After the Renaissance in the 1400's, European nations began to insert themselves into the affairs of faraway continents, and eventually they came to colonize North America, conquer Africa and dominate Asia. This timeline explores a different idea - what if, instead of growing to control global affairs, European nations were forced to compete with expansive Asian and African empires of similar technological capabilities?
The points of divergence (There are two) are the defeat of Malik Kafur in his invasion of Southern India, and the death of Timur the lame in 1363 from injuries that in the real world would have merely crippled him. In the place of these two emperors would rise the Ashfarid, or Gurkaniyan, empire that would subjugate the entire Middle East, and the Reddy Kingdom of India which would consolidate the subcontinent under the flag of what was once a small, regional kingdom. In the centuries that followed, the Islamic World, India, China, Japan and various African nations would unite under respective empires that would eventually pose a very real threat to European expansion into the rest of the World.
The First Reddy Empire
In 1310, the Slave General Malik Kafur was sent by his master, Alauddin Khilji (The Sultan of Delhi), to invade the Reddy Kingdom in the Telugu region of India. Accompanying him was Singhana III, a Maratha prince and vassal of the Delhi Sultanate whose father had been defeated in a prior war and was installed as governor of his former kingdom. Singhana had been the one to fight the sultanate in open battle against the wishes of his father and had been the direct cause of their defeat. Meanwhile, King Prataparudra II of the Reddy Kingdom was preparing for a last stand against the overwhelming odds, having installed his army on Shepherd's Hill, or Golla Kondam, to the west of his capital, Orugallu. When Kafur's army attacked, Prataparudra led a fierce and gruelling defense. At the brink of defeat, however, Singhana's division turned on their overlords and slammed into Kafur's guard, killing him in the ensuing chaos. Prataparudra took advantage of of the situation and routed the enemy.
Over the next few years, a follow-up campaign led by Alauddin himself ultimately failed due to the fierce resistance and successful guerrilla warfare of Prataparudra's army. In the end, Alauddin nearly bankrupted his empire and was forced to evacuate his army from all his holdings in Southern India, which came under the control of the Reddy Kingdom.
Prataparudra II died in 1334, with his daughter Yashoda Devi a his successor. After winning the throne following a number of armed rebellions, Yashoda Devi went on to invade the now failing Delhi Sultanate. After marrying the General Bhim Rao and thus making him King, he is said to have promised her the entire world as his gift to her. The duo steadily moved the empire to the north, allying with many Rajput chiefs along the way, until in 1359 they conquered the city of Delhi. Their allies were given areas of northern India to rule as vassals of the Empire and Yashoda Devi went down as a historical legend due to her exploits.