Alternative History

Timeline 1700s (Easternized World)

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1700s: Easternization and Industrialization

The 1700s was a time of rapid change. By the end of the century, the world was a completely different place than it was at the beginning of the century. By 1799, most of Europe and Yodderick were dominated by the "big three" Asian colonizers. Furthermore, early in the century, Sri Vijaya found a whole new continent, Gurun Selatan (குருன் ஸெலடன்; OTL Australia), previously unknown to the outside world.

The most major change in the 18th century was brought about by the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the century, machine-gun warfare, diesel locomotives, black-and-white photographs, and steel-framed and re-inforced concrete buildings, among other inventions, were increasingly part of life in the civilized world. The world population, too, saw a major jump, as it increased from around 800 million to over 1.5 billion during the course of the century. Owing to technological and population increases, the 1700s and 1800s in particular, are thought of as comprising the "Exponential Era", while the 1700s are often known as the "Coal Era" (contrasted with the "Oil Era" of the 1800s).

Eastern colonialism at its Zenith

The second half of the 1600s saw Sri Vijaya establish control over central and southern Italy, and in the process, shattering Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism) into many (sometimes competing) factions. And, on top of that, Japan took control of the Netherlands, which it had previously agreed to protect from German aggression. This started a "Scramble for Europe" which saw Asian overlordship across most of the continent in subsequent decades.

Part of the reason why Japan didn't push in to the German Holy Roman Empire was the fact that a move such as that would put it directly into conflict with Chinese interests. After all, China had sway over Poland, and it didn't want a rival to come along and shake things up. Instead, Japan's aggression manifested itself in the "Invasion of England". In March 21st, 1701, the Japanese carried out a surprise attack on Southampton. The number of troops was modest, and this served mostly as a distraction so that much of the army would be away from London. It also served to destroy a major English port, thus severely limiting its naval ability. A few days later, a huge Japanese force sailed up the Thames River and attacked London. This imperial war was harder than the one in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the Japanese fought off the Germans and had a huge army already settled in the heart of Holland, whereas in England, they were seen as invaders from the get-go. Still, with the help of cutting-edge weaponry (such as the aforementioned hand-held revolvers and percussion caps), they were able to defeat a comparably large English military machine in the span of a few months. The monarch and many nobles and important figures of England fled to Scotland (and, to a lesser extent, Ireland) to regroup. Scotland and Ireland took these people in and got ready to support each other in the very likely event of a showdown with Japan. Perhaps it was the fact that the Japanese waited instead of immediately following the exiles and refugees, but when the Japanese finally attacked Scotland and Ireland in 1704, the people were ready, and the Japanese were never able to break through. Content for the time being with England and Wales, the Japanese settled down in the British Isles.

With the realization that Japan had gained such an important chunk of Europe, Sri Vijaya quickly appealed to Aragon, Tolosa, and France to become protectorates. Aragon and Tolosa accepted (as they already had close economic and military ties with Srivijaya, and felt pressure from Spain and Japan), while France declined (as the leaders both cherished their complete sovereignty and didn't want to be provocative towards any other power). At the same time, China was courting the Holy Roman Empire and secretly promising to supply it arms and military assistance in the event that one of the other two powers invaded. From this, then, came the splitting of Western Europe into four spheres: Sri Vijayan (mid/southern Italy, Aragon, Tolosa), Japanese (Netherlands, England), Chinese (Holy Roman Empire ... and east until China Proper), and Non-Associated (Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Basque ... and Scandinavia).

Of special note also, is that in Eastern Europe, the Byzantine Empire successfully took Bulgaria (and OTL Macedonia), adding land to their Macedonian and Thracian territories, and adding to it the new province of Moesia. Greek immigration commenced soon after order was restored in the former Bulgaria, and more overland trade links were established with Romania, a close ally of Byzantia.

Sri Vijaya, having had started its success in the Mediterranean a half century earlier, began for the first time, exploring to the south. In 1724, a huge success was had, when it found a previously unknown continent known as Gurun Selatan (Australia). In fact, previously, some fishermen from the far east of the Sri Vijayan Empire had arrived at the coasts of Gurun Selatan, but the area had not been mapped out, and it was not known to the rest of the world in general. But these rumors prodded Sri Vijaya to explore in that vicinity. At first, it was expected that these fishermen had just stumbled across some relatively small islands, as were the norm in Srivijaya. However, when the immensity of the new continent was known, there was a major effort to secure it, and to claim it as their own. For the first decade, the Sri Vijayan government tried to downplay the size and importance of their new find, so other colonizers would not try to set up their own colonies there. The name, too, "Gurun Selatan", meaning "Southern Desert", though accurate for the most part, served to downplay the importance of it. However, when the other powers learned of Sri Vijaya's large find, they weren't happy.

Although all three major empires were at their peaks in terms of both wealth and land under their control, they weren't completely sound. With the realization that the domains left in which to expand were severely limited, there was an increased push for competition. Furthermore, all of this growth had left the major powers' militaries overextended. With the view that everything conquered would stay conquered, there wasn't very much thought put into how to keep the colonies, once they were won.

European migration to the New World

Up until the early 1700s, by and large, the only non-natives in Yodderick were East Asians. This changed when Japan, in control of vast areas, but with few people to populate them with, started to introduce indentured servitude into areas on the east coast of North Yodderick. In that area, the population was extremely sparse, yet there were many resources to exploit, and the area seemed like it was ripe for agriculture. Prior to 1725, the migration was just a trickle, but, increasingly throughout the 18th century, the floodgates began to open and subjects of the Japanese empire - particularly from England and the Netherlands - looked towards greener pastures, seeking to escape the overpopulation of Europe and work towards owning their own land - after working for their lord, of course. During this time, some major towns sprung up, such as Naikou (内港; New York City) in the newly-founded Mannahata Province (万菜畑県), and Sempou (川砦; Pennsville, NJ) in Nakabashima Province (半ば島県).

Language Divergence and Mixing

In the colonies of the great powers, new dialects, and even new languages, had appeared by the 1700s. Although the major cities and trade routes generally had dialects reminiscent of or identical to the main languages of the dominating colonial power, farther afield, this was hardly the case. A lot of the variety came through the mixing of languages, either forming new creoles or altering the original languages, which came to resemble (through pronunciation, loan-words, or grammar) the languages which they came across. Substantial non-Chinese, -Japanese, and -Sri Vijayan populations took up those languages, creating a new accent or dialect as they did so. As some of these became mutually unintelligible over time, they continued to drift apart at an even faster pace. Also, as it sometimes happened, certain language groups from home would overwhelmingly immigrate (to the exclusion of others) to a faraway place, and establish their minority language as the majority language overseas. Such was the case with Hakka, as it became considerably established in Meixikou/Meshiko (Mexico).

In the early 1700s, Korea ceded its last remaining colonies to China and Japan, on the condition that the Koreans continue to be allowed to trade with and migrate to and from them without any restrictions. Although Japan and China were in positions of power, they agreed to these terms, and Korean populations rose increasingly, even under domination from foreign powers. In some areas, creoles languages and regional dialects based on Korean sprang up.

From Europe to Central Asia to Yodderick, languages were changing and developing. English, having been a Germanic import, with substantial borrowing from Scandinavian languages, and, most dramatically, French ... and later, Latin and some Greek, was already somewhat of a creole or mixed language. With the Japanese occupation, another layer, Japanese, got added. Chinese words, too, flowed in. Those who learned Japanese generally learned it with an English accent, and those Japanese who ventured to learn English likewise mixed some of their native language's features in.

The Hanzi Resolution

With such a variety of languages under the control of the major powers, and their home languages only serving as the native language of a minority of their empires' subjects, China and Japan agreed on a list of 1,000 kanji/hanzi (Chinese characters) to teach the subject peoples. As it was thought that there was still a ways to go before their languages would spread completely throughout their domains, the characters were taught in terms of their meanings, not their pronunciations. The idea was that the same mathematical equations could be performed across all language boundaries because the symbols were the same throughout most of the world. A vocabulary of 1,000 characters would serve much the same purpose. Thus, it turned out that all through the Chinese and Japanese, and later, Sri Vijayan Empires, these kanji were taught, and communication was facilitated to some extent (but still not to the extent hoped).

The Meixikou War of Independence

For centuries now, the three main powers hadn't had any major military defeats. Sure, there was unrest within their borders as native populations as distinct as the English and the Dine (Navajo) had numerous uprisings and continued to resist the colonizers in fierce pockets across the land. However, none of these groups managed to successfully find full independence. This changed between 1766 and 1771, when Meixikou (much of OTL Mexico) declared its independence, fought for it, and won it.

Meixikou (originally written as 禖牺冦 méixīkǒu, but after independence, written as 美熙口 měixīkǒu) started to be a volatile place for China after China implemented a law making Mandarin Chinese the official language among Chinese in all overseas (Yodderick) domains in 1754. Mutual intelligibility was sorely lacking even among their fellow Chinese. From that point on, "dialects" were discouraged. This was accompanied by a great influx of Mandarin speakers. The trickle of the 1740s had picked up, and by the 1760s, Mandarin speakers were a large minority in Meixikou. The problem was that by and large, the major Chinese linguistic group of Meixikou was Hakka. For more than a century, the Hakka had made up the majority of the Chinese in the colony, with Hoklos (Hokkienese/Fujianese) and Yuts (Cantonese) coming in second and third, respectively.

The Hakka, in particular, feeling that this was a way to erase their culture and language, produced a violent backlash against their "home" country, and let it be known that they were willing to fight for independence. In response to the gathering steam of the independence movement, hundreds of people were jailed, and some executed, for crimes against the Chinese Empire. Such people included newspaper editors just as much as violent rebels. Such arrests provoked even more harsh feelings, and a full-scale war broke out. In the early stages of the war, the Chinese seemed to have an upper hand. The Meixikou rebels were soundly defeated again and again. However, as the death toll rose, the Chinese found themselves with a difficult choice - pull soldiers out of defensive positions in other areas and thus weaken the defense of China proper to keep hold of Meixikou ... or try to develop diplomatic relations with Meixikou, thus stopping the war. At first, the former was chosen, ballooning troop deployments substantially. But the Meixikou rebels had learned from previous defeats and now took out important Chinese objectives with secrecy. They started to heavily favor guerrilla tactics. Still, the war lasted for a few more years, as the Chinese didn't want to be seen as weak ... something that would encourage other breakaway groups, as well as its major rivals. In the end, a face-saving measure was thought up, in which China did away with the "Council Leader", who was sacked for "bad decision-making" and the dominance of Mandarin was revoked, while Meixikou was officially named a "semi-autonomous republic under Chinese guidance". In reality, every Chinese official was to disregard this wording, as complete independence had been achieved for Meixikou. Very few people, except for right-wing Chinese, actually bought the official naming.

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