TIMELINE - PART 4
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The 1920's and 1930's - THE POST-WAR YEARS - THE REBEL SOCIETY
A long economic depression follows the War as Britain and Russia struggle to recover from its effects, which have resulted in the near-bankruptcy of the entire world. Only China is spared the worst of it as they had been able to avoid the worst of the Muslim uprisings.
In Britain the War causes political changes that lead to the balance of power between throne and parliament shifting to more of an equal footing as parliament loses power to the monarch. The people see Parliament as having been largely responsible for the woes of the war, whereas the Royal Family seem to have been much more competent. Despite this, the War also leads to the formation of the first socialist political parties, and more importantly, to their election to parliament, as returning soldiers and so on want fairness for all ranks, for everyone, including women, non-whites and so on, as so many had done so much in the War. They do not, however, wish to overturn things in a revolutionary fashion.
The rise and election of socialists, and others of more extreme political views, such as the New Levellers (anarchists who wish to remove all government) and the Home Rule Party (who which to split up the Empire into a large number of independent nations), also help lead to the British people turning away from Parliament. [British parliaments still last for seven years (as in real world until 1911), with the Lords and the monarch both able to veto bills.] A number of more extreme (and un-electable) political groups, in particular the Nihilists, who wish to destroy all society, also grow up during this time. Some of these latter groups are particularly popular with Muslims and Jews.
A large number of new Muslim and Jewish sects spring up, some of them apocalyptic ones, attempting to explain or put right what the Jerusalem and Mecca in the war. Not unrelated to this, a number of terrorist groups also spring up during this time. Some of them are Jewish, some of them Muslim, some of them Christian, and some of them combinations of these three.
In Russia, feeling that absolutism has not served Russia well in the recent past, Tsar Constantine III declares himself a constitutional monarch along British lines, devolving a good deal of his power to the Russian parliament which has existed in an advisory role since 1802. He also allows members of the parliament to be voted for, granting the full franchise to all Russians, regardless of race or gender. This is partly done as a means of keeping the support of the people. Again, those returning from the war cause a rise is socialist thought and a desire for equality.
After withdrawing from the War, China withdraws into semi-isolationism, as this helps them avoid the Muslim uprisings. This helps to preserve the resources they require to catch up with the other Empires. It also means that there is much less in the way of calls for reform in China, and almost no desire of people to change society into a more socialistic model. One thing which does change in post-War China is that under the influence of the Emperor's wife, Chiang Qiuri, the Civil Service Exams are opened to women. Also during this time, for the first time, inter-marriage between Manchu and Han Chinese begins to happen on a noticeable scale.
There is also a great turning of people from war, particularly in Britain and Russia. This leads to new rebellious post-War fashions and styles, including the use of Chinese-style names in the West, and a number of anti-science and technology movements. There is also a rise of interest in Chinese and Russian culture, particularly music, but also religion, literature and so on, again as a form of rebellion. There is also a great rise in atheism and non-religious beliefs amongst the people of the Great Powers. These changes lead to a rise in the number of Russian Orthodox churches and (for example) Confucian Temples in the British Empire, and similar changes in the other Powers. There is also quite a lot of philanthropy post-WWII, partly by guilty arms manufacturers, partly just the rich helping those worse off than them. A number of fringe scientific ideas, such as quantum theory and plate tectonics, also gain wide acceptance during these rebellious times. However, over time, these rebellious ideas become mainstream, and so the status quo is maintained.
As another reaction to these rebellious times, and because of the continuing threat of Muslim and other religious terrorism, police officers everywhere begin to carry firearms at all times.
When the Depression begins to ease, at the insistence of the people a Welfare State is introduced in both Britain and Russia, including unemployment allowance and a national health service. This is partly due to socialist influence, a desire for a 'home fit for heroes' and the failure of previous governments to provide it after the War and Depression.
There is a major expansion and rearrangement of the London docks, as many were badly damaged and replaced with temporary dock facilities during the War.
Several major airship disasters turn people away from airships towards heavier-than-air flight alone, though airships remain in use for some tasks.
Almost without noticing it, after the War, the Empires of the world have a shift in government from a system (bureaucracy and so on) which governs for the Metropole (the centre) to one which governs for the Empire as a whole, a more Roman-like scheme. This arises due to the huge losses sustained in that war, and the need to have their entire population on their side in order for them to survive, and win.
Abortion becomes legal in the UK and Russia.
The age of consent in the UK is raised from thirteen to sixteen.
Scotland, the four Australian regions (Georgesland, Elizabeth's Land, Victorialand and the Northern Territory) and New Zeeland (the South Island only, the North Island being Chinese) are each granted Union governments. This is partly to reward their efforts during the war, and partly to reduce the workload of the British government at home.
Russia launches the first liquid-fuelled rocket capable of travelling hundreds of miles on a ballistic trajectory.
The Assembly of Nations is founded. This is an organisation where representatives from all the nations of the world can meet to try and ensure no repeat of the horrors of World War. It has no enforcement powers, and is basically a debating society where, it is hoped, nations can talk out their problems rather than fight over them. Its headquarters are in the city of Rosario in Argentina (two hundred miles upriver from the capital of Buenos Aires on the Paraná River), which is basically neutral territory, and because Argentina is where the three Great Powers negotiated the end of WWII.
One of the edicts of the Assembly is that Mexico remain a neutral exporter of oil to any who want it.
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake in Japan destroys one third of Tokyo and most of Yokohama. More than one hundred and forty thousand people are killed (most of them Chinese colonists).
Over the years the Assembly of Nations have, among other things, codified a number of items of international law, particularly regarding certain aspects of trade and travel, as well the Rosario Accords on the treatment of prisoners of war.
Nicaragua and the Provinces of India are both granted Union-style governments by the British Parliament. As with Australia and New Zeeland, this is partly to reward their efforts during the war, and partly to reduce the workload of the British government at home.
The free trade agreement between Britain and the NEU regarding free access to the mineral-rich South African market is amended to include Russia and China when it becomes apparent that access to the colony's minerals is in their best interests, too..
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake occurs in Xining, China and claims approximately fifty thousand lives.
Despite warnings from his political advisors, the Emperor Tsun-Ching attempts to introduce a new written Chinese script, Pinyin, which, it is hoped, will make it easier for China to print books and use items such as typewriters, as well as improve literacy rates across the Empire (as people will only have to learn thirty characters, rather than thousands of ideograms). Despite his best efforts, there is a great deal of resistance to this innovation from the beginning, so that before long the new script is quietly abandoned.
Comet Akimov-Gao [Skjellerup-Maristany], a yellow comet, appears between November and December and is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
With the failure of Pinyin, a much less radical simplified form of Chinese script is adopted instead. [These are not the same as the simplified Chinese script of the real world, although based on a similar idea.]
The Chinese Emperor Tsun-Ching dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes the Emperor Kuan-Tai. Unfortunately he soon proves to be a not terribly able ruler, and capricious with it.
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurs in Gansu, China, killing approximately fifty thousand people.
Television is invented in the Netherlands by Andries Japic.
The Theory of Relativity is proposed by Bertoldt Kanievski at the University of Vienna.
More than two hundred people are killed by an earthquake at Long Beach, in Chinese North America.
Gong Shan-ye, a Chinese pilot, is the first person to break the sound barrier in a rocket-propelled aircraft.
Radar is invented by a Dutchman, Cornelis Tereijntje, and quickly copied by the other major nations of the world. From the first airships are used as floating radar platforms. In the British Empire the technology becomes known as Atkinson Directional Radiation Emitter Arrays (ADREA).
The first artificial satellite is launched by the British, using a liquid-fueled rocket.
An earthquake in Quetta, India kills roughly fifty thousand people.
Torben Folke, a Swedish scientist, invents the first nerve gas.
1936 to 1937
The Roumelia region attempts to secede from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Initially this does not go well, but after several months the Russians government offers them help. The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia. However, they are badly outmatched, and Russia soon forces a settlement on them, which leads to Roumelia gaining its freedom. However, Roumelia is now a Russian satellite state.
The first supersonic jet aircraft is built in Russia.
The first man is launched into space, a Chinese, Tang Ken-de, using a liquid-fuelled rocket. He orbits the Earth ten times before returning to a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean.
The use of artificial satellites as communications relays is discovered almost accidentally after one or two have been in orbit for a while, and people realise that they can receive and transmit signals from a large area of the Earth below them.
After decades of clearing jungle to create pasture for cattle, Brazil suffers a major drought. Whipped by the wind, its dry cattle pasture blows away, leaving much of Brazil a desert.
An earthquake in Chile razes fifty thousand square miles of territory and kills thirty thousand people.
Severe earthquakes destroy the city of Erzingan, in the northern Ottoman Empire, killing one hundred thousand people.
The first spy satellite is launched by the British.
The first communications satellite is launched by the Russians.
Space vehicles continue to be launched after this point, some manned, but most unmanned. They are mainly used for military observation of ground targets, though some communications satellites and some scientific payloads are also launched.
The 1930's and 1940's
Electronic computers grow out of code-breaking espionage work, and the need to cope with the increasing complexity of government and banking systems. The first electronic computer is British, but the Dutch are the first to make extensive use of computers in governmental analysing and planning, embracing the new technology where others resist using it. This proves to give them enough of an advantage that others also jump on the computer bandwagon.
Transistors are invented by a team working for the Phillips company in Holland.
The first controlled nuclear reaction takes place in an experimental nuclear pile outside Novosibirsk, in Russia.
The British organise the first modern Olympic games, held in Athens, Greece. At first they are mainly a British Empire and European event, but over time most of the world's nations have come to compete there too.
The first supersonic bomber enters service in Russia.
The 1940's Onwards
The Brazilian government begin a programme of reforestation and environmental repair.
Comet Walsh [De Kock-Parashevopoulos] appears. It is visible to the naked eye, and is mainly a Southern Hemisphere comet. It has a faint tail twenty degrees long.
The Chinese Emperor Kuan-Tai dies in a train crash. He is succeeded by his cousin, who become the Emperor Lung-Cheng. There are constant rumours that Lung-Cheng engineered the accident so that he could replace Kuan-Tai. His coronation is the first in the world to be televised.
A ninth planet orbiting the sun is discovered by Russian astronomers. In the classical tradition it is named Pluto. [This happened in 1930 in the real world.]
The first nuclear fission power station is built near Minsk, in Russia.
All of the Great Powers begin to electrify their railway networks.
Britain begins building a railway bridge across the English Channel, linking Dover to the French coast near Sangatte. This will join mainland Britain to the rail networks of Europe and Asia, greatly facilitating travel and trade.
After a series of unsuccessful hunts all across India, it is realised that the Indian tiger has been rendered extinct in the wild. The only surviving examples remain in zoos around the world.
An experimental British nuclear fission reactor in the Scottish Highlands melts down, contaminating a wide stretch of Scotland with radioactivity.
A Southern Comet appears, but is only visible from the Southern Hemisphere. It has a tail some twenty-five degrees.
King Henry IX of Great Britain dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Edward VII. With his coronation the title of the British monarch changes to 'King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and the Overseas Provinces, King of France, Defender of the Faith etc.' This is the first British coronation to be televised.
The Russians begin to construct a railway bridge across the Bering Strait, linking mainland Russia to Alyeska. This will link the branch of the Trans-Empire Railway which runs into Siberia with the railways of North America, creating the Trans-Arctic Railway.
A Chinese nuclear fission reactor melts down near the city of Lanzhou, contaminating a large area with radioactivity.
The Eclipse Comet is discovered during a total solar eclipse. It has a curved tail about thirty degrees long and is visible with the unaided eye in the Southern Hemisphere.
Russia detonates the first atomic fission bomb on a remote Arctic island.
The man who will become Tsar Peter V is born.
Muslim terrorists penetrate a Russian nuclear power station near Chelyabinsk and cause it to melt down, spreading radioactive contamination over a huge area. Following this event all of the Great Powers improve security at their nuclear facilities, and by doing so thwart several other attempts by terrorists to repeat the Chelyabinsk attack.
China and Great Britain detonate their first atomic bombs at test sites on a remote Pacific island and the Australian desert respectively. This quickly leads to a nuclear stalemate as the three great powers all develop their nuclear weapons and delivery systems to a comparable level. The Australian desert becomes Britain's main nuclear test site, while China uses the Pacific islands, and sometimes the Taklamakan Desert. Russia uses remote Arctic islands, or the Mauritanian desert.
An earthquake in India affects thirty thousand square miles of Assam, killing roughly twenty-five thousand people.
The first linking of computers into a network takes place in the NEU. This concept is quickly copied elsewhere in the world.
The British complete the Cross-Channel Railway Bridge, linking the British rail network into that of Europe and Asia, and forming the last link in the Trans-Empire Railway, linking the capitals of the three great empires, London, St Petersburg and Beijing, as well as the NEU and Prussia, by high-speed train.
Tsar Constantine III dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes Tsar Alexander II.
The integrated circuit chip invented for the Phillips company in the NEU.
The British begin the construction of the India-Ceylon railway bridge, linking Ceylon to mainland India via Adam's Causeway.
The first commercial supersonic aircraft goes into service with BIA.
After decades of over-hunting and years without a sighting, the Right whale species is declared extinct. With this announcement hunting pressure on other whale species increases.
Great Britain detonates the first hydrogen fusion bomb. Russia and China soon follow suit.
After years of over-fishing and falling catches, the Grand Banks fishery off Newfoundland collapses, leaving no fish at all. Acrimony between British and Quebecois fishermen over this, each seeing the other as responsible for destroying their livelihood, leads to a number of incidents of sabotage and sinkings, and bad feelings between the two groups that persist to the present day.
Comet Webster-Howes [Arend-Roland] appears, with a tail thirty degrees long and an 'anti-tail' pointing sunward, which is about fifteen degrees long. It is visible to the unaided eye.
In late July to September Comet Nao-Yang [Mrkos] appears in the sky. This comet is visible to the unaided eye and has two tails, one of which is very bright, curved and has a length of about fifteen degrees. Comet Nao-Yang is the first comet to be visited by an unmanned space probe from Earth, launched by China soon after the comet was detected.
Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain is born.
The British India-Ceylon bridge is completed.
Muslim terrorists crash a hijacked cargo aircraft into a British nuclear reactor near Hull. Radioactive contamination spreads over a large area, and into the North Sea. Following this incident, all nuclear reactors begin to be reinforced to prevent a repeat of this event.
1959 - WORLD WAR III
Chinese scientists are the first to see that nuclear weapons can be applied to space travel. Seeing the advantages of this, the Chinese government secretly funds the development of the nuclear pulse-drive spaceship, testing the concept in the heart of the Taklamakan desert. Though this development does include several small-scale nuclear disasters, they persevere, and eventually succeed in launching an entire fairly large crew into space, in the 'Rising Star', the first manned nuclear pulse-drive ship. This comes as a major surprise to the rest of the world.
China quickly begins to put large payloads into orbit. These are mainly military in nature. It quickly becomes clear that they are aiming for military control of space. Britain and Russia quickly realise the disadvantage this monopolisation of space will put them at. They apply increasing diplomatic pressure to China to get them to stop, both at the Assembly of Nations and elsewhere. This fails.
With no other option left to them, the British and Russian Empires go to war with China, attacking China's launch sites and space operations control facilities but making it very clear they are protecting their interests, and not wanting to spark a nuclear war. The British and Russians manage to damage many of China's launch facilities, with China striking back at targets in the other empires. Then China attempts to launch a new, heavily armed, pulse-drive ship, which will, if it makes orbit, be a largely invulnerable fortress on an unassailable high ground. In their most major attack, British and Russian forces manage to down the ship as it launches, and it crashes, contaminating vast stretches of the Taklamakan Desert with radioactivity. At this point, the war very nearly became nuclear as China considers a full-scale retaliation, but as the world holds its breath cooler heads prevail, including those who deliver a number of impassioned speeches at the Assembly of Nations, and China confines its retaliation to non-nuclear means.
The war only ends when the three Great Powers negotiate a settlement via the Assembly of Nations. This allows all nations an equal share of space and (nominally at least) demilitarises space. This whole affair, particularly the demilitarisation of space, is considered a victory for the Assembly of Nations. However, from now on control of space is considered to be a very important in military doctrine. All the Great Powers maintain several fully-armed nuclear pulse-drive spaceships ready for launch in case of need.
As after WWII, there is a turning from war and widespread rebellious fashions and styles after WWIII.
The 1950's and 1960's
As computers become more powerful and numerous, they are more and more linked into networks. Although the original machines are usually military in nature, as their networks linking them grow, academics and other government departments begins to use them too as their computers join the network, leading to the beginnings of what becomes known as the 'internet'.
As computers become more widely used, the need for a keyboard to allow typing in Chinese ideograms becomes apparent. Chinese computer operators being forced to use European-style keyboards is not considered politically acceptable. However, despite efforts being made to resolve this problem, no solution is forthcoming.
There is quite a lot of immigration into Britain to assist with a continuing labour shortage there; this leads to a great increase in the numbers of non-whites in the UK.
There have been 'brushfire wars', 'police actions' and 'skirmishes' since WWIII, but no direct conflicts between the nuclear powers, and no wars between the superpowers - it is just too risky. The Assembly of Nations has been involved in mediating the control and ending of many of these conflicts. Tactical nuclear weapons have been used in one or two brushfire wars, but never in wars where the Great Powers were directly confronting one another.
The demilitarisation of space does not stop the use of nuclear pulse-drives by all the Great Powers, although as time goes by they are used less and less often because of concerns about radioactive contamination and the effects of the bombs used to drive the ships on electronics-heavy space-based platforms. The launches of pulse-drive ships are now done much less frequently, and with lots of notification. This demilitarisation also does not include defensive weaponry (and the exact definition of what constitutes a 'defensive' weapon is a disputed one...).
Over time the people of the world come to realise that with each launch of a nuclear pulse drive space vessel the radiation released causes a number of cancer deaths around the world. While this does not stop their being launched it does, for each launch, cause religious ceremonies to be performed to honour, recognise, show respect to, and apologise to those unknown people who give their lives for the greater good.
Liquid-fuelled rocketry, as well as less destructive forms of nuclear-powered rocketry such as nuclear thermal rockets, advances after WWIII as a means to deliver nuclear weapons and to get into space without the use of nuclear pulse-drives. However, with a significant number of facilities in space it quickly becomes clear that intercontinental ballistic missiles are too vulnerable to be useful. Systems for delivering nuclear weapons switch back to manned bombers and unmanned low-flying missiles.
The main British rocket launch site for secret and military projects is at Cape Westminster in Florida; there is not too much in Florida other than it. There are other British launch sites in the African and Australian deserts. There are major Russian space launch facilities in Russian East Africa (as it is on the equator) and Mauritania. There are Chinese launch sites in the Taklamakan Desert, in Chinese East Africa and Chinese North America.
An earthquake in Agadir, Spanish Morocco, triggers a tidal wave and fire, destroying most of city and killing more than ten thousand people.
The strongest earthquake ever recorded - of magnitude 9.5 - strikes near the coast of Chile, killing more than twenty thousand people.
The ruling Chinese Sun dynasty is considered to have lost the mandate of Heaven following the humiliating (for China) outcome of WWIII, which is the culmination of what are seen as a number of mistakes by Emperor Lung-Cheng. They are replaced by the Sing dynasty, in a bloodless coup. Like the Sun, the Sing are of Manchu origin. However, by this point the Manchu population is sufficiently merged with the Han Chinese population that there is little difference between them. The Sun Emperor Lung-Cheng goes into exile, and is replaced by the first Sing Emperor, Long-Xian. Much to the surprise of everyone he declares himself to be a constitutional monarch along British lines, and turns the Grand Council into an elected parliament.
The Russians complete the Bering Strait Railway Bridge, linking the eastern and western parts of the Trans-Arctic Railway into one system, and providing a rail link from Asia into Russian Alyeska, British North America, and Chinese Haijou.
After decades of over-hunting and years without a sighting, the Blue whale species is also declared extinct.
Battery technology having advanced sufficiently for them to be practical, the first electric cars for use in cities and for other short-range tasks begin to be marketed around the world.
Comet Portlock-Weinberg [Wilson-Hubbard] is visible to the naked eye. All of the three Great Powers send unmanned space probes to this comet.
The Coherent Light Generator (CLIG) is invented. [That is, the laser.]
A new British nuclear reactor in Ohio melts down, causing massive contamination of the area, including Lake Erie.
The first space probes to the Moon are launched by all three Great Powers.
The British IAC changes from the Imperial Air Corps to the Imperial Aerospace Corps.
Comet Khokhlov [Seki-Lines] appears. It has a dense, bright tail some fifteen degrees long. Only Russia sends a space probe to this comet.
The British complete the first permanently manned space station, His Majesty's Station (HMS) 'Queen Victoria', which has been lifted into orbit in large sections by nuclear pulse-drive ships operating from Woomera in Australia.
From the first there are not many small free-floating satellites. - what is done by lots of small satellites in the real world here tends to be bolted on to a space station, or attached to a large multi-role platform.
The strongest earthquake ever to strike North America - of magnitude 9.2 - strikes in Alyeska. It causes a fifty foot tall tsunami which travels more than eight thousand miles at four hundred and fifty miles per hour. It also damages a Russian nuclear reactor there, contaminating a wide stretch of Alyeska with radioactivity, causes a major oil spill contaminating a wide area of coastline, and damages the Bering Strait Railway Bridge.
The Chinese and Russians each complete permanently manned space stations.
The first manned expedition lands on the Moon in a nuclear pulse-drive spaceship, the 'Firebird'. It is a Russian expedition, led by Valentin Timoshenko. They leave behind the nucleus of a permanent Lunar colony, which has been lifted there en masse by the pulse-drive moon-ship.
The NEU detonates its first atomic bomb, at a floating test site in the Indian Ocean.
More space stations and satellites are launched by all of the major powers. The NEU and other lesser powers negotiate for space on these launches too.
The British and Chinese also establish colonies on the Moon. All Lunar colonies begin as scientific research stations, but grow over time to include mining facilities and military bases. All of these stations also act as communications relays.
Comet Ponomarev-Densham [Ikeya-Seki] is visible, to the naked eye and in daylight. It has a dense tail some thirty-five degrees in length and splits after perihelion. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
A British nuclear pulse-drive spaceship, the 'HMS Borealis' shakes itself to pieces while launching from Woomera in Australia, killing everyone on board and contaminating large areas of the Australian outback with radioactivity.
The first orbital laboratory is launched by the Chinese. It is quickly followed by others, from China and the other Powers.
After a number of unsuccessful solutions to the problem of the rapid typing of Chinese ideograms are tried, Chinese electronic musician Gong Tze invents a ten-key chorded keyboard, in which the positions of all ten of the typists fingers at the same time are used to define one thousand and twenty three separate characters. Because there are tens of thousands of Chinese characters, Gong Tze defines a two-stage process for the typing of a single ideogram. First, a set of keystrokes (a 'chord') defines which of the two hundred and fourteen radicals the ideogram is based on. Then a second chord defines the specific ideogram derived from that radical. Taken together, the process is not unlike typing a pair of musical notes in sequence.
Gong Tze's keyboard proves to be a great success, with skilled typists easily able to type as fast or faster than a typist using Latin characters. As time passes, some of the more common ideograms are abbreviated to a single chord, using the eight hundred and nine chords available in addition to those defining the two hundred and fourteen radicals. Other modifications, though less widely adopted, add pedals to the keyboard, allowing the typist to switch between different sets of chords using their feet.
Orbital facilities are now mostly laboratories, either public research (astronomy, materials science, space probe construction and magnetic levitation launch facilities, etc.) or military (chemical and biological warfare). There is some small-scale orbital industry too, as well as quite of lot of manned 'defensive' orbital battle stations in low Earth orbit, and lots of orbital hunter-killer satellites. The battle stations are generally quite large as they have to mount defences against anti-satellite weapons.
All of the Great Powers have significant amounts of nuclear waste building up by this point. The British begin to store theirs in the already-contaminated land at Woomera. The Chinese likewise store theirs in the contaminated areas of the Taklamakan Desert. The Russians begin to store theirs on one of the Kurile Islands.
The first electromagnetic launcher is completed at the Russian Moonbase. Its main use is for delivering metals and ores to facilities in Earth orbit, but it can clearly be used as a weapon to bombard the Earth, too. The British and Chinese rush to construct their own electromagnetic launchers. Despite the best efforts of the Assembly of Nations this leads to a great increase in military activities on the Moon as all of the Powers station troops there to take out other people's mass drivers in war before they can be used to bombard the Earth...
1968 to 1970
A Muslim leader calling himself the Madhi rises up in the Sudan and gains a huge following there and in the surrounding Muslim states as he attempts to remove all foreign control from the region. Hundreds of thousands of people die on both sides of the conflict, which degenerates into vicious guerrilla war. Eventually the British resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons to destroy the Madhi and his army, in the course of which Khartoum and several other cities in the region are destroyed.
The 1960's and 1970's
Many British colonies in Africa get Union-style governments.
A magnitude 7.7 quake in Yunnan province, China kills more than five thousand people.
A Peruvian earthquake kills more than fifty thousand people with another seventeen thousand missing.
The first rocket-propelled orbit-to-orbit shuttles go into service with the British IAC. Nuclear and ion-drive shuttles are also used.
A combined fire and electrical failure sweeps through a number of underground stations in the centre of London, killing several thousand people. This becomes known as the Great Tube Disaster, and leads to a radical re-think of tube safety.
The NEU attempts to launch a satellite into orbit using a liquid-fuelled rocket. The launch fails, due to sabotage. Other attempts by the NEU to build and independent space program consistently fail for this reason.
The first kinetic harpoons, un-powered rods of metal equipped with guidance systems which can be dropped from space onto ground targets, are tested by the Chinese Space Force.
Comet McInnes-Pao [Bennett] is visible to the naked eye from February until Mid-May. It has two tails, the longest being about twenty degrees long. The British send the first manned expedition to a comet using the nuclear pulse-drive spaceship the 'HMS London', which arrives as the comet is moving away from the Sun. A great deal of useful scientific information is gained by this expedition, but the hostile environment around the comet causes the loss of several lives and damage to the ship. However, the HMS London returns safely to Earth.
Comet McInnes [White-Ortiz-Bolelli] is visible from the Southern Hemisphere. Unmanned space probes from Russia and China visit it.
There is a major Muslim uprising in the Netherlands Indies, which kills tens of thousands of people before the NEU uses tactical nuclear weapons on the headquarters of the rebels, stopping the uprising rather abruptly.
An earthquake devastates the city of Managua, in Nicaragua, leaving four thousand dead.
The first re-usable nucelar-rocket-propelled ground-to-orbit shuttle goes into service with the British IAC. Although they have nowhere near the cargo capacity of a nuclear pulse-drive vessel, they are much safer for bystanders, and very versatile when used for passengers and small cargoes. The same concept is developed by the other Great Powers. Over time several shuttle launch systems evolve. These include:
Brazil detonates an atomic bomb at a floating test site in the Atlantic.
The NEU begins storing nuclear waste in the depths of the deserts of Cape Colony.
1973 to 1974
Comet Goblinski-Krupp [Kohoutek] appears from November to January. It proves to be not as bright and impressive as expected. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
Argentina detonates an atomic bomb at a floating test site in the South Atlantic.
Following two nations gaining nuclear weapons in two years, the Great Powers move to limit the spread of nuclear weapons technology via discussions at the Assembly of Nations. Despite this, by 1995 it is suspected that, at the very least, Quebec and Mexico have also developed nuclear weapons.
A Russian nuclear pulse-drive spaceship, the ' Tsesarevitch', surveys the planets Mercury and Venus.
After decades of over-hunting and years without a sighting, the Sperm whale species is also declared extinct.
The Trans-African Railway, running from Egypt and the Suez Canal all the way to Cape Colony, is declared open in Chinese East Africa by representatives of all of the nations whose territory it runs through.
Tsar Alexander II dies. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes Tsar Peter V.
The first manned expedition lands on Mars in a nuclear pulse-drive spaceship, the 'HMS Speedwell'. It is a British expedition, led by Margaret Nateghi. Despite the mission being dogged by long-duration-mission stress among the crew, leading to a murder on board, as well as technical difficulties, the mission is a success. They leave behind the nucleus of a permanent Martian scientific research station. On the way to and from Mars, the HMS Speedwell launches a number of ion-drive propelled probes to the planets of the outer solar system, using the ship's own velocity to speed them on their way.
The first rocket-propelled sub-orbital ballistic transport is launched in China. Although much less efficient than a nuclear pulse-drive vessel, it has no problems with radioactive contamination, and allows more than a thousand fully-equipped troops, or more than a hundred tons of cargo, to be delivered anywhere in the world within a hour. [This is not unlike the real world Ithacus proposal.]
An earthquake in Guatemala leaves over twenty thousand people dead.
The worst earthquake to hit China in the twentieth century occurs in Tangshan. It devastates twenty square miles of city, leaving roughly half a million people dead.
An earthquake and tidal wave in Mindanao, the Philippines, leave up to eight thousand people dead or missing.
Comet Prokhorov-Mu [West] appears and breaks apart as it grazes the Sun, splitting into five pieces. It has a reddish tail some thirty-five degrees long. It is quite bright and is briefly visible during the daytime. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
The NEU legalises homosexuality, the first nation to do so. Elsewhere it is considered a disease and is treated with drugs, hormones, aversion therapy and electroshock. The NEU remains the only nation to have done this.
After years of problems with light and other pollution, the Royal Greenwich Observatory moves into a new home on an orbiting space platform, the His Majesty's Station (HMS) 'Greenwich'.
The structure of DNA is discovered by Argentinean biologist Aleandro Amauri de Espindola.
An earthquake in Tabas, eastern Iran, destroys the city and leaves twenty-five thousand people dead.
The first expeditions from each of the three Great Powers reach the Asteroid Belt.
Smallpox is finally eradicated from the world.
The number of people living permanently in space and on the Moon passes one thousand.
Comet Mu-Forbes [Wild 2] is discovered. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
King Edward VII of Great Britain dies. He is succeeded by his daughter, who becomes Queen Elizabeth III.
The first baby is born on the Moon, a boy, at the Chinese settlement of 'New Beijing'.
The Trans-American Railway, running from Alyeska all the way to Argentina and the three Patagonias, is declared open in Nicaragua by representatives of all of the nations whose territory it runs through.
The first ion drive orbit-to-orbit shuttle goes into service with the Chinese Space Force.
After decades of over-fishing, the cod fisheries off Nova Scotia unexpectedly collapse as the numbers of cod drop to almost zero. [This happened in 1992 in the real world.]
The first internet-type system begins to grow out of a NEU market and stock trading system, but is quickly adopted elsewhere.
Queen Elizabeth III of Great Britain marries Jun-Tao, the second son of the first Sing Emperor, Long-Xian. This is the first time that a western monarch has married a Chinese noble, and causes a great deal of talk in society.
The first baby is both on space, a girl, on the British HMS 'Queen Victoria'.
Comet Gagan  is at perihelion until March 1986. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
There are now essentially four internets, one British (based on the NEU system), one Russian, one Chinese, and one in the NEU, all, despite the best efforts of the Assembly of Nations, with different protocols and languages, and very little cross-linking (with what there is being highly controlled with heavy firewalls). They are also strictly controlled by their respective governments, so there is no public obscenity on the internets. Access rights vary with the country. The four internets also extend into ally nations.
The internets are most like vast on-line libraries and little more, accessed mainly from libraries and the homes of the more well-of. There is no widespread adoption of personal computers. Instead, most computers continue to be large, centralised mainframes with remote terminals.
Elisangela Assuiti, a Brazilian physicist, develops a partial Grand Unified Field Theory.
The Chinese launch an expedition to Jupiter in a nuclear-pulse-drive space vehicle, the 'Fast-Travelling Angel'. On the way to Jupiter, the ship launches a number of ion-drive propelled probes to the planets of the outer solar system, using the ship's own velocity to help them on their way. Unfortunately, although much useful work is done there, the unexpectedly high levels of radiation around Jupiter begin to affect the crew. They turn for home, but all die of radiation poisoning before they can return to Earth. Uncontrolled, the ship races past the Earth and heads out of the solar system, the first human-made object to do so.
Comet Wong-Livingston [Brorsen-Melcalf] appears, with a green coma and tail. It is only visible in telescopes. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
An earthquake of magnitude 8.1 strikes the central and south-west regions of Mexico, devastating part of Mexico City and three coastal states, killing twenty-five thousand people.
The eruption of Nevada del Ruiz, eighty-five miles north-west of Bogotá, in Columbia, causes mudslides which bury most of the town of Armero and devastates Chinchiná. Twenty-five thousand people are killed.
Halley's Comet reappears with a tail twenty degrees long. All three Great Powers send manned expeditions to this comet. Having learned from the Comet McInnes-Pao expedition in 1970, no casualties and little damage are sustained by any of the expeditions.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Armenia kills nearly twenty-five thousand people, injures fifteen thousand and renders more than four hundred thousand people homeless.
The first female contraceptive pill goes on the market in China.
The city of Yerba Buena [real world San Francisco] in Chinese North America suffers an earthquake of magnitude 7.1. More than two thousand people are killed, and hundreds of thousands of buildings are damaged or destroyed.
The first human kidney transplant is performed.
Comet Shan [Okazaki-Levy-Rudenko] appears. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
The first windows-type operating system is developed by a NEU software company, and as in the real world makes computers popular with the masses. Other companies too soon jump on this bandwagon.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 in northwest Iran destroys cities and villages in around the Caspian Sea, killing more than fifty thousand people, injuring sixty thousand and rendering four hundred thousand homeless.
A magnitude 7.7 quake in the northern Philippines kills nearly two thousand people.
Comet Boricov-Jones [Austin] appears. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
The eruption of Mount Pinatubo on Luzon Island in the Philippines buries over three hundred square miles under volcanic ash and results in more than eight hundred deaths.
Comet Peng [Swift-Tuttle] reappears; it was last seen in 1862. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet.
An earthquake measuring 8.1 in magnitude on the island of Guam causes severe damage to many structures but no fatalities.
Comet Morgan-Gromov-Metcalf [Shoemaker-Levy] is discovered, and is found to be on a collision course with Jupiter. All three Great Powers send unmanned probes to this comet, and more are sent to observe it impact with Jupiter.
The San Fernando Valley in Chinese North America suffers an earthquake measuring 6.6 in magnitude which kills fifty people.
The first human heart transplant is performed.
The number of people living permanently in space and on the Moon passes ten thousand.
Comet Morgan-Gromov-Metcalf [Shoemaker-Levy] approaches Jupiter. As it approaches the planet it breaks apart into a line of smaller comets, nicknamed the 'string of pearls', before each one impacts Jupiter in turn, observed in great detail by space probes from all of the Great Powers.
The present day.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Japan levels the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, killing more than fifteen thousand people.
A routine check on the Woomera nuclear waste storage facility reveals that a significant amount of nuclear material is missing. A search of the surrounding area finds the highly radioactive corpses of two people since linked to one of the major Jewish-Muslim terrorist groups.
Developments of Assuiti's Grand Unified Theory have led to the development of an experimental Faster Than Light (FTL) drive by the British in Project Argosy, which is based on Her Majesty's Station (HMS) Princess Sophia. The new drive is built into an experimental FTL ship, the 'HMS Argosy II', ready for testing, but when the ship is launched and the drive activated the ship disappears, and seems to be lost...
By 1995 all of the great powers of Monarchy World share similar forms of government, and operate using similar political philosophies. Their royal families are also linked by marriage. None of the three empires have any great issues with the other two. And none of the smaller nations of the world can really threaten the three great powers, and terrorism is the only significant threat. Based on all of this, the current status quo may continue uninterrupted for the foreseeable future.
Because of the blood linkages between the three powers, it is entirely possible that a succession crisis will occur where one of the empires is without a native successor, but with valid claims from a noble of another of the empires. Given that this is not likely to come as a surprise, it can probably be dealt with in advance, maintaining the status quo. If it cannot, there could be civil of international unrest or even war over the succession issue, due to protests within the affected empire, or from the empire which is 'left out' and loses influence if a monarch from one empire comes to rule over another.
This could tear apart the empire in which the succession crisis occurs, or even the world, depending on how a succession war was fought. An upswing in local nationalism could also tear one or more of the empires apart, although this is not terribly likely to happen.
As an alternative, it could lead to the three empires becoming linked, politically, as a compromise solution. This would avoid the unbalancing effect of linking two empires into one at the expense of a third. This would perhaps be by a personal union followed by true political merging into a world-spanning Triple Empire. Were this to occur, the rest of the world would essentially become satellites of the Triple Empire and might be slowly absorbed by it as humanity advances and moves out into space. Such an outcome would probably lead to a great reduction in the militaries of the Triple Empire, leaving only enough for protection from the other states of the world and against terrorist and other such groups.