Alternate History

Commonwealth of Victoria (Yellowstone: 1936)

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Commonwealth of Victoria
Timeline: Yellowstone: 1936
Flag of Canada 1921 1937 - 1961
Flag of British Columbia.svg
Official languages English
Regional Languages English
Ethnic groups  Cascadians
Native Americans
Demonym Victorian
Religion None (Largely Christian)
Government Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
 -  President
 -  Formation March 5, 1937 
 -  Annexation of the Gulf Islands August 19, 1940 
 -  Creation of the North Pacific Trading Company May 4, 1941 
 -  Expansion into the Capital Regional District February 26, 1947 
 -  Creation of the Puget Alliance July 11, 1949 
 -  Belfare War August 9, 1953-June 27, 1955 
 -  San Juan Treaty March 14, 1959 
 -  Establishment of the Puget Federation January 12, 1961 
Currency Dollar (Victorian)

The Commonwealth of Victoria, colloquially known simply as Victoria, was a city-state in the Pacific Northwest following the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Established as a Commonwealth in 1937, Victoria became known for its wealthy trade empire following the conclusion of the Pacific War that devastated many Pacific nations. Good relations with neighboring city-states of Tacoma and Everett allowed for a powerful alliance between the Puget nations to form into a single nation called the Puget Federation in 1961.


The Commonwealth of Victoria was located on the southern edge of Vancouver Island. Mostly located around the Capital Regional District, the trade nation also consisted of various islands in the Gulf Islands region. Following the San Juan Treaty, the Commonwealth of Victoria acquired the island of San Juan. The nearby Olympic Mountains cast a heavy rain shadow on Victoria, making the area drier than most of the British Columbian coast. The area, like most of the Pacific Northwest, was highly forested before the Yellowstone eruption. The Olympic mountains helped block what ash had made it to Vancouver Island following the Yellowstone Eruption. Nevertheless, some ash did make it to Vancouver Island, including Victoria, leading to damage of the nearby forests.


Yellowstone Eruption

The 1936 eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano led to an environmental catastrophe in North America. While the US and Mexico were mainly harmed by this, Canada was not spared the horrors of the volcanic winter that followed. Ash had destroyed much of the infrastructure of southern Canada. The long winters after the eruption furthermore isolated western Canada. In the March of 1937, the Yellowstone Statute was enacted, leading to the temporary creation of the Commonwealth of British Columbia. The capital was moved to Vancouver. Victoria, along with the rest of Vancouver Island was thought to be a dead land, leading to its exclusion from the Commonwealth of British Columbia. Originally, Canada would resume control of British Columbia in 1966, three decades after the Yellowstone eruption. However, by that time, British Columbia had become completely independent, resulting in the former Province remaining its own nation. Despite popular assumptions, Victoria remained not only habitable, but one of the safest regions of the west coast. Upon the discovery of Victoria's survival, an offer to join British Columbia was extended. Victoria chose to remain independent, establishing the Commonwealth of Victoria. It was not immediately recognized by British Columbia or Canada. Not until 1939, during Victoria's assistance during the Pacific War, would the Commonwealth of Victoria be recognized.

Following the eruption, a flock of US ships entered the Puget Sound. Freighters and other merchant ships, however, took port in and around Vancouver Island, especially Victoria. A number of these ships was abandoned, leading to corroding wrecks littering the waters near Victoria. In 1937, Victoria ordered all wrecks to be either retrieved and towed to deeper waters where they could sink without harming other ships, salvaged and repaired so as to become seaworthy again, or, in the case of large ships or unclaimed wrecks, destroyed via explosion. The waters around Victoria were clear and the nation could open itself up to global commerce.

Annexation of the Gulf Islands

Victoria, much like many of its neighbors to the south, had been founded as a logging city. It certainly made use of such resources. Many of Vancouver Island's forests owned their survival to the double protection of the Cascadian range and the Olympic mountains. Following the eruption of Yellowstone, timber was in high demand. Such a demand called for the creation of the Victorian Logging Company. By the 1940s, the Victorian Logging Company was shipping to areas as far away as Oregon and Alaska. Refugees from British Columbia flocked to Victoria while seaborne refugees entered Victorian waters, answering the radio calls from Victoria, Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett. The Commonwealth, refusing to sacrifice the forests it owed its life to, decided to annex several Gulf Islands which had remained uninhabited.

By 1940, Victoria had been recognized by Canada and British Columbia. Victoria discovered that British Columbia had not laid claim to the Gulf Islands. In August 1940, the Commonwealth of Victoria announced their annexation of all Gulf Islands, allowing for Victoria to support its growing population.

Forging Alliances

With Victoria's growth controlled, the commonwealth was able to make massive territorial gains to support the increased labor. Increased labor begat a rising economy. With the Pacific War raging in the waters to the west, Victoria supplied the Allies with supplies including lumber for shipbuilding, weapons made from re-purposed metal, and various salvaged items. In 1941, the North Pacific Trading Company was created. This trading company made itself known in the Puget Sound before expanding north to Alaska and south to Oregon. Victoria became one of the few nations that profited from the Pacific War, both economically and diplomatically. Victoria was making friends along the Pacific, though none of these alliances and deals were as close as the ones Victoria kept with its Puget Sound neighbors. Supplying the nations with materials had benefited all parties involved. On July 11, 1949, the Puget Alliance was created. Signed between Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Victoria, the alliance utilized the strengths of all nations involved to achieve power in the Pacific Northwest.

Belfair War

Soon after the creation of the Puget Alliance, other Puget nations began to envy the prosperity of the Puget Alliance. Belfair in particular began to grow in power to combat the Puget Alliance. The Republic of Seattle, which had created a massive naval presence in the area, became the enemy of Belfair. On August 9, 1953, an attack on the Puget Naval Shipyard by Belfair led to a declaration of war by Seattle and the Puget Alliance on Belfair. At the time, Belfair composed of much of Bainbridge Island, Mason County, and parts of Jefferson County. Seattle and the Puget Alliance responded by invading Bainbridge, surrounding it with a number of ships including the USS Milwaukee.

Within a few months of the war, a bombardment by the USS Milwaukee on the city of Belfair devastated the city, forcing the nation of Belfair to scatter. The war seemed over until the bombing of the USS Milwaukee during its victory cruise led to the ship being severely damaged. The Puget Alliance returned to finish off the nation of Belfair, though the war was largely reduced to a number guerrilla battles. Belfair surrendered on June 27, 1955.

San Juan Incident

A number of former US assets settled in various Puget nations, though Seattle was the most numerous. Some others settled and created their own states in the Puget Sound. A small settlement on the island of San Juan began becoming troublesome, attempting to tax passing ships at first before turning to blatant piracy. The Republic of Seattle responded with a fleet action. Seattleite ships surrounded the island before invading the settlement.

Following the fall of San Juan island, Seattle signed the San Juan Treaty on March 14, 1959. According to the treaty, all Puget Islands were property of the various Puget Alliance nations. A map partitioning sections of the Puget nations' shares was drawn with San Juan becoming a member of the Victorian Commonwealth.

Puget Federation

As the continued cooperation benefited the Puget Alliance, a number of nations voted to merge their assets as one nation. While this idea had been proposed with the San Juan treaty, it was highly debated until 1960, when a number of nations expressed interest in this proposal. On January 12, 1961, the Pacific Charter and the Puget Constitution was drafted, merging Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, and Victoria into one nation; the Puget Federation.



The Commonwealth of Victoria remained very similar to Canada in that it kept most offices and remained loyal to the British Crown. A parliamentary constitutional monarchy, Victoria retained the three branches of government Canada owned, i.e. legislative, judicial and executive. The old British Columbia Parliament Buildings housed the Victorian parliament. The building, which has stood since the late 19th century, became a landmark for the Commonwealth of Victoria and remains a landmark of the Puget Federation today.

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