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December World - game thread

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Ahigin, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    The December World is an alternative reality which experienced an early information revolution going in parallel with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Think of steam-powered computing machines, dirigibles, Gurney steam carriages, early submarines, repeating rifles, and all of the changes they bring to the world - and you will see the December World. Think of world powers playing their Great Game for control of the high seas, wild, uncolonized lands, small nations acting as pawns in the hands of clandestine players - and you will see the December World.

    Without further ado, let's take a look at the map of the world in 1890. (Right-click to expand in full size in a separate tab.)
    Spoiler :

    UPDATE: For more recent maps and updates, see second post.

    Setting summary
    Spoiler :
    The point of divergence, however, had nothing to do with technology and started with one rash decision made at the wrong moment by one of the most powerful people on Earth.

    After Tsar Alexander I Romanov died in early December 1825, his liberal-minded brother Constantine was proclaimed the Autocrat of All the Russias. Constantine, however, had no desire to rule the enormous, backward nation and renounced his succession after troops in St. Petersburg had already sworn an oath of loyalty to him. The crown was supposed to pass to the the youngest of the Romanov brothers, Nicolas, but the confusion in the capital sent a signal to the Union of Salvation, a secret liberal organization of noble officers, that it was their moment to spring into action. Thus started the Decembrist Uprising.

    Spontaneity of the action and low consciousness of regular soldiers on both sides of the conflict quickly led to encirclement of the rebel regiments on the Senatskaya Square. Partially out of a misguided sense of class sympathy to the doomed highborne rebel officers, Tsar Nicolas himself rode to their ranks, hoping to diffuse their determination and prevent bloodshed in the very heart of the Empire. (In OTL, Count Miloradovich, a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, did it instead of the Tsar himself.) He had some success among regular soldiers for some short few minutes, until Pyotr Kakhovsky, a radically minded officer, shot him dead in the middle of the square. What followed was a bloodbath with shrapnel being fired at the rebel soldiers amid the tightly packed square. The uprising was a disaster.

    As for the succession, Russian bureaucrats managed to persuade Constantine accept his crown back. However, a detached intellectual as he was, Constantine quickly gave up the reigns of his rule to much more reactionary advisors at his court, while they provided him with imitation of power by letting the “enlightened Tsar” invest money into support of arts and science, his biggest project being an invitation of British inventor Charles Babbage (who was much ridiculed in his homeland) to work on his prototype of a steam-powered calculation machine, the difference engine. In Russia, Babbage quickly found a kindred spirit, a punchcard inventor Semyon Korsakov. And while Tsar Constantine’s Russia was slowly slipping into the depth of corruption and mismanagement, Babbage&Korsakov’s revolutionary projects established the foundation for the scientific revolution that would transform the world.


    For detailed history of each nation, please see:
    National summaries

    For learning about the rules of the game and how it will proceed, please see:
    Rules summary

    Stats

    Spoiler :

    [Warning! Not user-friendly version!] Nations, Regions, Policies, Unit Efficiency

    [Warning! Not user-friendly version!] Technology list and allocation

    Conversion rates for all resources (link to a range in the full spreadsheet)

    IMPORTANT: I'll work on preparing more user-friendly stats summaries. For now, please defer to me for any questions, especially if you're not a fan of data digging.


    Discord Chat channel for the December World

    List of players:

    Superpowers:
    • Directorial Russia - player found (Shadowbound)
    • Communard France - player found (Crezth)
    • Taiping Mandate - player found (Masada)
    • Tokugawa Shogunate - player found (Immaculate)
    • Union of North America - player found (DoubleA)
    • Portugal-Brazil - player found (Nuka-sama)
    Major powers:

    • North-German Federation - player found (Seon)
    • Italy - player found (tobiisagoodboy)
    • British Royal Commonwealth - player found (NinjaCow64)
    • Ottoman State - player found (jackelgull)
    • Indostan - player found (JohannaK)
    • Confederate States of America - player found (thomas.berubeg)
    • Third Burmese Empire - player found (LordArgon)
    • Mexico - player found (christopher_sni)
    Secondary powers:
    • Austria-Bavaria - locked as NPC
    • Gran Paraguay - player found (Terran_Empress)
    • Ukrainian Hetmanate - free for the taking!
    • Pacific Directory - player found (Kyzarc Fotjage)
    • Siberian Popular Assembly - locked as NPC
    • Poland - player found (Marcher Jovian)
    • Netherlands - free for the taking!
    • United Baltic Duchies - free for the taking!
    • Great Moravia- free for the taking!
    • United Communes of the Andes - player found (Belgarion95)
    • Sardinia-Piedmont - player found (Jehoshua)
    • Hungary - free for the taking!
    • Egypt - player found (Bair_the_Normal)
    • Maghreb - free for the taking!
    • Free Boer Republic - player found (DuneBear)
    • Armenia - free for the taking!
    Early orders deadline for Update 10, i.e., all economic, domestic, and diplomatic orders are due by: February 4, 2019, 9 am CST
    Late orders deadline for Update 10,
    i.e., all military orders are due by: February 11, 2019, 11 pm CST.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 10:50 PM
  2. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Chicago
    List of updates:

    List of maps:
    December 31, 1890:

    Spoiler :

    December 31, 1891:
    Spoiler :

    December 31, 1892:
    Spoiler :

    June 30, 1893:
    Spoiler :

    September 30, 1893:
    Spoiler :

    December 31, 1893:
    Spoiler :

    June 30, 1894:
    Spoiler :

    December 31, 1894:
    Spoiler :

    June 30, 1895:
    Spoiler :

    June 30, 1896:
    Spoiler :
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  3. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    Reserved
     
  4. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    Reserved
     
  5. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Eastern and Northern Europe


    Central Russia


    Spoiler :
    Fast-growing, populous region with powerful agriculture and developing manufacturing industry.

    Black Partition
    1890: Gradual mechanization of the Russian village is pushing waves of poorly skilled and hardly literate workers to the swelling cities of the Russian heartland. There, some of them become cheap labor force in ever-expanding factories and railways, but majority fail to find decent jobs and turn into robbers, beggars, or, worse yet, social revolutionaries. A particular part of this underclass has is joining a swelling radical party known as Chorniy Peredel (Black Partition), built on a populist premise of promising land redistribution for displaced villagers and poor urbanites.


    Classless People
    1890: Education boom and popularization of engine computing, meanwhile, is creating a surplus of well-educated clerks, engineers, and college graduates who fail to find jobs in the new market dominated by clockwork automata and difference engines. While some of them turn to social utopias in their search for answers, others turn to engine clacking and illegal information brokerage for foul-playing industrial conglomerates. Known as raznochintsy (“class-less people”), they become a creative, but dangerously misguided Russian underclass.


    One true direction
    1890: Uchreditelnoye Sobraniye (the Directorial Assembly), meanwhile, is split between the Russobalt-Putilov coalition and ruling secretary group backing the interests of the Bure-Smirnov family and their allies. The latter ones represent the agricultural and commodity industry lobby and promote the policy of increased federalization and foreign non-involvement, while the opposing coalition is backed by heavy industry and supports a more centralized, interventionist state. Urban population seems to be siding with the coalition, while agrarians and peasants sympathize with the ruling secretary.



    Northern Russia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-growing cultural center with well-established fur industry and access to foreign markets.

    Another capital, another engine
    1890: Saint-Petersburg is lobbying for a construction of its own analytical engine, a giant calculating machine that could rival the venerable “Ilya Muromets” engine of Moscow. While some engineers argue that the Moscow engine, constructed several decades ago by Babbage and Korsakov, is simply showing wear and tear, Petersburgian political leaders and intelligentsia is quick to turn this into a prestige issue in the old rivalry between the Northern and Southern Capitals. The public is split on everything, from initiation of construction itself to a potential name of the new engine. Meanwhile, the contract to build the giant machine is a lucrative one, proving to be divisive for big businesses as well.


    Golden age of the White Sea trade
    1890: Local ethnicity of Pomors (lit. “Seasiders”) from the Russian White Sea coast is enjoying a great economic boom, mostly thanks to the separation of Norway from Sweden. Norway’s dependence on Russian grain and manufactured goods creates plenty of trade opportunities for Pomor traders, who have already went as far as establish trade posts in Tromso, Hammerfest, and Vardo. In fact, trade links between Norway and Northern Russia are so close that a pidgin language called Russenorsk has become the language of trade. Now it is up to any interested economic player to expand these ties and benefit from them.


    The Nose
    1890: A bizarre occurrence took place in Saint-Petersburg and was covered in most of local yellow press. A mediocre official was discovered in a barber shop in the most disturbed state of mind and with mutilated face. He was insisting that his nose had turned into a real person, walked away from him, and even started a career in Republican administration. While the man’s nose was indeed missing with few signs of a surgery, his story is agreed to be ludicrous. The poor gent is believed to either be either an addict of a synthetic North-German narcotic that recently has flooded the port city’s black market, or, maybe, a victim of a mysterious illegal surgery experiment. Either way, the story’s got a lot of visibility among voters and can be easily spun one way or another.



    Volga-Don Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-growing and populous infrastructure hub of Russia, with well-developed riverine transport, strong agriculture, and up-and-coming industrial sector.

    Volga, Volga
    1890: Volga Tatars, Chuvash, and Bashkirs have recently benefitted from the policy of religious and economic tolerance introduced by the Directorial Assembly in the late 1850s. However, all three groups and local political lobbies representing them have been clashing over economic and territorial disputes along the Volga river. The Bashkir families enjoy a lot of influence in the Directorial cavalry and are primary horse producers for military and farming. The Tatars dominate oil production and have recently started bringing a lot of heavy industry to the city of Kazan. The Chuvash lobby is the weakest one, representing agriculture and honey production. Recently, a lot of Directorial Assembly members have received advances from either of the three groups in exchange for federal lobbying.


    Grass on the other side
    1890: The Don and Terek Cossacks were one of the rural groups that has benefited the most from gradual mechanization of agriculture (tax loopholes in exchange for military service were a great driver in this social group’s success). However, recently a number of clashes took place between the Cossacks and Chechen horse herders along the Terek river, mostly caused by fights over valuable grassland. It’s hard to pinpoint who started the vendetta, but at this point tensions are running high between Directorial Russia and the Caucasian Imamate, which, in turn, is receiving some support from the Sublime Porte.


    Stars of David
    1890: The Jewish community in Astrakhan is blossoming under the new policy of ethnic and religious tolerance installed in Russia after the repeal of the Pale of Settlement. So much does it prosper that it’s drawing angry glances from local Russian, Kalmyk, and Tatar communities. Enriched by the Caspian Sea trade and fishing, as well as lucrative deals with the Khan of Khiva, they have started becoming victims of several small pogroms, aimed mostly at desecrating synagogues. Some argue, the perpetrators should be severely punished, while others think the Jewish community has enough resources to organize its defense without federal intervention. Finally, fringe groups advocate limitation of the rights of minorities as a way to prevent “natural popular anger.”




    Ukraine
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing breadbasket of Eastern Europe with a big labor market.

    Coal, sweat, and vodka
    1890: Huge natural reserves of coal and metal ores have been discovered in the Don Basin region, and dozens mines have spring out across the region to feed the needs of booming Russian industry. Virtually overnight, new mining villages and cities have been built in the middle of previously sparsely populated steppe. These labyrinths of cheap makeshift housing with shortage of women and practically no community history are infamous for the brutal dog-eat-dog culture of bullying, drinking, and gambling. It seems like the Don Basin mining industry is there to stay, and the Directorial authorities may want to start looking into a way to bring the region to more civilized living standards.


    Hetman and his mace
    1890: The Ukrainian Hetmanate is at the crossroads. A state based on a compromise between urban bourgeoisie and Ukrainian Cossack military, it’s struggling to establish itself as a solid nation with its own geopolitical course. Hetman Oleksander Barvinsky himself is in favor of building a state lead by military staff, similar to Poland or the Sublime Porte. The Rada (the Parliament), on the other hand, consists of Galitsian and Volynian Catholic urban bourgeoisie, and therefore opposes him and argues for an enlightened, modernized monarchy similar to Hungary or Austria-Bavaria. Scientific elites and intelligentsia from Kyiv and the Levoberezhye (the left bank of the Dnieper) region argue that the young nation’s ties with Russia should be exploited more. Whichever way the nation turns, it’s certain major powers will plan an active role in establishing its course.


    Evenings on a farm near Dikanka
    1890: The Dikanka river runs through a peaceful countryside, serving as a border between Russia and Ukraine in the Poltava region. Recently, a series of bizarre kidnappings and disappearances took place on both sides of the river, with people reappearing sometimes after several months of absence in full health, but having gone completely mad. The only semi-sane story has been told by a local blacksmith Mikula who states that he was hired by a travelling Calvinist priest from Hungary who needed help in a séance of exorcism in a local church. The poor blacksmith’s story features a lot of supernatural nonsense, from vampires with iron eyelashes to drowned women flying in coffins, but some criminal detectives are starting to suspect that the man was heavily drugged and made to participate in a series of science experiments that are too inhuman to be performed in more “civilized” lands of Europe.



    North Black Sea Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing gateway to Black Sea trade and an export hub of Russian and Ukrainian agricultural goods.

    Seamen left behind
    1890: The city of Aqyar, previously known as Sevastopol, used to be the main military base of the Russian Black Sea fleet before the Ottoman takeover of Crimea in the late 1850s. Since then, it’s become a key base for the Sublime Porte’s naval capabilities in the Black Sea. Local authorities, however, are growing concerned over the presence of a big (albeit aging) Russian community in the city. Many Russian seamen and their families never relocated to the mainland and now, as some Turkish secret agents argue, could serve as a pro-Russian spy nets overlooking one of the key military harbors of the Porte.


    Loyalty and representation
    1890: Ever since then-Imperial Russia was pushed back out of Crimea, the Turkish authorities have been providing significant support to the local population of Crimean Tatars. This year, however, local Mejlis (the Assembly of Elders) has surprisingly voted for Crimean independence or significant autonomy (although even the hottest heads support an alliance with the Sublime Porte). It seems like the Crimean Tatars feel underrepresented in the Grand Divan, as no visiers or pashas of Crimean descent are there to lobby the proud people’s interests. What’s worse, the Crimean Tatars have not produced a magistrate or officer high-ranking enough to be quickly promoted to hold a seat in the Grand Divan. For now, the tensions stay pretty low, but the situation may escalate in upcoming years.


    Odessa stories
    1890: The port city of Odessa has been enjoying a status of the main Russian Black Sea port ever since the loss of Sevastopol, with most of Russian agricultural supplies being exported through it. A majority Jewish city, Odessa is quickly growing into an unlikely cultural jewel of Eastern Europe, a center of unusual new music, writing, theater, and art. On the other hand, its libertarian culture and the grow-rich-overnight economy is turning it into a den of corruption, gambling, and illegal information brokerage. Jewish, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, and Gipsy gangs fight for their clandestine control over the booming beautiful city, and the violence is quickly spinning out of control.



    Scandinavia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing center of European education and science, hitting above its weight in economic sector.

    Uneasy union
    1890: The royal union between Denmark and Norway is suffering its biggest challenge yet. Norway has a significantly different taxation law, allowing German, Russian, and British cartels operate from some of its locations as tax havens, costing quite a revenue to the Danish crown. The king insists on bringing laws between both kingdoms in line, while Norway enjoys the jobs brought to it by big industrial conglomerates. It’s certain that great powers will try to use this popular split to establish a greater foothold in Scandinavia.


    Path for the lion
    1890: Swedish Riksdag (the Parliament) grows increasingly uncomfortable with how much the nations spends on its needless pretense at Scandinavian domination. Instead, the deputies would rather see it develop a more vibrant economy akin to the bustling market of the North German Federation. Current king Oscar II is more supportive of a strong, yet old-fashioned monarchy, which is supported by his close dynastic ties with princes of Austria-Bavaria. His primary successor Prince Carl, however, is an energetic military man who views the British Commonwealth as a stronger, dynamic alternative to the venerable Swedish regime. The political struggle stays rather contained, but presents a temptation to major powers to intervene.


    Baltoscandia!
    1890: A new academic movement is being spearheaded by a group of social-utopist agitators in Helsinki and Turku. They argue for creation of a transnational state of Baltoscandia, including the territories of Finland, Sweden, Baltic Duchies, Prussia, and Danish islands. As a pan-Scandinavian entity, they say, such union would prevent any future wars between Baltic nations and would help them act more independently on the world stage. Some of these sentiments were positively accepted by disillusioned workers and frustrated students who view themselves as hostages in the prolonged stand-off between Sweden and its neighbours. Conservatives, however, call such ideas traitorous to the spirit of national unity, and reactionaries also point out at the destruction of the social hierarchy such transformation would bring. As dreamy as that fringe idea is, it keeps shaping social debate among Scandinavian intellectuals.



    Baltia-Prussia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, lightly populated and quiet region with highly literate population, acting as a connecting hub between the Russian and German markets.

    Peace and quiet, and money
    1890: Among all of the United Baltic Duchies, the Duchy of Estonia is known for its status of a clean and quiet rural paradize. It’s key cities Tallinn, Tartu, and Narva, however, host three large steam carriage factories belonging to a Russian automotive producer Russobalt. Recently, a series of municipal laws protecting peace and quiet of idyllic Estonian lifestyle have clashed heavily with the loud and dirty reality of steam carriage manufacture, forcing Russobalt to gradually shift production back to Russia or to third places. However, along with noise and fume, jobs and money started disappearing from Estonia, creating an opening for any economic powerhouse to jump into the Baltic market.


    Not so friendly competition
    1890: For the past few decades, North-German and Russian businesses have been viewing the United Baltic Duchies as a field for aggressive, yet friendly competition. This year, however, an investigative journalist from Riga has published a series of materials in Diena (“The Day”), a local Latvian newspaper, that may make some Russian and North German businessmen re-evaluate their strategy. The articles outline the clandestine world of industrial espionage and corruption and surrounds unchecked competition between Russian and North German cartels in the Baltic region. While many claims are hard to trace, the articles are clearly creating a sense of uncertainty for the two oldest geopolitical players on the Baltic market.


    Prussian spirit
    1890: Prussian military aristocracy was never in much of a favor of the German Revolution of 1848. Even though the federalist regime created by liberal revolutionaries in the 1850s had kept almost all privileges of Prussian aristocracy, a good deal of contempt still exists among the old guard and their descendants. Some propose using the legal framework of the Federal Constitution to achieve independence for the Duchy of Prussia, while others argue that the technocratic regime of North Germany is not bad by itself, but simply needs to adopt a greater military guidance. Meanwhile, some paramilitary groups form around the idea that a more aggressive, terrorist tactics should be used to destabilized the aberration of nation that the Federation is, hopefully bringing reactionary forces to the barricades in an attempt of a belated revanche.



    Poland-Czechia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region with big labor market, booming culture, rich agriculture, and formidable industrial capacity.

    Poland is not yet lost!
    1890: Ever since regaining its independence in the 1830s, Polish political elites and the general population has been extremely paranoid about the prospects of losing it yet again. Russia, even in its much more democratic form, is still being viewed as a potential threat, especially by the older generation. The North-German Federation still holds lands with significant Polish minority. Finally, Hungary is increasingly viewed as a dangerous and arrogant regional rival. In this atmosphere, a West-Slavic nationalist organization called “Sokoly” (lit. “the Falcons”), formally centered around a culture of physical athleticism, has started to breed clubs all across Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia. They advocate a creation of a Pan-Slavic European state similar to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, dissolution of the corrupt and ever-deadlocked Polish Sejm (the Parliament), state censorship in favor of promotion of stricter “Slavic national ideals,” as well as “a stronger hand” of military administration in the affairs of the state. Sokoly are quickly becoming an influential force in Poland, Moravia, and Northern komitats of Hungary.


    O tempora, o mores!
    1890: The Margraviate of Moravia is a quiet, prosperous nation, which economy is heavily dependent on tourism and manufacture of luxury items, such as crystal glassware. This year, however, a series of scandals occurred in the resort town of Ostrava, when a French cinema director and his wife (known in certain circles as an exotic dancer from Dutch West-Indies) settled down there for a living. Presence of an avid Parisian social-revolutionary would be shocking enough, but the outrageous lifestyle of the sinful couple quickly became public and sent Moravian newspaper audience reeling. A series of explicit performances followed up by drunken orgies have taken place in Ostrava, and a petition has been signed to expel the paramour couple from Moravia for public indiscretion. However, no laws have been broken so far, and a rash action could create a precedent hurtful to the fragile local economy. After all, as some are willing to admit, “everyone knows” that most of gentlemen arrive to Moravia not just for sanatory springs, but also to have an affair away from the family. Why should our income suffer because of one Frenchman who doesn’t bother to hide it?


    The Golem of Prag
    1890: Ever since German-majority parts of Bohemia joined the North-German Federation, the Jewish community of Prag has blossomed economically and become a major center of scientific learning, mostly thanks to generous investments of the Loeb family and their banking empire. This year, the Loebs have announced a plan to start construction of the first privately owned analytical engine. Named “Golem,” the giant calculating machine will be primarily offering computing services to Hebrew-owned businesses across the world, regardless of their country of origin. Currently, nothing in the North-German law prevents the Loebs from using their equipment the way they see fit, but many Federal deputies have expressed their concerns that “Golem” may easily become an tool of competition or even wrongdoing against the Federation in the hands of its geopolitical rivals.



    Danube Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing trade hub of Central Europe with formidable labor market, strong agriculture, and blossoming culture.

    Brain leak
    1890: Artistic and scientific intelligentsia of German origin is leaving Hungary faster than the country is producing its own clercs, engineers, educated officers, artists, and scientists. Despite the Habsburg compromise of 1849, current Palatine-King Istvan I of the House of Habsburg seems to have failed to retain the respect and confidence of old Austrian intellectual elites residing in Hungary. A great deal of contempt toward German-speakers still exists among the population, pushing “the brains of the nation” away to places that welcome either their culture or their knowledge. It remains to be seen what can remedy the situation.


    Black Hand
    1890: A Serbian nationalist organization “Unification or Death,” popularly known as “Crna Ruka” (“Black Hand”) is becoming a major threat to Hungarian magistrates and businesses in the Vajdasag komitat (as the historical region of Vojvodina is known in Hungary). At least three dozen politically-inspired assassinations took place there last year alone, turning the region into the breeding ground and safe haven for Serbian nationalists from across the Balkans. Without effective counteractions, the situation is likely to significantly worsen in upcoming years.


    Vampire hunters
    1890: A travelling Dutch adventurer and his British lady companion were apprehended by Romanian authorities in Transylvania and charged with murder of a local noble, graf Tsepesh. Peasant rumours have it that the Dutch and his female helper were dedicated “vampyr” hunters, while the slain count was suspected to be a cursed being of pure darkness. Better educated experts note that the deceased was indeed a tyrant of local villagers, and findings in his house suggest that the count liked to find refuge in all sorts of deviant behavior. Mysticism aside, several versions of events currently exist, but the most politically explosive one suggests that graf Tsepesh was an important part of a Hungarian spy network in the region, and the “travellers” were deliberately sent to kill him by the British Commonwealth upon a request from the Sublime Porte. Handling of these rumors has the potential to escalate or dissolve tensions in the region.



    Balkans
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-growing region with once-formidable culture and education, now suffering from recent war and intercommunal conflicts.

    Italian job
    1890: Illyrian authorities have been long suspecting that a ring of Italian spies existed in its Adriatic shore, a theory based on a rapid spread of ochlocratic and social-revolutionary ideas among local seamen and workers. In an attempt to bust smugglers of forbidden political literature, the Illyrian Gendarmerie initiated an all-country night raid around port facilities and warehouses. To their excitement, several Italian boats were indeed captured, but instead of banned books they were loaded with rare sorts of alcohol, tobacco, and factory-made clothing. It appears that the gendarmes have discovered “just” a criminal operation by the the Italian mafia, and resolution of this touchy situation is up to interested great powers.


    An eye for an eye
    1890: Albanian traditions of vendetta are turning Western vilayets (provinces) of the Sublime Porte into a truly dangerous place to live or travel through. As Albanian village communes spread throughout most of Turkey-held Balkans (mostly filling in the vacuum created by the displacement of the Bulgars and the Serbs, who were the leaders of the anti-Ottoman Great Balkan War), so does the culture of vengefulness, honor killings, and intercommunal warfare. While usually not aimed at non-Albanians, these lawless acts make administration, law enforcement, and infrastructure development increasingly hard for any newly-assigned magistrates. To make matters worse, they alienate other Balkan peoples and demonstrate the weakness of the High Porte’s authority in the region.


    Greek pirates
    1890: After several decades, piracy is back to the Mediterranean sea. However, this time the threat emanates not from the malfeasant cities of the Barbary Coast, but from the countless secret harbors of economically struggling Greece. On dozens of occasions, Turkish, Russian, and Egyptian merchant ships have been intercepted by small and nimble steamboats tightly packed with boarding crews of cutthroats. After a long history of dismissal of the problem, the Grand Admiralty in Konstantiniyye has finally admitted that some of its officers were on the pirates’ payout. Now that the story is out, it’s up to great powers to handle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  6. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
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    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Central and Western Europe

    Italia

    Spoiler :
    Booming region with great labor capacity reflecting on vibrant agriculture, formidable industry, and prosperous trade with limited number of partners.

    Opium for the masses
    1890: The relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the young Italian Republic is a complicated one. The Roman Revolution and the subsequent Unification movement never were openly atheist, reflecting the mood of then largely agrarian nation. However, as old power structures and hierarchies have been dissolved, so were the economic and political privileges of the Church. Right now, the clergy and those Italians who have remained loyal to it (mostly, uneducated rural underclass) are clearly not contributing their share of civil responsibility to the Republic. Upcoming years will show what solution (if any) that problem will have.


    Paradoxes of unity
    1890: The Unification of Italy has generated a lot of nationalist ardor three decades ago, but now that the excitement has died down people of Italy are discovering that it’s not always easy to find a common tongue with fellow co-citizens, sometimes quite literally. North Italians have a trouble understanding southern dialects, often resulting in legal and economic disputes and even differences in interpretation of laws. Meanwhile, Piedmontese citizens of the only sub-national state of the peninsula that chose not to join the populist revolution of the 1860s feel quite comfortable talking to their neighbors from Lombardy or Venetia. This is quickly turning into an awkward (some say “dangerous”) love-hate triangle, and Italian authorities are yet to resolve it.


    Cosa nostra
    1890: Despite the fact that Rome and its anti-clerical rebellion of 1848 were the beginning of the long and hectic process of Italian Unification, everyone in Italy now agrees that the populist takeover was spearheaded by the roving bands of unbridled swaggers known in Sicily as “mafiusu.” These bands thugs and extortionists have since then evolved into strictly organized clans that de-facto control all key levers of the Italian Republic. The informal nature of their grip on power has proven beneficial in solving some problems of the young state, but now the nation has to deal with the opposite side of kleptocracy. Major rifts seem to appear between mafia families, some of them caused by greed for money and territory, and some brought along by something as insignificant as a drunken brawl between two gangs in a tavern. Without addressing these issues, the Italian Republic may find itself in a peril.



    North Germany
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing supernova of European economy, with unrivaled levels of prosperity, industrial ingenuity, and education.

    Music of the jilted generation
    1890: The success of the North-German Ostafrika colony is reflected in the labor market. Thousands of Maasai, Luo, and Zaramo natives are arriving to the nation’s bustling ports by sea and find their way to the labor market in industrial centers of the Federation. This has brought along a strange cultural phenomenon. Low-key musical performances that feature a combination of African drums, industrial equipment used as musical instruments, tribal dance, and recitative, dark lyrics are taking place in workers’ clubs and gatherings across the Ruhr region. Somehow, this musical aberration nicknamed by locals as “industrielle musik” has found its way to the hearts of the white working class youth and is spreading across the country like a plague. What’s worse, this folkish counter-culture has become a breeding ground for social-revolutionary agitators and anarchists of all kinds. Only time will tell what effect it will take upon the Federation and the continent as a whole.


    War of Patents
    1890: Under the supervision of the technocratic council, labelled in European press as “the Coucil of Savants,” the North-German Federation has become a beacon of progress and a magnet for aspiring inventors from all over the world. In fact, prestige of intellect has become so big in the middle-class culture that it’s seen as almost obligatory for any mildly ambitious young man (and sometimes even a woman!) to have a scientific publication or a patent, regardless of its practical value. This culture of aggressive intellectual aspiration has brought about a social phenomenon nicknamed by Germans as der Patentkrieg (“War of Patents”). Many bright minds of the nation are already pointing out to the counterproductive nature of blind ambition in science, especially since majority of these so called “vulgar savants” are nothing but phonies.


    Guns and butter
    1890: Growing international ambitions of the North-German Federation are facing an obstacle: its state-of-the-art military consumes more heavy industry products than the country can now produce. Partially, this problem can be mediated through import, but many people on the “Council of Savants” are suggesting that some tax breaks are provided to small local manufacturers that work on military procurement orders. Yes, it could hurt state revenue, but it could also boost local heavy industry. And experts say that should the Federal government fail to act, other major powers may as well steal contracts with small German businesses for themselves.



    South Germany
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, populous melting pot of German regional cultures with powerful industries and vibrant agriculture.

    The Last Knight
    1890: Karl Dietrich, the Count of Sigmaringen, is known across Europe as “the last knight king.” Obsessed with Arthurian epics and Medieval romanticism, the young aristocrat is known to live in a majestic castle built for him by an emigre French architect, and he is known to uphold annual jousting tournaments in which he participates as a humble “green knight.” That fairytale life of his, however, seems to be not as whitewashed as appears on the surface. A series of police reports from local villagers have surfaced, suggesting that the count has taken upon an ancient habit of demanding the right of the first night with local brides. To make matters worse, the sole groom who denied him that “right” has recently disappeared. It’s clear that story clearly doesn’t reflect well on the state of the Princely Union of Austria, Bavaria, and the Rhineland. At the same time, Count Karl Dietrich is well-known and well-connected, and any leak from the investigation may cause just as much damage to the Princely Union as banal non-interference.


    Artists and engineers
    1890: Austria-Bavaria is rightfully known as the center of fine arts and humanitarian studies of Europe and the entire world. However, that cultural surge seems to have failed to translate into any significant scientific breakthrough. While fast to borrow from their northern neighbors, Austrobavarians are still trailing behind in the size and output of their economy and heavy industry. While some reactionary thinkers approve of it, because they see booming industry as a welcoming sign of social-revolutionary and populist thought, others are not as supportive of that state of things. Military staff, in particular, suggests that measures should be taken to improve the nation’s industrial output, despite of any associated risks.


    The Final Problem
    1890: A mysterious sequence of deaths has put Switzerland in the international spotlight. Two British gentlemen visiting Reichenbach Falls as tourists are believed to be killed as a result of a brutal duel that involved no weapons but bare hands. One of them was known in certain London circles as a private detective, and his surviving friend, a doctor, insists that the deceased gentleman was trying to escape England for the fear of assassination. His nemesis (and the second victim of the duel) is much less well-known, although it’s known that he’s had an academic record in Great Britain as a professor of mathematics. A publication by a local investigative journalist, however, suggests that the detective was in possession of some ciphered papers compromising the British Protectorate Ward, while “the professor” was on service of the British Commonwealth as a spy and acted upon secret orders of the Lord-Protector himself. If so, that murder may well translate into a serious diplomatic incident, especially depending on what happens now to the doctor friend of the dissident detective.



    Ireland-Scotland
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing, ethnically divided backwaters of the British Isle.

    Our day will come!
    1890: The Irish rabble is at it again! Reports of Irish nationalist terror attacks against the Protectorate’s officers and administrators are widespread all across the island. Partially in the expectation of disloyalty, Irish youth has been excluded from conscription, and now it seems that an ever greater percentage of the Irish population is becoming virtually “invisible” for British economy and civil life. The course of action against this resurgent threat is yet to be determined.


    Double O
    1890: A decorated spy of the Secret Ward of the Royal Protectorate residing in his family estate near Edinburgh keeps bringing troubles to the local community. Besides being a heavy drinker and an avid womanizer, the man is infamous for engaging in needlessly risky escapades and at least on two occasions was a target of violent ambushes set against him by mysterious enemies of the Queen and Her Protector. Despite their loyalty to Mother Britannia, the locals are appalled by the amount of harm this servant of the Crown has brought to the earldom. What’s worse, this particular case appears to be just one episode among the countless occasions when such unruly activities involving state agents took place all across Britain. Most experts say it alienates both gentry and commoners, and greatly hurts local economies, especially in usually quiet areas, such as Scotland and Wales.


    The Old Ones
    1890: A series of mysterious sightings has been reported around the Loch-Ness lake in Scotland. It all started when villagers and fishers began telling stories of a big monster surfacing amid the lake, something that reporters were quick to denounce as drunken gibberish. But later this year a trustworthy magistrate transferred to the region from Sussex reported to the authorities that some sort of a shadowy cabal of cultists regularly gathers at the lake shore at night. If he were to be believed, the cultists worship an ancient entity known as the Old One, and talk of upcoming events of utterly apocalyptic nature. Sadly, nothing has been heard of the vigilant official ever since, and the entire region has been full of worrisome rumors ever since.



    England-Wales
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, populous heart of the British Empire, famous for astounding level of scientific activity and education, combined with rich labor market and strong urban and rural economies.

    Return of the Great Stink
    1890: The Great Stink of 1858 is back to London again! This time, it’s caused not as much by the pollution of the Thames river (although this keeps being a recurring problem), but by the booming industries of the London sprawl combined with aggressive expansion of London Underground trains system and above-ground Gurney steam carriage transportation. Whoever could afford it, have left the city for country houses, but vast majority of the population remains in the suffocating megapolis. With it, the smog has brought unprecedented level of health issues and crime, especially in the working class neighborhoods by the Thames. Most importantly, the London crisis is merely the most noticeable of such events. “The Stinks” have been known to happen on and off in major industrial cities of England for the past decade. Perhaps, it’s time to do something?


    Long live the Queen!
    1890: Now that the threat of a populist revolution seems to have withdrawn, the Queen and her closest relatives no longer feel that they need the iron-grip “protection” offered by the Lord-Protector himself. Their position is shared by landed gentry that would rather have returned to the time before Lord Wellington altogether. On the other hand, British bankers and industrialists have benefitted greatly from the protectionist (no pun intended) policies of the current stratocratic administration. And as for the officer corps, it is split between their loyalty to the Queen and their appreciation of the power and privileges they enjoy under the Protectorate’s militarist practices. Meanwhile, the working class and the peasantry keeps growing ever more alienated from all three of the groups. And the colonies? Nobody even asks them.


    London calling
    1890: As cheap labor from the British colonies arrives to the British Isles for the wages unthinkable in their homelands, the heart of the Royal Commonwealth starts facing a true problem with a severe surplus of work-eligible men and, as a result of it, unemployment. Workhouses and steep increase in the size of the army and navy were designed to mitigate these issues, but the country is still dealing with huge masses of unemployed men who don’t even get to participate in the “shadow economy,” because of how effectively the Secret Ward has been cracking up on underworld activities. As of today, it looks like a crisis waiting to happen.



    Low Countries
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region with moderately strong economy.

    Overseas ambitions
    1890: Thanks to the British support, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands has been enjoying a period of resurgence of its colonial ambitions. However, recently it has become obvious to everyone but Director-Admiral Willem Jan Derx that the Kingdom’s resources are overstretched, while its home provinces are suffering from a prolonged economic and demographic stagnation. While North Germany and France are preparing to make the Netherlands their economic playground, the Kingdom’s British “protectors” are looking increasingly incapable to help the country’s continental economy grow. It seems like a brutal struggle for de-facto economic control over the region is brewing.


    Leaking dams
    1890: The idea of reconquering land from the sea through construction of dams was always a popular one in the Netherlands. Recently, however, several of such dams, mostly the older ones, have started leaking, plagued by years of neglect brought by redirection of most of the nation’s limited resources to supporting its colonial empire. So desperate is the Kingdom’s Ministry of the Interior that an open tender is offered to pretty much any enterprise that could assist the Netherlands in preventing a catastrophe and, if everything goes well, reconquering more land from the sea.


    The Belgian question
    1890: In the 1830s, the Belgian Revolution was put down by the British and French royal regimes that were spooked by the partial success of the Russian Decemberist Uprising. Since then, the lands of Flanders and Wallonia have recovered their economic significance for the Kingdom, but never truly grew to like the royal Dutch authorities. Nowadays, the idea of one day joining the North-German Federation as its semi-autonomous region is becoming increasingly popular among the Flemish, while the Walloons seem to be swayed by French Communard propaganda. Decisive actions are needed before the Belgian Revolution repeats itself.



    North France
    Spoiler :
    Booming center of progressive art and sciences, with quickly recovering, expansive urban and rural economies.

    Fruits of equality
    1890: The Paris Commune and the subsequent Grand Revolution did release an enormous wave of popular enthusiasm and productive capability. What it failed to make, though, was to increase the standards of living of an average French citizen. While the distributive system of collective ownership has saved countless lives of proletarians and unemployed, it also has sucked the few objects of wealth that average French citizens did have. It may be wise to find a way to console those who have contributed to the national revival so much only to gain so little.


    Senile Delecluze
    1890: The grand analytical engine of Paris (originally named “Napoleon,” but recently renamed “Delecluze,” after the leader of the Communard Revolution) is malfunctioning. While most of the functions of the colossal machine still run smoothly, it seems like some of the output cards contain garbage data or presentation errors. Technical commissions have concluded that no major maintenance gaps have been observed, and all critical testing has passed. The only suspicion left is that some engine clacker has managed to run a ruinous punchcard programme that contaminated the central analytical block with a trailing error function that now runs indefinitely, occasionally impacting unrelated programmes. The conundrum is not the easy one. Some argue that security of the Commune’s engines (be they simple difference machines or giant analytical monsters) has been compromised, and perpetrators have to be found before any technical solutions are applied. Others argue that it may be a good time to retire venerable “Delecluze” altogether and build a newer engine instead. Some fringe group of ideological renegades even suggests that there’s nothing shameful in outsourcing some less sensitive programmes to foreign analytical engines for a reasonable pay, although that option comes with a series of security risks, still.


    Purity spiral
    1890: Revolutionary spirit is great, but sometimes enthusiasm spills over the edge in France. In the first days and months of the Commune, a lot of well-off people were forced by raging mobs to give up their luxury in favor of the community, but since then the public fervor seems to have subsided. This year, however, sees a resurgence of the same pattern. What’s ironic, some of the victims of crowd racketeering and lynching were not old regime sympathizers, but political leaders of the young state who were seen as living too opulent a lifestyle compared to their fellow compatriots. With a heavy heart, the Commune’s authorities have to look into this new issue before their geopolitical rivals have used it against them.



    South France
    Spoiler :
    Booming center of Eastern Mediterranean trade and industry, with well-developed countryside.

    Uninvited friends
    1890: Social-utopists, social-revolutionaries, communards, marxists, anarchists, and even random pariahs of capitalist society of all sorts come to the French Mediterranean ports in thousands, attracted to the flame of the Revolution. Alas, not all of them prove to be law-abiding types, and even those who don’t cause trouble often end up enjoying life of leisure subsidized by hard-working French citizens. This is causing plenty of issues in the Azure Coast already, and the problems threaten to spill into the heartland soon.


    Where the world comes to rest
    1890: French Occitania and the Rivera once used to be known as one of the best tourist destination in continental Europe. The Revolution, however, made travel to France a much less welcoming experience for all but the most enthusiastic populists and socialists. However, many leaders of local popular communes suggest resurrecting tourism in Cote d’Azure, although it’d clearly required some change in attitude to foreigners (something that locals would be willing to do, given it improved their communes’ economic standing). Purists in the Communard party have angrily rejected this offer, although many political leaders suggest turning the region into a sanatory trip destination for outstanding workers and heroes of labor. More flexible experts think that tourists from other left-leaning countries would also be beneficial for resurrection of the Rivera tourism. One way or another, the opportunity is there for the taking.


    Free love
    1890: The change of French public morals after the Grand Revolution is remarkable. As fruits of labor start being redistributed among commune members across the country, some more radical communes have started suggesting redistribution of family responsibilities, including love making. In such free-love communes, anyone can sleep with anyone, given consent, and some corvee-like annual duty is required from every man or woman in terms of sexual pleasures. One result of that practice was quite predictable: a rise of venereal diseases. To combat with that woe, free-love communes have made it much harder for outsiders to become members, which brought the other, less expected, side effect. Free-love communes, as rare as they are, are quickly turning into a sort of elitist closed clubs, membership in which is desired by many, but hard to achieve. Ideologically, this is starting to turn into something quite opposite to the idea of equality and inclusion that sits at the foundation of the Communard worldview.



    Iberia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, but socially unstable region with dynamic, strong labor market and expanding economic capacity.

    Newborn republic
    1890: The Iberian Revolution is young, and the state it’s produced is trying to define itself as a nation. The years of semi-feudal Carlist rule under a branch of the Bourbon dynasty had eroded the Spanish Crown’s subjects’ sense of national unity briefly merged during the Peninsular War. Now a question stands as to what attitude to ethnic policies the new republican government will take. Social-liberals argue for copying the North-German constitution in regards to local self-rule. Social-anarchists want to take that idea to the next level by turning the nation into a confederation of semi-independent communes. French-influenced communards argue that communes are indeed the way forward, but they should be united into a more unitarian Greater Commune akin to the French one. Meanwhile, social-populists think that the maquis, heroic bands of brigands-cum-do-gooders, should become the gears of the new state, similar to Italian mafioso, which would resolve the ethnic question all by itself. What can be said for sure, the final decision will most certainly be influenced by some great powers.


    Recovering economy
    1890: After reactionary policies of the old Carlist regime, Spanish economy is in decline, suffering both from weak manufacturing capabilities, breakdown of countryside production chains, and a low literacy level of an average worker. But not all is lost! The nation’s proximity to economic powerhouses of France and Italy, as well as easiness with which it could be reached by Egyptian and North-American shipping, opens possibilities of building an import-oriented economy in the world where young ochlocratic governments often find themselves semi-isolated from the world market. The choice the Iberian Republic makes (most likely, with a help of other great powers) will shape the region for upcoming years.


    To Portugal and beyond!
    1890: Since the first days of the Iberian Revolution, Spanish aristocracy, landed gentry, and some members of bourgeoisie have been trying to find refuge in neighboring Portugal which monarchic regime seems to be standing quite strong. At the same time, a number of Portuguese noble families have started moving their assets from the continent to Brazil, fearing the proximity of European ochlocratic regimes. That, in turn, means the Porto-Brazilian Imperial Crown is losing a great deal of economic power in the region, while, surprisingly, having a chance to gain in manpower as a number of Spanish refugees have already formed into several anti-populist battalions known as falanges. Whichever solution to this problem the Emperor chooses, it is likely to shape the region for years to come.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    J.K. Stockholme and Decamper like this.
  7. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
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    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Africa
    Niles Region
    Spoiler :
    Booming region centered around the Nile river delta, with still average intellectual, economic, and labor capacity, but potential to connect European, African, and Asian trade.

    Death and taxes, and infidels
    1890: The Ummahist movement dominating the politics of still formally monarchist Khedivate of Egypt is taking pride in building a socially progressive and relatively egalitarian society based on the dogmas of the Quran. One of the natural consequences of that political alignment, however, is the jizya tax applied to all dhimmis, or non-Muslims. In Egypt, it means that the Jewish and Coptic communities that traditionally contribute quite a lot to the nation’s science, banking, and art, are being relatively disenfranchised. Reintegrating these minorities into the fabric of the Ummah could provide a great boon to the development of the region.


    A viceroy without a king
    1890: For over twenty five years the Khedive (lit. “viceroy” in Turkish) has been de-facto independent from the Sublime Porte. However, the title remains to be seen as an obvious sign of the relative geopolitical immaturity of the Egyptian state. Many political experts in the Ummah suggest that the state should reform both its formal facade and its foreign policy to match what they consider Egypt’s true role in the world. Mullahs that represent rural areas of the region think that Egypt should act as the leader of the Arabic Muslim world by resembling the idyllic view of the true-believers society. Military and naval elites stand on more practical grounds of war-driven colonial expansion. Finally, rare westernizers, primarily among the Hebrew and Coptic communities, think that Egypt should use its natural geographic position to be a trading hub between prosperous Europe and quickly developing Asia, staying neutral in major political games.


    Egyptian archeology
    1890: Embalmed corpses of people and animals known to locals as mumiya have been being found all across the region (and especially in its driest outback areas) for centuries. Usually, they have been used to fuel bonfires and furnaces - of course, after the burials were robbed of all valuables. Nowadays, however, many archeology experts across the world (including the Khedive’s advisors) are proposing treating these findings with special care and consideration. They suggest that these ancient burials not only present a great value to the world of science, but also are worth of a great deal of prestige and money.



    North Africa
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing gateway to Sub-saharan Africa with big Islamic cultural and educational centers, but uneven economic development and mediocre population density.

    Burden of the Barbary Coast
    1890: British conquest of the key Algerian ports along the Barbary Coast from the French in the end of the Atlantic War seemed like an important step at establishing British hegemony over the Mediterranean Sea. However, now these possessions have turned into a burden for the Royal Commonwealth. The cities are completely dependent on continental supplies, and their French and Algerian diasporas equally despise the British and each other. Besides, the Sultanate of Maghreb is viewing British ownership of the Barbary coast ports as a result of opportunistic imperialism and holds the right to press territorial claims whenever it sees fit.


    Lords of the desert
    1890: The expansion of Moroccan authority into the territories previously controlled by the French Empire took place right around the time of the collapse of the French colonial administration in the end of the Atlantic War. That action helped build a new Maghreb national entity and generated a lot of enthusiasm along the coastline. However, the outback remains rather indifferent and sometimes even hostile toward the Sultan’s authority. Reactionary warlords of various nomadic Tuareg tribes don’t see any benefits of the rapid modernization the country is undergoing, and they prefer to use their knowledge of Transsaharan caravan routes to act as middlemen, guides, and supply providers in the light of Maghrebi colonial ambitions.


    Unwanted masters
    1890: Maghrebi takeover of French colonies along the coast of the Senegal River after the Atlantic War was applauded at the sultan’s court as the proof that the resurgent sultanate can compete with pesky Europeans at their games of imperialism. Now, however, the young nation is seeing what British poet Kipling has called the “white man’s burden.” Ungrateful natives, surprisingly, don’t quite accept “the gift of civilization” from their masters. Moreover, a series of popular riots and attacks on outposts suggest that conquest of Senegal might have been only the beginning of a long struggle with unknown losses waiting ahead.



    Sudan-Ethiopia-Somalia
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant, relatively populous region, suffering from low socio-economic development and semi-absent infrastructure..

    Fanatics and prophets
    1890: Egyptian Sudan is still recovering from a rebellion of Mahdist fanatics, who tried to overthrow Khedivate’s authorities in the 1880s, but were since then pushed out into “uncivilized” lands of West Sudan. Still led by by their legendary leader, fakir (or holy man) Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah, the Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) is starting to spread its ideology among local tribes, gathering resources for their return to the Nile river basin. A series of attacks on outposts and frontier villages of Sudanese Arabs have taken place, and Khedivate authorities are afraid that some cells of Islamist radicals are still lying dormant in Egyptian Sudan, waiting for a Mahdist intrusion to start wrecking havoc among loyalists.


    Legacy of the Era of Princes
    1890: When Sunni emir of Harar, Ahmad III ibn Abu Bakr, became the Emperor of Abyssinia at the twilight of Zemene Mesafint (or “Era of Princes”), it was viewed as a great victory for Egyptian diplomacy. For the first time in centuries, a friendly Muslim dynasty controlled the rich, populous region south of the Khedivate. However, now it seems like the victory has brought troubles with it. Muslims are a minority in Egypt, and the current emperor 'Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur is deeply unpopular among his subjects, and a noble rebellion is brewing in Abyssinia. Some advisors recommend the Khedive to support the Emperor with troops directly, while others think that such a blunt move would only infuriate Monophysite Ethiopians and Egyptian Coptic diaspora. For now, a range of solutions may be devised, but the clock is ticking, and the situation may explode any moment.


    Holding onto the Horn of Africa
    1890: It’s widely agreed among Egyptian geopolitical experts that the nation’s control over the Horn of Africa is crucial for its trade and power projection in the Indian Ocean. Through “offers” of “protection,” the Khedivate has managed to establish its colonial presence in some major ports along the coast, such as Mogadishu and Hobyo. However, the Khedivate still struggles to control the outback, where local nomadic tribes rule supreme. The military considers blunt punishing expeditions against unruly natives, while the Ministry of the Interior points out that simply winning a battle or two doesn’t necessarily transform into military control.



    Central Africa
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant backwaters of Africa with little to no exposure to the world, but unknown deposits of natural resources.

    The Dark Continent
    1890: Maghrebi access to Transsaharan caravan routes and Egyptian use of the Nile river past the Cataracts means that these two nations naturally have colonial ambitions in the Central-African region. Neither of the nations has any military presence in the vast region yet, but some low-key incidents have already started to take place. For instance, this year a massacre took place along the caravan route near the Chad lake. It is believed that a pro-Maghrebi Tuareg merchant ordered his guards to slaughter a Ummahist mullah and his seven students from Alexandria. Details of the incident are hazy, and it’s unclear if the tragedy was sparked by socially progressive views of the Egyptian missionaries or greed of the Tuareg merchant (whose loyalty to the Sultan of Maghreb is as questionable). What can be said for sure, the heart of the Dark Continent is going to become a stage for such “incidents” moving forward.


    The source of the Nile
    1890: Search for the source of the Nile river is quickly becoming a matter of prestige and principle for explorers from many countries, inspired by a series of speculative articles published in several popular scientific magazines this year. Geographic societies from many countries are asking their governments to sponsor and equip expeditions to the Heart of Africa, hoping to become the first ones to discover the fabled source of the great river.


    Unarmed, but dangerous
    1890: Out of all polities existing beyond the reach of “civilized” nations, the tribal kingdom of Baganda seems to be the most organized and populous. That isolation, however, proves to be a blessing and a curse. Its current king, Danieri Basammula-Ekkere Mwanga II Mukasa, is an avid anti-Christian and a paranoid military modernizer, but he is struggling to find a way to supply his army with modern weapons. Some great nations may like it that way, but for others it may open a chance to establish some presence in this remote region of the world.



    Greater Mali
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant region with complex ethnic composition and once rich, but now semi-abandoned mining industry.

    No two slavers are same
    1890: British and Dutch colonial slavery practices, surprisingly, generate plenty of tension between these rather homogeneous administrations. Dutch interior colonial territories are badly patrolled, so runaway slaves from British West Africa (at least, those who fail to make their way to Liberia or the Toucouleur Caliphate) often find shelter in Dutch Ghana. Despite formally agreeing to return British “runaway property” back to their owners, Dutch colonial gendarmes are rarely paid well enough to risk their lives in raids on runaway hideouts. In Amsterdam, British demands of action are very unpopular (most common response being, “Don’t you tell us what to do!”), while the General-Governor of Ghana is afraid that these holdouts are becoming melting pots of African social-revolutionaries, where tribal divisions (so beneficial for outnumbered white colonists) are being eroded and a new pan-Malian culture is forming.


    Freed and enraged
    1890: The state of Liberia was an idealistic (or, as some say, misguided) attempt to establish a democratic nation of freed states, organized by the Union of North America after the brutal Atlantic War. However, it seems like the scars of slavery and warfare are preventing new citizens of Liberia from living according to the ideals of racial tolerance, as it was intended. In fact, two dozen ship crew members were lynched in Monrovia this year during racial riots sparked by a bar brawl. Whites from the North-American Union and allied nations are mostly tolerated (not without some contempt, though), but for other foreign nationals of fair skin color a visit to Liberia may be a risky enterprise.


    Weapons of the Jihad
    1890: The Toucouleur Empire is struggling to prepare itself for its seemingly inevitable confrontation with the British. For that, they need modern weapons, and some advisers cautiously suggest that Emir Saidou should create his own manufacturing capacities for a prolonged war. The only currently available source of these dangerous innovations is through Trans-saharan trade with the Maghrebi Sultanate, but it’s possible other major powers would try to use this opportunity in the future. Now, it is time to decide what the Massina people could offer to their future weapons importers. Access to local rich salt and gold deposits is the most obvious offer, but who knows what else could attract foreigners’ greedy stares.



    Niger Region
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant, religiously divided region with unexplored resource potential, but wide opportunities for agricultural development.

    Abridged Caliphate
    1890: The Caliphate of Sokoto was an ascendant power in the region before Gobir put a check on its power. Now, the feudal nation is boiling with the sense of revanchism, a sentiment especially popular among the militant Hausa aristocracy. However, competent leadership of the troops remains rare, and its bureaucracy is completely rudimentary, forcing the Caliph to turn to the white-skinned foreigners in his search of a dangerous, but lucrative political deal.


    Hunger Games
    1890: Rice cultures have been consistently failing all across the region in the past three years, mostly due to a sequence of droughts. In Sokoto, local princes were encouraged by the Caliph to share some of their surplus supply of food with hungry peasants (at the coast of debt slavery for many of them), but in the Gobir Confederacy there is no authority centralized enough to stop the galloping inflation and famine resulted from the fact that local nobles and trade guilds hoard their rice and sell it for tenfold of its price. How this crisis develops may either weaken Gobir or help another power get a mercantile bridgehead in the region.


    Past glory
    1890: The Yoruba nation of Oyo once controlled most of the Nigerian coastю Soon after the French colonial demise the Porto-Brazilians stepped into the resulting vacuum mostly thanks to their promises of relative independence of the Oyo king Adeyemi I. Now, however, it seems like the promised independence was mostly cosmetic and found its reflection in titles and ceremonies rather than in any meaningful decisions. That’s making Dahomey Yoruba people increasingly upset by the Porto-Brazilian colonial rule.



    Congo-Gabon Region
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant population center of Africa, with complex ethnic composition and unexplored resource potential.

    Pigmy raids
    1890: Strange tribes of extremely short people, called Pigmy, live in the depths of the continent. While not very valuable as work slaves, these Pigmy make great and very loyal house servants for their owners, being quite valuable on slave markets across the world. But before selling them, these precious slaves need to be captured, and Confederate slave traders tend to hire local Bantu tribes to do that job for them. This is quickly deteriorating into a strange sort of colonial dynamic, in which Bantu middlemen are growing almost as rich as Confederate American colonizers (and indispensable, to boot).


    The Heart of Darkness
    1890: The colony of Zaire was an unexpected “gift” that the Kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont received in the wake of the Atlantic War. Now, however, it seems that the gift was more of a burden for the dynamic, but overstretched nation. Sardinian colonial authorities are suffering from low funding and bad communication with the mainland, and the colony is quickly gaining a reputation of a lawless land, perpetually stuck in the state of intercommunal warfare.


    Latin Belt
    1890: Porto-Brazilian colonial authorities in Angola are lobbying a project of a railroad that would connect the city of Benguela on the Atlantic coast to Lourenco Marques, the capital of Porto-Brazilian Mocambique. That so called “Latin Belt” would have to face the problem of practically non-existent infrastructure in the African inland. In addition, the Free Boer Republic is vehemently protesting such a project, seeing it as a Porto-Brazilian attempt to block Boer advancement into the depth of the continent.



    East Africa
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant conduit between Asian and African markets with a long, but decaying tradition of maritime trade.

    The End of the Merina monarchy
    1890: The authority of the Malagasy Merina monarchy is at its all-times low, now that the Boers conquered its obedience through a series of ad-hoc, badly outfitted expeditions. Instead of turning on the colonizers, the Malagasy people are joining the spreading tribal conflict in the depth of the island. For now, the Boers were happy to see the natives fight each other, but some experts express caution over this development, afraid that eventually one successful warlord could arise as an unquestioned leader of the anti-colonial movement.


    Freedom deeper inland
    1890: Slavery markets of Omani Zanzibar are experiencing a big challenge in the recent years. Before the arrival of the North-German Ostafrika Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft to the region, local slavers used to outfit expeditions in the depth of the continent for new “trade goods,” but now such actions could be considered illegal by the North-German colonial authorities. What’s worse, runaway slaves now need to make it just a few dozen miles inland in order to be completely off-limit for Zanzibari pursuers. To complicate things, the North-Germans are dependent on Zanzibari port authorities to supply its inland colonies in exchange for regular economic support.


    The Shadow and the Darkness
    1890: Two man-eating lions are attacking porters and construction workers along the North-German Tanzanian railway route, having taken lives of several dozen workers by now. By itself, these incidents are not particularly influential, but they’re reflective of the challenges that North-German authorities are facing in Ostafrika. Local fauna and diseases take a huge toll at every endeavor underwent even in a meager distance from the scarce centers of civilization that do exist in that wild land.



    South Africa
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, dynamic, quickly modernizing immigration hub with weak agriculture, but strong natural resource industry and manufacture.

    Children of Man
    1890: In the Free Boer Republic, not everyone is equally free. In fact, one’s skin color usually defines whether or not a particular human being is likely to be treated as a fellow citizen or as someone’s property. The only exception from this rule are the Griqua, children of mixed heritage that have developed into an militant underclass that is proud of its superiority to native slaves, but are also too freedom-loving to accept the arrogance of the white Afrikaners. Recently, more and more Griqua have been escaping the core lands of the Republic and settling on its frontier, forcing local tribes to migrate and claiming the land for themselves. It seems like the Griqua could be used as a colonization tool by the Boers, but these people would despise being forced to obey to the old unspoken laws of the Afrikaner society.


    The Cape
    1890: British settlers of the Cape colony are still not happy over the fact that they now have to pledge allegiance to the Boer Republic instead of Her Majesty the Queen. This persists even despite the fact that they clearly can enjoy same freedoms and privileges all residents of white European descent have in the Afrikaner society. That’s being made worse by the fact that Capetown has recently turned into the main entry port for the European immigrant seeking to start a new life in South Africa, and local British urbanites don’t provide the best example of state loyalty to these new arrivals.


    Orange, yellow, and red
    1890: Gold mines were discovered in the vicinity of the Orange river, leading to a huge rush of labor migrants to the area near the city of Johannesburg. Mining communities, however, have a reputation for lawlessness and crime, especially considering the fact that some laborers try their best to steal some of the precious metal for themselves. Multiracial criminal gangs have already formed to prey on these misguided souls, while the neighboring city has seen an unprecedented growth of gambling industry and other types of vice that prosperous miners seek while being on leave from their excruciating work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  8. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Middle East and Indian Subcontinent
    Anatolia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing territory with booming labor market, strong mining and agricultural production, and up-and-coming industry.

    Splendid seclusion
    1890: Four centuries ago, the Ottoman dynasty was known for the practice of controlled regicide as a mean to consolidate royal power at the hands of only most capable sultans. Less well-known is the fact that up until their coronation, many heirs to the throne were confined to the Topkapi palace grounds and were not allowed to leave it, least they gain too much political influence to threaten a smooth transition of power. Ever since the Sublime Porte took over essentially all matters of the state in the 1840s, the life of sultans and their countless male relatives has turned into what Europeans coined as “splendid seclusion.” Alas, it seems like simply being surrounded by luxury and beautiful concubines does not necessarily constitute a healthy or happy life. After a series of unsettling escapades well-known to the citizens of the capital, there was no way to contain the rumor: Sultan Abdulhamid II is mentally ill and getting worse by day. So far, no official recognition of that poor fact has followed, and it remains to be seen how the Grand Divan (true rulers of the state) will handle their first transition of formally absolute power from one living sultan to another, especially since the successor is yet to be decided.


    Simpletons and big ideas
    1890: Modernization of the Ottoman economy is in the full swing, but Turkish peasantry and urban commoners are woefully uneducated. That makes them cheap manual workers, but leaves them little place in modern factories or increasingly mechanized mines. To make matters worse, a growing part of Anatolian peasantry is feeling left behind by the pace of progress and turn instead to dangerous practices of Islamic socialism, akin to the Waisi movement of Russian Tatars or the Ummahism of the Khedivate of Egypt.


    Merit and tradition
    1890: A split is growing among Ottoman officers and magistrates. Historically, any Ottoman official has had some relation to the military or naval authorities, and the recent attempt to establish modern educational standards among officers has caused a lot of discontent among the well-entrenched old guard. From their perspective, the new generation of public and military servants are inexperienced idealists who think that listening to a lecture or two makes them good leaders. The opposite side, on the other hand, views their predecessors as inept and corrupt nepotists. Some solution of this internal crisis needs to be found soon, least other powers use it for their benefit.



    Greater Caucasus
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant, divided region, rich with natural resources.

    Pontic smugglers
    1890: Abkhazian boatmen have been chased to the port of Sukhumi by a Turkish patrol gunboat. Blamed for smuggling wine to and from Crimea (perhaps, rightfully), they hoped to find a cover in the city after abandoning their boat. After ignoring all calls for restraint, the Turkish gunboat entered Georgian waters and opened fire on the moored boat, miraculously not causing any damage to the city (and the boat itself). While no physical damage was done, newspapers on both sides have raised hell over the incident.


    Riches of the Caucasus
    1890: Imam Mushthaid of the Caucasian Imamate has been approached by the elders of 12 influential Chechen and Ingush teips (clans), with complaints over his increased diplomatic dependency on the Sublime Porte in his attempts to not succumb to Russia (the Turks, they argue, are mainstream Sunni at best (or secularists at worst), not Wahabbi true believers). Meanwhile, the amalgam of Dagestani tribes, having grown rich on the Caspian Sea trade, is supportive of greater ties with Russian Astrakhani Tatars and Jews, hoping to benefit from Russian capital the same way the Khan of Khiva did. Now the religious tribal Imamate seems to be torn between two major players in the region.


    Great Armenia, Greater Armenia
    1890: Armenians have applauded gradual secularization of the post-Ottoman state of the Sublime Porte, but they’re growing agitated seeing oppression of their brothers and sisters in the Caucasian Imamate. Several pashas of Armenian descent lobby for applying diplomatic pressure on the Imam to change the position of Armenian communities in the Caucasian Wahhabi state. This, however, is not an easy political fight, especially since Georgia and Russia are both happy to use the plight of Caucasian Armenians (fellow Orthodox Christians, albeit of Armenian Apostolic branch) in their diplomatic games and business expansion.



    Arabia
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing, underpopulated region with rudimentary, primitive economy, but unexplored natural resource deposits.

    The sea and the desert
    1890: The Sultanate of Oman is built on a compromise between sea-faring, urban Ibadi communities of the Indian Ocean shore and desert-roaming Bedouin nomads of the Arabian desert. The sultan’s recent attempts to modernize the nation with the help of foreign investments were well-received in the cities, but Berber tribal warlords despise the changes this brings to their lifestyle. The divide is growing, and it remains to be seen how long Oman will be able to preserve its unity.


    The Bloody Haj
    1890: Modernization of Turkey, Egypt, Maghreb, and Punjab has led to a growth of Muslim population across Africa and Asia, and now it’s led to increase of number of people travelling annually to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. On the one hand, the travellers are bringing a lot of money into the local treasury, but on the other hand the conditions of the Haji (especially those of them who are not privileged to be born into nobility) are deteriorating. Some officials suggest creation of a railway that could lessen the burden of travelling across the desert. Others point out that even if such a railroad was to be built, it wouldn’t solve the problem with almost annual stampedes on the cities’ streets. One way or another, solving this problem could boost up local budgets and grant a lot of prestige to the Porte’s leaders.


    The Sand People
    1890: A radical branch of Islam, known as Wahhabi, has been popular among Arabic nomads since the 18th century. Now that the Islamic world is changing so fast (too fast, as some say), these religious fanatics start teaching return to the roots of the Mahomedan culture of the 7th century. That means that even the Ummah of Egypt is considered an abomination of the prophet’s teachings in their eyes. It used to be easy to ignore this development among the natives just a few decades back, but a series of raids on Turkish and Omani outposts, combined with at least two assassination attempts of noble Haji (one a Magrebi bey, and another one a Turkish pasha of Syriac descent) are suggesting that something dangerous is brewing in the minds of disenfranchised Bedouins.



    Near East
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, but extremely ethnically and religiously complex region with mediocre economy, but big symbolic value.

    The Engine and the God
    1890: Wali of Palestine and Lebanon, Mustafa Selim Pasha, has been enjoying a lot of influence in the Grand Divan of the Sublime Porte recently, mostly thanks to how prosperous the region has become under his rule. To cement his position as one of the most indispensable regional rulers, he has successfully lobbied construction of the second analytical engine of the empire in his regional capital, the Holy City of Jerusalem. Papers were signed, blueprints were approved, land was bought, and construction crews have arrived to the site where the giant machine is planned to be built… Only to find out all approaches blocked by protesting locals of all major religious communities of the city. In the hindsite, the location for the analytical engine was indeed chosen poorly. Some of the land reserved for the engine’s facilities is considered to be holy by the local Christians, while the Jews and Muslims oppose the fact that the giant facility towers over their holy sites, and its noize distracts people from praying. To make matters worse, regular dust storms make the engine’s maintenance an extremely hard task, since the analytical engine’s hardware can be impacted even by something as simple as a grain of sand.


    Loyal troublemakers
    1890: The Kurds are known to be very loyal to the Sublime Porte, serving in irregular cavalry units of the Ottoman army since the 16th century. However, their nomadic lifestyle disrupts regional politics and economy. Kurdish blunt takeovers of grasslands previously “owned” by other agricultural communities of Syriacs, Druzes, and Cilician Armenians have led to a lot of discontent and criticism of the Porte’s administration, not even mentioning direct skirmishes between local militias. Now the walis of Damask and Mosul have to decide how to tackle this problem.


    Not So Fertile Crescent
    1890: The lands of Mesopotamia and Syria that used to be known as a part of the ancient Fertile Crescent are experiencing a serious agricultural demise. Perhaps, caused by a combination of growing population, a series of droughts, and often obsolete agricultural techniques, these lands are impacted by severe exhaustion of soil. Some territories on the edge of the Crescent have already been consumed by the desert, and agricultural output keeps falling. That, in turn, pushes many poor peasants into cities, where they join the local underclass.



    Central Asia
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing region suffering from drawbacks of fast-paced modernization followed by reactionary rollback.

    Retreating seas
    1890: The Caspian and the Aral seas used to be two major sources of agricultural activity in Central Asia. However, these seas (or, rather, giant lakes) are starting to show signs of drying up. With them, local agriculture starts shrinking, and Caspian trade is seriously impacted both by the retreat of the sea from several small Khivan ports (that literally have turned into inland cities by now). To make matters worse, the population of the Caspina sturgeon has diminished, hitting hard the caviar business that’s been keeping quite a few fishing communities very rich.


    The White Sun of the Desert
    1890: Military modernization of Khiva has brought the khanate on the peak of its imperial power in recent years, but now it seems like the nation is being torn by contradictions. Turkmen locals, in their majority, are nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples, who don’t mind having oil rigs built in their lands by Russian businesses, as long as it generates some wealth for them, but they’re not very welcoming of changes to their own lifestyle. And changes is exactly what modernization of the Khivan economy brings. At the same time, the Uzbek population of Bukhara and the rich Ferghana valley (both conquered a few decades ago) are quite acceptive of the Western (primarily Russian) technologies and traditions. That puts the Khan in a strange situation, when the most loyal part of his society is the least excited about the course of his policies.


    The New Method
    1890: Now that the amalgam of popular rebellions led by the Basmachi movement has achieved its purpose of freeing the peoples of East Central Asia from aristocratic exploitation, it is time for them to come together and form a united state entity. So far, the only source of central authority in the state is the Shura-i Islam (Islamic Council) composed of muftis (Islamic scholars and interpreters of the Shariah law). That, naturally, creates quite a reactionary lean to otherwise socially progressive policies of the Basmachi. However, a new faction is getting a lot of weight in this rudimentary state apparatus. Calling themselves Taraqqiparvarlar (“progressives”), they advocate usul ul-jadid (“the new method”) in the approach to state policies. In short, it may be summarized as modernization of all spheres of life akin to the reforms of the Egyptian state. However, more reactionary factions of the Islamic Council (supported by the rural underclass) view this as a betrayal of the original, Luddite nature of the movement. For now, disagreements between the proponents of both factions have been rather civil and took place primarily in madrasa schools, but it seems like the tensions are about to escalate soon if no faction claims victory.



    Greater Iran
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing region with ancient history, but stuck in the state of cultural and economic slumber.

    The plight of a conqueror
    1890: Khivan conquest of Persian Mazandaran was a surprisingly easy endeavor, but now it is the retaining of the region that the Khan is finding troubles with. A non-stop guerilla warfare is being launched by local Tabarians against Khivan troops in the mountains. Recently, a stray bullet took the life of the Khan’s nephew, attracting the Khanate’s focus to the issue. What’s interesting is that the Tabarian population doesn’t seem to be interested in reintegration with the Qajar dynasty either (mostly because the Persian aristocrats are being seen as weak and decadent). Instead, Mazanderani fighters struggle for complete independence.


    Warriors don’t read books
    1890: The polytechnic university of Dar ol Fonoon was founded by Nasser ad-Din in 1851 and was since then the sole center of modern learning in the entirety of the country. While some see it as the first step toward much needed modernization, plenty of members of militant aristocracy and especially rural landowners are starting to complain that the Qajar dynasty is too obsessed copying the West in everything “weak.” What’s the use of engineering and geology if neighboring Turkmens took the Shahdom’s northern provinces with mind-boggling ease using little but some few dozen thousand Russian rifles and a few guns? Isn’t it the fighting spirit and, yes, imported weapons that Iran most needs now? In a way, Dar ol Fonoon grew to crystallize this societal split between the cosmopolitan educated urban elite and the traditionalist landowning aristocracy. The resolution of this dispute will likely decide the path for the dynasty in upcoming years.


    Black gold
    1890: The discovery of large oil and gas deposits in the lands close to the Persian Gulf shore was a chance Persia to gain some much needed prosperity. However, the nation lacks modern means of oil and gas extraction. In this situation, these are the Sublime Porte, Egypt, and the Sikh Empire that stand to benefit from this discovery. Using bribes and intrigue, their companies have already gained plenty of influence in the maritime region, often by maneuvering around local feudal networks to gain their direct support without even bothering to gain the Shahanshah’s consent. Now the region is split into informal zones of influence, and a confrontation between the private armies that protect the three nations’ assets seems to be not a matter of if, but when.



    Indus Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing star of Indian economy and culture, dealing with extreme religious and ethnic complexity and challenges of modernization.

    Minority problem
    1890: Naturally, the Sikhs are the most entitled religious group in the Sikh Empire, since most of the nation’s magistrates and officers, as well as the ruling aristocracy, come from among the Sikh diaspora. However, only 17% of the nation’s swelling population are Sikhs, the rest of them being predominantly Muslims, as well as Hindus, Jains, and Zoroastrians. The policy of religious tolerance common across the Empire goes a long way to prevent major civic confrontation, but still, the fact remains: most of the nation’s population is not contributing to the Empire as much as they could. In part, that explains why so many trade posts, commerce chambers, and factories in the Karachi region are owned by Maghrebi investors.


    The dead and the Pure
    1890: For centuries, Punjab had been not a united Empire, but an amalgam of warring aristocratic republics, known as misls. The modern federal monarchy has somewhat de-escalated that perpetual intercommunal conflict, but old habits die the hard, and it’s starting to become a drag on the local economy and civic security. The caste of Sikh warriors known as the Khalsa (“the pure”) is still in high demand in Punjab and neighboring core regions of the empire, where the old warlords fight their low-intensity, semi-ritualistic wars over access to lands, rivers, and trade routes. Trained in their unique fighting style of gatka, the Khalsa have recently started adopting their techniques to the use of modern weapons and are being feared even by the Westernized gendarmes tasked with law enforcement duties. In fact, many Khalsa are feeling that the nation has changed so much that it doesn’t need their martial service anymore, and some of them are finding employment in the underworld instead.


    The Pushtun Question
    1890: Pushtunistan was conquered by the Sikh Empire with remarkable ease, but it seems like the Sikh takeover has destroyed the system of inter-tribal agreements and relations that existed under the now non-existent Emirate of Herat. In the result, various Pushtun tabars (tribes) and khels (clans) are in the state of on-and-off tribal warfare, turning Sikh Afghanistan into a dangerous frontier territory with little respect for central authority and a weak, obsolete economy. An intervention of the centralized government (or of other foreign powers) is the only hope to resolve what is now known as the Pushtun Question.



    Ganges Region
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing region with big intellectual and agricultural potential, but suffering from colonial exploitation and disenfranchisement.

    The Bengali Renaissance
    1890: A sociocultural phenomenon known as the Bengali Renaissance started in the city of Kolkata shortly after the conquest of the Bengali Kingdom by the British East India Company in the 18th century. In a way, this cultural revolution not only allowed the region to blossom in the early 19th century, but also temporarily turned it into British India’s major economic center. However, everything changed after the Great Sepoy Mutiny and subsequent territorial losses by the British Empire to the Sikhs and the Burmese. Nowadays, peaceful gurus of Yoga and Vedanta Hinduism are no longer welcomed in British noble houses as exotic wisemen from the mysterious subcontinent, but are being persecuted by the Secret Ward as potential troublemakers and nationalist agitators. More modern-minded Bengali journalists, polymaths, and other intellectuals often find it hard to find good jobs in British India, constantly finding themselves under investigations and ideological scrutiny of the Protectorate police. This has created a huge underclass of local intellectuals that are gradually driven to crime or dangerous ideas.


    Tea slavery
    1890: Tea plantations of Assam were the biggest prize for the Burmese Empire after its successful push westward during the Great Sepoy Mutiny. At first, good old serfs and cheap free laborers were being used in harvesting precious tea leaves, but recently the Empire has established very cordial relations with the Free Boer Republic and started importing even cheaper slave labor from across the ocean. On the one hand, it helps oligarcho-dynastic clans that hold all power and most of capital in the country to cut their expenses in tea production: previously, they had to lease their serf labor force from local minor nobles of Assamese origin. With slaves (primarily of African origin), however, they can get rid of the Assamese gentry as the middlemen in this profitable business. This leaves Assamese nobility very unhappy with their position, both from the political and economic perspectives.


    The Temple of Doom
    1890: A North-American adventurer and archeologist travelling the Orient found himself in trouble when he visited a palace of a local hermit prince, who was allowed to keep his token power in the region thanks to his father’s non-involvement in the Great Sepoy Mutiny. Having reached an office of the British colonial police, the babbling adventurer told a bizarre story of a self-sacrificial sect of Hinduist Kali-worshippers that have found their way to the young prince’s court. They, the North American claims, kidnap local children to work in the catacombs below the palace (a policy generally not unknown and rarely frowned upon in the British colonies), and drug unwanted witnesses into killing each other in unholy ceremonies to the Goddess of Death. So far, the North American’s tall tale is not being taken seriously by anyone. The fact of his North American descent put aside (already a reason to be suspicious), the “archeologist” has a very troublesome track record in many countries allied to the Commonwealth. His depiction of the Hindu Mother-Goddess as some homicidal death deity makes it look like the North American adventurer (or an agent?) has not idea what he is talking about and is simply trying to tarnish the reputation of a rare Indian prince loyal to the British.



    Central India
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing core of British India with huge demographic and economic potential, hidden under the layers of colonial disenfranchisement.

    Invisible Crowds
    1890: The Indian sub-continent is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth, but the policy of colonial suppression adopted by the British government since the Great Sepoy Mutiny and increased after the Atlantic War is now making most of India’s central provinces highly disenfranchised. Millions of people are virtually invisible to the colonial authorities in regards to taxation, army service, statistics, economic participation, and other aspects. Most of the region lives hidden behind a veil of class, caste, tribal divisions, and religious intolerance. As a result, Central India is benefiting so little to the Royal Commonwealth.


    Gentoo mercenaries
    1890: Ever since the Great Sepoy Mutiny led to the biggest humiliation Great Britain had experienced in centuries, the local sepoy forces were completely disbanded along with the East India Company employing them. However, it seems like many of them survived the purges by blending with the locals and later became the first generation of a hidden underclass that combines elements of banditry and warrior tradition. The second generation of these sepoy remnants are now acting as scourges of the countryside, secretly idealized by some locals and demonized by those who view stability of British India as a bliss rather than a curse. Nicknamed by the British with an obsolete term “gentoo,” these cutthroats are now finding more and more employment as mercenaries across India and South-East Asia (especially among Burmese luuhcu clan-cartels and on mines owned by Japanese capital), while big number of them form clandestine networks of organized crime all across British Asian holdings.


    Sacred cows
    1890: Disbandment of the sepoy troops after the Great Sepoy Mutiny did help the British government to establish direct control over India and temporarily regain stability in that region. However, as British trust to the locals eroded, more and more troops had to be sent to India from Great Britain or its African and Asian colonies. These troops are in their majority not familiar with either Muslim or Hindu traditions, and the region is full of stories of soldiers on leave clashing with offended locals. This is making a tense social situation even worse.



    South India
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing hub of Indian Ocean trade with uncovered demographic and economic potential and great ethnic complexity.

    Princely states
    1890: Traditionally, the British rule over South India was based on a formal, subsidiary alliance with local princely states that enjoyed a degree of independence in terms of self-rule. However, the direct involvement in the Indian politics by the British government has turned the princely states’ autonomy into nothing but meaningless symbolism. In that political climate, Japanese, Mexican, and Paraguayan capitalists easily find their way into the local economy, presenting themselves to the disgruntled princes as investors, alternative to the despised British.


    Topaze piracy
    1890: Children of mixed Indian and Portuguese (or Luso-Asian) heritage are known as Topasses. Thanks to the recent prosperity of the Porto-Brazilian colony town of Goa, the Topaze diaspora is rather prominent not only in the Portuguese territory, but also across many British-held port cities of South India and Ceylon. The distraction of the British fleet and army during the Atlantic War, combined with near collapse of the Portuguese colonial empire has led to a significant rise of crime and piracy among the local Topaze population. Masters of ocean sailing, Topaze pirates threaten the shipping across the entire region, and many suspect that their pirate bases can be found all across the northern part of the Indian Ocean.


    Math slaves
    1890: South India is has a long and proud history of sciences and polymathy. However, recently it’s been showing the darker side of this scientific heritage. A group of local (or, possibly, immigrant) mathematicians with a taste for dirty money have developed a way to use mass human labor to perform complex calculations analogous to those run by mighty analytical engines. Now, talented children all across the land get kidnapped or sold into slavery by their own parents (usually, from the untouchable caste) to work in illegal “math factories.” After intensive and rather inhumane math training, these poor prodigy get assigned to run numbers as parts of giant calculation chains. Thanks to how cheap intellectual slave labor is, a black market has appeared, full of cartels, banks, companies, and science labs with questionable work ethics, looking to cut the costs on engineering, simulation, and scientific calculations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  9. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Northern and Eastern Asia
    South-East Asia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, newly modernized region, equally strong in all economic, educational, and demographic aspects.

    Mueang factory princes
    1890: For centuries, Northern Burma consisted of an amalgam of princedoms and city-states, known as mueangs. Ruled by semi-independent nobles known as khuns, these tiny kingdoms were organized in a confederacy through the Mandala system of collective hierarchy. When the Third Burmese Empire started its meteoric rise to power and modernization, Shan khuns turned out to be the only political force capable of benefiting from initial accumulation of capital, besides the dynastic clans adjacent to the ruling Konbaung dynasty. Now the Shan states are quickly turning into the densest industrial clusters of all Asia, with so called “factory princes” growing to become the only non-dynastic cartel capable of carrying significant economic and political influence. Now it’s up to rulers of Burma (or other nations) how to use it to their own means.


    Cast-iron stupas
    1890: As the most recent Burmese conquest, Siam is still a vast country not fully integrated into the Third Burmese Empire. However, as Burmese economic practices, combined with a strange mix of Western sciences gradually penetrate Siamese lands, one unbroken local power seems to be emerging as the biggest beneficiary of this industrialization. Spared of destruction and marauding during the Burmese invasion, Buddhist monasteries are the only organized holders of significant capital in their land, and now they seem to be transforming themselves into the main drivers of local manufacture. Red-robed monks united by the principle of sangha (or “disciplined association”) are proving to be a superior labor force, and lack of access to most modern Western technology is compensated by ingenuity and resourcefulness of these new religious entrepreneurs. However, many Burmese royal advisors are afraid that the Siamese monasteries are gaining a bit too much influence and power and may help to crystallize the dormant Siamese nationalist movement.


    Communards in Tonkin
    1890: Before falling into the Burmese orbit, the Kingdom of Dai Nam was a French satellite state, supplying France with colonial army recruits that fought in various parts of the world as the part of the Tonkin Legion. Now it seems that some of these volunteers are returning home after the Atlantic War, bringing with them not only the knowledge of modern warfare, but also the virus of Communard ideology. Mixing Communard thought with elements of Taiping-like agricultural solidarism, they become leaders of a growing underground movement that threatens the foundation of the Nguen monarchy.



    Canton-Yunnan
    Spoiler :
    Booming, but ethnically complex region with huge labor market and giant rural production and crafstmanship.

    God Worshipping Society
    1890: The original founder of the Taiping movement, Heavenly King Hong Xiuquan may dead, but the original cult he formed some fifty years ago is still alive and as zealous as ever in Guangxi. In fact, recently the members of the God Worshipping Society have been complaining that the original purity of the movement has declined over the past twenty five years, with the council of Kings-Under-Heaven paying only the necessary lip service to the divine image of the Heavenly King who has joined his Father in Heaven. Outraged by decomposition of people’s morals (some men actually live with their wives!) and the practical, but impure policies of the government, these fanatics have started following Taiping bureaucrats and prefects, shaming them and shouting curses at them. Knowing the violent and rebellious nature of Hong Xiuquan’s devotees, it won’t be too long before some blood will be spilled.


    Kowloon Walled City
    1890: Before the Taiping Rebellion, Kowloon was a Chinese military fort guarding the waters around Hong Kong and Macao. With the collapse of the Qing authority, the fort became depopulated, but then something remarkable happened. Escaping the oppressive and religiously intolerant practices of the Taiping, thousands of refugees found their way into this island, living off fishing, smuggling, cheap manual labor, and illegal trade with the British and the Portuguese. Up until today, this island is under jurisdiction of no recognized legal authority, which also makes it attractive for all sorts of outcasts from across the region. Over the past twenty years, it has turned into a densely populated human hive, looming over the Pearl River Delta, acting both as a threat to local order and an alleyway for clandestine activities performed by any power.


    Have peace with Han, Down with Qing court
    1890: The Panthay Sultanate was a brief attempt to establish a free, pro-Burmese monarchy in Yunnan, performed by the Muslim Hui people in the 1853-1873. Even though the nation was never officially recognized and eventually reconquered by the triumphant Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, it did generate a lot of nationalism among the Hui. For years, the Panthay Muslims were allowed to have some elements of autonomy, mostly because the Kings-Under-Heaven were neck-deep in the swamp of mutual intrigue after the death of the Heavenly King himself. Now that the Taiping nation seems to be consolidating, and its new economic policy is gradually shocking its foundations, many Han colonizers are starting to forget how mildly they were treated when they themselves were but a minority inside the Panthay Sultanate. Religious and ethnic purges of Hui people have begun, and reports of atrocities are reaching the court of the Burmese king.



    Yangtze Region
    Spoiler :
    Booming heart of China, with powerful agriculture and demographics and strong rivering trade.

    Heaven and Earth Society
    1890: Ever since the Taiping takeover, smoking of opium has been strictly banned in Chinese cities. However, it appears that opium still gets smuggled into China by the semi-criminal anti-Taiping organization known as the Heaven And Earth Society, popularly nicknamed the Triad. Founded as a nationalist organization resisting the Manchu rule over China, the Triads now have shifted their focus to resisting the Taiping dominion, and they willingly use crime of all sorts to finance their activities.


    Bigger feet for a woman, less work for a man
    1890: One of the Chinese traditions that the Taiping regime was successful at eliminating was binding of women’s feet, a tribute to an ancient beauty trend. This has allowed Han women work the fields along with men, or, rather, separately from them, in full accordance with another rule established by the departed Heavenly King himself. Often, these women’s collectives outcompete their husbands, who end up being driven either to alcoholism, or to abandonment of their village families in search of a better employment in nearby cities. While it does provide cheap labor force for industrial efforts, it also creates a lot of tension among villagers, who don’t appear to be very happy about their wives bigger feet and better harvests.


    Kings-Under-Heavens
    1890: Regional Kings-Under-Heaven are a second generation of higher bureaucrats that inherited the Taiping Mandate after the departure of the Heavenly King and a subsequent brief period of intrigues between his lieutenants. Now it appears that the Kings-Under-Heaven agree between each other that the “live and let live” approach to co-rulership is the best for now. What they don’t agree is what path should the Taiping state take now in its foreign policy. The Northern King demands that the Qing remnants are finished. The Western King wants to return Inner Mongolia to China, followed, maybe by Tibet. The Southern King’s ambitions lie in Dai Viet, already experiencing some Communard agitation, somewhat similar to the egalitarian ideas of the Taiping. The King of the Long River proposes what he calls Glorious Solitude, emphasizing inner development and limited foreign entanglements. Finally, the King of the Yellow River wants Taiping China to rival the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Pacific Ocean. Regardless of which faction wins, it appears that a lot of efforts would have to be put into placating the other four.



    Huanhe Region
    Spoiler :
    Booming core Chinese region with huge demographic and agricultural capacity.

    The Scourge of the Han People
    1890: The Yellow River was nicknamed “the Scourge of the Han People” for regularly going over its level and flooding nearby fields. With the number of peasants greater than ever thanks to the Taiping agriculturalist practices, now these floods are becoming ever more devastating. So far, major famines have been prevented thanks to redistribution of food by local authorities, but more and more people demand that the King-Under-Heaven does something to remedy the disaster, even if it means praying more to the Heavenly King and his Father.


    Single Daughters
    1890: The extreme sexual forbearance encouraged by Taiping ideologues is giving its fruits. Among them is a new phenomenon displayed especially vividly in the Yellow River valley. More and more young women choose to not marry and abstain from any aspects of carnal love and instead pursue life of labor, study, prayer, and sometimes local politics as a part of women’s communes. Bold and bossy, these so called “single daughters” are described by a travelling Communard Frenchman as “pious, Christ-loving Amazons,” although many in China find this development disturbing at best. It remains to be seen what niche the “single daughters” will find for themselves in modern China.


    Heavenly Engine
    1890: The construction of the first Chinese analytical engine in Zhengzhou five years ago did not only uplift Taiping China to its major power status, but also was a pinnacle of the Northern King’s influence in Taiping internal politics. Today, this giant machine is helping the nation with its economic boom, resolving problems ranging from engineering to popular census to manufacture administration. However, it seems like too many things in China still are being done the old way, and the Heavenly Engine, as it was nicknamed, doesn’t get nearly enough work to keep it running all the time. All engineers agree that keeping the machine dormant even for short periods of time may wear it out, so they suggest finding to find at least some way of keeping the machine busy. Now the question is what sort of programmes should be used to occupy the Heavenly Engine with the most effectiveness.



    Tibet-Tarim Basin
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant backwaters of Asia with largely unexplored resource potential and a possibility to connect Eastern Asia to the Middle East via a land route.

    Pandit problems
    1890: Several great powers have interests in the Himalayan region, but Tibet is a uniquely secretive and isolated nation. Unable to woo the Dalai-Lama into their camp, great powers are starting to send their explorers to survey the land, create professional geographic and geological maps of the Himalayas, and learn any valuable information about what happens inside the fabled hermit kingdom. Known as pandits, these explorers are traditionally disguised as locals (often, actually being locals from neighboring regions) in an attempt to gain trust of the local population. Sadly, many of them started disappearing recently, with secret services of Directorial Russia, Sikh Empire, Taiping Mandate, Third Burmese Empire, and British Royal Commonwealth all declaring losses of their most capable agents.


    Country of Seven Cities
    1890: In the early days of the Dungan Rebellion that freed the peoples of the Tarim Basin from the power of the Qing, seven cities formed an urban confederation known as Yettishar. Now that the Tarim Basin up to Kashgaria has bowed to the resurgent Ma Dynasty, the Seven Cities remain a proud autonomy within the otherwise traditionally Chinese (albeit, Islamic) Ma kingdom. So far, no significant conflicts have taken places between Yettishar and Ma Dynasty’s ambahns (supervisors), but the peoples of the Seven Cities remain a proudly distinct entity in the body of the new kingdom.


    Dzungar revenge
    1890: In the middle of the 18th century, the Qing court followed its conquest of Dzungaria by committing a slaughter known today as the Dzungarian genocide, all with a goal to repopulate their “New Territory” (or Xinjiang) with Han settlers. Now, more than a century later, the sins of their ancestors haunt the descendants of Han colonists as Dzingarians avenge their forefathers without mercy. To the Ma Emperor, this represents a challenge. He is very popular among the kingdom’s Muslims (including the Dzungarians), who brought him to power in the first place. But a huge number of his subjects are Han, and placating them is crucial if the Ma Dynasty were to ever hope to gain the Heavenly Mandate over the rest of China. While considerations are being weighted, Han villages continue to burn.



    Greater Mongolia
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant, vast region on the edge of the larger Chinese civilization, with inconsistent economic and demographic development.

    Congress of clans
    1890: Ever since the Ma Dynasty incorporated Mongolian steppes into its fold, the Emperor has had to maneuver between traditional Chinese authoritarianism and the Mongolian tradition of feudal parliamentarism. Known as chigulgan, that assembly of steppe clan leaders seems to be deeply suspicious of Western technologies and what they can do to the Mongolian nomadic way of life. Dependent on the chigulgan’s support to control the vast steppe in the north of his kingdom, the Ma Emperor now has to constantly trade favors with Mongolian clan leaders in order to gain their support for his agenda.


    Jindandao incident
    1890: A secret society of Han nationalists known as Jindandao was formed in the years that directly followed the collapse of the Qing imperial authority in Inner Mongolia. For a few decades, it remained just a small cabal, since even local Han settlers were acceptive of the relative stability and protection offered to them by the Ma imperial regime. However, as soon as rumors of the massacres of Han settlers in Dzungaria started reaching Inner Mongolia, Jindandao started to swell with thousands of new joiners. This year, the vulcano of popular paranoia has finally erupted, as Jindandao conspirators started attacking and massacring local Mongol population, inflaming ethnic tensions across the Ma kingdom.


    Seekers of White Waters
    1890: The Tuvan sub-state of Tannu Uriankhai has been formally independent for five hundred years, ever since they Sino-Mongolian Yuan dynasty fell apart. In truth, however, it’s been a protectorate of the Siberian Popular Assembly for the past twenty years, with its rulers being puppets of Siberian artels (or guilds). However, outside of Russian trading posts, Tannu Uriankhai had no foreign population in its lands. Recently this changed, as columns of religious exodites started settling in this wild, mountain region. Known as the Seekers of White Waters, these Russian settlers are followers of a local branch of Old Believers (who, in turn, are a splinter, heretical faction of the Russian Orthodox church). Inter-racial clashes have so far been rare, but the ruler of Tannu Uriankhai is not happy, as the newcomers appear to be very hard to negotiate with in terms of choosing the lands for them to settle. After all, the Seekers believe that they’re searching for a hidden bliss-giving creek, a mixture between a Siberian Eldorado and the Biblical Holy Land.



    Korea-Manchuria
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing region with wide, but stagnant labor market, and big, but not fully utilized resource potential.

    Crumbling throne
    1890: After the catastrophic collapse of the Qing rule over China, the heavily sinicized dynasty seems to be drawing a lot of criticism from its Manchu supporters. Despite the stabilization of the realm, the economy remains to be obsolete, and many provincial generals are afraid that the nation should grow its military might or face utter destruction by the Taiping madmen or be sold out to the Westerners. Some traditionalists think that the dynasty Mandate remains, but the Emperor, if he is smart, should move the imperial seat from the Forbidden City in Beijing to the homeland of his people up north. Younger generals appear to be in favor of a more dynamic and modern military dictatorship akin to the British Royal Commonwealth or the Tokugawa Shogunate. The emerging capitalist class and urban bourgeoisie that has grown on the Sikh and North-German investments are defiantly cutting off their queues (Manchurian pigtails) in a defiant display of passionate republicanism. Meanwhile, the so called phenomenon of Manchurian Revival is gathering momentum, as religious sermons of North-American Presbyterian missionaries are gaining popularity in many urban centers across the region, infecting commoners with Christian leftist ideals of a similar kind to the ideology of Taiping, although with much softer, pragmatic undertones.

    Sea-cucumber thieves
    1890: The cluster of bays on the Japanese Sea shore of Outer Manchuria was traditionally known to the Chinese as Haishenwai (or “sea-cucumber cliffs”), for its rich waters often visited by Japanese illegal fishers. After the Tokugawa Shogunate purchased these lands from the desperate Qing Dynasty, along with its only port of Yongmingcheng (now called Yomichi by the Japanese), the sea-cucumber fishers from Japan started to enjoy full legality of their business. Unfortunately, now the roles seem to have flipped. Manchu outlaw fishers known as shinzei continue entering Japanese waters, often appearing within a gunshot distance from the Tokugawa military harbor that is in the process of being built in Yomichi.

    Donghak crossroads
    1890: Now that the popular Donghak rebellion is triumphantly over, its leaders, who have still not formalized their power status, start to argue about the path new Korea should take in the world. Popular and authoritative Jeong Bong-jun, whose followers are the most populous in Central Korea, is standing for establishing a pro-French authoritarian Jacobin dictatorship of the cheonmin (the class of “vulgar commoners”). Some of his opponents from the North argue that the Taiping and their religious socialism should be copied in Korea with more Neo-Confucian moralist undertones and more anti-Japanese foreign attitude. Meanwhile, Nokrimdang (“noble thieves”) leaders who were traditionally in the avantgarde of the rebellion from its early days suggest following Italy’s example and establish an informal union of semi-legal “jolly bands” as the leading force in Korea.



    Transural
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region, awash with natural resources and a good potential for industrial development.

    Mistress of the Mountain
    1890: The boom of mineral excavation and mining in the Ural Mountains has uplifted many entrepreneurial individuals to wealth and prosperity. One of them, residing in Ust-Sysolsk, is drawing the ire of competitors. Not only is that person non-Russian, but that person is an unmarried, forty-year-old woman of Komi origin! In the tolerant Siberian society, a rich, powerful widow is not much of a scandal, but her Russian and North-German competitors seem to be launching a newspaper campaign aimed to tarnish her reputation and drive her out of business, thus opening a possibility for themselves to enter the local market. It remains to be seen if these efforts would succeed.


    Stroganov salt
    1890: For centuries, the Stroganov family has been owning the immensely profitable saltworks in Solikamsk, along with other mining businesses across the Urals and Siberia. It seems like by now the immensely rich family has ascended to a new level, de-facto exercising unquestionable influence over the otherwise decentralized Popular Assembly. While Stroganovs are firm supporters of keeping Siberia’s status of dominion with Russia, their patriarch pushes for a more centralized approach to administration and law-making, as well as greater Siberian participation in Russia’s foreign policies and wars. The younger generation, however, argues that Siberia should continue being the paradize of liberty and deregulation, even if it comes at the cost some security risks and geopolitical aloofness.

    Transsiberian Railroad
    1890: Ever since achieving semi-independence from Russia, the Siberian Popular Assembly has been experiencing an economic and demographic boom that has helped it establish a reasonably good infrastructure for such a vast and sparsely populated region. However, most of Siberian transportation is riverine, and does little to connect the dominion to its metropoly across the Ural Mountains. Some engineers and local developers are proposing a project of a railroad that would connect Directorial Russia to Siberia and, eventually, would reach the Pacific shore. The benefit of this project is obvious: protection of Russian dominion states and growth of their trade exchange. On the other side, many question if a project of such proportions is even necessary given the relative independence of both of the Russian dominion nations.



    Central Siberia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, very resource-rich region, suffering from low population density, weak infrastructure, and unevenly spread population centers.

    Life beyond the Arctic Circle
    1890: A North-German company is proposing to establish a series of Polar cities centered around mines tapping into the rich mineral resources of that region. Several experimental mining camps have been established and are showing to be profitable, but the burnout rate among the miners is horrific. Even stoic Siberians find living in the toxic tundra extremely difficult, with heart and lung disease, frostbites, alcoholism, depression, and insomnia taking a horrible toll on their health. However, as long as the revenues are great, people keep flocking to the Polar cities, attracted partially by wages and partially by the challenge itself.


    Cheldon mavericks
    1890: Cheldons are the descendants of the first Russian settlers in Siberia, intermixed with local Altaic, Tatar, and Turkic population. They are infamous for their stubbornness and independence, perceiving any sort of law authority as a burden and annoyance. Under the Tsars, they used to move farther and farther from civilization each time civilization would catch up with them, but in newly independent Siberia they feel like the should no longer run, but instead stand their ground. As slim as it is, the Siberian government still has to collect taxes and enforce laws, which often leads to dramatic armed standoffs with grim and determined Cheldon foresters.


    Clean waters and full wallets
    1890: The Buddhist ulus of Buryatia is enjoying a big degree of independence under the protectorate of the Siberian Popular Assembly. Partially thanks to the religious ties with other Buddhist countries, this rich mountainous land is becoming an unlikely entrypoint for Burmese economic penetration of Siberia. In general, Russian Siberians have nothing against the Burmese businesses, but recently Russian settlers from Irkutsk were complaining about big amounts of industrial waste and even oil leaks reaching the clear waters of the Baikal lake from the Buryatian side. It appears that Burmese enterprises take advantage of loose Siberian laws to save money on waste disposal. Both side - Russian Siberians and Buryats - suffer from the ecologic impact, but the Buryats, at least, get some Burmese money in exchange, and it’s threatening to become a big regional issue soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  10. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Eastern Pacific

    Asian Pacific Isles
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing, populous, colonially exploited region with big maritime significance as a naval hub between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

    Catholic resistance
    1890: The Tokugawa Shogunate was one of the main beneficiaries of the collapse of the Spanish colonial empire, securing for itself the entirety of northern Philippines. Local ethnic groups, however, didn’t accept their new colonial overlords with apathy and are fighting back. At the core of this discontent there seems to be the conflict of faiths, with Catholic Visayan and Tagalog population being vehemently opposed to any non-Catholic colonial administration. This becomes especially obvious if one were to compare the explosive atmosphere of the Tokugawa Hiripin colony with peace and harmony that reigns in Porto-Brazilian Mindanao.


    Cultivation system
    1890: First introduced as an economic policy of the Dutch East India Company, the Cultivation system is a tax, contributed by colonial peasants to the Company in the form of specified crops and spices. As simplistic as it is, this system contributes greatly to the profitability of the biggest Dutch colony. It also puts a lot of hardship on local underclass, leading to frequent famines and crippling poverty. While the colonial office seems to prosper, the locals are fuming with contempt at their Western overlords.


    Mardijker guilds
    1890: The Dutch word Mardijker is used to describe people of mixed Porto-Indonesian descent living in small groups across the East Indies. With the return of Portugal to the region in the early 19th century, the Mardijker population has grown significantly, partially due to Portuguese tolerance to mixed marriages and acceptance of extramarital affairs with slaves. Not fully Porto-Brazilian citizens, but at the same time enjoying greater degrees of freedom than slaves, now the Mardijkers inhabit most of Porto-Brazilian East Indies, and they’re starting to create bustling expatriate communities in the Dutch and British colonies as well. Industrious and tolerant, they’re starting to become a new underclass of regional entrepreneurs, traders, and mercenaries. This naturally worries European colonial authorities who enjoy the economic benefits the Mardijkers bring to their lands, but also are afraid that these people are too independence-minded and free-spirited and give a bad example to the suppressed locals.



    Japanese Isles
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, well-consolidated “rising dragon” of Asian economy, education, and demographics with little access to natural resources.

    Bushido victims
    1890: With the resurrection of the Bakufu regime, some old traditions of soldierly code of honor are returning to the Japanese army and society. Even though the ancient samurai class has evolved into a more modern officer corps of the Shogunate, the return of loyalty to regional daymos means that a lot of disagreements escalate into duels of honor that take a heavy toll on the Shogunat’s officer corps. Even outside the army ranks, the militant spirit is running high, and duels have flooded Japanese cities, becoming even more popular way of resolving disputes than appearing in court.


    The call of a small village
    1890: Despite the victory of Shogunate forces associated with the traditional Japanese culture, over the past few decades the land of the Rising Sun underwent a huge changed from an agricultural Medieval society to a modern militarist state. While successes of the Japanese industry are impressive, it seems like not everyone in the country enjoys the tectonic changes taking place in their way of life. Thousands of working class urbanites flee the overpopulated cities to find peace and quiet in the countryside, and some people try to find heaven in the north, on the wild frontier of the Chishima and Karafuto islands. Those disillusioned elements that do stay, turn to social alienation and a modernized version of the egalitarian Ikko-Ikki movement. Regardless of the way these misfits deal with their estrangement, their exodus from the economic centers is hurting Japanese homeland manufacture and economy.


    Why the hell not?
    1890: Ee ja nai ka, a bizarre series of spontaneous popular festivals and bacchanalia that took place in the late 1860, is again becoming a plague of the Japanese society. Unlike in the 1860s, these episodes of mass revelry, celebration, and immoral behavior occur not in response to the uncertainty, political estrangement, and fear of foreign intervention. Instead, they appear to be people’s reaction to the culture shock caused by hyper-fast industrialization of the Japanese society in recent years, despite what many expected to be a return to the ancient ways. The festivities’ name is derived from a humorous and fatalistic catch song translated roughly as “Why the hell not?” with all sorts of associal and immoral behavior being justified by futility of resisting to the unpredictableness of life.



    Pacific Siberia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, strategically important region saturated with natural resources, access to which is limited due to bad infrastructure, low demographic capacity, and extreme climate.

    Sixty-four Villages East of the River
    1890: Up until the collapse of the Qing control over China, lands to the north-east of the Heilongjiang (Amur) river were very loosely populated by indigenous Tungusic tribes of hunters and fishers. The only exception from this rule were the so-called Sixty-four Villages East of the River. Now that the Qing Dynasty has effectively abandoned any claims on the territories on the left bank of the Heilongjiang river, the authorities of the Pacific Directory are concerned that eventually the Qing nation will recover from its woes and use these sixty-four frontier hamlets to press territorial demands on the Russian dominion state. Some generals on the Directory Board suggest resettling this region with Russian or indigenous colonists to shift the demographic balance (the only questions is where to find enough men in the sparsely populated lands of the Russian Far East?). Others suggest deportation of the Manchu, but this option seems to be expensive and potentially diplomatically explosive. Some argue that the Pacific Directory should just integrate Manchurians and, possibly, start working toward fusing a new, Asian-Russian national identity that would eventually attract Easterners as immigrants rather than as conquerors.


    To the Pole!
    1890: Despite recent advancements in geography, some corners of the Earth remain unexplored. Among these places is the Northern Pole, and a number of ambitious explorers have already been announced, attracting the attention of newspapers and their readers. Besides a natural scientific value, the conquest of the Northern Pole would provide plenty of prestige to the first nation which expedition makes it all the way to that frozen hell.


    Chukchi troubles
    1890: Chukchi are indigenous people living in the very north of the Siberian Pacific region. Based on the form of subsistence activity they engage in, they’re divided into two confederations, the Chauchi, or the Reindeer Chukchi, and the Anqallyt, or the Maritime Chukchi. Thanks to the growing access to modern medicine, in recent years both of the confederations have grown a bit too populous for their region’s scarce resources to support. The Reindeer Chukchi are starting to raid neighboring Yakut tribes for livestock, forcing them to ask for mediation of the Siberian Popular Assembly and the Pacific Directory. As for the Maritime Chukchi, they’re starting to delve farther and farther from their frozen home shores, hunting for whales and seals further south, and sometimes clashing with Japanese whale-hunters in the Pacific.



    Australia-Oceania
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing, underpopulated, vast region with low economic potential, but big strategic value for control of the Pacific Ocean.

    Professional criminals
    1890: For many years, the harsh shores of Terra Australia were used by Great Britain for establishing distant criminal colonies for unwanted individuals. In the early 19th century, this trend seemed to be changing, with proper civil colonial government being scrambled for. However, the ultraconservative twist of British politics in recent decades has led to the retunr to old practices of criminal exile. What’s worst, vast majority of the convicts sent to Australia are so called “professional criminals” with few other skills needed for a successful, functional society. This has resulted in the state of squalor and poverty all across this God-forgotten colony.


    Maori wars
    1890: Aboriginal people of New Zealand, the Maori have been a thorn in the British side for half a century now. With resources of the Commonwealth spread out over the entire globe, few troops are available for enforcing British colonial dominance in the Southern Island. Rumors have it that the still independent tribes are being gradually united into a federation by a brutal, visionary warlord who is looking for ways to truly modernize the ways of his people for the sake of resisting the hated Pakeha (European settlers). If no action is taken, it may be only a matter of time before a new Maori nation springs out to existence.


    Bayonet Constitution
    1890: The Kingdom of Hawaii is formally a protectorate of the Tokugawa Shogunate and a de-facto Japanese colony. In recent years, Japanization of the Hawaiian culture has led to a rise of a new feudal class of so called “island daymos” who constantly fight for influence over the court of the king in short, ritualistic conflicts. Japanese colonial overseers were quite content to see their subjects being distracted with meaningless squabbles, but recently a growing class of Hawaiian intellectuals and urbanites rebelled from this order of things and forced the king to sign the so-called Bayonet Constitution. A well-armed, but small Tokugawa garrison failed to react, mostly because they were shamed into inaction by local Japanese emigres who supported Emperor Meiji during the Japanese Boshin War. Even though the Japanese protectorate is formally still in place, many observers are afraid that this event sends a bad message to other subordinates of the Shogun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  11. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    North America
    North-Pacific America
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, but underpopulated region with big access to natural resources.

    Kenaitsy rifles
    1890: Dena’ina natives from Alaska, known to Russian settlers as the Kenaitsy, are purchasing Russian-made rifles from local artel manufactures and reselling them to warrior societies of the Blackfoot tribal league that belongs to the Iron Confederacy. This does bring plenty of prosperity to the Dena’ina and, through them, to the Pacific Directory, but it also increases the risk of an international incident if Blackfoot natives were to clash with British or North-American troops.


    Unexpected haven
    1890: With the loss of the United States’ access to the Pacific shore, Russian America is becoming a magnet for Asian immigrants and refugees hoping to escape religious and political persecution at home. At the current rate, soon the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese diasporas combined will be comparable to the size of the Russian one. While this immigration boom has provided the nation (or, at least, its American part) with plenty of cheap and expendable labor and manpower, concerns are growing among the officer member of the Directorial Board. Many of them point out that it’d be foolish for a hostile Asian nation not to use this immigration drive to plant spies into the Pacific Directory. So far, no action has been taken to ensure that doesn’t happen, and the cities along the Kodiak coast continue swelling with refugees and opportunity seekers.


    Brothers in business
    1890: The foundation of the Pacific Directory’s economy is built on traditional Russion small and medium businesses with collective ownership and decentralized leadership, known as artels. While an artel is a very flexible economic actor with a lot of initiative and tolerance to risks, the Directorial Board points out that the nation is too dependent on the metropoly to defend itself. They say the Pacific Directory needs to develop bigger industrial enterprises, capable of producing the materiel needed to expand the nation’s army and navy in the face of Asiatic and, potentially, American threats.



    Central Canada
    Spoiler :
    Stagnant, wide region with very primitive infrastructure and little access to foreign markets, but big potential for resource extraction.

    Bisons come back
    1890: Ever since the whiteskins withdrew from Alberta, the population of bisons, briefly driven to near-extinction, has started to recover, supporting a population boom among local First Nations. Still, some European hunters have started returning to the Confederacy’s lands to hunt these animals, rarely for subsistence and mostly for trade. Taught by their previous dire experience, many warrior societies of the Assiniboine tribes have started to organize packs of “bizon runners,” groups of hunters and warriors tasked with hunting the hunters of non-indigenous descent. So far, nobody has died, since whiteskins caught by the bizon runners end up being stripped of their shooting weapons and set free with a humble, but reasonable food supply.


    Red River boiling
    1890: The first Red River Rebellion of Rupert’s Land’s Metis population was the very reason the British Royal Commonwealth eliminated the Hudson’s Bay Company and enforced direct control over its Canadian colony. Twenty years later, the tensions are running high again, as the Metis people (descendants of mixed heritage of Canadian First Nations and European settlers) despise the oppressive, militarist policies of the new regime in York Factory. No shots have been fired yet, but discontent is brewing.


    The burden of settlement
    1890: As demographics of the Iron Confederacy is stabilizing and products of European technologies become more and more common, settled lifestyle associated with agriculture and manufacture is slowly coming to the First Nations, especially popular among the Salish (also known as the “Flathead Indians”). For now, only a fraction of the Native American society of Central Canada has chosen to form permanent villages and forts, but the trend seems to be definitely in favor of further abandonment of the Confederacy’s nomadic traditions. On the one hand, it may bring the tribal league more wealth and, hopefully, more European technology. On the other hand, many in the Confederacy are afraid that the settled lifestyle makes them more vulnerable to the whiteskin threat.



    Atlantic Canada-Quebec
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, region with well-established, but mediocre economy and demographics.

    Communard flyers
    1890: Franco-Canadians never truly enjoyed British rule in the first place, and their loyalty to the Commonwealth hit the all time low during the recent Atlantic War. Now that the military curfew is introduced in many parts of Canada, Quebecoi discontent seems to be taking up new forms. Encouraged by the revolutionary success of their French compatriots, Franco-Canadians are starting to fall victims of Communard propaganda of unknown (possibly local) origin. One way or another, it gives the Canadian Provincial Ward plenty of headache and worry.


    American booze
    1890: Among the measures introduced by the Protectorate government in the wake of the Atlantic War and waves of discontent across the empire, was prohibition of alcohol. As unpopular as that measure is in most places, poor enforcement of the law gives British drinkers at least some relief. Only Canada stands out from this rule, because the military curfew still present in majority of bigger cities makes prohibition enforcement particularly strict. That doesn’t seem to stop North-American bootleggers, who smuggle big amounts of alcohol (some good-quality and some homemade) via secret boat routes going through the Great Lakes. This has created a powerful underworld culture across the Ontario Province, with networks of underground speakeasy bars being enjoying unspoken protection of local gangs and sometimes even of corrupt British officers.


    Reputed Golden Age of the Maritimes
    1890: Throughout most of the 19th century, the Maritimes region of British Canada experienced a powerful economic boom and development of local mass manufacture. The Atlantic War and its devastation have changed that trend, which coincided with huge levels of wealth inequality between the rich and the poor. In fact, something completely new to this regions is starting to happen. Broke urbanites and rural dwellers are starting to become so desperate that they happily volunteer to the army, only in order to disappear from the sight of their rich lenders. Those debtors who opposed military service, ironically, end up being blackbirded or impressed into it by the bounty hunters hired by banks and moneylenders who try to recover at least part of the lost sum by virtually selling the bankruptcy victims to the British army and navy.



    Greater California
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region with relatively mediocre demographics, but big agricultural and trade potential and not fully explored natural resource deposits.

    Alien visions of Christ
    1890: Japan, Korea, and China are experiencing a surge of Christian conversion, and many of people from these Asian countries are looking for better life in Americas, some driven by religious persecution (taking place in Japan) or by the desire to spread their interpretation of the Bible (as is the case in Taiping China). As a result, thousands of these unorthodox Asian Christians are coming to Deseret, attracted by its ecclesiastic government and policies favoring Christian refugees. However, many Deseret Mormons are starting to complain that their own faith’s central role in the national formation is starting to erode as the Church of Christ and the Latter-day Saints is becoming just one of the many religious movements flourishing in California.


    Franciscan economy
    1890: With the return of South California to the Mexican control, the new authority is reintroducing the old policies that existed in the region before the Americano-Mexican war of the 1840s. Among them, is the donation of big amounts of land and some local enterprises to Franciscan monks. The Americans that remained in California after Mexican takeover seems to be very unhappy about this upsurge of Catholic capitalism and favoritism, especially since businesses owned by the Third Order of Saint Francis are excluded from taxation (in exchange for their informal “donations” to the Mexican government), which helps them outcompete even the most robust American-owned businesses. So far, the discontent has been pretty quiet, but the silence may not last for long.


    Rancho barons
    1890: As thousands of American settlers left California in the wake of the Mexican takeover, the lands they used to own were simply captured by some opportunistic Mexican strongmen. As they found themselves owning huge territories supporting numerous livestock population, these landowners are now known as “rancho barons.” In an attempt to stand out among their peers, they live lives or ill-affordable luxury and employ gangs of bloodthirsty gunslingers of American and Mexican descent. For now, the rancho barons have been loyal to the President, but they’re turning Mexican California into an unruly frontier march.



    Great Plains
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing frontier region capable of connecting the Pacific and Atlantic shores of America, but currently underexplored and underpopulated.

    Guarded Lands
    1890: For years, native people of the Great Planes had to obey resettlement agreements with the American government that forced them to live in arbitrarily chosen reservations. Now that the American Wild West has crumbled, the tables have turned on the white settlers, especially in Montana and Wyoming. They are being forced by local Crow, Sioux, and Chippewa tribes to resettle to so called “guarded lands” comparable to the reservations that Native Americans used to languish in. Some white frontiersmen despise being forced to live in sod houses in the middle of nowhere and instead choose to return to the Union of North America and Confederate States of America instead, a move that the Iron Confederacy doesn’t oppose, as long as they leave without delay. These humiliations of white people are then exaggerated and dramatized in North-American and Confederate-American newspapers as some hotheads are calling for “protective expeditions” to the West.


    The Trail of Faith
    1890: The tectonic shifts happening in the core of the American society make it so that thousands of enthusiastic members of emerging Christian sects are choosing to gather their belongings and travel to Deseret, or the Land of the Faithful as it’s becoming to be known. Vast majority of this pilgrims, however, lack the funds to purchase a boat ticket and instead head out to Deseret in horse-driven carts and wagons (and, very rarely, in steam carriages), hoping to cross the vast expanse of the Great Plains. Besides being generally dangerous, this so-called Trail of Faith is also becoming a source of international incidents, since pilgrim routes cross the lands of officially recognized Iron Confederacy (something that rural believers choose to ignore in their decision making). Whenever caught trespassing, these pilgrims end up being deported to their country of origin, but in some cases blood gets spilled. It appears that neither of the American governments truly controls this issue, and the Native American dismay at the state of things keeps growing.


    Cattle wars
    1890: The Mexican takeover of Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas has led to big redistribution of lands and cattle in these loosely guarded frontiers. With border patrols mostly turning a blind eye on the problem, Texan cowboys and Mexican vaqueros clash in skirmishes over better pastures and access to watering-places. As blood begins to be spilled on both sides, what started as violent business conflicts is turning into a deeply rooted blood vendetta.



    American Midwest
    Spoiler :
    Booming frontier region with reasonable potential for resource extraction and agriculture.

    Dakota exodus
    1890: Official recognition of the Iron Confederacy is making Dakota natives of the Union of North America agitated. They ask North American authorities for a permission to resettle to the lands of other independent First Nations and join their union. Opponents of that move point out that the Dakota migration could lead to a rise of illegal activity by the Native Americans across the region (a claim that more cool-headed experts deny). Besides, diplomatic advisors point out that after joining the Iron Confederacy, even outside of the North-American territory, the Dakota natives could later produce territorial claims on the lands of the Union. No decision has been made so far, but Midwestern politicians are afraid that fulfilling that request would create a dangerous precedent for any ethnic group around North America.


    Work hard, not smart
    1890: As power of unionized labor is growing across the North-American nation, some regions display a rather backward, Luddite approach to the fruits of industrialization. A series of demonstrations have taken place across towns of Minnesota and Iowa, spearheaded mostly by local fur trappers and corn farmers protesting against the use of modern industrial equipment by bigger companies operating in that region. Complaints range from valid to silly, but now it’s up to the federal government to resolve the argument about the role of technology in a regulated market.


    Merit and skin color
    1890: The Iowa Agricultural College And Model Farm is an educational pride of the Midwest, a center of knowledge that’s starting to expand to include other fields of knowledge into its curriculum. However, this institution’s directorial board seems to be not very fond of the fact that children of well-off black families from neighboring regions are sending their offspring to study sciences in this primarily white institution. In private conversations, it is admitted to be an unspoken rule of the establishment: to exclude black residents or newcomers from any and all social activities if possible, but without acknowledging any bias and without going as far as directly humiliating them. This mirrors the mood of European settlers across the entire region, which, in turn, impacts productivity and social trust.



    American Deep South
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing agricultural region with up-and-coming industry and education and complicated racial history.

    The pride of the Crescent City
    1890: To live in the American Deep South while being black most usually means being a slave or being a second-class citizen, regularly discriminated against or picked as a suspect of pretty much any crime. However, one place in the Confederacy stands out from this rule: the Crecent City of New Orleans. In fact, that city has a flourishing African-American and Creole culture, and it’s the only place in the South where a black person may own a mansion or gain higher education degree. On the one hand, it makes New Orleans a valuable conduit of Southern African-American ingenuity and a big contributor to the Confederate economy and culture. On the other hand, it’s widely viewed as a breeding ground of Union-sympathisers and abolitionists, and many people don’t take these suspicions easy.


    Cherokee Renaissance
    1890: Thanks to their support of the Confederate cause during the Civil and the Atlantic War, the Cherokee Nation was awarded with extraordinary territorial rights that essentially place their Band Territories on the same level with other Confederate states. Feeling empowered and recognized as equals, these Native Americans are now eagerly participating in the economy, education, and politics of the South. This, of course, rubs many Southern whites the wrong way, which is especially true on occasions when a rich Cherokee family riding a steam carriage tries to share a road with a redneck farmer’s wagon. So far, the tensions are running low, but it is up to the Confederate leadership how they want to regulate the issue of the Cherokee success and the envy it has brought.


    Traitors among us
    1890: Now that the Atlantic War is over, and both the North and the South are recovering from their losses, it seems like some people just can’t let it go. This has made Deep South a scene of a zealous witch hunt for scalawags, or Union sympathizers. The fact that vast majority of Southern abolitionists have left the country for the North doesn’t seem to bother anyone, especially since many officers and policemen still suspect that the hated scalawags may act as spies of the Northern regime. A big number of moderate Southern liberals has already fallen victims of ill-justified arrests, and in some tragic cases, of even lynching. The “scalawag hunters,” and among them some state politicians, demand cracking down on New Orleans’ policies of liberal exceptionalism, as well as building a border wall with the Union of North America, whatever its cost.



    Carolinas-Florida
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region recovering from war and suffering from contradictions between old-fashioned social hierarchies and highly modern technology and infrastructure.

    Slave factories
    1890: Traditionally, Southern slavery was purely agricultural, but with the development of modern industry plantation-produced agricultural goods are no longer as valuable. This has led to an interesting development, as the most prominent Southern slave-owners are seeking ways to organize industrial manufacture around slave labor. Despite many setbacks and downsides of their production cycle, these slave factories are quickly becoming the most profitable plants in the region. While this seems to appease wealth-hungry investors, it also draws a lot of ire from among white workers, whose factories fail to compete with this new type of enterprise and either cut the paycheck for their white workers in order to stay afloat or get out of business altogether. Amazingly, some of these working class folks are even starting to consider standing up against slave labor.


    Underground Railroad
    1890: Before the Atlantic War, the Underground Railroad is a name of network of secret routes and safe houses designed to help Southern slaves escape their master and find their way to the North. With CSA’s independence, however, the sheer concentration of military forces along the northern border made such escape nigh-impossible. But now, it appears, the Underground Railroad is back, in a much more literal sense. Slaves across Virginia and the Carolinas are starting to disappear from their plantations in alarming numbers, and rumors have it that a number of tunnels and hideout stations have been built throughout the region, allowing them to travel all the way to the North. As unlikely as that rumor sounds, it seems like nobody can come up with any other, more reasonable explanation.


    Rough and tumble
    1890: Principles of personal and familial honor are very important for a Southron. While the gentry have their own classy duels, with polished sabres and Colt revolvers, poor redneck folks are going for more affordable, but not less deadly options. When a simple fistfight doesn’t seem to be enough in protecting a fellow’s hurt pride, the duelists choose to solve it “rough and tumble.” Armed with Bowie knives, brass knuckles, broken bottles, and steel nails, Southern commoners engage in brutally violent fights that rarely lead to death, but usually end with mutilation of one’s opponent. Rural areas around the country (and especially, the proud state of Florida) are full of farmers with missing fingers, split lips, cut-out noses, and gouged-out eyes.



    Great Lakes Region
    Spoiler :
    Booming trade hub of inland America with growing labor market and up-and-coming manufacture and resource industry.

    We Shall Rebuild!
    1890: After the Atlantic War, the city of Chicago was on its way to becoming an unofficial capital of the entire North-American Union west of the Atlantic shore. Until one day, a great fire engulfed the South Side and then spread out to the Loop and finally the North Side of the city. Given the importance of Chicago as a regional capital, plans of reconstruction are already on the mayor’s table. What’s unique about this situation is that reconstruction opens a lot of possibilities to develop the city. Some people argue that urban infrastructure and public transport have to be developed to a brand new level, attracting bigger population, especially refugees from the South. Others suggest attracting more businesses and banks to the city by concentrating on the downtown architecture. Industrialists insist on developing a more powerful industry and warehouses, while a group of visionaries suggests using freed land to build a mighty analytical engine that could rival the one that already exists in Philadelphia.


    Bootleggers of the Lakes
    1890: British prohibition of alcohol is the single best thing that ever happened to organized crime of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. Illegal transit of legally made American alcohol, as well as of homemade moonshine is bringing big money to the American Great Lakes coast, and local municipalities are willing to close their eyes on the origin of this wealth. The people who own this wealth, mob bosses, are looking for ways to legalize it and to be recognized as respected entrepreneurs and, possibly, politicians. Now it’s turn for the North-American federal government to decide what deal they want to strike with them, and whether they want to strike any deal at all.


    The City of Steam Turbines
    1890: The city of Detroit is becoming a model for North-American industrial towns, with multitude of plants and factories built there, all supporting different aspects of train and steam carriage production. While the city is booming, some experts warn of what could happen to the city (and whichever town follows Detroit’s example) of repercussions if a big market swing were to hurt the market for the city-forming industry. Another, fringe group of analysts, also points out at the unbearable air conditions in the heart of the city, fuming with steam, soot, and exhaust gases. Yet, the city is swelling with opportunity seekers, attracted by the high wages and epic romanticism of the City of Steam Turbines.



    New England
    Spoiler :
    Booming center of American education, urban economy, trade, and infrastructure.

    New capital
    1890: With the end of the Atlantic War, the city of Washington has found itself in the range of Confederate border artillery. Twice destroyed by fire during the war, the city is no longer capable of performing the role of the capital of the Union of North America. Debates have started about moving the capital to Philadelphia, the liberal Cradle of the Union. Other, more conservative voices propose Boston as the city that hosted the famous Boston Tea Party, the very act of civil disobedience that gave shape to the Union-That-Still-Stands. Meanwhile, more progressive activists dismiss both ideas as naive and revisionistic, pointing out that the nation should continue moving in a new direction, and that makes Chicago it’s natural new center, both geographically and economically. Meanwhile, radical leftists cheer for New-York, the home of the Manhattan Commune and the most cosmopolitan city of the entire nation.


    Manhattan Commune
    1890: The social experiment known today as the Manhattan Commune was established in the early days of armistice that followed the Atlantic War. Encouraged by the French example, radical leftists in multiple cities of the Northern Atlantic shore started a series of riots that were expected to lead to the establishment of a Communard regime. Despite their hopes, all of these riots were suppressed by Union troops before any civil authorities could be established by the revolutionaries. What makes the Manhattan Commune unique is that its leaders quickly struck a deal with the Union government, agreeing to take its side in virtually any matter throughout the chaotic post-war period, as long as the Manhattan Commune was allowed to exist as an autonomous part of the North-American nation. Now, however, this community of free-spirit intellectuals is struggling to support itself as an economic entity. Nobody argues that the Manhattan Commune has become a major North-American center of knowledge and innovation, but shouldn’t Manhattanites finally pay their own bills?


    Third Great Awakening
    1890: The catastrophe of the Atlantic War gave the North-American society a stimulus to go through a third wave of Christian spiritual revival, known as the Great Awakening. All across New England, new churches, movements, and sects have started to spring up, as people struggle to interpret the changes that the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War have brought to their world. While some of these movements are radically Luddite and agricultural, such as Amish, others seem to be fascinated by the ideas of equality brought by technologic and social development (New Levellers particularly stand out among the latter group). North-American parties now struggle to ride this wave and to convert all of this spiritual enthusiasm into a more constructive force.



    Caribbean Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region recovering from a major rebellion, but still retaining certain agricultural and trade value.

    Voodoo people
    1890: Sudden ascension of the Empire of Haiti to its regional influence has brought up a question of state religion. The Catholic church is not nearly as popular among regular Haitians as the syncretist religion of Voodoo. Wooing voodoo priests to support the Emperor could bring him almost divine popularity, at least on the island of Haiti. On the other hand, on Jamaica, that only recently was incorporated into the Haitian state, the cult of voodoo is not popular, while the Abrahamic religion of Rastafarianism is slowly coming to its maturity. It appears that these exotic believes are slowly coming their way to the Creole diaspora in New Orleans.


    Shades of black and white
    1890: Confederate took over Cuba and the Northern Antilles during the Caribbean Slave Rebellion and the collapse of the Spanish Empire. Since then, Hispanic and Franco-Caribbean population of this region has started its complicated way to being integrated into the Confederate society. For the rich, this path was short and direct, as families of Cuban plantation owners enjoy the best aspects of Southern hospitality. Poor Hispanics and Creole, on the other side, are despised by poor Confederate farmers, who perceive them as competitors on the labor market. But nothing can compare to the horrible treatment of Afro-Caribeno slaves (and freedmen often confused with slaves by indifferent Confederate policemen), whose conditions are even worse than those of African-American plantation workers. Unless these tensions are resolved, the Confederate influence over the region may experience a setback.


    Pirates of the Caribbean
    1890: Not all remnants of the Slave Rebellion of the Caribbean region seem to have been put down, as indicated by consistent reports of cargo ships being boarded and occasional raids on coaling stations. Naval intelligence operatives of all major regional players suspect that some island hideouts with navigable bays must be in use by these raiders, which still doesn’t explain how they supply themselves with basic needs. In order to benefit from stolen cargo, pirates would have to use some neutral ports with authorities either friendly enough or indifferent enough to allow sale of the valuables and procurement of necessities, at the very least. Until these pieces of the puzzle are figured out, it appears that merchant ships will continue to go missing in the Caribbean Sea.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  12. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890

    Latin America North

    Mexico
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, emerging region with above-average potential in all spheres.

    Cientificos and the Church
    1890: President Diaz has surrounded himself with a council of technocratic advisors known as cientificos (lit. “scientists”). Now this council, despite being deprived of any formal power, has a lot of influence over national policies, pushing for more secular modernization of the Mexican society, with a strong lean toward social darwinism. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, however, are disappointed in how much power these disbelievers have in the Mexican government and demand that the council is eliminated. On the one hand, cientificos are very popular among Mexican capitalists, bankers, and bourgeoisie, who are seeing direct results of the new policies. On the other hand, the Church enjoys almost universal support of rural landowners and, surprisingly, the peasantry (despite the fact that they, too, have benefited from the “scientific politics” of the cientificos).


    Loyal Rurales
    1890: In order to suppress countryside banditry, an effective force of suppression was organized by President Porfirio Diaz, known as Guardia Rural (Rural Guard), or, more informally, the Rurales. Freed from a lot of bureaucratic formalities of an urban police force, the Rurales have proven to be pretty good at making Mexican countryside safe (or safer) again, attracting respect and even love of the peasantry. However, Guardia Rural is hated in the Mexican Army, because of the Rurales’ blind loyalty to the President and their defiant rejection of principles of army discipline. On the other side, the Rurales view army officers as power-hungry corruptioners who have had a long history of intervening into Mexican politics via military coups. These contradictions have to be resolved, if one were to wish to see these forces work together.


    Bread or a stick
    1890: “Pan o palo” is a phrase that’s becoming increasingly popular in the Mexican culture, and some people worry about what that may mean for the national mentality and ethics. Translated as “bread or a stick,” it describes an approach to suppressing one’s political opponents by offering them a lucrative position in one’s own office in exchange for them dropping their criticism. Pioneered by the President himself, this practice has become widespread not only in politics, but also in day-to-day language. As it’s starting to impact work ethics, career advancements, business deals, and police procedures, many lawyers express their concern - that is, until somebody asks them to accept a well-paying government position, or else…



    Mesoamerica
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region suffering from low literacy levels, but possessing large agricultural potential.

    Native sentiment
    1890: Descendants of Native American ethnicities constitute the majority of Mesoamerican population, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. Despite being formally equal to any other Mexican citizen in their rights, these people often find themselves disenfranchised, due to a combination of poverty, discrimination, and illiteracy (natural given the abhorrent access to well-paying jobs and education in the south). That means that Mexican Mesoamerica is perpetually fuming with discontent that even the President’s loyal Rurales cannot suppress. Some advisors suggest that true incorporation of Native Mesoamericans in the fabric of the Mexican society may pay off great dividends. Others point out that such solution may be very hard to achieve, and instead the good old “divide and conquer” strategy should be used, with enfranchisement of only few selected ethnicities that could then act to suppress others who wish to have same rights as them. Finally, a few hardliners suggest that Mesoamerican Natives should know their place and must be simply treated with overwhelming force.


    Bloody divinity
    1890: In Mesoamerica, native folk religion has existed back to back to the most pious Catholicism for centuries. However, as estrangement grows among ethnicities of Aztec, Zapotec, and Mayan descent, old religious cults seem to be rising back from their graves. Many rural communities seem to be returning to celebrating their ancient religion in the most pure, authentic way. And that way, of course, involves human sacrifices to teotls (gods or aspects of divinity). Most of sacrifice victims are volunteers (no wonder, given the poor life conditions in the region), but in some unproven cases they were kidnapped local magistrates who went too far at investigating the cults. In any way, the Roman Catholic Church demands that the President does something about these abominable practices.


    Peons or slaves
    1890: Most of Mesoamerican economy is agricultural, with majority of means of production belonging to rich owners of large personal estates, or haciendas. The rest of the peasantry owns only small lots of land, usually of too poor of a quality to provide anything but basic subsistence, especially without an easy access to modern mechanical tools. This drives thousands of peasants into the state of debt peonage (known as peonaje) in haciendas. There they stay for the most of their lives, hoping to pass what little personal belongings they have to the next generation of their family, at best. Even outside of basic human decency, there’s plenty of issues with that. The widening gap between the rich and the poor is generating a lot of social contempt and leftist sympathy among the peasant. Besides, debt peons contribute very little to the society and cannot even be used as a cheap labor force for manufacturing effort, since they’re pretty much tied to the land they help cultivate.



    Central America
    Spoiler :
    Booming region, potentially crucial for Atlantic-Pacific trade, trying to overcome legacy of prolonged economic stagnation.

    Canal is a canal is a canal
    1890: In 1876, Imperial France has already attempted to build a canal in Gran-Colombian Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. That bold project, however, failed when the Atlantic War siphoned all resources directed to that gian infrastructure project, and now the Panama Canal is nothing but a series of unfinished excavation works in Centroamerica jungles. Now that the world in this hemisphere is not engulfed in flames of war anymore, people are back to discussing the benefits of connecting two oceans by a canal. One project merely suggests continuing the work started by Imperial French engineers, while another one suggests starting a new canal further up north, connecting Punta Gorda and Brito through the Lake Nicaragua. Of course, both efforts would require the governments of, accordingly, Gran Colombia and Centroamerican Federation to agree to hosting such projects on their territory, as well as, potentially, a sale of adjacent lands.


    Banana republic
    1890: Bananas were being agriculturally cultivated in Central America and the Caribbean Region for a while, but it wasn’t until after the Atlantic War that the demand for that fruit truly spiked, perhaps due to significant damage suffered by American, French, and British agriculture and economies. Now, the Centroamerican Federation’s Planning Bureau is rushing to meet the market demand for this wealth-bringing fruit, even at the cost of sacrificing other forms of agriculture that are not in as valued on the global market. That, of course, is being criticized by some as a potentially dangerous measure in case the price on bananas falls some day. Meanwhile, the Panama Province of Gran Colombia is suffering from the opposite problem: it’s lack of government involvement into local economy means that the nation fails to meet the demand of banana export and thus benefit from the price boom.


    Collective economy
    1890: Historically, the lands of modern Centroamerican Federation lacked the indigenous forced labor to allow the establishment of haciendas (plantations, mines, and factories owned by aristocracy). This has shaped the local agricultural economy as an amalgam of free village communities producing, mostly, export crops. But the new type of economy proposed by the Centroamerican Planning Bureau requires more sophisticated forms of organized labor, and Centroamerican citizens have a trouble grasping that concept, especially in the more remote parts of the country. However, the government is exploring its ways to move away from small-time agricultural production to modern, collective agriculture and industrial production.



    Gran Colombia
    Spoiler :
    Slowly-developing region suffering from corruption and obsolete socio-economic institutions.

    One hundred years of solitude
    1890: The island of Macondo just a few dozen miles off the Caribbean sea coast of Colombia was considered uninhabited and of little value for years. To everyone’s surprise, an isolated town has been discovered by a geologic expedition several miles deep inland of the island, populated by descendants of a single big family that moved in there in the late 18th century. Unaware of how much the world has changed around them, Macondo islanders still lived surrounded by the 18th century technology and believing they were subjects of the glorious Spanish Empire. What’s more important to many, the island was found to be a location of a big silver ore deposit and an oil pocket well in reach of modern drilling equipment. Naturally, the government of Gran Colombia immediately claimed its ownership of the island, even though the Macondo settlers refuse to recognize Gran-Colombian authority and remain adamantly loyal to the King of Spain. The latter one is currently residing in Sao Paolo and is a de-facto pawn of the Braganza dynasty, which could probably try to produce some way to get extraterritorial rights on the island purely based on that. Other major powers having some interests in the region (Union of North America, CSA, British Commonwealth, and Mexico) all find Porto-Brazilian chances laughable, but hope to also to strengthen their case through using their influence in Gran-Colombian politics. One way or another, one minute of reconciliation is worth more than a whole life of friendship.


    Gathering storm
    1890: Formally, the Kingdom of Gran Colombia is a constitutional monarchy, but its political culture seems to be extremely undeveloped when it comes to public discourse. Two leading parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, are increasingly at odds with each other regarding such issues as centralization, secularization, and economic approach. The first ones enjoy plenty of Porto-Brazilian support, since they promote a strong monarchic state with a lot of influence given to the Roman Catholic church both in education and economy. The latter party is being almost openly financed by the Confederate States of America, due to their view of importance of state rights, government secularism, and open market with free access by foreign investors. Meanwhile, a party known as the Social And Political Front is gaining momentum in advocating policies of social democracy akin to the neighboring Centroamerican Federation, and is thus being supported by the Union of North America. While all of these debates are happening the army officer corps is getting gradually alienated from all sides, sympathising with the pro-Mexican vision of Porfiriato (named so after the Mexican President, Porfirio Diaz) of a strong-willed, militarized technocracy. It appears that the country is balancing on the edge of an open political riot.


    White gold
    1890: With the rise of modern pharmacology, world demand for cocaine is on the rise. Fortunately for Gran Colombia, this country is currently the main exporter of coca leaves or the actual cocaine powder. Trying to capitalize on it, the King and his protectionist advisors have assigned high tariffs on exported cocaine, but what they forgot to think about was how underfunded the Gran Colombian customs force truly is. Presented with the choice to pay high international trade tax or evade it, most of the coke-producing businesses chose to go into the underworld. Now, these drug cartels led by capos (“lords”) compete in power with legal authorities, especially in the countryside. Meanwhile, the countries dependent on medical cocaine import are quite happy to turn a blind eye on the origin of the precious drug, especially considering the drop in prices.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  13. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago

    Update 0: January 1, 1890 - December 31, 1890


    Latin America South



    North Andes Region

    Spoiler :
    Booming region overcoming years of economic neglect and weak infrastructure.

    Jesuit business
    1890: Gran-Colombian Ecuador is a territory that somewhat stands out from the rest of the country. This is because of the resurgence of the Jesuit Order as a landowner and capital investor in the region. In a way, it is supported by the Gran-Colombian monarchy, since the Jesuits oppose any nationalist republican sentiment popular among urban Ecuadorians. Yet, the ruler of the Ecuador general-governorate is expressing his concerns that the Jesuits have grown enormously rich and powerful, paying almost no taxes as a church organization, and that is driving down any competition, which leads to poverty in any areas where Jesuits don’t have interests.


    Connecting the land
    1890: In the age of the Incan Empire, destruction of bridges that connect numerous populated valleys of the Andes was a crime of highest degree, punishable by torture and death. Infrastructure has changed significantly since then, but more and more people in the United Communes of the Andes are realizing that no nation-building can be done without connecting the lands together via consistent, effective land routes. Now numerous mountain communes are starting their grassroot effort to fund the creation of a network of railroads that would bind Northern Peru closer together and could, hopefully, be extended southward eventually. The only problem plaguing this popular effort is, unsurprisingly, lack of coordination and centralized planning. For instance, two railroad branches that just successfully met in the Cajamarca commune were found to have different railway track gauges. Similar problems of both engineering and planning qualities keep on plaguing this otherwise quite promising project.


    Guano farmers
    1890: The world is experiencing a population boom, which leads to a skyrocketing demand on agricultural production. This, in turn, makes use of fertilizers an indispensable part of an agricultural cycle. One of such fertilizers is guano, dry excrement of seals, seabirds, and cave-dwelling bats found in big quantities all across Peru. Besides boosting agricultural output of local village communes, guano makes a great export good, being much cheaper than artificially made fertilizers. However, many Andean experts predict a drop in guano demand quite soon, because of the growth of artificial fertilizer industry across the world. While the prices are still good, these experts suggest investing money into something more lasting.



    South Andes Region
    Spoiler :
    Booming region recovering from civil war and decades of neglect and corruption.

    Campesino communes
    1890: Andean peasants, campesino, have a long history of resisting debt peonage on local haciendas (nobility-owned mining or agricultural holdings). With the formation of the United Communes, many of these village communities formed quickly and naturally into grassroot countryside municipalities that rejected central authorities’ attempts to urbanize and industrialize the entire nation. Besides, unlike French communes, the campesino communes of the Andes have very well-defined natural borders (usually, limited by mountain ranges), which allows introduction of intercommunal tariffs designed to protect local farmers from competition. On the one hand, it does make lives of Bolivian campesino Communards stable and quiet. On the other hand, the nation’s leadership is afraid that this practice may spread throughout the country, hindering its development.


    Fighting Cholitas
    1890: As gender egalitarianism is being introduced to the conservative Bolivian (and, generally, Andean) society, a scandalous new craze has developed in its urban regions, and especially in the Grand Commune of La Paz. Aymara and Quechua women dressed in traditional native clothing fight each other in colorful and sometimes brutal wrestling matches in front of cheering crowds. Travelling foreigners (excluding, perhaps, Frenchmen) and occasional visiting Catholic priests find this spectacle both revoltingly immoral and barbaric. On the other hand, Andeans are proud of this new tradition that celebrates the pride of Native Andean cultures and the free, fighting spirit of their women. Chances are, this tradition may spread well beyond Bolivia.


    Caudillos Barbaros
    1890: Southern communes of Bolivia are still plagued by the echos of the Civil War. Besides war weariness and destruction, these include some provincial warlords that managed to save their roving bands from destruction. Ranging in background and ideology, these strongmen have one thing in common: they are scourges of local free communes, nicknamed for their methods caudillos barbaros (“barbaric headmen”). Until these warlords are put down, it appears that no economic growth and prosperity is possible in Bolivia and South Peru. Besides, who knows what foreign powers would want to use these marauding generals for their own advantage?



    Amazon Region
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region with big infrastructure challenges, but a lot of unexplored resource extraction potential.

    Bandeirantes’ fortune
    1890: Recent growth of industrial exploitation of the Brazilian rainforest region has led to resurrection of Bandeirantes (lit. “bannermen”), professional explorers, fortune hunters, and slave raiders. Hired by nobility-owned corporations or by the Royal Crown itself, these gun-slinging mercenaries briskly equip ad-hoc expeditions deep into the deadly jungles of the Amazon valley, sometimes simply mapping the route for better prepared expeditions to follow up. More often, however, their missions border illegal or even barbaric, ranging from capture of exotic animals for the black market to recovering industrial equipment lost in geologic exploration to genocide of local native tribes that display too much territorial pride in attempts to protect their lands from resource exploitation.


    New India
    1890: Spooked by the scope of the Great Caribbean Slave Rebellion, British colonial authorities in Guyana chose to replace unreliable Afro-Guyanese labor with indentured workers recruited and brought in from India by paid local agents known as arkatis in North India and maistris in South India. However, it appears that the agents did their job a little bit too well (or, maybe, the number of people wishing to escape suppressive British policies in India was a bit too high). Now, British Gayana and even parts of the neighboring Dutch colony are populated primarily by Indians of Telugu and Tamil origin, who outnumber Europeans five to one. The region is being transformed by this cultural shift, and some observers suggest that a new, mixed Indian ethnicity is fusing in Anglo-Dutch Gayana.


    Dancers or fighters
    1890: Cabanagem was a rebellion of black or mulatto slaves in Northern Brazil that occurred in the first half of the 19th century. Since it was put down, slave population in this region has been very closely supervised by the authorities, which make sure that people of color don’t stash weapons sharper than a fork and don’t practice any fighting skills. Now, however, the line begins to blur, because many slaves are starting to practice an acrobatic dance known as capoeira that looks suspiciously like some form of a combat. Facing this uncertainty and surrounded by well-trained, athletic people, gendarmes choose to look the other way. Meanwhile, in the slums of Bahia towns, these dance- and battle-hardened martial artists, known as capoeiristas, are starting to form criminal gangs that can rival those of Italian mafioso.



    Coastal Brazil
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing center of South-American immigration, with big trade, economic, and manufacturing potential in upcoming years.

    Quilombos and their dwellers
    1890: Brazil has a long history of colonial slavery, and the very landscape of this land offers a lot of options for runaway slaves to escape their owners. Most notable of them are quilombos, remote settlements founded by runaway slaves in remote, badly explored territories deeper inland. While some royal advisers insist that these communities are criminal in nature and need to be cracked down upon (and the runaway “property” has to be returned to their masters), others point out that quilombo dwellers could be a great tool in development of remote parts of Brazil. Besides, some sort of amnesty to quilombo settlers could go a long way in integrating them into the large Porto-Brazilian identity and making them serve the Braganza dynasty in one form or another. That, of course, is likely to enrage coastal plantation owners, so it remains to be seen what solution the Dual Crown will choose.


    Royal Haven
    1890: Citizens of Sao Paulo jokingly call their city the Royal Haven, because of how many members of various royal dynasties now inhabit the place. First, the entirety of the Portuguese branch of the Braganza dynasty move in there, escaping their homeland overrun by the French. And now, ex-opponent of the Portuguese king in the Atlantic War, King Carlos VII of Spain is residing with his former enemies. While the grand reunion of the Braganza dynasty into the Dual Crown has been seen as an easy and smooth transition, many political observers wonder what will be the Porto-Brazilian move in regards to their de-facto control of the Spanish king’s decisions. Meanwhile, experts in espionage point out that Portugal-Brazil may be not the only player in that grand dynastic game, as other nations may try to either manipulate King Carlos or apply more blunt means in order to push their agenda.


    Temptations of River of January
    1890: The city of Rio de Janeiro (lit. “River of January”) is a metropolitan pearl of the Porto-Brazilian empire, a multi-national hub where the entire world comes together to be merry, to celebrate, to drink, and to make love. Peculiarly, this is also a city chosen by an expatriate community of Maghrebi businessmen (who have invested quite a lot of money in development of Brazilian manufacture). This wouldn’t bother festive Brazilians much, had it not been for the fact that the Maghrebi legation quarters were established right on the traditional carnival route. Stern and conservative, Maghrebins vehemently protest any display of naked woman’s body in their area, be it ankles of their burqa-wrapped wives or the curves of female samba dancers. It seems like these cultural clashes aren’t limited to carnival routes alone, and they’re becoming more and more widespread throughout coastal communities. Many people wonder, if you invest in this land, shouldn’t you be more open to its traditions?



    La-Plata
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing region with a strong agricultural backbone, but recovering from a series of wars.

    Hot mate for my mate
    1890: A new caffeine-rich hot drink called mate has been recently becoming more popular than tea across the Americas, most likely caused by the trade disruptions that occurred during the Atlantic War. Produced from yerba mate plant, it’s becoming a major export product for Gran Paraguay that hosts vast majority of its plantations. Some experts suggest that the mate craze may not last if the world tensions drop and normal, pre-war Transatlantic trade returns to normal. Others suggest it won’t happen for a while (if happens at all), and Gran Paraguay should invest more efforts into expanding its yerba mate agricultural production. Some people even suggest that Gran Paraguay should use its shares of the British economy (both in the Albion and in British India) to manipulate the Empire Where Sun Never Sets into reducing its tea production, thus opening bigger markets for mate exporters. Time will tell what approach will be chosen by the President himself.


    Husband hunting
    1890: The ascent of Paraguay to its status of major power was a glorious, but costly affair. A series of triumphal campaigns in the west, east, north, and south of the country has helped to expand the nation’s territory more than five times, but it also cost countless lives of Paraguayan men. Now it’s led to a serious demographic problem that the country is trying to resolve by importing labor from British colonies. However, it appears that Paraguayan women are looking for something other than just workers for their gardens. They’re seeking husbands and lovers, and the nation’s newspapers are awash with advertising campaigns for matchmaker agencies. Some handsome men, on the other side, have embrace a reputation of “professional grooms,” dating rich widows or prospective maidens with a simple promise to “consider a marriage.” Presidential advisors consider this development unhealthy both for public morale and for the national demographic situation.


    Freedom-loving gauchos
    1890: Gran-Paraguayan conquest of northern Argentina and Uruguay has not been quietly accepted by the locals. While urban centers of these lands are generally well-garrisoned and thus rather orderly, the countryside remains full of anti-Paraguayan discontent. Rebellious mood is particularly widespread among the gauchos, an unruly sub-class of Cisplatin horsemen and cowboys praised in the folklore for their heroic and brave deeds. Some officers point out that fighting gauchos straightforwardly could be a hard endeavor, given their nomadic lifestyle and uncertain political loyalty. Others marvel at what an unstoppable force the Gran-Paraguayan army could become if the gauchos could join it as an irregular fighting force. For now, these dreams seem as far from reality as ever.



    Chile-Patagonia
    Spoiler :
    Fast-developing, but sparsely populated region with limited economic potential, but so far valuable as a maritime navigation hub.

    Huaso discontent
    1890: Huaso are free-spirited countrymen and horse riders of Central and Southern Chile that weren’t truly engaged in the Chile-Paraguayan conflict up until they found that their lifestyle and their love for freedom are threatened. Now it appears that huaso communities across Chile are connecting into a secret underground network of freedom fighters who fight against what they consider unlawful occupation by the forces of Gran Paraguay and United Communes of the Andes. Gran-Paraguayan ambassadors have already demanded that the huaso “terrorism” is cracked down by the authorities of the Chile-Patagonian Free State. To that, Chile-Patagonian magistrates can only shrug: their libertarian laws prevent them from exercising any repressive measures against huaso communities whose guilt in supporting their northern adherents is not proven. It seems like a bigger conflict is brewing.


    Justice for the white men
    1890: Native Mapuche tribes of Patagonia have recently been engaging in series of punitive cattle raids against white colonizers of their lands. Known as malon, these raids are being performed through mountain passes and usually target haciendas of local major landowners. The latter ones have tried to complain to the central authority in Los Lagos, but received very little support, since the government of Chile-Patagonia is too lean for any major law-enforcement effort. It seems like a civil conflict could result from this situation, unless somebody finds a way to put relationship between the natives and the colonists under control.


    In Search of the Castaways
    1890: One Captain Grant of Britannia and its whole crew have disappeared in the waters of the South Atlantic or South Pacific oceans. This has become known to Captain Grant’s children only thanks to a message in a bottle their family friend accidentally found. Having put together an ad-hoc expedition, they and their family friends have managed to get lost as well. However, one thing is known from the notes they left during their brief stay in the port of Montevideo before departing further south: their destination was the archipelago of Terra del Fuego on the very tip of South America. This story of little importance somehow found its way to international headlines, mostly thanks to a series of passionate and well-written articles by a French expatriate journalist residing in England. In many other cases, this sensationalist piece and the public enthusiasm it’s generated would be dismissed as utter hogwash, but the Naval Ward of the British Commonwealth considers it a good premise to establish its firm colonial presence (in the form of coaling stations, for instance) in that region. Unfortunately, other nations are just as likely to try to “save” the ill-fated expedition in order to carve out a piece of territory for themselves.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  14. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    You can post now.

    EDIT: My advice for you, folks. To make your life easier, read about the regions important to you. Anything beyond that is most likely optional for you. If your orders miss something I consider important and urgent, I'll double-check with you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  15. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,118
    You've created an absolutely beautiful monster here Ahigin.
     
    SouthernKing likes this.
  16. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
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    Location:
    Chicago
    Thanks. Now I'll try to keep it alive.
     
  17. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,588
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    I'm not sure where to find it in the rulesets but how do we build more units?
     
  18. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
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    The link to the Rules Summary a.k.a. the ruleset is in the top post. Just below National Summary and stuff.

    The rule for building new units is very simple:
    • To build a new unit, the nation has to spend two times its maintenance cost.
    If you don't want to dig into the stats to determine the exact price, just let me know what you want to build, and I'll make it happen.
     
  19. Kyzarc Fotjage

    Kyzarc Fotjage Rise Up

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
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    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Washington
    <rises from long slumber>

    The Pacific Directorate stands tall, ready to deal with any and all who wish to trade in the waters of the North Pacific. Remember our words: Truth, Liberty, and Pursuit of Whales.
     
  20. Ahigin

    Ahigin Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    Chicago
    Welcome to the game, and Pacific Directory now has a player.

    Also, as all of you major power players have noticed, I have sent out research stacks to each of you. You don't have to PM me back right now, just choose up to 1 to activate in your orders (feel free to assign units to research it starting this turn). The rest of the techs can be discarded or kept for the next turn as options.

    For minor powers: you will start receiving technologies to research once major powers start discarding their techs. (Unless you turn yourself in major powers, too.)
     

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