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Welcome to the All Under Heaven alternate timeline (ATL) portal.
All Under Heaven explores the history of China from the year 1402 up to the present day.
In our timeline (OTL), China ruled the waves during the reign of the Yongle Emperor. Under the eunuch admiral Zheng He, a fleet larger than all of early 15th century Europe's naval forces combined was sent on seven tributary missions across the Indian Ocean. After the death of Yongle's grandson, the Xuande Emperor, however, these grandiose diplomatic missions were officially called off. Once master of the seas, China imposed upon itself laws that made it illegal to build ships with more than two masts; the ships of Zheng He's great treasure fleet were either burnt or left to rot at their moorings. Inflation rates exploded like crazy, reducing the value of Chinese paper money to less than one percent. The favorable exchange rate the Ming emperors enjoyed decades before had evaporated. The Empire's tax base had shrank by half. Corruption was rampant. The Mongol hordes, who the Ming Dynasty's founder, Hongwu, had expelled centuries before, posed once more a threat to the Middle Kingdom. The civilian populace retreated from more adventurous avenues of thought. The philosophy of Confucius that stressed "There was nothing to be gained from contact with foreigners and strange things" went to the heads of virtually everyone in the Empire. Most of the records of Zheng He's voyages were subsequently destroyed. Advancement of weapons such as guns and cannons almost grinded to a halt. The greatest nation on earth became a mere shadow of its former self. In 1515, a Portuguese envoy even remarked that "With ten ships, the [Portuguese] Governor of India...could take the whole of the Chinese coast."
China's self imposed isolation when it had the world in its grasp is seen nowadays by most historians as one of the greatest missed opportunities of all time. But what if it did not happen that way? What if the Ming emperors continued those great tributary voyages? What if the Europeans had encountered those massive treasure fleets? What if China, and not Europe, had colonized the Americas?
Before making major edits to the articles within this ATL, please take some time to read the Editorial Guidelines. This page will continue to be updated as the timeline and its related articles expands. Please refrain from editing this timeline until further notice. Thank you.
The All Under Heaven ATL starts in the year 1402 when Jianwen was emperor of China. The first major point of divergence of this timeline is when China had subdued the Mongol hordes. Despite the military successes on the battlefield, Jianwen was not a popular man at court. His uncle Zhu Di was a well loved figure in court, and at the center of all conspiracies to get rid of the current emperor. The second major point of divergence in the timeline is when Jianwen is assassinated on January 1, 1403. With Jianwen's death, Zhu Di becomes emperor. Zhu Di's eldest son is born on March 3, 1403, the third major point of divergence. But a year later the so called Yongle Emperor died of a stroke, the forth major point of divergence. With the untimely death of Yongle, China is ruled for a regency council for 14 years - the fifth major point of divergence. On January 1, 1418, Yongle's eldest son is proclaimed emperor, taking the era name Hongxi - the sixth major point of divergence.
From ascension of the Hongxi Emperor on that faithful day, the history of China - and the world - would change forever. Hongxi and his descendants would make China the greatest empire in history through a series of wars, political and diplomatic intrigues, and an explosion of advancements in science and technology. Today China is the only existing hyperpower in the world, whose supremacy is unrivaled by other nations.
This series of articles would encompass the rise of the Chinese hyperpower, ruled by the Ming emperors in the Forbidden City. Attention is also given to the other nations in the world, as well as economics, culture, science, and the colorful characters who helped shaped the destiny of the world...or who were just caught up in the drama of it all. 1402 to 1821 is the main focal point the All Under Heaven articles.
List of primary articles
- Timeline - the master list of all major events in this ATL, providing a quick overview of everything that happened.
- World Factbook - profiles of the nations described in this ATL. Links to more detailed articles on the countries can be found here.
- The Sons of Heaven - the list of the Chinese Emperors involved in this ATL.
- Military Database - the portal for all things military ranging from the battles the Chinese fought in this ATL to 19th century aircraft carriers.
- Geopolitics - the section dealing with alliances, diplomacy, government types, territorial changes, geography, political matters, etc.
- Economics - for those seeking a more detailed reason why some countries in this ATL were rich and others poor, this section is your primary portal.
- Arts and Letters - all things related to culture from novels to films, to architectural styles, sports, music, and video games in this ATL go here.
- Personalities - a list of people mentioned in this ATL (besides the Chinese emperors of course).
- Science and Technology
- Social Policies - stuff about education, women's rights, social welfare, health, etc. can be found here.
- Statistics - the body count of all those who died fighting the Middle Kingdom and more are located here.
Notes for Would-Be Contributors
We ask would be contributors to this timeline to do the following (and in this order!):
- Please read the Editorial Guidelines. Understand them before contributing. If you have questions, ask them to another contributor. If you cannot abide by them, thank you for your interest in our timeline, and good day. You can always make your own timeline.
- Please introduce yourself in the talk page of the ATL. Please detail any proposal you would have for us as well.
- Understand the Conventions in use in this wiki before creating a new page.
- Play nice!