campaign would begin. Despite Wang having shifted constantly towards the right since his break with the Communist Party, the campaign had a distinct lack of ideological fervor throughout its execution due to Wang being somewhat of a Centrist in Party Politics. Nevertheless, by forging an alliance with Yan Xishan of the Jin Clique and Du Yuesheng of the Shanghai Green Gang, Wang Jingwei would “complete the National Revolution” throughout the span of the Wuhan Decade by systematically removing members from the CC Clique, Northeastern Army and CCP sympathizers from positions of power.

The might of the NRA would too be redirected against Wang’s enemies. From 1932 to 1937, a total of 4 campaigns would be launched in China’s Southwest against the Communists of the region, all of them unsuccessful in crushing the Red Army, but enough to alienate the Communists from the Nationalist cause, thus beginning the first full-on confrontation between the two parties.


However, economic growth would continue unabated despite the turmoil, with China industrializing the coal-rich regions of the Northeast and Shanxi greatly, as well as limited land-reform to improve agricultural efficiency in liberal provinces. The government heavily encouraged private investment in various fields as well as opening numerous state-run factories that strengthened the heavy industry of the nation in the aforementioned industrial provinces as well as the nation’s center, concentrated around the Republic’s booming capital of Wuhan.

No more would this be more successful than in Shanxi. Local warlord and President of the National Yuan Yan Xishan, having always been an ardent supporter of economic and social reform gained free reign to industrialize his home province with as much government funding from outside Shanxi that he could make the National Yuan give—much of it used as a payment of sorts to keep Yan loyal to the Kuomintang.

And so Shanxi, a backwater province lacking in anything interesting since the days of the Tang Dynasty leapt forward to become one of China’s most valuable provinces. Under Yan Xishan’s governorship, a growing amount of industrial equipment—and most importantly for China of the time, military equipment streamed out of Shanxi.

Of all the reforms Yan pushed forward, social reforms would lag behind. Fearful of accusations of Communism or Radicalism, Yan abandoned his most radical ideas of top-down land reform, a Neo-Confucian state, complete gender equality or all-female schools.

The Wuhan Decade also saw the revival of Yan Xishan’s militarist opinions. In Yan’s view, now that his most radical ideas on a Confucian revival were thrown out of the window by Wang, only the “quick and dirty” path to Chinese prosperity remained—that being militarism.

By merging the state, society and the military in the form of a civilian reserve, the state could more easily indoctrinate the populace to good morals as well as increase the efficiency of governance. Titled the “Army of the People”, the army would too serve as a labor force during peacetime and work to improve Shanxi's infrastructure and industry by building roads and factories. They would also receive an education at the cost of the province treasury where they would be subjected to a rigorous, Japanese-style training regimen and to indoctrinate them in Yan Xishan’s philosophy.

As for foreign policy, already having had close ties with the Weimar Republic, Wang’s increasing rightism gave him greatly increased support from Germany following the National Revolution and Adolf Hitler’s ascension to both the German presidency and Chancellorship. However, Wang continued to protect the progressive nature of his government by making Yan Xishan his Prime Minister and maintained liberal policies, which gave Wang continued sympathy from the United States.

As the Anti-Radicalism Campaign’s political bulldozer rolled on, even the higher ups began to feel a growing pressure from Wang’s consolidation of power. In 1938, Chiang Kaishek was dismissed from his position as Premier, and reduced to a lowly rank of governor of Zhejiang. Fearful that the next step would be at best, expulsion from the party; and at worst, assassination, Chiang would silently make his own plans for what was to come.


This vacuum in power proved an excellent oppurtunity for Japan. As the Depression of 1933 struck, Japan had scrambled to face the problem, eventually ending in a military coup as well as the institution of Keynesian Economic principles geared towards military production. As militarism rose to the fore of Japanese politics, the Japan soon desired more resources to fuel its resource-hungry economy. And the answer to that lay just across the Korean border.

On 4th November of 1941, a Japanese delegation in Shanghai was killed by an ethnic Chinese assassin, giving Japan its casus belli for the war it needed, kicking off the Second Sino-Japanese War that everyone in Asia had been waiting for.

Alerted of the Japanese declaration late at night on the 7th of November, Wang Jingwei announced China’s “war of resistance” against Japan on radio and ordered armies across the nation to resist Japan’s invasion and marshal their forces for a long war. However, in Shenyang, very different orders were being given out. At midnight, soldiers of the Northeastern Army attacked NRA positions across Manchuria, clearing the provinces for the Japanese Armies that would pass through the very next day.

The very next day, Japanese armies passed into China, taking full advantage of Manchuria’s well-maintained railway system to strike quick and deep into China’s core. In an instant, what China had intended to be her first line of defense had fallen without a shot. Before the NRA could even properly mobilize, the IJA were at the gates of Beiping, which they captured with very little resistance.

When the initial shock finally sank properly in, Wang Jingwei realized that he had misstepped badly in his Anti-Radicalist Campaign. Quickly, Wang sent feelers to Chiang Kaishek and reinstated him as Premier of China, while too keeping a close eye on the CC Clique lest they betray him just as Zhang Xueliang had.

Yet the shock that Zhang’s betrayal had inflicted on China could not be understated. Much of Chinas defenses to the North had been concentrated on fighting for every inch of Manchuria and making Japan pay for it in blood. Instead, Manchuria now fed Japan’s military machine. Even as the IJA sliced through the unprepared Beiping garrison, Wang Jingwei faced threats to his rule. Yan Xishan, once his ally now questioned Wang’s ability as a wartime leader given his inadequate military ability that had been displayed in fulll by his campaigns against the Communists of the Southwest and Zhang a decade earlier. Yan had in one fell swoop gained the fealty of much of China’s warlords north of the Yellow River who realized that now, more than ever, they needed a military man as their leader.

A pragmatist, Yan made no attempt to retake Beiping, and instead focused his efforts on the creation of a fall-back line. By mobilizing the peasantry, as he had in Shanxi, the Yan Xishan line, as hastily pieced together as it was, was constructed was put in place to contain the Japanese advance.

Further Southwards, attacks began on Shanghai as well. Despite the German-trained 19th Route Army’s best efforts, they held out for 3 months only—it was good, but not enough. In the following months, Wang Jingwei found that he was not the military strategist that Yan or Chiang were. Failing to contain the Japanese foothold on the Eastern coast, Wang offered Chiang command of the NRA forces of the region, but was turned down by his age-old rival.

By April 1942, Yan had contained the Northern front, and, with the help of local Communist guerilla forces, had slowed down an offensive in Shandong. Eastern China, however was hopelessly spiraling out of control. Chinese forces had resorted to the massed attacks of nigh-unarmed hordes that the NRA had faced in the Northern Expedition—a tactic that the NRA themselves had proved to be useless before a well-disciplined, highly-motivated force. The IJA now began snaking along the Yangtze towards the ultimate prize—Wuhan in an attempt to decapitate the Chinese government and put an end to the war. The voices for Wang’s disposal grew ever-louder, as it now appeared that Wang was to be the sole one responsible for China’s humiliating defeat before Japan.

In May 1943, Chiang Kaishek resigned from his post as Premier, defecting to Japan mere days later and was appointed President of the Provisional Republic of China, claiming that Wang had betrayed the Three Principles of the People and lead China down a path of national oblivion. On the very same day, news broke that Soong Meiling, wife to Chiang Kaishek had committed suicide at the news of Chiang’s defection, further impacting Chinese morale.

Just as all signs pointed towards China’s eventual, crippling defeat, the American intervention came. In absolute fear of a strong oriental power that could potentially challenge America’s undisputed dominance over the Pacific, America had been preparing for an attack on Japan for months, and had prepared the Philippines as a staging point for the destruction of the IJN to begin.

Yet moving fleets of ships as well as the materials, facilities and personnel required for said fleet was not an easy thing to hide, and American counter-intelligence would fail miserably in this department. Mere hours after the American declaration of war, the IJN descended upon Manila and began the Pacific War with a thunderous defeat for the overconfident Americans.

At the same time, China’s internal politics were now in a state of flux. With so many prominent generals in the Japanese camp and NRA forces under Wang’s direction showing how absolutely incompetent the NRA was in relation to the world, Yan Xishan realized that if China, and thus, in turn he was to survive, action was required of him. On 14th September 1943, Yan Xishan launched the Mid-Autumn Coup and placed Wang under house arrest, where he was forced to accept the new state of affairs as a President with no power and no control over the nation’s armies—a president that was a puppet like the boy-emperors of dynasties past.

The same year, Marshal Zhang Zuolin would pass away in Shenyang—an increasingly Japanese-dominated city. Already, sporadic street fights would begin between men of the Northeast Army—many of them already rebellious and dissatisfied with Zhang—and the Japanese forces of the region. While Zhang Xueliang was, quite naturally, named the new Marshal, he realized that Manchuria had slowly, steadily been slipping out the hand of the Zhang clan. If the Fengtian Clique was to continue holding its place, the Young Marshal would have to take action.

The Fengtian Rebellion broke out across Manchuria as men of the Northeastern Army attacked Japanese armies in the region and wrested control of both Harbin and Shenyang from Japan. It threw Japan off its balance in a flurry of confusion as the command post from which the entire North China front was directed fell apart.

Despite its wild success, the coup’s only flaw would be that it was overly optimistic in its planning. Underestimating Japan’s ability to react to threats quickly and overestimating its own strength, the Northeastern Army was soon crushed by redeployed Japanese reserves. Facing overwhelming numbers and unable to coordinate his increasingly disloyal officers, Zhang Xueliang would only retreat to Northwestern Manchuria and wage guerilla warfare across the region by destroying infrastructures, factories and mines wherever possible and hindering Japan’s war effort in hopes that it would buy enough time for Yan’s armies to save him.

Finally, with Japan’s Shanxi front in disarray and American forces massing and starting to give Japan a run for their money, the tide began to turn
 
1438, a Year of no Significance
By far my favourite map, for obvious reasons. AFAIK, it is one of my most popular posts as well, if not the most popular, one that took me 3 full days to work on almost obsessively. The title is based upon the book 1587, a Year of no Significance, a book on the reign of the Wanli Emperor and downfall of the Ming Dynasty, by Wan Renyu. Wang Renyu was a NRA veteran in, I believe the Chinese Civil War. He retreated to Taiwan with Chiang Kaishek's flight, later moving to the US, where he wrote this book (in English). It's really one of those woks that I know I will never be able to reproduce, given how meticulously put together it was. For wasteland provinces (the lighter coloured regions), I had to look up population statistics and slowly chart them out pixel by pixel. I have neither the time nor the patience to do so anymore.:oops:

Really, the sub-national divisions are so good I often look back at them as bases for projects even in my latest works. I'm immensely proud of it, though kinda afraid I can't live up to the expectations of me way back when--pixel art and whatnot.


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1438 AH, a Year of No Significance

Sub-Saharan African states partially adopted from @theman7777 ’s Worlda for an uncolonized Africa; pixel art format inspired by @ToixStory ’s excellent Winter Period map, which was a great source of inspiration for this map.
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So I’ve been watching Caspian Report’s Science and Islam videos series, which have given me inspiration to make a scenario on a more successful Mu’tazila movement. I am by no means an expert in Mu’tazila theology, nor am I by any means well-versed in Middle Eastern history, so bear with me.
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Pixel art: Clockwise from top left
1)The Tehran skyline
2)The Yi'si'tan'bu skyline
3)The Kaaba. I know it was built much later on, but it looks cool, so I'm keeping it.
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The Islamic Golden Age
From the reign of the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid onwards, the Abbasid Caliphate had reigned unchallenged. Its achievements in the sciences and arts were unparalleled in the world as the Translation Movement brought texts from a million different languages to fill the libraries of the House of Wisdom, pushing the Islamic world to ever greater heights.
From Cathay to Ireland, the Abbasid Caliphate was the place to be for one to freely pursue the sciences or arts and Baghdad was a great metropolis at the center of it where people from all over the world met. As the point of convergence for the East and the West, the Islamic World absorbed Indian mathematics, Rhoman classics and Chinese thought, combining them into something greater. It was the Islamic Golden Age, and it was in this period that a school of philosophers who had adopted ancient Greek philosophy into Islamic thought—the Mu’tazilitesemerged. The Mu’tazilites believed that first, it was necessary to give a rational explanation to matters both of the physical world and Islamic belief; and second that humans enjoyed absolute free will. This doctrine spread quickly across the Muslim world, eventually growing so influential that the Abbasid Dynasty would officially enforce it as the official creed of the Caliphate and led to the dominance of Mu’tazila creed as well as the state over the Ulema scholars of the Caliphate, a policy often enforced by a ruthless inquisiton.
Yet this era would also be the period in which cracks began to emerge in the Abbasid Caliphate. Although the Abbasid Caliphate began as a Persian revolt, the Abbasids had begun to alienate her Persian bureaucrats on which matters of state were so reliant on. The Abbasid Caliphate also found herself severely overextended, and was forced to cede control of the Western provinces to smaller, more local states.
As the Abbasids declined, challenges to the official Mu’tazila creed emerged, one of them being the scholar Ibn Hanbal. Ibn Hanbal rejected the ruthless imposing of the Mu’tazila doctrine, and for that he was banished first from the House of Wisdom, then Baghdad and finally the Caliphate. Having sought refuge in Cordoba, Ibn Hanbal plotted his revenge, but was found dead one day in a café that he frequented in Damascus with 13 dagger-inflicted wounds on his back and his murderer nowhere to be found.
Despite his ultimate defeat, the defiant scholar found more power in death than life. Rebellions broke out across the Levant at the news of the assassination. Revolts that shook the foundations of the Caliphate to the very core. In the end though, the Abbasid Caliphate stood strong, and just like so many that had went before him, Ibn Hanbal disappeared into the pages of history, courtesy of the Caliph’s inquisition.
That was not to say that the Abbasid Caliphate was out of the woods yet. Yes, theologically, the Mu’tazila doctrine had proved herself victorious, but this had no effect on the Caliphate’s political woes. With Egypt and Persia, the Caliphate’s wealthiest provinces declaring their independence, the Caliph was humiliated and absolutely lacking in any authority over the state. Eventually, the Mamluks, or the Turkish slave soldiers of the Abbasid military seized power, striking the greatest blow to the Caliphate, eventually founding the Tulunid Caliphate centered on Damascus. Even worse, the Samanid Dynasty that had arisen in Persia was a Shia Dynasty that now threatened Baghdad herself.
Mesopotamia broke away from the newborn Tulunid Caliphate at an early time, and would see great turmoil in the coming centuries, with Caliphates rolling in and out virtually each year. Intellectual development too, ground to a halt in Mesopotamia and relocated to Tulunid Egypt or Umayyad Al-Andalus. This did not mean that intellectual development was in any way, stopping. Quite the contrary, it speeded up. Given how the Abbasid inquisition was extremely effective at protecting the rationalist ideology of the Mu’tazilites, many scholars were sent to the gallows for their Orthodox views on Islam. The Tulunids had learnt from the mistakes of the Abbasids that had preceded, and thus took a lighter stance on opposing philosophies, which allowed scientific thought to progress much more quickly. No longer did the Muslim world rely on the importing of foreign schools of thought—it was now the greatest hub of science, culture and art on the face of Earth.
Academic affairs aside, the fall of the Abbasids had brought forth a vacuum of power in the Middle East, and that vacuum was too big for the Tulunids to fill on their own.

In came the Rhomans.
The Rhoman Empire had been in decline since the age of Justinian, and Nikephoros III “the Pious” sought to reclaim the long-lost Levant for Rome once more—with perhaps the reclamation of Jerusalem from the hands of the Saracens. From 520 AH (505 SH; 1126 AD) to 524 AH (509 SH; 1130 AD), the Tulunids and the Rhomans duked it out—a conflict supported by even the Pope in Rome who called for a Crusade for the Holy Land.
Heading wast of the Levant, one would find himself in Al-Andalus, where the Ummayads too began their conquests. With reforms that accommodated the native Christian populations in government and society alike, the now strengthened Ummayads inched once more towards the heartlands of Christendom in the French Kingdom.
In the Far East, a similar story was playing out in China. Ever since the destruction of the Tang Dynasty in the Anshi Rebellion, China had fell into civil war after civil war in the Southern Exile Period (偏安). To the North lay the splintered successors to An Lushan’s short-lived Qi Dynasty, many of these kingdoms ruled by Turks, Khitans, Jurchens or the Xianbei Tribes. To the South lay what remained of the Chinese Empire, countries now ruled the land south of the Huai River. These two states would go on to form the Empires of Cathay(華契) and Huainan(華夏) respectively, but for the moment they battled for influence over China.
The single most important event of the Middle Ages for what remained of China—if not all of Asia would be the unification, and thus Islamicization of Cathay. In centuries prior, Islam had steadily grown in Central Asia, the prestige of such a booming civilization pushing forward Islamicization in Inner Eurasia, and with the rise of the Khitan Li(黎) Dynasty, a Muslim ruler finally ascended to the Chinese throne.
Contrary to what had was seen in the Islamicization of India, Kilwa or Rus’, this wave of Islamicization took a notably…localized turn. The Khitan Emperor Naihe Nalan was, while a Muslim, the ruler of a nation that claimed to be a successor to China of old. And thus, he had been exposed to Confucian teachings from a young age. It was soon evident that as much as this was an Islamicization of China, it was too, a Sinicization of Islam in China. Very quickly, Islam would become the foremost amongst the “Four Teachings”—Islam, Confucianism, Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism.
Back in the Middle East, the Crusades ended with a catastrophic defeat for Christendom. Instead of renewed glory for Christendom and the Rhoman Empire, Nikephoros III had brought forth a new low for Rhome. Instead, Tulunid armies were at the gates of Constantinople and Ummayad forces had seized Occitania for themselves.
By 726 AH (704 SH; 1326 AD), both Rome and Constantinople were under Muslim rule and Christendom was being pushed ever northwards.

Age of Colonialism
It was in this period that Islam made what was perhaps her single greatest discovery—the continents of ‘Amriktan. The discovery of two new continents by one Bakr Jinan meant riches and wonders beyond imagination, and opportunities for the ever-growing Islamic empires.
The settlement of ‘Amriktan not only brought forth riches from an alien continent, it also kicked off the Age of Colonialism. In this era, powers such as Al-Andalus, Al-Maghrib, Italyia or Rum settled the new continents. Foremost in this struggle would be Al-Andalus, which by 957 AH (929 SH; 1550 AD) controlled the lion’s share of the new world.
However, this Age of Colonialism had the natives holding the short end of the stick. From the Incans in the South to the Aztecs of the North, Andalusian conquerors subjected the native populace to great massacres and looting. The Andalusians, who had been historically less exposed to Mu’tazila thought viewed, through their Orthodox Muslim lens the largely Bronze-age civilizations as mere primitives that were, for lack of a better term, livestock. Disease also played a major role in the destruction of the native populace, and a few decades since the first Muslim set foot on the New World, 80% of the native population had been destroyed.
Andulsia’s increasing dominance of the new world would, however not go unnoticed by the great powers of Dar-al-Islam. In 1101 AH (1068 SH; 1689 AD), Al-Andalus began what Cordoba trumpeted as the last great religious war between Dar-al-Islam and Christendom. The reality was, however that the Alpine War, as it came to be known, was as much a war between Al-Andalus and Christendom as it was between Al-Andalus and the vast array of Mu’tazila-aligned forces arrayed against her.
Al-Andalus remained very much unscathed after all this. Unlike France, Germany or to an extent, the Sultanate of Rum, Al-Andalus’ core was very much intact, as were her colonies. In fact, this war alerted Al-Andalus of her diplomatic isolation. The answer to this was twofold—first, Al-Andalus would mend relations between her and the prime Mu’tazila power of the time—Ghazid Syria and focus efforts instead on the Shi’a Persians. Second, Al-Andalus would build up her mastery of the new world as a fallback option if anything were to go wrong.
The Huainan states were previously based on the Huai River. However, they were now pushed ever southwards by the Muslim Khitans and found themselves lacking in resources or raw manpower that the north offered. They and other East Asian states such as Nihon or Xiamlo would too make inroads towards the new world as well as the southern continent of Sazau. Their colonies were small in size though, given the size of the Pacific and transport across it. And thus, Huainan colonizers took a page from their Buddhist and Shintoist religions and mostly adopted a diplomatic approach to colonization by focusing on the integration of natives. While unable to alleviate the rampant diseases that ravaged the locals, they nevertheless attempted to cure natives with whatever resources they had and encouraged interbreeding to speed up the growth of their colonies.
In Africa, the Islamic powers were unable to dominate the continent on the same scale as they did in ‘Amriktan. Instead, the Islamic powers would encourage local Jihads and the establishment of Islamic powerhouses in Africa that served as pawns for their Northerly liege-lords. By the end of the Age of Colonialism in the 1290s AH (1250s SH 1870s AD), Islamic forces never did manage to dominate Africa completely, however, their influence was permanently etched on the continent.


The Industrial Age
The advent of industrialization in the 1160s AH (1130s SH; 1750s AD) pushed the ridiculously dominant Islamic world further up the “food chain” of civilizations, widening the gap between the urbanized Islamic world and it’s at times mediaeval neighbor to the North.
But following this rapid growth was an age of Liberalism. The Islamic states (and the Nordic Empire), for the most part had trended towards authoritarian forms of centralized government to finance the incessant wars of recent years. While there were of course ideas of the Rebirth Era, change was happening far too slowly for the people to be satisfied with their governments.
Across the Middle East, revolutions began with the aim of toppling governments and the decaying institutions that they held onto. And it would be now that Egypt, in the wake of reversals in recent decades would suffer the consequences of being by far the most forward in the Islamic World. Ruling over a highly educated populace that knew they had alternatives to a monarchy that had failed them so, the Sultan awoke to riots across his empire one scorching Egyptian morning, and by the end of the month, the Sultanate had fallen and a Republic was put in place.
The Egyptian Republic would bring great discord to the Middle East of the time at a delicate moment. Under one Amil Karim, the Egyptian Republic pulled itself together from the discord and utter mayhem that the revolution had brought forth and marshaled the Republic’s armies to take advantage of Egypt’s distracted and fearful neighbors.
Amil Karim’s Republic was eventually brought down by an ill-advised invasion of Persia and an equally foolish trek across the Empty Quarter which decimated the Egyptian Grand Army. However, his legacy would last on forever. Despite the best efforts of both Persia and Al-Andalus—the greatest winners of this period of discord—Republican rebels as well as bandits plagued the Levant. This eventually settled into a myriad of independent statelets perpetually out of reach of any of the great powers by virtue of sheer unruliness.
The progress train, no matter the situation would continue to charge forwards. What started out as mere steam power blossomed into a world covered from one end to another in railways, factories, electric cables and more, all of this infrastructure linking Baghdad to Delhi; Delhi to Yi’si’tan’bu; and Yi’si’tan’bu to New Tunis. Inventions kept rolling out by the week and wealth poured into the coffers of nations like never before.

The Modern Era
Al-Andalus was, without a doubt the greatest victor of the Industrial Age. From the times of the long-gone Ummayads, the Andalusians had cleverly prevented any of the powers to her East from forming a concrete alliance. Not Rum, not Arabia, not Egypt and definitely not Persia. All the while, her influence had only spread across the continents. Trade systems and railway networks grew to their apex and by the 1370s AH (1330s SH; 1950s AD), even space ports were organized around the Caliph in Al-Andalus.
The Great War was a bid to finally bring Al-Andalus’ greatest rival in Persia to bend the knee after some 4 centuries of defiance, and it was, to many, the last war the world would ever see, as it would be where Al-Andalus finally secured her mastery of the world. From the beaches of Syria to the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Al-Andalus and her vast host of tributaries faced off against the world for 2 decades of grueling conflict.
Just as it seemed that Persia was spent and Konstantiyee was doomed to fall, the Great War ended with the use of the world’s first atomic weapon. The Andalusian homeland was demolished by weapons of unmatched force, obliterating millions and bringing an end to a 4-century long golden age.
The new world order that was ushered in following the Great War was centered on the strict neo-Mu’tazila Tehran-Yi’si’tan’bu Axis. Behind the scenes of a prosperous planet, the inquisitors of the Abbasid era have been reborn to hunt down opposition against progress with ruthless efficiency.
1438 years following the death of the prophet, this enforcement of a strictly neo-Mu’tazila doctrine has brought about a new golden age--an age of progress, prosperity and growth as humanity inches ever closer to the stars.
But at what cost?
 
The Unexpected Superpower
Titled the Unexpected superpower, this is the height of my Iran-o-phillia. Iran as a country has always fascinated me, though I am unfortunately not as well versed in Iranian history as I’d like myself to be. Just like the title, the map was indeed an unexpected success: perhaps due to the Iran crisis at the time and my vocal opinion on the matter. I took inspiration for the mosaic patterns from the Shah Mosque in Isfhahan, if I remember. Stylisticly, it is a successor to 1438, a Year of No Significance.

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The Myriad Nations of the Southern Min
It’s the dark ages. A terrible year at high school has killed my energy, and I have forgotten most of my skills in mapmaking. I decide to make a map on the Min people, also known as the Hokkien people in honour of my ancestry. In what was perhaps not the brightest of ideas, I would use MBam basemap. Nothing much to say about this.

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The Min people trace their origins back to the earliest Chinese settlements in Old China's deep south. As early as the Han Dynasty's conquest of the Minyue Kingdom, the Min people have claimed to have been a unique culture. They remained a people of little importance along the centuries, overshadowed by the vastly more important cities straddling the Yangtze as well as the Cantonese to the Southwest. The Min remained a backwater along the centuries: a sparsely populated land dominated by her neighbors. They lived as they had for centuries, very mundanely hacking through the lush forestry of China's South.

But the Min were set upon a different path as the Tang Dynasty fell.

In all the many periods of dissolution that China had went through, few had threatened the prosperity of the Min. In fact, the immigration that came as a direct result was a boon to the Min people. The decline and eventual destruction of the Tang Dynasty would change that. China was shattered as the North came to be dominated by a line of generals with imperial pretensions; and the south was divided between everything from ethnic rebellions to dynastic remnants.

China did come close to unification during the Song Dynasty, but the Song would go the way a great many states of this time did: it fell to a military coup and the never-ending cycle of dynastic change in the north continued.

The South, initially fractured, saw attempts at unification by the Southern Tang, a state occupying the Guangdong reigon. Li Kuanyin, Emperor Wu of Tang led his armies Eastwards in an attempt to bring the unruly Min under his rule. What the Emperor won instead was a impoverished province plagued with bandits rebels hiding in the land's hilly terrain. Emperor Wu led armies in a "slash and burn" campaign, conducting massacres and looting as they made their way northwards in an attempt to take control of the population in full by brute force. Cantonese settlers streamed into the scorched lands, rebuilding the land in their own image. It would prove to be a long era of subjugation for the Min.

While the Min population was cut in half, that would not be the end for the Min. With Cantonese subjugation, Min proto-nationalism arose and rebellions would erupt in the southeast of the province of Hokkin(Fujian), rebellions that proved useless before the vastly superior Cantonese forces. And so, Mins had little choice but to flee their homes, streaming out of the impoverished province into Southeast Asia as well as the sparsely-populated island of Penghu [1]. The Min diaspora spread its wings across Southeast Asia initially as pirate clans that preyed on shipping as far as the Straits of Malacca; then evolving over time to become so deeply rooted that they'd establish independent settlements such as the island of Lusong[2]—that would trade with their neighbors.

In Indochina, a Min minority would wield great influence as clans of merchants and politicians in the state, or even ruling—contrary to the business-oriented sensibilities that had evolved along the centuries. Ayutthaya in fact experienced a coup in the 14th Century sponsored by none other than a Min merchant clan which installed a branch of the Thai royal family with much Min blood running through the veins of the King. Such “puppet regimes” existed at various points in history (and even do to an extent exist now), developing policies that heavily favored trade in the Southern Sea [南洋; OTL South China Sea].

The Min golden age came in the 17th Century, when Lingnam [岭南; Lingnan]—the Cantonese state collapsed into a mass of city states. Seizing upon the chance, the pirate armadas and trading empires of the Min scrambled to take control of the many Min rebel movements, inciting rebellion after rebellion in the now liberated land. Min ships sailed into Canton itself, bombarding what remained of a central government and looting what was once a hub of scientific and cultural achievement alike.

Canton’s grand palaces burned for days and nights, while each street was sacked and thousands of irreplaceable texts dating from before the Tang Dynasty were thrown into a bonfire along with each of the Cantonese Emperor’s concubines. When the smoke cleared, it appeared that the very idea of a Cantonese state—or indeed a unified Cantonese culture was six feet under.

But it appeared that the Min traders, in their desire for vengeance, had miscalculated. The razing of Canton and the collapse of the Cantonese state was a major blow to commerce in the Southern Sea, as without the largest player in the region, there was very little to trade. The economy of the region was thrown into chaos, and with that came instability across the region, signified perhaps best by the collapse of the infant Min Kingdom. The prosperity of the previous centuries, it appeared, had a price.

The Min scattered. They left behind their ruined homeland for distant lands. Some fled for the Khitan colonies across the seas; some of the larger clans fled West for Hindustan, entire fleets in tow; some fled inland, where perhaps overland trade would save them where the sea killed them; but some remained in their liberated homes, clinging onto the hope that they could rebuild.

The centuries passed and the Min did in fact rebuild. Those who fled across the seas took part in the great push Eastwards across the plains of the Fusang [3]; those who fled for Hindustan made it as far as South as the Cape and as far North as, where they documented in great detail the ways of these Westerners. Those who fled inland served in part as traders, but mostly as advisors to the aspiring merchant princes of the Silk Road; while those who stayed rebuilt the trading empire of old, piece by piece.

As the 19th Century continues, the Min continue, indifferent to the clashes of the many empires that rose in the Tang’s wake over their colonies across the globe. Some say it is wise, as it was that divergence from merchant-dominated societies that destroyed the Min golden age; but some look fearfully towards Lingnam, reunited some 200 years since that fateful day. Already, a great many Min states have been subsumed into Grand Canton, rendered appendages of the restored empire. Perhaps history is destined to repeat itself.

[1]: OTL Taiwan, TTL named after the Penghu islands.
[2]: OTL Luzon
[3]: North America
 
Chronicle of Kemet Reborn
Believe or not, I got this idea from a Religious studies class at school. My school is Catholic, a liberal one at that, though the historical knowledge of our more religious teachers os iffy to say the least. In our compulsory religious classes, in the midst of something on the passion of christ, our teacher showed us a documentary on the Sea Peoples...and how they were apparently some force of God punishing Egypt. Nevertheless, I had this little bout of fascination with ancient egypt--more specifically the Kush peoples and their conquest of Egypt during the--I believe--25th Dynasty. The idea of the Egypts loathing the Kushites so much they would completely purge the Kush peoples from history caught me at once and I made this map to satiate my mapping itch.
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Kemet reigns supreme, the Forth Era when Egypt pieced itself together from the great age of troubles of times past. It was a time when Kemet threw off its greatest disgrace: the Kushite Dynasty that snaked its way up the Nile, conquering city after city in the name of their great heathen God in Jebel Barkal. The Kushite Dynasty, that great disgrace to the subjects of Amun-Ra was purged from the scrolls of history, the dark-skinned Nubian subjected to the greatest of retributions. Kemet's armies roamed the Kushite kingdoms until all that remained was a broken population.

The 26th Dynasty that came next restored Kemet's place in the sun. Conquests were launched in all directions to prevent such a disgrace from happening ever again. Settlers were dispatched across the South, forcing the Nubians to flee for D'mt, where new wars were sparked. To the North, Judea was conquered, Egyptian supremacy was secured over the Levant and inroads were made into Mesepotamia.

Now, even the deserts of Arabia have been tamed by Himyarite client states, and the great city of Babylon has been tamed at last. Not only does the Nile feed the ancient civilization, so do the arteries of the Tigris and Eupharates. Nothing remains of the old era of dissolution--even the Great Jebel Barkal, a miracle of nature has been defaced with all the ingenuities of man.

But of course, to have created such ingenuities, Kemet has had its fair share of contributions: it has brought stability to a land of constant war, facilitated trade from far off Achaemenid India and Qart Hadast, lands beyond the reach of even the greatest traveller. Miracles of enginerring have enabled Kemet to sail each corner of the known world. Achaemenid merchants that dwell in Thebes even talk of a land beyond the vast mountains that dot the Abode of the Snow, a land of infinite wealth and gold-laden streets, a land known only as Chu.

It is an age of oppression; it is an age of opulence. It is an age of brutality; it is an age of the arts blossoming full.
 
The Cult of the Heavenly Emperor
The best of this map really is with the writeup: on a surviving Taiping faith. For those who don’t know, the Taiping were this historical oddity in Southern China in which Hong Xiuquan, a failed student in the Imperial Exams “found God” and founded his own brand of Protestantism, now with proto-Communism (complete with atrocities) and millenarianism. Here, the Taiping slowly modernize their faith, and eventually become a fact of life in Southern China. I’ve always loathed how the Taiping are (or at least were) represented as heroes liberating China from the Manchu devil, and the idea of “Manchu devils” was indeed an influence in much of the scenario.

I highly recommend checking out the alternate religions thread in my notes within the writeup. Many fun ideas thrown around in that thread.​
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A little something for the most fascinating alternate religions and deities thread, just to satisfy my alternate history itch (I swear to God, Xianfeng, if you abandon one more project--:mad:)

Disclaimer: the following is narrated by a very unreliable narrator. They in no way reflect my political and religious opinions.
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The Church of the Heavenly Emperor

Decree Regarding the Council of Tianjing said:
By right of heaven, the Imperial edict decrees: The Council of Tianjing has made it so that the many beliefs of Huaxia shall be made one, and the revelation bequeathed to the Elder Son, the Lord of Nine Thousand Years put to pen. To vanquish heresy across the great and glorious realm of Yehehua’s chosen nation, the Holy Order of the Silk-Clad Inquisition is bequeathed the power to purify the corruption that has befallen the nation. Treat your parents with piety; respect your elders and superiors; live at peace in your villages; instruct your children and grandchildren; make your living peacefully; commit no wrong. Live in accordance with the Testament of the Great Peace and heresy shall not befall you.
The Church of the Heavenly Emperor, also known as the God Worshipper’s Society in her earlier days is the dominant Chinese Christian order. With 560 Million adherents in China as well as in Han communities across the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia, it is the second largest Christian denomination in the world behind the Latin Church of Rome, and the largest in East Asia.


History
Founded in the wake of the Elder Son Hong Xiuquan’s Taiping Revolution, the Cult of the God Worshippers is the state religion of the Motherland, the Heavenly Kingdom of the Great Peace, sole inheritor to Christianity as it was first conceived. [FN1]

The Testament of the Great Peace writes that after failure in the imperial exams of the corrupt Manchu Empire, the Elder Son would fall grievously ill, coming to the brink of death in bouts of fever. A poor scholar from far-off Canton, the Son could not afford a doctor, with the only console he had being quotes from scriptures obtained from Western Missionaries proselytizing in the province. Falling into a coma for a week, the Son awoke refreshed.

The Elder Son proclaimed a vision from the Heavenly Emperor Yahweh, where an elderly, bearded man, flanked by a white skinned youth with flowing hair offered him the Sword of the State, a symbol of his holy mandate to reclaim China from the corruption of false idols. Naming him his lost elder son, the bearded man would then show him great and unimaginable visions, which the Elder Son would pen into the Testament of the Great Peace.

By rallying the support of an oft disillusioned populace, the Church would emerge as a serious rebellion against the Qing Government in 1865. As the bloodiest conflict of the 19th Century, the Taiping Revolution saw a once-mighty China plunged into chaos and anarchy, and an imperial government thought invincible but 30 years ago brought to her very knees. The Revolution was however stopped in its tracks at the gates of Peking by the Great Flood of 1873, with the Yellow River flooding much of Northern China, cutting off supplies and entrapping the vast majority of the expedition’s forces.

It would come to light following the retreat and consolidation of revolutionary forces that in the midst of the expedition, the North King, defacto commander of the armed forces and Custodian of the Holy Realm had amassed a great deal of power, losing sight of the cause and letting himself be lost to the forces of corruption, even seeking to proclaim himself emperor by taking control of the Elder Son’s rightful powers as Emperor. Hence, in the 26th Year of the Second Revelation, Crown Prince Hong Tianguifu would launch a coup against the North King, securing the prosperity and purity of our Great Empire.

It would come to pass that in the 34th Year of the Second Revelation, in the midst of an invasion by the vile forces of the Manchu heathens and their misguided minions that the Elder Son would join the side of the Heavenly Emperor and the Latter Son. After 3 months of national mourning, the Crown Prince would take the throne as King Yongsheng, appointed of the Heavenly Emperor himself.

Following his ascension, King Yongsheng would convene the Council of Tianjing, ordering the clergy of the realm—then numbering no more than 200 holy men—to review texts penned by prophets within and without China. From the Prophet Muhemode to Elayah and Yesu, the false and corrupt was separated from the true and pure, creating the Church as we know it today.


Basic Tenants
The Church preaches the great truth as it was revealed to prophets across the world since ancient times. It is the belief of the Church that its mission was spawned from the failure of the prophets of the East during the time of the Warring States even before the time of the Latter Son.

The Eastern prophets had been the chosen to spread the word amongst the Asians, but failed before the vile Confucius and doomed millions to disbelief and damnation. It is said that Confucius stole and warped the works of the Eastern Prophets for himself, including ancient and old concepts of the Mandate of Heaven [FN2], the cyclic nature of mankind, the duality of sin and good, and the existence of a heavenly deity, known to Chinese tradition as “Tian”, or “Heaven”.

As the final prophet to come before Armageddon, the Elder Son has put an end to the cycle of rise and fall within mankind, and the very last King of the Heavenly Kingdom is destined to open the gates to judgment once the peoples of the world have been converted to the one true faith.


The Heavenly Powers
The Heavenly Emperor, Yehehua, Pangu, Lord of Ten Thousand Years: As creator of the world, Yehehua, known in the Dukedom of Pingnanguo as “Allah” is a being of unparalleled power. Once known as the giant Pangu, he created all that there is from his form, ending Pangu’s soul and forging countless others. He rules over the Empire of the Heavens, and has watched over the world for time immemorial, intervening sparingly only when satanic forces corrupt the hearts of men. Pangu created the heavens from his mortal body, the Heavenly spirit from his heart and his two sons from his two eyes, as such he is often depicted as a blind man upon a throne of clouds. On the Day of Judgement, his many forms will reunite into the ancient form of Pangu and rule over all his creations.

The Elder Son, Lord of Nine Thousand Years, King Gaozu: The Heavenly Emperor’s last and greatest messenger, he was sent to the realm of mortals ignorant, only to emerge all-knowing when his time came. Intelligent, powerful and just, he is the epitome of man but slightly inferior to the Latter Son in godlike awe. He heads the Eastern Prophets in their mission to spread the word amongst the realms of Hindustan, Cathay and Tartary. He is often depicted as a stern, Mongoloid man seated upon a throne of dragons, bearing with him the Sword of the State. According to the followers of the Bishopric of Wuhan, His other incarnations include the Yellow Emperor, Guan Yu and Yue Fei.

The Latter Son, Lord Yesu: The Heavenly Emperor’s younger son, he was sent to the realm of mortals all-knowing, dying for the sins of man. Unfortunately, the peoples of the West strayed from His teachings of compassion and love, devolving into cruelty and vileness. He is equally man and equally God, perfect in both. He heads the Western prophets in their mission to spread the word amongst the realms of Persia, Ruthenia and Daqin. He is often depicted as a youthful, white robed man with a crown of thorns and a throne of wood. He is symbolized by Sichuanese sects with the Yin-Yang Duality.

Heaven, Spirit of the Spring and Autumn: A creation borne from Pangu’s heart, he is represented in nature and the elements, all present and all seeing. Often misinterpreted by pagans as animistic deities, he has a great many names in cultures far and wide, from Tengri to Nahuatl, and from Neptune to Ahura Mazda. He is the most active of the Gods, manifesting to the simple mortal should they be just and virtuous, yet never proclaiming his existence with extravagant displays like the Emperor and his sons. He is last in line for worship, and is served only in the annual prayers for harvest by the Appointed Emperor of the Heavenly Kingdom.


Mortal Beings
The Appointed Emperor, Lord of Ten Thousand Years, King Shengli: The incarnation of God’s will in the mortal realm, there have been 6 Kings in the history of the Heavenly Kingdom. Each rules according to the will of heaven, and is God’s prime agent upon Earth. He leads the Church and State as undisputed ruler, and determines the fate of millions by each of his decrees as was originally intended by God through the appointing of Popes in the West, further contrasting the purity of the Church’s teachings against the deviancy of the Western devils. As each Emperor passes, his spirit ascends to the heaven and joins the ranks of the Eastern prophets.

The Eastern Prophets: Spreaders of God’s will in the East, there are 12 of them in total, their names unknown for they were forced into exile and silence after the failure of their mission. They are commemorated in the Hall of Saints within the Forbidden City of Tianjing.

The Western Prophets: Spreaders of God’s will in the West, they are holy men, many deemed saints for their virtue and martyrdom; and others considered angels by even the heretical Latin Church of Rome. Their teachings would however be warped along the centuries, shattering the unity of the Abrahamic faiths.

Earthly Beings
The Earthly Emperor, Yamarajah-Satan: Once an equal to Yehehua and his great creations, he was banished from the heavens for defying God’s will. He is an evil force who has behind every defeat of faith against unbelief and heresy, having been responsible for the failure of the mission of Prophets both East and West. Through his puppets the Manchu Emperor, he came very close to destroying the Elder Son’s spirit, though good would ultimately triumph. He is often depicted as a beast clad from head to toe in gold, riding a black ox.



Holy Sites
Tianjing: formerly known as Nanjing, it is the capital of God’s kingdom on earth and home to the faithful. Only the most zealous of the Church can live within the vicinity of the imperial palace, uniting the city in praise of the most high.

The Cathedral of King Shuntian: the most magnificent and largest church in the world, it is located in Hangzhou, built by his majesty the 4th Appointed Emperor, Lord of Ten Thousand Years, King Shuntian of the Heavenly Kingdom. Built in a mixture of Chinese, Islamic and Western styles, it is a center of worship, attracting millions of the faithful from across the world each year.

Jintian, Guangxi Hakka Autonomous Governate: Where it all started. The Eldest Son received his revelation in this humble Chinese village, and where his hut was now lies the Cathedral of the Sword, which commemorates the Sword of State gifted to him by the heavenly father.


[FN1]: Unreliable Narrator reporting in.
[FN2]: to justify the inclusion of traditional Chinese beliefs, the Church adopts the belief that traditional Chinese within Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism were in fact Christian in nature.

Comment and criticism very welcome!
 
Old Games, New Players
The inspiration for this post cam from 2 sources: first, a trip to Taiwan, in particular the National Palace Museum, where I got the idea of a warlordist Qing Dynasty; and a trip to Nanjing where I got the idea of a Trumpist British Empire (don't ask how, I don't know). It was a fun experience, remodeling OTL modern day but with traditional imperialism rather than Neo-imperialism. Ah, we all have fascinating euphemisms these day, now do we?

In retrospect, given all the time I put into making the map, most significantly the pain-staking provincial subdivisions, I really feel like I put way too little effort into the writeup. It's a reoccurring trend, perhaps an inevitable one as my inkwell slowly dries up.

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A map I finished quite some time ago, with the intention of posting in Easter. That uh...obviously didn't quite work out one trip to Nanjing and a mountain of tests later.

Do go a bit easier on my (atrocious) Western history. So enjoy;)

Europe
With the end of the 9 Years War, Britain found herself in dire straits: bankrupt, isolated and having lost all her Indian possessions, it appeared that the nascent British Empire was at her very end, to go the same way as so many others in the graveyard of empires.

In an attempt to salvage the British financial situation, the British government, headed by the politician Robert Walpole would hedge its bets on the Leavantine Charter, a trading firm founded on a venture in the lands of the Ottoman Empire, one of the few powers upon the continent that remained on friendly terms with the British Empire. Viewing the cloths, spices and trade that flowed through the Ottoman Empire as a crucial piece in Britains re-entry into India, the British Government commissioned plans to build infrastructure, ports and workshops across the Levant so as to wrest Indian trade from the Portugese and French sailing around the Cape.

But money wasn’t going to start growing on trees any time soon, and so the British government began to drum up support for funding. Sparing all expenses, vast chunks of the non-vital Royal Navy were disbanded, massive cuts made to the lower echelons of the bureaucracy, a massive tax hike began and loans made from virtually any willing creditor. According to (perhaps dubious) analyses by media of the time, the British Empire was considered unable to repay reparations imposed on it by Paris and Vienna, reparations that demagogues decried as almost Carthaginian in nature, intentionally dismembering the nation.

With an injection of capital, many would have expected the beginning of trade and building of infrastructure. But in there was the problem: such things took time, time that few were willing to invest. From its conception, the Levantine Charter was flawed, Britiain needed money now, not in a decade, and there was little company management could do in the face of this. It was then that management looked back on the South Seas Bubble just a few decades ago, one that ended in tragedy, but perhaps it would work if management promised itself that it would pay off her debts and run a responsible business.

But of course, businessmen and politicians can never resist making promises they can’t keep.

In the winter of 1767, the stock price of the Levantine Charter, which had made, as of yet, no investments in the Levant whatsoever or even sent an emissary to either the Caliph or the Khedive of Egypt, plummeted. Prominent creditors stormed the headquarters of the charter, dragged out clerks and remaining members of management and beat them to death while paid mobs ransacked headquarters.

Soon, violence began to spread into other parts of urban London. A populace, long dissatisfied at the massive burden placed upon them to finance adventures military and economic simply began to tear down the very institutions of state. William Pitt, a tyrant who manipulated institutions of state to his own personal gain fled Westminster in a hurry as mercenaries battled with guards.

In the colonies, open rebellion began under one George Washington, general in one of the few successful British Campaigns in the period: the Louisiana Campaign of the 9 Years War. Initially an army of militia and bandits, Washington’s colonial army soon saw entire brigades of redcoats defect, leadership whole and intact. In his march on Philadelphia, the colonies offered no resistance, and British control collapsed over the span of a month-long march through the countryside.

Ultimately, the survival of Britain came down to one man: King George III. A man of sound political savvy and discontented at what he perceived to be a parliamentary stranglehold on the fate of his empire, the King would issue his will the week following Washington’s capture of Philadelphia. Beyond stipulations and whatnot, the general gist was: Pitt, then residing in Whitehall was to be arrested, the revolting colonials pardoned and parliament dissolved and to be reconvened “until further notice” and with “consideration and compromise”.

In the half a year called by modern British historians as the Second Glorious Revolution, Britain was reborn, an entity not of Europe, but of the Atlantic.

Upon the Old World is Europe, a union of hypocrisy. Nominally stretching from barren Siberia to the coasts of Portugal, it exercises little to no authority. Nominally a union of equals, it is dominated by scheming powers and conflicting interests. Nominally an alliance of likeminded nations, its members fight for dominance.

This is the European Union.

Founded in the wake of the 3rd Great German War, it is a projection of French and Russian interests upon the European continent. Following the Five Years War, Paris and Moscow had dictated continental affairs, with Vennia and Berlin occasionally voicing out their concerns, a system that remained rather stable in the face of the greatest challenges due to, perhaps the sheer distance that lay between her dual cores.

Indeed, the greatest challenge that came to the Paris-Moscow axis came with the rise of Johan Radetzky, Austrian revolutionary leader who seized control of the reactionary state--even by the standards of the time--and led it to war with virtually all of Europe from 1816 to 1837. Perhaps the first signs of headaches that the yet unborn German nation would cause the union, Radetzky found it exceedingly easy to mow through the Holy Roman Empire, unifying Germany and reforming the heir of Rome into the First German Empire, with himself as it's Emperor. With his liberal ideals and revolutionary thought even more radical that the British Commonwealth, Radetzky took France by storm and marched into Poland and the Ottoman Balkans to mad, cheering crowds. His campaign ended only with his invasion of Russia, when his highly elite, well drilled force fell to both general winter and his only equal: General Suvorov of the Russian Empire.

But it is in the consequence of the conflict that we see the true aims of the axis, namely that of maintaining the status quo. At the Congress of Milan, Hapsburg Austria was restored, albeit dismembered, and the world was restored to the way it was. On it would go spinning, hopefully forever.

But whilst the world kept spinning indeed, ideas were, as Paris discovered, bulletproof. France had, following the Austrian War (aka the First Great German War) suffered a free falling birth rate, a hopelessly decentralized populace and an increasingly liberal populace. Most humiliatingly, her status as premier power in the world had been replaced by an increasingly domineering Russia. Just 20 years hence, the House of Bourbon was overthrown in Marshal Napoleon's glorious revolution, establishing the French Republic. Philippe Napoleon, son of a Corsican immigrant to Paris would be elected president in the nation's first liberal elections, reforming the nation and restructuring French society from the ground up by dragging the nation kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. On the foreign policy front though, Napoleon played a balancing game. Deciding the realpolitiks ultimately took precedent over ideology, the President would court both Russia and Britain, ultimately turning the two against each other in an attempt to gain a powerful ally on the continent. By making himself indispensable, France was ultimately free to take charge of Western European affairs in the face of distracted rivals. Oftentimes, the two nations would even offer Paris favours geopolitical and technological, kick-starting the birth of a sprawling industrial heartland in Ile de France. French geopolitical goals for the time were keeping the much more powerful Germany down, and 3 decades following the glorious revolution, this goal was accomplished without much hassle in a war against Prussia. Overseas, France remained the holder of Europe's second largest colonial empire, and ruler of an unmatched network of allies and puppets from Mali to Bengal and beyond. France never embroiled herself in the acquiring of immense tracts of land and peoples, having preferred instead to rule through influence and proxy since Passley. And while the tricoloure may no longer fly above half of Africa, the French language remains the lingua franca of not just diplomatic relation, but too of law, finance and intellectuals.

Russia's post-Radezky history was quite a bit more turbulent. As the prime opponent of a resurgent Britain, it both had to catch up from her own admittedly less-than-optimal war policy and to her lack of ability in gudinging the currents of trade.

Whilst the former could be solved only be time, the answer to the latter was simple: Peter the Great's dream, an empire by the Baltic. In the time of Tsar Petrov I, St. Petersburg was at the time the greatest City of Europe. It was a cornerstone of Russian power and yet it was desperately exposed. With a new focus on the Northwest, Russian shipbuilders, industries and militaries would be moved to St. Petersburg by means of policy or otherwise. Railways linked the city East to Moscow and far Siberia; and West to metropolitan Paris, Budapest, Berlin and Vienna. St. Petersburg would flourish like no other city did, and it would happen that the Petrov's will was well enforced.

Now with the means, the Tsar turned to the ends. The Second Great Northern War would begin in 1846, as Russia completed her ascension as true overlord of the North. Sweden put up feeble resistance, and her end was marked by roaring Russian cannons setting the city of Stockholm on fire. The British fleet gathered in Oslo in an attempt to force a de-escalation, but by the time the massive force needed for the operation was gathered, Tsar Petrov I had completed his war with terrifying efficiency. Terrifying referring to of course, for a Britain so obsessed with Europe's long-collapsing balance of power. In response Gotland fell to stubborn British forces braving the Russian blockade with Danish and Prussian aid, and Norway would unilaterally declare her independence. London decided that enough was enough.

In the midst of a large Polish rebellion the year after the war and an otherwise distracted Russia preoccupied with Turkish adventures, the British Empire played up fears in a Hungarian post-Radetzky Balkans to the assent of a similarly terrified--though to a lesser extent--France. Petrov's counter was to circumvent the Carpathians themselves in favour for a pivot to the Middle East and turn the Black Sea into the second of Russia's home turfs. And thus began the Wallachian War.

The Ottoman Empire of the time had long been in decline, a nation far past it's prime and due for an inevitable collapse. Radetzky's campaigns had left not just devastation, but rebelliousness amongst the Christian of the Ottoman heartland, and whilst the victorious Kayseri-i-Rum was rewarded with much Austrian possessions, it would not last. Capitalizing upon this, Petrov I led his forces through the Ukraine and into Romania, at which he was met by a combined Anglo-Ottoman force...and was promptly defeated. The course of history appeared to have granted the Rumi a good toss of the dice, so to say, and Muhammad Ali, one Albanian general was the one to blame. In previous years, the Ottoman leadership had employed generally incompetent leaders to lead a Westernized force aimed to become the Empire's new Janissaries, but the appointment of Ali was a good call at the last moment. Prosecuting a follow up campaign that mopped up the regrouped remains of 3 Russian armies, Ali would secure the Balkans from Russia and for the British. Russia in later years would pivot towards the Baltic once more in her tug of war with the British, returning briefly to the Balkans only at the advent of the Balkan Wars and the Rumian War of Independence.

With the subsequent rise of Italy and the 3rd Great German War (or the war of Frankish Aggression for an Atlanticist reader), many saw it as inevitable that Moscow and Paris would move back together. For all of the alliance's power, their dominance of Europe could only be achieved through condominium. This coupled with rising threats in the British Commonwealth's massive off-continent industrial might and rapidly growing native powers from China to Africa, the two were natural allies that found each other as the last of an order 200 years old.

The European Continent, while having seen more than its fair share of war and conflict remains one of the most prosperous regions of earth. Through a delicate balance between French and Russian spheres of influence, peace reigns in Europe. German and Italian pan-nationalism remains crushed and grinded into pain granules, much thanks to a century and a half of constant effort, and that effort has borne fruit in a newly complacent populace in the two nations, happy to avoid war if it means the economy remains in stellar shape. All is well, little has changed and that is perfectly fine by the books of either power.

Austria and Hungary are the newest rising stars within the union, leading the charge with an impressive GDP growth rate of 14.8% that the House of Hapsburg-Bourbon oh-so love to advertise across billboards in Vennia and Budapest. Austria witnesses the beginning of a second industrial age, accomplished through iron and blood, to quote one British prime minister, but through innovation and technology, with robot workers becoming the new norm. Whilst "Made in China" remains a staple of cheap products, "Made in Austria" is a staple of quality and technology. Austria, always the insurgent power is up to her old tricks.

There are several lesser powers within the union: Poland, which an increasingly consolidated Russia deemed more trouble than it was worth has done remarkably well in becoming the power of Central Europe in place of a divided Germany, but remains, alongside Russia one of the more conservative powers. The Rumian Confederation, a Greco-Turkish state emerging out of the ashes of the former Ottoman Empire dominates the Balkans, but is more of a tool of European power projection into the East than anything. Much more if a successor to Ottoman identity than her counterpart in TL-45A-AME (OTL), Konstantiyee remains, as it has been, the Queen of Cities, but it is getting increasingly tired of her ties to Europe, as old rivalries with Russia resurface and Britain looks eagrely back to the continent.

Paris is the financial capital of the world, a title that not even New York or Hangzhou have been able to shake from the French city. The city has seen peace and prosperity for centuries, and it holds up. As the self-proclaimed "world's greatest democracy", French pride is rather rightfully reinforced by this jewel of Europe. Perhaps a inheritance from both her colonial master and Berber heritage, Algiers too serves as the financial capital of the Mediterranean.

From Prague, the industrialists of Europe look upon a continent full of potential. In the past, the city served as a heartland in an industrial sprawl of factories and smoke, railroads converging on the Czech city, provoking even the Great Smog of 1948. With imported technology from China, automation has proved wildly successful in the heavy industry factories of Central Europe, and the House of Hapsburg hopes that it will be the city's second golden age.

Russia, this giant of the North has seen ups and downs, but the scene in St. Petersburg has always been celebratory. A city of great religious fervor despite the modern skyscrapers that dot the skylines, this is perfectly reflected in the Great St. Andrew’s Cathedral, an arching structure 80 stories tall that houses the Orthodox clergy and the Imperial Family. Each Christmas and New Year, imperial standards are unfurled to coat the streets, shouts of "Slava Rossiya!" and "Salva Romanova!" are heard in every corner as warships cruise down the city's harbors.
The Orient
East Asia was long Earth's most advanced and dominant region, but while that has waned since the beginnings of the Renaissance and the near-collapse that colonialism bought to the Empire, China has recovered, but not without cost.

The aftermath of Passley was barely noticeable on the continent at first, but its implications are massive. Passley was the key to Bengal, Bengal the key to India and India the key to China. With that lost, China could effectively live in peace and her mellenia long splendid isolation. It was such that far into the 19th century, China was a nation that reaped precious, previous benefits from a massive influx of silver via the tea and silk trade with Russia, the Dutch, France and Britain. This, combined with a series of natural disasters in turn provoked Chinese emigration towards Southeast Asia, reinforcing an earlier settlement of Cantonese and Min traders across Thailand and Malaya. The Kongsi Republics, holdovers from Chinese trading charters were at the epicenter of such commercial activity, with ships flowing through the Malaccas to the maximum capacity of Dutch ports. It was commercial activity that left a great many rich across the world.

But there was one party that wasn't getting rich: China herself. Namely the Qing government. Under the Emperor Qianlong, China had a nominal ban on trade beyond Canton, but lacked the means to enforce such a ban. As a result, the vast majority of trade profited smugglers operating off the Island of Formosa and a number of the Kongsi Republics. Tariffs were large when compared to the meagre taxes collected, but nothing compared to the wealth of Jiangnan merchants. Instead, provincial viceroys began openly cooperating with traders Bharati and Western, sure to pay off Imperial commissioners that frequented the South to maintain such profitable business. This increasing autonomy stretched beyond trade: viceroys, nominally military governors with an unofficial hand in civilian affairs began to expand provincial militias. Militias that were built with Bengali advisors and Asfharid musket.

In reaction, Emperor Tao-Kwang decreed in 1827 the establishment of the Ministry of Observation, a unit loyal to the Emperor personally tasked ostensibly with rooting out corruption. What it was in fact was the grandfather of Chinese intelligence, and it's first task was digging up as much shit as feasible of the Viceroy of Canton of the time, the notorious Hwang Mingyen. As first in a long line of Southern based, Urdu speaking, breechload-wielding warlords, he nevertheless retained a certain sense of respect for Imperial rule, out of staunch obedience to tradition of nothing else.

The first gunshots of the Warlord Era rang out in an unsuspecting Guangxi valley as Cantonese troops marched on a band of local Tong militias. The Tong, the local minorities had risen up in rebellion against the viceroy's centralizing reforms with a "shadow bureaucracy" in parallel to the Qing government that now demanded village chieftains and Chinese mayor's alike be assimilated into a formal, taxpaying bureaucracy. Unlike the mostly nominal fealty to urban administration elsewhere in rural China, such a degree of centralization--of tyrrany if you asked a local--was virtually unheard of. Tong chieftains came to an agreement with Imperial bureaucracy loyal to Peking, and we're ordered to march on Canton to restore order in the city. In 1831, 6th Year of the Daoguang Emperor, tribal militias charged forth, militias that had cost Peking dearly in uprisings just 2 decades ago...and were greeted by an order barked in Persian, a hail of bullets and complete rout. News of the defeat spread quickly, and when the Viceroy of Hokkien and Yun-Kui met a Cantonese incursion with more forces, Huang Mingren only found more target practice to reaffirm Canton's new position.

A decade later, the young Emperor Xianfeng would take a more direct approach, ordering in his first decree as Emperor Hwang's resignation. When his expected refusal came, a mandate was issued for the pacification of Canton, only for no one to comply to the order and Xianfeng find that he had become a mere puppet of his ministers and generals a week into his reign. The elderly Hwang on the other hand found himself at the head of a revolution in how Chinese wars were fought and idol of an entire generation of military officers. The same model was replicated in a number of Southern provinces, and modern armies were marching around all of China south of the Huai River at the bidding of regional fronts of foreign traders, warlords and oligarchs, rendering the region completely lawless.


Japan at the same time was too undergoing change. The Dutch, in an effort to counteract the complete and absolute Persian-Bharati dominance of Southern China had made increased inroads into Japan. Joeson Korea was an impoverished land. Having suffered a complete demographic and economic collapse in the wake on consecutive invasions by Hideiyoshi and the Manchus, recovery had been an excruciatingly slow process. Highly xenophobic and known only as the “hermit kingdom”, it was a place that Western influences had never touched, a backwards land.

In 1843, Dutch missionary Hendrick van der Decken was beheaded by local officials in Busan. In response, an expeditionary force was sent out from the Dutch East Indies to both demand an apology and relevant concessions as well as create a Dutch foothold. The first Dutch ships, the “Black Fleet” would arrive on Korean shores in mid-1844 from nearby Japan. Christian influence was meager in the kingdom, and when attempts at trade and concessions failed after a few months of talks and violent diplomatic back and forth, the fleet opened fire on the port of Busan. Raiding would persist across Southern Korea, and unsuccessful attempts were made at breaking into the Han River.

In early 1845, a fleet arrived in Busan from the Han River, with a short stop at Dejima, where the Shogun would order its expulsion but neither party pursued the matter. Carrying with it a contingent of sowars and sepoys, elite, well paid and loyal Bengali mercenaries, the force laid siege to Busan, capturing the small port. From this base of operations, a second expedition was sent to the Han River, breaking through a staunch Korean defence at the mouth of the river, sailing up to the Hanseong itself and unleashing a bombardment of the defenceless capital. 3 sallies, supported even by advanced artillery on loan from the Qing army were lauched, only to complete failure. The Dutch offered to talk once more, and by then, Korea folded.

The humiliation of Hanseong, as Korean sources state, was the beginning of the imperial age of Asia, perhaps more symbolic than Canton’s rebellion, and the start of Korea’s colonial age. A second expedition, fighting a Chinese expedition made Korea a protectorate, and a third annexed the country as Amsterdam’s Eastern colony.


Modern historians cite 2 political revolutions as the beginning of reform on the continent: the Komei Revolution in Japan; and the Rongzhi Restoration in China.

The first, and the earlier took place as a direct consequence of the Third Korean-Dutch War in 1859. Faced with the harsh reality of East Asia’s terminal decline, the Satsuma-Choshu alliance of Southern damiyos plotted to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in the belief that renewed imperial rule would give an enlightened few the power and authority to drag Japan kicking and screaming into the modern age. Backed by British arms, which saw Dutch influence as an extension of French influence, the revolution advanced through Japan facing a technologically disadvantaged, politically instable Shogunate authority and restored the Emperor Komei to personal rule. As Komei himself would show little interest in personal governance, perhaps for lack of experience if anything, much of the work was handed to 3 men: Kuroda Kiyotaka, Saigo Takamori, and in time, the young prince Meiji.

The Rongzhi Restoration meanwhile pursued opposite means to the same goal. Following the Xianfeng Emperor’s death in 1865, China found imperial authority at an all time low, with the office having become virtually meaningless in the wake of Xianfeng’s failure to rally local authority to his cause. There were 2 groups that were dissatisfied with this state of affairs: first, the Confucian mandarins, who had become marginalized in a de facto independent south; second, the imperial family, unhappy at their decline in prominence and perhaps the whiff of opium that permeated imperial quarters. Prince Gong, Xianfeng’s more competent brother allied with head of the harem Empress Dowager Cixi and pro-Peking general Zeng Guofan to launch the coup in the wake of Emperor Rongzhi’s coronation. Executing conservative officials and any pro-warlord voices, a regency council was formed between the three and related stakeholders to chart China’s future course.

Nevertheless, both revolutions were aimed at one thing: reform. To adopt old institutions to new environments, and to prevent another Korea from happening ever again. An understanding was achieved between both nations following a meeting in Shengking between Prince Gong and Kiyotaka, where the policy of Sonno Joi, or Revere the Emperor, Repel the Barbarian was established. In both nations, this reform was a show of proto-nationalism and of reform. Not of Westernization, but of modernization.


The understanding of Shengking saw a rejuvenation of the East Asian polities along the remainder the the 20th Century. While slower and more arduous than many of the masterminders behind the understanding would have expected, the alliance would still tiptoe between war and influence, expelling the last of Western colonies in the Dutch East Indies by 1963 during the chaos of the War of Frankish Aggression, and declaring China formally reunified by 1987. But it was not a process without bloodshed. War left Asia's infrastructure ruined, and a scar permanently carved upon half the continent.

Like Europe, it is a relic of the past, but still Kyoto and Peking don’t look the part. Metropolises, built with sheer economic and technological prowess clash with serene pagodas and factories spewing a thick, unbreathable smog. Anti-colonialist and anti-Western sentiment runs high across East Asia. Occasionally experiencing bouts of self-destructive outbursts of fanatical traditionalism, such as Japanese militarism in the 1960s and the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1940, moderation and pragmatism has set in. Southern China, a prosperous hotbed of capitalist, modernist ideas moderates fierce, anti-business Confucianism across the rest of East Asia, with “New Confucianism” being the state ideologies of member states. The region has made much progress in recent decades: trade has begun a process of “opening up” and the start of globalism; while the powers have even accepted the fact that Korea is permanently a Christian nation. But for now, it remains a confusing mess of ideas and changing times.
Dar Al Islam
1768, when Asfharid airs would invade the Mughal Empire once again, this time with help from the Sikhs of Punjab, Akbar Shah II would call for all his governors and subjects to come to his aid. Ud-Daulah, seeing the writing on the wall refused such a ludicrous request, preferring instead to attention on a continued war against the collapsing Burmese Empire. The bulk of his army was marching on Rangoon at the time, in a race against Thai forces, and he could not afford distractions.

It was to the luck of the Ud-Daulah that the Mughal Empire held out surprisingly well. With unlikely aid from a surprise Afghan uprising that cut off Reza Shah's armies at Khyber Pass, the Mughals had time to piece together a somewhat combat ready army from an array of militias to face the Persians and come out with a phyrric victory. By that time though, another force, the Marathas took to the field and declared too their intent to take Delhi. Once more, urgent letters were sent across the Mughal Empire, new militias were raised--entire villages conscripted whole at times, and once again, a tired messangers lay at the opulent court of the Nawab of Bengal, begging for aid. This time, Ud-Daulah assented to the request. Marching the very same army that had won at Passley, this force marched along the Indo-Gangeatic Plain, arriving at each city, taking it's sweet time to not so diplomatically request an audience with the local rajah or Nawab. Resembling more of a whistleratio tour on horseback than anything, this force would arrive in Delhi, holding off the Marathas and securing a minor defeat for the Empire as a whole. What it was however, was an extraordinary boon for the prestige of the Nawab. When the Mughal Empire finally collapsed at the turn of the century, it was not the Sikhs, not the Marathas, or not even a Delhian power that came to the forefront of the Indian stage. It was Bengal.

The 19th Century saw Bengal eventually catch up to the West in terms of technology and societal development. With increased amounts of trade, Bengal now presented itself as the gate to an even larger, even more mysterious land: China. In this time of the century, two crazes had gripped Europe. The Tea craze and the Indian craze. Adventurers wanting to make their fortune in the realm of the Celestial Emperor would arrive first in Bengal, shooting up trades and this profits to magnificent levels. The Asfhars of Iran too experienced a similar phenomenon following Thasmap Shah's stunning defeat of the Turks, gaining a dominant position overlooking the Indian Ocean trade. Iran and India in this time of history boasted massive fleets and even colonial possessions in Africa, true naval powers never seen before in their history. In China, these two powers were the ones that would bring down the scaffolding of an archaic state with their support of the Viceroy of Canton.

It is important to note that while the two giants of the near east were not particularly technologically advanced in the early years of the Age of Imperialism, what they were were big and defensible. The sheer population of India and the peaks of the Zagros were natural barriers that forbade invasion, and hence the two nations were free to pick and choose their terms of trade with Western powers, eventually gaining a leg up in technology in return for giving out the vast riches of their land.

The Ottoman Empire on the other hand seemed perpetually in decline. The century had not been kind to the Ottomans, and far from the colonial success her Eastern neighbors experienced, the Sultanate of Rum was actively losing ground in Africa. Like in Mughal India, the Empire, never the most tightly bound of entities was coming apart at the seams with seemingly no remedy to the problem. Even following the success of Muhammad Ali's campaigns against Russia, it was obvious that the gains he made were as much British gains as they were Ottoman, and that the Sultanate was effectively a state that lived and died on Anglo-French auspices.

However needed a rudimentary balance of power in Europe was to counter a domineering Russia, this did not satiate the growing dissent against the Sublime Porte. Together with a continuously declining position and later Bengali troops marching in the streets of Cairo by the later stage of the age of Imperialism, the turn of the century seemed like the death sentence of the Empire. Most importantly, the newly conquered territories along the Northern shore of the Black Sea were British outposts on the Russian shore in all but name, and as nominal caretaker of these regions, it inseprably glued the Empire to the British who were some 2 seas away. Russia and France were, at this point reforging their alliance in the face of increased British aggression, and this was a position the Ottomans were increasingly unhappy with.

The Rumian Revolution of 1934, launched by a cadre of Greco-Turkish military officers trained at the Konstantiyee Military Academy was the answer to the empire's woes. Funded by Bengali interests and arms, the Revolution began as the Third Army marched into Konstantiyee, surrounded the imperial palace and parliament, and declared the Osmanid Dynasty no more. Rebel forces, gaining their senses would gather in the Turkish hinterland, but with popular support from the public and a growing intellectual caste, the Rumian Revolution quickly secured the nation. Under Marshal Mustafa Kemal, a new state based upon the Sea of Marmara was formed, now a projection of Bengali power in the West.

India would only grow in the following decades. Building itself up as a trade nation that benefited from the continued stability of the world. But when the colonial system came crashing down, a recession hit India. Never having treated her African possessions as colonies to spread Indian population; but rather as protectorate and "economic colonies", India never had to put bots on African soil, but anti-colonialist sentiment nevertheless saw access to resources (often at a disregard of human rights) and the vast interlinked trade routes of old come crashing down. The global trade system had to be rebuilt. Luckily for India, the aftermath of the War of Frankish Aggression as well as the fact that she owned the world's last colonial empire gave her a leg up. The Harilela Plan, by prominent Gujarati Businessman Arya Harilela saw the revitalization of trade from Europe through the Suez and to India, building everything from ports to glittering new cities on Libyan coasts and husks of post-war Italian cities.

With the increasing openness of economic titans like China and Britain, India has extended the Harilela plan to the 21st Century, hoping to harness the subcontinent's economic prowess and extent it to all corners of the world. The planet's last colonial empire trudges on, finding herself ever-stronger by the day.
 
480 Pagodas of the South
Spiritual successor to the Myriad Peoples of the Min (See: Post #12), it is a more detailed effort at throwing together provincial rivalries in Southern China and building them up into actual national rivalries, with armies at each other's throats. Southern China has never been able to stay independent from the North long enough to maintain a seperate identity, so in the spirit of plausibility, I decided to throw in a post-apocolyptic world to spice things up.

The idea behind this came from my dissatisfaction with Guangdong's image in the media and politics. Guangdong is viewed as this homogenous blob of "Cantonese", where everyone speaks, dresses and walks somewhat condescendingly, with a sense of Cantonese economic overlordship over Southern China :p (pardon my Min-nationalism). The fact is Guangdong is one of China's more diverse provinces, with Hakkas, Mins and Cantonese living side by side, often less than amiably. Each people has vastly different culture, language and food. Take for example, the Hakka-Punti Wars in what is now Hong Kong and Shenzhen, or the Hakka-Min conflicts in Taiwan. It's this fascinating little corner of history where fairly few people look at, and one I am sure to explore again a great many times.
header-png.394301
So, it's been a terribly long time since I've hand a shot to making a map. Looking at my absolutely pitiful map-making run this thread, here's one to bolster my performance for the year. Looks like I have lots to catch up on this summer. It's remarkably refreshing to work on a new scenario--though indeed one that has lots of retread ground. I'm experimenting on a new art style for the map itself, especially the borders. As far as lore goes, consider it the spiritual successor of an M-Bam map I worked on some months ago. Depending on popular support, I might be making a sequel to the map.

Feel free to ask questions on lore, map and anything else you can think of! Without further ado,

The Age of Make-believe
Thousands of years ago, there was a time when man ruled the world, with none as its master. It was an age of plenty, where even the stars were within reach, when the celestial object all danced to the tune of Earth. 5 kingdoms ruled the solar system: Cathay, Turkestan, Bharad, Washington and Mali—and for some millennia, it seemed like this would be the state of things forevermore.

It was in the year 4000 of the old calendar, when the world stopped working. Legends from the far Northwest talk of a miasma that swept across the lands, a great blight of sorts. The Turkmeni heartland was struck this vile affliction, and they would see their rolling fields of green becoming nought but a rotting, brown mass. The affliction worsened as it spread across the planet, and no barrier would stop it in its tracks—nothing but the void of space.

And so in this age of collapse, the rich and powerful fled to the Red Planet—the only other planet where crops could be grown and breadbasket of all those who dwelled past the Asteroid Belt. Earth was abandoned, thought to be a both the cradle and the tomb of humanity and for all the noble resistance of Mars, it fell beneath the jackboot of Earth’s richest.

And then, Earth died.

Technology declined by thousands of years. Spaceports were melted for steel, wind turbines torn down to serve as crude battering rams in wars between savage tribes. And as generations lived and died, all was forgotten.

All Under Heaven
[ The Confederation of the Min ]​
“My grandfather was a pirate; my father was a merchant; and I’m a mandarin”—Min Saying

A millennia ago, the Min people were impoverished. For centuries, they had stuck to age-old traditions of handicrafts, fishing and farming—traditions that seemed to stubbornly persist no matter policy under successive dynasties and governments. It was not uncommon for open rioting to break out when an official from a faraway land started issuing edict upon edict to spark change, ending often in the death of said official. For their unruliness, the Min were a people partitioned—the Southern, more gentry-like Teochew listened to the orders of Canton; while the more mercantile North listened to the orders of Fuzhou.

It is said, in the official histories of the land that it was precisely for its backwardness that the confederation retained some form of organized government even as the world burned around them. What precisely this means? Well, it was the emergence of pirate clans. Even as crops died, the sea was unblemished. In fact, fishery resources upon the open sea had flourished thanks to genetic engineering and inland fish-farms, and the Min peoples managed to feed themselves even in this dire hour. To the chagrin of the collapsing central government, this was an effort pioneered by the triads, whom had grown rich operating a vast drug business for the morally decadent old world. Nevertheless, chaotic order was at very least a form of order, and many flocked to the banner of the triads. Through “order”, the lands of the Min saved some 10% of her population—though successive famines cut that down to 5%. Still, a remarkable number for the state of affairs around the globe.

This was the birth of a new state, and with a new state, a new gentry—a class that was long considered dead and buried since the last vestiges of feudalism were put down in terrible revolution. The descendents of the triads interbred with what remained of official government and the powerful Chinese naval command. Stylizing themselves as the superior, learned class, the gentry revisited the writings of Confucius, realizing it remarkably suitable for rule under the pseudo-clan politics of the newborn Min state. Trade was, as yet a foolhardy dream, as each city state was able to provide for itself. For a time, the Min felt safe.

Soon, a slow rebound in agriculture allowed a rebound in population. States grew powerful, and the cities regained its grip on the countryside. 3 powerful Min cities: Fuzhou, Teochew and Xiamen saw a similar pattern of growth, and by this time decided from their Confucian texts that it was the duty of the Min—lawful successor to the fallen Chinese civilization—to civilize a barbarian’s world—to spread Confucianism once more across all under heaven. Through force of arms, disparate villages were conquered, minor city states subdued and the teachings of Confucius restored. Across the seas, upon the islands of Taiwan and Hainan, efforts at colonization began, allowing the Min access to new goods from the lumber of Vietnam to cloth of Luzon. A millennia of rebuilding forged a great trade empire, and the Min grew rich beyond imagination.

Trade breeds wealth and wealth breeds conflict. The growing power of the merchants soon eclipsed that of the mandarin, until the two classes merged into one. Merchants not shy about their vast estates found that they could bribe their way into the gentry, gaining access to their oh-so-precious ancient texts. The more stuck-up members of the gentry found it almost blasphemous to have lowly merchants amongst them, but who could argue with piles and piles of silver? When merchant became mandarin, they decided to use to resources of a city state against their economic rival. Soon, fleets of Min junks sailed against each other upon the high seas, and the first true wars following the collapse began.

The Era of the Warring States, as it was called saw the involvement of hundreds of kingdoms, autocracies, oligarchies, pirate fleets and even trading outposts in an entangled web of alliances. They began as wars between gentlemen: often there would be honor duels between fleet captains, but the times were a-changing and the practice was abandoned. 700 years into the spiraling conflict, little had been accomplished—instead, the Min had fallen behind in the arms race of nations. There was but one man who had the vision to see what needed to be done. Ing Sing, a native of Taiwan, immigrant to Teochew and monarch of the powerful City state of Fuzhou would reform his armies along stricter lines, cast aside the old gentryman take on war, and march to battle.

Ing Sing conquered much of what was once coastal Fujian province. He was known as an able ruler of men, pacifying the barbaric, hostile tribes of the interior and leaving the gentry cowering before the central administration at Fuzhou. An organized bureaucracy, the underappreciated bedrock of a Confucian state in oligarchic Fuzhou was revived, gifting Ing Sing massive mobilizing power. Ing Sing crowned himself Emperor of the Min, Son of Heaven, Lord Fuzheng “the militant”. Yet Ing Sing was betrayed by none other than his very own son, Ing Hing, defeated upon the field of battle and cast off to the island of Hainan by the coast of Guangdong.

The house of Ing remained in power under their new patriarch, Ing Hing, but he was content to remain first amongst many. Ing Sing’s conquests were reformed into a loose confederation of city states. Not his grand imperial dream, but at least a semblance of unity. Island realms, in Taiwan, Luzon, Hainan and the Leizhou Peninsula near Cantonese lands gradually broke off as independent states by simple merit of distance. Luzon in particular grew increasingly Filipino in nature, abandoning her naval traditions and even her language.

As the 6th Millennium dawned, the Min Confederation ruled as the traditional powerhouse of the Southeast, an empire of merchants and scholars spanning a thousand islands and a hundred kingdoms. From windswept outposts in tribal Luzon to the glittering canals of Fuzhou the banners of a hundred nations are flown, an empire on which the winds of trade blow.


[ Senate and People of Grand Canton ]​

The Cantonese are a culture much younger than their neighboring Min, though luckier in the geographical lottery. The Min, damned by a rocky terrain and shallow rivers never laid the rolling fields and grand ports that Canton was so famous for. Canton served very much as the epicenter of China’s deep South. As the second largest Chinese language and richest province, Canton was China’s New England, Gujarat and Hamburg wrapped into one. There’s a popular story Cantonese parents love to tell their children: that Cantonese lost to Mandarin as China’s official language by a single vote—dubious of course, but representative of how important this little province truly was. Yet it was very much this wealth that would doom Canton in the year 4000. It is a chapter of history that Cantonese histories often tend to omit as it challenges the view of Canton’s superiority.

The turn of the 5th Millennium started with a positively nuclear bang in Canton. When the world went to shit, Canton had the bright idea to declare her independence from China, the answer to which was 3 nanoseconds of silence, then a massive nuclear salvo plunging into the beating heart of the city’s financial district. Without Guangdong, the region fell into chaos, a precursor to the decades of anarchy in China.

Canton became a hotbed of banditry and disorder. Without warning, grand hosts of Hakka barbarians would descend upon unsuspecting Cantonese villages. The villagers had little means to defend themselves, and as time passed, the Hakka grew only stronger. The Meizhou Host in particular and their fearsome war-chief Yu Rongen became a by-word for plunder. Notably, the Meizhou employed elephants from the far kingdoms of Hindustan in their razing of the Cantonese realms. Villages increasingly turned to speaking Hakka in the hopes that adopting a new language would let them parley or at least trade with the newcomers, and Cantonese became a language on the verge of extinction.

When Yu Rongen and his unstoppable elephant hordes chanced upon the ruins of Guangzhou, Yu saw the broken spires and crumbling towers, and the fearsome barbarian found a spark of creativity. He ordered his army into the ruins with orders to pillage the artifacts of the old world, to mock the folly of civilization. And indeed, Yu would find civilization. In the ruins of irradiated Canton, where the last vestiges of radiation were on the verge of fading lay a warrior race. A tiny number of the Cantonese had survived their doom in the metro of the city, and through the vast network of tunnels built their civilization-in-a-bottle, experts at fighting in the most inhospitable, choking environments the metro had to offer.

Yu Rongen’s armies were sent against their Cantonese foe again and again, yet as the warriors from each metro station rallied to the defense of each other, Yu’s pillagers found themselves assailing dozdens of fortresses. Elephants were sent in, bellowing in rage as they charged through what had once been a high speed rail terminal. And the Cantonese warriors, bearing the characteristic scutums hacked away at the beast’s legs and flung projectiles. By the end of the day, the Hakka army lay dead, with Yu Rongen sent limping back to his homeland without nothing but a donkey and his armor.

Cantonese warriors emerged from their isolation to find what had once been their homeland assailed on all sides by barbarians, merchants and rival kingdoms. The consul of Canton, Pang Mingjyu would receive an edict from the Cantonese senate to pacify the barbarians surrounding their eternal city. And so he did, reclaiming Cantonese soil as far West as Zhuhai and as far East as Dongguan. There, Pang neared the city of Hong Kong, where he was crowned Governor and Chief Executive by the cowering locals. This campaign was fueled by an elite army of 4,000 Cantonese legionaries from each of the city’s underground catacombs.

A strict sense of citizenship came into being, and through successive consuls, the Cantonese state would expand fivefold. Wars of expansion were fought Westward to shatter the power of the Viet kingdom, and soon Canton stood as the role conduit of trade to far Hindustan. These conquests brought Cantonese back as a lingua franca of the land, and on that basis built a centralized state in the Pearl River Delta ruled by the Cantonese senate. Loyal tribes ruled in the senate’s stead in rural areas. These tribes contributed auxilia and tribal heirs to serve the senate as generals and fodder in a policy that would Cantoncize the environs of Canton.

As the 6th Millenium dawned, Canton looked bravely into the future as the newest power on the block. It stood on the precipice of a new age, in which military honor would guide man to prosperity once more, a phoenix from the ashes.


Minor Realms

[ The Most Serene Republic of Kong-Ao ]​
“The hills have remained the same, as has the environment. One hundred…one thousand years from now, they’ll remain the same but the people will not.”—Lee Kashing, ancient Hong Kong merchant-prince.

Hong Kong and Macau, by the coming of the 5th Millenium were little more than glorified appendages of Guangzhou. While Hong Kong—Hong Kong Island in particular retained some sense of identity, the idea of the “Hong Kong man” had all but faded away. This also unfortunately meant when Canton declared her independence and the bombs fell, the Hong Kong metropolitan area was amongst the hardest hit.

Perhaps due to sheer luck, one of the bombs didn’t go off. In Tai-O, a fishing village near the Hong Kong Airport and Spaceport complexes, fishermen found a missile burrowed within layers of rock, lying dormant and unmoving. There was some rejoicing at first, but as radiation sickness set in with the Westward winds, the villagers died on after another, and things grew desperate. The hundred-odd survivors had short, harsh lives, spending much of their time at sea in dinghys. Sailing far out into the sea was completely out of the question, and so they were stuck in the area. Villagers and local survivors made their way deep into the interior of desolate Lantau Island and formed small villages numbering under a thousand-strong. Nevertheless, this was the greatest concentration of post-collapse civilization in perhaps all of Guangzhou.

Resettlement of the Hong Kong mainland began a century or so following the collapse, and Hong Kong’s population now numbered a modest 9,000. These started out as fishing expeditions, and slowly permanent settlements were built. Min warships from rival pirate clans—occasionally even the remnants of the aircraft carrier flotillas of the Chinese navy found Hong Kong a brilliant harbour, and the locals were more than happy to make a quick buck off servicing their most esteemed guests from across the seas. Brothels, ports, workshops, markets all started popping up upon the shores of what was once Admiralty.

The average Hong Konger of this time enjoyed a life of 30-odd years. As such, a sense of ruthless capitalism, unmatched in even the most vile Min merchant was born. You had been cursed to have been born into Hong Kong, “Pearl of the Orient”, but you might as well engage in the worst debauchery there was in your 3 decades on this Earth.

Even as the radiation faded, this nihilistic outlook towards life remained entrenched. While Hong Kong grew much richer with the ebb and flow of the great maritime powers—what with actual multi-storey casinos being built and the Hong Kong navy a force to be reckoned with—the Hong Konger’s life was seen as borrowed time upon this earth. There was never a gentry, a nobility or a sense of citizenship in Hong Kong, just cabals of conniving merchants scheming to seize the wealth of the world.

The head of state of Hong Kong is known as the “Governor”, said to be the title of a colonial emissary from some faraway kingdom known as “Eng-gut-lei-de”. Traditionally appointed by the cosmopolitan, mercantile classes, he represents the sea-going men of Hong Kong, leading the city’s navies and merchant marine. He dictates foreign policy and commands the city’s defense. The head of government, the Chief Executive is the representative of the citizenry on which the navy is built on. He commands the land forces, manages relations between the conglomerates and dictates internal policy.

Towards the tail end of the 6th Millennia, with the rise of so many new threats, Hong Kong faces unprecedented challenges. The crown of the Governor and Chief Executive had so recently fallen into the hands of Cantonese consuls, and the Hakka tribes look all too often southwards. The Min are unhappy that Hong Kong is an unfaithful business partner—not loyal enough to their trading empire, while Canton sees Hong Kong as rightful Cantonese soil under mercantile occupation. It is a delicate balancing act Hong Kong plays, one that Hong Kong lacks the right cards for, and it will be a precarious millennia to come.​


[ Hakka Tribes ]
The Hakka are a curious people. Literally translated, they are the "Guest families", reflective perhaps of their nomadic nature. They arrived in Southern China in the chaotic aftermath of the Tang Dynasty's collapse in the 9th century, only to find that the best, most fertile lowlands of the South had been settled a century ago by the Cantonese and Mins respectively. Unable to displace the entrenched colonists, the Hakka had to settle with the unproductive Highlands located between the Cantonese and the Min. For centuries, they served as a buffer state: too fierce and powerful to overcome, but a constant thorn in the side of her More cosmopolitan neighbors. Conflicts, like the Hakka-Punti Wars against the Cantons saw the ranks of the Hakkas thinned out once more.

As the centuries rolled on and the 2nd Millennium became the 4th, the Hakkas still lived impoverished lives. There weren’t so much existential threats by neighbors, but the lack of attention from passive neighbors. The Hakka homelands were not lands for settlement and investment by enterprising entrepreneurs—they were a useless, rural dump of cheap manpower. As such, Hakka culture and language remained virtually unchanged: a land the size of Ireland trapped in stasis.

At the 5th Millennium, the Hakka saw societal collapse, like many across the globe. But perhaps by virtue of sheer backwardness, the Hakka survived starving and huddled in their walled villages. Their fields were not the most productive, but at least they were productive and had yet to be replaced by ecumenopolises like those of the Cantonese and Min. As such, the Hakka found themselves often at odds with the Min and Cantonese, both of which brought massive refugee waves swarming the Hakka frontier.

Hakka clans live as large families in walled settlements. The more well organized settlements often have militias of their own. Hakka clans were self contained nations, and this advantage in organization proved fundamental. Refugees from the Canton and Min created new villages, who would then pay tribute to the local Hakka clan. This was in the form of slaves, minerals, cloths, serfs and more. In return, the refugees were granted the right to stay and protection under the militarily dominant Hakka clans.

Knowing that the highlands were not a land of sustainable growth, many clans expanded outwards. Some northwards to Jiangxi, where they expelled and eventually destroyed the local Gan people; some East on the fringes of the Min Kingdoms, and some West towards Guangdong. In Guangdong, what had been the richest lands of old China, they found a ruined realm ripe for the picking. Under migrating clans, most notably Yu Rongen’s massive Meizhou horde, the Hakka pillaged these fallen metropolises. This period saw most powers in Southern China bowing to at least one Hakka warlord, a time when civilization bowed to the savage barbarian.

The Hakka acquired a taste for savagery imbedded within their new culture. Looking at the pristine buildings of their neighbours, the Hakka saw naught but folly: these pretenders, thirsting for the glory of old China were doomed to fail, doomed to destroy themselves as civilization always did. The Hakka pillaged not out of necessity and survival, but sometimes out of a sheer sense of spite, a desire to destroy the decadent.

Foreign Lands

[ Xiang Kingdoms ]​
Connected to each other by a series of lakes and rivers, the Xiang Kingdoms of what was once Hunan province recovered relatively quickly from the collapse of civilization thanks to trade and fishery. The relative lack of urbanization as a rural province let the Xiang region become a viable competitor for a stable, dominant civilization in the Chinese South. But perhaps due to the divided nature of the region, which remains split up by a hundred distinct peoples and tribes, no state could ever unify the Xiang. They never became a competitor to what could reliably called their Min “twin”. Nevertheless, the Xiang region plays host to opulent kingdoms and glamorous metropolises, where, oddly enough is a beacon of prosperity in a world torn asunder. Perhaps at least a cultural successor to Old China.
[ Empire of Wu ]
The Empire of Wu sits at crossroads of civilization. Straddling the Yangtze River, the burgeoning Grand Mandarinate, which stretches from Manchuria to Xi’an rules a vast, unparalleled empire. To the South, A hundred kingdoms of various shapes and sizes lie divided. The Wu see themselves as the heart of true civilization, far more cultured and learned than both her Northern and Southern enemies. Yet given its precarious position, this sense of superiority has not translated into expansionism but a sense of rigid isolation. As the foremost agricultural land in Asia, it supports a large population, having returned to an agricultural lifestyle far earlier than any nation. The Wu are unwilling to disturb the world around them as soon as they are left alone.

[ Kingdom of Vietnam ]
The Viets, like the Cantonese are blessed by geography. Despite their diverging histories, they serve as the beating heart of grand metropolises, and therefore have a sense of self importance very similar in nature. The two are practically (adopted) siblings as far as culture goes—it is absolutely possible to see a Vietnamese and Cantonese Opera as a deaf person and think them one and the same. But it appears that the Viets have thrown away what advantage the atomic bombings of Canton have given them by remaining far too complacent. The Viets didn’t jump into the game of imperialism, and now Cantonese imperialism jumps on them.
[ Formosan Peoples ]
It is hard to believe that once, many years ago, the Formosan Aboriginals had been a tiny minority and the Formosan Hans—the Taiwanese the undisputed majority. Histories tell of some half-forgotten warlord known as Chiang Kaishek dragging his battered army across the seas to Formosa in defeat. Chiang purged the native population through brutal policies of resettlement and colonization, dealing a critical blow to the Formosans. The natives were confined to remain as tourist attractions and a footnote in history: the 4th Millennium Taiwanese apologized profusely but shrugged in apathy when reperations in the millions were demanded.

Whilst civilization collapsed, the Formosans thrived. Their chieftains lead them to begin a shift to hunter-gatherer lifestyles, for which the island of Taiwan could comfortably support. Over time, when the fighting in the Taiwanese cities dimmed, the Formosans swept down from their mountaintop settlements to reclaim what they once called home across Southern Taiwan. The remnants of the Taiwanese regrouped up north in the ruins of Taipei, turning back the Formosan host, but the island had been lost to the native. The Taiwanese began to wither and slowly die as their own way of life proved by nature a detriment to survival.

The brown man rules triumphant, and efforts at rebuilding a lost culture have begun. Explorers have been sent out to sail the Southern seas to explore the Malay lands and bring back true Austronesian culture. The island, Formosa or Taiwan depending on who you ask slowly settles into the new state of affairs, and all appears well.
[ Zhuang Tribes ]
As the battlegrounds between the Cantonese and Vietnamese kingdoms, the Zhuang, in some world could perhaps been as fearsome a people as the Hakka. Tribal, semi-nomadic and impoverished—it is the formula for the perfect barbarian horde. Instead, out of sheer bad luck, the Zhuang now lay defeated, broken and shattered between a rock—Canton and a hard place—Hanoi. In their war dances and folk songs, it is common to hear chieftains singing of a world that might have been, but it is now obvious to all that the Zhuang are on their last legs.



Culture

[ Art ]​
Civilization’s passing has led to much less complete collapse than a long backtrack. Culture-wise, local dialects have superseded Mandarin, provinces evolved into Kingdoms and thus evolved into distinct cultural entities by virtue of policy. The idea of a Chinese civilization has not as much died as have been replaced by provincial identities—many of which see themselves as the “true” China.

Knowledge of the pre-collapse world is sparse, history being a greatly neglected field of study to the common joe. Though thanks to what is a largely intact Min “cultural memory” and the sheer amount of artifacts scattered across the face of the earth, it is known to most elites and cultured classes that there once was an elder world. This knowledge often manifests itself in legends and songs passed from one generation to the next. Take for example, the “Ballad of Lee Kashing”, a simple trader in real life 3rd Millennium times turned into merchant prince and toppler of nations in Hong Kong-Min myth.

Opera is the prime form of entertainment in this world, and villagers often gather round to listen to stories of the greatest heroes. For smaller occasions, the Xiang ballad, product of the greatest poets the merchant princes could afford are popular all across Southern China. Balladists, in typical poet fashion have an inflated sense of self-importance, with many a work dedicated to the professed difficulty of being an artist.

Hakkas and the Cantonese, two of the more militant societies have an obsession with the honor duel. It was invented—revived rather—in Hakka villages between competing heirs fighting for the right to succeed the estates and lands of their fathers. Soon, it spread to other aspects of society, present as rudimentary forms of a justice system in rural areas. One of the most famous duels is that between the Hakka warlord Yu Rongen and his usurping, treacherous son, Yu Chongzheng, where Yu Chongzheng would slay his father before the elders of the Meizhou host. Such practices spread to Canton in the aftermath of Cantonese conquest of what had long been Hakka land. Duelists are often expected to fight in a 3-round structure: the first two are to size up your opponent. Taunts and artistic displays of swordsmanship are common to please the crowd. The last round is deadly, where every blow is to kill and no quarter is left. This makes the first two rounds almost artistic in execution, an object of admiration for many a son of Canton.

[ Religion ]
Once the two staple religions of the area, Buddhism and Taoism have evolved. To suit the needs of the times, both have grown increasingly militant: Taoism in particular worships the War God Guan Yu as one of her prime deities. This is particularly common amongst Hakka and Cantonese society, which invoke His spirit at times of battle or honor duels. Confucius in the Taoist “canon” has been separated from Guan Yu and serves as a God of the gentryman—more popular amongst Min-influenced Hakka tribes.

Buddhism has undergone a renaissance of sorts in India, thanks to the efforts of marauding Tibetan warlords rampaging across Bengal and leaving somewhat of a cultural mark. This has spread a reformed Buddhism—one that believes in supreme discipline and dutifulness no matter the occupation, be it the warrior, merchant or mandarin. It is virtuous for a soldier to listen to his orders without question; it is virtuous for a merchant to perform his mercantile duty to his employees by making a profit; it is virtuous for a mandarin to love his subjects as he loves his own children.

The cult of Mat-su, the patron of fishermen is popular amongst seafarers along the Southeastern coast. It is a syncretic religion, with both Buddhists and Taoists claiming the lady as their own. In Buddhist canon, she is one with the Bohddivista, who grants mercy and reformation to the wicked. In Taoist belief, she is a deity tied to the sea, trapped there by her death in a storm.​
 
[V 1.0] Las Verdad
Version 1.0 of my map for a South American Soviet Union. It was quite fun working on this map: flicking through pages of People's Daily and other party-approved publications, doing my best Xi Jinping impression. I had fun with the sheer irony of the thing, as well as drawing up the overcomplicated, Byzantine subdivisions of La Patria Grande, in true Soviet style. I hope Castro is proud.

Using Margret Atwood as a mouthpiece for in-universe culture was probably my favourite thing to do. I considered Lin Manuel Miranda, though dropped it in a bit.
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LAS VERDAD—70th Liberation Day Edition

Top Stories:

Turning Points in History: the Liberation of Santiago
In Pictures: Liberation Day in Plaza Bolivar
Editorial: Bring Forth the Union of All the World
Culture: Southwards Bound, a Canadian Story

Turning Points in History: the liberation of Santiago

70 Years ago: a summer afternoon on 8th July, 1948, the city of Santiago shook to the fearsome barrage of artillery. The armies of the Libertadores—the 4th Army under general Juan “little Bolivar” Peron to be precise—surrounded the strategic city, and through infiltration took the city in but 3 days. The last city in South America, defiant before the righteous forces of laborism fell at last.

“We fought, we learnt, we conquered”, said Peron after the engagement to Las Verdad. It was one of the last battles to be fought in la Revolución, the conclusion of which brought a sense of finality. The battle was not like the trenches of Lima, or the door-to-door fighting of Buenos Aries—but to put it in a grand historical context, it was one of the most significant battles of la Revolución.

In Santiago, the Chilean peasants and workers were liberated, the last piece in the great multicultural puzzle that is la Patria Grande.

In Santiago, jubilant revolutionaries reported to the central government in Bogota, where Chairman Castro immediately declared the formation of our nation.

In Santiago, the first land reforms were directed, to bring justice to the farmers of Chile.

There is an important distinction to be made between liberation and revolution. Santiago was liberated in 1948; Lima in 1947, Caracas in 1945; yet Santiago was the first to undergo revolution in the fateful year of 1948. The Chilean spirit is never to fall behind, and this is fully reflected in her capital city’s eagerness to reform herself.

Bold Santiago revolutionaries, including heroes like Carlos Prats led the founding of worker’s communes, the destruction of capitalist institutions, the seizing of the means of production, the expelling of foreign meddlers. Whilst the rest of la Patria Grande lagged so far behind, under so called “transitional governments”, Santiago had become the first nation to institute true Marxist-Castroist Labourism, as it was first envisioned.

Santiago, this shining beacon of Labourism, witnessed the righteous fires of revolution. Santiago, this beautiful city, took the very first step towards the worker’s paradise.

The people of Chile, of la Patria Grande, of the whole world salute you today! Hail, Santiago! (Las Verdad editor Matías Rodríguez)


Workers and Peasants of Bogota celebrate Liberation Day
the Plaza Bolivar is adorned with the flowers of Revolution

The population of Bogota celebrated the 70th Anniversary of our nation’s founding—Liberation Day. On this momentous 200 thousand workers, peasants and soldiers all gathered to witness the grand parade through the streets of our nation’s capital.

The Grand Secretariat of the Labourist Party, the President of the Confederation, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Hero of the World Revolution, his Excellency Hugo Chavez received the salutes of army, navy and air force servicemen, giving a stirring speech to urge all the oppressed peoples of the world to revolution. The politburo and foreign friends of La Patria Grande listened attentively to his Excellency, celebrating the spirit of revolutionary brotherhood.

On this day of celebration, our continent was filled with joy and cheer, especially pronounced in Bogota. The city was covered in the colours of revolution: Red, Blue and Yellow; the Plaza Bolivar was adorned with flowers from every corner of our nation; and by the statue of Simon Bolivar lay a new one—that of his spiritual successor, founder of our fatherland, Fidel Castro. Castro proudly looked upon Bogota—seeing the House of Representatives, the Central Worker’s Congress, the Monument of Sacrafice, the Peron Monument and many more symbols of revolution. Workers dressed in red, blue and yellow formed human mosaics reading “Viva la Patria Grande!” and “Viva la Partido Laboristas!”—simple, yet touching words.

Above the Plaza Bolivar, 33 balloons, one for each tribe or republic within our grand brotherhood of revolutionaries were let loose. Each was painted with traditional artwork from each of our continent’s peoples, symbolizing the herculean effort that was world revolution—accomplishable only through the industry and effort of all our nation’s peoples. Plaza Bolivar was filled with joy and revolutionary cheer—a sight to behold for all. (Las Vardas Editor Jose Garcia)


Editorial: Bring Forth the Union of all the World

In the midst of our nation’s 70th Anniversary, all the peoples of our nation are united in happiness and brotherhood, a momentous occasion that we all surely cherish.

Holding aloft the eternal banner of Castroism-Marxism, thoroughly implementing the ideals of the new post-capitalist society and with vigilance against treason and revisionism, the day ended with renewed vigor and determination on the revolutionary spirit of each and every man, woman and child. Discussions on the hypocrisy of the false labourists and capitalist jackals in the Bantu Confederation; on the oppression of the German imperial jackboot were had in every layer of society. Stories were told by veterans of the Revolution about the bitterness of their conflict as brother turned on brother. Even in celebration, the peoples of the Americas were warned of the threats that imperialism poses yet to our righteous cause.

Today, in labourism’s greatest hour, on the precipice of world revolution, vigilance is the watchword, from the Pyramids of the Maya to the icy Magellan Straits; from the paradise of the Bahamas to the ever-productive mines of Peru. Our great nation’s enemies have always stood ready to pounce, eying the weakest of the proletariat for subversion and invasion. This is reflected best in talk of “independence”, “self-determination”, “liberation”. Such words lead any sane man to think about the liberation of the oppressed in Europe, the workers of the Rhine and farmers of Ireland—but no. The enemies of revolution have always been masters of the pen. They speak of independence for Peru; self-determination for the Argentines; liberation from labourism. The enemies of revolution spew hypocrisy, speaking of revolution against revolution: counter-revolution they like to call it.

But fear not. For the party and the proletariat know better. As one, all the liberated peoples of la Patria Grande know better—they know the truth. The know las verdad. The fundamental reason explaining why we can rise amidst difficulties and challenges and win one victory after another lies in the fact that we firmly believe that our cause is a just and progressive one, and that people of the whole country are united as one and making unremitting efforts to advance perseveringly toward our magnificent goals.

In the face of endless challenges to the integrity of la Patria Grande, new challenges are emerging from every vector. These hurdles call for the concerted efforts and hard struggle by the people of all ethnic groups. Acting in compliance with the requirements of the Party, we should unify thinking, strengthen will, deal with all eventualities, identify the friend and the foe, know good from evil, do industrious work, and strive to make breakthroughs in various fields of work. All peoples of our nation, be you Maya, Inca, Colombian or Argentine, let us rally ourselves more closely around the Party with Comrade Chavez at the core, let us raise high the great banner of Castroism-Marxism, so the revolution of Bolivar can be continued forevermore ‘till all the world is a worker’s paradise! (Las Vardas Chief Editor Francisco Miranda)


Southwards Bound: a Canadian Story

There has always been this thread of fate between the Hispanic and Canadian peoples, many say. And that should not come as a surprise in the face of an increasingly warm Hispanic-Canadian friendship, as the two beacons of labourism find that they have nothing to lose and quite a lot to gain from cooperation.

Indeed, there’s the story of Margret Atwood, a Canadian socialist author who ventured South in the most oppressive years of the nation’s monarchist dictatorship. Atwood, now 78, is author of multiple award-winning books, most famous of which is the Spinster’s Tale, a harrowing story of a young woman in the fictional nation of Monarchia, whose family forces her into an unhappy marriage with a dystopian backdrop. An instant bestseller, the book was tolerated by the Canadian royalist government for some time, but was then banned when things spiraled out of control.

Atwood, placed under house arrest nevertheless saw her novel grow ever more popular, circulated widely underground. The government attempted to place her in Ottawa Women’s Prison (charmingly termed Princess Lizzie’s Dungeon by the poor African-Canadians in the nearby Ghettos), but faced serious resistance in the process. Eventually, Atwood broke out with some stroke of ingenuity and outside help from Revolutionary cells, trekking along the Mississippi, through the Louisiana hinterland, until she reached salvation in New Afrika.

Atwood’s newest book, Southwards Bound talks of this harrowing trek.

“This book isn’t about me,” says Atwood when Las Verdad editor Hermann Rodriguez approached her on the matter, “it’s about America. It’s about the suffering masses, huddled in small huts, swept up by the winter gale once the chill sets in.” Atwood looks sorrowful when she says this. She tells Las Verdad about her childhood in the worst parts in Ottawa—and how good life there was, when compared to sprawling slums like Baton Rouge and Huston.

“It’s not about me,” says Atwood.


Atwood later returned to her trek last year, making her way up North from Caracas—where she now resides to Ottawa. Surprisingly fit for a 78-year old, she beamed proudly as she showed us Las Verdad pictures she took along the way. There is Memphis, an industrial boom town, where Atwood gave a speech to the local Central Trade Union; there is Detroit, Canada’s socialist “poster boy”, where the greatest fruits of Castroism-Marxism are presented to the world by People’s Chancellor William Quesnel.

“It was a capitalist wonderland back then,” Atwood laughs grimly as she looks at a picture of Detroit in the ‘70s, when she was but a simple middle-class working woman. “I’m just happy things are finally getting better.

Canada celebrates the 37th Anniversary of her labourist revolution in 2 months. Atwood is rumored to be giving a speech to all the peoples of Canada at the celebratory parade—though Ms. Atwood chuckled and refused to comment when approached on the matter. (Las Vardas Editor Hermann Rodriguez)
 
And there's that! The 22 maps I've made in my 2 years, 10 months on the board. Hopefully it's an enjoyable map cave, and while it might not match up graphically to absolute masters like Witchowinter (Toixstory), Upvoteanthology or Zalesky, it's hopefully a good read at least.
 
And there's that! The 22 maps I've made in my 2 years, 10 months on the board. Hopefully it's an enjoyable map cave, and while it might not match up graphically to absolute masters like Witchowinter (Toixstory), Upvoteanthology or Zalesky, it's hopefully a good read at least.
It's a great read, and I wouldn't sell yourself so short. Your scenarios have very unique flairs to them and I always look forward to seeing new ones. Glad to see all these posted in one place so I can come back and look at them all at once. :)
 
It's a great read, and I wouldn't sell yourself so short. Your scenarios have very unique flairs to them and I always look forward to seeing new ones. Glad to see all these posted in one place so I can come back and look at them all at once. :)
Thanks! It's very motivating to hear that from you:biggrin:!
 
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