Alternate History

1495 - Death of Columbus

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Christopher Columbus's three ships (Niña, Pinta and Santa María) left the port of Palos de la Frontera on August 3, 1492. Three days into the journey, on August 6, 1492, the rudder of the Pinta became broken and unhung, rendering the ship disabled. The captain of the Pinta, Martín Alonso Pinzón, was able to secure the rudder temporarily with cords until the Canary Islands could be reached on August 9, 1492. Here the fleet repaired the Pinta and re-rigged the Niña's lateen sails to standard square sails.

After 29 days out of sight of land, on October 7, 1492, the crew spotted shore birds flying west, and they changed direction to make their landfall.

Land was sighted at 2 a.m. on October 12, by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana aboard the Pinta. Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos) San Salvador, although the natives called it Guanahani. The indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly.

Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba (landed on October 28) and the northern coast of Hispaniola, by December 5. Here, the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas morning 1492 and had to be abandoned. He was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus founded the settlement La Navidad and left 40 men.

On January 15, 1493, he set sail for home by way of the Azores. To achieve that goal, "He wrestled his ship against the wind and ran into a fierce storm"


In reality Columbus survived and returned home, thus news of the new world reached Europe and the age of discovery began.

His departure is delayed by repetitive storms as such he set sail for home on August 15, 1493, he set sail for home by way of the Azores. To achieve that goal, "He wrestled his ship against the wind and ran into a fierce storm" now believed to be a category 4 hurricane, the Pinta was lost with all hands and the Niña was severely damaged. Columbus turned the Niña around and returned to La Navidad for repairs, however once their it became apparent that the damage was so substantial that the ship was no longer sea worthy.

On the 10th of February 1493 Christopher Columbus announced to his remaining 66 men that they would not be returning home on the Nina, she was to be broken up and the timbers used to make shelters in La Navidad. he also announced with plans to start building two small ships to return to Spain in. The men settled in and many took wives from the native population. they also taught the local populations about more efficient agriculture and irrigation.

During the summer of 1495 disease spread through La Navidad killing a quarter of the population, amongst the dead is Christopher Columbus aged 44 years old, he is survived by his wife and one year old son Christopher Phillipe.

After five years the remaining colonists decided that their lives were far better in La Navidad than they were back in Europe and scrap plans to return home, they use the two small ships to navigate around the Caribbean setting up trade routes between tribes living on the neighbouring islands to Hispaniola, including Cuba and Jamaica and eventually the mainland of Central America including Panama, Belize and Mexico. during these journeys they meet representatives from the Aztec Empire.

By 1550 the population of La Navidad has risen to nearly 1000 having joined the powerful Aztec empire, the Spanish had taught the Aztec empire about metal production, gunpowder, advanced irrigation and oceanic navigation, as well as stopping the more brutal parts of the Aztec religion by merging it with Roman Catholicism, due to this joining of cultures the town had become one of the most advanced towns in the America's.

By 1570 the Aztecs have conquered the Incan Empire. The inhabitants of La Navidad no longer think of themselves as Spanish. They now think of themselves as members of the Greater Aztec Empire (GAE).

In 1620 the British ship HMS Fortunate is sighted off the port of La Navidad, the ship sees the large settlement and port facilities and makes its way into the port. Upon arriving the sailors make contact with the locals and are surprised to be approached by the leader of the settlement a man called Phillipe Columbus speaking a version of Spanish.

HMS Fortunate had been struck by a storm three years previously while sailing from the Canaries to the Azores while coming back from an exploration voyage to India. When the storm abated the ship found itself off the coast of an unknown land, the crew decided by vote to explore the new area before sailing back to England.

Through a translator the story of the settlement of La Navidad is told to the Captain of the HMS Fortunate Sir William Henry Watson. The ship stays in the port of La Navidad for two weeks, building supplies and fixing damage to the hull in the dry dock that had been built in La Navidad years earlier.

When HMS Fortunate leaves port four members of a delegation from the Greater Aztec Empire returns with them to England.

Once they return to England their stories of the new world to the west are greatly received in aristocratic and scientific circles food stuffs from the new world spread quickly across Europe, tobacco, Turkeys and potatoes are the most sought after.

Expeditions are sent from England, Spain and Portugal to make contact with the Greater Aztec Empire. However only the English and Spanish have to precise navigation details, the Portuguese travel too far south and discover Brazil.

Due to the advanced technology that was traded with the Aztecs by the Spanish at La Navidad conquest by the Europeans is greatly reduced, Central America remains under the control of the Greater Aztec Empire, the tribes of eastern North America are still conquered, however due to resistance they had built up to diseases such as smallpox and measles that the Columbus crew brought over, the tribes of the plains and south west do not fall and instead group together and join the Greater Aztec Empire in 1672, as do the tribes of the west coast as far north as Vancouver Island and the great basin tribes in 1698.

In Southern America the Aztecs control the entire west coast as far inland as the Andes, as well as parts of the north coast as far east as Trinidad and inland along the Orinoco river, the Portuguese settle in Brazil on the coast south of the Amazon River mouth.

By 1750 there are several large towns along the east coast of North America settled by Spanish in the south and the English in the north (border is about where the border between Georgia and Florida is in reality) and only going inland as far as the Appalachian mountains.

Among the English colonial towns there is a growing hostility towards the UK government and in 1776 they declare themselves independent as the United States of America. After a short war with the British and with help from the Greater Aztec Empire the USA gains independence in 1782.

Trade between the USA and the GAE increases dramatically in the next few decades and in 1820 the President of the USA signs an agreement with the ruler of the GAE effectively making the USA a commonwealth of the GAE.

Seven years later in 1827 the Portuguese colony of Brazil also becomes a commonwealth of the GAE.

By 1850 every nation in North and South America is either part of, or a commonwealth of the GAE.

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