Ok: this is a "cover" of someone else's work. Specifically silas-coldwine ( [link]
)Here's the original map I worked from: [link]
(I believe his deviantart site has an 'upgraded' version of his own).
Now, the blab:
This is a world where the 1580 war of Portuguese Succession goes the other way, Spain does not absorb Portugal, Portugal goes on to kick ass and colonize south Africa before the Dutch can get their grubby mitts on it.
We flash ahead to the futuristic year 2010, and the world has changed, in many cases not entirely for the better. It’s a more backwards world than ours, with technology roughly on an early 1930s level. (Dirigibles. Great railways. Radio. Black and white movies. Poison gas and early bomber designs).
Europe is dominated by an Entente Cordiale between a France that achieved most of Louis XIV’s ambitions and an Austria which likewise did better than OTL. “Enlightened Despotism” never went away as a model in this TL, and has evolved into a theoretically meritocratic but in effect oligarchic system with strong racial, gender, and class inequalities. Corruption is rife, but the monarchies support a highly capitalist economy, public education (and indoctrination), and scientific research and development: innovation, as long as it stays firmly outside the field of politics, is appreciated. Spain is a bit nastier than the Main Two monarchies, being more of a true police state and also rather more religious intolerant (Austria and France are very Catholic, but also highly tolerant of Protestants, Jews, and even (gasp) atheists, although there is something of a glass ceiling for the Jews). France and Spain also rule a substantial colonial empire. While India is divided between Portugal and France, the monarchies of SE Asia have been puppetized rather than directly conquered by the Europeans: Dai Viet has in fact been showing some alarming independent initiative lately, expanding into the ethnically mixed areas to the north at the expense of local warlords.
Along with the current fascination with science and innovation, alas, comes a strong interest in “scientific” racism and eugenics: France, Austria and several other states in the Austro-French system already systematically sterilize the mentally retarded and give monetary awards to intelligent people to marry other intelligent people or have more children. (More ambitious schemes to control the breeding of the Lower Classes have so far been blocked by level-headed members of government worried about the potential for mass revolt). Although black people are considered inferior, slavery and serfdom have been banned throughout Austro-French Europe.
That is one reason (among several) that they do not get along with the Andradian League, an alliance between the Portuguese Empire, the Russian Empire, and the theocratic Holy Protectorate (the butterflies impacted the British civil war and its aftermath in some very unhappy ways). The Portuguese and to a considerable extent the Russians follow the political and social teachings of Paulo Figueira de Andrade, which calls for a stratified social structure with some form of slave labor at the bottom of the pile. (The Portuguese fails to see why the French would object to the enslavement of people they know are inferior). Russian serfdom has been modified and “modernized” to take advantage of industrial serfdom, and Russia is currently running about 50% serf: rebellious subject peoples go into the serf pool shortly. In India, Africa, and the Americas, the Portuguese ruthlessly exploit a huge slave population to grow the economy of their empire.
The Holy Protectorate, on the other hand, doesn’t give a fig about Andrade, but the bible indicates slavery is OK, and that’s alright with them. Historically rebellious Catholics have been the core of the slave class, but what with most over the centuries taking the option of converting so their children can be born free, the “traditional” slave population has increasingly been replaced by people enslaved for crimes, indentured servants, indentured apprentices, etc.: the importing of black slaves from Portuguese territory is discouraged lest it swarthyfy the Protectorate. Russia and Portugal are in theory absolute monarchies set up on the Andradian hierarchical model, but are en facto limited en facto by powerful commercial and bureaucratic interests, while the Holy Protectorate is limited democracy circumscribed by Holy Law and the immense discretionary powers of the Lord Protector. Of late, as the Americans have grown numerous to dominate the government, there have been separatist rumblings in the old British isles, who find the Americans morally lax (not that they believe any non-Protestants will escape going to hell, or that the gallows and stocks should be less busy: rather, they are wishy-washy on the subjects of whether the sale of alcoholic beverages should be permitted or whether women’s skirts should be allowed above the ankle). The inhabitants of the Protectorate dislike their doomed-to-hell Russian and Portuguese allies, but Realpolitik is what it is. The strongly Orthodox Russians are more religious than the French or Austrians, and the Holy Protectorate is more religious than the Spaniards: this may have something to do with their rather lower innovation rates compared to the Austro-French block.
The League is rounded out by the Christian Republic of Antipodia. Antipodia is a former Holy Protectorate colony which broke away during a period of political turmoil, but has since kissed and made up with the homelands in face of the French Menace. A slave-owning, religiously reactionary state, Antipodia is more democratic than the Holy Protectorate, almost as nice a place for white males as the Old Confederacy in 1860. The aboriginals are either slaves or fertilizer.
The Liga De La Hispanidad is a collection of former Spanish colonies, which revolted against Spanish efforts to centralize and more closely control the Empire. Originally set up to keep the Spanish at bay, the Liga has become a dictators mutual support society: early efforts towards republicanism failed badly, leading to the establishments of hereditary presidents-for-life in New Spain, Peru and Rio Negro, narrow oligarchies dominated by a few families or a sort of one-party clerical fascism in the other successor states. The Liga regularly intervenes to help local elites squish populist revolts or efforts to establish more representative governments. (The example didn't exactly help the case of republicanism in Europe). Slavery of the buy-and-sell-people sort has been banned, but various forms of debt-slavery exist, and in much of the area native Americans are very much second-class citizens in a virtual racial caste system.
The one powerful representative democracy in this world is the Federacao Africana. When the Portuguese Empire was swept with a wave of liberal revolt in the 18th century, it was ultimately crushed everywhere save in South Africa, which successfully broke away from Lisbon, local elites forging odd alliances with discontented mixed-bloods and revolting slaves. The new state had its troubles, and the political integration of the huge number of African “subjects” with a Portuguese, Asian, European and mixed-race ruling class took over a century and a half. But nowadays the Federation is a genuine participatory democracy, and former masters have been incorporated into the general multiracial mélange. (Not that there aren’t a lot of white skinned Federation citizens: since the mid-19th century, any European liberal who could stomach the idea of a black man as his employer has at least considered the idea of moving to South Africa).
Expansion has been considerable, as the last Portuguese holdouts were taken over in the 19th century, and a number of Puritan and Spanish colonies liberated from their rulers in the 20th, albeit usually by supporting revolt rather than large-scale warfare. The “Congress for African Awakening” is an umbrella term for the African Federation and the former colonies under its protection, although full membership in the organization requires meeting certain standards for democracy. Long-term, the Federation leadership hopes that all of Africa will eventually join their state, although some are uncomfortable with the idea of that many Muslims. (Although religious tolerance is part of South African law, in the Catholic-majority state Muslims don’t always find things entirely fair – although a hell of a lot better than in any other Christian state). It is a progressive sort of place – in fact, it recently went so far to give women the vote, something unknown outside the Holy Protectorate (and there only for married and property-owning women over the age of 25). The democracy and equality and so on are alarming enough to the conservative great powers, but their anti-colonial stance is what really excites the wrath of the Austro-French and the Andradians…
The principal allies of the Africans are the Egyptians, which lead the Pan-Islamic Conference. The Ottoman Empire fell apart earlier than OTL, and an Egyptian faction attempted to set itself up as the successor to it, with limited success. The struggle to modernize and such humiliations as the loss of northern Africa to the Europeans has led Egypt and several other states in the Conference to turn to a radical new form of political Islam, which espouses its own sort of modernity. Developed in cosmopolitan Egypt rather than Arabia’s eastern deserts (AKA Allah’s catbox), the Islamicist government is less concerned with the wickedness of wicked women or the inappropriateness of music and dancing than it is with science and technology and universal education for its own sake. (It’s hardly all roses: it’s definitely not democratic, the government feels swift body part removal = a well behaved populace, and just try to get a drink in Cairo on a Friday Night).
Although the Egyptians and other Conference members don’t think much of South African democracy, there is mutual need: the African Federation’s booming industries need oil, which the Arabs have plenty to sell. The Conference needs allies to help protect that oil from predators. And the Muslim in the street, in Egypt, throughout the conference, supports the South African anti-colonial message: they want independence for the Muslims of North Africa, India, central Asia….
The Confederacion de Nueva Galicia did manage to succeed in establishing a more or less functional democracy - which was promptly nearly overthrown by a New-Spain backed invasion through the Andean Republic. To protect themselves from further attempts to restore the former ruling clique, the Galicians allied themselves to south Africa, and have since moved from a rather oligarchic state to one almost as democratic as the African Federation (the muy macho Latins haven't given the women the vote yet).
China, under even harsher pressures than OTL, fell apart into warlordism, which has been extended for quite some time by efforts of outsiders to keep things divided. Korea, which due to butterflies in the Ming-Qing transition, and some Europeans showing up at the right place and right time, opened up to the world rather earlier than OTL Japan, using China as a useful backer whenever necessary. It expanded into Manchuria before the Chinese filled it up, and has taken advantage of the warlord era to push its influence south, as well as into an unfortunate Japan, which was slower – fatally slower – to modernize than OTL. Korea is currently considering whether to ally with the Austro-French block or with the Africans: it knows the French are going to be racist dicks, but on the other hand they share an interest in keeping China divided. Meanwhile, the African Federation is relatively  non-racist to East Asians, and is comfortably far away, while there would be French territory to grab in case of war: but the Africans want an independent, reunified China. Meanwhile, the last war with Russia was a bloody stalemate, and the Russians have been building up their forces in the east ever since. What to do, what to do?
A decision may be needed soon: tensions have recently heated up sharply. The French, after they took over Dutch Indonesia, never paid much attention to Sumatra, and never colonized the north, which proved to be a mistake: when a major anti-French rebellion broke out in Indonesia, the island proved a useful conduit for African Congress and Islamic Conference arms and advisors: before it was over the French had lost half of Java and the new “Islamic democratic government of Indonesia” had been recognized by Africa and the middle east. There was a lot of huffing and puffing and lines in the sand, but in the end a full-blown war was narrowly avoided. But the Austro-French system is now preparing for a serious fight: they are even swallowing their disgust and trying to create a grand alliance with the Andradian League…
 Although they are rare enough to attract some stares...