Alternate History

London (The Kalmar Union)

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Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag of London (The Kalmar Union).svg
Flag of London
Country Wessex-Normandy
Province Middlesex
Founded c. AD 50
Mayor Joseph Williams
Population 835,000  
Language Saxon

London is a fortress city in Wessex-Normandy situated where the Rivers Thames and Fleet meet. It is the capital of the small county of Middlesex. It has a population of around 835,000.

Once the capital of Roman Britain, London has regularly been the focus of Wessex and Anglia's wars as it bars Anglia's way into Kent, Sussex and the Thames Valley. The city was originally handed to Cnut I's Anglia after the battle of Assandun that divided England. Captured by Wessex in 1183 it became the focus of its defense of the South-East as well as providing a handy sheltered port for Dutch and Baltic trade. Swapping hands various times over the next 300 years the siege of 1501 was a massive failure for the Kalmar Union and Danish objectives in Britannia. Thereafter apart from brief occupation in the 1690s and 1730's London would remain Wessexian. As trade with Leifia and the Orient strengthened the value of London's port lessened, however due to its strategic value Wessex would invest heavily in protecting, though not necessarily nurturing, the city.

It was heavily fortified in the 'Dutch Star' style during the 1790's, at a vast cost to the state, whilst engineers rerouted the River Leye to provide a considerable moat and protective marshland to its north-east. Repeated flooding during the 15th century turned the Thames just downstream from London into a marshland, especially on the Isle of Dogges, defying most attempts at drainage but also severely impeding the traffic of large ships. This and the fortifications themselves (though now largely obsolete) has constrained the city's growth to the North and East and the nearby towns of Islington, Hackney and Poplar remain unincorporated though dependent on their large neighbour. To the South and West however it has picked up a considerable suburb. Repeatedly burnt by Anglian armies over the centuries, the borough of Westminster rests against London's Western flank and holds the grand Abbey that has been the occasional site for coronation of the Wessex kings. The rest of the suburb has slowly grown up around the abbey and priory in a grand Gothic style with wide streets radiating out from the centre.

South of the river, connected to the north by the spectacularly built-up and inhabited London Bridge, the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth sprawl in a haphazard way down to Dulwich meadows. Largely slums, a gradual gentrification is occurring on the outskirts as land holders attempt to salvage their area's reputation.

Though undoubtedly strategically valuable, the city has been unable to compete in the modern era with the much larger port cities of Bristol and Portsmouth which are nearer the industrial heartland of Wessex. A program of sewer building in the 1950s has virtually eliminated cholera from the city but a concerted effort to drain Stepney and Dogges marshes, which would probably allow a significant expansion in London's area and trade, has never seen the light of day. This would rely on money from the treasury which is under strain thanks to the arms race and continued civil disruption in the Midlands.

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