Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

   Headlines  |  Alternate Histories  |  International Edition

Home Page


Alternate Histories

International Edition

List of Updates

Want to join?

Join Writer Development Section

Writer Development Member Section

Join Club ChangerS


Chris Comments

Book Reviews


Letters To The Editor


Links Page

Terms and Conditions



Alternate Histories

International Edition

Alison Brooks



Other Stuff


If Baseball Integrated Early


Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog








Cabot discovers Virginia, American nation 100 years early


by D Fowler



Volume I




Expanded America - Part I - Cabot’s Gamble

John Cabot had early suspicions about his men. The first voyage, he’d explored Newfoundland’s coast and down into present-day Massachusetts, and it got very cold. "This is worse than Scotland," many exclaimed.

This time, the weather seemed even worse - it was part of the Little Ice Age, after all. Cabot thought he’d reached Asia before, and wanted to explore Japan. He decided, though, that further south could be India. Why not appease the men, he pondered; it’ll be a longer journey, but we’ll just take more food than we did last time."

Thus, Cabot set sail, and landed in present-day Virginia. The weather there wasn’t too bad; almost ripe for colonizing, he thought to himself. Without any crew mutinies, and without the dreadful cold, his health did not suffer much from the voyage. He lived to sail a third time, this time further down the coast.

Of course, he never lived to realize fully the enormity of his discovery. He’d begun to consider, however, that he might have found a totally new land. The British, who would see their share of problems over the next century, had a prime foothold on North America, thanks to the mild weather of the Carolinas. A colony in the Manhattan Island area failed in the 1510s, partly due to weather, partly natives, but the shutting out of other nations had begun.

The next attempt at a colony came as the result of Henry VIII’s renunciation of Catholicism. In 1534, after the execution of Sir Thomas More and of a British Cardinal, a boatload of Catholics set out for England and landed in Maryland. With more supplies, better weather in the Chesapeake Bay area, and other benefits, this colony survived.

Later, during the reign of Mary, thousands of Anglicans and Protestants began arriving in what they named Virginia. Huguenots from France were welcomed in small numbers, as well, though the population remained predominantly English.

By 1604, thousands of English colonists were spread from the new colony of Delaware south to the new colony of Charleston, named after the new king. Colonists had only begun to move inward, as interest wasn’t incredibly high. However, the number of colonists number well over ten thousand. And, the expansion was just beginning.

While the English colonized, they also explored. The Thomas More Seaway and the Great Lakes were discovered in the 1570s by British explorers, and in the 1590s, and British sailor chargrted the length of the Mississippi, claiming it and all its tributaries for England and for Queen Elizabeth. France and Holland had been effectively shut out, or soon would be.



Part II: The First English-Spanish War

The year was 1588. Spain owned Florida and quite a few Caribbean islands, while England held a number of colonies further north of Florida. The Spanish Armada sailed for England. When it was soundly defeated, a message was sent via ship to America. "Capture Spanish possessions."

As the Armada lay at the bottom of the sea, the efforts made by pirates intensified, as British-sponsored attacks wound up capturing numerous ports along the Florida coast. A momentous battle late in 1589 led to the near-destruction of St. Augustine, which had been the first Spanish settlement in the New World. Spanish raiders had paid little attention to the British colonies before, but now they had no choice. Soldiers were pulled out of former Aztec lands and points south, and the Spanish attempted to take one or more of the colonies. They left Maryland alone, hoping the Catholics there would support them.

Alas, the Spanish efforts proved fruitless. The Chesapeake Bay colony might be Catholic, but it was still decidedly English. The Spanish boasted few ships, and hastily retreated after several skirmishes. They could tell the British would be too powerful in a long, drawn-out conflict. By 1591, the nations settled down to a very uneasy peace. Spain had lost no possessions this time, but they knew if they didn’t invest heavily in North America, they would soon most of what they had.

Pirate activity, plus the presence of Dutch mercenaries fighting the Spanish after becoming independent from Spain, prevented the Spanish from doing anything in the Mississippi region. Spain developed a new strategy after a while - move northward from Mexico City and try to grab the continent’s interior.

Spain’s threat to England was said by some to have ended right after 1588. As it turned out, 1588 would be just the beginning of over a century of minor conflicts, skirmishes and hostility, which would culminate in one large war in the early 1700s.



Expanded America - Part III - 17th Century Expansion

The year is 1622.

An uneasy peace between Catholic Maryland and the Anglican/Protestant southern portions of British North America (BNA) had led to increasingly friendly feelings after the two sides worked so closely in the war with Spain. Only one colony - Plymouth Bay - existed north of the Manhattan - called James Island by settlers - where a group of English settlers founded the colony of New York in 1607. However, increasingly, the British welcomed other nationalities in to expand their ownership in the wake of Spanish expansion.

One such group was led by a German in this year, Frederick Hooper, who sailed under the English crown and founded the city of Fredericksburg at the mouth of the Mississippi, where it spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The British, trying to stay out of the Thirty Year’ War which had just begun, hoped he would inspire other immigrants to come and claim the entire area claimed by British explorers several decades ago. Fredericksburg, it was hoped, would become an important center for British trade, and eventually allow the British to cut into the Mexico area.

Explorers from Fredericksburg trekked up the Mississippi and along the Ohio later that year, finally finding their way to the Potomac River in 1623, and the border between Maryland and Virginia. Germans soon began flocking to the Fredericksburg area by the thousands, as did some from other nations. After a later start, the Fredericksburg area would become as populous as the New England area by the late 1630s, and continue from there.

With the ending of the Thirty Years’ War came an end to massive migration to the New World by other Europeans. However, problems in Ireland, and then the Cromwellian Era, led to many problems in Britain that required the colonies to become more self-sufficient, as the British virtually ignored them. Skrimishes with Spanish colonists because rather common in the region between Charlston and Florida, ad both vied for the territory. Local governments were set up, all along the coastal areas, and quite a few colonists began moving inland, some even going beyond the Appalachias.

In 1660, when Cromwell was overthrown, many thousands of supporters fled to America, and settled in the area around the Thomas More Seaway. After some skirmishes with the small number of French settlers there, in 1665 the British offered to buy the region from the French, rather than get into a long, drawn-out war. France quickly accepted, given the size of BNA.

By 1700, most of the area south of the Ohio River had been claimed and lightly colonized by British subjects. The Thomas More Seaway region, known as Canada, was expanding, and New York and New England had grown enormously. When William Penn was granted a charter for Pennsylvania in 1682, another link, besides New Jersey, was provided between New York and Maryland, one which would eventually stretch to one of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie. The Ohio Valley was just being explored, with Cincinnati being founded in this year.

However, with France totally shut out of North America, except for a few little islands, they needed to look elsewhere. The Spanish, contending with BNA in the Texas and Altamaha River regions, continued to threaten to go to war with Britain. The colonies themselves, it was feared, could become stronger than Britain itself - indeed, one member of the Royal Family had stated, half-joking, that "if these colonies keep growing, there will soon be some who insist that the nation’s capital be placed in the New World."

French explorers, shut out of America except for a few small islands after a few skirmishes in the early 1600s - decided that the chances of beating the English in America were slim. Hence, instead of fur trading, they chose to take in the spice trade. Their objective would be India.

Of course, to do this, they needed to ward off the British, Portugese, and Dutch. They chose to let those three nations fight among themselves, sending an expeditionary force up the Indus in the 1620s as a goodwill gesture. They befriended the emir of Afghanistan and the Persians, hoping to gain a foothold through the numerous Moslems who had invaded India previously. French spies, learning that the leader of India - Akbar’s successor - had been murdered in the 1650s, qllowed the French to quickly gain the upper hand as the British, still skirmishing with Spain and working harder in America, weren’t paying quite as much attention to India as in OTL.

As many sects battled the new Indian ruler, the French began playing them off of each other, currying favor with a vast number of local rulers. The British fough the French in a short war in 1665, but all this did was establish the Indus as a general boundary between the two. Britain wanted control over Afghanistan, Persia, and Western India, though, and France wanted more than a few ports in Eastern India. France had already begun to suppress Indo-china as a means of squeezing the British.

As the 1700s dawned, the entire world looked ready to explode in war.



Expanded America - Part IV: Prelude to War

The British Prime Minister had begun sending emissaries to various nations to drum up support the moment he received word of the meeting between Louis XIV of France and the King of Spain. "The Pyrennes are no more" had been the King’s proclamation, referring to the friendship pact between the two nations. The Prime Minister, and King George I, believed something else was afoot - that given a successful war against Britain, Frace could gain quite a bit of North American territory.

Come 1712, with tensions mounting over the fertile plains of the center of N. America, England had collected promises of support from Portugal - a long-time ally - and the Netherlands. German kingdoms, still recalling the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War and the War of the Spanish Succession, were remaining neutral, paying attention only to the states to the north in the Great Northern War. Besides, this would be a war more for colonies than anything. Austria would support Britain with troops, though there were few places they could attack. King George didn’t like the odds; not with the French so close to them. But for atrocious weather, Spain could have conquered England in 1588; now, the threat stood much closer.

Therefore, he solicited help from British North America. He called upon the colonies to form their own militias, and to be prepared to "fight, and take as much land as you can." The immensely sized area, already with a couple million people, had given the British many resrouces. Though they had grown slowly away from Britain in the last century, they could easily be swayed with promises of more land.

In those days of limited communication, the first strike would be essential, for a nation would require time to mobilize, and even more time to contact its allies. Hence, the British built up many forces along their borders in BNA. The Dutch, from their positions in the various Caribbean Islands they owned, would attack Cuba if they got word of a Spanish attack. France, for their part, concentrated on India. Portugal provided assistance from Brazil.

Tensions mounted for several years, with a number of brawls along the Arkansas River nearly leading to war. British troops hatily set up a fort and established a city at a site called Georgetown, on the Mississippi and very close to the Missouri, hoping to make that a central command post. Canals were being dug to connect Lake Erie and Cincinnati; though the methods for building them weren’t great, they would hopefully cut a few days off the travel time for troops and supplies. Everything was ready for a clash in BNA.

That was not where the first shot was fired, though.



Expanded America, Part V: Persia Detonates the Powder Keg

The Persians and Afghans had raided into India numerous times during the last few decades; the raiding slowed after France began trading goods they took from India with the two nations. However, what they truly coveted were the riches of the city of Delhi, capital of the rapidly declining Mughals Empire.

Late in 1715, the regent for Louis XV, anxious to make a name for himself, though outwardly he claimed to want to "establish for the you king the same type of reputation his great-grandfather owned," made an agreement with the Persians - they could enter and loot Delhi, but then the French would get to keep it.

Shah Jahan liked the idea. The Persians cared more about the booty than about the territory to be gained; oh, the French would take a few trinkets, but items such as the famed Peacock Throne would be Persian.

The British had taken advantage of the weakening Mughals by moving into their territory, much int he way gangsters would later "muscle in" on each other. The British propped the Mughals up against the French for one reason; they expended so much in BNA, they wouldn’t have the forces to control India for quite some time. Indeed, they might not have been there at all, except that the French chose to attempt to colonize the Indus River area, and the British wanted to keep the French from some day controlling all of India.

On January 27, 1716, the French allowed a large group of Persians through their territory, then followed them into Delhi. They followed the plunderes, allowing them to take the large brunt of Mughal defense. A few British soldiers were there as well, and one got stabbed in a scuffle with the Persians, and later died.

The British planned to send a demenad for restitution to the Persians, which Persia might have agreed to. The British never got to find out, though. The messenger was injured in a scuffle with the French, as the French forces entered Delhi. A battle ensued over the city, and the British instantly sent word to London. The French also got word, and the news spread up and down the western part of Europe. Dutch forces quickly assembled at the border, prepared for a possible French invasion. Settlers on both sides in North America began shouting, then shooting, at each other by late summer. By the end of the year, the world was at war.



Expanded America - Part VI: Logic Would Dictate...

Louis XV, kept abreast of what the Regent felt he needed to know about the war, had heard many wonderful things about the land of India. "If we capture it, I would like to go there," he told the Regent one day in the fall of 1716.

"Your highness, India is way too far for you," the fellow, Lord Charles Gloucher, explained, showing him on the most modern map he could find.

"But, you are helping me run the kingdom anyway while I grow, right?’ He agreed. "Why could I not go while you run the country?" The fellow simply shrugged and said "someday." "How long until we take India from the British," the lad inquired.

The thought was tempting, as Louis could die, leaving him as king, but he feared Louis getting all the glory. "We do not have many troops there, but it is okay because neither do the British. It will be a while till we win, and it costs a lot to send them," explained Gloucher. "More than we, or your uncle Phillip, the king of Spain, can afford."

"I could lead them in battle," remarked the King.

"You do not know anything about battles," Charles explained as calmly as he could. "You also have not learned logic yet; it’s a way of thinking. And logic dictates that we invade Holland and knock the Dutch out of the war first."

"Are they invading us," wondered the king, suddenly worried. The nobleman, the king’s uncle, shook his head. "Then I want us to send all our forces to India, and take it! Then I will go there and be their king, too."

The regent shook his head; he had tried to reason with the lad, but his mind had been set on Holland. "I am the regent, and right now you will listen to me; you can make the decisions later."

He would later wish he’d listened to the king.

In October of 1716, a large force of French attacked the Dutch. The Habsburgs, still allied with them, quickly declared war on France. The Dutch forces on the front lines fought valiantly, though, thanks to an innovative general named William Blyleven, who formed a great citizen’s army. Using thousands of civilians, without mixing mercenaries in with them as the French did, the Dutch created a group with much more fighting resolve, as they fought for their own homeland. They managed to hold off most of the French forces after losing only a couple dozen miles, retreating to Antwerp. A major battle fought in Antwerp in December was won by the Dutch, because of superior military manuevreing; Holland had barely been touched. Instead of trying to push into France, Blyleven presented the French forces with a war that was primarily defensive. Meanwhile, word got out that the King really wasn’t in support of this offensive, anyway; he wanted to invade India. As Austrian forces made their way through Northern Italy to try and attack France, the immense push into the Netherlands stalled greatly, and even reversed some.

Meanwhile, word had gotten out to Dutch forces attacking Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spanish nobles had exhausted quite a bit of their wealth on themselves, and the Dutch and British were winning this theater of the war. However, when some of the Dutch left, the British knew they and the Portugese would have their hands full.

However, the British owned one advantage. Most of the Indian population still existed within their own borders, not on the French side. When asked for an update, one nobleman told King George "we just need to get the various religions in India to fight together against the French."

"How many are there," asked the monarch.

"Counting all the sects," the messenger began, then lowering his voice, "dozens, maybe a hundred or so."

The king grumbled. "Can it be done?"

What else could he say, the fellow wondered. "No, but we’ll do it anyway."



Expanded America - Part VII: Using the natives

Sorry I haven’t posted in a whlie - I knew it might be a mistake to start this when a few other real life things might get in the way. Then again, I guess we’re all used to timelines in weekly increments, sort of like continuing dramas on TV.

Anyway, this is part of my timeline wherein John Cabot lands further south, makes a few more voyages, and various problems with religious battles in Britain lead to colonization a century earlier. When last we left, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Austria were aligned against France and Spain in one mammoth war. It started in India, when Persians sacked Delhi and the French followed them in, killing a few Britishers. The main battles are on the North American soil

Britain saw one clear advantage in their war in BNA. The Spanish weren’t all that nice to the natives, they had often been downright inhuman. The British knew they could get natives to side with them with stories of the savagery of the Spaniards. Some of it was propaganda, but a fair deal of it was true.

As the Spanish advanced on Georgetown in the spring of 1717, the British enlisted a large number of natives to ambush the Spanish. A large pitched battle ensued in May of 1717 in the region between the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers, but the major work in that year was the combination of a British insurgence dozens of miles into Florida and a major insurrection by Seminole Indians.

The Seminoles used British-supplied weapnos to devastate the Spaniards in the Florida Penninsula. A major assault on St. Augustine by the natives, combined with a British sea assault, led to a major defeat for the Spaniards. Natives were also assisting the British in the Plains, as they struggled to push toward the Rio Grande.

However, the French were preparing to assault the east coast of BNA. In a fleet with numerous Spanish ships, they launched from Bourdeaux in mid-year, and in October of 1717, they attacked Charleston, hoping to draw some of the British away from Florida.

What they didn’t expect was that the citizens of the area would be so prepared. The region’s civilians fought valiantly. The invading armies wound up looting the city, burning numerous historic structure, including the region’s government buildings. However, the colonial capital could not be held, as the native assaults prevented the Spanish from sending troops up from Florida. After almost two months, the French invasion had failed, and the British closely guarded the region to prevent any further attacks.

By June of 1718, the Spanish had been booted out of Florida. The front stabilized along the Great Plains, and the Dutch and French at a stalemate, peace discussions began. Many presumed that the war would end soon.

It would go on for several more years, however.




Expanded America, Part VIII - Palaces Go Coup-Coup

Lord Charles Gloucher, uncle of and regent for Louis XV of France, was no fool - he knew if something happened to the king, he would become king. He hadn’t felt the need to do anything wicked because first, everyone would suspect him, but more importantly, he could wield quite a bit of power simply in the position of regent.

However, Gloucher had lost much of that power as 1717 wound on, along with the popularity he had enjoyed, thanks to the slow bloodletting occurring in the Flemish regions and along the French-Italian border. The attack on the Netherlands had been a disaster. His position, held in trust, could theoretically be taken away from him by Louis XV’s mother, his sister-in-law, Countess Marie. As the large military stalled, going back and forth over the same few miles with the Dutch and Italians, Gloucher felt the time was ripe for a coup. He would do so in a most ingenious way.

Not wishing to actually murder the king, lest a civil war erupt (young Louis was supported by his uncle, Phillip of Spain, placed on the throne after the War of the Spanish Succession), he suddenly concurred with Louis about an invasion of India. He also noted the immense number of troops which could be gathered if France were to build an army out of its citizenry, as the Dutch had, rather than simply using mercenaries and whatever citizens showed up. After all, France held a huge advantage over other European nations in population.

Therefore, he suggested that Louis - and Marie - lead an army of some 200,000 troops, sending them on "a slow boat to India," which would become a quite common phrase in future years forgetting rid of someone. Of course, it would be hard to get past the British and Dutch navies, but that was the whole idea. The king would die en route or in battle, Gloucher would be king, and he would still be able to keep enough troops to fight the war totally his way.

Marie understood what was going on, though. The navy, using just about the last ships available to the French, considering the earlier attempt at BNA, contained few well-trained soldiers. Once the ships were safely out of port, in May of 1718, Marie ordered them to land in Santader,Spain, where some help could be gained from Louis’ uncle, King Phillip.

Louis saw two alternatives. First, he could march back toward Paris, where - even though he was popoular - there could be civil war, and the war effort would clearly be curtailed; his youth would also be a problem. Second, they could go toward India, but invade somewhere else, instead.

Phillip presented a third, more intriguing option: Invade Portugal, which was not nearly as strong as the Netherlands. Louis could be king of it and France, and perhaps the entire Iberian Penninsula and France would be united someday. Because they shared no common borders, France could easily assure the Portugese they would not become a province, as they had under the Spaniards in the first half of the 1600s. The Portugese were dominated in trade by British merchants, and might welcome some freedom. One of the major Allied nations in the war would be gone. Plus, Louis could offer the kingdom of Portugal to Charles, Lord Gloucher, in exchange for getting his own kingdom back.

Louis loved Phillip’s idea, as long as Marie and Phillip could assist him as king for a while. The navy and some of the army set off for Lisbon via sea, with others joining Spanish troops in a land campaign. The British navy had posted several ships in the area, so the French avoided major sailing, though some ships did sail into Lisbon harbor after skirmishes with the British. On August 10, 1718, Louis XV entered the King’s Palace in Lisbon with a thousand troops and a proposal he phrased this way: "Portugese King Pedro, you will be the new Regent for me in Paris, Gloucher will be Regent in Lisbon while you are gone, then you can return to be King of Portugal, with Gloucher being your heir."

"What?!?!" came the monarch. Marie realized that the idea had been too complex for the lad to comprehend, and thus he couldn’t explain it without messing up a couple details.

One of the generals supporting Louis put it this way. "Would you rather be potential heir of two lands, or dead and king of none?" Seeing the massive number of French troops, and wishing to protect his own family, King Pedro abdicated.

When the message got back to Gloucher in Paris, he was livid. He would never accept the Kingship of Portugal when he could easily have France. King Pedro would have to be satisfied with being regent. He sent a message back to Louis: "Have fun in Portugal as king, because you will never be King of France."

Louis had just sent messages to Portugese forces to start fighting on the French and Spanish sides before hearing of this turn. He then sent word: "Attack French forces, too."

The war had gotten infinitely more complex.




Expanded America, Part IX - You Want to Attack Where?!?!

After hearing of the wacky events concerning Louis XV, George I knew peace was a ridiculous proposition. Spanish troops were assisting Louis XV in putting down the last vestiges of rebellion, so they could send nothing more to the front. Portugese forces would be in a state of bewilderment, but they’d only been important in South America and - somewhat - the Caribbean. The British needed to begin attacking.

The offensive of 1718 allowed the Dutch to cmoplete their conquest of Cuba, with British help. The British navy, fighting the Spanish in the Gulf of Mexico, prevented a major assault on Fredericksburg from becoming much worse than it was. Native Americans in Mexico - what was left of them - began another general assault on Spanish forces.

The Spanish fought well, but found their forces in the New World were being drained. Natives and lack of help from Spain combined to cause this problem. As troops from South America were brought in, with the Porugese no longer a threat to attack from Brazil, the front stabilized just north of the Rio Grande, but insurgencies into Mexico from time to time were causing great problems.

Meanwhile, Louis XV neared the age of majority to be French king, which he would attain in 1722. He faced the problem of 200,000 French troops in Portugal with almost nowhere to go. Finally, still not withing to engage in civil war (though Phillip strongly urged it) against the man who called hismelf Charles X of France, Louis XV was in a quandry. Finally, Phillip III on Spain insisted that Louis attack *somebody* with the French forces which now, apparently, fought for Portugal. Louis studied a map.

"You know, we could use help in the Americas," Phillip hinted to his nephew, King of Portugal & the rightful king of France.

"You yourself said the British navy is too strong. And I am not about to attempt what your predecessor did in 1588; if you wish to do that, it is your business, but I will leave the troops to you and just be happy as king of Portugal all my life." Louis knew Phillip wanted him as King of France, so any decision to sit back and ignore what Lord Gloucher had done would be strongly discouraged.

Phillip stammered in the Lisbon palace, with Pedro listening in: "Well...not in the Mediterranean they wouldn’t be!"

Looking at the map, Louis said: "These are the Ottomans, opposing our allies, the Persians, right?"

"They are nominal allies," Phillip explained, "but yes, the Ottomans could probably wipe them out after a while and threaten our forces in India; which, by the way, you wished to assist earlier, from what I hear."

"Times change. Let us attack the Ottomans."

"But, your Highness," Phillip explained as Pedro tried very hard to shush him, "the Austrians are the mortal enemies of the Ottomans, and they are on the British side; it would be best to attack the Habsbrgs." He relished the thoughts of once again beating those whom they’d beatien in the War of the Spanish Succession. "You could install Gloucher as Emperor there, he would surely accept that, if he does not accept Portugal."

Pedro almost had a fit at this. A strong ally of the royal family, as was the Dutch king, he knew that could be a fatal blow to their war effort. The Habsburgs had been funding a large portion of the war, though lately, the Habsburgs had been giving mostly to the Dutch.

"You Highness," Pedro exclaimed, "do not listen to him, I am your regent for Portugal! The troops under my domain must follow me!"

"But you are Portugese, and these are French citizens," Louis insisted. "Besides, King Phillip is my uncle!"

Pedro fumed silently, glaring at the young monarch. "First of all, you control French troops, not Spanish ones. He cannot tell those troops what to do. Second, you have kept your troops in my country for so long, they are practically our citizens, anyway!" He exhorted him to "use our small navy and the benefit of Borbon control of the Mediterranean, and attack someone, but not the Habsburgs! The Ottomans, or - if you must - the Algerians." He remarked that "the entire Barbary Coast could be swept free of pirates with all those troops."

Louis looked on the map Pedro showed him. "Hmmm, and you are saying we could have the entire north coast of Africa?"

The Portugese man decided the constant strife would not be good for the young lad. He chose to flatter him instead. He smiled sweetly. "To tell you the truth," Pedro remarked, putting his arm around Louis, "If I were you, I would use these troops to win my kingdom back. I don’t use my own troops to take my country back because I really do like you." Louis smiled at the warm gesture.

It was Phillip’s turn to fret. "Oh, come on, why not just give the Dauphin a huge room full of candy if you want to curry his favor!"

Louis made up his mind. "I will attack the coast. If we go far enough south and hit the Atlantic, we can disrupt the British slave trade."

Prime Minister Paul Chambers reported to King George. "Your Majesty, the French are using their troops to attack someone not even in the war; they want to control the coast of Africa."

George rubbed his chin. Good, he thought, that means more troops who cannot go to the front. "And, is that young Louis leading them?"

"No, but he’s not back in France. He’s..." Chambers stuttered, trying to think of how best to describe the situation. "Well, we have emissaries in Liston and Madrid, and it seems the kings of those nations are battling back and forth to win his favor." Do I dare joke about one of his predecessors? Yes, this part wouldn’t be too offensive. "If I may, Your Highness, with all the candy he’s getting, he will soon be as obese as Henry VIII was." The two men laughed.




Expanded America, Part X: Diamonds in the Rough

The year was 1721. Thanks to some clever countermoves on the continent, and the fact the Portugese weren’t helping out by attacking from Brazil anymore, the Spaniards were getting back quite a bit of territory, and had moved past the Rio Grande once more. France was rebuilding its forces in an effort to take some land from the British. Spanish forces had massacred thousands of natives to suppress theire rebellions, and now that the war wound on, they were winning again. They even started sending troops from the Phillippines to the West Coast of North America, hoping to catch some of the British off guard. It appeared to work, though less than half survived the long journey from the coast over the mountains or through the desert inland.

A British worker named Arthur Watson emerged as a major force in the British military. He’d been searching in the last few years for ways to manufacture axles for plows more cheaply to meet with growing competition, stumbled upon the idea of interchangeable parts. In 1719, he’d patented a machine that could turn out axles more quickly, and had begun convincing plow builders to do the same, so as to allow their plows to fit his axles.

Prime Minister Chambers was sacked in mid-1720 once it was seen that the British were losing what they could have gotten in a peace treaty, and a new PM was elected. This fellow immediately went to Watson and ordered him to start making guns for their infantry. The young industrialist, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, would become famous in Britain and in BNA, where some plants were instantly constructed to mass produce weapons. Of course, the machine was run on wind power, borrowed from Holland’s many windmills, but as time wore on, the methods for creating mass-produced items would become much mroe efficient.

Windmills sprouted up all around Kent and Sussex, and all along the coast. In an effort to speed production and distribution, the British allowed a few scattered windmill plants on the Great Plains, but they argued the weather there was too fierce to allow for a huge number to be effective. Watson’ machines became amazing things to people, though a good number of people dismissed interchangeable parts as a fad.

The new Prime Minister, smiling broadly as the war’s tide slowly turned in late 1721, reported to the King that "we have truly found a diamond in the rough."

"Yes, now if we can only get the Spanish to accept peace terms; unfortunately, it looks like they expect the French to get back into this in a big way." The king would be pleasantly surprised.



Part XI: Louis, Louis; King, Maybe? Where’d Ya Go?

Countess Marie served as a special advisor to the French/Portugese troops, who were officially commanded by Louis XV. Of course, Louis was having fun being entertained in Madrid and Lisbon. King Pedro of Portugal even suggested that "perhaps I can help you regain your throne, say, for your possessions in India."

Phillip, of course, was even more interested in the day when Louis would achieve his majority; August 3, 1722. Extensive rumors circulated throughout France, where most people still wanted Louis as King; the regent Charles, to them, had seriously bungled the Dutch invasion, and Louis had not only conquered (so to speak) Portugal, with help from Phillip, but to them, his troops were now conquering Algeria. Sure, he’d made some blunders, but what kid wouldn’t?

Louis’ troops, thanks to defections and death from tropical diseases when some ventured into the interior of Africa, now were down to about 100,000. Portugal, ostensibly under French dominion, though Pedro had been retained as a figurehead/regent, offered 50,000 of their own men if Louis would just go toward Paris.

Lord Charles Gloucher, however, felt like King Saul after David had slain Goliath. He was quite upset that anyone praised his ward, and as Regent, he did his best to extoll himself as the true monarch. He finally decided, after the Algerian successes, that Louis had to die; besides, he wasn’t a cute kid who would be adored just because kids were naturally adorable now. After all the candy he’d been eating in the other royal courts, he was a bloated, pimple-faced teenager; not exactly the handsome young man people automatically turned to as King. He was, at best, the Ugly Duckling.

Gloucher advertised the date of the Dauphin’s majority as a "very special day," and actually invited him back to Versailles, with plans to stage a hunting accident in which the rightful king would be killed.

However, the day came and went, but there was no Louis. Instead, with Pedro still wishing to assist the English, he sent thousands of troops, protected by British vessels, into Bourdeaux, some Portugese troops chanting "get that kid off our hands." A huge battle ensued, with the Portugese and British victorious. Louis XV, meanwhile, was in many small towns in the south of France collecting support for his own cause, at the insistence of Countess Marie. Actually, his appetite told him to, as well; "a guy can only eat so much candy without getting sick of it," he remarked once.

Early in October, as the fighting raged on, Charles met up with Louis, each having several thousand troops on their side. "Look," Louis remarked, "I am supposed to be king. I will let you be king of India, and fight Pedro of Portgual over that, but you cannot be king here."

"You shall never be king of France," Charles declared. "You should have quit while you had Portugal...uh, you do still have Portugal, don’t you?" Seeing the number of men accompanying Louis, he began to wonder if Portugal might not be his best option...no, he could beat Louis.

"You didn’t want it," Louis fibbed, "so I gave it back to Pedro for a large sum of money." In actuality, Pedro was still his regent, and when Pedro died, Louis would become King of Portugal, too, unless Pedro’s successor swore an oath to Louis XV as true king. The new monarch, then, would simply rule in Louis’ stead.

Charles drew a sword, and Louis copied. A masterful fencing duel ensued, Louis’ girth being more than made up for by his youthful energy. Charles, meanwhile was more fit, but could be worn down. The Spanish, Portugese, English, and French forces, reluctant to intervene, lest they injure their own man, simply fought each other or watched as the seconds turned into minutes, each man duelling with the knack of a seasoned pro.

Both men weary and bleeding, they continued quite a while, until Charles caught Louis in the right hand. Luckily, Louis could still duel one-handed, though he was losing lots of blood. He caught Charles fatally a moment later, and as Charles collapsed, physicians rushed to attend to the rightful king. Attendants at first feared Charles might have poisoned the lance a la the final scene of Hamlet, but he’d not thought to do that. "It would have been too coincidental if he had," Louis remarked later.

Some forces remained which were loyal to Charles, but Louis’ men quickly eliminated them. Meanwhile, the rightful king of France had pulled Portugal into the French sphere of influence, and had vicariously led French troops to conquer Algeria, capturing land as far east as Tunis. The schism in France had led the Spanish Borbon to concentrate so heavily on helping Louis that the war with Britain was lost, but France and Spain - the former with its army, the latter with its navy - combined to form a quite formidable alliance in Europe, now with Portugal assisting.

King George, celebrating the end to hostilities in mid-1723, commented that "my only worry is that the Italian kingdoms will be conquered and a new Western Roman Empire will be formed."

On to Volume II


Please Comment In The Discussion Forum

Hit Counter