Maria Theresa of Austria succeeds her father, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor in his Habsburg dominions.
The War of Austrian Succession begins when Prussia, considering that Austria under a woman must be weak, invades Austrian Silesia.
As the War of Austrian Succession continues, France allies with Prussia. Britain and the Netherlands ally with Austria. Sweden fails to stop Russia attacking Prussia.
More than a thousand people die in a tsunami caused by the eruption of Mount Oshima in Japan.
In a fit of depression, a nineteen-year-old minor British East India Company factor named Robert Clive commits suicide with a pistol. [Unlike in the real world, where he tried this twice, the pistol misfiring both times, here it does not misfire. This is the Point of Departure for this timeline.]
A bright comet is seen for several weeks.
Forces under the command of the French Governor of Pondicherry, Joseph Francois Dupleix, aided by a French fleet under Admiral La Bourdonnais, capture Fort St George [Madras] from the British.
Dupleix forges alliances with Indian rulers as required to ensure that French influence is extended across the sub-continent. The British do likewise, resulting in many conflicts.
The War of Austrian Succession ends with the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.
French authorities in North America begin to establish a string of forts in western Ohio to keep fur-trapping and trading activities in their own hands and to deny the area to British colonists.
The British and French support rival sons of the Nawab of Arcot as they compete for the throne there.
Supported by the French, Chanda Sahib, the ruler of the Indian Carnatic region [real-world Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh], attacks Trichinopoly, which is held by a weak British battalion. There are insufficient British reserves to stop him. After a siege, Trichinopoly falls to Chanda Sahib and he takes the throne. [As opposed to the real world, where this attack was stopped by Clive of India taking the Fort of Arcot.] Governor Dupleix is lauded for his role in this victory, and becomes very rich in doing so [as opposed to being recalled for his failure, as happened in the real world].
The French-backed Indian forces are able to take control of many areas where the British previously had influence, expanding the area of French control to all of the Carnatic region and beyond. The French begin to exert effective rule of much of India through allied maharajas and nawabs, with a few conquered areas being ruled directly [In much the same way as the British did things in the real world].
With most of their Indian trade opportunities lost, British merchants, and the East India Company in particular, begin exploring further east, into the Spice Islands and beyond. This brings them into conflict with the Dutch.
The British Empire becomes one of the last European countries to abandon the Julian Calendar and adopt the more accurate Gregorian calendar that has been used in Catholic Europe since 1582. Upon its adoption the date jumps directly from the second of September 1752 to the fourteenth of September 1752.
As Britain expands into the lightly populated and lightly defended regions inland from their North American colonies [more lightly defended than in the real world due to French forces being deployed in India] British and French settlers and forces clash, sparking off war there. [Some months earlier than the start of the French and Indian War in the real world.]
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is destroyed in a powerful earthquake that kills some sixty thousand people.
With only a small British presence in India, France acts to remove even that as Britain focuses on the war in the Americas. French forces, supported by the Peshwa of Khandesh, move against Surat, starting what becomes known as the Surat War there. The new Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah, also with French support, captures Calcutta from the British. The French again capture Fort St George [Madras]. This time they maintain their hold on it. [Because of their earlier victories over the British, the French have more forces in India and thus less in America. France thus does better in India and Britain does better in America than in the real world.]
The War spreads into Europe too, as Prussian and French forces clash. [Because the French are stronger the British do not abandon the Prussians part-way through the war as they did in the real world as George III insists on maintaining British links with Prussia given the Indian situation. Britain and Prussia thus become stronger allies.]
Because there is a larger British presence in North America, Spain keeps out of the war. [Therefore Florida remains Spanish, and the British do not invade the Philippines in 1762 and return them with the Treaty of Paris.]
The principles of the [Physiocratic] economic system are first put forward by Richard Cantillon, an Irish banker living in France.
Halley's Comet reappears, in accordance with predictions made by Halley.
As the war continues, the Holy Roman Empire is allied to France. Prussia is allied with Russia, as is Britain.
Another Great Comet appears.
The Dutch take advantage of the British being involved in what becomes known as the Six Years War [The analogue of the Seven Years War] to attack the British in the Far East, in an attempt to drive them out of the Spice Islands, that the Dutch view as theirs. What becomes known as the Spice War begins.
Haider Ali, a former general of the Maharaja of Mysore, usurps the Maharaja and takes his throne. He learns a great deal from the Europeans, particularly the French, who supply him with officers to train his troops.
Measurements taken around the world during the transit of Venus by European scientists allow the distance of the Earth to the Sun, and thus also other distances in the Solar System, to be measured more accurately than ever before.
In India, the Maratha Empire is defeated by the Afghans in the Third Battle of Panipat, halting the expansion of the Empire and encouraging its fragmentation.
Over time the Maratha Empire fragments into a loose confederacy of autonomous Maratha states and small semi-autonomous districts, the Maratha Confederacy, which over time evolve into independent princely states [much as in the real world].
The Six Years War [Seven Years War] ends with the Treaty of Versailles [as opposed to the Treaty of Paris in the real world]. France's new possessions in India are recognised. Britain gains the formerly French Canada, Quebec, New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory. [The last two went to Spain in the real world.] France retains its Caribbean possessions. New Orleans is renamed New Westminster. Britain regains its Indian settlements of Surat and Calcutta, but these are limited to the cities themselves and little outside them.
Britain has continued to subsidise Prussia, and so links between them (both ways) are still close. This is because France is stronger and the UK weaker. They continue to be allies. Britain learns from and, to some extent, links with Prussia's formidable military and efficient bureaucracy. Prussian officers train British troops, and British naval officers train Prussians.
Tsarina Elizabeth of Russia dies [slightly earlier than in the real world]. Her son, who becomes Tsar Peter III, succeeds her. Pro-Prussian, his coming to the throne [also slightly earlier than in the real world] helps Prussia in the War.
With the Six Years War over, Joseph Francois Dupleix, after convincing many Indian states to ally with France, and his work in throwing the British almost entirely out of India during the War, returns to France at the age of sixty-five. He is showered with honour and glory, and given a position in the French government.
Catherine, the wife of Tsar Peter III, overthrows Peter III. He is arrested and forced to sign his own abdication. Catherine becomes Tsarina with wide popular support.
Former Tsar Peter III is killed while in custody.
Comet Kinkenberg is seen.
Not having lost so much in the Six Years War, France is less motivated to hate Britain. There is less piratical British imperialism as Britain is less able to exclude its rivals from its territories around the world. Therefore there is less need for others to hate Britain too. Only the Dutch still really dislike Britain [even more than in the real world] due to their infringement of the Spice Islands. However, they don't like the French either. The Spanish dislike the British and French about equally.
With continuing tensions over France, Russia and Sweden, Britain, Prussia and Hanover remain allies. Although each side maintains a full military Prussia provides most troops and an army, while Britain provides a navy.
Britain moves to make links with other Indian states outside the French sphere of influence, mainly to the north and west of the sub-continent, and in Afghanistan and Persia. This meets with limited success, but Britain does retain a foothold in the areas of Surat and Calcutta.
A British Royal Proclamation limits British colonial settlements in the newly acquired French territories in the Ohio Country and Illinois Country in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys.
The British colonists in north America no longer need British protection from the French [seeing even less need for it than in the real world as there are now no French in North America] and resent the taxes imposed by Britain to pay for its military commitments as well as the limitations imposed by the British Royal Proclamation of 1763.
Britain is also troubled by anti-British feeling among the formerly French inhabitants of the areas it now controls, as well as among the Native American population. This is not helped by the continuing use of North America as a dumping ground for convicts, who are now sent to formerly French areas. Also the use of Prussian troops in North America, and what the colonists see as the Prussian-isation of Britain (which, although it is being counterbalanced by the British-ification of Prussia, is something they only see one side of) also makes them disgruntled with Britain. They reject German loan words and other signs of Prussianisation.
The Spice War ends as, with the end of the Six Years War, the British begin to be able to bring more forces to bear against the Dutch. Britain gains a few footholds in the Spice Islands.
Maria Amalia of Saxony, the wife of King Charles III of Spain, dies. [In the real world she died in 1760; her later death here stops Charles acting so much on his detestation of England, so that Spain is not involved in the Six Years War.]
Joseph Francois Dupleix is appointed to the position of Chief Minister of King Louis XV [living longer here, as opposed to dying in 1763 at the age of sixty-six as he did in the real world]. He performs much good service for him.
A Triple Alliance of Britain, Prussia and Hanover signed between George III and Frederick the Great formalises the alliance between the three nations. As a political compromise the joint forces of the three states have their headquarters in Hanover.
Joseph Francois Dupleix makes King Louis XV aware of France's continuing economic problems, and under the aegis of the King, Dupleix begins to talk to the French nobility, particularly the Assembly of Notables, using the skills that made him so effective in convincing the Princes of India to ally themselves with the French.
Through French Catholics the Pope hears of Indou [Hindu, in French] practises such as Suttee.
The Dutch force the King of the Kandyan state in Serendib [Sri Lanka] to sign a treaty with them. This is so harsh that the Kandyans immediately begin searching for foreign assistance in expelling the Dutch. They approach the British several times, but do not immediately obtain any assistance from them.
Joseph Francois Dupleix finally convinces the French nobility that revision of the French tax system to a more uniform system, and reform in France in general, is essential for France's future. The various reforms he proposes, largely based on the principles of Physiocracy, begin to be implemented, though not without problems and resistance.
As these changes begin to be implemented, France's finances greatly improve. This helps to stave off unrest, as does money coming in from India and increased French industrialisation.
French colonialism in India continues to work by alliances with the locals [not too differently to the British in the real world]. However, the Jesuits and others also attempt to convert to locals to Christianity, which causes some problems.
1767 to 1769
Haider Ali, aided by corrupt officials in Calcutta and Madras, throws the British out of most of southern India.
A Russo-Turkish War begins as Russian Cossack troops pursue a force of Polish oppositionary troops into Ottoman territory.
French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot successfully builds the world's first steam-powered wagon. Intended for the hauling of heavy cannons by the French Army, the steam wagon is able to pull four tonnes and travel at speeds of up to four kilometres per hour.
The bright comet Messier is seen for several months.
Famine in Bengal kills ten million people.
Further results obtained during the the transit of Venus in this year refine the measurement of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
After the Dutch refuse to grant the British permission to dock ships at the port of Trincomalee in Serendib, the British attack the island and take the port, along with parts of the surrounding land. They are assisted in this by the Kandyans, with whom they sign a treaty. Serendib is divided between the British in the north-east and the Dutch in the south-west of the island. The British use Trincomalee as a way-station to points further east.
Comet De Gennes [Lexell] is seen for several weeks.
Cugnot's steam wagons prove to be more expensive to run than conventional horse-drawn wagons and so fail to catch on. However, Cugnot engines are sold to a number of governments across Europe, and copied by various individuals in different countries. [Cugnot's 'Fardier' steam wagon does not crash into a wall as it did in the real world. Because of this it is not dismissed by the French army.]
Another Great Comet appears.
Sweden's King Gustav III abolishes parliament and begins to rule as an enlightened absolute monarch.
Egypt and Syria rebel against Ottoman rule.
As part of the Russo-Turkish War, the Russian Navy totally destroys the Turkish Navy.
Anti-British unrest in North America leads to a number of uprisings and clampdowns on the French colonists, as well as on their native American allies. Britain attempts to enforce the exclusion of colonists from Indian lands, but fails. This enforcement is very imperfect, and affects the rest of the loyal population.
Mishandling of the Native Americans also leads to trouble as they try to remove colonists from what are, legally, their lands. They come to dislike both the British government and the colonists. Several Indian Wars occur as violence breaks out between various Indian tribes and European colonists.
Ash flows from the eruption of Mount Papandayan in Java kill three thousand people.
Poland is partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria, losing some thirty percent of its territory and population. [However, unlike the real world, Poland not later partitioned into nothing.]
Comet Henries [Biela] is seen.
There is unrest in Prussia and Hanover over what they see as Britishification. The nobility don't like British ideas of liberty and so on creeping in. Violence and rioting in Prussia is crushed. At the same time there is unrest in Britain at what they see as Prussianisation.
After long negotiations to introduce major simplifications and reforms to the French legal system [attempted unsucessfully in 1771 in the real world], Joseph Francois Dupleix dies, aged seventy-six [some ten years later than in the real world]. He is honoured and highly regarded, with statues of him erected across the French Empire, and particularly in India.
In Russia, Yemelyan Pugachev begins a revolt against the government.
Another Great Comet appears.
Tsarina Catherine II of Russia is assassinated by a follower of Yemelyan Pugachev. She is succeeded by her son, who becomes Tsar Paul I at the age of nineteen. He immediately begins a campaign of savage repression and reprisal against the rebels which quickly crushes them, at the cost of thousands of lives. Pugachev is captured and executed in Moscow. [Because Catherine is killed early in her reign, her son does not introduce primogeniture into the Russian monarchy, so since then there have been both Tsars and Tsarinas in Russia.]
Uprisings in North America lead to what rapidly becomes an American Revolutionary War as the American colonists work to throw off what they see as British oppression. [This is earlier than in the real world]. However, Britain, with much fewer Indian commitments, has more forces in North America than in the real world. The revolutionaries also have less foreign support than in the real world. Only the Dutch covertly back the revolutionaries. France and Spain do not. The rural north American population is, however, quite heavily armed due to the need to hunt and the former French presence there. So outside the cities, where the British prevail, the rebels have control. [Without French involvement in the War of Independence, Benedict Arnold stays loyal to the rebels.]
In France, the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy and colleagues construct a functioning steam boat. However, it proves to be too slow for river use. Others, inspired by this and Cugnot's steam wagon, continue to research the matter. The French continue to maintain a lead in the use of steam engines.
The Russo-Turkish War ends with a defeat for the Ottoman Empire. It hands over the Crimean Khanate to Russia, and pays a substantial indemnity.
Sparked by the American Revolution anti-Prussianisation riots and violence sweep across Britain. With significant numbers of troops in North America, France takes advantage of this to threaten British and Prussian interests in several places in Europe. Only fast action by the respective governments, giving a number of concessions to their people, allow the two nations to pull themselves together and by standing up to France stop a war from occurring.
French naturalists and agriculturists begin to adopt the ideas of the British agricultural revolution, often over the protests of more traditionalist farmers.
[King Louis XV does not die of smallpox in 1774 as he did in the real world, but lives almost as long as his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, dying in 1785. This enables the reforms initiated at the end of his reign in the real world - and subsequently rescinded by Louis XVI - to take root, and enables Louis XV to enact additional reforms.]
In order to prevent further peasant uprisings, Tsar Paul I institutes a number of repressive laws intended to tie peasants to the land, making them near-slaves. However, in many other ways he is quite progressive.
The American Revolutionary War turns into a stalemate. Britain controls most of the cities on the East Coast, but the rural hinterlands are in the hands of the revolutionaries.
Comet McAndrews [Bode] is seen.
After a number of incidents between British and French ships in Indian waters, the French secretly make agreements with several Serendibian rulers, and attack the British holdings in Serendib. What becomes known as the Serendibian War begins.
Bentham's ideas spread into Europe, particularly Prussia and Scandinavia, where they make more of an impact than in the real world.
With many of their forces tied down fighting the rebels in North America, the British are forced to leave Serendib. The island is now shared between the French and Dutch. The Serendibian War ends.
After several years of stalemate, and with the British spurred to a solution by the French threat revealed during the Serendibian War, the American Revolution ends with the Treaty of Havana. Florida remains Spanish. Britain retains control of Nova Scotia and most of the east coast, which now forms two regions, New England (real-world New England) and Hudsonia (the Mid-Atlantic states including eastern Pennsylvania). Quebec becomes an independent French-speaking nation with its capital in the city of Montreal. Newfoundland is divided between Britain and Quebec; Britain keeps the southern part, beyond the isthmus, while Quebec gains the northern, mainland, part. The rest becomes the Republic of Columbia [a form of USA]. Quebec and Columbia differ on many thing, but are quite closely allied. Many native Americans migrate to Quebec or far to the west of Columbia. The Hudson's Bay Company is signed over to Columbia, Columbia gaining all of its territory as well as the North-Western Territory and Prince Rupert's Land.
The capital of the new nation of Columbia is at Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a representative democracy with a written constitution. Its first President is Artemas Ward. [Because there are no Federalist Papers, there is no strong economic policy to knit the nation together.]
British astronomer William Herschel discovers a new planet beyond Saturn, which he names Georgium Sidus (George's Star), after the King. However, this name is never widely adopted, and the new planet eventually comes to be named Herschel. [This is the real-world planet Uranus, which was called both these things before the name Uranus became accepted.]
Because Europe and the Old Powers all seem to be against Columbia, and many of them are neighbours, the Colombian government is rather isolationist and paranoid. With the European presence on the East Coast hemming them in, Colombians migrate and settle northwards, westwards and southwards.
Many immigrants travel to Columbia, mostly through New Westminster [New Orleans], the biggest city and port in Columbia, and Norfolk, Virginia, the second biggest.
As time passes it becomes clear that the north and south of Columbia have different attitudes. The north is more Anglo-French in culture and outlook, while the south is more Spanish-influenced.
With the loss of Columbia, and the necessity to keep New England, Nova Scotia and Hudsonia loyal, no more British convicts are sent to North America. The North American areas kept by Britain are given more freedom and other concessions as part of the agreement that ends the war. They have local government and so on, and are basically nations of their own within the Union [effectively Dominions].
Britain begins to look for new sites for its penal colonies, in Africa and further afield. Guyana in South America is one of the first of these.
Following the American Revolution and the creation of Columbia, sporadic independence movements spring up across Spanish-controlled America. They are generally suppressed, although a low level of unrest continues. [As Spain is not weakened by losses due to the American Revolution, and by French invasion during the Napoleonic wars it is more able to hold on to its colonies.]
Given their losses in North America, the French and the Union both begin to have considerable interests in South America.
Tipu Sultan succeeds his father, Hiader Ali, as Savadhikari of Mysore, under a figurehead Maharaja. A devout Muslim, he immediately sets about eradicating Hindu influence throughout Mysore, deposing traditional rulers and seizing their territories, changing place names to Islamic ones, making Muslim laws paramount, 'encouraging' conversions to Islam and introducing a new calendar invented.
The Marquis Claude de Jouffroy constructs a new paddle steamer, the 'Pyroscaphe'. This successfully steams up the river Saône at Lyons, against the current, at a speed of six miles per hour, in the presence of representative scientific men and thousands of enthusiastic spectators. The 'Pyroscaphe' receives a very favourable report and endorsement from the Académie Royale des Sciences (Royal Academy of Sciences). [Unlike the case in the real world, where the report was favourable, but no endorsement was made.] After a furious debate in the Royal Academy of Sciences, Jouffroy's application for a fifteen-year monopoly to build steamboats in France is confirmed [where in the real world his monopoly was rejected]. [Steam ships are thus introduced some twenty years earlier than in the real world.]
The first manned free flight of a hot air balloon takes place in France. Built by the Montgolfier brothers, its first human passenger is Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.
Ash and mud flows from the eruption of the Asama volcano in Japan kill fourteen hundred people.
The largest historic fissure flow from the Laki volcano in Iceland kills more than nine thousand people (a quarter of the population) from disease and starvation.
The French Navy begins to experiment with steam-powered warships. At the insistence of de Jouffroy, keen to keep his patent rights, this is all done secretly. In other nations, naval conservatism and the failure of Cugnot's engines leads people to believe that they will not work on ships either, so much less work is done on perfecting this technology.
The first Russian colony is founded in Alyeska [Alaska]. Russian explorers and settlers establish trading posts there, in the Aleutian Islands, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and down the west coast of North American [to as far south as the real world Fort Ross in northern California].
After Quebec tries to ally with France British ships blockade Quebec and shell several of its ports.
Colombian support of Quebec leads to border skirmishes and a brief Anglo-American War, which ends with Quebec's signing of the Treaty of New York, in which it agrees not to attempt alliances with France or any other European power.
Britain founds a penal colony at Sierra Leone in West Africa. It also becomes a destination for freed slaves.
Hitler assumes control of Germany & invades India.
The French oust the Dutch from Serendib in what becomes known as the Second Serendibian War, or the Short Serendibian War. At the same time they also oust the Dutch from the Cochin region on the Indian mainland.
King Louis XV of France dies of old age [unlike In the real world, where he died of smallpox in 1774]. He is succeeded by his son, who becomes King Louis XVI.
The Times newspaper begins publication in London.
Friedrich II the Great of Prussia dies. He is succeeded by his nephew, who becomes King Friedrich Wilhelm II.
The new King of Prussia authorises the building of the first Panopticon-style prison, based on the ideas of Jeremy Bentham. Other prisons based on the same ideas follow.
Tipu Sultan deposes the Maharaja of Mysore and assumes complete power himself, negating his allegiance to the Mughal Emperor at the same time.
The breach-loading gun is invented in London, England.
Comet Herschel is discovered.
French explorers led by Admiral Jean-François de La Pérouse circumnavigate the southern continent of Terra Australis. At the same time Dutch explorers, sailing south of the Dutch Indies, explore the north and west of the continent. [Captain James Cook does not make his voyages here.]
Swedish philosopher Alberik Magnus Yngveson proposes the theory of Utilitarian Economic Rationalism (UER), a new political/economic philosophy based on the works of Jeremy Bentham and expanding on them, particularly the Felicific Calculus. Its basic idea is that governments work best when their people are as happy as possible. Thus safety first should be their watchword. They should keep and develop what they have, and not expand until they can, with certainty. They should let go of poor investments, but ruthlessly grab certain opportunities when they arise. Emotion and sentiment should not be allowed to stop this from happening. The state should be strong, not just to take and hold things, but also to let them go when it is necessary. Spies and secret police are an intrinsic part of Yngveson's system - or rumours of the same, which have the same sort of effect on people's behaviour. Propaganda to shape the opinions of the population towards 'ideal' ends is also considered very important, leading inevitably to a need for the country to be isolated from the 'bad' ideas of the rest of the world. However, the provision of health care, including genetic health care (and eugenics), is also considered an essential. Most people dismiss the ideas of UER as unworkable, even treasonable.
As part of the theory of UER, Yngveson proposes the creation of a 'Rational' system of measurements made more uniform and logical than the many nation systems of measurement. However, this is never widely adopted. [This is an equivalent of the Metric System which never comes into being as there is no French Revolution.]
The first experimental steam-powered farm tractor, based on a Cugnot design, is built in France. However, it proves too heavy and expensive for practical use.
French settlers begin to colonise the east and south of Terra Australis. Some of these settlements are penal colonies, but some are made up of free settlers. The French settlers name their new territory in the east and south of Terra Australis 'Australis'.
Dutch settlers begin to colonise the north of Terra Australis, forming the colony of Nova Holland. As with the French colonies, some of these settlements are penal in nature, but others are founded by free settlers.
Alberik Magnus Yngveson visits Russia at the request of the young Count Peter Lukich Khovansky, who has become very interested in his ideas. Count Khovansky intends to expand Yngveson's ideas into a new political movement to bring Russia up to the level of the other great powers. As such, he gives the philosophy its symbol - a white flag representing the pure light of Rationalism.
Count Khovansky has some influence over Tsar Paul I, and Utilitarian ideas begin to take root in Russia.
Other philosophies also grow out of Yngveson's ideas.
There is an idealistic offshoot of UER, a 'universal' version rather than a utilitarian one. To this Rationalist school of thought, 'our people' is all of humanity, so all the world should be united under the Rationalist banner, so that everyone can be helped.
A wider view yet - the Universalists - considers all life to be of 'our kind', and thus the world as a whole should be helped and protected. Although initially rejected by most thinkers, in later decades this forms the basis for many of the eco-friendly policies found in this world.
A third variant takes a narrower view, that 'our people' is only ones immediate family, and proposes a return to the 'natural' tribal society of cave-man times. This movement, which becomes known as Tribalism, never really becomes popular.
In the main though, UER becomes a 'rational' justification for 'realpolitik'.