The Pacific Empire
After contact with Europe, the Japanese shogun orders the
complete destruction of the Japanese fleet and the abandoning of all contact
with the outside, apart from limited Dutch contact in one place.
However, many of the Japanese navy men and fishermen are going to be
ruined by this order, so they take their ships and head away, either to one of
the outlying islands of Japan or down towards Taiwan, setting up base there.
As they know ships very well, they soon form a trade group
and explore the pacific, trading with the inhabitants of the Indies and the
Philippines, setting up small, Hong Kong style bases and improving the native
technical skills as they go. After
several conflicts with Spanish forces, they cut the Spanish off from their bases
and the Philippines return to their natives.
They trade with the Dutch a lot as the Dutch have tools
they need, although they are quick to copy Dutch and later English shipbuilding
techniques and weapons. This and
their nearby bases (as well as considerable support from the natives of the
Indies) gives them the edge in fighting with the natives. The English still settle Australia, as a continent is not
particularly interesting to the nomads, but New Zealand becomes part of their
trade empire, as do most of the Islands.
The Dutch are forced out of the pacific by 1760, while the
French and British concentrate on India. The
British prove to be better at relating to the nomads (they're both sea powers)
and they help the British push the French out of India in exchange for British
recognition of their informal empire. Trading is allowed, but no formal empire or native crushing.
The nomads continue to expand; taking Hawaii and most of
the Islands for their expanding population, which is augmented by absorbing the
native populations into their system. They
also force contact with Japan, although they have no love for the Japanese
emperor and take every opportunity to humiliate him, while persuading many of
the common people to leave Japan and join them.
The massive influx of modern technology changes the shape
of their empire. They begin
to form a formal empire in the pacific, annexing most of the Islands and
assuming a ‘protectorate’ over Japan. They
also push the Chinese into allowing them to trade with them, while backing
several anti-Manchu factions in hopes that they could take over the china and
deliver it into the hands of the nomads.
When the Europeans start pushing into the pacific, they
send out their ‘pacific doctrine’. Based
on the US Monroe doctrine, it states that the pacific islands, with the
exception of Australia, belong to their new Pacific Empire. While the Europeans are allowed to trade with the Eastern
Nations, they will not be allowed any further colonising or conquest.
Such conquests would be far more difficult, in any case, as the tech
level is far higher than OTL. The
British get to stay in India, but Ceylon becomes part of the Pacific Empire and
Burma (and all lands eastwards) are either independent or part of the Empire.
This provokes several problems with the European powers.
The British have enough problems with their empire in India, so they are
more than willing to allow the Pacificans to rule the rest of the pacific, as
long as they get to trade. One
difference, however, appears as the Chinese attempt to stamp out the opium trade
is more successful than OTL, as the British can’t bring forces to China.
The French, however, push their claims to be superior to all non-whites,
trying to make contact with dissident Japanese factions (an act that finally
leads to Japan being annexed) and claiming a number of small, uninhabited
Islands. This leads to a short
naval war, which is won by the Pacificans as the French supply lines are
terrible. The Americans are content
to trade, although many of them find the empersis on racial equality to be
worrying, as they fear it sets a bad example to the black Americans.
The spread of democratic ideals from Europe in the 1870s
leads to the establishment of a congress and other democratic institutions.
This leads to the slow absorption of Indochina and Burma, while links are
developed with Madagascar and east Africa.
This brings the Pacificans into conflict with the French and Italians;
nether of whom want an empire that teaches racial equality in their empires. However, the British are more reluctant to support them here,
and so they broker a truce that leads to recognition of the French influences in
The Chinese Empire self-destructs, with a little help, in
1890. The Pacificans launch a take
over campaign, first through surrogates and then directly. As they are strongly anti-nobility/mandarins and are willing
to treat the Chinese as equals, they have far more success than OTL Japan and
manage to absorb most of china by 1900. However,
this forces them to develop a large army (based on the Prussian model) as Russia
is also pushing down into china. The Russians end up with North Manchuria, and skirmishes are
The world enters a period of increased tension.
The French, Germans Italians and Russians are unhappy that they have
little access to the wealth of Asia, while the Americans are unhappy about
Pacifican dominance in China. The
British are being forced to grant more democratic rights to the Indians as they
see those rights being used by fellow Asians, which makes the British government
more democratic. War breaks out in
1909, as France and Russia launch attacks on British territory and trading
interests. The Russians also attack
the Pacificans in China, although the Pacificans have massive superiority in
numbers. The war continues with
French victories in Africa until the royal navy cuts their supply lines, which
are complicated by the Italians joining the war and managing to knock the
British out of Egypt.
However, the vast naval superiority enjoyed by the allies,
British and Pacifican, means that they can cut their foes away from their
colonies and start to take them one by one, crushing Boer revolts as they go.
As Russian defeats lead to massive unrest across the Russian empire, the
Germans invade and defeat the Russians, annexing western Russia, and then
threatening France. The French and Italians sue for peace, losing most of their
empires as the price for peace.
As the aftershocks of the war spread across the world, the
planet settles into several power blocs. The
Germans use their victory to push Europe into a confederation, with most of the
power in German hands. The British
integrate their new territories and start to democratise their empire, while the
Pacificans work on integrating the remainder of china.
Author’s Notes: This
AH grew out of a challenge on the AH board.
Japan did close its borders in1638, allowing only limited trade with the
outside world. In OTL, I don’t
know what happened to the Japanese traders, so I’ve found them other
employment. There are cases of
people fleeing such persecution from the Napoleonic wars, but I don’t know of
any similar cases from the east.
In 1640-1760, the Europeans had not yet penetrated East
Asia to any considerable extent, so there was a window for any Asian society to
catch up and run the area. The
Japanese exiles would have started on an equal bases in technology with the
Spanish and Dutch, while they would have been able to relate to the other Asians
far better than the Europeans could.
Their existence as traders allows many tribes and island
natives to overcome the European reluctance to trade firearms and advanced
weapons. Their trade network
expands the level of technology and the Europeans don’t have any major
advantage. Further, their tactics
will become well known before they try to take over.
I suspect that they would have the Indies, Japan, china; trade routes pretty well covered by the time the British arrive. They’ll be dealing with equals, so the British would probably trade, rather than fight them.