Alternative History

POD- William the Silent survives an assassination attempt by a Catholic Frenchman in Delft in 1584

1584- The single cheap pistol carried by Balthasar Gerard misfires as he attempts to shoot William the Silent in the chest in his home in Delft. William draws his sword and fends off the would-be assassin.

March 1586- Strong English support for the Dutch rebels in the Low Countries allows the Dutch to seize Brussels. In desperation, Philip II rushes to send an Armada to take back Spanish holdings there and to attempt to sack London

October 1586- The ill-prepared Armada encounters the combined English and Dutch fleet, where its hasty assembly, minimal logistical support, and lack of drilling time shows. It is decisively defeated. Of the roughly 120 armed ships, the English and Dutch capture 38 and destroy 22. Some 20 unarmed transports are caught anchored near the coast after the victory, and compelled to surrender. The return voyage, with the remaining vessels low on ammunition and under constant harassment from English and Dutch privateers and scattered naval vessels, costs Spain another 19 ships captured or burnt. The Armada returns to port in Lisbon with 41 lamed ships in varying states of disrepair. Over 12,000 soldiers are captured with the transports, as well.

1587- Philip II receives news of the Armada’s decisive defeat, and suffers a heart attack three days later, as he flies into a fit of rage at an advisor informing him that Spain lacks the bullion to rebuild the fleet in anything less than three years. As far as his doctors can tell, he dies on the spot.

1587- His son ascends the throne as Philip III, with a series of King Philip II’s advisors as his regents. He proves to be a weak-willed and feckless ruler, which will have implications for Spain, Europe, and the New World later on.

1592- The Dutch rebels in the Low Countries virtually complete the liberation of all Spanish holdings there, leaving a few scattered garrisons to be gradually starved out of their fortified towns over the next two years. William the Silent is crowned Prince William I of the Princedom of the Netherlands. He sets his sights on building a colonial empire overseas as a counterbalance to Spanish power in the Americas.

1593- The rebuilding of the Spanish Navy is nearly complete under the 2nd regent of Philip III. The fruits of this program can be seen in increased revenue reaching Spain from its overseas colonies, particularly Peru and the Philippines, as the larger, better-trained navy beats back piracy in key areas.

1594- Philip III’s second regent dies. The cause is unknown but widely believed to be poisoning, an assassination attempt by one of innumerable palace factions.

1596- Philip III becomes a closet Protestant, under the influence of his third and final regent, himself a Netherlands-born Calvinist. Together they begin to quietly place other Protestant contacts into positions of power and recruit Swiss mercenary battalions to ensure the loyalty of the army.

1597- Philip III orders the purging of the entire office of the Spanish Inquisition. At first, this move is greeted with joy by the harried and terrified citizens of Spain and Portugal. Their joy quickly turns to horror when he announces that the new state religion of Spain will henceforth be Calvinist, though most Protestant denominations will be tolerated.

1598- French Huguenots begin fleeing France in droves, piling over the Pyrenees, where they are greeted with open arms by the besieged government of Philip III. They quickly ascend to numerous positions of power. By 1620, French expatriates and their descendants will make up the majority of the Spanish Army and Navy. A sizeable portion of his power base evaporating before his eyes, Henry IV of France develops significantly closer relations with the Netherlands and England as a counterbalance to increased Catholic influence within his own country. A small but noticeable flow of Protestant, but French-speaking, Walloons leaves the Netherlands for France.

1600- The first permanent English colony in North America is founded in Virginia. It is called Elizabethtown, after the still-reigning Elizabeth I of England. It will soon become English royal policy to encourage political and religious subversives to emigrate to British North America.

1602- The first in a series of religious purges and minor civil wars begins in Spain. These will wrack the country over the next thirty years as it settles into a new identity of mixed religious denominations. A massive wave of emigration to the Spanish colonies in the new world begins. It focuses at first on the Caribbean, which turns into a Spanish lake as even French colonies there are overrun by Spanish and Portuguese Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and Protestants fleeing the cycles of persecution at home.

1603- Elizabeth I of England and William the Silent both die, within hours of one another at their respective capitals in London and Amsterdam. James I of England is crowned in London, and begins moving away from his alliance with the Netherlands. William’s son, Maurice of Nassau, is crowned Maurice I.

1616- Dutch settlers reach the Cape of Good Hope, establishing the first permanent overseas Dutch colony there. It will attract many immigrants, including Spanish and French, because of the Dutch policy of religious toleration at home and abroad.

By this year, the English have established a number of other colonies in North America and along the Gold Coast of Africa. Tobacco cultivation is becoming a profitable business in North America’s Chesapeake region.

Also, Philip III of Spain is assassinated by a Catholic fanatic as he travels to a summer palace in northern Catalonia. His son ascends to the throne as Philip IV, though regents will govern Spain until he reaches his majority.

1618- The Ten Years’ War breaks out in the Holy Roman Empire, initially in Bohemia. The first six years go entirely for the Catholic forces, led by Austria and Bavaria.

1624- Danish intervention on behalf of Saxony pushes the Austro- Bavarian alliance back into the south of Germany by 1626. However, King Christian IV of Denmark is killed while campaigning. His son Frederick is to be crowned, but dies after he falls ill rushing back from the front to Copenhagen. Thus, his son Ulrik is crowned Ulrik I of Denmark. All of Denmark, and the Protestant cause in northern Germany, now looks to Gustav II Adolf of Sweden for leadership.

1625- Though the number of natives living in the American reaches of the Spanish Empire has fallen below one million, the population of the Caribbean holdings of Spain has surpassed 500,000 for the first time. British holdings in North America are approaching a population of 100,000, while the Cape Colony of the Dutch has passed the 10,000 mark under strong impetus from financial incentives given by the Dutch government.

The Swedes, under Gustav II Adolf, had been making preparations for an invasion of Poland. However, upon hearing of Christian IV’s death in battle, he immediately transferred his focus to Germany, landing in October opposite Stralsund and spending the winter recruiting, drilling, and integrating his forces with the Danes already in position along the front lines.

1626- The combined Protestant armies begin a major offensive in March. Despite being outnumbered by the armies of Wallenstein and Tilly, Gustav Adolf manages to split their lines in the Battle of Breitenfeld through superior cavalry tactics and artillery drill. Tilly is mortally wounded by artillery fire early in the evening, though he retains enough strength to hold his nearly untenable position until nightfall, when the Swedes’ Lapp and Finn cavalry cannot pursue his retreating armies. Wallenstein’s army falls into disarray upon being cut off from Tilly, who had appropriated his cavalry under Pappenheim. They are shattered by the same cavalry Tilly avoided, and the army is completely decimated. Of the roughly 80,000 men brought into battle by the Hapsburgs, 50,000 are killed, wounded, captured, or defect. Gustav Adolf’s army grows to over 100,000 men in the months following the battle.

1627- To the Swedes, a number of things become clear: Northern Germany needs more infrastructure to support their prolonged campaign; Sweden alone lacks the population base to fight a war against Bavaria and Austria; and the Dutch are the only force that can keep the Spanish from mounting a major intervention. To address the first, Gustav Adolf announces a series of incentives for Dutch, Danish, and Swedish businessmen to move to Germany and start-up businesses. A ten-year economic boom begins in the northern German provinces as an army, eventually numbering 150,000, actually buys their goods and services for the first time in history.

The king proposes an absolutely revolutionary measure to deal with the second. He suggests nothing less than the resurrection of the old Union of Kalmar. This time, political power will be split evenly between Denmark-Norway and Sweden. The capital will be Stockholm for half the year, Copenhagen for the other half, and King Ulrik and Princess Christina will be wed and share power after Gustav Adolf’s death. In the interim, he will share power with a council of Swedish and Danish noblemen. The measure begins to earn widespread support among the Protestants of northern Europe.

The Dutch, however, have problems of their own. The monarch of Spain, Philip IV, is another Catholic, and wants the Netherlands returned to the fold. This will consume Dutch and Spanish attentions for the foreseeable future.

1628- King James I of England dies. His successor, Charles I, is crowned. His legacy is mixed, but includes the development of British North America as a major colonial holding. Charles I immediately begins provoking Parliament by attempting to take into his own hands the Power of the Purse.

The Spanish, under Philip IV, attempt to mount a renewed invasion of the Netherlands from the Spanish Franche-Comte. However, the Dutch take the war to them, invading the Franche-Comte while the army is still assembling, and raiding Spanish ports up and down the Atlantic coast. As a result of the latter, and Philip IV’s policies towards the sizable protestant minority in Spain, the New World begins to look more and more attractive to Spanish and Portuguese, especially the middle class, which is dependent on maritime trade and largely Huguenot in origin.

The Swedish, realizing that the Spanish are occupied, press their offensive home in southern Germany, invading Bavaria proper and forcing the surrender of what is left of Count Tilly’s army. The Austrian emperor agrees to meet for peace terms. At this point the Protestant alliance holds all of Germany from Hamburg to just north of Munich.

1629- Portugal revolts against Spanish authority for the first time in a significant period. The Portuguese economy is entirely dependent on maritime trade, upon which the Dutch are wreaking havoc. Spain withdraws from Franche-Comte entirely and moves its army into Portugal to put down the revolt. Emigration from Portugal and the protestant sections of Spain accelerates, and the Spanish Army begins recruiting heavily from Neapolitan Italy.

The Peace of Augsburg is signed between Sweden and the northern German principalities on one side, and Austria and Bavaria on the other. The conditions are as follows: Austria and Bavaria will withdraw from Saxony, Hanover, Franche-Comte, the Rhineland, and Bohemia. Northern Europe will allow freedom of religion, and there will be no confiscations of holdings there, either Catholic or Protestant. Bavaria and Austria cannot confiscate Protestant holdings without fair remuneration, but Protestants may be bought out and sent north. The northern states will accept all such immigrants. Sweden pledges to assist Austria in the event of a major Ottoman offensive, but will not aid in any Austrian attempts to gain territory from the Turks. Thus, the Ten Years’ War comes to an end, with Austrian power decimated and Sweden in the ascendant. Within days of the treaty, the citizens of Saxony and the smaller states along the Baltic begin to clamor for Swedish annexation. Even the traditionally independent Hamburg joins in. All have experienced the de facto rule of Gustav Adolf, and have little desire to return to the rule of their venal and corrupt nobility.

1630- Charles I of England has completely alienated his Parliament, and finds himself obliged to dismiss it entirely. To gain funding for the mercenaries he uses to keep a lid on discontent, he has essentially been renting out the Navy to the Dutch, despite his Catholicism and his envy of Dutch commercial power.

The Norse Empire is formally incorporated in Copenhagen, as a unification of Denmark-Norway and Sweden. Its first High Council session is held in March, and agrees to accept the annexation requests of Saxony, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Brunswick, Holstein, and the smaller principalities in between. The Confederation of the Rhine, an alliance and trade union between Munster, Hesse-Kassel, Westphalia, and Wurzburg also begins to take shape.

France, meanwhile, has been quiet recently. The religious turmoil of the past century is beginning to quiet down as the worst of the fanatics move to take up the fight in Spain. It has been exploring and moving to build a Mediterranean fleet to rival that of the Ottomans. Its interest is in North Africa and the Gold Coast, not the Americas, where England and Spain have a commanding lead already. It does, however, take advantage of the power-vacuum in the Franche-Comte to move in and annex it. This greatly angers Spain… but they have bigger problems. The revolt in Portugal is gaining momentum, despite the crown’s piling of troops into the territory. It is beginning to look as if the Spanish will have to make some concessions and possibly even adopt the Swedish model of co-equal government, but Philip IV will probably not be the monarch to do it.

1640- The Portuguese Revolt has smoldered on for more than ten years. At times, the Spanish Army has gotten things under control, but they always seem to flare up again. A political solution seems to be in the cards, especially as Philip IV is assassinated by a Portuguese patriot in July, leaving the throne to his son, Charles II. He, though a weaker monarch than his father, has inherited several wise advisors, to whom he actually listens. He convenes a council of leading Spanish nobles and invites the Portuguese nobles and leaders of the revolt to join him in working out a political solution. By October, it is apparent that the only real solution to the revolt is a more equal split of power. The Iberian Empire is born. In England, Charles I has finally been forced to reconvene Parliament. In exchange for their cooperation in levying taxes to maintain the navy, they demand power over the raising of an army and declaring war on foreign powers. This is not something Charles is willing to tolerate, and he orders the arrest and execution of much of his Parliament. He succeeds in capturing roughly 80% of the MP’s, but the remaining 20% flee into London and begin rallying support. By Mid-December, Charles has fled his capital city for the Midlands, which is the only area remaining loyal to him. The south of England and Scotland have both declared for Parliament, while Ireland has taken the opportunity to break away from English rule. Oliver Cromwell, a newly elected member of Parliament, rises to leadership of the Parliamentary armies, while civil leadership fell to John Bradshaw. Both the Royalists and Parliamentarians send armies to Ireland to bring it to heel on their side, and fight throughout the English Midlands. The Dutch have been engaged in a campaign of piracy and pillage along the Atlantic Coast of Spain and Portugal, partly to drive a wedge between the two. However, as the benefits from this become dubious, they begin to focus on empire-building overseas. The Cape Colony has surpassed a population of 25,000 people, and the navy has developed Ceylon as a basing station. Given the huge interest of the Dutch East India Company In the East Indies, the Dutch move to seize the Philippines from the Spanish. With the vast majority of the Spanish Fleet arrayed against the Ottomans in the Mediterranean or against privateers in the Atlantic and Caribbean, the Dutch plan is a success. The Spanish don’t even receive word of the occupation of the Philippines until the next year.

1641- The French move to gain greater control over the Mediterranean, invading the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, and Spanish Milan. They take the mainland territories easily, and their navy smashes through to Corsica, taking it as well. However, the Spanish move quickly in response, shipping troops from Naples and naval assets from the Balearic Islands and seizing Sardinia before the French can move in on it. Angered that their plans were thwarted, the French have nonetheless gained significant power in the Mediterranean, especially with the capture of Genoa’s trade and shipbuilding industries. Spain still has other problems to deal with and accepts the loss of its northern Italian territories with little complaint, especially as the Caribbean territories are beginning to deliver truly monumental revenues from taxes and bullion, both. The Ottoman Empire begins a major land offensive against Austria. With the Austrian Army still weakened from the Ten Years’ War, they quickly push to the gates of Vienna before being forced to settle into a prolonged siege. The Austrians pass word to both the Bavarians and the Swedes, who prepare relief forces. The French begin preparing for further adventurism in the Mediterranean. Venice, seeing French expansion encroaching on them across Italy, begins to make alliances with the various Italian city-states, forging a close-knit coalition of northern Italian states, and a less cohesive alliance with Florence and the Papal State. In addition, they make overtures to the Confederation of the Rhine, another potential victim of French expansion.

1642- Bavarian reinforcements pour into Austria, enabling the Austrian commanders to begin enveloping the Ottoman siege forces outside Vienna. The Ottomans respond with further reinforcements themselves, and the siege lines outside Vienna begin to look remarkably like a bulls-eye, with various sides repeatedly enveloping one another in a massive stalemate. Swedish reinforcements, ingathered from across Germany and Denmark, are dispatched to Austria, while the Swedish Navy sorties from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, to land troops in Ottoman territory at the base of the Adriatic. The Swedish and Danish navies have both become formidable forces in the past ten years, and the Swedes can muster over 70 armed vessels and another 40 transports. Gustav Adolf personally embarks to lead the ground forces once they reach ground, leaving behind Prince Ulrik, Princess Christina, and the Danish Navy to keep watch over the empire. Back in Spain, the Council of Nobles has reached an arrangement that seems acceptable to all parties. The arrangement will be similar to the one between Sweden and Norway. Lisbon and Madrid will be co-capitals, each for six months of the year. The key houses of Portuguese nobles will be married into the Spanish branch of the House of Hapsburg, to create a unified throne for both nations. In addition, freedom of religion will be enacted throughout the empire, and the overseas territories will be reorganized into a more rational arrangement. In one of the more inspired moments of his reign, Charles II remembers a passing look he had at the imperial finances, and realizes that the turmoil of the past forty years has had one good effect. The Iberian population of the soon-to-be renamed Viceroyalty of the Caribbean has surpassed 800,000, and tax revenues there are significantly higher than bullion revenues ever were. Armed with this information, the Council decides on a set of strong incentives for settlers to the Americas. They expand the areas involved to drive emigration to Florida, Mexico and Colombia. The Dutch spend most of the year solidifying their hold on the Philippines, building forts throughout the islands and founding settlements there and in the East Indies. In addition, the Dutch are looking towards the small German states to their East. Bremen and the cities around it have no interest in joining the Swedes and becoming embroiled in any wars against the Ottomans, nor in joining the Confederation, a predominantly industrial polity. Bremen, in particular, had been in discussions with the Dutch to be admitted as another province. By late 1642, the Dutch complete negotiations with the Germans, and they agree to join the Netherlands. Norse forces reach Vienna, as well, and assault the outer Ottoman siege lines under the command of Lennart Torstenson. In addition Gustav Adolf and his detachment land and march toward Budapest. By July, Torstenson has routed the Ottoman forces outside Vienna, and retreat towards Budapest, captured by Gustav Adolf in late June. In a swirling battle outside the walls of Budapest, the Austrian and Norse contingents devastate the Ottoman Army, while the Bavarians are detailed to hold the walls and provide a base from which Norse artillery can shed the Ottoman Janissary formations. The Ottoman commanders realize how Gustav Adolf must have arrived, and their navy moves to pursue the Swedes. Unfortunately for them, those ships are already long gone: Gustav Adolf will return on foot. The French see an opportunity in all this, and move their own navy out from its base, shipping a massive army along with it. In conjunction with allied Moroccan troops, the French seize Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, and move in on Crete. By the time the Ottoman Navy receives word, it has swept almost to the top of the Adriatic, and is in no position to interdict the French troops before they land. In an effort to strand a sizeable portion of the French Army, the Ottomans seek out the French Navy.

1643- The Ottoman and French navies engage in a series of clashes across the eastern and central Mediterranean. The French are attempting to hold Crete, and, failing that, to at least evacuate their troops from the island before they are cut off. The Ottomans wish to destroy the French fleet, or at least drive it off and crush the army left behind. Over a period of a few weeks in early February, detachments of the two fleets meet and skirmish in the area between Attica and Crete. Crete is, by now, entirely under French control, so the main body of the Ottoman fleet cannot come within sight of land without being found by the French. They also fear that being spotted from Attica will allow Greek patriots to give the information to France, as well. The skirmishes are inconclusive, as Ottoman elements attempt to sweep away French scouts from the center of the channel between the two. In late February, the main body of the Ottoman Navy gets the drop on a detachment comprising roughly half the French Navy. The French lose a few ships but a favorable wind allows them to flee into the Aegean. The French detachment is “cornered” in the vicinity of Naxos, but the remainder of the French Navy sails around the island, catching the Ottoman Fleet from behind and forcing it to retreat after suffering moderate losses. All-in-all, the fleets are relatively evenly matched. Neither power can spare more vessels from watching their other rivals, as the Spanish are still angry with both the French and Ottomans. The French fall back to the central Mediterranean, but keep lines of supply and communication to Crete intact. The Ottomans have little choice but to allow them to keep Crete and North Africa, but they can easily hold them from further advances. The Norse, Bavarians, and Austrians resurrect an independent Hungarian state centered around Budapest, under their joint protection. The Ottomans, with one army shattered and another tied down facing the Russians, have no choice but to accept this.

1644- The Russians make the first in a series of moves designed to take a wide expanse of territory from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russian troops move on Smolensk, while the Polish are looking anxiously at their southern border, closest to the fighting in the Ottoman Empire. With few troops in the area, the Poles are forced to trade land for time, hoping their troops can get back to the front in time to stop the Russian advance. By mid-May, the Russians are laying siege to Smolensk and beginning to envelop it as they move toward Minsk. Gustav Adolf, fearing the rise of a Russian giant on his eastern flank, moves to assist the Poles, historical enemies or no. Though the Commonwealth doubts his intentions, they are desperate; their troops have failed to stop the Russian juggernaut so far. The Russian army numbers some 140,000 men under arms. To stop them, the Poles can move only 55,000. Gustav Adolf marches his army from Budapest to Warsaw, and then on to Minsk, relying on Polish logistical support. While in Warsaw, he stops to dash off messages to his councilors and Prince Ulrik, in Stockholm, asking that they strip Sweden and Norway of garrison troops and ship them to Smolensk by way of Riga. With the Swedish Navy back in the Baltic, Sweden and Norway are isolated by walls of sail and can be stripped of troops. The Norse army in-theater numbers roughly 40,000. The reinforcements to be moved in lend another 20,000 troops. Late in this year the Parliamentarians in England begin to make true headway against Charles I’s bastion in the Midlands. Armies under Oliver Cromwell penetrate deep into Royalist territory, shattering a major enemy force and capturing several of the most competent Royalist commanders. The Royalists are on their last legs.

1645- It isn’t until March of 1645 that Gustav Adolf can meet the Russians on the field. By this time, they are running low on supplies, courtesy of a Polish scorched-earth policy, and will have to retreat if they cannot best both the Poles and the Norse in the coming battle. The Norse catch the Russians as they attempt to cross the Dnieper River on the way into Poland. This enables Gustav Adolf to crush almost a quarter of the Russian Army while the remainder is stuck, within sight, on the other bank. His Polish allies aren’t so lucky. They are trapped deep inside enemy-held territory after a failed attempt to relieve Smolensk. Gustav Adolf finds himself obligated to drive deep into Russian-held lands to extract the Poles, who have already lost nearly 15,000 dead, wounded, or captured. This is very nearly a disaster for the Poles and Norse both. By the end of April, the Polish force, now numbering just 30,000, is safely back behind their own lines, while Gustav Adolf has lost 10,000 men himself. His reinforcements are just a few days away, and the Russians have exhausted their logistical train, compelling them to withdraw, but it is a mixed result nonetheless. The Russians have gained a few miles of territory, but have also managed to snag a large piece of southeastern Poland. This brings them within just miles of Kiev. Polish power is very nearly shattered, while the Norse have an intact force deep inside Polish territory. Gustav Adolf takes the opportunity for some power politics, demanding the territory he would have taken twenty years earlier, had he not chosen to intervene in the Ten Years’ War. The Poles have little choice but to acquiesce, for the moment. The agreement gives the Norse a strip of land extending around the Baltic from the current Swedish holdings in Estonia all the way to, and including, Ducal Prussia. The Poles are reduced to a small section of coastline around Gdansk, extending perhaps 15 miles in either direction. Swedish holdings can be found on both sides of this area. The royalists are all but destroyed in England, with Charles I obliged to flee to his last remaining army in Ireland. Cromwell, with 30,000 additional men, pursues and captures Charles before year’s end. In addition, the royalist army is brought to heel, and the atrocities it committed ended. Cromwell will be well-loved among the Irish until the present day for his actions in Ireland. While he ensures it remains under English rule, it is a much fairer rule. An Irish Parliament is inaugurated during his time there. Upon his return to England, he begins advocating for a much-moderated kingdom, ruled over by constitutional monarchs who will choose their own successors. This plan will gain support throughout the next year. On a side note, the population of British North America passes 250,000 colonists. The colonies are becoming a powerful force within the British economy. The Dutch, having secured the East Indies, open trade relations with the Mughal Empire out of Ceylon. The population of the Cape Colony passes 50,000, while the East Indies have over 5000 Dutch residents, excluding military personnel.

1646- The English Parliament votes Oliver Cromwell into office as the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and Emperor of North America. He is crowned Oliver I.

1650- The Russians, rebuffed in the west and southwest, begin a massive drive to expand into Asia. By 1680 they will reach the end of the continent, and focus their attentions on the collapsing khanates of Central Asia and Mongolia. Austria and Bavaria, having fought against common foes for nearly 40 years, enter into a personal union under a single royal house. This leads to the formation of Austro-Bavaria. Hungary begins to drift away from Austria, though the three states maintain strong ties of mutual defense. The French presence in North Africa and Crete is cemented by a formal treaty between France and the Ottoman Empire. In exchange for a guarantee of mutual support against Spain, the Ottomans cede the lost territories to France England founds a colony about 500 miles east of the Dutch Cape Colony. It will become joint policy of the Dutch and English to split southern Africa up a line between the two settlements. Around this time, Ethiopia begins a slow, steady expansion into the interior of Africa. It barters for technology from Iberian traders operating out of Mombasa in East Africa.

1660- Gustav II Adolf dies, leaving one final piece of advice to co-rulers King Ulrik and Queen Christina; The Norse Empire must preserve Polish independence from the Russians and Austrians. The Viceroyalty of the Caribbean now boasts two million citizens and nearly 700,000 slaves. Peru and Brazil have roughly 200,000 colonists each. California holds nearly 100,000 along its coast. British North America has nearly 1,000,000 colonists, while the British colony in South Africa has nearly 30,000. The population of Cape Colony passes 150,000, and the Dutch East Indies hold 20,000 colonists.

1682-The British open commercial relations with the Mughal Empire under the aegis of the British East India Company, operating out of Bombay. Russia begins to expand south from Siberia, into Mongolia and Turkestan. This brings it into conflict with the local Muslim population. In a wise move, following nearly ten years of unrest, the Tsar declares freedom of religion across the Asian holdings of Russia. This brings the Russian government into a twenty year-long conflict with the Russian Orthodox Church. France begins founding colonies along the Gold Coast of West Africa. It provides incentives for settlement of both the Gold and Mediterranean coasts of Africa to its citizens. China begins a modernization period under the relatively new Qing Dynasty. The Qing government busies itself purchasing naval and military innovations from the British, French, and Dutch. Many of these are passed though merchants of these nationalities from the Norse, who have many reasons to keep Russia occupied.

1693- Russia and China go to war over Russian encroachment into Mongolia and Xinjiang. Minor skirmishes occur but neither side can project power far enough to have any real effect.

1695- British North America’s population passes the three million mark, while the South African Colony has over 100,000. The British have, by now, acquired a fair amount of land commercially within Bengal, on the border between Siam and the Mughal Empire, and this land contains roughly 20,000 British civilians. The Spanish Caribbean now holds well over five million citizens and nearly 1.2 million slaves. With the advance of industrial technology, there is talk of outlawing the importation of slaves, though this is in its infancy and won’t gain a following for many years. Peru and Brazil both have around 800,000 people, while California contains nearly 300,000. The Cape Colony’s population reaches 500,000, while the Dutch East Indies have almost 100,000 colonists. The Dutch found trading posts throughout the Indian Ocean, and a few in coastal China. The French colonies in the Gold Coast contain more than 20,000 people for the first time, and French North Africa gains freedom of religion as its population becomes more French, with nearly 400,000 French citizens living amongst several million Muslim subjects. The Agricultural Revolution begins in Britain with the Scientific Agriculture movement.

1700- The Great Eastern War begins; Russia attempts to annex large swaths of Poland, Norse Empire moves to block annexation, Bohemians make land grab while the two great powers fight.

1702- War ends in a stalemate and peace treaty. Russians gain Smolensk and little else, Norse are given Gdansk, Bohemians gain a 20-mile swath of territory along their border.

1708- The Four Years’ War begins between Iberia, France, Netherlands, and England. Iberia seeks to curb French power in the Mediterranean. France attempts to maintain naval power, annex Malta, Sardinia. Netherlands tries to break Iberian dominance of commerce along East African coast. England mounts invasion of Spanish Mississippi Valley territories.

1712- The war ends in a negotiated peace. In Europe, the status quo antebellum prevails, discounting minor French and Dutch expansion into German states. In the Americas, England succeeds in annexing the lightly populated northern Mississippi Valley, though Spain retains all territory of any real import. Malta is declared an open port between Spain, France, Venice, Florence, England, and the Netherlands. Spain, France, and Venice agree to keep it out of Ottoman hands. Portuguese dominance of East African carrying trade diminishes slightly, in favor of Dutch and English hulls.

1718- Population of British North America reaches five million. British South Africa contains 300,000 people. Bengal holds roughly 80,000 British civilians. The Iberian Caribbean reaches a total population of ten million. Peru and Brazil each contain about 1.5 million, and California, benefiting from a wave of Chinese immigrants, contains 1.25 million people. The Dutch Cape Colony passes one million people, and the East Indies have over 200,000 colonists. The French Gold Coast has over 50,000 colonists, and French North Africa’s total population passes seven million.

1719- Disgruntled Iberian colonists in the Caribbean rebel against Iberian authority, over perceived unfairness in taxation and military service compared to mainland Iberians. Brazil and Peru remain loyal, though sympathetic riots break out in major cities in both Viceroyalties.

1721- California joins in the revolt, declaring its independence from the Iberian crown.

1723- Rebel successes convince the Dutch to intervene on their behalf, lending a sizeable portion of their navy to the fight. In conjunction with the rebel navy, the former West Indies squadron of the Iberian Imperial Navy, they begin to turn the tide on the high seas.

1726- Iberian forces are decisively crushed after being cornered in St. Augustine, Florida by a combined Caribbean/Californian army and the Caribbean and Dutch navies.

1728- A formal peace treaty is signed between the Republic of California, the Caribbean Federation, the Princedom of the Netherlands, and the Empire of Iberia. Caribbean and Californian independence is recognized by all major European powers.

1734- The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is formed. The UK, fearing a colonial revolt on the Caribbean model, grants an American Parliament.

1735- The Indian War begins between the British and Dutch in India, with fighting confined to the subcontinent and Indian Ocean, with the Mughal Empire caught in the crossfire.

1736- A British trading fleet fleeing Dutch Privateers runs aground on the east coast of Australia. Though found within a few months, the settlement they start becomes permanent, and soon holds over 20,000 people.

1737- The Indian War ends with Dutch control over Ceylon and the East Indies confirmed. However, British dominance of the mainland is assured. The UK has gained a major foothold on the continent and a precedent of annexing Mughal territory. The British also gain recognition of their possession of Australia.

1746- The Empire of Qing China invades and annexes the Kingdom of Korea. Low-level guerrilla warfare will continue for nearly twenty years, but Japan is the only nation to care, and lacks the strength to do anything about it. The Russian Empire mounts a major invasion of Xinjiang. China is hopelessly out of position to intervene, and Russia annexes the region with minimal fighting, in exchange for a guarantee that it will protect Chinese nationals and commercial interests in the region.

1758- The Mughal Empire, little more than a rump state in northern India, collapses under the weight of a corrupt bureaucracy, with many states actually clamoring for British protection. By the end of the decade the British are the sole masters of India.

1775- Afghanistan and Persia are the last independent nations in Central Asia. British India controls everything up to Kashmir, while the Russians are encroaching on Tajikistan. Persia has been nibbled at by both powers, but neither will allow the other to have it. The Emirate of Afghanistan has been reduced to little more than a 20-mile wide strip of land between Russia and India.

1783- The Qing Dynasty of China is overthrown, allowing Russia a chance to invade and annex Manchuria. Few Chinese care, as they are all too occupied killing off their Manchu overlords. The Second Ming Dynasty ascends the throne and signs a peace treaty with Russia giving them Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces. They also quietly begin buying military, naval, and industrial technology from anyone who will sell it, but especially the British and Norse. They will not be caught unawares again.

1790- Iberia begins granting its Viceroyalties “Imperial Region” status. This is essentially a devolution to local government under a Madrid appointed governor and a locally-elected Assembly and General Executive.

1791- Copying the idea, the British offer North America and South Africa Dominion Status, which is virtually identical to the above; London appoints a governor-general, the Dominion elects a Parliament, and the Dominion Parliament majority party appoints a Regional Minister. France offers a choice to the three component colonies of French North Africa: become a part of Metropolitan France, gain “Overseas Department” status, again broadly similar to Dominion or Regional status, or retain the status quo. Tunisia votes, by a wide margin, to become part of metropolitan France itself, while Libya and Algeria both vote for Department status, though by lesser margins. China mounts a major invasion of Japan, the first test of its newly modernized military and industrial base. They succeed in seizing Hyushu and Shikoku almost before the Shogunate can respond. The dishonor involved leads to the overthrow of the Shogunate, but the Chinese are able to capitalize on this. Before year’s end they have pushed most of the way to Edo.

1792- While China completes the conquest of Honshu, the Russians move to seize Hokkaido and Karafuto using naval and army forces in Vladivostok. By year’s end, China holds the southern three main islands of Japan, while Russia holds the northern two. A smoldering resistance to their rule will continue in both regions for almost 30 years, though Russia fares better in suppressing it for a number of reasons.

1794- The Royal Houses of Austria and Bavaria are unified under the House of Hapsburg, creating a personal union between the two nations. Already greatly intertwined in military and economic matters, their political structure begins to unify as well.

Ethiopia, under Iberian commercial pressure, begins a major modernization effort and a program of conquest of its small, mostly weak neighbors. This eventually brings it into conflict with the Ottoman Empire, which still holds Sudan.

1799- Greece revolts against the Ottoman Empire, receiving extensive support from France, Venice, and Iberia. In addition, The Venetians use the occasion to take back Cyprus from the harassed Ottomans, whose navy is occupied in the Aegean.

1803- The Greeks achieve the independence of all mainland Greece as far north as Macedonia. In addition, the Ottomans are compelled to accept the Venetian annexation of Cyprus.

1806- The First Japanese Revolt begins, with Chinese garrisons all across Japan slaughtered in well-coordinated surprise attacks. China still holds the key cities and begins massive reprisal killings while frantically reinforcing their men with Korean auxiliaries.

1807- The French monarchy falls when the Citizens of Paris revolt against high levels of taxation and near-constant warfare with Iberia and the UK. A three-cornered civil war develops, between Royalist and Republican factions, and a so-called Mediterranean faction consisting of the French colonies in North Africa.

1809- The Republican faction has virtually consolidated control over France at this point, but cannot build up the naval forces required to take the fight to the Mediterraneans. To rectify this, the Republican government under Robespierre orders General Napoleon Bonaparte to invade Iberia's east coast and take its naval shipyards for French use. The Republican War begins.

1811- The Caribbean Federation declares war on Iberia and moves into Brazil, following significant abuse of Carib merchant ships and seamen. In addition, the Norse Empire declares war on Republican France, which has attacked and annexed the industrial heartland of the Confederation of the Rhine.

1813- Despite outnumbering the Iberians by nearly two-to-one, the Federation Army has made little headway into Northern Brazil's dense jungle. Following nearly six months of campaigning, and with the Iberians badly pressed in Europe, the two warring parties negotiate a peace based on the status quo antebellum, with safe passage guarantees for each country's shipping.

1814- The Republic of Venice and Dutch Republic both declare war on the French, following French attacks on neutral trade in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

1819- The Republican War comes to an end. Despite superior military leadership, the French lose the war fighting against the weight of every other major power in Western Europe. The resultant peace, signed at London, results in a nearly status quo antebellum settlement, but Iberia receives extensive reparations and the Dutch gain some territory in northern France.

To Be Continued... I have a pretty good idea of where this is going so I would appreciate it if everyone would refrain from editing as of yet. I will try to post that outline and leave people free to fill it in, though I will still reserve the right to edit and change things, of course.