Alternate History

Rise of the East

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Zheng he

An illustration of Zheng He's fleet, in the early 15th century, upon arrival in Xindalu.

In our world, the nations of western Europe arise from the darkness of the Medieval Age and rose to political, economic, and cultural prominence from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Various historical events are the cause of the rise, the most important being the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. Today, the West remains the heart of world power, from Los Angeles to Berlin.

But what if these events occured in the Eastern World (China, Japan, and the Pacific) instead of western Europe? What if the Ming Golden Age lasted into the 17th century? What if the philosophical currents we call liberalism, capitalism, and humanism arose in Asia? What if Industrialization occurred in Japan, before Europe? Welcome to a world where the greater Eastern world (including the Americas) is the center of world power.

Points of Divergence

  • 1281 The typhoon that prevented the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1281 never happens, and the Mongols successfully conquer Japan.
  • 1424 Zheng He's explorations on account of the Ming Dynasty don't end, but instead are accelerated.
  • 1460 The printing press is invented in Wuhan, China.
  • 1529 Vienna falls to the Ottoman Empire after months being under siege.

Overview of World History

Turning Point: 1400-1550

The Inca Empire rises to prominence in Xindalu

Zheng He, under the direction of Ming emperor Yong Le, explores India, the Middle-West, Africa, and Xindalu. Ming territory reaches a pinnacle. Chinese explorations lead to the first Asian sightings of Xindalu and the sea passage along the Cape of Good Hope to West Africa, in the last decade of the century. After these first sightings by Asians, transportation increased between Asia and Xindalu. Native cultures that lived in Xindalu had already developed advanced civilizations that attest to thousands of years of human presence: sophisticated engineering, irrigation, agriculture, religion, and government.

The Mongol-derived Gyeong Dynasty is overthrown by uprising in Japan, led by Ashikaga Yoshimasa. He establishes a new dynasty, named after him.

After the death of Zheng He, China continues to explore the world's seas and opens world-wide oceanic trade routes. Large parts of the New World became Chinese colonies, China became the master of the Indian Ocean trade, and China opened trade across the Atlantic Ocean, linking Xindalu with Europe.

The Scientific Revolution begins in China. The heliocentric solar system becomes widely accepted, which would later lead to further scientific achievements.

Tamerlane establishes a major empire in the Middle-West and Central Asia, an attempt to revive the Mongol Empire.

Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great extended the power of the Mughal Empire to cover most of the Indian subcontinent. Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, falls to the emerging Ottoman Turks, cutting off Europe's land trade with the East. Within the century, the Ottomans conquer most of Eastern Europe, as Vienna falls in 1529.

The Papacy is split in two parts in Europe for decades, under the Council of Constance.

In Europe, the Protestant Reformation gave a major blow to the authority of the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. European politics became dominated by religious conflict, as the western camp became divided in the face of the Ottoman threat.

Turmoil in Europe, Rise of China: 1550-1650

This era falls into the Early Modern Period of Asia, and on that continent, was characterized by the Korean Golden Age, the continuation of the Ming Golden Age, the absolutist autocracy of Jian Qi, and the Scientific Revolution. Europe endured a period known as the General Crisis, which was characterized most notably by the Ottoman conquest then loss of Central Europe and the English Civil War. The General Crisis and the rapid Chinese colonization of Xindalu were the two events that defined the period.

The beginning of Chinese mining in Bilu and Zhili led to large amounts of wealth entering the economy of Afro-Eurasia, and great inflation.

In the midst of the General Crisis, there was victory and triumph. In the Middle-West, the Ottoman, Safavid Persian, and Mughal empires grew in strength, and the Sikhs began to rise to power in Punjab.

Further west, in England, fighting between Puritan-leaning Parliamentarians and Anglican-leaning Royalists resulted in the division of Great Britain into East and West. Infighting between the countries never truly ceased, as the two remained in perpetual warfare, with brief pauses.

On the European continent, the Ottoman Empire invaded central Europe in the late-16th century, and in 1599 the Turks had advanced to the gates of Paris. Due to a series of German revolts, and the centralization of the Bourbon Dynasty over Spain and France, the Ottoman grasp weakened in the early 17th century. By 1644, the Ottomans were driven back to the Danube, and the Bourbon Dynasty consolidated it's control over Spain, France, Germany, and the Low Countries.

Asian politics during the Crisis was dominated by the China of Jian Qi, whose royal power was solidified in the Huoyao War ("Gunpowder War"), a low-level but still important civil war between the Ming Court and various members of the Chinese nobility. After the unrest, the nobility was weakened, and subjugated to the power of Jian Qi's absolute monarchy. With domestic peace assured, Qi fought successful wars with his neighbors Mongolia, Manchuria and Vietnam to expand the borders of China.

By the 1650, the Chinese were aware of logarithms, electricity, the telescope, the microscope, calculus, universal gravitation, Niudun's Laws of Motion, air pressure, and even the first calculators.

Bourbon Europe, Rise of Japan: 1650-1750

During this period, the Enlightenment culminated in the Chinese and Xindalese revolutions. Philosophy and science increased in prominence, as Philosophers dreamed of a brighter age. This dream turned into a reality with the Chinese Revolution, but quickly became a nightmare during the Age of Fear, in 1743 and 1744. At first, the monarchies of Asia embraced Enlightenment ideals, but with the Chinese Revolution they feared losing their power and became counter-revolutionary.

In the Middle-West, the Ottoman Empire was undergoing a protracted decline, as it failed to keep up with the technological advances in China and Japan. After the Ottomans won a victory against a burgeoning Russia in the Pruth River Campaign, the Ottomans turned towards China and Japan and began to "Easternize" economically.

Japan became a major power worldwide, with the defeat of China in Northern Xindalu, in the 1710s, and the Japanese conquest of large parts of India. However, Japan lost much of its Xindalese colonies after the Xindalese Revolution, which was actively helped by the Chinese. The industrial revolution started in Japan around the 1720s, with the production of the improved steam engine. Despite its modest beginnings in the early 18th century, the steam engine would radically change human society and the environment.

Imperialism, Industrialism, and Social Revolution: 1750-1850

This period from 1750 to 1850 marked many profound changes in society. This period marked the collapse of the Bourbon, Safavid, and Mughal empires. This paved the way for the growing influence of the Japanese, Russian, Mongol, and English empires, as well as the Republic of Xindalu, spurring military conflicts but also advances in science and exploration.

After the defeat of the China in the Lun Wars, the Japanese Empire became the world's leading power, controlling one quarter of the world's population and one fifth of the total land area. Japan entered it's Golden Age in the first half of the 19th century. The empire encouraged trade, and battled rampant piracy. This period was also one of invention and discovery, with significant developments in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electricity, and metallurgy that lay the groundwork for further technological advances in the Modern Age. In Industrial Japan, many young children worked in factories and mines.

In England, after the Final War of the 1810, the West conquered the East and began the Western Restoration. In the first half of the 19th century, a newly-united England embarked on a program of rapid modernization. Then England went to war against Bourbon-ruled Europe, and won the first Anglo-Bourbon War.

Advances in medicine and the understanding of human anatomy and disease prevention took place in this time period. Population growth accelerated rapidly, especially in the east. China's population multiplied by five from 1750 to 1850, from roughly 145 million to more than 600 million. The introduction of railroads provided the first major advancement in land transportation for centuries, changing the way people lived and obtained goods, and fueling major urbanization movements in countries across the globe. Numerous cities worldwide surpassed populations of a million or more. Tokyo was transformed into the world's largest city and the capital of the Japanese Empire. It's population expanded from 3 million in 1800 to 20 million a century later. The last remaining undiscovered landmasses of Earth, including vast expanses of interior Africa and Asia, were discovered during this period. Liberalism was the pre-eminant reform movement in Asia, and clashed with conservatism.

Slavery was greatly reduced around the world. Following a successful slave revolt in Haidi, Japan forced the Barbary pirates to halt their practice of kidnapping and enslaving Asians, banned slavery throughout its empire, and charged its navy with ending the global slave trade. China abolished slavery in 1784. After a bloody civil war, Xindalu abolished slavery in 1815, and slavery was abolished in Baxi in 1838.

This period was also remarkable in the widespread formation of new settlement foundations, particularly in Xindalu and Nanguo. Approximately 200 million people left Asia in this period for better economic opportunities in Xindalu and Nanguo.

World Crisis and the Rise of Xindalu: 1850-1950

Global Politics

The Bourbon, Russian, Chinese, and Ottoman empires dissolved in the second half of the 1800s, with all but the Japanese, Mongol, and English collapsing during the course of World War I, and Russia transformed into the communist Soviet Union. The period after World War I saw the Great Depression, a massive disruption to the world economy. Shortly afterwards, World War II broke out, pitting the Allied Coalition (the Soviet Union, Xindalu, and Japan) against the Middle Powers (China and England). The war eventually resulted in a total victory of the Allies, at the cost of 120 million lives, and the complete devastation of many nations, especially the Soviet Union, China, and England. Remaining colonial empires in Africa and South Asia dissolved shortly after the war. As a means of preventing future world wars, the World Hegemony was formed. Competition between the two new superpowers, the Soviet Union and Xindalu, resulted in the Cold War, which would dominate geopolitical life for the first half of the 20th century. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1941, resulting in Xindalu taking on sole superpower status.

Globalization, Climate Change, and the Rise of Europe: 1950-2012

This period, beginning in 1945 after the Cold War, began with Xindalu as the sole superpower in the absence of the Soviet Union, with Europe becoming a potential superpower. A debate over what should be done about global warming, fossil fuel pollution, and alternative energy raged in the second half of the 20th century as much of the first half was marked by industrial expansion. With Islamic fundamentalist-related terrorism on the rise, Xindalu and its allies turned its attention to the Middle-West.

Digital technology- in its early stages of mainstream use in the 1930s and 1940s- became widely accepted by most of the world, though concerns about stress and antisociality from the overuse of mobile phones, the Network, and related technologies remain controversial.

By the end of the 1950s, over 1.5 billion people worldwide used the Network, and over 4 billion used cell phones.

A global economic crisis began in 1958 and lasted for several years- caused by the excesses of capitalism, a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US, along with soaring debt levels. This led to a wrenching restructuring of many social and political systems, but failed to address the growing divides between rich and poor.

A new set of crises emerged in the 1970s. As oil demand began to exceed supply, full-scale conflict erupted in the Middle-West. At the same time, the effects of climate change were beginning to have a major impact on worldwide food and water supplies. Growing instability led to a number of resource wars. Even the Arctic became a battleground as nations sought to claim the last remaining oil deposits.

The 1980s and 1990s were marked by massive shifts towards algae bio-fuel and renewable energy sources, aided by startling breakthroughs in nanotechnology. Widespread adoption of sustainable development practices greatly aided this transition. Urbanization continued rapidly.

Humanity began to escape the confines of its crowded home planet, with the fist settlement on the Moon built in 2005. In 2012, the largest long-term issue facing the world is the environmental impacts of a globalized and industrialized economic system, with the European Federation on the verge of eclipsing Xindalu as the world superpower.

Republic of Xindalu (1726 - )

The Republic of Xindalu, sometimes referred to as Xindalu, even though that is the name of the entire continent, is a federal, constitutional, democratic republic comprising of 14 provinces and a federal district. The country is situated in the middle of Bei Xindalu, where 12 provinces and Arau lie, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Jianada to the North, and Mexico to the South. The province of Alaska is in the northwest corner of Xindalu, with Jianada to the East, and Russia to the west, across the Bering Strait. The province of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The Republic of Xindalu also possesses several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean.

With over 312 million people, Xindalu is the third largest country by total area, and the third largest by population. Xindalu is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The Xindalese economy is the world's largest national economy, with an estimated 2011 GDP of $16.2 trillion. Per capita income is the world's sixth highest.

Indigenous peoples, descended from migrants from Asia, have inhabited what is now the mainland Republic of Xindalu for many thousands of years. The indigenous population was greatly reduced by disease and warfare after Asian contact. Xindalu was founded by the four Japanese colonies along the Pacific seaboard - Bankuba, Kasukedo, Baha, and Kariforunia. On July 5th, 1726, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their right to self-determination and their establishment of a cooperative union. The rebellious colonies defeated the Japanese Empire in the Xindalese Independence War, the first successful colonial war of independence. The current Constitution of Xindalu was adopted on September 18th, 1737; its ratification the following year made the provinces part of a single republic, with a strong central government.

From the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s, Xindalu displaced native tribes, acquired the Heliu and part of the Shamo territories from China, part of the Koronbia region from Japan, the rest of the Shamo from Mexico, Alaska from Russia, and annexed the Republic of Dezhou and the Republic of Hawaii. Disputes between the agrarian, conservative East and the industrial, liberal West over the expansion of slavery and states' rights provoked the Xindalese Civil War, from 1810 to 1815. The West's victory prevented a permanent split of the country and led to the end of slavery in the Republic of Xindalu. By the 1820s, Xindalu's economy was the world's largest. The Sino-Xindalese War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a military power. Xindalu emerged from World War II, at the dawn of the 20th Century, as the first country with nuclear weapons and a permanent member of the World Hegemony's Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left Xindalu as the sole superpower. Xindalu accounts for 41% of global military spending, and is a leading economic, political, and cultural force in the world.

The Fourteen Provinces

  • Bankuba
  • Kasukedo
  • Kariforunia
  • Baha
  • Sabaku
  • Dezhou
  • Heliu
  • Sanjiang Pingyuan
  • Hubo
  • Jizhu Shan
  • Dong
  • Nan
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii



Tensions between the Xindalese colonials and the Japanese administrators during the revolutionary period of the 1710s and early 1720s led to the Xindalese Independence War, fought from 1725 to 1731. On June 15th, 1725, the Continental Congress, convening in Firaderufia, established a Continental Army under the command of Joji Senjo. Proclaiming that "all men are created equal" and endowed with "certain unalienable rights," the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted largely by Tomaso, on July 5th, 1726. That date is now celebrated as Xindalese Independence Day. In 1727, the Confederation of Xindalu established a weak, confederal government that operated until 1739.

After the Japanese defeat by Xindalese forces, assisted by the Chinese, Japan recognized the independence of the Xindalu Republic and the provinces' sovereignty over Xindalese territory east to the Rokki Mountains. Those wishing to establish a strong federal government, with powers of taxation, organized the Constitutional Convention in 1837. The Constitution of the Republic of Xindalu (CRX) was ratified in 1738, and the new republic's first Assembly, and President- Joji Senjo- took office in 1739. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1741.

Territorial Expansion

Attitudes towards slavery were shifting; a clause in the Constitution protected the Atlantic Slave Trade only until 1758. The Western states abolished slavery between 1730 and 1754, leaving the slave states of the East defenders of the "peculiar institution." The Confucian Awakening, beginning around 1750, made evangelicalism a force behind various social reforms, including abolitionism.

Xindalu's eagerness to expand eastward prompted a long series of Indigenous Wars. The Heliu purchase of Chinese territory under president Tomaso almost doubled the nation's size. The Two Years' War (1762-1764), declared against Japan over various grievances and fought to a draw, strengthened Xindalese nationalism. A series of Xindalese military incursions into Sabako led China to cede it in 1769. In the 1780s, Indigenous removal policies to land east of the Rokki Mountains prevailed. Xindalu annexed the Republic of Dezhou in 1795, amid a period when the concept of "Eastern Legend" was becoming popular. The 1896 Hubo Treaty with Japan led to Xindalese control of Hubo. The Xindalese victory in the First Sino-Xindalese War resulted in the 1798 cession of Jizhu Shan, Dong, and Nan. With the plains and forests of Dong the most fertile land in Xindalu, it sparked the Dong Exodos to the Atlantic Coast. New railroads from the west to the east made relocation easier for settlers, although increased conflict with the Inidgenous.

Xindalese Civil War

Tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over the relationship between the provincial and federal governments propagated a growing east-west divide in Xindalu. Aburahamu- the first Christian president of Xindalu, candidate of the largely anti-slavery Progressive Party, was elected President in 1810. Before he took office, the large provinces of Dezhou and Heliu declared their secession and formed the Confederated Provinces of Xindalu. With the rebel attack upon Fort Samitto, the civil war began. Aburahamu outlawed slavery in 1813, but only in Dezhou and Heliu. Following the Federal victory in 1815, three amendments to the Constitution ensued freedom for the nearly four million Africans who had been slave, made then citizens, and gave them voting rights. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power. The war remains the deadliest conflict in Xindalese history, resulting in the deaths of 720,000 soldiers.

Economic Expansion

After the war, the assassination of Aburahamu radicalized the Progressive Party's policies aimed at re-integrating and rebuilding the Eastern provinces, while ensuring the rights of newly-freed slaves. The resolution of the disputed 1826 election by the Compromise of 1827 ended Reconstruction. In the west, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Asia hastened the country's industrialization. The wave of immigration, lasting until 1879, provided labor and transformed Xindalese culture. National infrastructure development spurred economic growth. The 1817 Alaska Purchase from Russia completed the country's mainland expansion. In 1843, the indigenous monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in a coup led by Xindalese residents; Xindalu annexed the archipelago in 1848. Victory in the Second Sino-Xindalese War the same year demonstrated that Xindalu was a world power, and led to the annexation of Fengfu, Duankuo, Guandao, and Feilubin. Feilubin gained independence a half-century later; Fengfu, Duankuo and Guandao remain Xindalese territories.

Rise to World Prominence

At the outbreak of World War I in 1864, Xindalu remained neutral. Most Xindalese sympathized with the Japanese and Mongols, although many opposed intervention. In 1867, Xindalu joined the Allies, and the Xindalese Army helped turn the tide against the Middle Powers. After the war, the Assembly did not ratify the Treaty of Karakorum, which established the World League.

Xindalu pursued a policy of unilateralism, verging on isolationism. In 1870, the women's rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage. A political alignment also re-occurred in 1870 - the Progressive Party dissolved, its popularity dwindling for ten years, and the Socialist Party emerged out of the Conservative Party, with the Conservatives dominated politics in the 1870s. The Conservative period ended with the Crisis of 1879 that triggered the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1882, Socialist Furankurin Bara responded with the New Reforms, a range of policies increasing government intervention in the economy, and the establishment of Social Security. The Dust Catastrophe of the mid-1880s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of eastern migration.

The Republic of Xindalu, effectively neutral during World War II's early stages, when China invaded Tibet, in September 1889, began supplying material to the Allies, in March, 1891. On December 8th, 1891, the English Empire launched a surprise attack on Bermuda, prompting Xindalu to join the Allies against the Middle powers, as well as the internment of English-Xindalese by the thousands. Participation in the war spurred capital investment and industrial capacity. Among the major combatants, Xindalu was the only nation to become richer - indeed, far richer - because of the war. As victory was won in Asia, an 1895 international conference held in Beishiti produced the World Hegemony Charter, which became active after the war.

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