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"The Big Five" is an Alternate History which is dominated by five superpowers: Rome, the Maya, the Han, Japan, and the Aztecs. They survive today due to five major point-of-divergences (POD), and many other minor PODs throughout the centuries that either benefit or neglect the advancement of a nation.The current year is 2765 AUC (Ab Urbe Condita) or OTL 2012 CE.
POD1: The Maya city-states are united as an aggregate, when Qlatulh Ithal Ilhataqual (Qualthl for short) a dictator from Tikal and a political genius and dictator, manages to convince thirty-two city-states to goin his "Holy Maya Aggregate". In 1093 CE all forty-one city-states join the aggregate. and Qualthl becomes the Aggregate King, and leaves a strict line of succession constitution.
POD2:Emperor Gaozu's empress, Empress Lü Zhi, gives birth to a second son, Liu Zhou Lang. Becoming Emperor of Han in 195 BCE, he brings success to the Han Dynasty. He reforms the army, levels taxes and expands the Han's rule into OTL Mongolia and OTL south Kazakhstan. He also renames it The Greater Han Dynasty.
POD3: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, while touring his empire in 172 CE, finds and adopts a five-year old Sulifex Pontus in Eboracum, Brittania (OTL York, England), after discovering him to be a boy genius. Marcus' son Commodus succeeds to the throne, but in 189 CE, a plot to kill Commodus arises. Commodus though, along with the help of Sulifex, discover the plot and banish those involved in it. On his death bed three years later, he announces that Sulifex will be his succesor. That year Sulifex becomes Caeser and starts the reign of the "Good Emperors". He also gains lost land, as well as claiming Caledonia and Hibernia (OTL Scotland and Ireland).
POD4: The Japanese Shogunate was formed 1000 years earlier than its OTL counterpart, The Japanese Empire (1868 CE), when a dictator from Ainu, Haikougonshu Shima (more commonly known as Haikougu), forms the Shogunate from the warring states. The citizens of the Shogunate realise the advantages of a united nation, and independence and self-sustainability becomes a priority. Japan enters a Golden Age.
POD5:The Aztec Empire emerges from three Nahua city-states as the Aztec Triple Alliance in 1428 CE. This is not a POD in itself, it is just recognised as one, since the Aztecs were never conquered by the Spaniards and had a half millennium of good rulers. They expand into North Columbia (OTL North America) because they cannot get past the prospering Mayans.