Alternate History

Africa 1525 - 1675 (Vicuña of the East)

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African Colonies 1675 (VOE)

Africa, 1675

This page covers the main divergences and events of history in the Vicuña of the East timeline from 1525 to 1675 in Africa.

Cape Colony

Historically, early Portuguese explorers overlooked possibilities for colonization of the southern cape of Africa, despite having been the first Europeans to discover it. This is because they found the rocky beaches unsuitable for landing and the economic profits not worth it. However, other European powers saw the Cape as an important stop-off point. The first to catch the opportunity were the Dutch, who, after their ship the Nieuwe Haarlem was shipwrecked in the port in 1649, decided to create a settlement. They built a trading post, but later sold it to Denmark-Norway in 1562.

Under Danish rule, the small trading post was expanded into a full-scale fort. Additionally, many Danish and Dutch traded with the local Khoikhoi people, although the relationship was often unfriendly.

Crusades in Adal

Unhappy with the results of the Treaty of Zaragoza, Portugal decided it would be most profitable to gain a monopoly over Africa and India. Portugal sought to spread Christianity throughout these territories, thus giving it a motive to take part in the war between Christian Ethiopia and the Muslim Sultanate of Adal in the mid-16th century. The war was also part of a larger war between Portugal and the Ottoman Empire.

The Ethiopian-Adal War was begun by Imam Ahmad when he rose as Sultan of Adal. He attracted many to his cause of jihad against the Ethiopian King Dawit II. The first battle was an Adal victory at Shimbra Kure, raising Muslim morale, and leading to a string of victories, which allowed them to kill Dawit II and his heirs. However, soon after, Portugal began backing Ethiopia with several musketeers. In the end, the war significantly weakened both sides, but Ethiopia had a clear advantage. In 1543, Cristóvão de Gama, son of famed explorer Vasco de Gama, landed in Zeila, ravaging the city. Later, he stormed the city of Harar with thousands of troops and claimed the area for Portugal, effectively deposing the Adal Sultan. He named the area Somalia, and established a fort at Zeila. They informally called the area Ceilão Mouro, or Moor Ceylon, as a corruption of the local name Saylac.

Dutch Presence

While the Netherlands were in a general state of unrest throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, it nevertheless had a significant amount of sailors willing to trade in Africa. From the port at Amsterdam, the Dutch East India Company was formed in 1619, led by Jan Pieterszoon Coen. The company set up a trading route including Amsterdam, West Africa, Guinea, the Cape of Good Hope, Mozambique, southern India, and later the Moluccas. Dutch traders had little interest in colonizing, only wishing to make a profit, until 1647, when Dutch traders annexed the island of Goeree, near the city of Dakar. Later, Dutch explorers began trade through the cities they called Boetoepa (OTL Boutoupa) and the Dutch trading post of Sint-Lodewijk (OTL Saint-Louis).

The Dutch named the region Mauritius, after their former ruler Maurice of Nassau. The primary trade was in slaves, leading to the island becoming infamous as a slave trading. The port of Sint-Lodewijk, however, was surpassed in strategic importance by nearby Dakar. Nevertheless, many Dutch traders gained revenue in other ports such as Cape Town and those in Guinea.

Peruvian Desert Colony

Danish ships first docked in the Peruvian port of Patjakamaq in 1564. The next few years the Danish made their mark on Peruvian culture. Ninan Kujutji, the Inka at the time, was confident that the Peruvian Empire had the divinely appointed position of the greatest empire in the world, descended directly from Inti, the sun god. However, the Inka nevertheless was quick to adopt certain customs, such as the establishment of trading post overseas. After hearing of the great wealth amassed by the Danish colonies, the Peruvians set up their first colony on the African coast.

Ninan Kujutju ordered an expedition to explore Africa, under military general Vaman Pakag in 1570. They were unsure of what they would find, but settled on an area that reminded much of the crew, who were reared from the coast of Peru, of their homeland. After performing certain rituals, Vaman Pakag determined the area, formerly known to the Portuguese called Angra Pequena, would rear the next generation of Peruvians. He dedicated the area to the god Virakutja, and planted the Peruvian flag according to the European custom.

Through complex irrigation systems based on those of the Naska Peoples, pukyus, the Peruvian settlers were able to set up a settlement envied by the Europeans as a strategic stop-off point between Angola and the Danish Cape Colony. The revenue earned allowed the Peruvians to create a relatively large settlement akin to that of Patjakamaq in Peru.

The architecture of Viraqutjap Kuluni was similar to that of Peru, with stone complexes, and other stone arches. The city was centred at the Viraqutja Vasi, a large temple, and was surrounded by fields of crops that could survive the harsh climate of the desert. Many locals were also involved in the fishing industry. By 1675, the settlement supported a population of over 6,000.

Within the first few decades of settlement, relationship with the local natives was generally a friendly trade relationship. Instruction by the natives allowed the Peruvians to live more comfortably in the harsh environment.

Rivalry over Morocco

Morocco was an important location during the Early Modern Period due to its location at the junction of the Islamic World, Africa, and Europe. As a result, the area became a location of major competition between Spain, Portugal, and Denmark-Norway, each wishing to establish itself as a major trading hub. At the same time, the local Alouite dynasty was growing in power.

The first country to settle Morocco was Portugal, who landed on the shores of Ceuta. Later, their colony was transferred to the Spanish crown, but the invasion of Ceuta marks the first modern European colony. The area known as the Rif was occupied by Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries. The major cities of Ceuta, Melilla, and Tetuán provided an important trade link with the Islamic world and Mediterranean trade. Nearby, Portugal began amassing a long coastline from Tangier in the north to the standalone fort of Santa Cruz do Cabo do Gué. Although there were only small limited settlements, the Portuguese constituted an important presence in the area of coastal trade. Many ships stopped in Morocco to trade along the route to the lands to the south. Denmark-Norway had a small trading post at the city of Sidi Ifni.

Trade in West Africa

West Africa was traditionally one of the first areas Europeans wished to explore, due to the possible benefits of trading with the Middle East. After having explored the area, Portugal set up several settlements on the coast of Sub-Saharan Africa, from São João Baptista de Ajudá to Cabo Monte.

Through various treaties, the conflicting powers of Portugal and Denmark had divided West Africa into two major spheres of influence. Portugal controlled the land from Cabo Monte as far as the port of Aboaço, with the capital at São Pedro. The coast to the west of São Pedro was known as Costa da Pimienta (Pepper Coast) and to the west was known as Costa do Marfim (Ivory Coast). Together they were officially known as Costa do Marfim e da Pimienta, sometimes simplified to Costa do Marfim. Denmark controlled the port of Sekondi and as far east as Lakus. The coast was known to the Danes as the Guldkyst in the west and Slavekyst in the east, based on the primary export. For centuries, Denmark competed with Portugal over the gold trade. Collectively known as Dansk Vest-Afrika, the trade eventually grew in slaves.

For both nations, influence was primarily limited to trade. While there were many small trading posts, the only major European settlement was at São Pedro. Despite this, trade grew thriving in many resources. Both colonies grew significantly in competition, and the Gulf of Guinea was on two occasions was the site of a battle during the Portuguese-Danish War. In addition, both colonies provided a large amount of slaves to Europe, rivaled only by the traders of Patagonia.

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