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On September 6th, 1620, the English pilgrimage vessel headed for the New World, the Mayflower, is launched from its dock in Plymouth, England, about to embark on its 66-day voyage.
48 days into the voyage and the Mayflower is struck by disaster - a spilled over oil-lantern is accidentally ignited, setting fire to one of the three main masts. Uncontrolled, the fire quickly spreads to the other masts, burning through the Mayflower's complex array of sails and riggings.
The fire also swiftly spreads across the main deck, igniting several barrels of gunpowder - the resulting explosions blast throughout the ship, killing many Pilgrims in the process. The remaining crew members try to put out the flames, but to no avail - it's already done too much damage.
The fire spreads downwards, all the way to the lower decks, and soon the whole ship is engulfed in flame. Many are trapped within their rooms, hemmed in by the fire. The handful of passengers still alive scramble about the deck, evading death, unable to flee - the lifeboats had long since burned to the ground. The animals aboard the ship are left abandoned to fend for themselves. No one jumps ship. After all, not a soul on board knows how to swim.
Finally, the bottom floorboards of the ship wore through, the burning remnants of the Mayflower sink into the waves.
There are no survivors.
After at least a year with no word from the Pilgrims or the crew of the Mayflower, it had to be assumed that tragedy had struck and that the ship and everyone aboard had been lost.
The failure of the Mayflower's voyage to the New World is devastating. Not only did they fail to start a colony in the New World, but they lost all of their passengers, the crew, the animals, and the captain himself. Even more embarrassing is the fact that the remains of the ship - more importantly, the bodies of the Pilgrims - were never found and given proper burials.
The British morale falls low. Due to the tragedy of the Mayflower, the English decide to cut all funding for New World colonization, believing that the cost of it far outweigh the benefits. The citizens of England discuss that maybe the New World would be best left to the Spanish, or even the French.
This is where our timeline begins:
1622 - The Esperanza (Hope), is the first Spanish ship to land in the New World, on the shores of OTL New Jersey. The eager colonists christen their newfound land "San Santiago" in honor of Spain's patron saint at the time, St. Santiago, whom they believe guided them to success.
1623-1625 - The Spanish colonists begin to move into the neighboring territories around New Jersey: OTL Delaware (ATL "Buenos Tierra"), OTL Maryland (ATL "Pachima "), and parts of OTL Virginia (ATL "Suelo Santo"). However, the colonists soon discover they are not alone - contact is made with the Native American tribes inhabiting Suelo Santo. The Spanish, viewing the natives as "unclean creatures", attempt to scare them away from their homeland by showing - but not using - arms. However, despite increased prompting from the colonists, the Native Americans do not budge. The Spanish are then "forced" to actually use their weapons. Things soon get ugly. Soon both sides are caught in what is known as the Spanish-American War, which lasts for a period of eight months before the colonists come out on top. The remaining Native Americans are rounded up and indentured as Spanish slaves, used for doing work in the fields and generally reinforcing and building up the Spanish colonies of OTL America. Some slaves are even shipped back to Spain to serve their captors overseas in the motherland. Thus marks the birth of the Spanish Slave Confederation (the SSC), where Native Americans are sold and traded for the highest bid. After months of unbroken progress, the Spanish decide to officially unite all their existing colonies into one large, still-expanding country: New Spain.
1624 (Winter) - 1625 (Spring) - The French, learning of Spain's exploits in the New World, grow envious and decide to send over a ship of their own - the Bombardier. After a long, grueling 72-day voyage marked by disease and a hurricane, the Bombardier lands in OTL New Hampshire at the crack of dawn. Surveying their surroundings, the colonists decide to name their landing site "La Cote du Soleil" (The Coast of Sun). However, for the French, things don't start off too sunny. Arriving in winter, the French colonists face freezing temperatures, a lack of fertile soil, and no shelter from the harsh elements. Fortunately, after much initial suffering, the colonists mange to build a warm, dry shelter for almost everyone on board the ship. Some colonists take up fishing. And when spring finally comes, La Cote du Soleil is a thriving new colony belonging to the French. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, doubts about ending English colonization efforts begin to circulate, especially after hearing stories of how the Spanish and French have achieved success in their attempts.
1625-1627 - New Spain expands upward into OTL Pennsylvania (ATL "Tierra de Collinas", or "Land of Hills"). New Spain's territories now include:
1) San Santiago (newly appointed capital of New Spain). The OTL equivalent is New Jersey.
2) Pachima. The OTL equivalent is Maryland.
3) Tierra de Collinas. The OTL equivalent is Pennsylvania.
4) Suelo Santo. The OTL equivalent is Virginia.
5) Buenos Tierra. The OTL equivalent is Delaware.
The Spanish now have multiple industries in which they excel, including fishing (although the French consider themselves better), hunting, trapping, foresting, and farming. Also, the SSC has swelled in popularity among the Spanish people. It has now become common among wealthy Spanish families to have at least one Native American slave who cleans, cooks, and cares for them. The Native Americans doing this, however, detest their current employment conditions although household slavery is one of the more favorable jobs. Some SSC slaves are forced to work in the fields or in mines, indentured into lifelong hard labor. Over in the Motherland (Spain), the large amounts of materials and goods (not to mention slaves) constantly flooding in from New Spain have caused Spain itself to prosper. Its power and influence in Europe is increased greatly. Its armies and navies swell in size and resources. Not to leave out that Spain, always considered a wealthy country, has a become a world superpower. Favor for King Philip IV skyrockets. In fact, the time in which he ruled is considered by many as the beginning of the Golden Age.
North of New Spain, in the French colony of La Cote du Soleil, a new port is being constructed. Docked in the port is a fleet of at least a dozen ships stuffed with goods, weapons, merchandise, animals, and, most importantly, people. These ships are from France, the king of which now views New World colonization among his top priorities. The population of La Cote du Soleil is increased by so much that the French are obliged to further expand their land earlier than expected. They move south into OTL Massachusetts and call it "Orsay". They also plan to move down into the unnamed region of OTL Connecticut.
The Spanish and the French are, unknowingly, slowly moving toward each other.
1627-1628 - England decides it has had enough. Now overshadowed by both French and Spanish, they quickly build a ship for the sole purpose of colonization. They call it the Mayflower II and launch it on April 4th, 1627, headed for the New World. Much like the original Mayflower, the Mayflower II is packed with colonists, animals, and any materials the crew of the Mayflower II might need aboard the ship and when colonizing. After a long journey across the North Atlantic Ocean, the English vessel wearily traverses the OTL Gulf of St. Lawrence (which they actually name the Gulf of St. Lawrence while passing through it) and land in OTL Nova Scotia, which they name New London. A small but stable colony is formed. After making sure that the colony is self-sufficient enough, the Mayflower II begins the trek back to the United Kingdom.
The ship barely makes it out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence before it is hit by a moderate (but still ferocious) seasonal hurricane. The ship is battered and whacked around, finally torn away and spun out to open water. The ship is wrecked. One of its three main masts are snapped cleanly in two and the lower levels of the ship were experiencing serious flooding. A quarter of the ship's crew had been swept over the side during the storm, lost at sea. However, against all odds, the Mayflower II does not sink, instead limping in the direction the crew hope leads back to England. In fact, it leads south, down to ATL Orsay (OTL Massachusetts), which is inhabited by the French at the time. Upon seeing the horrid conditions the Mayflower II is in, the citizens of Orsay lend the homebound colonists one of their own ships. This forms an alliance between the French and the English that will continue to strengthen for many years. The English, manning their sparkling new ship, wave farewell to the French and head towards home. Some 90 days later they arrive in Plymouth, which comes as an immense relief to the United Kingdom - they had begun to fear that the Mayflower II had suffered the same fate as its predecessor. As a matter of fact, it almost did.
1628 -1631 (The French-Spanish War) - The colonists from France, now controlling two territories (Du Cote de Soleil and Orsay) expand their territory down into OTL Connecticut (ATL "Nouveau Paris", or New Paris). The French also proclaim that they are now called "Les royaumes unis de la France" (The United Kingdoms of France). I will abbreviate this into "the RUF". The French also observe the land that lies farther south: OTL New York. The viceroy of King Louis IIIX, Jean Vachon, becomes the acting governor of the RUF, reporting directly to the King. Vachon believes that the best possible future for the RUF and, ultimately, France itself, would be to colonize OTL New York.
He was dead wrong.
Around the same time, on the southern side of OTL New York, the Council of New Spain, (Chancellor Pedro Gomez being the leader) decides to attempt colonization of OTL New York.
Soon the two countries make contact, the midway point being OTL New York. At first, communications between New Spain and the RUF are nice enough - until they figure out that they both are after the same land.
Discomfort morphs into outright hostility, each side barring their teeth and shouldering weapons.
The Battle of OTL New York was about to begin. Not only that, but so was the French-Spanish War. And that was definitely not a good thing.
The French strike first with a horde of infantry force, planning to plunge head-on into New Spain's forces and risk their lives in the process. The attack is quickly and easily put down, with minimum losses to the Spanish and maximum to the French. After that, the French stall any ill-fated head-on attacks and attempt to catch the Spanish by surprise - by commandeering a naval ship, packing it with soldiers, and attacking from the rear. They plan to travel east and curve around OTL Long Island, where they will land onshore a little ways north of San Santiago. However, expecting a similar tactic, the Spanish had posted soldiers on the San Santiago shore as a precaution against the French. so when the naval ship approaches land, the shore side cannons and infantry blow it full of holes and watch it sink. All of the survivors are dragged urgently from the water and held as prisoners of war (or POWs) in the San Santiago shore's outpost.