In OTL, the countries of the world didn't make an effort to colonise Antarctica, but in this one, millions of people moved to Antarctica in order to find a better life in the vast fisheries and envirodomes of the South. After 50 years of being carved up amongst various powers, the Antarctics gained independence and formed the Empire under Edward the Great.
Divergence and the Antarctic Treaty System
In 1959, the countries that had the greatest claims on Antarctica signed the Antarctic Treaty System. Unlike in OTL, when colonization was not allowed due to the forced lack of military power on the Continent, colonization is actively encouraged so as to increase the economies of the world from the fisheries, scientific research and oil reserves. The various Antarctic claims have large cities built in heavily insulated buildings. Over 50 million people immigrated to Antarctica, but the Antarctic continent retained the lowest population density in the world, with the population spread over an area of 14,000,000 km². The countries of Antarctica were
- Adelie Land
- Nova Patagonia
- Curtin Territory
- New Britannia
- Dronning Maud Land
- Peter I Øy
- Ross Dependency
First Antarctic War
In 1961, the Russians sent a wave of colonists, thus contravening the Antarctic Territorial Treaty. Britain and the other capitalist countries drove out the colonists. Russia sent a second wave, this time protected by several war ships. They captured a large amount of Australian territory. After this the various countries of Antarctica broke into war. The original reason was forgotten as war consumed the icy continent. The participants soon discovered that their normal tactics would not work since machines broke down in the cold, leading to the prescedence of cavalry in this war and all wars after it on Anarctica. The ten year war hastened the death of the USSR, but increased the gravitas and power of Britain and France who carved up the Russian territory.
Second Antarctic War
In 1982, Argentina invade the British Antarctic Territory. Over a period of 4 months, Britain drove of Argentine influence out of the British territories and followed it up with an all out invasion Argentine Antarctica. The victory took longer than expected and the war lasted for 3 years, by which time Britain had annexed all that remained of Argentine Antarctica.
The Great Insurrection
The Antarctics as they called themselves had been simmering with resentment for years. Now in one mass rebellion, they threw off the countries that had played war with them and exploited them for 150 years. The leader of the Insurrection became King of his Empire of Antarctica.