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Economic Geography


Note to readers: First mention of placenames not common to our timeline and that of the Domination are given with their equivalent in brackets, thus: Virconium [Durban, South Africa]

Excerpts from:
The Economy of the Domination: Historical and Regional Perspectives
by Sandra de Varga, Ph.D
Department of Economic Geography
San Diego University Press


The initial conquests of the 1780s covered essentially the area between the Atlantic and Indian oceans and between the Cape on the south and the Zambezi on the north.

Capetown and Region — the Western Province:

Capetown was the original urban center of the Crown Colony of Drakia; the capital until 1820, the largest city until the 1830's.

Date Population   S(serf)   C(citizen)
1783 10,000 S50% C50%
1800 50,000 S67% C33%
1830 100,000 S64% C36%
1880 250,000 S70% C30%
1914 350,000 S75% C25%
1942 500,000 S77% C23%
1990 725,000 S76% C24%

As the population figures indicate, the initial growth spurt was followed by a long period of relative stagnation, as the main focus of economic expansion shifted north. Capetown remained an important educational center (Universities of Capetown and Starwood, Marine Sciences Institute, Simonstown Naval Academy), and a cultural one as well, with a number of important galleries, two orchestras and the famous Starwood Dancers. Tourism and entertainment became and remained important after the railroad to Archona was completed in 1829.

Besides serving as a marketing and processing center for the surrounding agricultural region, Capetown has considerable light industry (food processing, furniture, interior decoration, fashion), shipbuilding and ship repair, fishing, canning and fishmeal plants and woolen textiles, and exports iron ore, copper, manganese and colored marbles. The 1960's saw expansion in the computer, microelectronics and software fields, with many small firms setting up in Starwood and the other small towns north and east of the Cape, attracted by the universities, cultural facilities and climate.

The Domination's first commercial nuclear-energy plant was built northeast of the city and commenced operations in 1949 (the Silvercoast complex now generates in excess of 1,000 megawatts). There are storage facilities for liquefied natural gas, which is imported from the Gulf provinces in a fleet of 250,000-ton purpose-built tankers. An experimental 60-megawatt deep-ocean convection plant came on-line in 1979; the first of the Domination's microwave receptors for space-generated solar power is under construction as of 1990.

The Domination's XV Fleet (60 vessels, including 38 Timur-class nuclear attack submarines and two Hengist-class VTOL-jet carriers) is based out of Capetown; there is an extensive naval/air base with facilities for servicing orbital-capable scramjets (1966), laser-launch facility (1980) and airship yard.


The southwest Cape was intensively developed as the only area of Mediterranean climate in the British Empire; labor was brought in from the north, and an extensive network of hard-surfaced roads driven through the mountain passes to connect the valleys and basins.

Agriculture is, as usual for the Domination, organized on a plantation basis, but for historical reasons many of the units are unusually small, with only 100–300 serfs. The region of reliable winter rainfall within 120 km of Capetown is intensively cultivated, with a good deal of irrigated land; the wetter mountainsides are under planted forest of conifer and hardwood, mainly eucalyptus and oak. Deciduous fruit is grown under irrigation in the higher, cooler basins; vines, Mediterranean fruits (apricots, figs, nectarines, etc.) and tropical species are produced in the lowlands, with out-of-season fruits shipped to the northern hemisphere.

The Karoo drylands beyond the winter-rainfall zone are divided into large grazing plantations of up to 200,000 hectares; the deep Kalahari desert is a 250,000 sq. km. State Reserve for wildlife and !Kung bushfolk. The ranching areas originally produced dried meat, leather, tallow and enormous quantities of fine-grade merino wool; in recent decades game-ranching of oryx and other desert antelopes has supplemented or even replaced the introduced sheep. Capetown University's Aridland Management Project has been instrumental in efforts to preserve and increase the carrying capacity of the marginal lands. Scattered irrigated areas are mostly devoted to fodder crops such as alfalfa.

Eastern Cape

Settled in the 1780's, this region is transitional between the winter-rainfall zone and the Natalian sub-tropics. Inland are the Maluti Mountains, cold and wet; these are largely State Reserve and forest land, extensively planted with European and American species of forest tree and otherwise unused save for water-control and hydroelectric projects. Agriculture varies between intensive mixed farming on the better-watered plateau surfaces, irrigated specialty crops (vegetables and citrus) in the river valleys, sub-tropical crops such as tea and kenaf along the coast, and extensive grazing in the mountain foothills. Population density ranges from medium to sparse; plantation size from 2,000 to 20,000 hectares depending on crop and area.

Principal products: beef, mutton, pork, wool; tobacco, maize, fruits, horses, exotic hardwoods.

Venta Belgarum [East London, South Africa] is the largest (1990 pop. 450,000) city, a river-port midway between Capetown and Virconium. General manufacturing, shipbuilding (esp. ocean-going trawlers) and chemicals.


Stretching from the Eastern Cape northeast to the valley of the Limpopo river, and inland to the mountains. Climate ranging from humid subtropical on the coast, to semiarid in some river valleys, to moist temperate and cool in the interior plateaus and mountains.

Settled during the 1780's, initial development focused on the coastlands, which quickly became the world's largest sugar-producing zone, and on the corridors leading to the gold and diamond mines of the interior. By the 1790's, the intermediate benchlands were brought under cultivation to supply grain, meat, leather, timber and working stock for the mines and sugar plantations. Irrigation developments and swamp drainage (especially along the Pongola and Limpopo rivers and in the area around Shahnapur) permitted diversified orchard farming, and extensive production of indigo, rice and cotton. Inland, the coal and iron deposits around Diskarapur [Newcastle, South Africa] and Shahnapur [Swaziland area, to Maputo] were put to use in the decade 1790–1800. The coastal cities also served as bases for the drive up the East African coast, and the conquests of Ceylon, Madagascar and Egypt. For most of the 19th Century this remained the most thickly settled and richest zone of the Domination, and a source of surplus Citizen population for frontier settlement.

The coast remains a major sugar-producing zone, although there has been a good deal of conversion to pasture (for dairy farming) and market-gardening, to feed the huge urban populations. Elsewhere, mixed crop/livestock farming remains the rule, with many local specialties; several million hectares are under irrigation. Large reservoir and pumping projects to supply urban water needs; water shortages are the primary constraint on further development.

A major afforestation project (1800–1850) covered most of the steeper and colder mountain slopes along the plateau edge with forests of northern-hemisphere trees (predominantly oak and pine). Australian wattle trees are extensively grown for their tannin-rich bark.

Major Cities:

Virconium [Durban, South Africa]: founded 1784. 1990 pop. 5,500,000

Major port; handling and warehousing facilities. Food processing, diversified consumer manufacturing, shipbuilding and repair, chemicals, engineering. Major resort areas north and south along coast. Entertainment, record, CD, movie, video studios. Marine Research Institute. Deep-sea fishing base.

Shahnapur [Maputo, Mozambique]: founded 1799. 1990 pop. 7,600,000

Domination's largest port; handling & warehousing facilities. Primary naval shipbuilding center; very extensive artificial extensions to harbor facilities. Dry-docks and floating docks, etc. Naval air and orbital scramjet bases; several large nuclear power facilities at 100–200 kilometer radius. Construction and assembly of marine nuclear power systems, fuel-cell submarine and industrial systems. Rail nexus. General manufacture. Iron and steel, heavy engineering (power-plant turbines, castings and forgings, ordnance), explosives, petroleum storage and pipelines to interior. Shahnapur Institute of Tropical Medicine.

Diskarapur [Newcastle, South Africa]: founded 1798. 1990 pop. 3,500,000

First, and for 100 years largest, heavy-industrial center. Located on inland plateau near headwaters of Tugela river. Iron and steel (1990 output in excess of 6,000,000 tons yearly); castings and forgings; locomotives; machine tools; general engineering, esp. heavy, mining machinery, large mine ventilation systems, power systems, nuclear reactors. Ordnance factories; tank assembly plants; turbocompound engines; autosteamers, esp. military-logistics vehicles. Basic chemicals. Headquarters of Ferrous Metals Combine, Trevithick Autosteam Combine. Metallurgical Research Institute.

Archona/Central Province

Covers central plateau between eastern mountains and Kalahari desert on the west, Orange river on the south, Limpopo on the north.

The discovery of diamonds and gold in the 1780's forced early settlement. The landscape south of the Whiteridge [Johannesburg area, South Africa] is essentially a flat sloping plain sloping to the west; the eastern third is subhumid, shading off into semiarid and then the arid, sandy bunchgrass savannah of the Kalahari and the absolute desert of the Namib on the Atlantic coast.

Large-scale mixed farming on the east, shading off into sheep/cattle/antelope ranching on the west and south. Local irrigation where possible, with arable areas fattening stock shipped in from drier ranching territory. The areas north of Archona [Pretoria, South Africa] are rougher and usually drier, and warmer due to lower altitudes; fairly extensive irrigated areas supply the cities with fresh produce. There are numerous local specialties, e.g. tea in the wet foothills of the Northern Malutis, or cherries, apples and peaches in the mountain valleys of the southeast [Lesotho]. Despite intensive production, this is a food-deficit area due to the unusually large urban/industrial population.

Principal products: maize, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds (esp. sunflowers), sorghum, fodder crops, livestock (sheep, cattle, antelope), fruit (citrus, other tropical, temperate-zone), market gardening.

Minerals: Besides precious metals and diamonds (both gem and industrial), the area proved to be a treasure-house of industrial raw materials; coal in the thousands of millions of tons; iron in unlimited quantities, copper, zinc, platinum, manganese, rutile, titanium, chrome, uranium, and others too numerous to mention.

Major Cities:

Archona [Pretoria, South Africa], founded 1784. 1990 pop. 12,780,000

National capital; the original city was in a bowl-like depression, just north of the rather bleak Whiteridge gold-mining settlements, and near a major diamond mine. Later proved to be near iron deposits, reasonably close to major coal mines, and in the center of the mineral zone described above. The residential/administrative core remains in the old city, with the industrial developments and serf barracks to the north and suburban developments climbing the plateau to the south, east and west.

Civil service/bureaucratic staff of several millions. Military headquarters. HQ of most major industrial combines. Several universities and research institutes. Tourist traffic. Entertainment industries and luxury manufactures (e.g. silk textiles).

Industrial research and development. High quality alloy steels, precision machine tools, ball- and roller-bearings. Ordnance and small arms. Final assembly of nuclear weapons. Computers, components, software. Sensor-effector systems, quality optics, electronics of all types. Word- and data-processing equipment of all types; office supplies. Fiber optics and transmission cables. Scramjet and laser-launch base; space-manufacturing research and support center. Exotic materials, e.g. carbon and boron-fiber matrix composites.

Industrial development: the entire central and northern portion of Archona province is dotted with industrial cities in the 100,000–250,000 range, with mines and isolated installations stretching out into the Kalahari (e.g., breeder reactors and plutonium refineries). The aggregate population of the province in 1990 was almost certainly in excess of 30,000,000, over 90% of it urban; the concentration of industries is as great as the Midwestern complex in North America or the Tokyo–Kyoto corridor in Japan, with only rigorous zoning and planning preventing a conurbation stretching unbroken for hundreds of square miles. The gold mines alone still employ over 500,000 serf workers, and vast sections of the central plateau south of Archona are honeycombed with tunnels stretching down over 15,000 feet — many of them now converted to clandestine military use, or stocked as shelters. The individual industries are too numerous to list in a paper of this size, but encompass the full range of modern manufacturing (with the partial exception of the petrochemical group, which the Domination prefers to localize closer to the sources of supply). Minerals, even after a century of intensive working, are still abundant; energy was originally supplied by the extensive and easily accessible coal deposits, now supplemented by a massive complex of remotely-sited underground nuclear power plants, and increasingly by powersat microwave receptors. The primary limit to industrial expansion after the first 50 years or so was the water shortage; this was solved first by the Orange–Tugela schemes, and then in the 1900–1920 period by the huge Zambexi–Kunene–Okovango project, which brought in water from distances of up to 1,500 miles away.

Since the Eurasian War, the Domination has restricted growth in this core area, for reasons ranging from aesthetic/environmental to military. There has been an increasing shift in emphasis, with highly-skilled and high-value-added industries being substituted for the basic process and production sectors, which in turn were relocated in other areas. The force of industrial inertia, however (the vast pool of skilled labor, the dense road-rail-telecommunications network, etc.) will ensure that this remains the core area of the Domination's economic machine.

Northmark [Zimbabwe–Rhodesia]

Conquered and settled in the 1790's; northward extension of the Archona–Central Province industrial zone.


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Northwest Rift

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Conquered and pacified in 1917–1919.

Defined by the Arabian desert on the west, the Zagros–Taurus mountain chains on the north and east, and the Arabian Gulf on the south. Site of the world's largest oil and natural gas reserves.

The oilfields of the lower gulf were discovered by Draka exploratory parties in 1910–12, and developed by the Hydrocarbon Combine from 1919; the Persian and North Mesopotamian fields, developed by German capital before the Great War, were taken over and expanded at the same time.

The first six-year plan (1920–26) saw output reach 10,000,000 barrels a year; a series of cities, from Basra to Muscat, was founded to handle, process and export the product. Pipelines were also constructed for overland export; the huge reserves of natural gas served as a limitless source of heat and electrical energy. By the 1940s, the conurbation at the head of the Gulf had a total population of over 6,000,000; by the late 1980s, 12,000,000. (91% serf).

Major industries: petroleum refining, petrochemicals and plastics, electrochemical and electrometallurgical (aluminum, copper). Mechanical engineering, generators, turbines, turbocompound internal combustion engines, jet turbines, scramjet engines, military aircraft and helicopters, airships, shipbuilding and ship repair, locomotives, rolling stock, textiles (mainly cotton and synthetics), food processing, fishing.


The Tigris–Euphrates lowlands were revolutionized by a series of large dams on the headwaters of both rivers, and control and check dams, settling ponds, irrigation and drainage channels and saline-water pumping stations. Over 700,000 laborers were at work from 1919–1948 on water control; tens of millions of hectares were brought under cultivation, and the ancient problem of soil salinity eliminated. Labor was provided by drafts from Turkey, Bulgaria and China; a dense road-rail net provided instant communications.

The areas to the north of Baghdad were partially irrigated, and partially used for dryland cultivation. The mountain areas were swept clear of their Kurdish-Turkish populations and afforested; the desert likewise depopulated, with a fringe of ranches and the deeper areas left as State Reserve parks.

Products: wheat, barley, rice, dates, cotton, citrus, sugar cane, truck crops, fodder crops, feedlots (southern lowlands); grains, vineyards and fruit-orchards, livestock, wool, nuts (pistachio, walnut) (northern foothill zone).

Cities: Basra (2,500,000, 91% serf); Baghdad (600,000, 89% serf); Mosul (250,000, 88% serf).

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