It all started with a simple question for the 13 Fallen Stars timeline — Which nation would each of America's presidents (OTL) lead in this timeline? While the first few dozen presidents were easy enough to figure out (since they were born in the Thirteen Colonies), it became more complicated the longer time has passed (as more presidents were born outside the colonial borders). Would Herbert Hoover (being the first president born west of the Mississippi be a Louisianan in TTL? Would Richard Nixon (born in California) even be born?
From out of the blue, LG came and introduced me to several sites which could answer my questions. He showed me that both Hoover and Nixon's ancestries go back to Pennsylvania. He also helped with complete my presidential list (which can be viewed here, for those that are interested).
When I began incorporating these new methods into the Russian America timeline, it initially proved to be more difficult. Instead of looking into which of the Thirteen Colonies an individual originated from, I was looking into what [European] country. I had to go deeper into research and also determine whether I included all people or those simply associated with the Pacific Northwest. In the end, I chose the former, which I hope to explain my reasonings.
- Most Helpful Sources I've Used
What are the Trends?
Before we can determine who could be an [alternate] Alaskan, we should first ask how how we can deduce such a thing. To better understand this, let's look into the history of European immigration to the Americas. What are the trends? Is there a noticeable pattern?
To keep things simple, let's use the British Empire as an example. The home islands are inhabited by four distinct groups: English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. For British emigres, where would they choose to settle (outside the home islands). The short answer: EVERYWHERE! The long answer: they mostly chose to settle in areas which had large numbers of Britons.
I've come across a wonderful map by RedSnowCastle over on Reddit which should easily explain this. On their map, Britons are colored in red and pink. Outside of Europe, most chose to settle in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. All four were once part of the British Empire, and all (aside from the USA) are part of the Commonwealth Realm. While there does exist a few pockets of Britons living in Argentina (Y Wladfa) and South Africa, the aforementioned four are the clear winners for having a large British populous.
Next, let's look at the Spanish. Outside the Iberian Peninsula, they clearly dominate the territories once controlled by the Spanish Empire. The French are concentrated in Louisiana and Quebec. The Portuguese in [southern] Brazil. In short, it clearly appears that Europeans tend to settle in areas which once belonged to the respective colonial empire (for the most part).
However, this leaves out two groups which didn't have (long-lasting) overseas empire to settle their people: Germans and Italians. Despite this, these two have massive populations outside of Europe. Do the same trends exist with them? Let's see.
Let's start with the Germans. On the mentioned map, they clearly dominate the United States, though large pockets also exist in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. Why would most Germans wish to settle in the United States? While there were a variety of reasons, I believe the biggest one was culture and linguistics (making it easier to integrate). The second group are the Italians. The clearly dominate Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay; with a small pocket in the USA. Similar to before, culture and linguistics could explain why Italians chose to settle more in South America instead of New York.
In conclusion, I believe European emigres prefer to settle in areas which have well established connections to their homelands. Be it on a colonial or cultural one.
What Makes a Good Alaskan?
Using the data above, I have established a criteria using three different groups of potential Alaskans.
The first group will include the East Slavs and all who were subjects of the Russian Empire. This group would be dominated by Belarusians, Russians, Rusyns, and Ukrainians. This group would also include Armenians, Ashkenazi Jews, Estonians, Finns, Georgians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles (among the most significant peoples).
The second group will include Eastern Orthodox Christians (those outside the first group). Given that Alaska would be the only nation in the Western Hemisphere to have an Orthodox culture and majority, I could see many choosing to settle there. This group would be dominated by Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and Romanians. If we were to include other Eastern Churches (such as the Armenians), than this group could be expanded to include Assyrians, Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Lebanese.
The third group would include the remaining Slavs (not mentioned in the first two groups) and the other peoples of Northern Europe. The first half would include Bosniaks, Croats, Czechs, Slovaks, and Slovenes. The second half would include Norwegians and Swedes. The non-Russian and non-Orthodox Slavs may chose to settle in Alaska due to cultural and linguistic connections, while the Scandinavians may choose to settle for geographic and climatic reasons (given that Alaska and British Columbia IOTL have large Scandinavian populations).
I've included a simple map to visualize all of this. The dark green areas include people groups which would have a a 9/10 chance of being Alaskan. The lighter the color, the less likely it becomes (the lightest being 1/10). The orange areas are places that I have extracted peoples to become Alaskan. By this, I mean I've focused mostly on looking into the ancestries of Americans and Canadians (as these people chose to settle in North America). The pink areas I will need to explain in a future blog (as Asian settlers work very differently from Europeans).
Like I mentioned in my first blog post, this is by no means an exact science. While I like to think I've improved over the years and accounted for most scenarios, a wrench can always be thrown into the works.
There are plenty of examples of people who would appear to meet the aforementioned criteria, but turn out to be duds. An example of this would be Michael Ignatieff, who had a chance at being Prime Minister of Canada. His father (George Ignatieff) was actually of Russian royalty and nobility, he had close connections with the United Kingdom and Canada. His mother was a full-blooded Canadian.
Than you have cases where someone doesn't appear to meet any of the criteria, but a simple search showed that they are. My favorite example of this would be Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons. His mother's family is Norwegian and they specifically settled into North America through the Pacific Northwest. His father is ethnically German, but they immigrated from Russia and Ukraine (making him "Volga German").
While I'm not an expert in this field and have made many mistakes in the past, I hope this will help explain my mindset in regards towards my list of alternate Alaskans and the like.