Remixing History: Anasazi/Pueblo

A note on nomenclature: since there appear to be divided opinions among absolutely everyone involved, I’m choosing to use “Anasazi” to designate the dominant south-eastern Northern Native American cultural group on the basis that even a hostile Navajo term is less objectionable than even a relatively neutral Spanish term, taking the history into account. Besides, Spanish is not a dominant language in the region, in this AU; in fact there doesn’t seem to be a dominant language except quite locally, and if the etymology of “Anasazi” really does come out to “scattered ancestors” rather than “enemy ancestors” this is a bonus because that fits pretty well with the history tweaks I want to make. The tags, however, will use both “Pueblo” and “Anasazi”.

History that is known or theorized currently: Anasazi culture along the northern Colorado and Rio Grande rivers was quite advanced and included a significant body of astronomical, architectural, and agricultural expertise, as evidenced by archeological findings. There are some indications it had a very complex and sophisticated social/class/vocational system. It appears to have been a city-state culture in many ways, each city independent to itself but sharing a cultural continuity with fellow cities and towns in the region. The Anasazi experienced a massive population increase between the 8-12th C., followed by a relatively abrupt collapse and dispersal. Likely causes for this include 1) a period of intense drought (this is the primary contender), 2) exhaustion of the land through deforestation and possibly over-reliance on irrigation, 3) incursion by some of the Numic-speaking nomadic tribes from the west. There is definitely evidence for intense social upheaval around the 12th C., including destruction of religious centers, dismembered skeletons, and mass relocation, though there is no conclusive evidence of whether the violence was due to internal strife, invasion, or both. There appears to be some speculation that the later legends of ancestors who gained great knowledge and power and thus disrupted the balance of nature may refer to this period, which definitely suggests that technology and agricultural methods were blamed by the majority of the Anasazi themselves. Given the rise of cliff towns among the Mogollon people in the 13-14th C, it seems very likely that many of the surviving Anasazi did indeed move south, this cultural mix giving rise to the Hopi and Zuni groups among others.

And now the Global Steampunk version…

12th C: There is no incursion from the west; the population shift is driven by climactic change, famine, and conflict over environmental technologies. Some of the population, however, does not become embroiled in the wars and social upheaval that follow; instead they react promptly in the traditional way to the exhaustion of those particular lands–they migrate. Thus, in addition to the groups that move down the Great River, some also move west into what is now California, and they are far less exhausted by internal conflict. In that milder and less arid climate, the traditions and technologies of Anasazi culture flourish again with relatively unbroken continuity. Because road-building is one of the particular accomplishments of the Anasazi, they also keep up contact and trade with the Anasazi groups that had moved down-river. This results in a widely-spread but still connected network of culturally related city-states from the coast to the great plains and from about the latitude of the Great Salt Lake down to the gulfs, and, as the droughts eases, population increases and the popularity of technology rises again.

15th-16th C: The rise of the Anasazi, and their contact with the Maya, results in a flourishing trade city on the Great Bay where trade from the Inuit and Anishinabek, the Inca and Maya and Aztec, the Plains routes and, eventually, the Pacific sea routes all come together.

17th C: The value Anasazi culture and its offshoots places on stability and continuity makes them a preferred trade partner and mediator, in the west, and the Northern continent’s oldest university is founded in the Great Bay city and attracts scholars from across the continent.

Remixing History: Russia

Note: This should by no means be taken as a comprehensive timeline. It is, rather, an outline intended to hit the key points of technological development and historical alteration. All named individuals are actual historical figures.

13th C: The Mongols advance westward as far as Vladimir-Suzdal/Duchy of Moscow, but Ogedei Khan dies a few years early. Batu and Subutai have to return from the Russian front, for the election of a new Khan, before they conquer Halych’s Daniel I or any of the surrounding states. The pause in the campaign gives Daniel I the chance to conclude stronger treaties with Hungary. The other Rus lands are somewhat shielded from the Mongols by the effectiveness of the Halych-and-Hungary alliance. The new Khan, Guyuk, has an increase in sensible paranoia where his cousin Batu is concerned and keeps General Subutai by him while he maneuvers to have Batu killed soon after Guyuk is elected. This assassination kicks off the civil disputes within the Mongol Empire early and arrests their westward progress even more.

The Duchy of Moscow is still a hotbed of backstabbing between the city-states, with the Khans stirring the pot to keep the nobles divided, but in face of the continuing clear threat of the Mongols Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, and Ukraine-to-be maintain a pretty tight alliance. Novgorod is raided fairly harshly a few times, but not actually subsumed into Muscovite rule because the Moscow dukes and their khanate backers keep trying to invade the easier to reach lands in the south. Under pressure of the attempted invasion, the various lands of Kievan Rus coalesce into new states, centered around the strongest city-states : Novgorod, Moscow, and Galicia-Volhynia (Ukraine-to-be). Eventually these are known under the umbrella term of Russia, which is a broad designator similar to Europe. All the member states have some cultural continuity from Kievan Rus, but each has their own diverging interests and inflections on that base.

14th C: Novgorod, still a rich trading nexus, offers Ivan I of Moscow a back-channel alliance, mostly financial aid, to kick the Mongols out. This works, piece by piece and city by city. In 1382, the capital is certainly not foolish enough to believe their competitor Dmitri of Suzdal’s sons and let Tokhtamysh, Dmitri’s khanate ally, in to raze the city. The Tatar Yoke will, instead, pretty much end in the 14th C. while the uluses commence to fighting among themselves until the Mongol Empire dissolves. Muscovite culture has been influenced by Mongol culture, but the surrounding states provide a reservoir of traditional Rus culture, law, arts, and values (literacy, equality, local government, urban civil engineering, monetary rather than corporal penalties). Poland turns on Ukraine-to-be, now that the khanate is in decline, and Lithuania moves in from the north to take the city of Kiev and surrounding lands. Ukraine-to-be mostly repels Poland, but Lithuania takes a big chunk of land that includes Kiev, and when the Lithuanian and Polish dynasties merge, and the Crimean Khanate switches to their side, Ukraine-to-be allies with the Dneiper Cossacks to get Kiev back. Eventually, European incursions turn the three states into allies again.

15th C: Thanks to the existing independence of the various Russian states, the dynastic conflict between Vasily II and Yuri of Zvenigorod pretty much halts the expansion of Moscow. Ivan III takes the Duchy of Tver, and a few surrounding areas, but does not make much progress against Novgorod or Ukraine-to-be, who have been fighting as allies with Poland and Lithuania against the Teutonic Knights and are quite prepared to turn around and fight him in turn.

16th C: Ivan IV consolidates the kingdom of Moscow under absolutist rule, instituting the beginning of serfdom and thereby limiting peasant mobility, but does not declare himself Tsar/Emperor. Urban engineering, trade transportation, and agricultural technology flourish in all the Russian states.

17th C: The Time of Troubles happens on a smaller scale, mostly limited to Moscow. The example of the other Russian states, in this timeline, offers political models to fill the vacuum left by the end of Moscow’s Rurikid dynasty, so while Tver breaks away from Moscow again, and Poland still stirs the pot there, the internal political strife does not end in total autocracy. The famine of this time still affects most of Russia, but is considerably alleviated by previous advances in agriculture. Novgorod is largely taken up with Sweden’s advance around the Baltic, especially as technology really starts to advance and weaponry with it. Novgorod, as a trade nexus, is first in line for such things, and they have enough money to hire soldiers, and Sweden doesn’t get as far inland and never takes the capital city. Ukraine-to-be prudently maintains good relations with the Cossacks, keeping a tight eye on Poland and guarding its borders ferociously. Eventually, the Romanov dynasty is established in Moscow, less autocratic and more influenced by the other Russian states’ loosely republican or limited monarchial political models. Peasant mobility is more limited there than of old, but full serfdom is not instituted. Moscow still deals with a lot more unrest than its neighbors. They still expand eastward, with a certain amount of alliance and funding from Nogorov, down the Ob, Yenisei, and Lena rivers to the Pacific, and the Treaty of Nerchinsk secures ocean access and fresh trade with China, albeit with the Shun dynasty rather than the Qing.

Also during this period, the Ukraine Church, not isolated from Constantinople and the other Orthodox states, continues to evolve slowly along with them. Moscow and Novgorod, however, do not, and Patriarch Nikon’s attempted reforms cause the Orthodox schism on schedule.

18th C: The Great Northern War happens on schedule, with Novgorod and Ukraine as individual players, ending with an alliance between Novgorod and Moscow that gives Moscow favored access to the recovered Baltic seaports. Ukraine is less involved, being less interested in the Baltic access and more in the Black Sea and their relations with Crimea (developing all this time as a powerful independent state and center of learning). Meanwhile, Peter I is focused on the Pacific water route, and sees the potential for Russia, and Moscow in particular, to become the melting pot for the technological advances of Asia, India, Europe, the Middle East, and even the western hemisphere. He courts both merchants and scholars from around the world, establishing Moscow as a massive trade center, which greatly enriches his state and reduces the impetus for ruinous taxation and absolutist governmental reorganization. He increases the power of the monarch, but is largely focused on foreign policy and leaves his boyars to govern locally more or less as they please. The city of Moscow remains the capital.

19th C: Russia’s conflict with Napoleon comes about somewhat differently. The Slavic states are all independent, but still part of a powerful trade network. At first Napoleon’s conquests have no particular impact on this network. When Napoleon’s expansion reaches Poland, however, the Russian states decide it’s time to slow him down, and embargo his Empire. Napoleon, rightly seeing this as a clear and present threat, seeks to invade the Russian states. The 1812 war commences. Because both sides are armed with advanced technology, it moves faster, but it’s still logistics and the land, as much as anything, that defeats the French army. Moscow, defended with the most advanced weaponry a major trade center could buy, borrow, or develop, does not fall or burn; instead autumn and winter catch Napoleon’s army outside the walls, unsupplied, and harassed by Cossacks, and Napoleon is soon drawn back home by the news of Malet’s coup; at this, the army retreats. The war establishes Moscow as a military, as well as trade, power.

Remixing History: Europe

14th-16th C: The European Renaissance happens on schedule, as does the Schism within the Catholic church. As Europe starts to emerge from feudal isolation, inventors and scholars, especially in Italy, communicate more with their counterparts in the Ottoman Empire. International trade gains momentum and drives the development of sailing technologies as a route to Asian trade. News of the Americas sparks attempts to conquer and loot, but, as these are largely repelled, Spain settles for establishing trade routes. A sea route to India is established from Europe at about the same time China establishes an air route there. This starts the drive for flight development in Europe, though China and its Asian trade partners have a considerable head start.

16th-17th C: Northern Europe follows the sea routes to the Americas. With the establishment of settlements denied, though, resource exploitation is limited and far fewer Europeans attempt to immigrate for religious reasons. Conflict between the Protestant and Catholic countries intensifies. With conquest and exploitation considerably limited, trade becomes a driving need to support these wars. Land routes through the Ottoman Empire and the Russian states flourish alongside the sea routes, as China extends its air-based trade and the Kingdom of Moscow establishes river routes to north-eastern Asia.

18th-19th C: The Enlightenment happens on schedule, possibly even more strongly, driven by reaction against the religious wars and disastrous politics of Europe’s aristocracies. The French Revolution is followed by the Napoleonic wars, further spreading both Enlightenment philosophies and revolutionary socio-politics. The availability of advanced weapons and communications gives the revolutions of 1848 more leverage, and results in the success of some of them, in whole or in part. Social and political reform start to happen.

Remixing History: Tokugawa Japan

At the beginning of the Tokugawa period, Japan has movable type, flight, increased mining for coal as well as metal, texts on optics and the theory of the steam turbine. The requirements of unification still lead Toyotomi to decree fixed classes, to limit travel, to disarm farmers and control samurai by separating them from the means of subsistence. There is a growing group of artisans who deal with engineering and technology and some of the newly unemployed samurai migrate into that group. This trend will continue.

Tokugawa Iemitsu closes the country to most western trade after the Shimabara rebellion, cautious of western imperialism; this firmly sets the trend, present since Ieyasu, of representing other nations as an active threat to help solidify a national identity in support of the Tokugawa. As population expands, however, food production becomes insufficient. Instead of turning to intensive agriculture of marginal land, Tokugawa Yoshimune chooses to trade for food with Korea and China. The need to supply exports other than silver brings the growing group of technological artisans to the fore of the national economy. Restrictions on imported texts are greatly relaxed and, as the actual power of the merchant and engineer artisans rise, strain on the nominal class hierarchy intensifies.

The natural disasters and unrest during Ieshige and Ieharu’s rule creates unease within the government about the development of small arms by the engineer artisans. At Tanuma Okitsugu’s suggestion, government funding is focused on large land-to-sea weapons installations instead, billed as a coastal defense measure. Ienari’s rule sees the construction of a significant number of such installations, but also, under the increasing corruption of the government and failure of the social contract, the somewhat clandestine development of personal arms by the engineers. An unspoken agreement is reached that this will be permitted as long as there is no distribution of those weapons outside the engineers. Just as with the actual monetary power of the merchants, the presence of such effective weapons brings the engineer artisans into still more conflict with the samurai class and their less effective but more prestigious swords. The small but consistent influx of samurai into the engineer class puts an extra edge on this tension.

During Ieyoshi’s rule, an armed trade envoy from the Tlaxcalteca-Spanish state of Nahua (Mexico) is repelled with only one ship left unsunk. During Iesada’s rule, the Pueblo nation sends an envoy of their own and demonstrate some of the products and technology from the Americas This is tempting enough that Iesada’s government agrees to re-open trade. Despite the lack of destabilization from panic and rage attendant on this re-opening, the long running domestic tensions of the 18th and 19th C have still grown out of control. Yoshinobu’s reforms are too late to save the bakufu and the Meiji revolution happens on schedule.

The revolution does not have the impetus of a decade of foreign interference, and centers, instead, explicitly around domestic issues: the tension between the Emperor and the bakufu, the resentment of the tozama clans against the fudai clans, the class hierarchy in direct denial of the actual balance of social power, the economic upsets caused by even regulated contact with the global market. While the fighting is primarily between factions of the samurai class, both sides court support from both merchants and farmers for funding and extra bodies respectively. The existing large weapons installations are used only once, and the result is sufficiently appalling that both sides agree not to court the involvement of the engineers; despite this, a small number of individuals do join one faction or another, and the personal weapons they bring with them are decisive in more than one encounter.

The reforms Yoshinobu started are continued and accelerated in the hands of the new government, who understand, thanks to seeing the effectiveness of domestic weapons in the revolution, that Japan could be in great danger if it does not keep up with the technological developments of other nations. Consultants are hired from Europe, the Americas, the Ottoman Empire, and China to integrate developments from abroad into the work of Japan’s engineers, and Japan enters global trade at a run, and in a storm of domestic social change.

The Historical Fulcrum

The goal of most of my steampunk worldbuilding has been to get everyone to meet at the 17th and 18th centuries. Up to that point, my concept of technological development has been very standard and historical; some things get noticed earlier, like movable type or the steam turbine, some social catalysts are moved around to keep cultures from locking into decline, like a small revolution for the Maya or Dara winning in India or Wu being defeated before he can ally with the Manchu or Selim II picking a different war and not losing his fleet. Overall, though, technology develops in mundane ways.

By the 17th and 18th centuries, though, global trade and communication have evolved and all the centers of development are in contact with each other. Most of them are also at war with each other at one point or another. This makes a logical environment to pressurize both technological and cultural development. At this point, we have the perfect explanation for even the wildest extremes of steampunk. Airships, walking wagons (or tanks), automata serving tea, you name it, with all this driving innovation surely there’s some way to come up with it. Perhaps wars between the Mayan city-states are now fought half by ceramic automata, and the fixed defenses are built in the form of big stone statues with movable heads and arms for aiming. Perhaps China has air-based cities, trade cities that travel. Perhaps someone in Europe has collected everything anyone ever wrote about optics and has developed laser guns, vaporization, for the use of.

There is, of course, always the question of the power source. In some cases, spring and steam power are perfectly feasible, though they do suggest that coal and oil extraction also explodes early. In others that doesn’t seem suitable. One point Chron makes is that mineral fuel sources would be unacceptable for some Native American nations, and this suggests the inclusion of magic as a motive force. I like this! And perhaps that development leads some esoteric scholars in other cultures to take a second look at their own traditions. Golems, after all, have a very long history. I can see wind and water power being used for stationary power plants pretty quickly also. If we assume that cities will see the use of power plants early on, then this suggests it might, indeed, be possible for nations to develop particle beams as stationary defensive installations with dedicated plants.

And this gives us the mix which is so characteristic of steampunk: the old with the not-even-here-yet, tall ships with submarines, water clocks with mecha.

Remixing History: India

Note: This should by no means be taken as a comprehensive timeline. It is, rather, an outline intended to hit the key points of technological development and historical alteration. All named individuals are actual historical figures.

4th-6th C: The Golden Age of India, the Classical period, happens on schedule and produces a bounty of achievements in the arts and sciences.

7th-9th C: Contending kingdoms compete among themselves and participate in sea-going trade with the Roman Empire and Asia.

8th-14th C: The Caliphate and several successors occupy northern India until the Mongol invasions.

16th C: Babur, a Timurid descendant of the Mongol-Turkish-Persian empire to the north, invades and establishes the Mughal Empire. While the empire is established by war, its policies are of integration and tolerance, and this results in a cultural renaissance.

17th C: Dara Shikoh becomes Mughal Emperor instead of his brother, Aurangzeb. Possibly he gains the loyalty of enough sub-rulers to win in the field, or possibly their father, Shah Jahan, decided that everyone was safer if Aurangzeb died young. Dara, being not only tolerant but a staunch proponent of syncretism, does not turn the Mughal empire toward intolerance; instead the Hindu and Islam cultures and religions continue to co-exist and interact to produce innovative advances. Over time, as the Islamic elements continue to be assimilated into the Hindu and the emperors and governors continue to marry local royalty, centralization gives way to still greater independence among the states and kingdoms.

18th C: The Mughal Empire has become an explicitly federal arrangement, with some powers retained by the Emperor but the majority of power and determination legally in the hands of the local ruler. The largest and most powerful of the kingdoms is Maratha, who have grown by alliance and marriage since the 17th C. They supply much of the military for the subcontinent, and especially most of the naval power, preventing the European powers from attacking militarily. Without the opening of severely divided kingdoms or the legal fig-leaf of imperial grants, the European powers are limited to trade enclaves and in competition with India’s old trade partners, China and Africa. As the products of other centers of arts and technology are introduced, the vigorous, hybrid culture India has built enters into the race for invention and innovation.

Remixing History: Abbasid Caliphate, Ottoman Empire, Egypt

Note: This should by no means be taken as a comprehensive timeline. It is, rather, an outline intended to hit the key points of technological development and historical alteration. All named individuals are actual historical figures.

8th-13th C: Golden Age of Islam happens on schedule under the Abbasid Caliphate.

13th-14th C: Mongol Empire smashes the Caliphate government structure, though they don’t come far enough west to really destroy the north African cities and libraries.

15th-16th C: The Ottoman Empire continues scientific development. Selim II’s Grand Vizier, Mehmed Sokollu, succeeds in convincing him to support the Morisco Revolt in Grenada instead of conquering Cyprus, so the fleet is not lost and money is not as severely drained replacing it. (The treaty that ends this supported Revolt renews the grant of religious tolerance in Spain.) Relative continuing prosperity opens the door to some innovations. Taqi al-Din’s engineering work receives government attention in addition to the astronomy and prediction regular for his position as court astronomer. In particular, his steam turbine is applied to propulsion of ships. This re-invigorates interest in scientific development and the value of the the polymath tradition, and leads to resuscitation of many of the Golden Age ideas. Cairo and Constantinople are both centers of study, and the revival spreads through the north African region.

17th-18th C: The Ottoman Empire and north Africa in general exchange ideas and advances with Europe and Asia and the Americas through growing global trade. Armed conflict is widespread throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and the Americas. Ottoman military reform happens on schedule, the suzerain states move toward independence, and the Ottoman Empire focuses on improving productivity and avoiding invasion. There are stirrings of an Abbasid revival in Egypt, as the revival of Golden Age scholarship and texts involves study of pre-Ottoman Caliphate law and politics as well as science.

19th C: Tanzimat (the reform movement) happens on schedule. Thanks to the revivalist trend, rather than Western nationalism per se, a sense of solidarity (asabiyyah) gains momentum in the old Caliphate areas. Egypt successfully resists Britain’s occupation, not least because of the products of the engineering centers there. The Ottoman Empire, through Egypt, starts spreading transport and weapons through northern Africa to create alliances there that will secure that flank against further attempts. Once the trade is going, sub-Saharan nations like the Oyo Empire and the Igbo nation and the Zulu kingdom all want in on it, and Africa is armed in time to make the Scramble for Africa considerably less successful. In the process, it is possible that Egypt, Lybia and Algeria successfully break away from the Ottoman Empire and serve as the nucleus of a new Caliphate and new technological center.

Remixing History: Maya, Inca, Nahuatl, Anasazi/Pueblo, Iroquois, Anishinabek, Athabascan

Talking about a non-colonial Western hemisphere causes some difficulties of nomenclature. Many of the now-common names for peoples and nations are not the names those people would have used, and almost certainly not the name that would have been used had those people continued to flourish. In order that the greatest possible number of readers understand, though, I have used what seem to be the most common names while attempting to also use the local name as often as possible. I hope the result is both understandable and inoffensive!

Note: This should by no means be taken as a comprehensive timeline. It is, rather, an outline intended to hit the key points of technological development and historical alteration. All named individuals are actual historical figures.

5th C or so: A Phoenician ship, blown greatly off course, lands within the Mayan sphere of influence and is unable to return home. Their phonetic alphabet influences Mayan writing more toward phonetic characters, though there are still ideographs mixed in. The tale of the Phoenicians’ trade empire plants the seeds of ideas for extensive trade by sea that will flourish centuries later.

8th C or so: Tang China makes some very speculative trade overtures along the island chains of Oceania, and by this means smallpox is introduced to the Western hemisphere. It causes considerable devastation in the first generation before reaching equilibrium and establishing itself as endemic.

10th C: The Maya have writing, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, ceramics, metalworking, and the seeds of a merchant class thanks to their trade network. Public architecture has reached a peak, but it is a peak of decadence and resentment is starting to stir in the peasant class over the heavy draft-labor tax that only seems to put more flourishes on existing construction. The Maya depend on rainwater for their potable water source, and while this has spurred considerable hydro-engineering accomplishments, it is a vulnerability. When long drought leads to famine, unrest, disease, and the collapse of southern trade routes, the southern cities are abandoned. The refugees bring civil unrest to the cities of the north. The noble class is unable to control the unrest, and Chichen Itza, now the premier city of the nation, undergoes a full social revolution. This spreads to their ally Uxmal and beyond to the other cities. The resulting overthrow and recreation of the ruling class establishes greater rights for the peasants, especially lower draft-labor taxes and increased property ownership. Writing, always a mark of the nobility, is gradually taken up by the merchant and artisan class. Both developments re-invigorate the culture and open the way for some innovation. The reduced population encourages labor-conserving devices, from simple winching through pulleys and wheeled carts. All this, and especially the social restructuring, may have gotten a boost by isolated explorers from the Abbasid Caliphate.

11th-12th C: Metalwork advances, and the military nobles push ornamentation more and more toward armor and weapons. Population begins to expand again, and return to the southern cities and a bit beyond the old borders. The experience of the drought spurs the development of techniques to access underground rivers. Communications are a priority during expansion, leading to signal towers as well as couriers. Levering technology is applied to ceramics production, leading to a variety of potting wheel, and press-forms that produce tiles for building; this is the seed of mass production. Advances in kiln technology lead to the use of coal and oil.

13th-15th C:

Maya: Mayapan does not become premier city; Chichen Itza’s sea port is too important to trade. In 1441, Ah Xupan Xiu of Uxmal’s revolt against Mayapan domination and their supporting mercenaries does not happen. There are, however, new cities founded on the west coast to create new trade access there.

Inca: The Incan Empire rises, and trade relations are established with the Maya by sea. Imports include writing, adapted in a more syllabary form to the Quechua language, and improved metalwork; medical science is shared; the middle class is strengthened. True science and technology specialists develop among the artisans of both empires.

15-16th C:

Aztec: The Aztec Triple Alliance rises among the Nahua city states. The Alliance has trade with the Maya (and the Maya have the few remaining copies of Aztec written history that Tlacaelel re-wrote). The Alliance also has trade contact with the Cherokee, and through them the Anasazi/Pueblo and the Iroquois and the Northern trade network in general.

Maya: The Maya, wanting more direct contact, through less dangerous intermediaries, with their northern trade partners develops their sea-going trade and contact the Anasazi/Pueblo nation. The Anasazi/Pueblo develop as a trade nexus between the western Anishinabek and the Maya. Expansionism of the Aztec Alliance spurs the Maya to increase development of military weapons and tactics, including catapults and crossbows, eventually leading to spring-powered, barrel-guided arrow guns.

Northern nations: Maritime expertise is passed down the trade routs from the Athabascans and Inuit, worked goods are traded up for raw materials, cotton for fur; metal weapons are much prized all over north. Information is passed along with trade, especially as Mayan and Incan writing spread and are adapted. The Iroquois Five Nations rise to prominence in the east, and are a major influence for gender equality. Law and history begin to be written down in all the stable nation/tribes, and coastal sea-faring grows.

16th C:

Maya: The Spanish arrive, and Uxmal does not ally with them to throw down Mayapan. There is a brisk demand for weapons and construction techniques to the north, and the discovery of gunpowder results in significant advances in this area. Mayan wealth and security grow.

Aztec: The Tlaxcalteca, a long rival of the Mexica, do ally with the Spanish to break the Aztec Alliance, but the power of the Maya to the south and Anasazi/Pueblo to the north discourage further expansion and the Mexico valley becomes a mixed Nahuatl-Spanish nation and government.

Inca: Huascar Capac, prince of the Inca, dies of bad fish before his father, leaving his militarily savvier half brother Atahualpa (child of a royal northern treaty-bride, tying the north tighter to the south for his time) to take the throne and meet the Spanish with the full loyalty of the military behind him and better materials equality. This prevents outright conquest, but the Spanish do stir up a certain amount of unrest in the empire, despite Atahualpa being the child of a royal northern treaty-bride and thus having greater support in the northern empire than his brothers. The unrest does not have quite the effect the Spanish hope for, however; the Empire may eventually break up into smaller pieces, but this leaves no overarching social control mechanisms, such as draft-labor, for the Spanish to take over. Cultural continuity and political integrity are largely maintained.

17th-18th C:

Northern nations: Britain and France’s trade relations with the Iroquois and Algonquin go much as they do in our timeline, except that the Iroquois and Algonquin, having heard about the attempted Spanish invasions and the Aztec defeat, refuse to allow wide-spread settlement or to sell land. They refuse very firmly, to the point of sinking ships that attempt to land outside the established trade ports and attacking settlements outside the trade cities inland. There is still a good deal of taking up allies’ wars among the various native and immigrant nations, however.

Southern nations: Without the leverage for conquest, the Spanish missions turn to trade and exploration in search of natural resources. This results in a fair number of local conflicts, but does not threaten the stability of most established nations. The stable nations become valuable trade partners, and the influx of arts and science techniques from the other hemisphere touch off a new wave of innovation and development.

Americas: Conflicts all over both continents lead to a rush to assimilate each other’s technology, producing a patchwork of nation-states with very cosmopolitan and hybridized cultures and sciences. Trade and war are both brisk, all over the globe. There is little demand for the Atlantic slave trade, which doesn’t really get off the ground.

Remixing History: China, Korea, Japan

Note: This should by no means be taken as a comprehensive timeline. It is, rather, an outline intended to hit a few key points of technological development and historical alteration. All named individuals are actual historical figures.


8th C: Tang dynasty The printing press has been invented and movable type spreads when an influential scholar from the court comes across Bi Sheng a lot sooner. Trade with Silla (Korea) brings in the innovation of metal type, possibly invented by an ancestor of Choe Yun-ui. The spread of printing is driven by scholars at first. Increased communication encourages settling on consistent terms and explaining one’s logic, which leads to a firmer theoretical grounding for advances to build on. This lays the groundwork for developing large-scale production which can be duplicated to the same end in many places. I posit that this will be sufficient to counterweight any philosophical convictions that logic is insufficient to comprehend/describe nature (a conviction which may lead to quantum physics really early, though).

10th-13th C: Song dynasty A period of growing meritocracy and bureaucracy. The need of the bureaucracy to oversee and communicate with an expanding population drives the further spread of printing and literacy, and advances in the sciences are also printed and disseminated more widely. Rural centers of government away from the capital distribute effort and promote competition; I posit an intensification of the general trend toward reliance on local gentry to govern the growing population. Military and naval development are driven forward by pressure from the Mongols and, later, the Jin dynasty in north.

13th-14th C: Yuan dynasty The Mongol dynasty during the Mongol Empire. China is not as comprehensively smashed as some other nations, but it causes a hiatus in development, as it does across the continent.

14th-17th C: Ming dynasty This is a period of stability and growth. The Ming gather a considerable standing army and pursue great construction projects: the Grand Canal, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City. An agricultural surplus leads to an export economy and increased wealth. The merchant class begins to field a significant number of governmental candidates. I posit that this prosperity also fuels a technology explosion as more people are free to engage in it over and above subsistence. In the 16th C China enters global trade. The Little Ice Age at end of the period, however, brings an agricultural crash, wrecks the economy and leads to trade interruptions and great unrest.

17th-19th C: Shun dynasty I posit the Manchu invasion and the Qing dynasty actually do not take place. Li Zicheng’s peasant rebellion succeeds and his forces reach General Wu Sangui before Wu lets the Manchu in past the Great Wall as allies. The Manchu coalesce into a separate nation, allied with the Mongols. This dynasty is, rather, the Shun dynasty, a period of some upheaval resulting in some decentralization of power. Land-ownership is given to the peasantry, though the government keeps a significant standing army to maintain control. The reform of exam standards, exchange rates and corrupt officials still happens. The Macartney trade embassy from Britain happens a lot earlier and global trade is resumed. There is a good deal of technology development as the tech race gets going, spurred by constant wars all over the world and the exchange of ideas created by trade. Technology and art trade staves off economic stagnation. There is no Taiping Rebellion. There are no Opium Wars because trade was never closed off; in addition, everyone is already too well armed on both sides and military confrontations, unless instantly decisive, are considerably more dangerous and costly.


10-14th C: Goreyo dynasty This is an era of unification and governmental reform. Increased civil freedoms support advances in scholarship and technology, and literacy spreads. There is considerable exchange with the Song dynasty. By mid period, two Khitan invasions and the depredations of Japanese pirates drives development of weapons, Choe Mu-seon’s ship-based weapons in particular. During the end of this period, the government is considerably weakened in the aftermath of war with the Mongols and under the control of the Yuan dynasty.

14th-19th C: Joseon dynasty. After considerable dynastic struggle, the new and more centralized government under Sejong the Great supports advances in science and the arts. By the 16th C central support is less and internal division worsened, but trade with Ming keeps greater momentum going. Weapons development is sufficient to beat off Toyotomi’s invasion with considerably lower losses, and, without the threat of Manchurian invasion and the Qing dynasty, Korea does not isolate itself nearly as much. Trade and development continue while the late Joseon rulers turn again to unification and reform.


10th-12th C: Heian period This period was the height of import and elaboration on Chinese culture, and the start of serious divergence into domestic innovations. The lapse in diplomatic relations due to the Five Dynasties Ten Kingdoms period after Tang’s fall spurs local development. There is still some trade, though, and when traders return with books of arts and science scholarship it leads the government to revive relations and expand trade. The printing press is adapted to local syllabary to distribute literature, and the new availability of printed materials leads to increased literacy.

12th-14th C: Kamakura period The first bakufu, or shogunate. Mongol invasions during 13th C introduce pressure to increase naval and technological development.

14th-16th: Muromachi period 1467-1600 is Sengoku, the Warring States period, and during this time firearms are imported from China and Korea. The first European trade contact is still the Portuguese, in 1543, which introduces some European and Ottoman variations on technology. Artisans experimenting with both kinds of imports are the start of what will become a separate class. Nobunaga, Toyotomi and Ieyasu follow in order to bring an end to the civil conflict. Toyotomi’s attempts to invade the mainland are turned back with some fairly advanced weapons; Ieyasu turns this to his own purposes by emphasizing the threat of outsiders to help unify the nation.

17th-19th C: Tokugawa period Codification of the class system includes technological artisans, who themselves include some unaffiliated samurai left after the Tokugawa consolidation, preferring to be weapons artisans rather than give up weaponry entirely to become farmers. The Shimabara rebellion still results in limiting Western trade; this requires more open trade with China, despite the deep distrust in which the Tokugawa bakufu holds the rather populist Shun dynasty. Trade passes through Dejima island, so that imported books and products can be vetted for political suitability. The distrust cultivated by the government drives the development of land-to-sea weapons in particular.

19th C: Meiji period A military-trade envoy from the Tlaxcalteca-Spanish state of Nahua (Mexico) is sunk by the defensive emplacements. In the wake of this, the Anasazi (Pueblo) nation sends a pure trade delegation instead, and examples of the products that the technology revolution in the Americas have produced leads the bakufu to re-open the country to trade. This change of policy is taken as an excuse by internal factions, and the simmering tensions of the Tokugawa period explode into the Meiji revolution. Without the panic caused by unequal weapons and treaties, however, there is no national shame, less psychotic nationalism, and less of a headlong drive to emulate Europe philosophically and politically. Japan loses its impetus to become an imperialist power and never invades or occupies Korea or Manchuria.