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Many historians believe that the Mongol invasion of Europe brought the Europeans knowledge of uses of gunpowder and therefore ushered in the gunpowder age in Europe. But what if the Mongols had not invaded Europe? This would have caused the Europeans, because of their style of "honorary" warfare, with men pitting their courage against one another in close-range combat, to begin using gunpowder almost two hundred years later. The most powerful nations in the world are Asian and North American, with the European countries still behind both economically and militarialy
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OTL: In 1229, the second great Khan of the Mongol empire was coronated. His name was Ogedei Khan. He immediately commenced invading the Jin dynasty. In 1232, the Jin dynasty collapsed and Ogedei Khan continued to invade Korea, India, southern China, and eventually Europe. This invasion of Europe included gunpowder cannons, weapons the Europeans had not used before. The European style of warfare was centered towards "honor" and soldiers with ranged weapons of any kind were thought to be "cowardly". This caused the Europeans to not use gunpowder in weapon. The invasion of the Mongols between 1236-1241 proved the effectiveness of gunpowder and slowly the Europeans used gunpowder.
ATL: Ogedei Khan is crowned in 1229, the second Khan of the Mongol Empire. He immediately invades the Jin dynasty, but in 1231, with the Jin dynasty in full retreat, a group of assassins sneaked into Ogedei Khan's room and killed him. Another group killed the great Mongol general Subutai. The title Great Khan fell upon Gengis Khan's second son, Chagatai Khan. Chagatai Khan, having no son of his own, was to give the title to Guyuk Khan, son of the dead Ogedei Khan. Chagatai, known to be hotheaded, declared that he would pick the next Khan after him. This caused a rift in the Mongol Empire, with the Chagatia Khanate, including the western area of the Empire, against the Great Khan, the eastern area of the Empire. This caused a civil war, and the Mongols did not invade Europe.
In 1503, the African and Eurasian plates make an unexpected shift, smashing into each other at a very high rate. This causes massive earthquakes in Europe and Northern Africa, shattering governments and destroying cities. The earthquakes are worse around the Mediterranean, but inland there are very large earthquakes also. They are size 7-8 on the Richter scale, and cause millions of deaths. The deaths cause a massive spread of disease, and over half of the European population is killed. Luckily for southern Africa and Asia, many of the diseases are killed either by the heat of deserts or the cold of Russia. There are not many ships filled with people escaping the disasters, due to the massive tidal waves that the shift created. Many ships are wiped out, and repercussions are felt worldwide. This leads to the demise of Europe, as it collapses into anarchy.