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France kick started the 19th century when Napoleon and his generals defeated the second coalition in the War of the Second Coalition and emerged victorious in the French Revolutionary Wars. French scientist Alessandro Volta also created the first battery in 1800, bringing more prestige to Republican France. The prosperity France appeared to be experiencing fostered the animosity and rivalry between Britain and France, which would culminate in 1806 with the onset of the European War, engulfing Europe in armed conflict for another 11 years.
In 1801, the British instituted a massive blockade of France and nations aligned with it in central Europe, creating friction between the British and their continental neighbors, while also uniting with Ireland and forming the United Kingdom in the same year. The British, unbeknownst to them at the time, were on the road to digging themselves into a hole that would prove impossible to dig out of until decades later with their overconfident foreign stances against France. France, on the other hand, was making strategically genius moves, forming alliances with Louisiana, growing their naval fleet to rival that of the British, soliciting Spain to contribute to their naval power, and defeating coalitions in the European War and forcing them into an economic union with the Republic. However, in 1804, Napoleon seized absolute power in France, becoming emperor and transforming the nation into an imperial war machine capable of taking on the entirety of rightist Europe.
Up until 1805, France experienced great economic prosperity, while the rest of its sphere of influence was generally subjugated to them economically, so essentially France made economic slaves out of other nations. Napoleon's appointment to the emperor position caused political division in the empire, but this was nothing of concern to Napoleon, who had a firm grip on power. Following France's political transformation, they were ready to give their full effort to the War of the Third Coalition, which tipped the scale tremendously against the coalition. By late 1805, Napoleon's men were on the battlefield in central Europe dealing death blows to entire nations. Upon the third coalition's defeat, the age old Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced with the Confederation of the Rhine. Then, in 1808, the European War officially went into full swing when France invaded and defeated Britain and the coalition.
North American affairs were only moderately more peaceful than European affairs. Louisiana, for example, spent a year or two fighting the native Haitians on France's behalf, a battle which they lost, as they did not have the naval capacity to fight a war off of the continent. At the same time President Thomas Jefferson of the United States is forced to oversee a war between the United States and British Canada. The British-American War, as this came to be called, provided the French the opportunity they needed to invade Britain and left America with both a distaste for anti-Federalists, as Jefferson was blamed for the war that the Federalist Congress started, and a large amount of new land. In a landslide, Rufus King defeated incumbent Thomas Jefferson in 1808 and introduced widespread all-encompassing reforms that shifted the balance of power toward the federal government rather than the states to the dismay of the anti-Federalists.
Meanwhile in Louisiana, Louis I took power and began quickly eroding civil rights, causing unrest and riots for the first few years of his rule, all violently put down. Later, in 1806, he ordered the invasion of New Spain after border disputes. Two years later, in 1808, almost all of New Spain was annexed into Louisiana and Marquis III enacted laws forcing the expulsion of the New Spanish from newly Louisianan land.
Following the end of the European war in 1817, which had engulfed all European politics for years, the map of Europe was redrawn an Napoleon had subjugated the whole continent to France's economic interests. Prussia, Austria, and the Confederation of the Rhine began answering to the throne of France. Spain had been molded into a republic under the leadership of Joseph Bonaparte, and Britain had been utterly defeated in all categories, although it was working on becoming economically independent in order to combat France's exclusion of the nation in the terms of the Treaty of Verdun. The small and weak nation of Poland was born out of the Treaty of Verdun, taking land from Prussia, Austria, and Russia. According to the terms of the treaty, Britain was forced to give up its colonial possessions as well. Tsar Alexander I was blamed for the failure by the Russian people, and political unrest and nationalism set in throughout Russia.
Throughout Europe political unrest set in as the Age of the Revolution ground to a halt when monarchs across the continent tightened their grip over the rights of their citizens.
For North America, this decade was generally uneventful. King, reelected multiple times, continued pushing the federalist agenda with laws aiming to outlaw slavery in the future and the Army Standards Act, which gave the executive branch full authority over the military and allowed the president to set minimum standards on military technology, manpower, budget, etc. Louisiana under Louis I continued a spiral into an oppressive monarchy at the same time, and Canada declared its independence in 1817 following their freedom from Britain, adopting a constitution very similar to that of the United States.
This decade saw general peace throughout Europe, although no one was really sure that this peace was last. People viewed central Europe as a powder keg of tension just waiting to explode and ignite a war. In 1823, a secondary political party was formed in France: the Republican Party, the active arm of the Republican Movement. The Republican Movement formed in response to increasing censorship by Napoleon's rule, who had by this time become paranoid of his health and paranoid that he would lose his power. This movement advocated reverting to a Republican system of government, and Napoleon began having proponents of this concept jailed. A few years later, this movement emerged in the Confederation of the Rhine and riots began breaking out in opposition to the French rule.
Then, in 1829, tragedy struck France. Napoleon I died and was replaced by Napoleon II, who, having been brought up under his father's guidance, adopted stricter censorship, causing the Republican Movement to spread across France, the Confederation, and then to Prussia and Austria. Riots and strikes took place across the continent, threatening to swing the alignment of European politics outside of the French realm of interest.
In 1820, James Monroe, a Democrat, ran for the presidency of the United State unopposed. Although public opinion was firmly in the Federalist camp, people had no choice, causing an enormous level of agitation in the largely Federalist north, and relief in the far southern states. Monroe took steps to return the power to the states, although the Federalist Congress allowed very little progress. In 1824, however, Richard Stockton returned the presidency to the Federalists, although he won with the lowest majority of electoral votes in United States history after Monroe's message that power needed to return to the people hit home with many who thought that the vision for America had been lost. In 1828, Andrew Jackson narrowly defeated incumbent Richard Stockton.
At the same time, the Republican Movement reached Louisiana in 1829 and tensions between Louisiana and the United States rose greatly since the United States did not approve of Louis I's tyrannical rule. Many began viewing the Republican Movement as a resumption of the Age of the Revolution.
Much of this decade was uneventful for Europe, but in 1839, tensions between France and the Confederation of the Rhine erupted into the Rhine War when a German militia marched on Hamburg and took control of the city. This is due to the increasingly oppressive rule of Napoleon II, who had already become paranoid like his father before him. Ironically, it was this paranoid irrationality that would lead to France's undoing. One major event that should be noted is the recognition of Greece as a state independent of the Ottoman Empire following the Greek War of Independence, signalling the downfall of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and the birth of several new Balkan nations. Greece was declared as an empire in 1830, giving the head of state total control of national affairs (although this would change following the Great War).
Louis I died in May 1832, and control of the kingdom was transferred to his son, Louis II, who was very different from his father. He restored the kingdom to its principles of liberty and freedom through comprehensive reforms centered around the Republican Movement. In 1834, some of his father's advisors attempted a coup d'etat, but failed and were executed. Following this, he became worried that after his death, the kingdom would fall to tyranny again, so he rewrote the constitution, transforming the nation into a unitary system with an elected executive council in charge of overseeing the monarch's rule. He created the Parlement, giving the people a voice in the government, and providing a check to the monarch's rule. However, powers such as military leadership, foreign policy, and making laws in regards to "emergency issues," should they arise. In 1839, for a very large amount of money, Louisianan ships set sail for France to assist in the Rhine War, capturing nearly all of the islands in the Carribbean very quickly on their way, although the inhabitants of these islands were given full voting and citizenship rights, but were barred from holding public office.
In 1832, Andrew Jackson yet again won the United States presidency, and this time centered his policy around the shaky economy, transforming the economic situation through comprehensive reforms. He set the nation back on its way to becoming a great power and saw the admittance of five new states: Quebec, Ontario Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, with heavy Democratic leanings, securing the presidency and congress for his party long enough to destroy the Federalist Party. In 1836, Martin Van Buren succeeded Jackson and had a relatively uneventful and peaceful presidency while America continued rising and prospering.
The 1840s in Europe were a time of political rebirth -- France's continental dominance was reversed with the freedom of Poland, the creation of Germany, the defeat of the empire in the Rhine War in 1842, the unification of Italy, and the transformation of Spain into a republic. France's sphere of influence diminished greatly, and Napoleon II passed away in 1847 and Napoleon III came to power, leading to radical reforms in all areas, giving much greater freedoms to the people under French control. Germany, at the same time, grew to regional power status in a remarkably fast time, since the area of greater Germany is home to the greatest bounty of resources in continental Europe. Russia continued to exist in the same state that it always had, although its economy improved massively over the course of the decade.
In Louisiana, Louis II's reforms were working wonders for the nation and its status, economy, and military grew at an astronomical rate. By 1845, its economy had surpassed that of all other continental powers other than the United States. By the end of the decade, the two were neck and neck for supreme power on the continent, and Louisiana's growth rate was significantly higher than that of the United States. The Louisianans also had the advantage of the Caribbean's economic power and used it to spur trade with western Europe and Africa. Louisiana initiated what was called the Africa Initiative during this time, in which explorers would search Africa peacefully and attempt to learn about its civilization and culture to see if it could get a foothold in the eastern hemisphere. In 1848, Louisianan explorer Daniel Herriot made contact with a vast kingdom, the Kingdom of Kongo, which had been established nearly 500 years prior and conquered both tribes and empires to retain its dominance of central Africa (see: History of Africa). Herriot learned the history of the nation and its culture, and reported back to Louis II, who established trade relations with the kingdom.
In the United States, peace and prosperity continued. In 1840, Martin Van Buren was narrowly reelected, and gave America four more years of "nothing." So, in 1844, it was refreshing when James Polk was elected for the Democrats, and began the United States' own Africa initiative, establishing trade with the Oyo Empire, which at the time was fighting a civil war, so he sold advanced weaponry and gunpowder to the empire, which crushed the revolt with the United States' help. In 1848, James Polk was reelected and established friendly relations with Britain, Canada, France, the Kingdom of Kongo, and many others, propelling the economy forward.
German Peasants' March
At the start of the 1850s, the inexperienced German government under Bismarck hit a bump in the road. The lower classes, who had been forced to move to cities seeking factory positions following the drought of 1851, which hit central Europe the hardest. The factory workers were underpaid and minimal safety measures and precautionary laws were in place to prevent accidents in factory settings. This negligence led to the death of two children in August 1851 in Munich, and the factory workers decided they had had enough, and with makeshift weapons (although some had firearms), they marched on Munich's administrative buildings and began attacking local officials and set off a series of strikes that hurt the economic situation even more, threatening to pry the new nation apart less than 10 years after its foundation.
Bismarck immediately ordered that a small number of troops be dispatched to the area along with a special police force to deal with the situation. However, this reckless handling of the situation resulted in more deaths and only increased the problem. France saw this as a sign that Germany would fall apart and shatter into pieces that could later be picked up by the empire, but for now, decided to stay quiet. The situation died down in November when Bismarck agreed to pass higher safety measures and wage laws, but not before deaths, strikes, and tensions hurt the economy and republic as whole. The rebellion was a signal of things to come, seeing as the increasing centralization of European powers was leading on a path to political and economic oligarchy that warranted a second Age of Revolution (which would eventually become European War II).
Economic Turmoil and War (1852 - 1876)
The rest of Europe would not feel the effects of the drought until late 1852, when economies all across Europe crashed. These crashes effected Germany, France, and Poland the most, as they were in the general area of the drought. Of course, the United Kingdom used this drought to gain leverage over France by providing its allies with supplies to spur their own economy and change the allegiance of the French affiliates to Britain. The treasury of France was already in a rather precarious position following its bankruptcy after the Rhine War, which served to further the downfall of France.
In the Americas, however, the crash actually helped the economic situation, as it provided European powers with more of a reason to purchase goods made in the United States and Louisiana (more so the United States due to its location). This, combined with president Franklin Pierce's economic policies, allowed the United States economy to flourish and overtake that of certain European powers and even neighboring Louisiana, giving them an edge in diplomatic relations.
By 1855, nearly all of Europe was in a great depression, so much so that they could not afford United States goods and riots had broken out all across the continent, giving the struggling Ottoman Empire a chance to take advantage of European weakness by seizing several key ports along the North African coast, against European wishes, which allowed them in turn to trade more easily with Italy, France, and Spain, spurring the economy (and saving the empire from its OTL collapse). The leaders of Europe decided it was in their best interest to hold a council in order to decide how to handle the situation -- even the French and British joined together to work out a solution. The Council of Berlin met on December 13, 1855, composed of delegates from Russia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom, to look into setting the economic situation straight and revitalizing Europe. The Italian delegate suggested a war against the Maratha Empire, which was thriving off of its high supply of spices and other similar goods, for the purpose of taking their lucrative resources and selling them themselves in order to stimulate economic growth. The council, after much discussion and argument, decided that an allied invasion and occupation of the empire would be a viable option and reluctantly agreed to the war. Russia was the only nation out of these six that did not partake.
The Spice Wars (1856 - 1871)
In early 1856, the Allied navies invaded the Maratha empire, beginning with the Dominion of Ceylon. They took the Marathi military by surprise, and devastated the forces in Ceylon with extreme agility, and the Royal Navy began a blockade of the Marathi coast and Indian Ocean. The inexperienced German and Italian troops suffered horrible losses, but the British and French made up for the areas that the Italians and Germans lacked. For the first time in over a century, the French and British were being drawn together by a common cause and not in conflict with each other.
The Marathi government under Peshwa Shah Alam I organized the military forces in the northwest and southeast, and successfully halted the invasion at Daulatabad in early 1858, after a long and brutal struggle in the southern area of the empire. Using Ceylon as a launchpad, the British and French sent massive armies into the fight, finally tipping the scales against the Marathis in 1860, and a short-lived peace treaty was signed at Goa after European citizens became fed up with the war.
In 1861, however, after Europe had recovered somewhat (ironically, not from the spices, but the wartime production), the Maratha Empire, aided by Indonesia, who feared an invasion of their empire, launched a counterattack against the French and British forces occupying the southern half of the empire. The Indonesian Imperial Navy posed a real threat to the British in the Indian Ocean, and sunk nearly 15 ships docked at Madras. The war remained a stalemate for quite some time, until finally, the Germans bravely broke through Marathi lines at Goa and led the charge north toward Raigad and Bombay in 1869. The Marathi war effort collapsed after this defeat, and by early 1870, the Spanish and French were on the doorstep of the Marathi capital. Maratha's unconditional surrender came on June 3, 1870, followed by Indonesia seven months later following their defeat at the hands of a Franco-German fleet near Padang, and the Europeans seized a vast amount of resources, stifling the growth of the Maratha Empire.
Although European economies were stabilized, the victory was not complete, as the nations had been arguing amongst themselves over who should receive the spoils of the war nearly since the conflict began. Eventually the nations settled into two camps: 1) Spain and Germany, 2) Britain, France, and Italy, and went to war over the issue in late 1871 following the end of the Spice Wars, starting European War II. No one really knew what to expect of this conflict, seeing as the majority of the nations had switched leaders during or just following the Spice Wars.
European War II (1871 - 1876)
European War II broke out almost immediately following the Spice Wars, due to arguments among the European powers about who should receive the spoils of war. In early March, the Grand Armee mobilized for the possibility of war with Germany, which Wilhelm I mistook for an act of aggression, and mobilized the Germans for war, prompting the conflict that would engulf Europe in war once again for another five years. Following the declarations of war by each nation, the other powers of Europe jumped to the aid of their allies, specifically, Spain sided with Germany and Britain sided with France. The course of the war came as a shock to many, since France and Britain were considered the greatest powers in Europe at the time, meaning that when Spain and Germany nearly emerged victorious in the conflict, the world saw a shaking in the old order of Europe.
The majority of the fighting took place initially in eastern and southern France, when a two front war was opened by Spain and Germany on March 10, 1871. The Spanish advance reached Toulouse and the Spanish fleet began hitting the shores of Marseilles with cannonfire, but the advance was halted at Bordeaux a few months later and the threat of the Royal Navy in the Atlantic led to a cease of the attack on Marseilles to defend the west coast. Germany, however, made significant progress into French territory initially. By the end of 1873, the German army was just over 125 miles away from Paris. The British were forced to begin the Offensive of 1874, in which they would take the offensive in northwestern Germany by landing at Amsterdam and launching an invasion into Germany to force the German army to split up, giving the French more breathing space and the possibility of a counteroffensive into the Benelux region.
The Offensive of 1874 worked initially, and the Germans were driven back to Luxembourg and Strasbourg by June of 1874. However, the Spanish offensive began to pick up steam once again and nearly reached as far north as Nantes at one point. The French were forced to relocate their men to the southern front and the British were forced to exit Germany to assist, leaving the Germans open for a second attack. Then, something happened that changed the course of the war from sure French defeat to sure German defeat -- the Italians declared war on Spain and Germany in January 1875, followed by a French mandate that the Austrians take up arms to fight. The Austrians, however, well aware of the precarious position of the French currently, agreed to fight only in exchange for their independence following the war, which the French reluctantly agreed to in the hopes that they could emerge victorious.
On February 3, 1875, the Italian navy entered Spanish waters and began attacking Valencia, clearing the way for an eventual ground assault launched from the Balearic Islands, as well as launching an organized and quick ground invasion of southern Germany. German troops were relocated to the Italian front, allowing the British to reclaim all of France and occupy Brussels and Amsterdam. On July 17, Austria invaded eastern Germany and solidified the defeat of Germany. In the ensuing chaos, the Reichstag allowed Wilhelm I to declare Germany an empire to give him greater control over the military, although he was forced to surrender when Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg fell in August.
In the meantime, the French drove the Spanish out and the looming threat of Italian invasion led to Joseph III's surrender in early 1876. The war was not over after this, because Austria fell into a quick civil war following its newfound independence, leading to the foundation of two successor states: Vienna and Romania (although Vienna is considered the true successor state).
Rebuilding Europe (1876 - 1900)
Restoration and the New Order
Following the war, several European countries were in shambles (Germany, Spain, etc.), and others had come out victorious (France, Britain, etc.), but one nation that many hadn't suspected was the true winner: Russia. The Russians had revitalized their economy, built up their military, become economically independent, escaped the ravaging wars of the previous decades, and begun trading with Louisiana and Canada using the colony of Alaska. The Russians were by far the greatest of the European states, except for Great Britain, by this time, and planned to use their newfound influence to mold Europe in their favor. They helped establish the alliance system by entering into a defensive alliance with Germany and other states, and selling arms to them and helping rebuild their infrastructure. Britain also drew up a Constitution and transformed the nation into a more leftist state, allowing more elections and giving more power to Parliament and less to the monarch.
The German Empire grew once again to dominate central and northern Europe, purchasing a large amount of land from Denmark-Norway and attempting to trade with the Americans and other nations. They also established relations with the Zulu Kingdom, Xhosa Empire, and Oyo Empire, which they gained precious metals and other goods from. Because of this, Germany had stabilized its economic situation by 1890. The Ottomans, on the other hand, began fragmenting. Serbia and Bulgaria gained their independence in the late 70s and early 80s. This caused them to lose some of their standing in Europe, which they amended by seizing the majority of the North African coast and its major cities, opening large trading centers in each one which became very important sites for the Mediterranean. Germany repeatedly took out loans from the Russians and the Americans, which they could not pay back, causing deficits and economic problems for all three countries involved, until eventually they had to turn to the British and French for their payments, which was a symbolic victory for the British and very real economic defeat for the Germans, who had been struggling since the formation of the nation.
The rise of alliances came in the early 1880s. In order to prevent another war as wide scale as European War II, they joined together in hopes of preventing conflicts through intimidation of other independent nations. The main problem with this was that two blocs began forming: the eastern/central one, and the western one. The east consisted of Spain, Germany, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, and others, while the west consisted of Italy, France, Britain, Denmark-Norway, Louisiana, the United States, and others. This tension was especially high in Spain and Portugal, which happened to be in opposite alliances within very close proximity of each other.
Ottoman and African Affairs
Meanwhile, in 1874, the Ottomans expanded through disorganized Africa to the small country of Darfur, which they subsequently attempted to defeat and annex in order to expand organized Islam and their own influence (which was lacking in deep Africa) further to the south. Darfur resisted heavily against the Ottoman advance, although the small and undeveloped nation was forced into a union with the Ottoman power, although it became an indirectly governed province and not a direct territory, which was decidedly beneficial to both nations, as Darfur expanded Ottoman influence as it grew, but was guaranteed technological and economic advancement and security (a rarity in the region at the time).
The Europeans also began aligning themselves with African powers and building their economies through healthy trade, with the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and Great Britain as the supreme economic forces. German resources were continually hauled away by the western powers that had defeated it in European War II, leading to even higher tensions -- the exact opposite of its intended effects. By 1895, Germany was in recession again, even with powerful economic backing, and the people became restless and began striking and rioting once again, reminiscent of the Peasants' March before the Spice Wars.
Although the Russians had helped oust the rule of the Ottomans in Europe, they agreed to govern the now discontinuous Illyrian Provinces along the Adriatic Sea, bringing the Russians and Ottomans closer and eventually into an alliance. The British felt satisfied with the state of affairs, seeing as how they had slowly but surely forced monarchies back onto Europe in many nations, leaving republics the minority once again. By the end of the century, the world looked ready for another century of tension and conflict. In response, the governments of the eastern and western alliances began building their military forces up and developing new technologies such as the airplane, more effective field rifles, artillery, among others.