Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Post: November 25 - The "Golden Age" of the Anglo-Portuguese Empire begins

In 1487, Elizabeth of York is crowned Queen of England in a ceremony also attended by her beloved husband, Manuel the Fortunate who became the future King Manuel I of Portugal after his nephew Alonso died in an accident.

Though the Yorkist victory at Bosworth secured the throne in their hands, the death of Richard at the same battle placed a great emphasis on the cousins of the White Rose to secure a viable and lasting dynasty. This fell upon the shoulders of Elizabeth of York, daughter to Edward IV and beloved niece of Richard III. Though linked to Henry Tudor, his death at the hands of Lord Stanley, his own step-father, had ended the hopes for the Lancastrians to see their house on the throne again. 

Suitors had been rejected - in 1469, she was briefly betrothed to George Neville, son of John Neville, Earl of Northumberland, who initially supported Edward IV against the rebellion of his own brother Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, but later joined Warwick's rebellion, so the betrothal was called off. In 1475, Louis XI agreed to let her marry his son, Charles, the Dauphin of France, but Louis reneged on the promise in 1482. Instead, Elizabeth was linked with the related monarchs of Portugal. By contrast to the powerful suitors of France or Holy Roman Empire, the young Manuel had grown up in similar circumstances to his new bride. Both had seen cousins kill each other in conspiracies and murder as well as on the battlefield. 

Their union led to lasting peace and sealed the alliance of John of Gaunt and King John of Avis and would lead to the reign of King Henry VII of England and I of Portugal (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547) and the "Golden Age" of the Anglo-Portuguese Empire.

(Addendum by Jeff Provine)

With its newly found political stability, the shared Anglo-Portuguese court was the perfect place for an exasperated Italian navigator, Cristoforo Colombo, to head after being repeatedly turned down for financing in his ideas for an expedition sailing west to create a new trade route to India. Young King Henry was advised that the eventual route around Africa after the successful 1488 voyage of Bartholomeu Dias around the Cape of Good Hope, but Henry felt that if there were to be another route, he would want it. He dispatched Columbus, who returned successfully after claiming an island he dubbed "Henryland."

Columbus believed it was India, but it was soon discovered that the territory was a New World. As Columbus became intolerable, Henry had him executed and sent more explorers to swarm over the coasts his growing empire, such as the later Sir Francis Drake's conquest of the Inca. A few French and Dutch colonies interrupted the sprawling Anglo-Portuguese Empire, but it became the foundation for international trade in language and economics.

Overwhelmingly religious Spain continued its march into Africa and seemingly perpetual war against the Moors. Meanwhile, religion would end up tearing the Anglo-Portuguese apart as the north turned more Protestant, and the empire's golden age would come to an end. A new empire from Germany would arise centuries later, eclipsing the French and creating a new world order.

From the good folks over at Today in Alternate History

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Post: 9th November, 1918 - Rosevelt Rebukes Harboring the Kaiser

In 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany crossed the border by train and went into exile in Holland. But it took the "Dutch Courage" of Neiu Nederlander President Theodoor van Rosevelt to insist that Dutch Queen
Wilhelmina extradite Kaiser Wilhelm II, a "big stick" to prevent the rise of a future generation of dictators.

Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles in early 1919, Article  227 expressly provided for the prosecution of Wilhelm "for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties",
but Queen Wilhelmina refused to extradite him, despite appeals from the Allies. King George V wrote that he looked on his cousin as "the greatest criminal in history", but opposed Prime Minister David Lloyd George's proposal to "hang the Kaiser". President Woodrow Wilson of the United States rejected extradition, arguing that punishing Wilhelm for waging war would destabilize international order and lose the  peace.

And therefore we can say with certainty that the extradition and subsequent hanging of the Kaiser was the result of a precipitous twist of fate. Because in 1664, a freak storm had sunk the English Fleet
before it could seize New Amsterdam. Somehow, the Dutch Republic had held onto the Colony, which later emerge as one of the Eastern Sea-board mini-states after the American Revolution. By the early twentieth century, Neiu Nederlands was completely autonomous, and governed by the charismatic figure of Theodoor van Rosevelt. An unflinching advocate of the projection of military power by democratic governments, his intervention in the extradition crisis would be truly historic. Because as time would tell, the Kaiser's hanging would discourage the rise of dictators during the turbulent 1930s, proving that the wrong-headedly idealistic Wilson was quite completely mistaken. And what really mattered to keeping the peace in the real world was ensuring that would-be belligerents were kept in a constant fear of the firm use of authority by the democracies.

The emergence of a leadership role for the American  mini-state was wholly unexpected. Even though Holland remained neutral throughout the war, van Rosevelt had travelled to Washington to tell Wilson that the American Dutch would bravely join them. This was but the first step on the world stage. He would prevail upon Queen Wilhelmina, and later, at the Paris Peace Conference, persuade the victor powers to establish a League of Nations with a robust collective security policy: a bully club for the smaller nations to fight world domination. After all, who could be sure that a future German dictatorship would respect Dutch neutrality?

- from Today in Alternate History

Site Meter