1229-1230 AH, 1907-1908 VS, 4547 (Yang Metal Dog) 4548 (Yin Metal Pig) The Future of the Navy 1851 will go down in naval history as a significant year, as the British, already the holders of the uncontested most powerful navy in the world, constructed a new class of larger, more powerful battleships, their hulls specifically modified with iron plating ironclads, the consensus term for the new vessels seems to be. Advances in metallurgy and naval tactics have made these new developments possible. In addition, the Russians and the Koreans both purchased some of the new vessels from the British, which have since served as additions to their own fleets. Other nations admiralties have taken notice, and look to the British with a keen eye. (Korea, Russia: +1 Navy Development) Events in Europe London, Great Britain An article was published in a British newspaper, stating what almost everyone had already known that Britain is the worlds center of scientific progress, and the technologically most advanced nation in the world. Very few people dispute this claim. (Great Britain: +1 Academia Development) Lisbon, Portugal The Portuguese and Russian governments reached an agreement wherein the two countries would aid each other in military development. Specialists from within the Portuguese officer corps were appointed to teach at Russian military academies, particularly to help teach the Russians advanced tactics in naval warfare at the newly expanded Peter the Great Naval Institute in St. Petersburg, while Russian army officers have been given teaching positions at respective Portuguese military academies. There was little noise made about the deal, although both countries have celebrated the agreement as a step forward in Portuguese-Russian relations. Treaty of Olivenza Portugal and Spain in 1851 signed an agreement of friendship, the Treaty of Olivenza. This treaty establishes a mutual defensive alliance, a joint reduction of tariffs, and an assurance that any border dispute, colonial or otherwise, would be mutually resolved without conflict in the meantime, the territory in question would be under joint control. The treaty has proven popular in both nations, as an expression of pan-Iberian friendship moving foward, and a recognition that since the two countries ended their war in the 1840s, relations have significantly improved. Madrid, Spain This year saw the Partido Demócrata-led government in Madrid pass the Ley de Ciudadanía, a law which established full Spanish citizenship to any child born in territory of the Republic of Spain, including Cuba and Puerto Rico; this was a move popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico, although the loose wording of the law has raised questions as to whether natives in Africa or the East Indies are subject to the law. In addition, the government passed the Ley del Retorno, a law which would provide citizenship to the Republic of Spain for any Jew who could provide documentation that his or her ancestor was expelled from Spain by the Alhambra Decree of 1492, or to any Jew who could prove fluency in the Spanish language, so long as they live in Spain or in a Spanish colony for a set period of time. This law has proven popular and applauded as a show of distancing present-day Spain from the old monarchy, although it has ruffled anti-Semitic sentiments among some of the more conservative and relgious elements in the country. The government also entered negotiations with opposition leaders over the possibility of creating a new constitution that would effectively transform Spain into a federal republic, in order to give the various local regions of the country and especially Cuba and Puerto Rico a greater degree of autonomy while maintaining a single, unified state. A majority of Cuban and Puerto Rican autonomists have proven surprisingly cordial to the proposal, which would give their respective territories a good deal of self-rule, but the conservative opposition has not been so amicable; they claim it is an unnecessary change to a functional system. They have countered with a much more limited proposal, which would provide federal-level autonomy merely to Cuba and Puerto Rico, while leaving the homeland a unitary state. Taxes were slightly lowered on Spanish small businesses, with the hopes of fostering economic expansion; the effects of this have been somewhat limited, although there was a small increase in growth recorded throughout the economy. Paris, France Even as war raged on in Vietnam, it was barely felt at home, and the French government set about on a major reformation of the French educational system. The National Assembly and the Crown jointly funded the expansion of several existing Catholic institutions, including monasteries and nunneries, into full educational institutions, providing a charitable Catholic education to some of the lower strata of French society, hopefully elevating some of the poor into productive and useful French citizens, while somewhat alleviating the problems of homeless children in French cities. The initiative has been popular, and has helped improve the opinion of the Catholic Church in some eyes. Copenhagen, Oslo, and Visby, Denmark With the quick ratification of the Visby Proclamation, the Duchy of Gotland was finally and effortlessly integrated into the greater Danish state this year, with the Duke agreeing to abdicate without attempting to argue otherwise. Multiple special rights were given to the locals in order to keep Gotlands Swedish-speaking people content with Danish rule: Swedish has been made the local administrative language, a ferry service between Visby and Karlskrona was established, freedom of movement between Gotland and Sweden has been guaranteed, and the King has agreed to spend one week a year in Gotland. Programs enacted last year consisting of tax incentives and subsidies to encourage urban industrial growth in several Danish cities were extended to the Norwegian cities of Oslo and Malmo, to some success. Danish and Norwegian intellectuals at universities this year began discussing, with increased fervor, the idea of a potential unified Scandinavian state, including both the current states of Denmark and Sweden. While the idea is increasingly popular in academic and intellectual circles, some of which have a degree of influence on Danish politics and King Fredericks court, outside of them the idea has not gained much traction whatsoever, and even with that removed, a major stumbling block exists in that the King of Sweden is virulently opposed to the idea, or any mention of it. A moderately sized bloc of Danish members in the current Liberal government, unhappy with the Kings pandering to minorities within the state, has defected from the party. The Liberals remain in power and in majority in the Rigsdagen, but their governments stability has been significantly undermined. Dortmund and Hanover, League of the Rhine To a great deal of pomp and fanfare, the nascent Republic of Hanover was admitted into the League of the Rhine following a successful measure voted on by both the Hanoverian provisional government and the League central government in the summer of 1851. Administration of the republic remained in the hands of the local government, which held its own elections simultaneously unsurprisingly, bringing a liberal party to government. The Hanoverian army was incorporated into the League army. The Hanoverians arms and tactics were noted to be some years outdated, but the transition was largely seamless. Prior to the annexation, the Hanoverian provisional government released the imprisoned former king George and his family, from where they left the country for a residence in Prussia. George has apparently survived his imprisonment not merely unfazed but indeed more stubbornly reactionary than before, he and continues to argue unflaggingly against the illegal annexation of his former country. Some of the monarchs within the League had raised strong objections to the Hanoverian annexation, being reluctant to add yet another republic to the ranks of the Leagues members. Conceding to the monarchs, the Grand Marshal, being a monarch (of the duchy of Lippe) himself, formally established the Inner Privy Council, a body consisting of the Leagues monarchs, located at the center of the Leagues political sphere. All monarchs within the League were invited to join, in exchange for being required to remain in the capital, although they still maintained their former powers and privileges and were allowed to select who they wanted to administer their respective states in their steads. The Grand Marshal also dispatched some of his own personnel to advise their representatives in governance. Berlin, Prussia The only major event to cause a major reaction in Berlin this year was the completion of the tasks provisioned for under last years funding of university reform. The results have been positive, and greatly promoted by the crown. (Prussia: +1 Academia Development) Bern, Switzerland In Switzerland, an amendment was passed to last years education law allowing for the teaching of French and Italian in their respective cantons, which has alleviated some peoples concerns. Although the situation remains tense, the military has been able to keep any revolts successfully suppressed, and the pro-German intentions of the laws writers seem to be moving forwards. Cagliari, Sardinia Little of note occurred in Sardinia. The sanitation improvements begun the previous year were completed, to all accounts succeeding in their goal of improving the urban lower classes opinions of the King. Rome, Papal States The aged Pope Sixtus VI fell deeply ill early in the year, never truly recovered, and ultimately died. The College of Cardinals convened in the spring of 1851 to elect a new Pope. Unlike the last several papal elections, this one was relatively heated, between a faction favoring a warming of relations with the Italian and Spanish republican governments and the acceptance of some reform as an option, and a reactionary faction favoring a continuation of the status quo opposition to any reform. Ultimately, the reactionaries won out, electing a prominent Sardinian cardinal as the new Pope. Pope Julius IV, as he has named himself, is known to be in good standing with figures within the Aragonese and Sardinian governments, although his influence is limited beyond that. But among the former faction, there is an idea that has begun to grow. With many of the traditionally Catholic areas of Europe Portugal, Spain, and Italy in particular becoming increasingly secular, liberal, and antipathetic to the Catholic Church, and the Papacys seat under direct threat from Italian incursion, there is not particularly covert talk within certain elements of the Church hierarchy to leave Rome, or even Europe, entirely behind and reestablish a new Holy See elsewhere, such as South America. Krakow and Warsaw, Poland The Polish government in 1851 began the reconstruction of Palanga on the Lithuanian coast, a harbor that had been destroyed by the Swedish army in 1701, during the Great Northern War, in the intention of transforming it into a modern port capable of giving Poland a trade and other presence in the Baltic. In addition, this year saw Poland diplomatically drawn further from the German states to its west and closer towards Russia. A customs union was formed between the two countries, including a joint lowering of tariffs. Additionally, construction was completed on a railroad line connecting Minsk in Russia to Krakow in Poland. In turn, construction has begun on planned connections to other cities in Poland, including Warsaw, Vilnius, and the to-be-reconstructed port of Palanga. More publicly, a measure was passed shifting the Polish capital from its traditional location at Krakow to a new location in the city of Warsaw. This was more controversial; few people saw a necessity to do this, despite the governments stated reason to move it to a more defensible location in event of war with Austria-Hungary or Prussia. There was great resistance from the Polish establishment, but support for the move by the military brass was critical in bringing both public and backbencher support behind the move. Tax breaks and similar incentives were provided to people and firms in the agricultural and mining sectors of the Polish economy, which paid off to agree. Vienna, Austria-Hungary A pair of interior projects was announced by the Austro-Hungarian government this year. The first was an extension of efforts that had been ongoing the past several years, that being an expansion of rail networks in Hungary and the industrial region of Silesia. The second was a government initiative to construct state-owned industries, particularly canneries and munitions factories, in various locations throughout the Empire. The military has been heavily involved in the projects. The government has also continued to separate the Austro-Hungarian state from the perceived mess in Germany, promoting a singular national identity throughout the Empire; the Empire has been promoted as a bold experiment in Christianity not seen since the Romans, with rallies held in numerous cities across the nation. The various minorities nationalist leaders have loudly scoffed at this, but the minorities themselves, content with being in the Empire, were seemingly receptive to the ideals promoted by the government. Internationally, this separation from Germany in the wake of the Customs Union and the Hanoverian debacle may indeed be foreshadowing the ultimate break between Vienna and Berlin, something that has already seemed to happen. Balkan Rail The Serbian and Danubian sections of the international Balkan rail were completed in late 1851, to great fanfare and scattered heralds of a new era of Balkan cooperation, peace, and prosperity. As of New Years Day 1852, one can now travel from Russia to Greece, or any country in between, with relative ease, something that is certain to be of use in the future. Belgrade, Serbia With the number of influential Serbian nationalists, formerly supportive of the king, began blasting him for opening itself to the Russians, and to a lesser extent, the Austro-Hungarians. Those same nationalists also criticized the government for selling itself out to non-Serbians within the Kingdom, through the Council of Peoples that was established last year. That Council has so far made little headway in implementing any proposed reforms; one thing that emerged from its discussions was the proposal for reforming the Serbian state into a pan-Balkan state, looking to the Austro-Hungarian reforms as inspiration; the king has floated the idea around, and it has gained traction amongst intellectual types. St. Petersburg, Russia 1851 also saw the passage of a large package of liberalizing financial reforms. First amongst them was the so-called February Act, which greatly lowered the requirements for incorporation, allowing effectively any Russian willing to pay a small registration fee to form a public corporation. The February Act was followed up by the March Act, which allows shareholders in companies with more than twenty-five shareholders to hold only limited liability in event of failure, making the purchase of company stock a more attractive option to Russias upper class, and its burgeoning middle class. The Russian governments shares of the Balkan and Kemorovo rail lines were privatized, and a Bankers Trading House, an institution located near the St. Petersburg stock exchange to facilitate communication between banks from across the country, The Russian government also established the Novosibirsk National Polytechnic Institute, a place of higher education dedicated to science, engineering, and technology, with a focus on machinery and metallurgy thanks to its location. Baron Pavel Shilling, best known for his demonstrations of the telegraph in the 1830s, was appointed the institutes first headmaster. Simultaneously, the existing Peter the Great Naval Institute in St. Petersburg was expanded, with the intention of expanding Russias future naval expertise and capabilities.