My latest map; a special Christmas treat for the fans of the Twilight Histories podcast. Set in an alternate present day and among other things:
The British were able to suppress the American Revolution. It started following a British victory at the Battle of Saratoga, and it all went down hill from there for the rebels before finally surrendering to the British in 1778. The leaders of the failed rebellion were tried in London, found guilty of treason and sentenced to be publicly hanged. As compensation for their service several of the Hessian mercenaries were awarded property formerly belonging to members of the rebellion. In the years that followed the American Rebellion it became clear to the British that their system of government wasn't working out for the North American colonies. Parliament peacefully implemented a reform to take the local conditions of the North American colonies into account while also giving them a greater voice within Parliament itself; which would eventually lead to the establishment of the Dominion of North America.
One such reform was that the Native American tribes were granted a considerable degree of personal autonomy akin to the Princely States of India. In 1833 the British Empire, including North America, abolished slavery; those who willingly gave up their slaves received compensation. However, a small group of plantation owners, calling themselves the Confederation of Southern America, took up arms in the name of continuing the practices of slavery. Within a matter of weeks the rebellion was successfully put down and the perpetrators hanged. Following the abolition of slavery, Indian and Malayan servants were brought to North America to supplement the workforce. In recent times, a Native American was elected governor-general of North America.
Many of those with ties to the American Rebellion, as well as those generally dissatisfied with life in British North America, established colonies in what would have been Australia and New Zealand. In time this lead to the establishment of a new nation founded on the principles of the American Rebellion: the United States of Australia. Australia really hit its stride in the 19th century when gold was discovered in the states of Adams, Hancock, Hamilton and Gates. Opals were discovered in the state of Franklin not long afterwards. The rich mineral deposits helped to attract immigrants and provided critical funding for the fledging nation. Originally, much of Australian identity was centered around opposing the British Empire. Over the years this eventually evolved to opposing European imperialism and then to opposing imperialism in general.
The French Revolution still occurred due many of the same reasons it did in our world: high taxes for the poor, several failed crops, a large wealth gap, lack of government representation for the common people and the like. Napoleon still rose to power and the Napoleonic Wars still happened, but they occurred somewhat differently. Among other things, the Dutch retained control of South Africa, but the British gained control of Louisiana, Argentina, Uruguay and most of Paraguay.
It didn't take long for the spirit of revolution to find its way Latin America. Simon Bolivar lead the way in freeing South America from Spanish rule just as he did in our world. Bolivar found early support among those who had moved to South America following the failed American Rebellion. Australia also provided as much support as they could; the idea of a large nation to counterbalance British North America very much appealing to them. Bolivar was better able to get the provinces to stick together and united them the Republic of Gran Columbia.
Mexico and Central America also rebelled against Spanish rule as well, but with considerably more trouble. After Mexico defaulted on their loans one too many times the French invaded them. Ultimately the Franco-Mexican War ended with a French victory. Most of the Mexican cities retained their old names, but a few were changed to fit the new French rulers; for example, San Fransisco was changed to Sainte Chapelle. The French reorganized The Mexican government, eventually expanding into Central America and in time granted Mexico dominion status. The more stable, and less prone to corruption, government proved beneficial to Mexico in the long run and allowed them to be on more or less equal footing with North America and Gran Columbia.
In India, the Sepoy Mutiny was more organized partially thanks to Australian support. The Mutiny was centered around the goal of freeing India from British occupation. Ultimately, infighting and divided loyalties within India's diverse array of peoples caused the Mutiny to fail. However, following a second (though considerably lesser) mutiny, the British reformed their administration of India. This not only granted more rights for Indians, but also paved the way for India to achieve its independence, which it did in 1921.
In Brazil, the Malê Revolt still occurred and the Malê slaves were shipped back to Africa as they were in our world. However, the Malê were remained considerably more organized even after arriving in Africa. As a result the Malê were able to establish a nation of their own and help state their neighbors on the path towards modernization. Though much of West Africa ultimately became British colonies, the efforts of the Malê meant that the British handled the it like they had in India and North America. The British West African colonies received their independence in 1921 as the nation of Nigeria.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed in the 19th century when multiple Middle Eastern provinces declared their independence. The first few years of independence were incredibly turbulent, but ultimately the former provinces were able to band together as the Arab Federation. In the following decades the Arab Federation was able to expand across the Arabian Peninsula and, following the Great War, North Africa. The Arab Federation used its vast oil supply to help kick start its modernization process. The separation of church and state (or mosque and state, as it were) is a continuing issue. All religions receive equal protection under the law and women's rights are beginning to resemble those of Western nations. At the same time, alcohol is considered a highly contraband substance, and homosexuality is punishable by death.
The early decades of the 20th century saw the world become involved in a great war that expanded across the entire globe. The war dragged on for over a decade, only to end in a draw, and by its end the world was forever changed. Many empires began the process of decolonization, and thankfully there wasn't another Great War, nor did fascism became a major movement as it did in our world.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire, plagued with internal mismanagement for decades, collapsed by the war's end. Out if its ashes rose a new nation: the Union of Socialist Danube Republics. Founded on the teachings of Marx and Engels, the USDR seeks to bring revolution and socialism to all nations of the world. Meanwhile, Russia managed to avoid falling to communism thanks to Alexander II surviving his assassination attempt and implementing liberal reforms for the empire.
The end of the Great War meant the beginning of decolonization for the empires of Europe, but for the Empire of Japan it was the beginning of true growth and expansion. Several European nations sold their East Asian possession to Japan following the Great War. Meanwhile, China finally fell firmly under Japanese control after decades of war. Thailand, long since put on the path to modernization by Australia, remains independent. Meanwhile, Indochina remains an Australian protectorate, but has also modernized and hopes to become fully independent in the near future. However, it is uncertain if the Japanese will allow the tiny nations to prosper in its shadow. Australia, once one of Japan's closest allies, has made it clear that they are more than willing to go to war with Japan if it comes to that.
Following the Great War a Jewish homeland was established in British East Africa. Israel has since expanded its boarders into the former German East Africa. Unfortunately, the Zionist settlers have had a rather touchy history with the Native Africans; think a cross between Apartheid era South Africa and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and you wouldn't be too far off. The issue isn't helped by the fact that Israel had a tendency to prop up local white government, almost always to the detriment of the Native Africans. Ironically, despite being formed as a Jewish homeland, most of the Zionist settlers of Israel were fairly secular.
Speaking of the Dutch Dominion of South Africa, they're doing quite well for themselves. They've managed to avoid anything close to Apartheid and are a rather pleasant egalitarian society. Meanwhile, Ethiopia was able to avoid colonization just as in our world. However, the Christians and Muslims managed to put aside their differences in the name of resisting colonization, and Ethiopia was able to modernize and industrialize. The Congo remains an Australian protectorate, but it's modernization process has go so well that it is expected to achieve independence within a few years.
Overall, things have been looking up for all of the nation's of this world. Japan was the first nation to launch a human into space; the first nation to launch living organism into space was the USDR, while Germany was the first to launch an artificial satellite. A Space Race devolved amongst the nation's of the world, but ultimately North America made it to the moon first, with Japan as a close second. The next goal of a manned mission to Mars has recently achieved by a joint North American-Mexican-Australian-Nigerian team lead by Captains Jordan Harbour and Matt Mitrovich.
The gap between the Lunar and Martian missions, apart from the necessary advances in technology, was due to many nations focusing on establishing colonies on the Moon. The Moon even hosted the Olympics in 1998; though the Olympic Council is considering creating a separate Lunar Olympic Games. The major breakthrough for the Mars mission came in the form of the Orion-class nuclear pulse engine; cutting the time required to reach Mars down to a matter of weeks.
Japan is currently seeking partners (Brazil, India, Columbia and South Africa are considered most likely) for a joint mission of their own and are expected to launch soon. The next goal is a mission to the Galilean Moons, but many people wonder if the point as been made and question if such missions should continue. Yet there still remains considerable support, and many hearts still swell with the spirit of adventure and exploration with eyes turned skyward.