TIMELINE - PART 4
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Comet Claverton [Barnard 2] appears.
The Chipangese War ends with the Treaty of Hiroshima, that divides the Chipangese islands between Russia and the New Commonwealth; Russia gains Hokkaido while the New Commonwealth gains Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The treaty also guarantees the territorial integrity of China and Korea.
China and Korea begin building fortifications against the New Commonwealth along their coastlines.
Lord Protector Hiram Cromwell of the New Commonwealth dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Lord Protector Jonathon Cromwell.
Elements of the New Commonwealth government opposed to the church 'reforms' imposed by Hiram Cromwell in 1888 attempt to have his son reverse them, to no avail. Some of them are purged for their efforts.
The first practical typewriter is invented by Oliver Richardson in the New Commonwealth. [This was invented in 1868 in the real world.]
Comet Ximenez [Perrine] appears.
Spies from various nations succeed in stealing the design of the Dutch Naval Chronometer. The nations responsible also begin building them, and sea-going navigation leaps forward in accuracy.
Twenty-seven thousand people are killed by a tsunami on the Chipangese island of Honshu.
After many years of trouble and sabotage, the Tehuantepec Ship Railway is opened to New Commonwealth shipping. It uses a flat bed running on multiple parallel railway tracks that is slid under ships in a dry dock. Adjustable hydraulic rams on the flat bed form a cradle for the ship, which is then pulled out of the water and slowly across the Tehuantepec Isthmus, where it is let back into the water. Ships of other nations are only rarely allowed through.
Over the years the Tehuantepec Ship Railway is expanded to be able to carry larger and larger ships.
Tsar Nicholas III of Russia dies of old age and is succeeded by Tsarina Catherine III.
The New Commonwealth introduces the most comprehensive welfare state of any nation in the world, providing free medical care and education to all of its citizens regardless of income. This is in addition to the existing provision of workhouses for the unemployed that exists in the New Commonwealth and most other nations.
Frenchman Corentin Duflot invents photography. [This is black and white photography. Colour photography other than through the use of filters and coloured lamps does not exist. Motion pictures have never been invented.]
With new smaller and lighter designs for steam engines having been developed, Frenchman Armand Dillon incorporates one into a balloon, producing the first powered airship. This is flown in France, in front of the King.
After years of diplomatic manoeuvring fails to achieve their aims, the New Commonwealth invades the Danish colony of Greenland. Although the Danes do what they can to stop this, the Arctic War, as it becomes known, is short and decisive. The Danes, already badly beaten by the New Commonwealth, can do little to stop them as the New Commonwealth also invades and takes control of Iceland.
As the New Commonwealth imposes its control and its religion on its new, formerly Danish, possessions, there are a number of atrocities committed there against those who resist it.
A Great Comet appears. This is a naked-eye comet for the Southern Hemisphere.
Lord Protector Jonathon Cromwell bans theatres and non-religious music, as great distractions from purity, from the New Commonwealth.
Formalising the use of the Dutch Naval Chronometer, the French government, with the agreement of the other European powers, declares a prime meridian for use in navigational calculations all around the world. This is the Paris Meridian, originally defined in 1655 and recalculated for greater precision for use in its new role [this is basically the Paris Meridian of the real world].
Rather too late, Denmark-Norway joins the Atlantic Alliance and begins to fortify its coastlines.
Britain begins to fortify its northern coasts against the New Commonwealth.
The New Commonwealth declares its own prime meridian for use in navigation, running through the altar of the Cathedral of Christ in Boston.
As time passes, the world splits as to which of the two major prime meridians is used. The Boston Meridian becomes used by the New Commonwealth alone, while the Paris Meridian becomes the accepted one used by the rest of the world.
The Soufrière volcano, in St. Vincent, the West Indies, erupts, devastating one-third of the island and killing some sixteen hundred people.
Mount Pelée, in Martinique, the West Indies, erupts and wipes out the city of St. Pierre, killing forty thousand people.
Wishing to properly establish their existence as an independent nation, the Fulani people declare the Fulani Confederation in West Africa, bounded by the Dutch, French and Ottoman Empires. It is a Muslim nation, and very much a free trade area that co-operates with everyone. Its capital is at Onitsha [in real world Nigeria].
King James V of Britain dies of old age, and is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Charles VI.
The last of the Mughal Emperors, Shah Jehan III, dies in exile in the Russian city of Yakutsk.
Comet Dobrowski [Borrelly] is discovered.
King Louis XVIII of France dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Louis XIX.
Dutch engineers develop the first true machine gun. This is quickly copied around the world and used in every significant conflict since. [In the real world this happened in 1883, with the Maxim gun.]
New Commonwealth forces attempt to invade the south of Korea. However, better-than-expected Korean coastal defences, poor planning and bad weather turn the invasion attempt into a disaster for the New Commonwealth.
The city of St Frances in the New Commonwealth [San Francisco] suffers an earthquake accompanied by fire that razes more than four square miles of the city and kills more than two thousand people.
Poor harvests around the Black Sea combined with the export of food to elsewhere in Russia lead to famine and uprisings against the Russian government in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian rebels appeal for help to the Holy Roman Empire, but are politely rebuffed. The uprisings are brutally crushed and many of those involved exiled to Siberia.
The city of Messina, in Sicily, is totally destroyed by an earthquake that kills roughly eighty-five thousand people across Sicily and southern Italy.
Dutchman Jan Albertszen invents the first telephone.
The Daylight or Winter Comet appears. It has a brilliant tail fifty degrees long and is visible during the day.
A second comet appears in Mid-April to May with two tails, one thirty degrees long and one curved and ten degrees long.
Barberini's Comet appears, and is very bright with a tail some one hundred degrees long. [Halley's Comet.]
Dutchman Quirijnus Reinerouszen invents the internal combustion engine.
Hugo Kreutzmann, in the Holy Roman Empire, invents the automatic pistol.
Lord Protector Jonathon Cromwell of the New Commonwealth dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Lord Protector John Cromwell.
Citing the need to protect their Tehuantepec Ship Railway, under the new, vigorous leadership of John Cromwell the New Commonwealth moves to expand its southern borders into South America. The Spanish government objects, and what becomes known as the Columbian War begins. This war is the first in which poison gas is used extensively, and soon bogs down into guerrilla fighting and atrocity.
Comet Carlovini [Brooks] appears with a bluish, straight tail thirty degrees long. It is visible to the unaided eye. At the same time comet Gisbrechtsen [Beljawsky] appears with a yellowish tail some fifteen degrees long. It is also visible to the unaided eye in the sky at the same time as comet Carlovini.
The first internal combustion powered boat is built in the Netherlands.
As the Columbian War continues, the Spanish ally with the Dutch and French in the Guyanas, and the Portuguese in Brazil. Together the three nations manage to push them back, but that part of South America has been more or less a continuous low-level war zone since then.
Low-level uprisings, often funded with secret Spanish and Portuguese assistance, continue to cause problems for the New Commonwealth across their formerly-Spanish territories.
Likewise, rebel groups funded by the New Commonwealth cause problems across the rest of South America.
Frenchman Matthieu d'Olivier combines the internal combustion engine with a steamcar chassis to create an internal combustion engined motor vehicle.
London Bridge, by now over seven hundred years old, succumbs to age, decrepitude and fire, and falls down with the loss of a great many lives. Work soon begins on the construction of a new bridge.
Medical anaesthesia is invented by doctors in the Netherlands.
An earthquake in Avezzano, Italy leaves thirty thousand dead.
The New Commonwealth extends the vote to all married women over the age of thirty. It is the first nation on Earth to allow women to vote.
Russia begins pressurising the Ottoman Empire for territorial concessions in the Middle East. Seeing this as a threat to their Suez Canal, the French ally with the Ottomans to prevent this. The British follow suit. Wishing to counter Russian expansionism, so do the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch, the Danes and the Swedes, forming what becomes known as the Hextuple Alliance.
Tsarina Catherine III of Russia dies of old age and is succeeded by the young Tsar Peter IV.
Calling the bluff of the Hextuple Alliance, the Russians, under the orders of the young and inexperienced Tsar Peter IV, invade Ottoman Syria. The Alliance declares war on the Russians, and what becomes known as the Russian War begins.
From the start the war goes badly for the Russians as they are attacked on multiple fronts.
King Charles VI of Britain dies of old age, and is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Charles VII.
The New Commonwealth attacks the Russians across the Bering Strait.
Forced back in several areas, as the Hextuple Alliance pushes into Russia itself, the Russians give ground as little as possible, conducting a scorched earth policy. Both sides use gas and all the weapons they have, making the Russian War the worst to have, so far, been fought anywhere in the world.
The first practical systems for the generation and transmission of electrical power are invented in several places around the world. All of the major powers begin the process of electrifying their countries. [In the real world this happened in the 1880s.]
A magnitude 8.6 earthquake in Gansu province, north-west China, kills roughly two hundred thousand people.
Medical antiseptics are developed by doctors in Sweden.
Dane Eskild Hjalmarsson publishes his 'Theory of Ideology'. This sees the world and the overall structure of nations not in terms of money or society, but in terms of warring ideas. The Truth against Lies, religion against religion, and only one will be left standing. Which of these will be the case depends on the actions of people. Hjalmarsson puts forward the idea that Danish-style enlightened monarchy is the One Truth, but others, over time, disagree.
A major push by the Hextuple Alliance breaks the Russian army in the west, and the invaders push on to Moscow. Many atrocities are committed by both sides during this advance. Tsar Peter IV states his intention to fight to the last. In a fairly bloodless coup he is removed from the throne and replaced by his uncle, who proclaims himself Tsar Paul II.
The new Tsar and his family retreat eastwards, and Moscow is burned behind them, leaving the invaders with vast areas of hostile and desolate countryside to control.
The intelligence services of the Hextuple Alliance nations become aware that the New Commonwealth is secretly assembling a massive invasion force in Iceland. However, the target of this invasion force remains unclear, forcing the Hextuple Alliance to place coastal defences all the way from Spain to Norway on a state of high alert.
Taking advantage of events in Europe, rebel groups in Russian Anatolia, the Cossack lands, Afghanistan and India rise up attempt to throw off the Russian yoke.
Perhaps seeking to take some territory in Siberia during the unrest of the war, the navy of the New Commonwealth engages in sporadic probing of the defences of the Russian far east.
Tsar Paul II proves himself to be a wily and somewhat paranoid leader, avoiding a number of attempts to topple him from the throne.
By the time spring comes, the invaders of Russia are having severe problems due to the cold, starvation and the hostility of the locals. Large numbers of Hextuple Alliance troops are tied up all across occupied Russian territory, and there are many atrocities committed by them against the native Russians. Only in the Ukraine and Belorussia are the invaders greeted as liberators by the local people.
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake in Chipangu [Japan] destroys one third of Tokyo and most of Yokohama. More than one hundred and forty thousand people are killed (most of them colonists from the New Commonwealth).
Agents of the Imperial Counterespionage Bureau of the Holy Roman Empire discover that the New Commonwealth forces massing in Iceland are intending to invade Portugal, but are using a plan to invade Britain as a cover for this.
Using the ships and forces secretly assembled in Iceland, the New Commonwealth fleet sets sail. Avoiding Hextuple Alliance patrols [a relatively straightforward process given the lack of aircraft and radio in this world at this time], the information obtained by the Imperial Counterespionage Bureau proves to have been part of an extensive disinformation campaign as the fleet does not sail for Portugal, as expected, but instead invades Britain.
After annihilating the small British Royal Navy, New Commonwealth landings occur at multiple locations around the British coast, assisted by an uprising of secret British Protestants. A smaller New Commonwealth force also invades and quickly takes control of the Danish Faeroe Islands.
Timing their attack for just after the harvest so that food supplies are nicely concentrated in known locations, and using a combination of large shallow-draft catamaran cargo ships to land forces directly on British beaches and sabotage to the few British long range coastal defences allowing landings from smaller cargo vessels and the construction of temporary bridges to shore from larger ones under the cover of fire from New Commonwealth battleships, the New Commonwealth quickly establishes a number of beachheads and takes control of the vital food supplies its invasion force requires.
It later becomes clear how finely balanced between success and failure the New Commonwealth invasion of Britain was; delays due to bad weather, or a bad or delayed harvest in Britain, would have had their invasion forces beginning to starve before the invasion could achieve its goals. However, fortune was on the side of the New Commonwealth.
With much of the British military off helping the French in Russia, the New Commonwealth quickly takes control of its 'ancestral homeland', or at least of the important cities (including London, parts of which are badly damaged in the fighting), ports and transportation hubs.
As the strength and extent of the New Commonwealth invasion force becomes obvious it becomes clear that the situation in Britain is beyond the present ability of the Hextuple Alliance to stop. The Hextuple Alliance coldly writes Britain off to the New Commonwealth and begins working on strengthening their own defences.
However, even though the invasion is declared to be successfully completed at this point, many local resistance groups spring up to fight in New Commonwealth invaders. Being generally limited in their weapons to things like the 'Pankhurst Cocktail' [the Molotov Cocktail], and so on, although they do inflict some damage and delay the New Commonwealth invaders, they are not particularly effective. Only in the more devout parts of Ireland, such as Ulster and Belfast, do mass uprisings greatly slow the New Commonwealth advance. Many atrocities are committed as these uprisings and resistance are crushed.
The British Royal Family are captured by New Commonwealth forces while trying to escape to France, tried, and all of them, including King Charles VII of the Bourbon Dynasty, are executed.
By default, the British throne passes to the closest eligible person, Henri de Pindray, a minor French noble, who becomes, in name only, King Henry IX of Britain.
With the New Commonwealth concentrating on taking Britain, an uprising in Cuba manages to throw off New Commonwealth control in the south of the island.
With the New Commonwealth having seized much of the British harvest to supply their own troops, famine spreads across Britain.
Despite the New Commonwealth claims of victory in Britain, unrest there remains widespread for decades. Brutality on the part of the New Commonwealth is commonplace and a posting there is very much the least-favoured option during this time.
Although there is some grumbling about this in the New Commonwealth, loyalty to the New Commonwealth, as well as strict government controls, the Ministry of Security and the lack of a free press, prevent any potential problems escalating beyond this.
The Hextuple Alliance, afraid that they might be in danger from the New Commonwealth while engaged in Russia, move to end the Russian War as quickly as possible. The Russians are quite happy to negotiate. In the Treaty of Moscow, the Russians agree to some minor territorial concessions, and the payment of some reparations, while all of the invaders withdraw outside its new borders. And with that the Russian War ends. Tens of thousands of British troops are left stranded in Europe, and begin to make lives for themselves as expatriates.
France, the Netherlands, Denmark-Norway and Sweden begin to fortify their coasts against the New Commonwealth. Spain and Portugal begin to do likewise.
The Russians begin to rebuild Moscow and their other war-devastated European lands. With forces freed up by the signing of the Treaty of Moscow, the rebels in Anatolia, the Cossack lands, Afghanistan and India are crushed, with massive loss of life.
As part of the Treaty of Moscow, the Ukraine and Belorussia, where many of the locals worked with the invaders against the Russians, are abandoned by the Hextuple Alliance to the mercy of the Russians. Tens of thousands of refugees flee from there into the Holy Roman Empire before the borders are closed. Those who remain suffer terrible persecution and reprisals from the Russian government. Tens of thousands are deported to Siberia.
The New Commonwealth begins to extensively industrialise Britain, with factories in bunkers under the Peak District and so on, while actively purging their new territory of Popery and Royalist sentiment.
New railway lines are built, linking London with the trans-Atlantic ports, particularly Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow.
An active cross-Channel smuggling trade quickly springs up, bringing people out of Britain and taking alcohol and other forbidden things in. To oppose them a number of coastal patrols are initiated, and continue to the present day.
The New Commonwealth has continuing problems with various British terrorist groups, particularly in Ireland. Their response to these groups is, and remains, brutal.
What becomes known as the 'Guerre Cachée' (the 'Hidden War') begins, as the conflict between the Octuple Alliance and the New Commonwealth moves into the shady underworld of espionage and crime. [This is the Puritan World equivalent of the Cold War of the real world.]
Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire join the Atlantic Alliance. Seeing that the New Commonwealth is a major threat to them all, the Atlantic and Hextuple Alliances reorganise themselves under the auspices of the hastily-negotiated Treaty of Athens into what becomes known as the Octuple Alliance.
The New Commonwealth finally crushes the Cuban rebels, with great loss of life among the people of Cuba.
In the first major accomplishment of the Octuple Alliance, the Treaty of Vienna clearly defines the borders of all of the various states making up the Alliance, including their foreign colonies and so on. This is done in an attempt to reduce friction and conflict between the states of the Alliance that might distract them from the real threat, and is done with no concern for the natives who might be affected.
Although there have been a few border incidents since then, in general the Treaty has been very successful.
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake occurs in Xining, China and claims approximately fifty thousand lives.
Comet Bremerton [Skjellerup-Maristany], a yellow comet, appears between November and December and is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Ottoman Empire joins the Octuple Alliance.
King Henry IX of Britain and several of his immediate family are killed by a car-bomb. Those responsible are never apprehended, but all fingers point to the New Commonwealth as being responsible. The throne of Britain passes to King Henry's cousin, who becomes Queen Mary IV.
Russian scientist Vladislav Chernodowski invents the first practical phonograph [in the real world this was invented in 1877].
Scientist Jurgen Kaehler in the Holy Roman Empire discovers the existence of radio waves.
Several of the Italian States, including the Papal State, join the Octuple Alliance.
After the devastation of the Russian War, in which machine guns, poison gas and so on were all used to great effect, and caused great death, destruction and maiming on all sides, the already-conservative elements in charge of the New Commonwealth look on these developments with horror. They come to the conclusion that science has advanced enough, and wish to stop any further progress. In their eyes technology is bad enough as it is, and humanity should stop now, or preferably return to an ideal agrarian existence. The New Commonwealth calls a conference of all the world's nations in the neutral location of the Fulani Confederation to discuss this. Only few attend. Most of them strongly disagree with the stance of the New Commonwealth, although there are anti-progress movements elsewhere, and the conference ends acrimoniously.
Using landing ships copied from those used by the New Commonwealth, the newly-formed Octuple Alliance attempts a re-invasion of Britain across La Manche [the English Channel], re-using some of the strategies used by the New Commonwealth in their invasion of Britain. They are led by expatriate British forces, and intend to remove the New Commonwealth invaders and re-establish the British nation. Unfortunately newly-constructed British coastal defences badly damage the invasion force, inexperience and poor coordination hamper it, and New Commonwealth patrols sink much of the rest of it, leaving the remainder the limp back to various European ports.
The disastrous results of the attempted re-invasion of Britain makes it clear how vulnerable the New Commonwealth strategy of 'Bridge Assault' is to precise artillery fire, sabotage and other forms of coordinated resistance. It was only the lack of these that allowed the New Commonwealth to successfully use them in 1923. Based on this, the nations of the world write off 'Bridge Assault' as easily-counterable one-shot strategy, and it is not developed further or used again.
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurs in Gansu, China, killing approximately fifty thousand people.
With the New Commonwealth so close to its shores, the Netherlands begin to shift elements of their government to a new, and more secure, second capital at Cape Town, in Cape Colony.
Seeing the Dutch example, various other nations within Europe also consider moving their capitals abroad, for the same reason. However, none do so, despite, in many cases, the strong wishes of members of their people or members of their governments.
Lord Protector John Cromwell of the New Commonwealth dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Lord Protector Nathaniel Cromwell.
More than two hundred people are killed by an earthquake at Long Beach, in the New Commonwealth.
A team from the New Commonwealth led by James Watkin becomes the first expedition to reach the north pole.
It becomes clear that the New Commonwealth, where science and technological development are stifled by government opposition to these things, is beginning, to its detriment, to lag behind the other great powers, particularly the Dutch.
The New Commonwealth secretly declares War Against Science. It sets up a covert branch of government to do their will in this. To stop progress by attacking science and scientists, universities and so on.
The War Against Science has, over the years, greatly slowed scientific and technological progress [already slower than in the real world], even with scientists and inventors defecting from the New Commonwealth to other nations so that they can continue their work. It has not actually stopped progress, and the New Commonwealth has had to advance too to avoid being overwhelmed.
Given the origin of the war, it has actually encouraged science in those nations that oppose the New Commonwealth. This has lead, over the years, to a necessary erosion of the conservatism of the New Commonwealth leadership.
An earthquake in Quetta, India kills roughly fifty thousand people.
The woman who is, in name only, Queen Mary IV of Britain, dies of old age. She is succeeded by her son Jean, who becomes King Charles VIII.
Prince Pedro of Brazil, brother of King John VII of Portugal and ruler of Brazil in his name, attempts to persuade the King that although, he is a loyal subject, as Brazil is the largest and most populous part of the Portuguese Empire, the seat of the Empire should rest there. Especially given the recent New Commonwealth take-over of Britain. King John rejects this idea as cowardly and without honour.
Other attempts by Prince Pedro to convince his brother that his opinion is the correct one only lead to Prince Pedro falling out of favour at court. He does, however, gain a following among the Portuguese military and nobility.
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 north of Russian Anatolia, killing more than one hundred thousand people. Slow and inadequate Russian assistance to the victims of this disaster triggers uprisings and violence, which are brutally suppressed.
Russia begins the construction of a Trans-Siberian railway.
Queen Margaret III is crowned in Denmark-Norway.
Comet Geysbertsen [De Kock-Parashevopoulos] is discovered. It is visible to the naked eye, and is mainly a Southern Hemisphere comet. It has a faint twenty degree long tail.
Tsar Paul II of Russia dies of old age and is succeeded by Tsarina Elizabeth II.
Prince Pedro of Brazil mounts a successful and largely bloodless coup, toppling his brother King John VII from the throne and installing himself as his replacement, becoming King Pedro VI. He immediately sets about moving the heart of the Portuguese Empire from Europe to the city of Salvador Bahia [Salvador] in Brazil, which was, in any case, the capital of Brazil. In the process he streamlines and modernises the Empire as much as he can.
With a new hand on the helm, the Portuguese Empire begins to have something of a renaissance, with new life being breathed into all aspects of the arts and the sciences there. As such the coup that placed King Pedro VI on the throne becomes known as A Revoluçao Dourada (The Golden Revolution).
The first radio transmitter and receiver is invented by Goswinus Lambertuszen in the Netherlands.
As radio comes to be used around the world, most nations tend to adopt the same code systems [analogous to Morse code] as they use for telegraphic communication. Thus a number of different systems come to be widely used.
A Southern Comet appears, but is only visible from the Southern Hemisphere. It has a tail some twenty-five degrees.
Greece joins the Octuple Alliance.
The first commercial radio stations begin to appear around the world.
The first magnetic wire recorder is invented by Hermann Schlemeler in the Holy Roman Empire. This quickly becomes the standard type of recording device. [Magnetic tapes and discs are never invented in this world.]
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.
The first successful submarine, a mixed internal combustion-electric type, is launched in the Netherlands.
An earthquake in India affects thirty thousand square miles of Assam, killing roughly twenty-five thousand people.
The Massachusetts Broadcasting Corporation, the first national radio station, is formed and goes on air in the New Commonwealth, but broadcasting to the world as a whole. It is part of the State Bureau of Information, and so hardly an unbiased source.
Shortly after the completion of the move of the Portuguese capital from Lisbon to Salvador Bahia [Salvador] in Brazil, King Pedro VI of Portugal dies of old age. His son is crowned King John VIII of Portugal, becoming the first Portuguese king to be crowned in the new capital.
Anti-Spanish and Anti-Catholic unrest begins to occur across the Philippine Islands. The Spanish authorities crack down on this unrest, and increase their military forces in the islands, but the unrest continues. Many suspect New Commonwealth involvement in the unrest.
Frenchman Marcel Sicard develops the first heavier-than-air aircraft, which he flies successfully in France. It is soon copied around the world.
Full-scale uprisings occur across the Philippine Islands. The leaders of the uprising declare a new Protestant Republic. As the Spanish move to crush them, and the rest of the Octuple Alliance watches, the leaders of the uprising call on the New Commonwealth for protection. By now it is quite clear that the New Commonwealth is entirely behind events there.
Using Chipangu [Japan] as a forward base, the New Commonwealth move to occupy the Philippine Islands in support of the uprising there. The Philippine War breaks out. Despite the Octuple Alliance declaring war to try and stop this blatant aggression, the unwillingness of the Spanish to allow foreign troops on their territory, as well as length of their lines of supply and communication badly hinder them.
Portuguese doctors working with the Spanish in the Philippine Islands during the Philippine War there discover and classify the different human blood types, making blood transfusions a practical proposition for the first time.
Comet Williams [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 Dudzik [Mrkos] appears in the sky. This comet is visible to the unaided eye and has two tails, one very bright, curved and some fifteen degrees in size.
King Louis XIX of France dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Louis XX.
The Philippine War ends with the New Commonwealth solidly in control of the Philippines. Many atrocities are committed as the New Commonwealth imposes its control of the Philippine Islands and begins to impose its religion on all of those living there.
The Octuple Alliance begins to reorganise itself to avoid a repeat of its shoddy performance in the War, in particular to attempt to avoid the political problems that allowed the Spanish to hinder other nations attempts to give assistance.
Scientists working for the New Commonwealth Ministry of Security discover that fingerprints are an ideal identifier of individual people, and invent the process of fingerprinting. This is soon adopted across the New Commonwealth, and in most other nations.
Made more confident by their success in the Philippine War, the New Commonwealth begins to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy.
As part of the reorganisation of the Octuple Alliance following the Philippine War, a new capital for the Alliance is founded in the city of Strasbourg, replacing the previous scheme where the capital moved between the capitals of all of the members of the Alliance on an annual basis. Originally in France, the city is given a special status as equally part of all of the nations of the Alliance. It is there that the representatives of the Alliance nations begin to debate matters of import to it.
The Dutch attempt to purchase the island of Formosa [Taiwan] from China for use as a forward base in the Far East. They are rebuffed.
The illegal 'Voice of Liberty' radio station begins to broadcast in Britain.
Lord Protector Nathaniel Cromwell of the New Commonwealth dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Lord Protector Zachariah Cromwell.
Tsarina Elizabeth II of Russia dies of old age and is succeeded by Tsar Nicholas IV.
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.
With the blessings of many world leaders, including the new Lord Protector, Nathaniel Cromwell, the International Football League is founded to allow international football competitions to take place. It is the first major non-political international organization to be founded, and includes teams from Europe, the New Commonwealth, and elsewhere in the world.
Comet Drakesen [Wilson-Hubbard] is visible to the naked-eye.
The Dutch invade Formosa, and after a brief show of force, take control of the island from the Chinese. This becomes known as the Second Sino-Dutch War or the Formosan War.
The Portuguese government founds the world's first commercial airline, Linhas Aéreas Imperiais Portuguese (Portuguese Imperial Airlines), or LAIPOR.
A number of border incidents occur along La Manche [the English Channel], when New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance ships exchange fire over claimed border infractions due to anti-smuggling operations.
Following the example of the International Football League, over the years other similar organisations are founded to allow analogous international competitions to occur in other sports.
Comet Reitberg-Blakesen [Seki-Lines] appears. It has a dense, bright tail some fifteen degrees long.
The Dutch complete the shifting of most of their machinery of government from the Hague to Cape Town. The Hague remains their capital in name, but Cape Town is now where most of the work of running the Dutch Empire is done.
An uprising in the south of Britain is brutally crushed by the New Commonwealth.
The strongest earthquake ever to strike North America - of magnitude 9.2 - strikes in Alyeska. It causes a fifty foot tall tsunami that travels more than eight thousand miles at four hundred and fifty miles per hour.
A Portuguese team led by Vanente da Rocha becomes the first expedition to reach the south pole.
An uprising in the Phillippines is brutally crushed by the New Commonwealth.
Comet Richardsen [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.
A number of border incidents occur along the Bering Straits and in the Sea of Chipangu [the Sea of Japan], as New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance ships exchange fire over alleged territorial infractions and smuggling.
King Alphonso XV is crowned in Spain.
Russia completes the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway.
The man who is, in name only, King Charles VIII of Britain, dies of old age. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Charles IX.
Comet Jansen [Bennet] is visible to the naked eye from February until Mid-May. It has two tails, the longest being about twenty degrees long.
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.
Comet Theodoricusen [White-Ortiz-Bolelli] is visible from the Southern Hemisphere.
King Charles XVIII of Sweden comes to the throne.
An earthquake devastates the city of Managua, in New Commonwealth-controlled Central America, leaving four thousand dead.
A charismatic Muslim leader known as the Mahdi begins preaching in the Darfur region of the Ottoman Empire. [Real world Chad.]
The Mahdi proclaims a holy war against the 'corrupt' Ottoman Empire. Uprisings spread across the Darfur region, accompanied by much bloodshed and many atrocities.
A number of border incidents occur along La Manche [the English Channel], when New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance ships exchange fire due to 'over enthusiastic' pursuit of smugglers by New Commonwealth patrols.
Comet Rausbeck [Kohoutek] appears from November to January.
The Mahdi proclaims the Caliphate of Darfur as a new Islamic nation with its capital at Abéché [in real world Chad]. The Ottoman Empire, which is very weak, can do little to stop this. The French, whose colonies adjoin the region, make it clear that as long as the Mahdi does not attempt to export his war to them, they will not interfere.
The new Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) of the Caliphate of Darfur imposes a harsh regime based around traditional Islamic laws, and begins to run the country very much as a military camp. Sharia courts enforce Islamic law and the Mahdi's commands. Books of law and theology are burned because of their association with the old regime, and also because of the Mahdi's belief that they accentuate tribalism at the expense of religious unity.
An earthquake in Guatemala in the New Commonwealth 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 ten thousand people dead or missing, including many New Commonwealth colonists. Philippine rebels attempt to take advantage of this to regain control of their lands, but are brutally suppressed.
Comet Koenraedsen [West] appears and breaks apart as it grazes the Sun, splitting into four or five pieces. It has a reddish tail some thirty-five degrees long. It is quite bright and is briefly visible during the daytime.
An earthquake in Tabas, eastern Iran, destroys the city and leaves twenty-five thousand people dead.
Comet Schimmelpenninksen [Wild 2] is discovered.
The first aircraft flies from Iceland to northern Scotland without landing anywhere to refuel.
Stadtholder William VIII begins his rule of the Netherlands.
A number of border incidents occur along the Bering Straits and in the Sea of Chipangu [the Sea of Japan], as New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance ships exchange fire over alleged territorial infractions.
Lord Protector Zachariah Cromwell of the New Commonwealth dies of old age and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Lord Protector Matthew Cromwell.
Comet Carter  is at perihelion until March 1986.
A number of border incidents occur in Terra Australis [Australia], as New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance forces there exchange fire after 'accidentally' crossing the border.
Emperor Frederick V is crowned ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.
Comet Caesari [Brorsen-Melcalf] appears, with a green coma and tail. It is only visible in telescopes.
An earthquake of magnitude 8.1 strikes the central and south-west regions of Mexico, in the New Commonwealth, devastating part of Mexico City and three coastal states, killing some twenty-five thousand people.
The eruption of Nevada del Ruiz, eighty-five miles north-west of Bogotá, in Columbia, causes mudslides that bury most of the town of Armero and devastates Chinchiná. Twenty-five thousand people are killed.
Barberini's Comet appears with a tail twenty degrees long. [Halley's Comet.]
Brazilian Duarte Rodrigues Lopes invents the first streamlined monoplane with retractable undercarriage. His design is soon copied around the world.
The man who is, in name only, King Charles IX of Britain, dies of old age. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Charles X.
A number of border incidents occur along La Manche [the English Channel], when New Commonwealth and Octuple Alliance ships exchange fire in a jurisdictional dispute after a mid-Channel collision.
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.
Comet Valla [Okazaki-Levy-Rudenko] appears.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 in the north-west of Russian Iran destroys cities and villages around the Caspian Sea, killing more than fifty thousand people, injuring sixty thousand and rendering four hundred thousand homeless. Inadequate Russian assistance to the victims of the earthquake triggers uprisings which are quickly, and brutally, crushed.
A magnitude 7.7 quake in the northern Philippines kills nearly two thousand people.
Tsar Nicholas IV of Russia dies of old age and is succeeded Tsar Peter V, who is crowned Emperor of Russia.
Comet Tassovitch [Austin] appears.
Spies of the Octuple Alliance report the beginning of a massive build-up of forces in Britain. Perhaps ready for an invasion of somewhere in Europe...
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.
Astronomers at the Vatican announce the discovery of an eighth planet beyond Persephone that they name Chronos. [This is Neptune; in the real world this was discovered in 1846.]
Seeing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo as a sign from God, Philippine rebels attempt to throw off New Commonwealth control. They fail, and many are killed.
Comet Torpy [Swift-Tuttle] reappears.
An earthquake measuring 8.1 in magnitude on the island of Guam causes severe damage to many structures but no fatalities.
Comet Ashworth-Hollings [Shoemaker-Levy] is discovered, and is found to be on a collision course with Jupiter.
The St Ferdinand [San Fernando] Valley in the New Commonwealth suffers an earthquake measuring 6.6 in magnitude that kills one hundred and fifty people.
Comet Ashworth-Hollings [Shoemaker-Levy] approaches Jupiter. As it approaches the planet it breaks apart into a line of small comets before each one impacts Jupiter in turn. In many places this is interpreted as a sign or warning from God, though exact interpretations vary widely.
Pro-Puritan unrest breaks out in a few places across Europe.
Brazilian Gustavo Aposentado invents the steam turbine, promising radical improvements in the performance of all kinds of steam-driven vehicles.
New Commonwealth forces skirmish with Russian and other OCtuple Alliance shipping off the coast of Kamchatka, leading to worries about a New Commonwealth attack into Siberia.
With little warning, the built-up forces of the New Commonwealth surge across La Manche [the English Channel] and force a landing in Brittany, decisively ending the Guerre Cachée ('Hidden War'). Despite major casualties they manage to push ashore and move inland. The war is very much like a mixture of WWI and WWII; there are trenches and fixed lines, but also bursts of movement and pushes forward and back. Machine guns, gas, tanks and so on are all used. In general it is very nasty. Some interpret this invasion as the first battles of Armageddon.
Retreating French forces destroy roads, harbours, bridges, railways and infrastructure generally. To cope with this the New Commonwealth installs new floating harbours at various places along the coast.
Civilians are given a chance to surrender. If they do they are searched, converted, and largely left alone, with a garrison in place once a given town has been checked for safety. If not the town is pounded flat to avoid street battles. There are serious repercussions if there are tricks or backsliding from occupied people. Catholic priests and French government officials are usually abused and then hung - their bodies hang all over the newer parts of occupied France. Atrocities are common.
Several British rebel groups take advantage of the war in France to attack New Commonwealth targets in Britain. They have little success.
There are some sporadic uprisings in the Philippines as news of the war in France reaches there.
Pope Alexander X urges Catholics everywhere to pray for the success of the Octuple Alliance and the destruction of the New Commonwealth and its invading 'Satanic Hordes'. Likewise Arch-Bishop Abednego Harding of the Cathedral of Christ in Boston urges the citizens of the New Commonwealth to pray for the destruction of the Octuple Alliance.
The first aircraft flies from Newfoundland to Ireland without landing anywhere to refuel.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Chipangu [Japan] levels the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, killing more than fifteen thousand people.
The present day.
War still rages in Brittany. There are constant battles in the North Sea and La Manche [the English Channel] as the Octuple Alliance tries to ensure their homelands do not become cut off from their empires.
The front line in France runs along the Loire from the coast, up the river Sarthe between Alencon and Le Mans, close to Alencon and then to the west of Argenton and Caen to the coast. The Puritans have Cherbourg, Brest and St Nazaire. However, they are devastated, as is much of the landscape of the occupied areas...
Until either the rest of the world falls to the New Commonwealth, or vice versa, there is unlikely to be peace in Puritan World. If the New Commonwealth is ejected from France, or its advance there stalemates, then it is likely that a cold war will develop. Although unlikely, one or other of the two sides may fall from internal political or economic stresses, giving the world to the other by default. Without this, there is likely to be a series of wars until some final, decisive war is fought, perhaps using some new technology to advance that gives one side an overwhelming advantage (perhaps nuclear power, which might arise from one of the more advancing nations, such as the Kingdom of Portugal).
If the war continues in Europe, then it is quite likely that the same sort of events will occur, although without the intervening cold war period.
If the New Commonwealth wins the world, then the Earth will become a Puritan dictatorship. This may eventually liberalise, or fall apart. If they lose, then the Octuple Alliance will divide up the world, setting the stage for future wars and further conflict.
Which side having ultimate victory would be best for humanity as a whole is difficult to say. With either of these outcomes it is unlikely that freedom and democracy will become the worlds dominant political paradigms...