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January 22, 2012
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A World of Slaves by QuantumBranching A World of Slaves by QuantumBranching
An essentially ASB [1] map.

This derives from a silly fanfic, which for some reason inspired me to make a map. It is an Ottoman-wank world, in which thanks to the failure of the messianic Shi’a movement to arise and unify Iran, Ottoman expansion to the east was as successful as to the west. With the riches of India under their thumb, the Ottomans had the resources and manpower to remain a Big Problem right up to modern times.

The world in 2011 is generally more backwards than OTL, with a roughly 1930s tech level and something of a diesel-punk aesthetic, although Ottoman dominance of most of the world’s oil means that there is a bit of a smoky, foggy, coal-burning steam-punk air to it as well. But perhaps the most noticeable difference is the ubiquity of slavery, which has not died out and exists in new forms in most nations.

The Ottomans retain old-fashioned Islamic slavery, albeit highly regulated, and have developed various forms of temporary slavery for crimes, etc. The Empire, which often speaks of itself as being identical to Islam itself (Dar-al-Islam: it does not consider Pagan and Christian rule over Muslims legitimate, although it turns a blind eye in the case of the British) is a bit backwards: it fell behind technologically in the 19th century, saw Spain and Portugal re-Conquista’d, much territory in India lost to the Hindus, and nearly was driven from the Balkans, only holding on through lots of barbed wire and horrendous human losses. A couple of energetic, ruthlessly modernizing Sultans arrested the decline, but the Empire still struggles to keep up with the Joneses, and the harsher and more centralized government arising from the Time of Troubles, and the vastly enlargement of offenses for which one can be enslaved (the Empire needed the forced labor) has led to considerable (quiet, so far) grumbling.

(If you wonder how something so large fails to disintegrate, of course it is held together by Wank-power :) : but after all it's not that much bigger than the original Caliphate (much of Africa was only incorporated in the 19th century) and they were quick to pick up on the usefullness of railroads. Religion, prestige, and fear of Christians and Heathens (plus a healthy dose of repression) keep things from falling apart...so far. )


The Confederated Crowns of Europe arose from the end of the Revolutionary period in Europe: unlike OTLs Holy League, they were not so much interested in suppressing revolution as keeping the Ottomans at bay (revolution had been somewhat discredited as having led to the Ottoman conquest of the Iberian peninsula): the Confederation has therefore been willing to dip the occasional toe in the waters of democracy, and the European Parliament, although limited in power, does represent all free property-holders above a pretty piddling level of income. (If you are poorer than that, you are probably in some way non-free. Old-fashioned chattel and sexual slavery are no longer around, but there are various forms of “limited freedom”, enslavement for crime or debt, apprenticeships and labor contracts with very draconian severance clauses, “selling” oneself to a corporation, continued serfdom in Russia and some parts of Poland). Still, popular discontent is growing again: the Crowned Heads of Europe have too long rested on the laurels of liberating Iberia.

The most recent upsurge of liberal, USC-influenced thinking has put a radical new government into power in Sweden (where the Monarchy’s power had already become fairly nominal) which has banned all forms of slavery outright – and worse, put an end to all the Confederation agreements of the “fugitive slave” type – only those which can be shown to have been enslaved for felonies are refused refuge. This has led to a rapid chilling of relations with its neighbors, and some fear military action might be taken in spite of its new USC alliance – the government looks like it might not survive elections if they are held.

The Brits, which have had a rather different history from OTL 17th century on, kicked over their kings a while back, and currently have a White Dominions Federal Empire-thingy going on. Slavery in their state is supposedly for Inferior Races only (scientific racism is big), although some say forced labor programs for felons are indistinguishable from slavery, and have you seen what debt law is like nowadays? In any event, slavery (and a vast variety of unfree labor: indeed, increasingly slaveholders are into government contracts rather than the difficulties of managing their own slaves in an “over-regulated” environment) is what makes the African Empire go around, and the manpower and resources of the African territories is what makes the Union of British Republics qualify as a heavy hitter in a world of continental powers. It’s not quite Dominion of the Draka (impalements aren’t cricket) but there are many levels of oppression, and subject peoples are kept rather aware of how much worse it could get. It’s more democratic than Europe for white people, anyway.

Relations with the United Crowns are cool but correct. The mostly Monarchial Europeans find the regicidal (twice!) Brits a bit uncomfortable, and tend to much finger-wagging re British treatment of Africans, but in the end they are too valuable a trade partner to just cut dead, and in any event their unseemly republicanism is much less destructive an influence than that of the radical Columbians.

The Brits are allies with the Brazilians (chattel slavery moderated by energetic race-mixing) and on cordial terms with the Japanese and the Indians. The Japanese are probably the single greatest power, an early colonization of NE Asia and Niponization of such places as the Philippines and Taiwan having given them a bigger population base to play with than OTL, and having modernized more successfully than the Ottomans. The Japanese are old enemies with the Ottomans, having fought with them over control of India and the east Indies from the 1700s on: currently the Japanese back a Hindu confederation in India against the Ottomans, while the Ottomans support the Chinese state which survives in the interior.

(Said Chinese state has a large Muslim population, but the rulers are in no hurry to convert – they have noted that “being Muslim” seems to equate in Ottoman eyes with “being part of our Empire.” Ironically, most of the Ottoman elite quails at the notion of assimilating all those Chinese into the Empire – the Indians are bad enough, with Turks and Arabs and Africans united in conviction that Punjabis, Bengalis, etc. have moved in and taken all the good jobs.)

Japan also has extensive (bureaucratically administered) slavery, for crime and (importantly) rebellion, and people can also sell themselves into slavery (although this is carefully regulated for abuse – for ethnic Japanese, anyway!). Hindu India doesn’t actually have much slavery, but then they do have Untouchables and other lower Castes…

The Empire of New Spain is authoritarian and sortof State-Capitalist, patriotism and support for Monarchy and Empire backed up by rising living standards, along with fervent Catholicism and anti-USC xenophobia (which works better on such front-line areas as Mexico and Cuba rather than, say, Rio de Plata). They are currently a bit isolated internationally, formally warm relations between the Empire and the European Confederated Monarchies having been poisoned by their decision to put a French candidate on the throne of liberated Spain rather than handing the place over to the Emperor in Mexico (New Spain had grown strong enough, and Europe liberalized enough by that point for the European monarchies to decide that the Empire would make a poor neighbor in Europe. Portugal you say? The locals very definitely didn’t want to be ruled from “mongrelized” Brazil). Actual chattel slavery isn’t too common, but the various forms of agricultural and industrial peonage more than make up for it.

There is considerable illegal immigration across the USC-New Spain border, although in this TL it’s the Mexican side of the border which builds the walls, to keep people in. The United States of Columbia was radicalized by the Civil War and the War with New Spain. (the New Spanish feel that in supporting the Slaver Rebellion they were only giving tit for tat to the USC, which had grabbed huge tracts of land from them while they were busy fighting rebellion in South America). Today, the USC, a democracy broadly like our US if different in detail, is the one big state where there is only one form of citizenry, and no slavery (some call for the abolishment of the army draft as the "last form of forced servitude", but most see it the draft army as a unifying institution, and besides, perfidious Albion to the north and the bloody-handed Conquistadors to the south).

Relations with Japan are cordial, and indeed are fairly comfortable with the Ottomans (both are far away, and alas, USC citizens are less concerned with what brown and off-white people do to eachother), but USC support for democratic rebellion in Spanish America, popular anti-slavery movements in Europe, and stirring up shit in British Africa and the Caribbean have made the USC some powerful enemies abroad. Still, the Europeans are too concerned with the Ottoman Menace to go tilting at American windmills, and New Spain fears political unrest in the case of war…and it’s not like the US is going to go on any military crusades of liberation, right? They may be the most productive and technologically competent of nations, but they lack the manpower to match any likely coalitions of slave-holding nations. (It is not the biggest economy, due to a smaller population than some of the other mega-states, but it definitely is in the same league as the Japanese and Ottomans (the Brits are a bit weaker, although they put on a good show))

British and New Spanish intelligence are still trying to figure out what made that incredibly powerful bang in a desolate Great Basin desert a couple months ago…


[1] ASB, as in "only the assistance of Alien Space Bats could make this timeline work!"
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:iconcatornocat:
catornocat Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Alien Space bats, marvelous!
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:iconzemplintemplar:
ZemplinTemplar Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
Very good, but you've probably meant "expansion to the east was as successful as to the west".
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012
Fixed and thanks for pointing that out!
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012
And it looks like the slave debate's bound to go nuclear pretty soon....
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:iconamongthesatanic:
AmongTheSatanic Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
American nuclear invasion of New Spain :D :D :D :D
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