The point of divergence of this timeline occurred on the 3rd May AD 630, when Cyrus, the new Patriarch of Alexandria and Prefect of Egypt, was visited by Hatib ibn Abi Balta'ah of Mecca. Balta'ah brought with him new of recent happenings in Arabia, along with a letter from the new prophet, Muhammad. Though Cyrus had been aware of recent disturbances in the region, the sudden rise of Muhammad took him by surprise, and he thought it wise to forward the news and a copy of Muhammad's letter on to the Emperor Heraclius.
Therefore, when Heraclius himself received an emissary from Muhammad the following year, he was prepared. For months his spies had been active in western Arabia, investigating the new political situation and reporting on the new religious teachings. Intrigued, Heraclius sought to meet privately with the emissary, Dihyah al-Kalbi, whose first-hand testimony was enough to convince Heraclius to journey himself to Mecca to meet with Muhammad himself...
In 632 Imperator Flavius Heraclius Augustus journeyed to Mecca and there converted to Islam. Though he never managed to speak to Muhammad, he did converse with many close to him, and his influence was enough to encourage Ali ibn Abu Talib to seek the caliphship.
In 633 Heraclius returned to his own realm, bringing with him the first of many parties of missionaries. Leaving them to spread their message in Syria and Egypt, he journeyed back to Constantinople where he summoned an ecumenical council of the Church. Though the bishops at the council narrowly voted to accept Islam, many in the Chalcedonian faction were bitterly opposed to the new creed and resolved to schism.
From 635 to 638 Heraclius fought a civil war against the Chalcedonians, where he eventually emerged triumphant. Simultaneously he was engaged in war with Persia, and as such was unable to prevent the western provinces in Africa and Italy from breaking away to reform the Western Roman Empire.
As the century progressed, the consequences of these events spread out to affect much of the old world. In the west, the Visigoths defeated the Franks in Aquitania, then under Wamba were able to conquer the reborn Western Roman Empire to control the entire western Mediterranean. The Bulgars took advantage of Roman divisions to conquer the Balkans, capture Constantinople itself and begin penetrating into Anatolia. The capital of the Roman Empire was moved to Antioch. In the east, an exiled Persian prince made his way to India and established an empire that covered the whole north of the subcontinent.
Meanwhile, in Arabia Ali and his sons were assassinated at the hands of the Umayyad family, but his infant grandson was saved and the Umayyads deposed by a coalition of Ali's allies in Rome and Axum. The Arab Republic, the first republican national government in over half a millenium, was established to govern in young Ali's stead until he came of age.
By the year 700 the political landscape of Europe and Asia had changed beyond all recognition. Wamba's empire was dissolved into four independent kingdoms, but the Italian branch of the dynasty soon died out and the kingdom passed into the hands of the Papacy, thus creating what later became known as the Papal Kingdom. The Hispanic kingdom remained the most powerful and for a long time dominated the affairs of Gaul, Britain and western Germania, before being weakened by infighting among its nobles.
At the beginning of the century, Ali al-Asghar, grandson of Ali ibn Abu Talib, came of age and was declared fit to govern Arabia and the Ummah. He declined however to take up the Caliph's duties, preferring to become instead a scholar and theologian. The government of Arabia remained with the Arab Republic, and Emperor Tiberius III was elected Caliph in al-Asghar's place to take over the oversight of the religion.
In 768 the Franks, having long been on the defensive, were reinvigorated by the arrival of Duke Karel on the scene. Karel was able to subjugate the Frisians, Saxons, Alemanni, Bavarians, Thuringians, Lugdunensians and other neighbouring nations, as well as receiving the submission of the Pope, before turning his attention on Hispania. In 800, having captured the imperial regalia of the western empire during a raid on Barcelona, Karel was crowned Emperor in Rome. The empire he created would later evolve into the Holy Roman Empire.
In the eastern Mediterranean and Levantine region, the political situation remained fairly stable. The Romans and Bulgars fought constantly in western Anatolia, while the Persians strove to reconquer Mesopotamia, but overall there were no major changes compared to the shocks of the previous century. However, Islam continued to spread, carried by missionaries and traders alike, so that by the end of the century most of the population was Muslim.
Elsewhere, the Slavic nations began to consolidate themselves into discrete kingdoms, and the Turks started their migrations out of central Asia after the final fall of the Göktürk Khaganate. The Tang Empire of China reached the height of its power, until the An Lushan rebellion of 755 tore the empire apart and devastated its people.
The 9th century was a time of great changes, as new kingdoms rose and old ones fell.
In northern Europe, the Norse peoples turned viking and began to raid and settle abroad. Iceland was discovered early on and many settlers migrated there to relive the population pressure on Scandinavia. Others turned south to Britain, where they conquered many small kingdoms, British and English alike, before being halted by the Dumnonians at the Battle of Dun Eydd in 878. For the remainder of the century the frontier between Norse and British lands remained stable, prompting the vikings to instead sail further afield to Ireland, the Mediterranean and the Slavic lands. One leader, Rurik, took his followers east and founded the first Russian state at Holmgard.
After the conquests of Karel the Frank, continental Western Europe was mostly united into a single empire. The empire was however quickly divided by his grandsons into western and eastern portions, which later went their separate ways and evolved into Lyonesse and the Holy Roman Empire. Amidst these divisions, Spain took the opportunity to reconquer Aquitaine once again and reassert some of its former power.
The Roman Empire suffered several defeats during this time, losing Mesopotamia to the Persians and retreating slowly back through Anatolia under Bulgarian pressure. A number of subject states, such as Armenia and Kartli, took the opportunity to assert their independence. In 864 Antioch was sacked and the emperor slain, and the empire was only saved by the arrival of an allied African army on the scene. Grateful, the Senate voted to accept King Theodemar of Africa as emperor, and over the next few years he fought back against the Bulgars and recovered some of Anatolia.
The consequences of this action were immense, as Theodemar converted to Islam and subsequently took steps to introduce it to the west. Soon missionaries were active in Spain, Gaul and Italy as well as Africa, and it was not long before Athafuns II became the first King of Spain to publically convert to Islam.
In the year 882 Musa ibn Khaldun al-Hashemi, a ninth-generation descendant of Ali ibn Abu Talib and the honorary Caliph and Imam of Islam, resolved to assert his political rights over Arabia. All his predecessors had been happy to leave the day-to-day running of the country in the hands of the Arab Republic, but they had never renounced their rights altogether and al-Hashemi was able to successfully seize power. As he grew older he became more and more paranoid and tyrannical, until eventually the Qarmatian state in Bahrain revolted and broke away. This marked the beginning of the end of the unified Arab state.
Towards the end of the century, the Sassanids of Persia fell once more into civil war, fatally weakening the country. Meanwhile, the Magyars migrated into the Pannonian basin and founded the first settled Hungarian state, and the Axumites expanded their trading networks across the Indian Ocean.
The turn of the 10th century saw Musa al-Hashemi continuing to consolidate his power over Arabia, subduing those clans and tribes who protested over the suppression of their ancient rights. His aim was to centralise the state and turn it into a power equal to Rome or Persia, but all he achieved was to encourage dissent and rebellion. In 930 the Qarmatians sacked Mecca and abducted both al-Hashemi and the Black Stone from the Kaaba, and with him gone from the political scene what was left of the Arab Republic effectively ceased to exist. A number of smaller emirates arose to replace it.
At the same time, neighbouring Persia was in crisis. For decades already the country had been wracked by civil wars for control of the throne, with the winner invariably executing the loser and his family, until by the year 929 there were but two members of the Sassanid dynasty left alive. Shapur VI controlled Isfahan and the immediate environs, while his brother Ardashir VII had his base in Susa. The remainder of the country was in the hands of ambitious generals, satraps and lesser kings, all of whom were by that time effectively independent. Shapur was assassinated during the middle of that year, and Ardashir died from disease a few months later, and with their fall the Sassanid Empire met its final demise.
Meanwhile, in the Caucasus the Bagratuni family was on the rise. Having long been minor nobles in the region, during the 9th century two separate branches of the family had independently managed to ascend to the thrones of Armenia and Kartli respectively. In 944 Ashot III of Armenia instituted an absolute monarchy after having all the feudal princes killed, and from there began to expand Bagratid influence further afield.
In the west, the Viking raiders and conquerors began to settle down. It is during this period that the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden began to crystallize, after many lesser kingdoms had been consolidated into them. In 929, Rollo the Norman managed to conquer Lyonesse and make himself its king, and at the same time Norse explorers in the ocean discovered and began to settle Greenland. However, not everything went their way - during the middle of the century King Hywel I of Dyfnaint began to conquer the Norse-occupied regions of Britain, eventually becoming High King of the Britons. This marks the beginning of the Kingdom of Prydain.
Towards the end of the 10th century the Magyars and the Rus both officially converted to Islam, and from there the religion began to spread into German and West Slavic lands. In India, the Chola dynasty began their second rise to power, having remained in obscurity for centuries, and started to unite the southern part of India under their rule.
In China, the Tang dynasty fell at last after years of slow disintegration. In the north, it was replaced by the Liao, established by Khitan invaders from Mongolia, while in the south a number of smaller kingdoms arose which were eventually united by the Song dynasty.
In the year 1000 the Icelander Leifr Eiríksson, hearing tales of land sighted west of Greenland, decided to go exploring. Discovering three countries which he called Helluland, Markland and Vinland, he and Þorfinnr Karlsefni established a settlement in the latter, but soon abandoned it under pressure from the native Skraelings. Though the region remained known and was occasionally visited by Greenlanders, no further settlement attempts were made for nearly four hundred years. In mainland Scandinavia, Christianity continued to spread among the ruling classes, though it took longer to take root among the general populace. The last heathen king of Sweden, Erik Emundsson, was killed in 1067 and after that there was no reversing the decline of the old religion.
Elsewhere in Europe, however, Christianity was everywhere on the retreat. Islam was introduced to Albion when Prydain was conquered by King Hywel of Arvor, thus bringing the island back into the continental sphere, and quickly spread. The Jersiais dynasty of Prydain and Arvor soon became one of the major powers of western Europe, controlling most of the land on both sides of the Gallic Channel and in the Albic Isles.
In the latter parts of the century, the dispute between the Papacy and the Roman Empire over southern Italy escalated to open warfare. Frustrated by Papal-sponsored raids south across the border, the Roman governor in Naples was authorised to invade and depose Pope John XIII. The expedition was largely a success, but the Pope escaped and from his new base in Milan was able to incite the Christian rulers of Europe to attack the Romans in what became known as the Great Crusade. Despite some initial successes, the Crusade ultimately failed in its purpose.
In the Balkans, Bulgarian power continued to weaken after its last outposts in Anatolia had been vanquished. In 1033 Achaea revolted in favour of the Romans, and the Roman army dispatched to take control there soon turned its attentions towards conquering other parts of Greece. In 1055 Constantinople was captured following days of rioting in which the Bulgarian emperor, Petar II, was forced to flee, and the Bulgarian Empire was forced to retreat into Thrace and Macedonia.
Further east, the Bagratid family continued its rise. By now, Bagratid princes had been installed on the thrones of Abkhazia, Meskheti, Media, Alania, Caucasian Albania and Circassia, among others. The two main branches of the dynasty, in Armenia and Kartli, cooperated closely with one another but did experience a low-level rivalry which in 1070 erupted into a brief war. The Armenians won and from them on were universally recognised as the senior branch. Good relations with their Kartvelian cousins were quickly restored, assisting the dynasty in quickly dominating the remainder of western Persia as well.
In eastern Persia, the Shansabanid dynasty succeeded in reuniting the region and began to look towards India. The Indo-Sassanid empire which had previously dominated northern India was on the decline, and in 1019 was humiliated when Ardashir III was defeated by Rajendra Chola I, who marched all the way from the Chola kingdom to the Ganges and back again with impunity.
In the early years of the 12th century the Roman Empire, led by Alexios I Komnenos, retaliated against the Papal Kingdom following the failed Great Crusade, invading and conquering the bulk of the Italian peninsula. Everything south of the river Reno became a Roman province, while the remainder, under pressure from the Romans to the south and the Holy Roman Empire to the north, fractured into a number of quasi-independent duchies and republican city-states. The most powerful of these were Milan, Venice, Genoa, Mantua, Verona, Parma and Modena.
Shortly after this, Alexios waged war against the rump Bulgarian Empire, which still controlled most of Thrace, Moesia and Macedonia, and crushed it utterly. Its remaining territories were absorbed into the Roman state and the last emperor, Petar III, was exiled to a life of comfortable retirement in Antioch.
Later in the century, Emperor Manuel I, who was any obvious male heirs, adopted Prince Béla of Hungary and married him to his daughter. Béla succeeded to the Hungarian throne in 1172 and to the Roman throne in 1180, after Manuel's death, thus creating a dynastic union between the two realms. Within a few generations Hungary had been absorbed into the Roman provincial system, which then controlled everything from the Polish border in the north to the third cataract of the Nile in the south.
In India, the Indo-Sassanid realm ended with the conquest of Pataliputra by Raja Vijay II of Awadh, who in turn later accepted the suzerainty of Sohrab Shah of the Shansabanids. The Shansabanid dynasty would then dominate northern India and eastern Persia for the next century, while striving with the Khwarezmian Turk confederation to the north for dominion over central Asia.
In China, the Liao dynasty was overthrown by a Jurchen confederation, whose leaders established the Jin dynasty. The Jin were soon engaged in war with the Song, and before long had conquered everything north of the Huai River, including the Song capital at Kaifeng. Many surviving Khitans fled further west, where they founded the Qara-Khitai khanate.
During the years around the turn of the 13th century, the Mongolian steppe had been riven by war between two rival alliances. The Mongols were finally united in 1206 by Temujin of the Borjigin, known as Genghis Khan, who subsequently led them in attacks against their settled neighbours. The first state to fall was the Jin dynasty of China, and by 1260 Mongol hordes ruled a vast swath of Eurasia stretching from Poland to Japan, and from southern India to the Siberian tundra.
The Rus' state collapsed as a result of this, and was replaced by dozens of smaller principalities paying tribute to the Mongols. The Bagratid realms, though they resisted conquest, suffered badly and in the later part of the century were increasingly overshadowed by the Mehranid family of Madastan. Eventually the Mongol empire fragmented into four main khanates, which recognised the supremacy of the Great Khan in Dadu but increasingly acted independently.
The destruction of Rus' and Poland was beneficial to their neighbours in the Baltic lands. In particular, the Lithuanians took advantage of the opportunity to band together, and formed a powerful state in Samogitia which would later evolve into modern-day Lithuania.
The Mongol khanates, having reached their peak the previous century, began to decline. In 1392 the Delhi Khanate was overthrown by a Rajput rebellion, but many Turks and Mongols remained in positions of power under the new Chauhan dynasty. The Yuan dynasty fell after uprisings in China and was replaced by the Ming, but the remnants of the family retained power in Mongolia itself as the Northern Yuan.
In western Europe, discontent was growing in the region between the Pyrenees and the Loire, which had for centuries been ravaged by war as Spain and Lyonesse fought for control. At the beginning of the 14th century most of the region was Spanish, but both the nobility and the general populace had had enough of foreign domination. In 1308 the dukes of Aquitaine, Vasconia, Tolosa and Provence conspired, with the tacit support of Prydain, to aid one another in achieving independence. By 1324 the Spanish garrisons had been driven out, and Duke Eneko IV of Vasconia was in that year chosen by popular consent to be the first King of Aquitaine.
In 1377 Vinland was supposedly rediscovered by Europeans, when Álfur Þórsson brought a number of families from Greenland to settle in the warmer climes of the south. In fact, knowledge of the region had never truly been lost in the first place, as the Greenlanders had continued to visit occasionally over the generations to trade and stories were told in Scandinavia, but this was the first time in many generations that any European had tried to establish a settlement there. The news quickly spread and Álfur was soon joined by other settlers from Albion, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Their successes encouraged an exploratory spirit among their fellows at home, and European ships were soon sailing all across the ocean in search of land and wealth.
During the middle of the century Eurasia was hit by a great plague. Believed to have started somewhere in central Asia, it spread quickly along the Mongol trade routes and was soon ravaging the continent. Thanks to recent medical advances, in particular the development of hygiene theory and the (incorrect) miasmatic theory of disease propagation, the death toll in the Middle East and western Europe was much less than it might otherwise have been, but in eastern Europe and central Asia the plague killed millions and hindered their development for generations.
During the 15th century, exploration and settlement of the New World increased exponentially. It was soon discovered that the region was divided into two continents, which were given the names of Vanaheim in the north and Leifria in the south, with a wide tropical sea dotted by rich islands lying in between. These islands, which became known as the Hespirides after the ancient legend, soon became a focus for colonization, and many wars were fought for their control.
The lands on the west coast of the Hesperidian Sea were famed for their riches, and rumours of gold soon came to the ears of the colonizers. From 1444 to 1460 Rodrigo de Monroy, a Genoese mercenary leader in the service of Aquitaine, raided and conquered the Maya cities and was named viceroy of the region. Not content with his newfound wealth, he began to look northwards to the powerful Mexica states, and from 1462 to 1468 waged war against them as well. Unbeknowst to the Aquitainians, though, the Mexica were well prepared and were able to fight de Monroy to a standstill.
The Mexica's source of information came from the opposite direction - China. In 1413 the Chinese admiral Zheng He, visiting Egypt with his fleet on a mission of trade and diplomacy, had spoken with Swedish merchants and heard tell of the new lands to the west. Reasoning that he should be able to reach the same lands by travelling east from China, upon his return home he commissioned a new expedition to sail into the Pacific and find what lay beyond.
Zheng He sent two expeditions east, which reached the western coast of Vanaheim and interacted with the various nations to be found there. The farthest south they reached was in the land of the Mexica, where they traded precious minerals and new crops for Chinese technology - in particular, rockets and firearms. The Mexica quickly took these new weapons to their hearth and used them to great effect both against neighbouring states and against the Aquitanian interlopers, enabling them to force a favourable peace treaty on the latter.
Other nations concentrated on different parts of the New World. The Ashikaga shoguns of Japan sent several red seal fleets to some of the Pacific islands, establishing new trade routes and their own tribute system to rival China's. Norway, England and Lyonesse agreed to divide most of eastern Vanaheim into spheres of influence and began to found colonies along the coast, while Prydain and Spain did the same further south in Leifria. Here they encountered another powerful regional empire, that of the Sapa Incas of Tawantinsuyu, and after some intial conflicts came to a peaceful settlement with it.
Back in Europe, the Holy Roman Empire was in turmoil. The influential Bohemian priest Jan Hus was active all across central Europe, preaching a reformist idea of Islam. Though the Empire had always been highly intolerant of any Islamic teachings, Hus was protected from persecution by the sponsorship of the King of Bohemia, and he and his followers were able to convert not just Bohemia but also Swabia, Bavaria and western Hungary. This set the stage for the religious wars of the next two centuries.
In 1543 Sigismund II, King of Bohemia, was elected Holy Roman Emperor. Sigismund was the first Muslim emperor-elect, all previously having been Catholic Christians, and the Empire was thrown into crisis when the Pope in Mainz refused to crown him. The Catholic princes of central and northern Germany took this opportunity to revolt and name Franz I of Saxony instead, thus triggering a bitter civil war.
From 1544 to 1587 the Forty Years' War raged all across the Germanies and beyond, and eventually pulled in most of the other European powers as well. Neither of the two claimants lived to see the end, but by the mid-1580s both sides were seeking peace. The Peace of Limburg of 1587 recognised Wladislaw III, son of Sigismund II, as emperor, guaranteed freedom of religion for all princes and their subjects, and recognised the independence of most of the Italian states as well as the Swabian Confederation.
The devastation was such that Germany would not fully recover from the effects of the war for over two hundred years. In the immediate aftermath, many of the major belligerents found themselves bankrupted and threatened by popular revolt. Romania was particularly affected, and in the last years of the century found itself fighting a mass uprising against its rule in Italy.
Also during the 16th century, the three allied states of Lithuania, Poland and Novgorod formalised their union with the creation of the Lithuanian-Polish-Russian Commonwealth. Although the three parts were in theory equal, in reality it was Lithuania which dominated the political and cultural life of the new realm. At around the same time Dayan Khan reunited two of the initial divisions of the old Mongol Empire, the Chagatai Khanate and the northern Yuan of Mongolia, and thus initiated the gradual creation of the Altai Confederation.
The 17th century was a time of endless warfare in the Mediterranean region. Having for years been forced to impose conscription and high taxation on its subjects in Italy and the Balkans, the Roman Empire saw both of these regions revolt in what became known as the Italian and the Danubian Wars. For decades Romania fought to regain control, but by the end of the century both areas were lost permanently.
Later in the century, control over the whole of the Levant was lost as the Majmi Empire expanded out of Arabia. Antioch and Emperor Constantine XVI were captured, and the government and Senate forced to flee to Smyrna.
In 1644 the Ming dynasty of China was overthrown by invading Korean-Jurchen armies from Balhae, who set up in its place the Gong dynasty. Decades of war commenced as the Gong crushed pro-Ming counter-rebellions and pursued Ming loyalists overseas. A number of the latter fled to the Chinese colonies in Fusang, and when the Gong sent an army to retrieve them by force they prompted Fusang to revolt and later declare independence.
In western Europe, late in the century a number of technological advances in several industries rapidly increased the rate of progress, making large-scale plants and factories feasible for the first time. This drove economic growth which, in turn, encouraged further progress by enterprising engineers and businessmen. Although the average person did not yet see much of an improvement in their daily lives, this began the period of history known as the Industrial Revolution.
The Roman Empire remained in crisis. Having lost most of the Balkans the previous century, it now faced a powerful enemy as the Second Bulgarian Empire reunited much of the region. The need to defend the Balkan frontier stripped troops from other parts of the country, which in 1770 resulted in the overrunning of Egypt by the Funj Empire of Nubia. Egypt, which had been the breadbasket of Romania, quickly became a base for pirates and raiders who ravaged the whole of the eastern Mediterranean.
In 1707 Prydain and England were merged into a single state, the United Kingdoms of Albion. Together, they and their colonial empires formed one of the most powerful nations on Earth, and Albion soon began to look further afield for more profit. From the middle of the century Albion became increasingly involved in Indian affairs.
India at this time was in the midst of conflict between the declining Chauhan dynasty and the invading Kasi clan of Baktristan, while many provincial rulers took the opportunity to try to assert their independence. Albion and, to a lesser extent, Lyonesse were able to take advantage of the chaos to establish their position, founding a number of colonies and factories along the coast and negotiating extraterratorial rights. It was not long before they had begun to dominate a large part of the subcontinent, using local rulers as their proxies.
The Industrial Revolution was gaining momentum, with the use of steam engines and other forms of mechanical drive becoming increasingly common. The early development of the railway, from 1728 to roughly 1750, allowed rapid movement across a country for the first time and brought many social and economic benefits with it.
The 19th century was a period of rapid social and cultural change, as liberal values took over from the old aristocratic order. In Aquitaine, the efforts of the ruling classes to suppress the democratic movement resulted in a mass uprising and the proclaimation of the Aquitanian Republic, the first major republican nation-state in nearly a thousand years. When neighbouring governments, alarmed at the prospect of such a revolution in their own countries, tried to crush the new republic by force, they only succeeded in cementing Aquitanian public opinion in favour of the new order and were soon being beaten back by armies of volunteer citizens. The First World War had begun.
The coalition by 1857 had confined the revolutionary movement to Aquitaine, but were not able to crush it altogether nor to silence it abroad. Several colonial nations took advantage of the situation to revolt and fight for their independence, New Arvor being a prime example. Despite these setbacks, the ideals of liberalism, constitutionalism and democracy were already becoming commonplace among both the political classes and the general populace of many conservative nations.
These trends coincided with new advances in science and technology. The first general purpose electromechanical computer was unveiled to the public in 1863, followed shortly afterwards by an all-electric model.
However, liberalism and democratisation at home did not necessarily translate into foreign policy, as many countries were looking to establish colonial empires overseas. Since the New World states were now independent or in the process of becoming so, several European countries started looking to Ethiopia and Asia for economic advantage. As these were invariably more advanced than the skraeling nations of Leifria and Vanaheim had been four hundred years before, the colonisers this time preferred to create protectorates rather than try to conquer outright, but nevertheless the effect on the colonised was largely the same. By 1900 most of sub-Saharan Ethiopia, the Malayan islands, and even India, were under European control.
The first two thirds of the 20th century were dominated by global warfare. The Second World War of 1902 to 1908 was the product of years of increasing international rivalries, accompanied by an arms race between two major alliances. It saw the concription and deaths of millions of soldiers, and saw the collapse of several powerful empires - the Lithuanian-Polish-Russian Commonwealth, the Holleischen realms, and the Majmi Empire.
The end of the war saw an upsurge in revolutionary and nationalist fervour. Many countries saw their monarchies overthrown and replaced by republican governments, most of which soon fell to dictators and strongmen. In Poland, Lithuania and Russland the Allied-sponsored democratic governments were soon replaced by National Socialists, which resumed their close ties and eventually in 1928 reunited the Commonwealth in the form of the Union of National Socialist Republics.
The UNSR expanded aggressively into neighbouring states, eventually prompting Albion and Saxony to declare war on it in 1939. The resulting Third World War saw National Socialism spread rapidly by force across Europe and the rest of the world, until the Long Ceasefire of 1948-61 restored peace for a time. After the resumption of the war in 1961, however, the tables had turned with the Allies having shot ahead in military and technological terms, and by 1965 the UNSR and all it represented were crushed.
Since then, the Council of the Oecumene has had its role expanded in an attempt to try to prevent any such conflict from occurring ever again. There have been no major wars between sovereign states since 1971, though insurgencies and terrorist incidents remain common.
Apart from these events, the 20th century saw the environmental consequences of industrialisation beginning to have an impact. High emissions of greenhouse gases, for example, saw the average global temperature increase by some 2.6 °C and resulted in the disruption of weather patterns worldwide. Sea level rise has also become noticeable over time, with the Maldives being more than halved in land area before the dykes around the shores of its main islands were completed.
In a number of countries, the depletion of oil fields and aquifers, coupled with the resulting wars, saw the collapse of economies and a mass migration of populations.
Compared with previously, international affairs in the early 21st century have been dominated more by complex diplomacy and multinational agreements and less by unilateral armed intervention. The Council of the Oecumene has played a large role in this, brokering a peace agreement in 2001 between the People's Republic of Malaya and the Malayan Democratic People's Republic, ending the long-running conflict between the two. It has also been involved in the deployment of international peacekeeping troops to Nubia and Baktristan, overseeing a ceasefire until a permanent peace can be achieved.
Throughout the world, the trend has been towards increased political and economic freedom, though dictatorship is by no means gone completely. China, for example, held its first completely free and fair elections in 2009, though the ruling People's Party still won a majority. Meanwhile in Aquitaine, support for increased direct democracy has prompted an amendment to the constitution, with the effect that all registered voters can now vote online to approve or reject any bill being debated by Parliament.