Alternative History
Sebastien I
Sebastien I in 1974 - last known picture of the Emperor to have been taken
Emperor of France
Reign 12 October 1943 – 28 April 1975 (31 years)
Coronation 22 October 1943
Predecessor Edmond
Successor Albert II
Born 19 September 1899
Bonaparte Estate, Corsica, French Empire
Died 28 April 1975
Imperial Palace, Paris, French Empire
Burial 2 May 1975
Spouse Annabelle Graves Bonaparte
Issue Maurice L.N. Bonaparte
Albert II
Princess Caroline, Duchess of Alsace
Full name
Sebastien Louis-Albert Charles Bonaparte
House House of Bonaparte
Father Albert I
Mother Francine Olinne

Sebastien Louis-Albert Charles Bonaparte (born September 19th, 1899, died April 28th, 1975) known simply by his regnal name Sebastien, was the 9th Emperor of France, ruling from 1943 until 1975, an era called the "Sebastienite Era." He was preceded by his elder brother Edmond Albert Bonaparte, and succeeded by his son, Albert Sebastien Napoleon Bonaparte, better known as Albert II. The mid-20th century was defined by Sebastien's struggle first against Narodnik Russia, then his participation in the French Civil War against brother Edmond, and later his efforts to recement France's position as the world's preeminent power. He expanded the military, developed nuclear weapons and began the lengthy standoff with the United States known as the Cold War. In France, despite oft-authoritarian measures, Sebastien modernized a sagging economy, reformed the way the French treated colonial subjects, and revamped the infrastructure. He is easily one of the most significant figures of the 20th century.

Early Life[]

Sebastien Louis-Albert Charles Bonaparte was born on September 19th, 1899 at the Imperial Palace in France to Albert Louis Charles Bonaparte, Prince Regent of the French Empire, and his wife Francine Olinne Bonaparte. He was the younger brother of Edmond Louis Napoleon Bonaparte and the nephew of Napoleon Joseph Bonaparte, the Crown Prince, the nephew of Princess Vivianne, his father's twin sister, and the grandson of Louis II Bonaparte, Emperor of France.

Sebastien grew up in France at a time when his grandfather was overhauling the governmental bureaucracy, focusing on diplomacy and waging numerous wars throughout the 1900's and 1910's known collectively as the Colonial Wars. The expenses of the Colonial Wars coupled with the erosion of French capital wealth (many major companies not going through the modernization practiced in the United States), France sank into a deep depression by the end of the 1910's.

Sebastien attended L'Academie Bonaparte, a school founded by his grandfather in 1904 to teach the Imperial elite the practices of government work and foreign policy. Both Sebastien and elder brother Edmond learned much of the political experience they would rely on later in life here.

Work in Foreign Ministry 1920-1937[]

Under Louis II and Napoleon III[]

In 1920, at the age of 21, Sebastien was recalled from the family retreat in Corsica, where he had been spending time with his then-girlfriend Desiree Pescare, to Paris, given the commission to be Director of Affairs at the Foreign Ministry. It was a comparatively lowly position for a member of the royal family, especially since father Albert was the State Minister, one of the most powerful positions in the Empire, and brother Edmond was the Secretary of the Interior Ministry, effectively the second-in-command behind Interior Minister Fredric de Roybert.


Brothers Edmond (sitting) and Sebastien in 1918

Sebastien spent much of the early 1920's abroad, especially in the colonies. In 1924, as the Pacific War broke out, he famously told the shogun of Japan, Hiro Asukura, that France would aid the victor "when victory is clear as day. Let that victor be you." He was one of the strongest supporters of Napoleon III's reluctance to enter the Pacific War all the way into early 1925, feeling that it was detrimental to the Empire to assist a fellow "great power" achieve more strength at the sake of another. In his eyes, weaker nations in Japan, China, Colombia and the United States would only stand to benefit the Empire. Regardless, he was complacent in his father's decision to enact the Iron Revolution, which he first allegedly knew of on the eve of its enactment.

"The Emperor is weak, this is true. And the weak must give way to the strong." - Sebastien Bonaparte on Iron Revolution's legitimacy

Under Albert I[]


Prince Sebastien and Princess Annabelle at their wedding in 1927

Sebastien married his new girlfriend Annabelle Graves in 1927, and was elevated to Foreign Minister in the wake of the Iron Revolution. In this position, his father Albert I trusted him to make major diplomatic decisions for the French Empire. He was extremely active in establishing friendships in China as the Pacific War wore down and China emerged the strongest of the belligerents (Japan and the United States being exhausted after years of destructive fighting).

When the Oktoberkreig broke out in 1928, Sebastien pressed for a diplomatic solution - he viewed the Eastern Department as a more or less separate country, and recognized a deep animosity brewing to the East in the wake of the vicious response to the popular uprising. He was on a foreign assignment during most of the New Reign Terror, which he personally admitted he was surprised by. "Paranoia breeds discontent," Sebastien said in reply to a query about the purge.

Possibly Sebastien's most defining foreign policy maneuver (and some argue debacle) was his attemtps at playing peacemaker in the Irish War, against his father's wishes. Sebastien was concerned about the difficulties in securing England, a fully-industrialized and violently patriotic country. When he brokered a peace treaty in 1937 between the warring parties without his father's consent - despite the treaty being extremely favorable to France - he was fingered as a liability to the "seamlessness" of the Albertine regime.

French Civil War 1937-1944[]

See: French Civil War

Internal Struggle and Consolidation of Power 1944-1950[]

Imperial Reconstruction and "Attainable Goals"[]

Bureaucratic Overhaul and New Society[]

Purges and Continued Violence[]

"Sebastienite Era" 1950-1975[]

Establishment of Imperial Office[]

Domestic Policy[]

Foreign Policy and Cold War[]

Black Sea War[]

Transition of Power and Death[]

The French economy weakened in the early 1970s compared to the rest of Europe and particularly the rest of the world, especially as the growth of emerging economies in Africa and Asia and the end of the Latin American lost decade raised global oil demand. France's dependence on Algerian and Danish oil due to frosty relationships with Arab states and Russia crimped growth, as did vast corruption throughout the bureaucracy and a severe lack of industrial innovation. To make matters worse, Sebastien suffered a debilitating stroke in December of 1973 that left him recovering for four months and dramatically reduced his public appearances and effectively ended his once-weekly television and radio address. When he did reappear throughout 1974, initially at Shroud Day, his speech was slurred, he required a cane to stand and he rarely left either the Bonaparte estate in Corsica or the Imperial Palace in France. No foreign leaders would meet with him directly again after his stroke for the remainder of his life. State Minister Patric Renaud, a reformist and economic liberal, took over more day to day operations of the bureaucracy and Sebastien's son and heir Albert began preparing to take over as Emperor at any moment.

Sebastien made his last public appearance on Shroud Day 1975, where in a brief seven minute address - the shortest in the history of the holiday - he announced his son would effectively act as Emperor in his stead, taken as a clear recognition that Sebastien would soon die and was no longer able to serve. He made a final radio address from his bed on April 10th, where he concluded his speech with, "And of my accomplishments, none are as great as securing the Empire's safety and prosperity. All others, personal and political, I have no use of." 18 days later, he died, aged 77, having reigned nearly 32 years. Albert II immediately succeeded him as Emperor of France.


In France[]

Within France, Sebastien is regarded in varying lights. While the conclusion of the European Wars ended with a more peaceful, integrated European continent, he is still viewed as a tyrant who dominated the continent and who aggressively cracked down on domestic dissent. While many of his policies were illiberal - the post-Black Sea War economic expansion of the 1960s were famously reactionary in France as the first generation born after the Civil War came of age - he is also remembered fondly for the rebuilding of France and its re-emergence as the premier world power.

Reputation Abroad[]

In France's colonies, Sebastien was noted for his integration of the colonies into the Imperial government itself. It was after his landmark 1948 Colonial Law that the colonies finally were allowed to send ambassadors to the Grand Assembly - in 1966, they could start sending full fledged representatives. Montreal emerged as a modern city during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, Sebastien completely overhauled and modernized the long-backwater Hindustan territory, and Algeria became the richest Arab nation starting in the early 1960's thanks to Sebastienite reforms.

In the United States, Sebastien was feared, hated, and admired all at once. While President Joseph Kennedy had been cordial with Sebastien, even signing a new trade agreement and border control law in relation to Canada, in the early 1950's the Cold War began to develop thanks to the English Civil War. Sebastien was not as notable of a Cold War machinist as his son Albert would become - his concerns were typically more domestic in nature, although there were numerous minor diplomatic standoffs in the 1960's and 70's, and a major one in 1969.

To many other minor powers, Sebastien ushered in a new era of progressive trading. Unlike the almost colonial attitudes of his predecessors, Sebastien worked to devise trading schemes that would benefit both partners - "What makes you rich makes me rich," he once told Japanese Emperor Hirohito.