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Decades of Darkness

An extremely extensive timeline (some call it more detailed than OTL LOL) created and written by Jared. The early death of the US-American President Thomas Jefferson leads to the Embargo Act never being repealed. This results in the secession of New England, and ultimately a rump United States dominated by slave owners.

Popularity and longevity has led to the timeline winning Turtledoves in 3 separate years.

The timeline is commonly abbreviated to DoD.

Important Events

  • The War of 1811 results in the secession of the New England Republic and its alignment with the British Empire.
  • After failing to reconquer New England in 1833, the USA looks to the south-west, and conquers all of OTL Mexico in a series of three wars. Ironically, as Jared has pointed out, this means that in Decades of Darkness the average 'American' will tend to have a somewhat Hispanic appearance. Also, *American English gets quite a lot of Spanish loan words.
  • Britain and Germany and allies fight the Second Napoleonic Wars against France and Russia and allies. This ultimately leads to the creation of a larger Germany, not dominated by a single state, but built around the Netherlands, Prussia and Austria. This Germany also includes Switzerland, and goes on to become perhaps the greatest power in the world.
  • Due to the British being less concerned about how the Americans would object to the idea, Canada is given its own king upon confederation. This idea proves successful, and other British possessions (including Australia, South Africa, and Ireland) become kingdoms instead of the dominions of OTL. The Empire thus becomes increasingly federal.
  • Perhaps the most significant conflict in the timeline prior to the Great War is the North American War at the start of the twentieth century, in which the USA under President Lewis Mitchell finally defeats the British-New England alliance. The USA ends up with Canada's Pacific coastline and the southern New Jersey, as well as attempting to control Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica. Canada and Newfoundland are neutralised and have to cut all ties with Britain. New England becomes a social democracy after the war.
  • In the Brazilian Civil War shortly afterwards, royalist forces backed by the USA are defeated by German-backed republicans (ironically, as the governments of those two states are the reverse of the movements they are respectively backing).


A wide variety of machines and technologies in the Decades of Darkness world have different names than in OTL.

Airships are important in the North American War and are known as “cloudships”. Tanks are “arlacs” (from “ARmoured LAnd Cruiser”), cars are “horsts” (a colloquial shortening of “horseless steam car”), and radios/wireless sets are “funks” (from the German word for “spark” and “radio broadcasting”). Submarines are known as “sea wolves”.

The prefixes “sky-” and “cloud-” are often used in lieu of the OTL “air-” prefix. For example, “cloudscraper” for skyscraper, the aforementioned “cloudship” instead of “airship”, “skycraft” for “aircraft” and “skymarines” for “seaplanes”.


The terminology of the timeline has met with opposition from some Americans, who dislike the fact that the slave-holding, highly stratified state is known as 'the USA' and its inhabitants as 'Americans'. Of course this is part of the point of a dystopia, to shock with familiar words in unfamiliar ways. However, Jared has compromised by using the asterisk method to help underline the fact that this USA is not that of OTL. It is also often referred to as 'the DoD USA'.

See Also

The timeline is posted on here and has a dedicated website here. It also has an entry at TV Tropes.


At the 2008 Turtledove Awards, the timeline won the "Best 19th Century Timeline" category.

timelines/decades_of_darkness.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 by

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