In the 14th century, the world becomes a smaller place. Distances shrink, as the invention of the paddle-wheel steamboat in China and the steam locomotive in the Celtic Empire make the fast transportation of great amounts of goods (and of passengers) possible. The two European empires become pioneers and world leaders in railroad construction, which enables them to connect their various industrial centres with each other and with their markets. Ming China, on the other hand, resumes its colonial endeavours in Eastern Atlantis and Asambadha Anuttara with full force, bringing thousands of km of Atlantis` West Coast and the treasures of the soil hidden in the Bird People Mountains (OTL Rocky Mountains) as well as Asambadha Anuttara`s East Coast and the coal deposits of its hinterland under their control and establishing larger colonies.
Alternative engines - driven by petroleum derivatives or electricity - are developed in Persia and Sheba, where coal is rare, but they cannot yet compete with Celtic, Roman and Chinese technology. Among the Natural Sciences, physics returns triumphantly.
Medicine makes enormous progresses; many bacteria and viruses are identified and cures are developed; surgery becomes a safe standard procedure, and all developed states expand their hospital systems. Life expectancy rises above 60.
Most of all, the 14th century is a highly politicised age of violent social conflicts. The development of a new industrial working class and a very small elite of owners of factory and infrastructure leads to strikes, dictatorships and revolutions, throwing the world into an alternating bath of state-controlled and free market economic policies. In comparison to OTL, the working class is more globalised, quantitatively smaller and predominantly female - all of these factors initially impeding their political power. The Roman Republic nevertheless experiences three to four decades of communist dominance, which collapses under the pressure of secessionist tendencies, counter-revolutionary conspiracies and mis-allocation of resources. From the chaos, the conservative Third Roman Republic emerges, which restores institutions like the Senate and the provinces. Its attempts at a re-unification with the Celtic Empire, where working class protests were forcefully oppressed and countered with the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people to the Atlantic and African colonies, failed.
The libertarian system of city republics and private providers of security and infrastructure collapses in decades of Indian Civil War, out of which two centralising state-blocs emerge: a communist one, centered on the Bengal region, and a corporatist one, centered on Malwa. Both are rapidly expanding and coercing the newly independent continental and thalassic South-East-Asian countries to pick their sides.
In China, the Ming Dynasty only lasts 60 years: its religious zeal, isolationism, cultural and economic backwardness result in revolts among the loyal Tuyuhun allies as well as in the formerly wealthy port towns. Ming is overthrown in a coup which installs the Jian Dynasty, whose policies are diametrically opposed to those of the Ming in many ways, except that its Han Chinese suprematism is continued. Jian China turns into a completely state-run economy and catches up on industrialisation. Its steam-powered gunboats restore Chinese dominance in the Tagalog islands and bring fresh troops for a renewed colonisation of Atlantis` West Coast.
In other places, increased colonisation efforts by the Celtic and Roman Empires, Sweden, Great Perm, Sheba, Aksum, and Liberia encounter strong and mostly successful resistance both in Northern Eurasia, Central and Southern Africa, but also in Atlantis and Caribia, where population levels have rebounded after initial contact pandemics and battle-hardened states and empires have emerged.
Although rooted in different cultures and pursuing different goals, towards the end of the century, strong, territorial states have emerged on all continents, who control more and more aspects of their citizens` lives - from education over occupation and social participation to retirement. The strongest among them are the Roman and Celtic Empires, Jian China, Bangladesh, Mahaaryabhata, Eran, the newly unified Türkestan (which fights against Great Perm over control of Siberia), the Aksumite Empire, the Swedish Empire, the Potamian Koina of the Borysthenes and the Rha, Liberia, the Luba Empire, the Watu Empire, Inoca, the Nahua-Mixtec Empire, Mayapan, the Chimú Empire, the Muisca Zipa, and Tawantinsuyu.