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The nineteenth century was a time of rapid urbanization and economic growth. In Europe years of war had carved a new world, built upon thoughts of enlightenment and technological advances. In the Americas emerging superpowers such as the United States were seeing a time of expansion, and all around the world the corners of the known world were being expanded as man pushed into the unknown both at home and abroad.
But drifting in the smokey clouds of the growing metropolises a different fate was brewing. What if the world diverged to something much different from today, that would forever change the landscape of the world and modern society as we know it? Sometime around the middle of the 1850s a series of setbacks caught the cogs of history. Natural disasters, disease, starvation, and other problems created what we now know as the "Chaos". A period of conflict and collapse ensued, until by the year 1900 the world had become unrecognizable to any man alive in 1850.
The world population plummeted to around 260 million, with approximately half in the Americas. Modern society, so dependent on complex systems designed to sustain the populace quickly broke down, and most nation-states became history or shadows of their former selves. Most of humanity was reduced to an almost barbaric state, roaming the lands and warring with other bands over the remnants of once-glorious civilization. Blood flowed like water and stained the rivers and lakes red.
Humanity, however, stumbled on. Nature, having been pacified and retained for so long regained its vigor and soon forests stood where farms had once been, and deserts had retaken the irrigated fields. People lay huddled in small communities at the mercy of nature and the nomadic raiders that plagued parts of the world. Animals stalked the countrysides, haunting the dreams of young children. Old knowledge was forgotten, and society regressed to a Dark Age-type way of life.
Inspired by Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling and the Atlas of Medieval America by Matthew White.
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