It is St. George's Night, 1343, and Estonia has been subject to the rule of the Danish Crown and the Teutonic Order since the Livonian Crusade of the 1260s. Yet their rule has grown weak and their taxes heavy, and Livonia is in a ferment. Finally, on this night, it boils over. In a coordinated attack, all of the foreigners, both Germans and Danes, in Central Estonia are slaughtered. The rising spreads, as Livonians renounce Christianity and kill their former overlords indiscriminately. Soon Reval is under siege, abbeys and manors across Livonia are in flames, and the Livonian Order calls on the Livonian leaders to negotiate. In our timeline, the leaders duly went to negotiate, only to be killed, leading to the defeat of the rebel army and the suppression of the revolt.
But what would have happened if a Livonian in service of the knights had betrayed them and warned the rebel leaders of the impending treachery, enabling the revolt to continue long enough for Sweden to intervene?
As it turns out, a lot of things.
Point of Divergence
The leaders of the Livonian revolt, warned of the fate awaiting them if they negotiate, refuse to place themselves into the hands of the Livonian Order. As a result, the rebel army remains sufficiently organized to evade destruction at the Battle of Warhill. This buys enough time for aid to arrive from Sweden, resulting in a long but ultimately successful revolt that establishes Livonia as an independent duchy under the Swedish crown, with paganism and a native Baltic aristocracy surviving.
- German influence on the Baltic region is greatly reduced - Christianization is never completed and a German aristocracy is never emplaced. The Hanseatic League also loses much power with its loss of Livonian ports.
- The Teutonic Knights are unable to expand into Livonia, changing the circumstances of their secularization into a secular polity. The Knights focus on expanding into Poland instead.
- Baltic paganism survives as a religion in independent Livonia, adding significantly different cultural elements to eastern Europe.
- Lithuania never christianizes, due to the greater political viability of paganism. Consequently, Poland-Lithuania never forms, and lacking Polish influence the Lithuanian Dukes focus on expanding eastward, falling into conflict with Muscovy.
- The disruption of the Hanseatic League propels Aragon and Venice into greater mercantile power. Aragon declines to unite with Castile, instead focusing on Italian wars.
- As a result of the death of both Richard of Bordeaux and the future Charles VII of France on crusade in Livonia, John of Gaunt succeeds to the English throne, strengthening England's position in the Hundred Years' War, and Henry V successfully unites England and France.
- English and French culture never exists, being largely replaced by a united Norman-French aristocracy and language. English is considered a rustic vernacular and is little spoken by modern times.
- A weakened Byzantium, lacking the aid of crusaders more focused on the Baltic, is dismembered by Serbia and the Turks in the 13th century; the Ottomans rise sooner, but, blocked by a powerful Serbian Empire, their expansion is redirected into Granada, Sicily, and eventually, the New World.
- The lack of united Catholic powers in Central Europe helps Hussite Bohemia gain independence, making Hussitism the major dissident branch of Christianity in western Europe, rather than Protestantism.
- Colonization of the Americas plays out very differently. Muslim participation, and more powerful feudal elites, delay colonial expansion, helping native populations develop their own states and resist colonial expansion.
- The Ottoman Empire's weakness means that it resist the invasion of Timur the Lame less effectively. As a result, Timur focuses more heavily on attacking the Golden Horde, which accelerates its collapse. Although this eases Muscovy's rise to power, it also results in stronger, more cohesive successor states that resist Muscovite expansion more effectively.
- Ultimately, the modern world's dominant political and economic ideologies have much more diverse religious and cultural origins.
- A note on the timeline's geographical scope: more distant regions are only gradually affected by the butterfly effect of the point of divergence, meaning that they only come into the timeline later. For example, the ripples reach southern Europe in the mid-1300s, but fail to reach East Asia, for example, until much later. Consequently, these regions are not mentioned and their events continue to happen as OTL until they enter the timeline.
- Overview Timeline (St. George's Night)