The year opened with a surprise announcement from the White House that Abraham Lincoln would stand for a third term as President. His justification for this was that an experienced President was needed for when the referendum when New Jersey was to vote on whether it would return to the US as a state. Cautious of New England duplicity, Lincoln wanted to make sure that New Jersey would be returned and was certain only he could make sure it would be done well or, if everything went the way of the pear, see through the War that followed.
The announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by many American people as Lincoln remained very popular within the country but on Capitol Hill, it was highly criticised. George Washington had set the two term tradition and who was Lincoln to break it? He would face some fierce resistance from the Congress Party and his own National Party as they resisted his move. The Congress Party, long since the minority in both houses, now saw its chance and leapt on it, accusing Lincoln of trying to empower the role of President at the cost of the other parts of Government. It certainly raised an issue that would give the Congress Party much larger notice than it had before and soon became a noticeable contender that it had never been before. Lincoln’s move had been popular but had severe political consequences that would weaken the National Party in the future.
The course of African history experienced another shift as in South Africa; representatives from the Shona and Basotho arrived under the invitation of the Zulu King to discuss the encroachment by the British and Boers south. Although the British were largely content to leave the Africans alone as long as their interests weren’t threatened, the Boers and other Dutch immigrants had been expanding into territory north and were constantly clashing with the Tribes there. Outdone by advanced technology, the Tribes were gradually all turning to the Zulu for protection and support, themselves being the largest and most powerful Tribe in the region.
Mandla, the Zulu King, had seen the difficulties other Tribes were facing and seeing an opportunity, offered to protect all the Tribes of South Africa from the Boers in return for their allegiance. Not to Mandla, King of the Zulus, but Mandla, King of Great Zimbabwe. Reigniting the idea that there had once been a nation in South African which had been a great power and had contact with the outside World. Mandla had contact with British explorers who had found the ruins and spun the tale to present it as the seat of a great Pan-African Empire, the likes of which, hadn’t been seen since. Mandla used every deceit and trick he could think of to convince the Tribes that with him at the helm, any African state was bound to succeed.
The other Tribes were sceptical of these claims to say the least, especially that a Zulu could lead any other Tribe without slaughtering it sooner or later. However, European encroachment was such a threat that some thought was put into the proposal and after furious negotiations, an agreement was reached. There would be a united African Kingdom, a new Zimbabwe with all three peoples and Mandla would be King of it. However, the King would have to deal with a Council of Tribal representatives that would debate any measure put through them before it would be implemented and a majority of two-thirds needed for it to pass. The person Mandla had to thanks for this was Kevin Higgins, a British Missionary who had been in Africa for ten years, preaching the virtues of Christianity and British political ways. Higgins eventually became know as the Godfather as the modern African state, or, if you asked the Zulus, an interfering git.
Mandla reluctantly accepted this compromise as he thought that with time, he could see to it that the Zulu would dominate. After all, his father had taught him how to deal with enemies and he would put that knowledge to good use, once the Boers were dealt with… The Council were to meet on the border of Zulu territory with a territorial agreement reached between the three. The Zulus were to continue consolidating and expanding along the coast, the Basotho were to get the Central regions of South-Africa while the Shona were to get the Western regions. It was a divide which suited Mandla because after all, it was all going to the Zulus at some point as far as he was concerned.
After over ten months of brutal and devastating siege Warfare, San Antonio finally surrendered as the supplies had finally dwindled away to nothing. The defenders had gained World wide acclaim and even King Antonio ordered that they were to be saluted as they marched out of the city to officially surrender. The siege would inspire thousands of books and paintings depicting those who resisted the onslaught of Mexico. It would serve constantly as a rallying point for those who resisted oppression and was a cultural high point for many. Despite all that though, the end of the siege finally put the stamp on the end of the Republic of Texas. Now all that remained was everything south of the San Antonio River and San Antonio itself now in the hands of Mexico with everything else as the Juntist Republic of Texas.
The puppet state in Northern Texas was seething with resentment against California and the collaborators who had agreed to rule the region for them. California was strengthened by this in terms of a major injection of New England Weaponry, an experienced Army and the cementing of its Alliance with New England itself. This emboldened New England itself on its position regarding New Jersey. It had won that state through blood and steel, why should it have to be given up at all? Plans began to be made in New England to countermand the referendum; New Jersey was to get a new influx of immigrants from further north.
On the 17th April, Britain once more came to a standstill in the third time in less than three decades as news spread that the Queen had fallen into labour. The country was on tenterhooks as they waited for the news. The cannon at Buckingham Castle were to give the signal, twelve shots for a girl, thirteen for a boy. At 6:13 PM, the shots were heard firing. Ten, eleven, twelve… thirteen! A boy! The streets of London erupted into celebration as the new Prince was born and his name read out, King Alexander Shivaji Hannover. Named after a Greek who crossed the boundaries of East and West and a great Indian King, it was noted that Alexander had dark skin but largely retained the profile of a European. The birth of a new Prince was highly popular with the Indian argument in Federalism receiving another boost with the new addition to the Royal Family.
The debate over Federalism was proceeding along, if not smoothly, then without blood being drawn as the name was finally agreed upon the Imperial Commonwealth. The general shape was being beaten into place with a system of ‘General Addition to Imperial Matters’ being the decided factor in determining the amount of seats a nation could gain in the Commonwealth which meant whatever Britain wanted it too. Seat allocation in the Imperial Commonwealth’s Council was to be negotiated and decided further, which would take a considerable amount of time. But though the negotiations were slow, they were promising to be highly fruitful.
The outhouse hit the windmill on the 24th as the Spanish press published a report which stated that the Polish reason for the entry into the Four Year War, letters detailing a Prussian plan to dismember Poland completely, was completely false with a letter from the Polish War Minister detailing the plan. The letter had been acquired by the Russian embassy in Poland which had come across it while an agent from the embassy had been scouring through Military papers on a mission to find out Polish Military strength.
Once in the embassy, the paper was then sent on to Spain with its free press and was printed in its most read newspaper. The news spread throughout Europe as the guilt of Poland was largely accepted by large amounts of people despite the fact no real chance was given for Poland to defend itself. The rising racism against Germans in Poland as well as France had endeared the country little outside its favoured regions and the papers printing this had merely turned the grey to black. Poland exclaimed the letters were forgeries but its neighbours, already having grudges against it, merely raised a cynical eyebrow.
When the news reached Brandenburg, the small Kingdom exploded in outrage which had been followed by similar scenes throughout Germany. The Poles dared to do this? The feeling in Germany was one of betrayal and outrage with fury directed at the Polish state. Brandenburg, believing that it had the support of all Germany on its side issued an ultimatum, return all territories taken by the Treaty of Versailles by the 2nd January 1859 or face War. The German Confederation made little noise on this, thinking that this was generally right and the demand could be moderated given negotiations. It became apparent however that Poland refused to negotiate at all.
As November passed into December and the New Year drew near, it was becoming apparent that the ultimatum would not be met and the conflict between German and Slav would soon come. But France would be the decider, although it had not said a word on the subject, remaining silent as it decided to wait until the last moment until it made its move.