Maps of the Multiverse

I’ve always loved Alternate History, and for years now one of my hobbies has been making maps of some of the scenarios I envision. It’s a fun way to think about history, plotting out the “What Ifs” and potential twists and turns. Collected here are some of the maps I’ve made, along with brief explanations of the historical background and thought process that went into creating them.

(Click ‘View Image’ to Embiggen)

Anglo-German Cold War (1987)

“It has been said by some that the 18th Century was the British Century and the 19th Century that of the Germans. Certainly, the former witnessed the Anglo-Saxon planting his banners in the soil of Australia, India, Africa, and North America, while during the latter the German Empire coalesced and brought most of the European continent under the aegis of the Europäische Staatenbund. But who would the 20th Century belong to? By 1987, what had been a question of interest only to armchair theorists and popular scientists had begun to be discussed in Westminister Parliament and the Reichstag, by the Committee of Imperial Defense and the Imperial German General Staff. Increasingly, British and German interests clashed as the two Great Powers silently strove for influence and investments throughout the Qing Empire and the Russian Khanate. As tensions rose and naval budgets increased, those few states that remained nonaligned—most notably the Japanese Empire, the Republic of Alaska, and the Empire of Ethiopia–found themselves forced to make hard choices as Endgame at last began to approach.”

Explanation: “What if the American Revolution never happened?” is a common enough topic for Alternate Histories, and an interesting one. But in far too many of these scenarios, the end-result is a world in which the British Empire is the sole remaining superpower. This very well might have happened, given the industrial and population advantages of the United States, but it’s so boring!  I find Great Power Conflicts, Cold Wars, the Great Game, to be a much more interesting theme to build an alternate history around, and a Europe dominated by a Großdeutschland is an interesting rival for a intentionally-based British Colonial Empire. Creating massive Germanies is always an interesting Alternate History project because there’s so much actual data to work with; actual German governments spent much of the first half of the 20th century planning out their dreams of continental domination. Combining these two tropes is something I’ve never seen done elsewhere, and I quite like the result.

BREXIT! (2016)

“BREXIT! June 23rd, 2016, the Kingdom of Wessex has shocked the world by voting to withdraw from the British Union. Citing the need to maintain a majority against Celtic and Nordic immigration, ‘leave’ secured a majority of 56% despite the opposition of every major party in the Witenagemot. The question we now face is: What future for the Union?

After years of talks between the Anglo-Saxon Alliance, the Celtic League, and the Association of Nordic States, the British Union was formed in 1993. Proponents saw it as a way to bridge the political and cultural gaps that have divided the British Isles since before the Scandinavian Migration of the 800s A.D. Opponents saw it as a plot to destroy their long-maintained independence.

Though Union officials in York claim that this will not affect the remainder of the British nations, the loss of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom can not but have repercussions….”

Explanation: The history of the British isles is one of invasion and migration. The Celts, Romans, Picts, Angles, Saxons, Normans, and Danes washing up upon those grey shores in wave after wave of seething humanity. It is not until King Alfred the Great of Wessex’s great victory over the Great Heathen Army at the Battle of Edington in 876 AD that the splintered Anglo-Saxons kingdoms began to coalesce and absorb the newly-established Viking states, laying the groundwork for England’s eventual subjugation of the Celts and the creation of the United Kingdom. But what if this didn’t happen? What if the three great ethnic-cultural-linguistic groups of Albion remained politically separate as well?

The Revolution Will Never Die (1867)

“It is 1867, the War of the Ninth Coalition has only been over for eleven years, and already the Great Powers are gearing up for another round. In the Western Hemisphere, President Thaddeus Stevens of the United States seethes with rage as British blockade runners continue to slip armaments to the smoldering insurgency in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas despite the non-intervention clauses of the Treaty of Vienna. In Europe, Hapsburg and Romanov diplomats accuse the French Republic of being behind the supposedly “spontaneous” anti-royalist coup in Madrid while the officials of the Quai d’Orsay protest their innocence. And all along the long border between the Ligue Républicaine and the Holy Alliance, the forests of bayonets are gathering once again….”

Explanation: There’s this moment in the late 18th century when it looks like the entire Established Order of the world is under attack. Monarchies have been cast off by Revolution on both sides of the Atlantic, the Great Powers of Europe are marching together to crush the revolutionary French government—everything seems to be on the brink of total upheaval. As it turned out, the American Republic was fairly amenable to coexistence with the Ancien Régime, and the French Republic collapsed into internecine bloodletting and coups d’état. This supposes: What if it didn’t? In this world, the interlocking system of Sister Republics that the French created in Western Europe survived, and formed an alliance with a Jacobin-led United States. During the 1800 Election, President Adams and his supporters accused Jefferson of wanting to emulate the French Revolution, a ridiculous slander, but one I liked to imagine as true. The result? Fifty years of standoff between two world, the Republican League, representing the Enlightenment and Radical Republicanism, and the Holy League, standing for Order and Orthodoxy.

The League of Nations (1908)

“Formed in 1908 as a direct response to the threat shown by the Boxer Rebellion, the League of Nations brought an end to the era of Imperial rivalry–and a beginning of a new era of Imperial cooperation. With colonial resistance groups gaining strength worldwide, the Great Powers of Europe and their allies were forced to pool their resources to uphold the old regime into the 20th century, establishing jointly-administered mandates over the remaining holdouts against the tide of Civilization.”

Explanation: The Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901 is, in many ways, a high water mark for European Imperialism. Most of the world’s surface was controlled by a half-dozen Euro-American Great Powers. The years immediately prior to the First World War saw fewer sovereign nation-states in existence than at any time before or since. And in China, in 1899, resistance to European domination had been meet by the Eight Nation Alliance, a league of the world’s colonial powers acting in concert to crush a threat to them all. This would be the last time that happened. In 1914, the Great Powers would unstintingly pour out their blood and treasure, wasting their resources against each other as the great masses of Africa and Asia stirred. By 1950, the edifice of the European Order was broken forever. What if they hadn’t done that? What if London and Vienna and Paris and Berlin had realized that for all their squabbles and feuds, the real threat to their power and privileged wasn’t each other, but those they had enslaved? How would the 20th century have gone?

The Federalist Wars (1895)

“The nascent idea of “Manifest Destiny” was one of the many casualties of the American Federalist Wars. By the time the Jeffersonians secured final victory in 1814, the course had been firmly set for North America to become the multilingual, multinational patchwork it remains to this day. Two English-speaking British Dominions, two English-speaking Republics, a Francophone Federation, a Spanish-speaking Empire, and an Afro-Hispanic Republic, all uneasily co-existing.”

Explanation: Two main ideas went into this concept. The first was that I’d been reading about the election of 1800, one of the bitterest, more viciously-fought elections in our history. President Adams was accusing his opponents of being anti-American Jacobins, while Jefferson and his supporters pointed out that Adams was using the Alien & Sedition Acts to imprison those who criticized him, including a sitting congressman. It is unlikely that it would have devolved into outright warfare, but our Republic was far more fragile than I think people realize. Secondly, I’d gotten interested in doing a map of North America without U.S. Westward Expansion. The settlement and colonization of the West was probably inevitable, but early Americans by no means took it for granted that the United States would someday extend across the entire continent.

The Sino-Soviet War (1975)

“Following the 1967-1969 Sino-Soviet War and the resulting Shanghai Peace Agreement, most observers believed that the Soviet Union had suffered a major diplomatic defeat at the hands of President Johnson. In return for control over most of the Chinese borderlands, the USSR had agreed to allow the return of the Kuomintang to power in Beijing, bringing the world’s most populous region back into the Western Bloc. But as time went on, many began to see Brezhnev’s generosity as a ‘poison pill’ for the West. By the mid-1970s, the structure of the Chinese state had broken down into almost total anarchy, and 100,000s of American and NATO troops were tied down in an unending occupation and counter-insurgency, leaving the United States increasingly unable to oppose Soviet advances elsewhere in the world.”

Explanation: The Sino-Soviet Split is an absolutely pivotal moment in world history. It splintered the Communist Bloc, created an entirely new dimension of geopolitical rivalry, and put the People’s Republic of China on the road to the Great Power status that it holds today. I don’t think this is recognized as much as it should be in the west, and the fact that in 1969, Soviet and Chinese armies openly clashed along the borders. I don’t pretend to have any idea what would have actually happened in the event of an open war, but it’s interesting to note that the Russian Empire had had definite territorial ambitions in the Chinese borderlands, and that the USSR maintained classic Russian foreign policy much more than you might realize. And it’s not hard to imagine the USA becoming bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire on a far worse scale.

Japan Looks West (1947)

“It’s 1947, and though the World War has been over for less than two years, another one already beckons. The Empire of Japan has delivered an ultimatum to the newly independent Philippine Republic: join the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere or face destruction. President Truman has no wish to see an American ally in the Far East subsumed, but he knows that the military is still demobilizing or spread out across occupied Germany and that there is little appetite for a new conflict among the war-weary populace. But what choice does he have?”

Explanation: The genesis for this world was me thinking about a plausible scenario in which Japan beats the United States in WWII. And there just isn’t one. The gap in economic and industrial capacity is just far too wide for any conceivable strategy on the Empire’s part to have made any significant difference. The Japanese knew this too; their entire strategy in the Pacific War was built around seizing the resources of Southeast Asia as rapidly as possible and then holding off an American counterattack. Based on their experiences in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the Japanese high command assumed that if defeated swiftly, the U.S. would accept defeat. In this, they were very wrong. The only way for Japan to have even a chance in a war against the United States is to close to resource gap. So in this world, Imperial Japan had waged a series of successful wars against the other European Powers in the early 20th century, emerging with control of the oil and rubber of the East Indies and a huge captive population of workers, setting the stage for a (slightly) more equitable Pacific War.

Clash of Civilizations (476)

“As the year 452 AE dawned, Emperor Vespasian III looked to the East. To the south lay nothing but sun-baked sands and intractable nomads. To the north, the Hunnic Confederation and the surviving Germanic tribes beyond the Elbe had proven bitter opponents who yielded few spoils. To the west lay the endless Ocean from which no ship had yet returned. Only by following in the footsteps of Hadrian and Trajan and driving Roman rule deep past the Oxus and the Indus could new lands and people be brought under Imperial rule, and the Italian destiny of universal imperium be brought to completion. But to the East lay the one nation that had ever humbled the Roman legions and survived, the only other Empire that could challenge the Eternal City for mastery.”

Explanation: Recently, I became very interested in history of Roman trade and diplomacy with the Far East. It’s a richer topic of historical study than I had realized—Roman trade ships visited India regularly, journeyed down the African coast as far as Zanzibar, and occasionally ventured as far east as China and Indonesia. There was a truly immense amount of trade between China and Rome, mostly indirectly through Central Asia. Direct contact between the two great imperiums was limited to a few diplomatic missions. Historically at least. More than Roman emperor dreamed of emulating Alexander and subjugating Persia, and on more than one occasion detailed invasion plans were drawn up. A Roman Empire with it’s borders on the Hindu Kush would have certainly entered into direct diplomatic and military contact with the Middle Kingdom, with monumental if unknowable consequences.

The Proletariat Marches On (1939) 

“In retrospect, the Comintern attack on Europe in 1938 should have been predicted. Soviet victories in the Russo-Polish War of 1919-1920, the Romanian Revolution of 1927, and the Winter War of 1935, and the CCP victory over the Nationalists in the Red Terrors of Shanghai in 1928 had created a Communist Bloc stretching across all of Eurasia. But a complacent West was still shocked when Stalin unleashed Mikhail Tukhachevsky’s mechanized columns against Europe. A year later, the situation for the Anti-Comintern Pact is grim. Virtually all of South and Central Europe are now behind the Iron Curtain. The Wehrmacht, shattered by Soviet victories outside Berlin and Königsberg, has fallen back to the Weser River, where, reinforced by French and British troops, it desperately tries to make a stand. Mussolini’s legions were crushed in Yugoslavia, and now Soviet tanks pour almost unopposed into the Po Valley. Other Comintern columns drive through Persia against the Iraqi Oil Fields and down into Indochina. Only in Korea have the Japanese halted the communist invasion just north of Seoul. Now, the future of Europe, and perhaps the world, hangs in the balance”

Explanation: One of the early debates in the nascent Soviet Union was over whether to attempt to expand the Bolshevik victory worldwide, as advocated by Trotsky, or to follow Stalin’s dictate of building “socialism in one country”. The failure of the Spartacist Uprising of 1919 in Germany and the USSR’s defeat in the Russo-Polish War of 1919-1920 led to a retrenchment, with Lenin and Stalin’s government turning isolationist and focusing on trying to rapidly industrialize and pacify Russia. But what if Stalin had not given up on the dream of exporting the Revolution to the rest of the World? We think of blitzkrieg today as a German innovation, but Russian officers, led by the brilliant Marshal Tukhachevsky developed a parallel concept known as “deep operations” in the 1920s. Most of these men, Tukhachevsky included, were arrested and murdered by Stalin during the Great Purges of the 1930s, crippling the Red Army right before it was needed most. But a Soviet Union that had been planning a general offensive against Europe? One where Stalin’s obsession was not destroying his imagined enemies but carrying the Red Banner to the English Channel? Perhaps WWII would have gone very differently…

Germany Triumphant (1960)

“Traditionally, historians had neglected the study of the European Campaigns of WWII. The National Socialist regime’s restoration of German prominence on the continent ha been seen as a historic inevitability. The great struggle with the Empire of Japan that raged across the pacific from 1942-1946 has attracted far more interest, along with the subsequent Russo-American War of 1947. But as the years and decades passed, policy makers and politicians have begun to feel less sanguine about the consequences of those fateful weeks in 1939-1940. The European Community, guarded by tariffs and fleets and trade barriers, has yet to “reenter the civilized world” as Prime Minister Lord Halifax suggested was inevitable. And with Führer Göring’s death and the ascension of the hardliner Himmler to the leadership of Germany, tensions have begun to rise…”

Explanation: I have written about this scenario at great length elsewhere, so I will be brief. Essentially, I believe German victory over either the United States or Soviet Union in WWII to be virtually impossible, given the disparity of resources. German victory in the war was only possible when it was confined to Western Europe, and it was probably only possible even then during the spring of 1940, when the shock the Wehrmacht’s sudden victory in France was still paramount. Even the British Empire alone most likely had the resources to stand off German attacks indefinably, but it was in June 1940 that Lord Halifax, who could very easily have become Prime Minister instead of Churchill, suggested opening peace negotiations with Hitler. This is by far the most plausible avenue for a German victory in the war.

The Berlin-Beijing Axis (1914)

“In 1871, Chancellor Bismarck of the German Empire and Grand Councilor Li Hongzhang of the Qing Empire signed a mutual defense and assistance pact. Later historians would record this as one of the pivotal moments of the 19th century history, when the old European colonial powers, the states that had dominated global affairs for a century, were faced with challenges from Germany, seeking to gain a place in the sun, and China, seeking to regain one after the successes of the Daoguang Reforms. In the Great War of 1892-1896, this Berlin-Beijing Axis faced down the Triple Entente and crushed it, leading to a period of unprecedented global hegemony by the Dragons of the East and West.

Now, twenty years later, zeppelins ride the trade winds between Berlin and Beijing, a Sino-German fleet sits in Suez, holding a dagger to the world’s throat, and the wealth of the world flows through the banks of Frankfurt and Shanghai, Vienna and Singapore. Meanwhile, the Tsar’s troops fight an unending civil war with Bolshevik insurgents, Britain struggles to maintain predominance in a restive India, and the Committee of National Salvation props up King Jacques I of France with secret police, soldiers, and informants. But all is not well for the victorious powers either, as Germany attempts to wrangle an unruly constellations of satellites across Mitteleuropa and the Qing face demands for political participation from the new rising middle classes. And across the sea, the Sleeping Giant may be awakening….”

Explanation: This map has the silliest backstory of any I’ve posted here; it’s based off of a Victoria II game I played. Victoria II is a very fun strategy game where you play as a world power in the nineteenth century and either fight to colonize the world or struggle to hold off foreign colonization. As an experiment, I used cheat codes to Westernize China in 1836, putting it on an even playing field with the European powers, and by the end of the game in 1936, I had driven the Westerners from much of Asia, helped Germany establish hegemony over Europe, and created an unstoppable economic behemoth. I do think there’s an interesting idea underlying all of this, however. Throughout most of human history, China has been of, if not the, most powerful countries in the world. The Century of Humiliation was a historical anomaly, and one that I’m not certain was preordained. Japan successfully carried out a massive program of modernization and industrialization in the latter 19th century, and China had vastly greater resources than their island neighbors. Even a few decades before the disasters of the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion, China was seen as a major force to be reckoned with. There were certantly obstacles to be overcome, but I don’t think them inherently unachievable. And if China emerged on to the world stage, bound and determined to regain it’s traditional Sphere of Influence, I do think it would find Germany a natural ally against France, Russia, and Britain. In fact, there was substantial Sino-German military cooperation in the early 1930s, though it was soon eclipsed by the alliance between Germany and Japan and the Second Sino-Japanese War. Still, an idea to consider.

The Rise & Fall of Greater Paraguay (1947)

“The events of the Second Platine War (1864-1870) left Paraguay in a position of regional military and economic dominance in Lower South America, a position that a succession of López rulers would ruthlessly maintain for the following sixty years. As the acknowledged leader of the Liga de Estados Libras, the Republic of Greater Paraguay fought to eject British and American influence from the continent though a combination of shrewd diplomacy, protectionist trade policies, and military deterrence. However, this careful balancing act could not last forever, and in 1939 Marshal-President Juan Francisco II made the fatal mistake of signing onto the Pact of Steel and then following his European allies into war with the West. The South American Theater was one of WWII’s bloodiest, but by 1945 the Liga had been thoroughly crushed by an alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; Paraguay reduced to a shadow of it’s former glory”.

Explanation: The War of the Triple Alliance has long been a fascination of mine; a regional war over control of the Rio de la Plata, the war pitted Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay against an expansionist, aggressive Paraguay in a conflict that soon turned into a bitter and bloody grapple to the death. By the war’s end, something like 60-70% of the Paraguayan population had perished. The idea of Paraguay as a major power seems farcical, but at the time President Francisco Solano López had been carrying out a major military and industrial buildup that made his mountain nation, by some metrics, the most militarily powerful in the region. If he had been able to overcome Brazil and Argentina, possibly in the context of one of the interminable Argentina Civil Wars that marked the period, it’s not impossible to imagine Paraguay becoming at least a regional power. Any South American country that aspired to dominance was going to come up against American and British influence eventually, and it doesn’t seem impossible that a Paraguay that narrowly survived a war with all of it’s neighbors in 1864 would, sixty years later, tempt fate once again by plunging into war with the Western Allies.

The United Provinces of the Netherlands (1925)

“Even in today’s globalized, imperial world the United Provinces of the Netherlands stands apart from it’s peers. A federal, transnational republic, the U.P.N. is a union of the Dutch Republic, the Republic of Flanders, the State of Luxembourg, the Republic of New Netherlands, the Union of South Africa, and the Republic of New Zealand. Also under U.P.N. sovereignty is the Commonwealth of the East Indies, the Staatskolonies of Novaya Zemlya, the Dutch West Indies, the Dutch Antilles, New Walcheren, Suriname, the Gold Coast, South Sahara, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mauritius, the Comoros Islands, Port Gamrun, the Straits Settlements, Ceylon, and Formosa, and the Leaseholds of Fuzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo, and the Canal Zone. The Dutch also posses a Protectorate over the Kongo Free State. Tracing it’s roots back to the Eighty Years War of 1566–1648, the United Provinces has held it’s own against the newer Imperial Powers, forging a truly international federation of states that has dominated global trade and finance for over two centuries…”

Explanation: The history of the United Provinces of the Netherlands is remarkable. Their rebellion against Spain helped set the precedent for both the Glorious and American Revolutions, and whilst still in the process of fighting a war of independence against the world’s most powerful imperium they created a massive global empire of their own. For a brief time, the loose confederation of Dutch provinces was one of the richest and most powerful countries of Earth. It was not to last however–the Dutch Golden Century of 15811672 ended with the United Provinces coming under increasing pressure from France and England, and by the advent of the nineteenth century they were a distinctly second-rate power even before Revolutionary France overran them. What this supposes is: What if that didn’t happen? Notoriously, the merchants and burghers who ran the Dutch West Indies and Dutch East Indies Companies refused to invest more than the bare minimum in their colonies, dooming most of them to eventual English absorption. But what if a more foresightful and wise regime had existed, had invested time and money in building the scattered Dutch trading posts into colonies and territories that could stand on their own? Could the federal system of the original United Provinces have been expanded? Could the Netherlands have arrived in the twentieth century as one of Europe’s Great Powers? Perhaps!

Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men (1912)

“Ironically, the American Republic was thrust onto the world stage as a major power out of the fires of it’s greatest crisis: the American Civil War of 1861-1865 and the Third Anglo-American War of 1864-1867. Threatened by reactionary aristocracy from at home and abroad, the United States rallied to liberate the continent from slavery and tyranny. Since then, under a succession of Republican presidents, beginning with the legendary Lincoln and Grant, the Republic has Reconstructed the South, settled the West, amalgamated with Mexico, and defended the home of Republicanism from it’s many foreign enemies; the British Empire, the Russian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the newly-emerged Japanese Empire in the Far East. But as tensions rise in the dawn of the new century and imperialism threatens the Americas, can President Theodore Roosevelt keep the flame of liberty alive?”

Explanation: This map has a less…..robust explanation than some of the others. It began with me thinking about the lost promise of Reconstruction, how the attempt by the Radical Republicans to actually rebuild the American South postwar into an egalitarian and free community of states was destroyed by terrorism, corruption, and disinterest from Northern whites. It’s one of the great tragedies of our history, and it led directly to the century of segregation that followed. This started out with a though experiment about a series of more powerful Republican administrations actually enacting a real Reconstruction, and then morphed into a broader idea of the nascent Radicalism of the 1860s American Republicans leading to the U.S.A. emerging onto the world stage as a Great Power sixty years earlier than it did historically, motivated by a fierce and self-conscious opposition to monarchism, slavery, and aristocracy. What what such an Imperial Republic look like? How would it affect the world?

Great Qing (1914)

“For three centuries now, the Qing Empire has gone from triumph to triumph, steadily emerging as what is now unquestionably the greatest Empire in world history. Asia her dominion, Europe her playground, Africa her New Frontier–China bestrides the world like a colossus, drawing all the nations of Earth into its Virtuous Cycle of political and economic control. Only in the New World does the United States still stand as a viable counterweight to the inevitable march of destiny. As the twentieth century dawns, all eyes are drawn to what seems to be the Endgame of international affairs, the conflict that will determine the destiny of Mankind for at least the next century.”

Explanation: If you look at world history, one of the near-constant factors is China being one of the world’s dominant powers. In many ways, it was a fluke that saw the Qing Empire undergoe a sharp decline during the same era in which European nations gained the brief and transitory technological and socioeconomic advantage that ushered in the age of European global domination and the Century of Humiliation for China. I don’t think this was inevitable. A different Chinese government in the late 18th and early 19th century could well have plotted a different course that saw the Qing Empire retain it’s position as a major player on the world stage. I don’t think it’s particularly likely that Beijing would have been able to establish a world-state, but they’re probably one of the few countries in world history to even come close to having that capacity.

Je Me Souviens (1930)

“Since Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain laid claim to Canada in the seventeenth century, France has seen her destiny abroad. Beginning with the great North American Viceroyalties of Quebec, Louisiana, and Manitoba, French settlers and explorers spread their culture and their Kingdom’s power across the globe and across every continent. In this global imperialism that would give rise to the communauté française, Paris would only be rivaled in her dominions by Britain, and the clash of the two nations would dominate the history of the 18th and 19th centuries.”

Explanation: This map has a very simple backstory. Why do we only ever see massive British Empires?? Alternate History is chock-full of timelines where the British Empire never fell, or where it conquered the world, but I’ve never seen anyone try and depict a world in which the French achieved a similar hegemonic status. This map is a maximal depiction of French colonial claims, imagining a world where they maintained their North American colonies and territory in India but also managed to colonize North and West Africa and Indochina, as they did historically.

Fomenko’s Dream (1580)

“Since the Sack of Troy and the Fall of the Roman Empire in 1204 AD, the Russian Horde has emerged as the world’s dominant power, spreading Romanic civilization to the four corners of the Earth and enforcing the law of the Czar-Khan with the invincible cavalry armies of the Horde. But after nearly four centuries of supremacy, the cracks are beginning to show in the Great Empire’s domination. Rival powers like the Franks, Israelites, and Chinese seek to undermine their hegemony from outside, while religious schism and regional rivalry begin to eat away at the Horde from within. If the Slavs turn against their Turkic cousins, or Apostolic Christianity is shattered by heresy, or if the twin capitals of Novgorod and Tsargrad go to war, how will even the mighty Russian Horde survive such a cataclysm?” (MAP KEY FOUND HERE)

Explanation: So I’ve talked about Fomenko’s New Chronology at length here before, so I’ll try to be brief. Essentially, Anatoly Fomenko is a Russian mathematician who believes that all of recorded human history has occurred since 800 AD and that most of it was dominated by a global superpower called the Russian Horde, which was the true heir to the Roman Empire. This is extremely Not True for a variety of reasons, but I am endlessly delighted by the ridiculousness of the claims and the sweep of his fake history. I wanted to map out what his world could have looked like, but I was forced to take a number of liberties because in his chronology Russia just conquers everything and that’s boring. I used his ideas as a springboard to try and create something more interesting while still preserving the absurdity (and Russian ultra-nationalism) that forms the basis of his theory.