A map I've had sitting around on my computer for a while half-finished: I decided to get 'er done and put it up. It's another one from the Alternate History Travel Guides: a real France-wank, in which the French side won the war of the Spanish Succession, and kept rolling sixes after that.
The Franco-Spanish Union is the world’s leading power. The House of Bourbon rules even more than it does in Dynasties, in Europe ruling Belgium, the Rhinelands and southern Italy as well as Spain and France: in the Americas, the King-Emperor and the Parisian Estates-General rule directly over the Caribbean, the Guyanese jungles, and cold and thinly populated Canada, while the rest of OTL North America west of the Appalachians and OTL Spanish America are divided into 18 Grand Duchies and Principalities, with self-government varying from limited to OTL Canada, and the whole area forming a free-trade zone internally and with the rest of the empire.
Also directly ruled from Paris are western *Australia, NW Africa, the Pacific Isles, Antarctique, and some of the more backward and undeveloped parts of sub-Saharan Africa: the rest of "black" French Africa has been reorganized into the mostly self-governing Federation of French Africa. (Just afraid they're unassimilable, the French politicians say solemly without somehow ever mentioning race). Finally, there are the Indian and SE Asian protectorates and associated states, and the Principality of the Philippines.
Allied to the Empire but not part of it are the Ottoman Empire, Poland, Hungary, the Bavarian-led South German Confederation, Ireland, Scotland, Persia, the Papal states, and the Federation of New England – formerly a troubled satellite of the Union, the long, narrow country along the east coast of North America is nowadays the economic powerhouse of North America, and even as it has become more closely tied into the Greater Latin economic and political sphere, an increasing national pride has led to a new flowering of the English language, formerly considered the dominion of the dull and the lower classes even in backwards, authoritarian England.
The Prussian-Dutch-Hanoverian-Danish “Protestant alliance” maintains a certain distance from the Empire, and has some colonies of its own, scattered from Greenland to South Africa, East *Australia, and New Skaneland, but is not really an enemy, at least not a serious one; nor is the Portuguese Empire or its various Brazilian children. The main enemy has been for a long time Czarist Russia: after the Polish Wars, Russia was driven eastward, and began a March to The East which ended in the conquest of Korea, Japan, and much of western and northern China. Its vast territory, huge population, and terrible climate has made it almost unconquerable (Louis XVII lost an army as big as Napoleon’s to disease and cold in 1817), and Russia has intrigued against the French in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Americas and in India.
The last proved counterproductive, since the Army of Shiva (which the Russians supported instead of those silly pacifist revolutionaries) ended up driving the French out of northern India after a thirty-year struggle that reduced the population of the area by nearly 25%. This led to the formation of the present Iron Wheel alliance between North India and the South Chinese dictatorship which finally managed to stop Russian expansion southward (and energetic Christian Orthodox prosthelytizing) in the 1960s. Although backwards, the alliance has over 1.2 billion inhabitants, some 30 million of them under arms, and is modernizing, albeit in an inefficient, brutal state-interventionist manner. Given their hostility to both the Franco-Spanish Union and the Russians, there have been some discussions on the line of Hang Together or Hang Seperately lately, although so far the Franco-Spanish are less viscerally worried than the Russians. (No immediate borders, you know).
The Union is about as politically developed as Prussia-Germany OTL in 1914: the bureaucracy and the King still have an effective upper hand over the Estates-General, but it is considered unwise to push that too far. Too many power centers (Church, Corporations, a professional army, workmen’s groups, etc.) now exist outside the King’s direct control for a return to autocracy, and fortunately the present King-Emperor, Phillip V/VIII (depending whether the French or the Spanish are counting) deals with this gracefully.
There has always been some trouble with Spanish separatism, and a great many compromises have been necessary over the years: all government business is laboriously bilingual, no Heir Apparent is allowed out in public until he speaks Spanish like a native, many of the Empire's administrative functions have been farmed out to Madrid, ministerial posts are always carefully shared out between nationalities (demands by Italians and Arabs have been complicating this lately) and the King switches over the year between his Summer Palace at Versailles and his Winter Palace in sunny southern Spain. The development of the telegraph and later the telephone has made these perigrinations more practical.
Technology is roughly OTL 1930’s, although there are some oddities, such as a rather developed science of television and radio broadcasting. (Culturally, it has an almost 60's air, although the politics are less radical: women’s liberation is in the air, TV is a booming medium, and the local version of rock and roll/young people’s music is taking off like a rocket: some of the hottest new performers are from New England, and people will speak in later decades of the “English invasion” of the late 2000’s). Costumes are colorful enough to satisfy Austin Powers, although the French have always been more flamboyant than the British. (The powdered wig didn't finally perish from the face of the earth until the 1850s).
Blimps are plentiful, and the French mega-battleship still rules the seas.
Racial tolerance and legal equality is the norm within the Empire, at least in theory, and many Arabs and a fair number of blacks hold important positions in the Imperial government and in the regional American regimes, although there is a bit of a glass ceiling for non-Catholics outside North America, where immigration of talented New Englanders has made Protestantism socially acceptable. (Things are still a bit tough for Jews, though).
PS - yes, I know it's kinda ASB. (Most likely aided by Alien Space Bats). The Spanish and the French managing to put up with each other for three centuries is very iffy, and also: Bourbons - need I say more?
PS 2 - I am putting _too many_ notes on these maps lately. I need to cut back and stick with a short selection of genuinely amusing/interesting ones - this is beginning to be verbal diarrhea...