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A list of events from 1801 to 1850 in the No Napoleon timeline.
The plot of the 20 Vendemiaire in France was a major turning point in the history of France, which had taken place in 1800. The plot replaced the semi-autocratic French Directory with a presidential system with free elections. Inspired by the United States, which itself gained independence from the British Empire a mere seventeen years prior, the French system elected a president every four years, renewable once, based on electoral districts of varying size depending on the population. Clergyman and politician Emmanuel Sieyès, the leader of the 20 Vendemiaire plot, was elected the first president of France in an overwhelming victory, and went on two serve two full terms in office. He helped coordinate the French government with those of the French client states, which had previously had semi-autocratic Directories themselves. This was a pivotal role played by the President for the fact that many in the newly-formed government feared the powers of Europe would attempt to free the client states from France's influence. Sieyès granted the client states elections for a Prime Minister, who would in turn answer to the President, but still gave some autonomy to these states.
The French republic had been, since the end of the French Revolution, practically isolationist. It had extended its influence in Italy and the Low Countries, but had become a "stranger in a strange land"; France and her client states were the only republican entities in Europe, surrounded by vast imperialistic and monarchist states. France was forced to comply to the restrictions of their borders and not violently impose her newly found democratic ideals upon other European states, or else a second war would be declared; with the state they were in after the French revolution, the French were not particularly interested in further warfare. Notably, the restriction caused an international incident in 1801 as a result of the official addition (which many regarded as an "illegal annexation") of the unrecognized Cisrhenian Republic into mainland France, which had, for years, been seen as a part of mainland France since the signing of the treaty, but was never formally agreed upon. The diplomacy of the French republic was successful in ensuring no agreements of the treaty were broken, and the state was effectively part of France by 1802.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, conflict was continuing to develop in the colony of Saint-Domingue (today known as Haiti). Revolts occurred in the colony over the issue of slavery; Saint-Domingue had an overwhelmingly large population of black slaves, which outnumbered whites by ten to one. France officially abolished slavery in all her possessions as per the constitutions of 1793 and 1795. The abolition of slavery was praised by many as an indication of the triumph of liberty and freedom, and was viewed as an example for other nations to follow. In order to avoid further conflict between former slaves and the government, France legally recognized the freedom of all former slaves living in Haiti, and allowed for free elections in the nation (similar to that of the French client states), while still being a colony and not officially gaining independence as a result of their rebellion. Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former slave and revered commander of the revolution, sided with France in the decision, helped to keep the peace among the people, and went on to elected Prime Minister in 1801.
Uprisings in the Balkans
It did not take long for revolutions to occur elsewhere in Europe as a result of the successful French Revolution. While the great powers were effectively free from republican rebellions of that nature for several decades, territories in the Balkans revolted against the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The entirety of the Balkans were under Ottoman rule for nearly three centuries, but regional problems, minor military clashes and attacks on civilians, along with the news of the success of the French Revolutions, were inspiration for thousands who felt oppressed and wanted a better future.
In 1804, Serbian nationalists revolted against Ottoman rule within OTL-central-Serbia, occurring directly after Ottoman troops invaded a village and killed several of its citizens. The uprising was initially small and localized, and did not get much following, but grew in strength with the entrance of Russia in 1806. To France, Russia's entrance in the war was concerning, as Russia had always been after Ottoman territory and generally considered itself the ruler of the Slavs in the Balkans. The expansion of Russia into Balkan territory would, to France, threaten the balance of power in Europe, and also was a threat to the French presence in the Ionian Islands. While the French stayed neutral, French ambassadors in the Ottoman court urged the Ottomans to make peace with Russia and the rebels, and give Serbia some autonomy to avoid further conflict. In 1809, Serbia became an autonomous state of the Ottoman Empire under a prince as the Principality of Serbia. It was alongside the vassal state of Wallachia, which had enjoyed semi-independence from the 15th century.
The Serbian uprising would not be the last, however. Several years later, in 1814, Greek rebels in the Morea likewise rebelled against Ottoman rule, and protests would grow within the lower Balkans as well as the Ionian Islands. The islands, however, were under administrative rule of the French republic as départments, and France was forced to enter the war to put down the rebellions and lead to some compromise. This was especially necessary as the United Kingdom and Russia joined in naval engagements on the side of the Greek rebels against the Ottoman Empire. The revolution was opposed by the Ottoman Empire, and much naval assistance was given by the elayet of Egypt. However, on the advice of France, the Ottoman Empire called for a truce, and the nation of Greece was officially formed in 1816 with the union of Morea and the Ionian Islands. Fierce debates over governance ensued between the French and British-Russian coalition, but ultimately it was decided that Greece be a constitutional monarchy with a similar political system to that of Britain; like Serbia, the nation was still essentially under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but given the right to self-rule.
Adventures in Asia
The Prince of Persia
Persian Emperor Fat'h-Ali Shah Qajar had grown quite discontent with British support against the Russians in Asia during the Great Game. The recent Russo-Persian Wars had caused harsh territorial concessions, and the British had little to show for it. Fat'h Ali withdrew from Persia's relations with the British, and instead turned to the French. Ali was enticed by the fact the revolutionaries had defeated much of Europe and conquered several pieces of land, and despite its isolation, was a force to be reckoned with. More importantly, France's political engagements with Russia, and its reluctance for Russia to grow its influence in the Balkans, gave the Shah hope that France could be of use to stop Russia growing its influence in Asia.
In 1828, the Emperor sent trade relations to president Joseph Bonaparte, who was initially reluctant to accept the offer considering France already had a major ally in the region, the Ottoman Empire. His successor, President Pierre François Tissot, officially opened relations with Persia, and the two nations set up embassies. After much discussion, Fat'h Ali proclaimed his wish to restore Persia to her former glory; the first step would be to restore the land to the extent of the Afsharid dynasty, which included the regions of the Caucasus, much of Central Asia, and Afghanistan. He felt that while regaining its territory from Russia would be more favorable, successfully conquering the Afghan state would prove that Persia was a force to be reckoned with.
By 1834, the two leaders agreed it was in the best interest of Persia to invade (and conquer) the Durrani Empire. The reasons were of course numerous and complicated: this included the French seeking relative peace among the Persians and Ottomans (the two great Muslim powers of the time, and so having Persia invade Afghanistan allowed Persians to expand east instead of west); spiting the Russians for Persia's losses in the Caucasus; "protecting" the British Indian colonies from Russian invasion, which would help to ensure the British did not side against the Persians; and begin an era of reformation for the Persian Empire. On April 8, Persia (with some aid from the French) declared war on the Durrani Empire.
Just as the Emperor had suspected, the British Empire aided the Persians and French in the conquering of the Afghan state, in order to increase the territorial possessions in India as well as ensure that the colonies were safe from Russian invasion. Opening hostilities by the Persians were raids on the city of Herat, one of the largest cities at the time. British troops from Baluchistan, Punjab and Kashmir had attacked the Afghan state from the Hindu Kush ranges, aiming to capture Kabul. Afghanistan was forced into a two-front war, with only limited assistance from the Russian Empire.
The war continued for three years; Fat'h-Ali had passed away, and was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Shah Qajar. His troops were able to capture Herat in 1836, which was a maor turning point in the war. By 1837, Dost Mohammad Khan of the newly-created Barakzai dynasty was captured in Kabul by joint-Persian and British forces, and the Durrani Empire surrendered. The Treaty of Kerman was signed in February, which had officially dissolved the Afghan state into Persia and British India. The war was a success, and the Persian Shah was sure that his armies would be able to expand back into the territories it lost to Russia in the early 1800s.
Springtime of Nations
The Revolutions of 1845, also called the Springtime of Nations, was arguably the most important turning point in the 19th century. The conflicts were a direct result of colonialism, dreams of nationalism, the spark of interest in democracy and republicanism, and a result of decades of unresolved tension between the people and their governments, and even between nations themselves. It was unique in that localized peaceful protests with some isolated uprisings spread from mainland Europe to nations around the world, from North to South America, Africa, through to Asia, and even making its way to Australia.
Underlying the conflicts between states were the plights of the common people. It was increasingly clear, with the prosperity France and other republican nations enjoyed, that monarchism was not an effective or useful form of government. These new, radical ideas, including liberalism, nationalism, and democracy, were inspiring people from all over Europe to end the harsh cold winds from the winter that was monarchism, and a dream of spring that was democracy. Along with inspiration from political ideologies, the people were angered by recent crop failures, droughts, famine, and minor outbreaks of disease that was occurring across Europe, as well as the lack of assistance from nobility.
The revolutions officially began in March 1845 within the dying Holy Roman Empire. The Empire was being torn apart from the inside, with its Emperor an emperor only in name, with many smaller nations fighting for more influence in the empire, and others wanting complete independence. It had been the aim of the last Emperor, Emperor Frederick, a noble from the Kingdom of Prussia, to better centralize the Empire in order to stop divisive internal conflicts and focus on a bigger picture, the expansion of German influence in Europe and even the world. This aim would inevitably be the death of the Empire, especially after the Emperor tried to overrule governments and impose new (arguably illegal) laws and taxations.
As a result, major uprisings occurred throughout the Empire, and many nations cut ties with the Emperor and seceded from the Empire. Not only did dozens of nations find themselves independent, but they also found themselves swallowing up smaller bishoprics, duchies, and principalities that were powerless without large-standing armies. However, the fight for these territories would end up being bloodier than expected. Meanwhile, despite many finding pride in being free from a united German state and finding their own regional power, the "great powers" in the Empire, Austria and Prussia, were less intent on breaking up the Empire. Both had realized the benefits of a potential single German state, and joined the fighting to try to save the remnants of the Empire.
In eastern Europe, the uprisings were especially popular with the lower classes and nationalists movements. In western Prussia, there were some demonstrations in major cities of citizens both in favour of and against a unified German state in place of the soon-to-be-defunct Holy Roman Empire. Along with these were anti-monarchy protests, mainly from youth groups, who wanted to mirror the success of France and its international presence, which was not being demonstrated with the current government. In eastern Prussia, there were major uprisings from Polish citizens that had been a part of the Kingdom since the partition of Poland nearly one hundred years prior, seeking an independent Polish state. Similar Polish uprisings occurred in the Empire of Russia, alongside minor serf and peasant uprisings mostly in western Russia. In the Habsburg Empire, a nation composed of numerous ethnic groups also found nationalist uprisings, threatening to tear the nation apart. In the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire once again faced armed uprisings from many ethnic groups in Ottoman-controlled region, seeking to break apart from the Muslim nation and add the territory to their homeland instead. However, with Russia occupied in putting down rebellions in her own nation, less aid was sent to the Balkans than they had in the past, and their attempts were less successful than would have been hoped.
In western Europe, France was dealing with a political revolution. For decades France lived in peace alongside its republican neighbours, nations that were under the protection of France. Yet, many citizens and politicians in these client republics found that they could not reconcile their republican values with being practically under the sovereignty and supervision of the French state. While the nations were practically completely independent and free to create their own laws, have independent parliaments, and even have their own oversees colonies (notably the Batavian Republic), many still preferred to be free of client-republic status and have complete independence from France. As a result, protests in major cities of the client republics, and even boycotts of French products, occurred, and changed the minds of many politicians on the status of their states with regards to France.
The revolutions arguably hit the Kingdom of Spain the hardest; for years, the large overseas Empire was collapsing under its own weight, and had incredible debt despite the vast amount of resources available to it. Worse yet, Queen Isabel II of Spain's policies were ill-advised, and the monarchist government was leading the Empire down a road of debt and self-destruction. At the same time, republican ideals from France had been spreading to the Kingdom for years, and was influencing many citizens, mainly of lower class. As a result, Spain found herself in the midst of revolution in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy and replace the kingdom with a republic. Despite the abdication of the Queen, full-out warfare occurred being monarchist and republican supporters, effectively tearing the country apart and leading to the inevitable spread of the revolution to the Spanish colonies.
Great Britain felt the waves of the revolution at home; many minor protests occurred throughout England against the government, with various complaints including labor rights, standards of living, etc., and called for a change in government. Some sparse protests occurred against the monarchy of the United Kingdom, calling instead for republicanism. As it were, many of the protesters' demands were met; the Prime Minister would later resign, and a new election would see the replacement of the Conservative Party with the Whig Party as a majority government. Meanwhile, in Ireland, famine and the lack of response from the British government (which was mostly focused on the overseas colonies) led to mass protests and small uprisings concentrated in major cities, calling for the independence of the island of Ireland as a republic.
more to come
The revolutions soon spread to North America as a result of the revolutions in South America. The Viceroyalty of New Spain, the largest colony of the Spanish Empire, was nominally allied to the monarchy of Spain during its revolution, but problems with the United States and the lack of confidence in the mother country would change that. The largest problem facing New Spain in the mid-19th century before the revolution was population. Surely, New Spain had a large population that lived mainly in the south (i.e., modern-day Mexico and Central America), the lands of California and Louisiana had relatively-low populations. Spain would often pay families and farmers to move north into these territories, and as a result Louisiana was mainly settled by Spanish farmers, as well as French settlers that lived in the region since it was colonized by France.
Yet even with these offers of land and money, the population was not growing fast enough. As a result, for decades the government of New Spain opened their borders to Louisiana to allow settlements from people of other nations, in order to increase the population. For instance, in the early 1800s, several hundred royalists who fled France after the revolution found sanctuary in the territory and settled in French-dominated settlements. However, the majority of the new population came from New Mexico's eastern neighbor, the United States. Louisiana experienced a population boom, which was initially a good thing for the colony.
However, after decades of American settlement, the Louisiana territory had a majority-American population. The population of Louisiana no longer identified as a part of a Spanish colony, but instead wished to be identified as American citizens in an American territory. As the Springtime of Nations reached the Spanish American colonies, residents of Louisiana found it the perfect opportunity to declare independence from Spain and instead to join the United States. As a result, a rebellion against the government occurred, which escalated into armed conflict within months. The conflict, and the resulting entrance of the United States in the war, was later known later as the Louisiana War, a major part of the revolutions within the colonies of the Kingdom of Spain.
Similarly, the revolution soon spread to the great white north, as dissent grew mostly concerning the governing of the Canadian colonies. A majority of the protests came in Lower Canada (modern-day Quebec), as a result of years of dreaming of independence (inspired by the revolutions in France). This was especially worrisome for Great Britain; for years, Britain and the United States had conflict stemming from the American Declaration of Independence almost a century prior. And with the States entering into war with the Spanish Empire over the massive piece of land that was Louisiana, the British knew something had to be done so that Canada would be free from American expansion.
Unfortunately, troubles within the entire British Empire were not helping Britain's efforts in Canada. With protests and minor conflicts in India, Africa, Australasia, North America, and now new conflicts within the British Isles themselves, the Canadian government was forced to essentially handle the dissent themselves. This did not go over as planned, however. The independence movements, mainly with their origins in Niagara and some influence in Toronto, were quickly gaining ground. With some financial and military assistance from the United States, independence movements were successfully able to unite Upper and Lower Canada into the Republic of Canada, which gained independence from the British Empire shortly after. The news came as a shock to the British, who felt defeated by the growing threat of the United States government, a government in this timeline that was not "burdened" by the Monroe Doctrine.
By 1847, less than two years after the start of the revolutions worldwide, Louisiana was officially free from the Spanish Empire as a New Spanish territory, and recognized as instead as a territory of the United States. Along with the Louisiana territory, the United States was given the territory of Florida, a land disputed over between the United States and Spain for decades. Soon, the United States also recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Mexico from the Kingdom of Spain, which spanned from California to Central America. Within two years, America managed to effectively double in size.
After the independence of the united Upper and Lower Canada dominion in 1847, major parliamentary disputes over governance, of the new nation was beginning to tear the nation apart. Soon enough, in May 1848, in the midst of revolutionary chaos, Lower Canada officially seceded from the dominion, forming the independent Republic of Quebec. The government of Upper Canada, on the other hand, found itself in the middle of a rock and a hard place. To the north Upper Canada was bordered by Rupert’s Land, a large colony of the United Kingdom, and to the south was the expansionist United States, which at this point had just absorbed the Spanish territory of Louisiana. Upper Canada, small in population and with a weak army at this point, was likely destined to be reabsorbed by Great Britain once the worldwide revolutions were complete. So, to avoid such a fate, Upper Canada shared a similar fate as Louisiana: joining the United States as new territory.
Asia and Africa
In the subcontinent of India, several states, many of which that were historically aligned to the British presence, found themselves in rebellion against the company rule. The Company's recent financial troubles due to recent famines in many Indian territories was not helping matters either. Many cities were able to overthrow their local company rules, but the British government decided to take matters into their own hands; India was far too valuable a colony to have it seen fall from its grasp. Much financial and territorial aid was given to the British troops to ensure that the rebellions were put down. As a direct result of the rebellion, the British government ended company rule in India, and made many political and territorial changes in India to try to avoid major uprisings like this happening again.
| Preceded by:|
|Sectional timeline of the 19th Century|
1801 – 1850
| Succeeded by:|