Representatives of Spain and her colonies met in Havana to discuss the implications of the proposal of the Imperial Federacion. Diplomats from Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Upper Peru (OTL’s Bolivia), Santo Domingo, the Central American colonies and the Viceroyalty of New Granada (OTL’s Colombia) met in one of the most fateful meetings of the Spanish Empire. While most of these nations were either halfway to even declaring independence or starting an independence movement of their own, the offer set out by the Spanish government (In sharing power with Madrid) was too curious to pass up immediately.
The Havana Conference started well enough with a list of proposals that the Spanish Government was willing to negotiate on. Based off the proposals of Alessandro Malaspina, the areas of negotiation aimed to bring greater economic and defensive cohesion between the colonies and Spain. The areas of negotiation were:
1: Closer economic ties with some of the money from the colonies going back to the colonies (How much exactly would be a matter of debate).
2: The Spanish government would allow the colonies to handle many of their domestic affairs while still reserving the right to interfere on matters that were deemed a threat to Spain. This would be another real point of contention over what issues could or could not interfere with.
3: All nations would contribute to some form of military and navy defence for the entire Empire. Once again, another point of contention as the amount of contribution towards a standing Army or Navy was up for debate.
The debates and negotiations would rage for months as each colony would set out different standards for how much they would contribute which inevitably clashed with what Spain wanted. Only because of Carlos de Seville’s own formidable negotiating skills was any progress made. The back and forth would continue in the meantime, as the government in Spain waited for any news…
Relations between the Polish Kingdom and Russia reached an ever low point during this month as Russian troops made a brief crossing over the Polish border. The cavalry troops had crossed the border without permission and come across several Polish troops who went to attack the Russian forces only for them to retreat before any action was taken.
The reaction to this movement was widely against the Russians. Both Prussia and Austria condemned what was a move against Polish sovereignty while Britain also condemned the Russian play for power. France offered Poland discreet aid against Russian aggression in terms of weaponry. The official excuse given by Russia was that the troops had been unaware of the border, believing themselves to have been deep in Russian territory by mistake. Poland itself called up its Army to defend against any possible War. The incident didn’t lead to war which only bolstered Russian confidence over its believed dominance over Poland.
The border incident was something of a confirmation in Tsar Nicholas’s mind that the German Powers weren’t really willing to go to war over Poland. Preparations were made for a quick war in the winter against Poland. Believing that path to be clear to dominance over Eastern Europe once again, many of the Russian nobility looked forward to regaining the prestige lost in the War against Napoleon.
The previous reforms of British political life allowed even greater pressure on the establishment to give greater political freedom. This was met by harsh measure on the part of the Government. Already unpopular for permanently establishing the Income Tax in 1819, the Castlereagh Government was reviled by many of the lower classes for its refusal to look at election reform. Protests were widespread and were mainly peaceful as the Government, fearful of a repeat of the St Peters humiliation, refused to allow any sort of order to be given to soldiers or militia that would have led to a possibility of them refusing it.
September was notable for the largest protest yet against the Government in London. Roughly 55,000 people attended to protest against the election system and although the Army was there in force, the peaceful manner of the protestors meant that all were reluctant to take them on in force. The rising Liberal movement in Britain was gaining in strength and it was only a matter of time before it clashed with the Government,
To the surprise of many, the meeting between Spain and her colonies finally bore fruit in the form of the Havana Accord. The Accord finally set in stone the Imperial Federacion to mutual agreement. After months of hard and nerve searing negotiations, the Accord was signed by all nations and the Spanish Empire evolved into a joining of nations. The clauses of the Accord were as follows:
1: A new Parliament was to be formed to deal with tariffs, naval and foreign affairs. It had been agreed that the foreign affairs decided by the Parliament were to be the foreign policy of all the nations of the Federacion. All nations were to send four representatives to the Imperial Parliament (Although Spain itself would have six) to meet in Spain where they would discuss matters of importance to the Federacion.
2: All tariffs between the nations of the Federacion were to be banned while they were to all accept the same tariff against foreign nations.
3: In matters concerning the Navy (Renamed the Imperial Navy) Spain was to take on 50% of the cost while the remaining nations would cover the rest of the costs. As the Navy was only expected to increase in size, the covering of the costs was expected to be up for negotiation in ten years. The Army however was to be centralised under a new Imperial Army with the budget working out the same way although the units were to be put on a rotational basis.
4: The Accord agreed to a mutual defence pact. In the circumstance of war being declared on one nation, all nations would in turn declare war in support against the offending nation.
5: In terms of domestic affairs, Spain was forced to compromise. All nations were allowed to run their own domestic affairs in their own way unless a direct threat against the peace of the nation or the Federacion itself. Democracy was encouraged by the Liberal Government in Spain but it wasn’t mandatory.
The Havana Accord was seen as a landmark point in the Spanish Empire. From now on, Spain was merely a first among equals in its new Federacion and the birth of this new Federacion would signal a revitalisation in Spanish fortunes. The first meeting was scheduled for February with Spain having appointed Carlos de Seville as one of its members of the new Parliament and hopes were high that the Federacion would be a success.
The notion of the Spanish Federacion was greeted with amusement, bewilderment and even confusion by many nations. Colonies were supposed to ruled! In Britain and her colonies however, several Liberals sat up and took notes…
On the Russian-Polish border, a Russian contingent was attacked by soldiers wearing Polish uniforms. The contingent was forced into retreat and several were killed by the attackers. Word was passed further up until St Petersburg was informed and a declaration of war was issued on Boxing Day. Such was the rapidity of events that it wasn’t until New Year that even Prussia knew that war had been declared. But by then, Russia had sent a 40,000 Army into Polish territory. The Winter War was on.