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Reds vs. Blues: Timeline

The 19th Century


1867 (PoD) – Despite his best efforts, William Seward, Secretary of State under President Andrew Johnson, fails to negotiate the purchase of Alaska. Despite making favourable initial offers to St. Petersburg, he cannot get the support he needs in congress to actually go through with it. By the end of the year, dejected and his health deteriorating – partially a result of his attack in April 1865 – he gives up.

Diamonds are discovered in an area just north of the Cape Colony.

1868 – What becomes known as the Meiji Period begins in Japan. The Shogun’s government resists the Emperor’s attempts to modernise, but Mutsuhito is unshakable. In 1869, the yen is first minted in Japan, replacing 1,694 different denominations used by the various clans, magistrates and shogunate retainers during the Tokugawa period – it becomes the sole national currency within a decade.

Isabella II of Spain is overthrown in a revolution.

The Khanate of Bukhara becomes a Russian protectorate.

After Abyssinia imprisons European diplomats, an Anglo-Indian military intervention forces their release, after bribing local notables into allowing passage. Tewdros II commits suicide soon afterwards, to avoid capture.

Lesotho is annexed to the British crown. Earlier, the Orange Free State annexed some Sotho land to the north, to open for settlement.

1868-1870 – Reconstruction comes to a close in the US, as the last few Confederate states are admitted back into the union.

1868-1872 – Cuba revolts against the Spanish government, frustrated at high taxes and colonial mismanagement. The revolt is finally put down by promises of reform, and by military force where needed.

1869 – An uprising occurs in Haiti.

The Red River Rebellion occurs in what later becomes Manitoba, partially as a result of Prince Rupert’s Land being transferred to Canada.

The Suez Canal is opened.

1869-1880 – The Italian Rubattino Navigation company buys up land around the village of Assab, in northern Abyssinia. This provides the Italians their first foothold in the region.


1870 – Manitoba becomes a province of Canada, mainly as a result of the Red River Rebellion.

Napoleon III withdraws the French garrison from the Papal States, which leads to Italy annexing it soon afterwards; the Italian capital is later moved to Rome.

The War of the Triple Alliance ends this year, with Paraguay only maintaining its independence by the skin of its teeth, and thanks to American diplomacy. However, it is forced to surrender a lot of its territory.

1870-1871 – The *Franco-Prussian War occurs, partially due to fears over German unification, and partially due to the candidacy of Leopold Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (elder brother of the Prince of Romania) for the throne of Spain. However, France loses, and is able to prevent neither from occurring. Humiliated, with the Prussians reaching all the way to Paris, Napoleon III is forced to abdicate in favour of the *French Third Republic, and Alsace-Lorraine is annexed by the newly-established German Empire. The rule of Leopold I of Spain does lead to a resurgence of Spanish power and prestige, however.

1871 – King William of Prussia is crowned as Emperor of Germany.

Buoyed by recent successes in opening up Japan, an American fleet is sent to Corea.

British Columbia joins Canada.

In order to protect the diamond-bearing areas, Britain establishes a protectorate over the western Griqua. Gold is also found in southern Africa in this year.

1872 – The Dominican Republic becomes a Spanish protectorate.

The Dutch abandon their forts in the Gold Coast, which are taken over by Britain.

Yohannes IV becomes emperor of Abyssinia, after an interregnum.

1872-1874 – A Carlist revolt unsuccessfully attempts to wrest the Spanish throne from king Leopold.

1873 – The Honourable East India Company, which has ruled India for more than a century, is dissolved. Prince Edward Island joins Canada.

The Khanate of Khiva becomes a Russian protectorate.

The Dutch begin their very-lengthy and equally bloody campaign to subdue Aceh.

1873-1874 – British forces attack the Ashanti kingdom, but are unable to force capitulation.

1874 – The end of the civil war (1867-1874) in the Malay state of Selangor results in it becoming a British protectorate. Sembilan also becomes a protectorate during this year, to help secure the tin-producing region for Britain.

1875 – An uprising occurs in Bosnia by Christian peasants, over taxes levied by the Ottoman state. This unrest eventually spills over into neighbouring areas.

The Treaty of St. Petersburg assigns Sakhalin to Russia, and the Kuril islands to Japan.

The Egyptian government sells its shares in the Suez Canal to Britain, due to increasing debts.

1876 – Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India in 1876. The city of Quetta [in OTL Pakistan] is occupied by the British.

The Khanate of Kokand is annexed by Russia.

1876-1877 – The uprising that began in Bosnia the previous year spreads into Serbia. However, Ottoman forces are able to crush the rising before the Russians are able to come to their aid. Combined pressure from Britain, France and Austria force the Russians to back off, but they do negotiate the independence of Romania, under Russian protection. Meanwhile, Serbia comes under nominal Austrian protection, and Bulgaria is granted some autonomy.

1877 – The bankrupt South African Republic is annexed by Britain, becoming the Transvaal Colony.

1877-1879 – The *Second Anglo-Afghan War occurs, due to a diplomatic incident involving increasing Russian influence over the court of Shir Ali Khan, ruler of Afghanistan. British forces from India invade the country and Shir Ali flees, dying a year later in exile. When Russian aid isn’t forthcoming, his successor, Yaqub Khan, is forced to allow Britain a diplomatic mission at Kabul. Though the new Emir originally agrees to align his foreign policy with British interests, the British consul is forced to flee from a mob, and Britain again occupies Afghanistan, although temporarily, and cart Yaqub Khan off effectively as a prisoner.

1875-1876 – Egypt invades Abyssinia. However, despite occupying the city of Harer and much land along the coast, Egypt never manages to press much further inland.

1877-1878 – A series of conflicts between British settlers and Xhosa tribes occur, which eventually results in the defeat of the latter.

1878 – Britain establishes an outpost at Walvis Bay, and annexes much of the surrounding area.

1879 – Annoyed at Zulu refusal to accept a protection arrangement, British forces invade and subdue the once powerful state. Despite some embarrassing initial setbacks, superior British technology eventually overwhelms the once proud Zulus, and forces them to surrender. [Side note – the son of Napoleon III doesn’t go to adventuring South Africa ITTL, instead getting himself recklessly killed somewhere else]

1879-1882 – The *War of the Pacific occurs between Chile and an alliance of Bolivia and Peru. The two countries established a secret treaty, guaranteeing the other’s territorial integrity in 1873. Bolivia had previously signed a treaty with Chile, in which it agreed to share the tax receipts from the export of minerals excavated between the 23rd and 24th parallels, though in 1874 this was ameliorated, in return for Bolivia not raising taxes against Chilean businesses. Things then heated up when the Bolivian government tried to raise taxes against a Chilean nitrate company, despite protests. Chile subsequently declared war, and Bolivia called on Peruvian aid. Despite initial victories, including the occupation of the port of Antofagasta, the Chilean advance ground to a crawl. Eventually, peace was declared, in which Bolivia retained a strip of coastline, and Chile annexed all of the gains it had made.


1880 - Griqualand East formally becomes a British protectorate.

1880-1881 – The Boers of Transvaal rise up against the British, eventually restoring the independence of the South African Republic.

1880-1884 - Attempts to disarm the Sotho people of their firearms leads to an uprising between 1880 and 1881 (the so-called *Gun War). Eventually, the kingdom is re-established as a protectorate.

1881 – France imposes a protectorate over Tunisia, with tacit support from Britain, and despite complaints from Italy.

1881-1897 – A revolt occurs in Sudan by an Islamic scholar claiming to be the Madhi, a savour-figure; he and his followers carve out a large state in the region. In support of their Egyptian “allies”, British forces garrison Khartoum in 1884. Despite a heroic effort, this is ultimately futile. In typical British style, it is immortalised anyway, and becomes a rallying call for the reinforcements on their way along the Nile. The Madhist uprising is finally crushed by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1897. As a result, Sudan formally becomes a co-dominium between the two powers, though British administrators effectively govern the whole region. Southern Sudan is later split off as Equatoria, which becomes a crown colony.

1882 – France establishes a protectorate over central Vietnam (which they call Annam) and annex Tonkin as a colony.

Britain establishes a protectorate over the Boer republics of Stellaland and Goshen, to forestall their annexation by Transvaal; the latter unites with the former in 1885. Following Egypt’s increasing debt crisis, Britain establishes a protectorate over the country, despite French objections.

1882-1898 – France wars against the various Mande tribes in West Africa, to secure territory there, and press east, intending to carve a swathe all the way to the Red Sea.

1883-1885 – The First Sino-French War occurs. China’s fears over losing its traditional influence in Vietnam eventually lead to war. Overtures had been made since the previous year, when France established its protectorate, but the French were having none of it. Despite defeating the French advances into China proper, the Chinese commanders are unable to defeat the French in northern Vietnam or at sea, where their ships are hopelessly outmatched, and are forced to concede to the new reality. However, hostility between China and France still boils, due to French bombardment of coastal ports, including the shipyard at Foochow, which was built with French aid.

1884 – Britain establishes a protectorate over the rump Burmese state, carving out a semi-autonomous Shan state in the east.

During an international conference, the Greenwich Meridian is as the initial meridian for longitude, though it takes some time for it to be universally adopted.

The Turkmen city of Merv is annexed by Russia.

Britain establishes a colony over Namibia, with Walvis Bay as its capital, forestalling German designs on the area. Soon afterwards, a protectorate is established over the Boer/Baster republic of Rehoboth; many of the so-called Basters later join up as irregular troops to help subdue the more unruly inland tribes.

Germany establishes the colonies of Togoland and Cameroon.

1884-1889 – Germany establishes colonies in Tanganyika and Wituland, despite the objection of Zanzibar (which technically rules the area) and Britain. Initially, Germany and Britain agree to recognise Zanzibari rule over a strip 10 miles deep along the coast, and divide the interior between themselves. Britain establishes the *East Africa Company to rule its interests. Germany arranges a lease with Zanzibar over the coastal strip, though mismanagement provokes a revolt amongst the locals; this prompts the German government to turn the territory, originally run by a company, into a crown colony. Eventually, the *Helgoland-Zanzibar treaty is signed between Britain and Germany. Britain agrees to swap the island of Helgoland to Germany, in exchange for the latter ceding all claims to the northern parts of the Zanzibar coast, and Wituland, which later becomes a crown colony, and the two lay down a border between their two territories.

1884-1885 – A series of conferences are held in Berlin, at the behest of the new Kaiser William I. As a result, Africa is carved up into numerous spheres of influence, and the *Congo Free State is established, under King Leopold of Belgium.

1884-1886 – Capitalising on the weakness of Emperor Yohannes IV, Italy establishes further control over the northern coast of Abyssinia.

1884-1887 – Britain establishes protectorates over the minor Somali states along the coast, between Saylac and Bandarbeyla.

1885 – Egypt is effectively forced to abandon its holdings in Harer (Abyssinia) and Somaliland, partially due to the on-going Sudanese uprising.

1885-87 – Another uprising by ethnic Serbs in the Ottoman Empire prompts Russia to intervene on their side, while the Austrians jump in later. Another conference in Berlin forces the Russians to hold off their more outlandish demands for a vast, independent Bulgaria, but it does result in considerable territorial concessions to be made by the Ottomans. The area around Kars and Batum is annexed by Russia, and Bulgaria becomes a semi-independent Ottoman vassal. Meanwhile Thessaly is ceded to (non-combatant) Greece, and Montenegro is awarded additional territory. Cyprus is placed under British administration, though the island is still technically under Ottoman control. During the uprising, both Prince Milan II Obrenovic and the pretender Alexander Karadjordjevic die; as the two families’ feuding becomes toxic, risking wiping each other out, a council of leading Serbs (very) grudgingly accept Franz Josef as their king instead, in exchange for considerable autonomy and Archduke Rudolf marrying a daughter of the Obrenovic family (who is, by now, the heiress); in addition, Austria occupies Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novi Pazar.

Britain establishes a protectorate over the south of what is now Bechuanaland. This is extended to its full size by 1891.

1886 – A Franco-Siamese treaty formalises the border between their respective territories.

Spain establishes control over northern Borneo, to help pad out their control over the area – a treaty signed two years later defines its border with Brunei.

The Royal Niger Company is chartered, and swiftly gains monopoly on trading in the area around the lower Niger river.

1887 – After a period of negotiation, the Sultanate of Johor agrees to relinquish control over Pahang, which is established as an independent sultanate under British protection. Pahang, along with Selangor and Sembilan later join together as the Federated Malay States in 1896.

Russian traders in Abyssinia establish an outpost at Tadjoura Bay. However, this is later bought out by the French, who are expanding into this area.

1887-1896 – Britain establishes protectorates over the various Rift Valley States [including Rwanda and Burundi ITTL].

1888 – Brunei becomes a British protectorate, and is fixed at its current borders.

The British South Africa Company is established, to further British influence in southern Africa. A treaty is signed between France and Britain, defining the border between their holdings along the Somali coast.

1888-1893 – During this period, Italy secures protectorates over various Somali states, to the south of the British sphere of influence. Italy secures a lease, partially thanks to British influence, on Zanzibar’s coast east of the Juba River in 1890, including the port of Mogadishu. By the turn of the century, this was turned into an outright cession.


1890 – William IV becomes king of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

1891 – Swaziland becomes a British protectorate.

The so-called Palmer Line [much like the OTL Durrand Line] is established as the border between British India and Afghanistan, splitting the Pashto area between them, which later becomes the source of endless headaches.

1892 – Following political instability, stoked by American merchants and adventurers, Hawaii becomes a protectorate of Britain; however, though the US government does issue a (grudging) apology, it doesn’t formally recognise Hawaii’s new status until three years later, when a new treaty guaranteeing the same trading rights as with Britain to both the Americans and French is signed.

1892-1897 – Civil war erupts in Abyssinia, between Yohannes IV and his main rival, Menilek, King of Showa. Italy decides to back (along with the Russians) Yohannes IV with arms, in exchange for further concessions in the north. However, both the Emperor and Menilek are killed during the fighting. Capitalising on the chaos that ensues, Italy decides to pounce. Using a combination of diplomacy, military force, bribery and outright deceit, it eventually secures control over the region. However, Italian rule runs very thin in some places for a long time. With no real claimant to the throne, King Umberto of Italy is declared Emperor of Abyssinia in 1899. At around the same time, the Italian government establishes a company to promote settlement in northern Abyssinia.

1893 – The United States mediates a border dispute between Britain and Venezuela, finding (mostly) in the latter’s favour.

New Zealand becomes the first country or colony in modern times to allow women to vote on an equal basis to men, though they aren’t allowed to stand for election for another two decades.

The Central American Federation is formed between El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, with its capital at Amapala, Honduras; both Costa Rica and Guatemala were given open invitations to join, but they have never done so.

1894 – Austrian forces assist loyalist Serbs in quelling a peasant uprising.

Bulgarian forces invade and occupy Eastern Roumelia, which comes under the effective control of its forces, though still under formal Ottoman rule.

1894-1896 – The Russians establish a protectorate over the region between Raheitia and Khor Angar, beating the Italians to the punch.

1894-1895 – The *Moroccan Crisis occurs. Spain establishes a protectorate over Morocco in 1894, with German backing. However, France, which had been eyeing the area for itself, hotly disputes this. An abortive uprising against the Spanish prompts them to annex the area as a colony. France seizes on this, and offers support to the deposed Sultan and his forces in exchange for influence. To try and avoid a confrontation Britain, Belgium, Italy and (highly cynically) Germany offer to mediate a peace between the two sides. Eventually, a compromise is reached – the northern Rif area and the far south become direct Spanish colonies, whilst the Sultan is restored to a rump Morocco, which becomes a Spanish protectorate. As a sop to the French, Tangier is declared an international city and a free port, which quickly gains a reputation for its smoke-filled back rooms and shady dealings.

1895 – The *Sino-Japanese War occurs, after which China is forced to concede the independence of Corea, to transfer rule over Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands and the Liaotung peninsula to Japan, as well as paying a huge indemnity; however, due to Russian protests, they, as well as Germany and France, force Japan to retrocede Liaotung in lieu of an additional payment from China.

The Second Sino-French War occurs, concurrent to the war between China and Japan, in which France annexes the island of Hainan, and finally settles the disputed border between China and French Indochina.

A Russo-British agreement settles the part of Afghanistan’s northern border along the Pamir Mountains.

1896 – A customs union is established between the British colonies in South Africa, and the two still independent Boer States. Though supposedly recognising their independence, both states are rendered into economic satellites of Britain – it does, however, help to lessen tension between them.

1897 – French expansion from the east has already reached Darfur, which has become a protectorate. Backed by Italy (still narked at having lost out in Tunisia), which is making headway in Abyssinia, Britain forces France to back down, though it recognised French dominance in Darfur.

1898 – Russia leases the Liaotung Peninsula (including the port city of Luta (later Darien)) from China for 25 years, in order to possess an ice-free port in the Pacific, and also as an important railhead for a spur of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The Tripartite Convention is held between Germany and the UK to partition between them the highly disputed Samoa Islands, which almost led to a shooting match; the US secured its claim to the Line Islands, with the UK dropping its (rather tenuous) ones.

1899 – A popular, anti-Western uprising occurs in China – often referred to as the *Boxer Rebellion in the west, for their use of martial arts – which is put down by the 8 Power Pact – UK, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, Spain and Russia. As a result of the treaty, France, Germany and Britain all gain new outposts – Britain a long-term lease on territory adjacent to Hong Kong and of the port city of Weihaiwei; Germany, the city of Tsingtao and the Kiaochow Bay; and France the city of Kwangchouwan; meanwhile, each of the 8 powers, along with the US, gain concessions in Tientsin and Shanghai. Much of the old city of Tientsin is partitioned into concessions for each of these powers.

timelines/rvb_1.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/22 07:44 by Analytical Engine