TIMELINE - PART 2
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1798 - THE DISSOLUTION OF FRANCE
Although they have had good trade with China, France still has problems with its rising national debt and with unrest in the country caused by the high level of taxation on the productive classes, and the unwillingness of the privileged classes to sacrifice any of their perks to help the county. This is not helped by the effort involved in administering the large areas of Australia, Canada and Louisiana [Although France had avoided the expense of helping to free America from British rule] and the general excesses of the French crown and government. This leads to increased taxation, poverty and unrest in France, and therefore repression and harsh punishments. French America and Canada suffered from under-funding.
In 1798 the government's coffers are empty, and there is a bad harvest. The French Director-General of Finances, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, calls an Assembly of Notables, hoping to avert national bankruptcy by inducing the privileged classes to share in the financial burden. They refuse in an effort to protect their economic privileges. King Louis XVI calls an Estates-General to gain the country's consent to a general fiscal reform. Each of the three estates - clergy, nobility, and the third estate, or commons - presents its particular grievances to the Crown. There are so many of these that the situation has become so bad as to drive even the most disparate groups together, and it becomes clear that sweeping political and social reforms, far exceeding the object of its meeting, are expected from the Estates-General.
With the Estates-General refusing to disband, the King is unable to act. The people rise up and storm the Bastille. Filled with hope, and alarmed by food shortages an economic depression, common people across France pillage and burn the apparatus of government, killing many of the nobility and people associated with the government. The nobles and clergy in the Estates-General renounce their privileges in the hope that this will help to stop the unrest, and perhaps save their own lives too, but in the process undoing France's feudal structure. The Estates-General attempts to chart a course for the new France. But with no American revolution to inspire it there is no overall driving force.
The Estates-General becomes factionalised, with many factions surfacing. Groups from all walks of life are polarised against the Crown and the state as it stands, but because their interests are so diverse they cannot agree on a plan, or what to do if they do get things to change for the better. Some want a new King; some the old King under a new constitution; some an Athenian democracy; some turn to foreign powers; some want a new state run on scientific or pseudoscientific principles, and so on. Unable to agree on the way forward, the factions begin to fight, and civil war quickly erupts across all of France. A Corsican officer named Napoleon Buonaparte performs good, if inevitably doomed, service to the French Royalist cause.
There is a bloodbath, as factions fight one another and destroy the remains of the old order. Those members of the French royal family who have not fled the country are wiped out. The Louvre is burned to the ground, along with much of the rest of Paris. The various armies (often little more than mobs) loyal to the various factions rampage about the country. Refugees flood out of the country, to wherever will take them. Large numbers flee into Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Russia, with lesser numbers travelling overseas to begin new lives.
France's neighbours (Spain, Prussia, the UK, the Netherlands, the Italian states) act to secure their borders and grab land. British forces under the command or Horatio Nelson act to regain 'traditionally British lands', such as Calais, Brittany and Bordeaux and to protect its vital trade routes up the English Channel. The British throne does claim the Throne of France (the British monarch is traditionally the monarch of France), but it is quickly realised that taking control of all of France at this point is impractical, to say the least.
The local French forces resist these invasions, but are too disorganised to put up much of a fight, often more interested in fighting one another than the invaders. However, this resistance does convince the foreign nations that they did not want to touch France itself, and eventually the situation there simply stagnates, leaving what was France as a collection of small states controlled by various factions, all mistrustful of each other and foreigners too, with a wide variety of different governments and political systems. Some parts of France are taken by the European powers
When France dissolves, French America - Canada and Louisiana - dissolves with it. The same incompatible groups as exist in France (republicans, people who want a French free state in America, people wanting a free Anglo-French state in America, various religious factions and so on), and some local variants too, overthrow the French Crown and then dissolve into infighting. Refugees go west into Spanish America and north and east into Hudson's Bay and British America. Some of the French groups beg the British administration for help and protection, and some get it, some out of compatible politics, some out of strategic or commercial concerns, such as linking Hudson's Bay with the rest of British America. There are some massacres of French refugees in the Indian Territories, and where the British work out old grievances, and problems with French refugees fleeing into Spanish Louisiana. Other French colonies are taken by various other nations.
France's Australian colony is abandoned. Britain later steps in and takes over the colony, at least partly at the request of the rather desperate colonists.
The Barbary pirates of North Africa also take advantage of the dissolution of France to raid the south of France, killing and enslaving many.
The French island of Haiti is also wracked with revolution, as the long-running slave revolt/civil war there ousts the French government and the leader of the revolt, Toussaint L'Ouverture, declares a Republic of Haiti.
AFTER THE DISSOLUTION
Following the Dissolution, the French states remain opposed to one another, with entrenched views generally being the order of the day. However they have, with time, come to see common interests against outside nations, so that some of them have a loose mutual defence pact, even if they co-operate on very little else, often having closed borders and restrictive taxes and import/export duties on goods to and from French states which they do not get on with. This has not been helped by the appearance, every now and again, of pretenders to the French throne, and the efforts of various intelligence agencies to prevent France re-forming.
Paris becomes a free city, not quite lawless but with very few restrictions on anything. This makes it a magnet for the underworld and libertines from all over Europe. It has been described as 'a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah'.
By the end of the Dissolution, the new French states have stabilised into The Duchy of Auvergne, Normandy, Berry, The Duchy of Paris; ruled from the rebuilt Louvre, Poitou, Savoy, Saintonge, Limousin, Champage, Picardy, Alcase-Lorraine, Provence and Burgundy.
The French nation of Quebec survives the dissolution of France and remains enough of a threat to keep the American colonies looking to Britain for protection. Quebec comes to be fiercely independent, but with little alternative has strong trade links with British America. Quebec is ruled by a Prince, a descendant of the French Royal Family, who is essentially a dictator (formal title 'His Majesty, the King of France, Prince-Protector of Quebec'). The Quebec military is very strong, fuelled by anti-British paranoia, and the border is very well defended.
However, over time Quebec becomes dependant on British trade and thus no longer a great threat, though by this point Russian Alyeska and Chinese America provide the same function. There are many French-descended people in Canada and Louisiana, though a good many left their settlements for Quebec after the fall of France and the British take-over of the French-run areas of North America.
An independent French Louisiana also survives, around the mouth of the Mississippi, with its capital in New Orleans. Louisiana does not get on with Quebec; a different faction won there, and it is a participatory democracy of landowners with non-landowners having no franchise. Other French refugees went up the Mississippi and off to the West, creating lots of little colonies, some of which band together for their own protection.
After the dissolution of the greater Louisiana the British began to move west and this causes some conflicts with the Spanish/Mexicans.
[With no Napoleonic wars Norway remains Danish (along with Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands).]
[No Napoleonic successes means that there was no humiliation of Prussia at Napoleon's hands. And thus no incentive for the unification of Germany. Also, the Dutch retain the Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon.]
[Paris is never re-designed by Napoleon and so remains, at its centre at least, old. French cooking still has a good reputation for the same reason as in the real world. The modern Louisiana has the finest cuisine in the world - a combination of Indian, Mexican, French, Chinese and Caribbean.]
[With no successful French revolution there is no metric system; nations continue to use their traditional measurement systems.]
[With no French revolutionary support, Tippu Sultan does not rise up against the British in 1799 and remains in power, although dissatisfied with his lot, until he dies of old age.]
The dissolution of France shows that it is possible for regimes to be overthrown. Even if it did all go horribly wrong in France itself, it did not go as wrong in north America; some of the new French-speaking nations did survive, and some of them are relatively stable (even taking into account the occasional skirmishes, coups and so on).
South and Central American nations begin to break away from Spain and Portugal [Starting later than in the real world, but aided by the Spanish and Portuguese looking towards the French troubles on their doorsteps in Europe rather than in their colonies abroad]. They are led by movements based on local freemasonry and some of the political concepts which did best in the French Dissolution. In the end, these movements free most of Central and South America from European rule, although in all cases only after considerable amounts of violence and bloodshed.
Peru does not manage to break away because the Spanish hastily crack down on local opposition there; similar crackdowns lead the British and Dutch to maintain control of the Mosquito Coast and British and Dutch Guiana.
These events result in the creation of the nations of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Columbia and the Union of Central America [real world Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica]. [Because Napoleon is not a major figure here, and does not force the Portuguese royal family into exile in Brazil, Brazilian independence is, here, a much more violent and bloody process than in the real world.]
After independence, Argentina cracks down on Paraguayan independence and Brazil cracks down on Uruguayan independence.
Mexico comes to have large clerical possessions and a very religious, almost theocratic, government.
The Chinese Emperor Xiu-Fang dies. He is replaced, after a long, hard succession struggle, by his nephew, who becomes the Emperor Jian-Guang. Unfortunately, Jian-Guang proves to be a reactionary, old-style Emperor. He quickly begins working to undo many of the changes made by Shang-Kun, to insulate China from the world again, limit external trade, disband Shang-Kun's western-type Model Army and so on. His doing this, and in particular his expulsion of foreign diplomats and traders from China, sours China's relationships with the European powers, particularly Britain, for a long time.
As part of Emperor Jian-Guang's reactionary actions, he stops the work of Wang Li on war rockets, believing China has no need of such innovations.
Briton Richard Trevithick invents the high-pressure steam engine.
Alessandro Volta discovers how to generate electricity chemically, building the first wet-cell batteries.
French ex-priest and inventor Claude Chappe and his four brothers, all refugees after the Dissolution of France, demonstrate a practical optical telegraph using a form of semaphore to the Russian government. Seeing the advantages of such a rapid means of communication, telegraph towers begin to be constructed across the Russian Empire. Others soon copy the same idea, and it also finds adaptations in other areas, such as communication between ships. [In the real world the Chappe brothers built the first optical telegraphs in France after the Revolution.]
George III declares the United Kingdom. In doing so does not renounce Britain's claims upon France [as he does in the real world]. Instead, he changes his title from 'By the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc.', to 'By the Grace of God, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of France, Defender of the Faith etc.' ('Dei Gratia, Britanniarum Rex, Franciae Rex, Fidei Defensor'). At the same time a new flag, the modern Union Jack, is adopted. Because he has not suffered the strain of losing the Americas or an American revolution, King George is rather less mad than in the Real World, and is perhaps helped by Chinese medicine too [especially if his madness really was porphyria].
Tsarina Catherine II, the Great, of Russia dies of a stroke. She is succeeded by her son, who becomes Tsar Peter IV. He is married to a French Princess-in-exile, and proves to be a ruler not unlike his mother. He begins to institute reforms early in his reign as there are few wars to distract attention elsewhere.
Prussian forces not having performed well during the taking of various parts of what was France, a new generation of political and military men begin to reform Prussia into a progressive state with a modern military.
Richard Trevithick builds a steam engine-powered carriage, and carries passengers in it.
Astronomer Guiseppe Piazzi accidentally discovers the first asteroid while making star maps.
Border clashes between Russia and China lead to what becomes known as the Third Sino-Russia War; it lasts for four months in the summer of 1801 and leads to some adjustments of the Russo-Chinese border.
Comet Rasmussen [Pons] is discovered.
Comet Eriksson [another Comet Pons] is discovered.
Corsica, after much trouble and privation during the dissolution of France, and after being taken over by the Kingdom of Sardinia, petitions to become part of the UK. As the British monarch is also the monarch of Corsica, this petition is accepted.
Tsar Peter IV abolishes serfdom in Russia, with no lingering economic bondage [Which happened in the real world after the peasant revolt of 1773-1774, with the serfs being freed in 1865]. He also expands the Legislative Committee which has been in place since 1767 into the Duma, a parliament of representatives from all areas of Russia and all levels of society (including the former serfs) to advise him in his rule, and delegates elements of his power to it.
Englishman William Congreve, having heard of the work being by Wang Li and from that of the Indian war rockets used by Tippu Sultan against the British, begins work to develop war rockets for the British.
Another Comet Eriksson [Pons] is discovered.
Napoleon Buonaparte appears in Corsica as a major figure opposed to Corsican joining with Great Britain. He leads this resistance for some time before the British exterminate it, forcing him to flee to mainland France.
The efforts of the Emperor Jian-Guang to undo the changes which he predecessors Shang-Kun and Xiu-Fang put into place lead to great economic and social disruption in China. This leads many in the country to conclude that he has lost the Mandate of Heaven. A conspiracy grows up against him, led by the SPL and Model Army, and in a coup he is overthrown. A new progressive dynasty, the Sun, installed. The first Sun Emperor is a former protégé of Shang-Kun, and like him of Manchu origin. He becomes the Emperor Qung-Fa.
The first steam-engined railway locomotive is built in Britain, by Richard Trevithick.
Travelling through the states which made up France, Napoleon Buonaparte attempts to create a movement to re-unify France. Unfortunately, by this stage France is too fragmented, and Napoleon's ties to the old Royalist regime too strong, for this to succeed. Forced to flee France, Napoleon finds service in the court of the King of Sardinia. However, he is spent and does not shine in his service, although he does not slack in his duty.
William Congreve demonstrates his first war rocket to the British Prince Regent and Prime Minister. They are impressed enough that war rockets begin to be adopted by the British military.
Comet Encke reappears.
Russian encroachments from the north lead the Japanese shogunate to extend direct rule to the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin. However, they continue their exclusion of outsiders from the country other than at the trading port of Nagasaki.
Russia attempts to force the members of the Armed Neutrality of the North into a political alliance which will effectively extend their control across all of northern Europe to the North Sea. Sweden, Prussia and the Netherlands reject this proposal, and defeat the Russian Baltic Fleet as the Armed Neutrality of the North falls apart. With few other allies in the region, Denmark has no option but to retain their close links to the Russians, and continue their alliance. The Swedes and Dutch also see advantages to remaining allies with one another, and do so.
A Great Comet is observed between early September to December. This comet has two tails, the largest of which is about ten degrees long.
Britain claims all of Australia, not just the areas of the east coast where Britain and France set up colonies. China objects to this, as they have a number of settlements on the northern coasts of the continent, and shots are exchanged between British and Chinese Naval vessels. This leads to a small war which becomes known as the Australian War, where the new British war rockets prove to be very effective. In the end, the Britain's larger settlements there prove the deciding factor, and China gives up its claims on Australia, which were not terribly profitable in any case.
With the Australian War having shown the effectiveness of war rockets, Wang Li again begins work of Chinese war rockets. Other nations around the world also begin developing them.
The first regular steam-powered railway service begins operation in Britain.
The raids of the Barbary pirates on southern France have strengthened them to the point that they have become a serious threat to those nations whose ships use the Mediterranean. As such a combined force of British, Dutch and Spanish ships attack all along the north African coast, destroying pirates wherever they find them. [In the real world the British, Americans and Dutch attacked Algeria and wiped out the Barbary Pirates in 1816.]
Seeking a land route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Britain extends its control out from the Mosquito Coast [Belize] in Central America and takes over the Union of Central America. The British begin to build what becomes a very large navel base at Choluteca, a city on the west coast of British Nicaragua.
A series of earthquakes, aftershocks and tremors occur in the Mississippi Valley. These continue into 1812. The earthquakes reverse the course of the Mississippi River, and are the largest series of earthquakes known to have occurred in North America (three of them have magnitudes of 8.6, 8.4, and 8.8).
Comet Tsang [Flaugergues] appears between April 1811 and January 1812. This comet is visible to the unaided eye and has two tails, one straight and one curved, one of which is some twenty-five degrees long.
Steam-powered trucks become widely used in Siberia.
China annexes Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. They also attempt to drive the British out of Malaysia but Britain resists more than they expect, leading to what becomes known as the Malaysian War. This lasts for six months. The British resist more than expected, but the Chinese use of ironclad warships means that the British are eventually forced out, leaving them in control of all of Malaysia.
The first steam railway opens in Russia, between St Petersburg and Moscow.
The first steam trucks begin to operate in China. [China does not build railways; instead it constructs steam-powered haulers and uses 'road trains'. It thus has the most extensive road network in the world in 1995.]
Despite being smashed in 1810, Barbary pirates begin operating again. This leads the British, Dutch and Spanish to plant permanent garrisons in North Africa, the Spanish in Morocco, the Dutch in Algeria and the British in the rest of north Africa. Over time, these grow into colonies. The Ottoman Empire is in no position to complain about this.
An earthquake destroys the city of Caracas, in Venezuela.
With the effectiveness of ironclad ships proved by the Malaysian War, most navies begin building them.
Comet Encke reappears.
The city of Beijing, the largest in the world, suffers the first of a number of cholera epidemics arising from overcrowding and poor sanitation. More than ten thousand people die.
As they grow, other cities, particularly London and Moscow, also suffer cholera epidemics and many deaths.
Railways begin to spread across the world. The Russian and British Empires make wide use of them throughout their Empires. China instead relies on roads.
Chinese mistreatment of the native Maoris in the North Island of New Zeeland leads large numbers of them to move to the British South Island. This leads to fierce inter-tribal conflicts in which thousands of Maoris die.
The volcano of Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in the Netherlands Indies [Indonesia] erupts. It is the largest volcanic eruption in the last ten thousand years. Of the twelve thousand inhabitants of Sumbawa, only twenty-six survive. Another eighty-two thousand people die from starvation and disease. For three days a two hundred mile area around the volcano experiences total darkness.
British Lieutenant Frederick Young forms the first volunteer Corps of Gurkha soldiers.
Unhappy with Dutch rule, the southern part of the Netherlands secedes from the north, forming a new nation, Belgium. With few local allies, Belgium seeks help from Russia to maintain its independence. Russia recognises the new state, and after some diplomatic wrangling, the remainder of the Netherlands have no choice but to accept Belgian sovereignty. Belgium remains a stanch Russian ally to the present day.
An assassination and coup in Haiti leads to unrest and civil war. The British step in to quell this unrest, and in the process incorporate Haiti into the British Empire.
1816 - 'THE YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER'
The huge quantities of volcanic ash and gases released by the Tambora eruption cause a world-wide temperature drop of more than a degree, and a drop of more than two degrees in Europe and North America, causing world-wide crop failures and famine, including the last widespread European peacetime famine. The climate does not fully recover from this eruption until decades later.
The Royal Navy begins eradicating pirates in the West Indies.
A Great Comet is observed in July with a tail about seven degrees long.
King George III of the United Kingdom dies, blind and mad. He is succeeded by his son, who has been Regent for some years and who now becomes King George IV.
Comet Kolesnikov [Tralles] makes a bright appearance that lasts for several weeks and is visible with the unaided eye.
The very bright comet Auger [Nicollet-Pons] appears.
Comet Encke reappears.
The bright comet Savin-Auger [De Breaute-Pons] is seen for several weeks.
Tsar Peter IV of Russia dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes Tsar Constantine I.
The electric telegraph is invented in Britain by Michael Faraday. The first telegraph lines are soon carrying messages across Britain and other nations, and rendering the optical telegraph obsolete.
The British East India Company loses its trade monopoly in the areas it controls.
The British Royal Mail begins to use mail trains. This is idea is quickly copies elsewhere.
The first revolver is invented by James Colt in British North America.
Comet Eriksson-Savin [Pons-Winnecke] is discovered. It becomes visible to the unaided eye.
The status of Afghanistan becomes an international problem, as Britain and Russia contest for influence in central Asia.
The dynamo and electric motor are invented by Michael Faraday in Britain.
Comet Savin [Pons-Gambart] is discovered.
Chinese inventor Zhao Yimou invents the facsimile machine [the fax machine].This makes it possible to communicate long-distance with hand-written letters, and revolutionises the Chinese postal system. [In the real world this was invented in 1861]
A Great Comet appears.
1830 to 1834
Britain invades Afghanistan with the intention of imposing their rule on the country in what becomes known as the First Afghan War.
With covert Russian assistance, by 1834 the Afghans are able to fight off the British. However, their gratitude to the Russians does not extend to giving them the influence they want in Afghanistan.
King George IV of the United Kingdom dies. He is succeeded by his third daughter, who becomes Queen Elizabeth II.
British criminal law is reformed, and a modern police force, the first in the world, instituted.
Napoleon Buonaparte dies of old age in the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Border clashes between Russia and China lead to what becomes known as the Fourth Sino-Russia War.
A Great Comet appears and is a naked-eye object for a month.
The Leonid meteor shower proves to be a meteor storm, giving a sky that seems ablaze with streaks of light as if the sky were on fire.
It is only after this event their meteorites are demonstrated to be rocks that fall from the sky. [In the real world this was established after a meteorite fell in France in 1801.]
Prussia initiates a German customs union, as part of plan to unify all the German-speaking nations, first economically, then politically.
The British Ohio Company loses its trade monopoly in the areas it controls.
The Chinese Emperor Qung-Fa institutes major changes to the Chinese Civil Service Examinations, over the objections of many traditionalists. His changes lean the exams away from the Chinese classics and more towards scientific and other practical topics.
Chinese Zhou Guofeng re-invents heavier-than-air flight via man-carrying kites, which China begins to use in this year. Initially they are towed behind warships for observation purposes. They are little used in Europe, where balloons preferred, but are used by allies of the Chinese.
Halley's Comet reappears and is visible to the naked eye.
Chinese aeronauts begin to experiment with rocket-powered kites and gliders. These are very dangerous, but there are always a few who can be found to pilot them.
The Boers defeat the Zulus is southern Africa.
Chinese astronomers discover an eighth planet orbiting the sun. They name it the Star of Shang-Kun, after their Emperor, Shangkunxing. In Europe it becomes known as Neptune, being named in the classical tradition.
The Fourth Sino-Russian war ends with some minor border adjustments between the two nations.
The Whig Reform Bill in Britain provides for a redistribution of seats in favour of the industrial cities gives the vote to all middle-class men and some artisans. In England and Wales the electorate grows by fifty percent; in Ireland it more than doubles; in Scotland it increases by fifteen times. The bill also encourages political party organisation, weakens the influence of the monarch and the House of Lords, and removes the many 'Rotten Boroughs'. Lastly, the Bill introduces a Table of Ranks, not unlike that in place in Russia, which rewards anyone working their way up through the ranks of government service with, eventually, a place in the nobility. The Reform Act is the first of many Acts which improve the lot of common people throughout the Empire. [This occurred in 1832 in the real world and did not include a Table of Ranks.]
The Reform Act encourages a movement known as the Agendaists, who urge the immediate adoption of the People's Agenda, which would turn Britain into a political democracy with universal male suffrage, equal electoral districts, and secret ballots. This plan is rejected by the government again and again, and because of the new Table of Ranks does not gain too much support form the general public as the Table allows everyone a chance to rise in society.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom dies. She is succeeded by the granddaughter of George III, who becomes Queen Victoria.
[The British Royal Family remains the House of Hanover, and does not become the House of Windsor during Queen Victoria's reign.]
Tsar Constantine I of Russia dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes Tsar Alexander I.
Emperor Qung-Fa of China dies of old age. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes the Emperor Gong-Quan.
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV ascends to the Prussian throne following the death of his father, Friedrich Wilhelm III. Friedrich Wilhelm IV is heavily influenced by his Chancellor, Wolfgang van Humboldt, who believes in expanding Prussia towards its 'manifest destiny'.
A French exile, L. J. M. Dagurre, invents what becomes known as photography.
The first underwater telegraph cable is laid under the North Sea, linking mainland Britain and Hanover.
With no France as a foreign bugbear, and Russia concentrating more of its attention in the East rather than in Europe, there is no pressing reason for Germany to unify under Prussia. At the instigation of Chancellor von Humboldt, Prussia attempts are made to force a unification by secretly manipulating Austria-Hungary into becoming an external threat. This is not too difficult as the Austrian government is already unhappy with the German Customs Union introduced in 1834.
British Catholics and Jews are emancipated, largely for economic reasons, and despite a good deal of rioting and property destruction by those opposed to the emancipation.
Russia attempts to gain an understanding from Britain regarding its wish to gain a secure outlet from the Black Sea. The British are publicly neutral on the subject, but privately oppose it.
The Chinese begin to construct the first modern sewerage system, in Beijing. As it begins to come into operation deaths from cholera immediately drop.
With the visible success of the Chinese sewerage system, other nations, particularly Britain and Russia, begin to adopt their sewage systems too, to equally positive effect.
1840 to 1842
The Sino-Mexican war. This occurs when the growing Chinese colony on the west coast of North America begins to encroach on Mexican territory. Although neither side wins a decisive victory, the war does stabilise the border. With expansion south curtailed, Chinese colonists begin settling inland.
The Russians invade Afghanistan with the intention of taking over the country. Britain invades, to stop the Russians gaining control of the country. As the fighting continues, this action becomes known as the Second Afghan War. The Afghans are unable to fight off two major armies attacking at the same time, and their resistance crumbles. Both the British and the Russians take control of parts of the country, the British in the south and the Russians in the north.
A combination of bad luck and incompetence leads to the discovery of the Prussian scheme by Dutch secret agents, and its failure when the Dutch reveal it to the world. This forces Germany to resort to simple unification by conquest, using various pretexts for war with the German states.
The first lighter-than-air observation balloon is deployed, by the Prussian army. This idea quickly spreads to other European militaries.
As Prussia's actions become more overt, Hanover (of whom the British monarch is King) and Brunswick and Lüneburg (of whom the British monarch is Duke) petition the British government to join with Britain for their own protection. The British government accepts these petitions and they are both given a status with the United Kingdom not unlike that of Scotland. With this the full title of Queen Victoria changes from 'By the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen of France, Defender of the Faith etc.' to 'By the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland, Hanover, and Brunswick and Lüneburg, Queen of France, Defender of the Faith etc.'
The German states of Schleswig and Holstein are driven into an alliance with Holland and Sweden by the actions of Prussia.
Russia demands that the Ottoman Empire guarantees the free passage of its shipping into and out of the Black Sea. The Ottomans refuse such an agreement, at which point Russia declares war. The Russian Navy quickly demolishes the Turkish fleet, and moves to invade the area around the entrance to the Black Sea. The British move to prevent the Russians doing this, and war breaks out, with Austria joining Britain to oppose the Russians.
The Great March Comet appears. It is so bright that it can be seen all day close to the sun, with a tail three degrees long; when further from the Sun the visible tail spans forty-five degrees.
1843 to 1848 - The First Ottoman War
The British and Austrians bring troops into the Ottoman Empire, with the permission of the Sultan, and battles are fought with the Russians in a number of places in the western Ottoman Empire, particularly Istanbul, Erdine and Bursa. Attacked on two fronts, and with their forces in the Ottoman Empire in danger of being cut off, the Russians are forced to withdraw. However, the Treaty of Amsterdam, which ends the war after a million casualties, gives both Russia and Britain a good deal of control over the entrance to the Black Sea, and makes the Ottoman Empire a state which, though nominally independent, is actually subordinate to them both.
[This war replaces the Crimean War in this version of history, and happens earlier because Russia is more advanced here than in the real world.]
A bright Great comet is seen.
With the Ottoman war hanging in the balance and the Russian Empire habitually lacking coastline and good ports with free access to the Atlantic (the Baltic coast being far too restricted for their needs), the Tsar concludes that Russia requires such a port. An expedition is sent to Africa which takes over Mauritania in North Africa [around Port Etienne in real world Western Sahara] and begin to develop it into a major port. The natives there are unable to provide any significant resistance. Being so vulnerable due to its isolation, the Russians both import troops and begin hiring locals.
Russia introduces a set of examinations for anyone entering government service, loosely based upon the Chinese Civil Service examinations. This makes Russian government service open to anyone who can pass the examinations.
The Great Exhibition of 1845 in London symbolises Britain's industrial supremacy. It spurs the Russian and Chinese Empires to improve their own industry in response.
Britain encourages immigration into America and other colonies to help them develop. As India is so populous many of these come from the Indian subcontinent and include Ghurkas. Many also come from the poor parts of British cities. Immigrating Ghurkas get on well with some native Americans tribes. Freed slaves, and generally people from any overpopulated part of the Empire are also encouraged to settle in the colonies. This includes colonists from Ireland, Scotland, poor parts of the UK, British France, ex-soldiers given land grants, and some transported prisoners (though these mostly go to Australia).
Various native American nations (such as the Iroquois Confederation) are incorporated into British America as self-governing districts. Because of ill-treatment by the Chinese colonists, many native Americans flee over the Rockies into British territory.
Because North America remains open (that is, because there is no USA), there are relatively fewer colonists going to Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa at this point. Thus Dutch South Africa remains strong.
Bordeaux, by means of terrorism and covert Russian aid fights free of Britain during the Ottoman War. However, by this point it was too British to be accepted as fully French, and too much trouble to be fully accepted by the rest of the world. So it maintains a tenuous existence on the edge of Europe...
A Russian colony is planted at Mogadishu in East Africa.
[There is no Irish Potato famine, as the Mexican fungus which caused it in the real world is not accidentally brought to Ireland. More than a million Irish people do not starve to death. The lack of a famine means fewer Irish people emigrate, and there are fewer reasons for the Irish to dislike the English.]
Prussia finally conquers all of the German states and Germany is unified into a single Reich under the Kaiser Wilhelm I. However, it is a Prussian state, and none of the other German states are happy with it. Nor are Germany's neighbours. For this reason various underground resistance and opposition groups quickly grow up, some supported by foreign powers (Holland, Sweden and Austria-Hungary particularly).
The Russians begin construction of an elevated railway system in St Petersburg. As it is quite smoky and ugly its use is confined only to the poorer sections of the city, where it help workers move about, and enables the city to expand.
With an increasing native American population in the area of the Rocky Mountains, the British establish a new territory there to govern and control that area, under the control of local tribes and native refugees fleeing from Chinese America. This becomes the Mountain Territory, the second Indian-controlled area in British North America.
Britain begins building a Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.
Several nations begin to experiment with steam-powered balloons capable of flight independent of the wind. However, steam power proves too inefficient for this to be done effectively.
Comet Ruan [Hind] appears and is bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye during the night and in telescopes during the day.
[A lack of widespread revolutionary sympathies following what happened to France leads to a lack of nationalism and a lack of the revolutions which happened in 1848 in the real world. This means that Switzerland and Italy do not amalgamate into nations but remain a collection of separate states.]
1847 to 1849
After a new expansionist religious government comes to power in Mexico, the Mexicans attempt to free Cuba from the Spanish. Although they invade Cuba, the Spanish prove to be not quite as weak as the Mexicans had hoped, and the Mexican forces are beaten back with heavy losses before a peace is negotiated in which Mexico is forced to pay reparations to Spain.
In response to the actions of Prussia (or Germany, as it is now), the governments of the Netherlands, Sweden, Schleswig and Holstein unify politically into a single nation with its capital at the Hague, in the Netherlands. The new unified nation is known as the Noord Europese Unie (the Northern European Union; abbreviated to NEU). They practise what becomes known as 'Survival Politics', doing what they must to remain independent of the great powers, and Germany.
Britain lays the first transatlantic telegraph cable. It is the first of many long-distance underwater communications cables to be laid around the world.
1850 to 1853
Border incidents between the British and Russians in Afghanistan flare into what becomes known as the Third Afghan War. With the occupying forces distracted, the Afghans rise up against both sides, and the war deteriorates into a confused three-sided conflict.
After three years of war, a stalemate is reached. Britain and Russia are forced to acknowledge the existence of an independent Afghan state in the centre of the old Afghanistan.
The NEU allies with the Zulu's in southern Africa. This also helps the Dutch keep their hold there.
The first underground railway begins construction, in London.
China begins redesigning and rebuilding its cities along feng shui principles. New settlements founded from this point on are also often built along these lines.