Friday, October 23, 2015

Flash AH Scenarios #1

Experimenting time again!

I want to try something a bit different today. Instead of one really long article on one Alternate History, I'll just write a couple shorter AH scenarios in one post. Because, well, TL;DR is a thing, as much as I don't like it.  I decided to take a few suggestions from Facebook, but if you have any ideas, leave comments on here, Facebook, Twitter or send me an email.

Anyway, here we go!

What if Alaska Remains Russian?

From Matt "Mitro" Mitrovich, the author of the Alternate History Weekly Update, comes this idea. And as you know, I'm a sucker for Russian Alternate Histories...

So, POD: William Seward is unable to purchase Alaska (Alyeska) from the Russian Empire due to opposition in Congress to "Seward's Icebox," so the huge landmass remains part of Czar Alexander II's lands, despite the fears that the British would seize it in any future war. For the next few decades, little changes except some minor colonization efforts to establish trading posts, until gold is discovered in the 1890s. Fearing an influx of Americans and British Canadians to tear away this suddenly very valuable colony, the Czar heavily restricts access to Alyeska, only allowing Russian subjects to prospect for gold. A few Americans and Canadians would still make the trek, but the hostile reception, brutal weather, native attacks, and discovery of gold in nearby Yukon make Alyeska less attractive. Raids by Japanese ships in the Russo-Japanese War is a rude wake up call to the very rich colony, and revolts against Nicholas II require armed troops to put down. In World War One, Alyeska provides troops to the Russian cause, and while the regiments from Alyeska are highly respected, they are unable to majorly turn the tide of the war.

With the Russian Revolutions, Alyeska is divided between Whites and Reds, and the British, using Canadian troops, temporarily occupy New Archangel (OTL Sitka) and Alyeskagrad (OTL Anchorage), before war weariness force them out. Eventually the Communists come to power in Russia and in Alyeska, which is upgraded to become a full fledged Soviet Socialist Republic. Stalin's brutal industrialization hit Alyeska hard due to the demands of raw materials and gold to pay from foreign supplies unavailable in the USSR, as did the need to station troops in Alyeska to combat possible American and British aggression. In World War II, Alyeska was a major stopping point for American and Canadian ships providing Lend-Lease to the USSR, and Alyeska provided troops to fight on the Eastern Front.

After the war, Alyeska became a major battle ground of the Cold War. With a stepping stone straight into North America and the United States, Alyeska became a major military outpost, with bombers, tanks, and tens of thousands of infantry ready to sweep into Yukon and British Columbia in an instant. The Alyeskan Missile Crisis nearly lead to nuclear war in 1962, but negotiations managed to resolve the issue by the removal of nuclear missiles from Alyeska. The discovery of oil gave a huge boost to the faltering Soviet Economy of the 1970s and 1980s, and once again made Alyeska the most valuable Russian territory. However, it wasn't enough to prevent the collapse of the USSR, and in 1991, Alyeska went independent, establishing a capitalist society and building very close ties to a relieved US. While not a fully democratic nation due to the long Russian and Soviet legacy, Alyeska is one of wealthiest of the former Russian states, and secrets are still emerging, such as the covered up sinking of a Soviet Oil Tanker in 1989 that caused huge amounts of damage to the coast and shore line.

What if Cortés Failed to Conquer the Aztecs?

Well just take these people up to this tower... and kill them so
the sun will still rise tomorrow. Got it? 
Esarhaddon Asshur on Facebook asked what would happen if Hernán Cortés' attempts to gain indigenous allies to overthrow the Aztecs failed. Well, here's the answer.

With the death of Cortés and his men, mostly due to his lack of desire to make any sort of alliance with the natives, even those oppressed by the Aztecs themselves, the Governor of Cuba refused to allow any more expeditions to the mainland, seeing it as a waste of time. Smallpox then swept through the Aztec Empire and the rest of the Americas, killing almost 90% of the native population, by the time that the Spanish tried to invade Mexico again, the Aztecs had begun to adapt, mostly thanks to the capture of several Spanish soldiers who were not sacrificed, but instead allowed to spread European technology and ideas among the Aztecs. By 1600, with the worst of the Smallpox over, the Aztecs had begun to modernize their empire. In one last reform, the aging emperor of the Aztecs allowed himself to be sacrificed to the Gods, the last human sacrifice allowed by the Empire. From then on, non-human sacrifice was conducted, the blood debt considered repaid.

When the Spanish tried to invade Mexico again, they came up against a people who, while speaking a different language and with a different culture, had weapons similar to the Spanish, and new tactics that lead to yet another bloody defeat. After this, the Spanish would simply try to trade with the growing and expanding Aztec Empire, which was pushing north to the OLT Rio Grande River, and south to Panama. An uneasy peace would exist for years, and it was only in the 1670s that another major war broke out, this time with the Aztecs allied with the British against the long time enemies in Iberia.

The Aztecs would continue to go from strength to strength, but by the 1720s, the Aztec Empire was crumbling. Vast distances with few roads and communications, the depletion of gold mines that was used to pay for European technology, and the resentment of dozens of tribes, and a constant schism over the end of human sacrifice eventually lead to a brutal civil war. The Spanish once again tried to sway the outcome, but eventually the entire Empire fractured into quarreling states, with a few European outposts on the coasts. It wouldn't be until the 1800s that a unification movement, inspired by the American and French Revolutions would take place. While this unified Mexico as a mostly democratic nation, Mexico's economy and politics would continue to be unstable. Today Mexico is a popular tourist destination, but the ongoing American occupation of Northern Mexico in response to terrorist attacks on Texas and California in the 1980s is a source of unrest and anger that is just threatening to burst open.

What if King Henry VII of England Sponsors Christopher Columbus?

The smirk of a man that found, colonized, and killed most of
America... makes you want to punch him, no?
The last scenario I'm going to write about today is from Andy Dowless, once again on Facebook, about a slightly different colonization of the New World.

Arriving in OTL Nova Scotia in 1492, Columbus believes at first that he found China or India, but the cold weather, suspicious natives, and lack of any kind of cities (and gold, as the natives had no gold jewellery) quickly changes his tune. However, he realizes that it would be a great land to settle, due to the abundant fish, trees, and arable land. He spends a couple of weeks mapping the coast line, before finding a massive harbor, which he names Henrytown (OTL Halifax).

With this news, he hurries back to England in the spring of 1493 with some samples of trees, lots of cod and a few natives (all but three dying on route), and tells the court of King Henry VII of an unspoiled land, great fishing, massive trees, and a few inhabitants that know nothing of Christianity. He's certain he has found a new land, and sought to establish a colony at the harbour he found. King Henry VII at first isn't impressed, but with Columbus' constant lobbying, eventually the exasperated King agrees, sending Columbus back to this Terra Nova to settle in the name of "God, the King, and England."

The colonization of Terra Nova is very slow, even as native tribes are wiped out by smallpox (everyone's favourite contagious disease) which leaves even larger areas to colonize. The Spanish and French, hearing of this new land, but not of any gold or riches, pretty much ignore the discovery, and continue their European wars. Columbus settles down as the governor of his new Colony, slowly expanding outward, exploring the coastline, and eventually finding Newfoundland, OTL Montreal, and south to Long Island and OTL New York City. Only the lack of colonists prevent Columbus from establishing more colonies, much to his disappointment. Columbus died in 1506 in Henrytown, a respected governor of the Colony named Canada, the explorer who found a new land (though, yes, the Vikings found it before...). While the entire Atlantic coastline of OTL North and South America was mapped by 1550, colonization in Central and Southern America was a lot slower than up north, mostly restricted to trading. This allowed groups like the Aztecs and Inca to gain more advanced technology like swords, armor, horses, and even small ships, as well as the ever present Smallpox, spurring a huge cultural, economic, and political revolution the totally changed how Mesoamerican nations interacted.

Over 150 years of lacklustre colonization in North America then takes place, with a couple boatloads of adventurers, the poor, and religious refuges coming every few years. All this changes in the 1650s. The English Civil War breaks out, and soon hundreds of people are seeking to flee England, wishing to find a place free from war. The stories of wealth and gold in Aztec and Inca territory finally encourage the Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch to try to colonize their chunk of Terra Nova, but most of the hastily assembled invasions and arrogant colonists are destroyed by the equally advanced Natives, allied with England. The native tribes in Northern Terra Nova also begin to adapt, and soon all of Terra Nova in a huge collection of independent tribes and empires, with a few European colonies which are eclipsed in size, wealth and population by Canada, stretching from the capital of Henryton as far south as OTL Virginia, east to the Great Lakes, and north to Labrador.

In other words...
Sorry about that.

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