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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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March 31

In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade. A re-post from Jeff Provine's original article Meiji Emperor Assassinated.

Perry opens JapanPerry had initially refused to deal with local Japanese officials and demanded to speak only with representatives of the Japanese head of state. At the time, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi was the de facto ruler of Japan; for the Emperor to interact in any way with foreigners was out of the question. Perry concluded the treaty with representatives of the Shogun, led by plenipotentiary Hayashi Akira and the text was reluctantly endorsed subsequently by Emperor Komei. Almost inevitably, it began a troubling time for Japan.

After hundreds of years of the Sakoku ("locked country") policy, Japanese ports were forced open by the American Admiral Perry in his 1853 display of Western prowess and demands of a treaty. Other Europeans followed, and it was obvious that Japan had fallen behind as it attempted to keep its society pure from Westerners. Many Japanese agreed that something should be done, the shishi, young warlords, calling for barbarians to be expelled from Japan, which Emperor Komei granted in 1863. Many foreigners were attacked and counter-attacked, and rebels in the south went undefeated by the Shogunate. In 1866, the fifteenth shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, ascended to the highest office and began reforms to modernize the nation, inviting an expedition from the Second French Empire to assist in building up a new army and steam-powered navy.

Then, in 1868 in one of the most pivotal moments in Japanese history, fifteen-year-old Emperor Mutsuhito was discovered dead in his chambers. His father had died from illness (arguably caused by poisoning) just over eleven months earlier, and now the country fell into civil war as the imperial court attempted to edge out the old guard. Many historians conclude that the assassination promoted war as each side blamed the other for the unsolved death.

A coup from the rebelling south in Satsuma and Choshu surrounded the emperor and gained great influence. They orchestrated an order in the emperor's name to call for the execution of Yoshinobu, who resigned in a ceremony of stripping him of land and titles despite his having performed no crime. He fell into retirement as according to the emperor's wishes, but Mutsuhito would be assassinated some weeks later. Yoshinobu was blamed and demands of his life were sent by the southerners. He refused to comply with the imperial court, whose coup he saw now as clearly murderous, and he sent forces southward. The Tokugawa armies, though improved by French advisers, were still largely samurai while the imperial army at Edo was modernized while outnumbered three to one.

The war followed samurai gains, which spread anti-foreigner sentiment around the islands. On March 8, at Sakai near Osaka, eleven French sailors were killed, which prompted the French ambassadors to send for help from Indochina, where the French were currently warring with rebels to maintain peace. French naval ships and troops arrived, coming to aid the imperial court. A puppet emperor was installed, and the French pushed samurai forces back, stomping out pockets of resistance over the next year, which also enabled them to gain footholds militarily over the islands. Japan was named a French colony in June of 1870, mere weeks before the disastrous Franco-Prussian War began.

The Japanese would prove stubborn subjects, and the French routinely sent new expeditions over the course of the Third Republic to put down uprisings, most notably the push for an end to Western rule in 1904, mirroring the struggles America had with its colony in the Philippines to the south. France and the United States would share resources to bolster their western Pacific colonies until World War I, when attention would turn to Europe. Russia's grossly outdated army would collapse almost immediately under German invasion, a quick end on the eastern front in sharp contrast to the dragging trench warfare of the west. After the war and the economic collapse following rebuilding of Europe, communism arose as a new strategy for society. Coming out of China, Japan would be fertile soil for communism after years of objecting to the hierarchy imposed by westerners. With the fall of France to the Third Reich, Japan and Indochina would undergo revolutions, then channeling supplies to China and Russia for their own civil wars.

Communism took firm root in the Far East, spreading to other nations previously under colonial control. It met stiff resistance from the West, and the two worlds would battle economically and militarily for decades through the twentieth century.

It is March 1869, and Abraham Lincoln is completing his second term. Just as he and Mary had planned, they head for Jerusalem as soon as the votes have been counted.
An instalment from the Happy Endings thread.


Happy Ending 54
Lincoln in Jerusalem: A very, very happy ending
There, they find themselves surrounded by Jewish and Muslim inhabitants. They have all heard of Abraham Lincoln and try hard to make him welcome, as a way of attracting additional newcomers to their Holy Land.

Lincoln, in turn, writes to his friends and supporters, recommending that they visit this holy and fascinating place. Soon newspaper reporters get the message and share it with the world. As a result, American visitors start flocking there. Many of them decide to stay .. enough to make Jerusalem an American colony.

This, of course, enhances the prosperity of their Jewish and Muslim neighbors, who soon start catering to the tourist trade. When the 1894 Dreyfuss Case attracts even more Zionists, they are welcomed, too.

Now a spry 85-year-old, Lincoln encourages the influx by roundly condemning the bigoted French prosecutors in the Dreyfuss Case .. and reminding the world of the great sacrifices made by his own brave and honorable Jewish soldiers .. to the point where Palestine is now known as the "Land of Lincoln".

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson made a last-minute decision to scrap the televised speech he'd planned to give about Vietnam and the economy and instead devoted his address to the growing reanimation syndrome crisis in Memphis. In his speech he called the reanimation syndrome outbreak "the most serious health crisis our country has faced in nearly a generation"; ominous as those words sounded at the time, they would prove to be an understatement in light of subsequent events. Less than a week after the speech, in fact, fears of the virus spreading beyond Memphis would become reality when a resident of Germantown, Tennessee tested positive for reanimation syndrome.

Dead Serious - World War Z: The Vietnam Edition:
Part 4
Around this same reports of a possible link between reanimation syndrom and the so-called "Mortuary Killer" gained new credibility when one of the supposed killer's victims also showed signs of having the virus. Once the virus had spread beyond Tennessee and into neighboring states like Arkansas it became clear all of the people allegedly murdered by the "Mortuary Killer" were in fact victims of zombie attacks and the corpse whose disappearance had sparked the "Mortuary Killer" investigation was responsible for many of these attacks.

Interestingly enough, rumors had been circulating that Johnson might use the speech to announce his withdrawal from the 1968 presidential campaign, but with the reanimation syndrome epidemic showing signs of turning into a national-- possibly worldwide --catastrophe all the normal rules of American politics were taking a back seat to the need for a solution to the threat posed by the undead. Indeed, circumstances would later force the federal government to postpone the presidential elections for the first time in U.S. history.

In 1850, on this day the seventh President of the United States John Caldwell Calhoun died in Washington, D.C. He was sixty-eight years old.

Passing of President CalhounHe was serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina's 6th district when President James Madison signed a ceasefire with Great Britain that ended the disasterous War of 1812.

Feeling officially independent of Britain, the Americans settled about their affairs. Madison would pass his presidency to James Monroe, who would in turn pass it to John Quincy Adams, and then to the firebrand John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (who narrowly defeated Andrew Jackson of Indian-fighting fame in party conventions). Calhoun vetoed often, such as the Tariff of 1828 and the Tariff of 1832, keeping Southern ideals of states rights in place over the more Federal-thinking Whigs.

After Calhoun's presidency, the workable federation of the United States went to war with Mexico while he still served as senator. Polk's War ended favorably with large gains in the Southwest, but this sudden gain of territory stressed the question of slavery for the nation. After countless arguments and debates in Congress, the idea of secession finally came up. The North and the South would never agree, so perhaps they would best seek their fortunes as neighbors rather than housemates. The Constitution never addressed secession completely, so legal precedent allowed the peaceful separation of the United States with the consent of Congress, which had never happened before in the minor uprisings of territories decades before. Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas, under the guidance of an ancient Calhoun too weak to speak but able to write powerful pages, crafted the Act of Disunion of 1850, separating the United States of America in the North and the Confederated States of America in the South with a westward border compromised at 36 degrees, 30 minutes north.

With a stronger industrial base, the USA quickly outpaced its southern neighbor, who spent much of its political time and energy with expansionism toward Latin America, adding Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands to its domain in the Spanish-American War in the 1880s. World War I would see the South enter on the side of the Allies early in 1916 while the USA sat out. In 1941, when the Confederate base at Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, CSA President "Cactus Jack" Garner asked USA President Franklin Roosevelt to acknowledge various treaties between the two brotherly countries and join them in battle. FDR agreed, and the two nations fought alongside one another for the first time since the Mexican War that had ended up driving them apart.

After WWII, many asked if the two nations would rejoin, but, despite its troubled economy, the South sought to maintain its independence. Racial subjugation rejected in the North under two-term president JFK was still accepted as legal in the South with gradual concessions such as the Civil Rights Act of 1968 signed by President George Wallace guaranteeing separate but equal segregation.

Despite their differences, the two American nations remain, for the most part, friendly. Their fiercest competition come in the Olympics, when the anthems of "My Country, "Tis of Thee" and "God Save the South" are often heard.

In 1958, on this day in the federal election, the Progressive Conservatives, led by John Diefenbaker, won the largest percentage of seats in Canadian history, with 208 seats of 265.

Election of Canadian PM John DieffenbakerBut his term of office would be shaped by the apocalyptic events of October 1962; the often unilateral judgments he took, and the heavy-handed way he communicated those decisions to his colleagues and allies. In his diaries, he rejected these charges, claiming that President Kennedy told him bluntly that, "When I tell Canada to do something, I expect her to do it!". What is undisputed is that on the 22nd, his Defense Minister Douglas Harkness advised him that Kennedy had approved an escalation of the NORAD measurement from two (peace) to three (enhanced awareness) on the way to five (war) without consulting Ottawa even though Canada was supposedly an equal partner to America in NORAD.

Two days later, World War Three broke out and the boot was on the other foot. American Cities were devastated by Soviet nuclear missiles. Under the Dieffenbaker Plan, the Canadian Government laid claim to territory possessed by the United States in order to rehabilitate that land "back to a standard of civilization". However that plan failed to gain the necessary Parliamentary support and Dief was thrown out of office.
This is an installemend from the Cuba 62 - Canada thread.

In 1492, the Alhambra Decree Begins Scheme to Send Jews West. The Reconquista of Spain completed with the Battle of Granada on January 2, 1492. Muslims had controlled the Iberian Peninsula after their invasion in 711, but gradually the Christian kingdoms of the north expanded southward. In-fighting slowed the Christian efforts, but the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469 united two of the largest kingdoms to a single force. In twenty years of warfare, they pushed back the Muslims to Granada, where they affirmed rule of the peninsula fully in the hands of Christian monarchs.

March 31, 1492 - Alhambra Decree Begins Scheme to Send Jews WestFollowing the battle, Ferdinand and Isabella settled on to new projects. With the conquest of Granada, the Catholic Monarchs had acquired vast lands but also now ruled a new population of Muslims and Jews. Jews, as fellow "e;People of the Book"e;, were initially treated with respect under early Muslim rule. Jews from all over the Mediterranean immigrated to what was then known as al-Andalus, creating banking and centers of education. Religious zeal increased on both sides of the peninsula as Christians called to retake lands lost by the Visigoths, and tolerance of Jews fell. The Spanish Inquisition began in 1480, giving religious authority to the crown rather than the Pope. Their agent, Dominican friar Tom´s de Torquemada, served as Grand Inquisitor as well as confessor for Isabella. Along with others, he encouraged the monarchs to expel non-Christians from the country to purify it. Those who did not leave would have to convert (and the Inquisition would make certain they did not secretly practice forbidden faith) or face torture and death.While religious fervor marked much of the reasoning behind expulsion, the matter was also economical. Torquemada stressed that much of the economy of Spain was held by influential Jews. With their power, they could subvert the authority of the Church or even the monarchs. He called for their expulsion long before the conquest of Granada, but Ferdinand and Isabella did not want to risk the crash of their economy during wartime. With the war over, they could restructure their economy as well as seize the valuable property of the Jews who chose to flee.

Meanwhile, Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator campaigned at court for funding of an expedition that would reach the Orient by sailing west. He had attempted to win favor from John II of Portugal, but the king had turned him away after his advisers stated the calculations for the circumference of the Earth were far too short. Columbus had argued at court since 1486, noting the potential wealth from a new trade route. He was given no positive answer, but he was furnished with food, lodging, and a salary, keeping him on retainer rather than seeking support from any other monarch of Europe.

When it slipped that Columbus would eventually be turned down on the advice of Torquemada, Columbus decided to change his position. He took one item of Torquemada's agenda, the removal of the Jews, and tied it to his own. Managing an interview with Torquemada, he pointed out the danger of letting the Jews "escape" to build up power elsewhere. Instead, they should be sent to the East, where their wares would have to pass through Spain to market. Torquemada approved the plan, and the monarchs soon announced the "Alhambra Decree", stating that in four months Jews would be forced to live in Granada alone. That summer, hundreds of thousands of Jews moved to the city, allowed to keep their possessions but selling homes and businesses far under value.

In 1493, Columbus returned successfully from what was soon to be realized as the New World. His next expedition left that September, and along with it went a large fleet of forced Jewish immigrants. The Spanish established settlements on Hispaniola, using Jews and local natives as labor. Over the next decade, the Jews of Spain converted, sneaked out of the country, or were deported to the New World. During the rule of the Spanish Empire, several Jewish revolts began, but the might of the Conquistadors and the Spanish navy put down the rebellions. Many Jews settled into their work on plantations and were joined by African slaves, creating a lucrative economy exporting to Europe.

By the seventeenth century, new hope for the Jews arrived as other nations began to colonize the Caribbean. Piracy flourished, and, in the chaos, Jews escaped from Hispaniola by the thousands to neighboring islands. Many settled on the far coast of Hispaniola under French rule, helping to make Saint-Domingue the most prosperous colony in the region. The Caribbean became a popular destination for Jews fleeing oppression in other areas of Europe, particularly Germany and Italy, where corporations funded ships to transport colonists.

Antisemitism continued in the Caribbean, where for centuries the Jewish people were held as second-class citizens along with natives and Africans. As they gained economic clout by the early twentieth century, however, the Jews won their recognition, and the Caribbean today is well known for its banking, produce, and tourism. In modern times, many Jews hold to ideals of Zionism, wishing for a Jewish state in Palestine, where some Jews have established communities. However, with the large Jewish population of the Caribbean, there has not been fervent international action answering the call for a geographic "Israel".

In 1948, on this day the twenty-fifth President of the Confederate States Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. was born in the Federal District of Richmond.

Al Gore
25th Confederate President
March 4, 1999 - 2005
A life-long and well groomed political career included service as CS Representative, Senator and Vice President. He was the son of former Tennessee Congressman and Senator Albert A. Gore, Sr., first winning election to is father's former House seat when it became vacant in 1976 with the unexpected retirement of Rep. Joe Evins. He would remain in that position for three terms until winning a Senate seat in 1984. He would leave the Senate in 1989 to serve as Vice President under Bill Clinton. As Vice President, he had a written agreement to be an active part of the administration and became as visible as the president in national and international affairs. His most impressive contribution was in the field of interactive media, being an advocate for new technology going all the way back to his first days in the House. As a result of this interest, he attracted a large following in the younger generation. This lead to a close race against fellow Tennessean, sitting Constitutionist Senator Lamar Alexander, Gore became the 25th President of the Confederate States.

From the two Americas thread on Alt WikiaIn his first nine months as president, Gore's history with the computer age (some had begun to call him "Geek-in-Chief") provided him with an unusual challenge. It had come to his attention as Vice President that early computer programmers, both American and Confederate, had made an error in a crucial component of many programs -- the date. Many experts as far back as 1984, in the dawn of the "world-wide web", had begun warning that computers that used the two last digits of the year as a date would malfunction as dates began to register "00". Fixes had been devised, and the Clinton administration had worked with American, Canadian, and European experts to assure that everything would make the transition without problems. However, as one of the most visible spokesmen for the technology, Gore was the one who was most "tested" as the calendar year (and digital counters) moved into 2000. With only a few glitches, the world survived.

Gore's number one issue as president, though, was to curb what he saw as the most dangerous problem the world faced in the twenty-first century -- the production of "green house gases" in the continued use of carbon-based fuels. The Confederate States was the second largest producer of oil in the world, making it also quite stable as an economic superpower. But the use of that product was seen by Gore and his compatriots as the number one producer of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to the heat-trapping effect of carbon by-products in the atmosphere. Having first learned of the theory of "global warming" in college, Gore had been an amateur scientist, learning everything he could to support the theory. The theory had support around the world, and Gore lobbied Congress throughout his term as president to support the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. However, even members of his own party had warned that riding this issue too far would result in a backlash. Gore would lose both the House and Senate by the end of 2004, and the Democrats would then lose the White House in 2006 with the election of Mike Huckabee - the second Arkansas governor in as many decades to sit at the President's desk.

In 1986, on this day the Grigory Romanov regime's last hope of retaining control of the Ukraine vanished as PLM forces supported by Ukrainian anti-Romanov partisans seized the Ukraine regional capital Kiev and the nuclear power plant in the nearby town of Chernobyl.

The Fall of KievThe capture of the Chernobyl reactor in particular would have a dramatic impact on the world; home movies shot by the rebels after the power plant fell and released to the West via a Finnish human rights group based in Helsinki showed the reactor was falling apart after years of poor maintentance.A new installment in Necessary Evil

A French nuclear physicist who studied the home movies said that had Chernobyl not been taken off-line by the PLM when it was overrun, it most likely would have eventually suffered a severe breakdown -- there was even evidence Chernobyl's number 2 reactor was dangerously close to suffering an explosion that would have spread radioactive fallout across hundreds, possibly thousands of square miles in Europe.

In 1982, British ambassador Peter Jay (pictured) speaks with U.S. Defense Secretary Alexander Haig regarding the escalating situation in the Falkland Islands, but proves unable to persuade him that the U.S. needs to involve itself directly.Falklands Emergency Part 4 - Failure of Diplomacy by Eric Lipps
It will prove to be a critical failure. Unconvinced by Henderson, Haig will counsel President Ronald Reagan to proceed cautiously when Reagan seeks his advice after receiving a telegram from British Prime Minister James Callaghan later that day. Reagan, therefore, will not provide the British with unrestricted access to U.S. intelligence resources, including spy satellites, which have been monitoring the Argentines.
Ideological antagonism plays a role in these events. Staunch Republican conservatives, neither Haig nor Reagan has ever particularly liked or trusted the 'socialist' Callaghan or his party. So when first Henderson and then the Prime Minister himself seeks U.S. aid, both men are predisposed to see it as Old World meddling in an area which under the Monroe Doctrine is the exclusive concern of the United States. While unwilling to commit to actually aiding Argentina militarily against NATO ally Britain, the Reagan administration is likewise unwilling to aid Callaghan's Labourites.
In his memoirs, ex-Prime Minister Callaghan will express his 'disappointment' at Reagan's lack of support. Without explicitly saying so, he will suggest that Reagan's dithering was responsible for Britain's, and his, humiliation in the Falklands affair, which nearly precipitated the fall of the Labour government and helped set the stage for its ouster the following year. In a contrafactual speculation, he will suggest that had a Tory government been in power instead - under, perhaps, the peppery anti-Communist Margaret Thatcher - Reagan would have acted on Britain's behalf, almost certainly altering the result.
To be continued..

In germinal 03 year 9, by the Revolutionary Calendar, First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte was shot dead in the city of Amiens where he was somewhat half-heartedly leading negotiations towards a "Definitive Peace" with the British Government.

The PittsHis assassin was the 2nd Baron of Camelford, or as he was more popularly known, the "Half-Mad English Lord" Thomas Pitt. Despite being the cousin of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger he had acted independently. In which a Half-Mad English Lord secures the Peace of AmiensQuite out of impulse actually, he evaded British authorities, sneaking into France to shoot the unguarded Napolean dead with his early repeating pistol.

If Pitt could be said to have a motive, it was perhaps an aristocratic sense of outrage directed at the French Revolution, rather than a desire to strike a blow for the British Government per se. But in a sense, both motives merged into one because the prospect of the "Great French War" ending peacefully with Napoleon as the Head of State was an impossibility that the perhaps not so mad English Lord had quite correctly discerned.

On this day in 1983, the World Wrestling Federation announced that its next major pay-per-view event, Wrestlemania, at the Byrne Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey on the last Sunday in April. The main event was tentatively scheduled to put Terry "Hulk" Hogan against "Psycho" Tommy Rich for the WWF world heavyweight title.

 - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich
In 2004, with their exterior, super-cooled chamber filled with methane crabs and the parasitic Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan's ship takes off from Titan and heads back to earth. They have some high hopes about genetically engineering the P.V. into a more useful citizen of the solar system.
In 1991, the Honduran Pact, a military organization of the Central American nations that formed a buffer zone between capitalist Brazil and the communist Soviet States of America, formally dissolved its membership. With the wave of capitalistic experimentation going on in Latin America, most member states no longer saw a need to protect themselves from their new trading partner.
In 1990, President Ralph Shephard authorizes the Atlantis Project, a systematic program to sink enemy ships in the western hemisphere. Led by the nuclear carrier Atlantis, the project destroyed almost a hundred enemy vessels and killed thousands of sailors.
In 1959, Tensin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and leader of the Tibetan people, surrenders to Chinese authorities who have taken control of his small country. When he is executed as an enemy of the state, Tibetans begin a 7-year uprising against Chinese rule that eventually drives out the communist power, but leaves Tibet in ruins.
In 1952, Mikhail von Heflin and his lover Velma Porter sail the survivors of their ship to the Libyan coast, where they are forced to crashland. The Baron and Miss Porter leave them after firing off a few flares to alert anyone passing that they need assistance.
In 1948, 43rd U.S. President Al Gore, Jr. was born in Carthage, Tennessee. After the contentious 2000 elections put Gore into the White House with a popular vote victory but a contested electoral vote win, Republicans fought him tooth and nail until they lost control of the House in the 2002 elections, and then the Senate when Gore won reelection in 2004.
In 1889, a handful of Parisians attended the dedication of the Tour Eiffel, the 1000-foot tall tower designed by Gustave Eiffel to honor France's revolution of 1789. The wrought-iron eyesore has few visitors today, and sticks out like a sore thumb in the heart of Paris.
In 1596, Rene Descartes thought he was born, but was he, really?
In 2004, fascinated by the Titanian parasites they have dubbed the Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan assemble a super-cooled chamber to carry a load of P.V. and methane crabs back to earth. They wisely elect to keep this chamber outside of their ship - just in case.


March 30

In 1940, a puppet government led by Wang Jingwei was established in the Republic of China under the protection of the Empire of Japan and her strategic ally, the Soviet Union [1].

The Fall of Comrade Stalin Part 4: the Partition of ChinaPrior to the Munich Agreement, the "young marshal" of the Manchus Zhang Xueliang had forced Nationalists and Communists to work together to defend China. But Comrade Stalin had over-estimated the resolve of the Stresa Front and occupied Lithuania. He had become the aggressor, and the World united against Bolshevik expansionism.

Of course the effective partition of China was necessary for the "Heartland Powers" to establish a contiguous land mass, nevertheless it was an interesting development for the Western victory powers of WW1 and their new allies Nazi Germany. Because all of the European colonial possessions in AsiaPac had been under dire threat since the British crisis in the Far East of 1937-8 [2]. Now the increased ambition of the Japanese - the desire to create a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere - threatened to draw the United States into the war. But of course US had signed a law of neutrality, and public opinion was firmly set against any form of American nevertheless. Nevertheless, the Reorganized National Government of China posed a threat to the broader periphery that drew the "Rimland Powers" ever closer to the United States. In London, First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill opened a bottle of champagne and made a toast: "GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE JUST WON THE WAR", he said [3]. This is a crossover teaser for Chris Oakley's Comrade Hitler thread.

In 1979, Leader of the Opposition Margaret Thatcher was fatally injured in the House of Commons car park by a magnetic bomb fitted underneath the car owned by her campaign manager, Airey Neave (pictured together). Outside Westminster Hospital he described her death as an "incalculable loss". An article from the No Thatcher thread.

An incalculable lossThe Labour Government had lost a vote of "no confidence" just two days earlier, and Thatcher had been set to become the country's very first female Prime Minister. Yet the killing had been planned by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) for Neave himself who was serving as the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Plans to dissolve the House of Commons were delayed, however it did not help Labour Prime Minster James Callaghan who was replaced by the Tory Willie Whitelaw the landslide winner of the General Election. And despite the calls for a crackdown, Neave was determined to press ahead with his plans for fully integrating Northern Ireland into British Politics.

In 1867, on this day Great Britain purchased Alaska from the Tsar. Long delayed by negotiating posturing, it was nevertheless a move that had been almost inevitable ever since the Russian-American Company entered into an agreement with the Hudson's Bay Company to grant British rights to sail through Russian territory.

Ice Crystal of the British EmpireThe name "Alaska" was already introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used only for the peninsula and is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland" or, more literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed". It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land", an Aleut word derived from the same root.

An early European contact with Alaska occurred in 1741, when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter. After his crew returned to Russia with sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784. But the Russians never fully colonized Alaska, and the colony was never very profitable.

Although the Tsar believed Britain and France had "no business on this continent" he had offered the British first refusal. They declined, hoping to reduce the price. The territory was then offered to the United States but President Andrew Johnson believed it was foolhardy to spend so much money on the remote region. William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State, felt otherwise, but he was just beaten to it by the British Government who belatedly decided that they didn't want the Colony of British Columbia to be surrounded by the United States. Of course within a few years, it was a moot point because British America above the the 49th parallel was confederated, and the short-lived Colony of New Orkney became a province of Canada.

In 598, on this day Bayan I ordered his Avaro-Slavic hordes to destroy the Byzantine stronghold of Tomis.

The City of Tomis of AvarsAfter the split of the Roman Empire, the city fell under the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice. Had he succeeded in holding on to Tomis, then perhaps the order of Late Antiquity could have been preserved in the region.

But his twenty-year campaign failed to prevent the Slavic landfall on the Balkans. And it would be the final installment in a series of classical Roman campaigns against the Barbarians on the Rhine and Danube.

Of course with respect to the Slavs, these campaigns had the typical trait of Roman campaigns against unorganized tribes and of what we now call asymmetric warfare.

In 1867, Tsarist Russia found itself in a difficult position with the massive peninsula of Russian America (what would later become known as Alaska).

Alaska Purchase Excludes Kodiak It was a land rich in resources, but it was as inhospitable as Siberia and exceedingly distant from the capital at St. Petersburg. Colonization would take money and time, the former of which Russia lacked due to the costly Crimean War and the latter due to encroaching settlers from British Columbia. Another disastrous war could cost them the land without compensation, so the Tsar decided best to sell it now to a state so expansionist it could stymie the land-hungry British Empire: the United States.

Initial talks during the Buchanan presidency had ended in failure due to the distraction of the American Civil War. After the war ended, the Tsar ordered Eduard de Stoeckl, Russian minister to the US, to again approach America about buying. Secretary of State William H. Seward was an eager expansionist and quickly agreed, even though he would later have difficulty persuading the Senate to ratify the treaty. Before the two sat down to discuss details of the sale, a letter arrived from Russian Alaska asking that Kodiak Island be spared from the sale.

While much of Alaska remained populated only by the native Eskimo people, Russia had made attempts at colonizing their corner of America. In 1763, Stephan Glotov explored the island and found it suitable for the fur trade. In 1784, Grigory Shelikhov established the first permanent settlement there, which would later become a significant center of the fur trade. If Russia sold Alaska completely, the Tsar and his people would lose out on the business they had helped to build.

Stoeckl found himself in a difficult position. Seward still wanted to buy, but he seemed suspicious of the Russians holding their key island where the Russian tradesmen would have a leg-up on American settlers. Finally, after a hasty agreement that would have been voided without later Tsarist permission, Stoeckl offered Seward the Kuril Islands south of Kamchatka. They had been a point of contention between Russia and Japan, which formally established relations in 1855 with Treaty of Shimoda, part of which clarified the national border "between the islands of Etorofu and Uruppu. The whole of Etorofu shall belong to Japan; and the Kuril Islands, lying to the north of and including Uruppu, shall belong to Russia". Unlike the significant Sakhalin, these islands were primarily uninhabited, and an American buffer there would strengthen Russian standing in the North Pacific against Japanese expansion. Seward saw it as another chance for expansion and a closer diplomatic tie with the Japanese, who had opened their ports only a decade before during Admiral Perry's expedition.

Before and after the treaty being narrowly passed by the Senate, the national mood mocked the $7.2 million purchase as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" even with the price of about two cents per acre. More derision followed as Russia kept its dominance in the fur trade over the next years. However, with the gold rush of 1898, America secured its position in Alaska, and Kodiak lost out on much of its economic significance. Later, in 1905, many feared that holding the Kuril Islands would drag America into the Russo-Japanese War, but they proved key ground for President Theodore Roosevelt to begin peace talks. American defenses would be built on the cold, volcanic islands as Japan became more militaristic, and, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the American troops there would be wiped out during bitter winter fighting in the first prong of the Japanese assault on Alaska after the spring thaw in 1942.

The most significant fallout of the seemingly minor amendment to a land-purchase a century before came as the Cold War grew hotter between America and the USSR. Both Kodiak and the Kuril Islands became military strongholds, and both sides attempted to place missiles in their bases there secretly. When U-2 spy planes discovered silos being constructed on Soviet Kodiak, President John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation" on October 22, 1962. He finished his enumeration of demands with, "Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations".

Khrushchev refused to budge, sparking the three-week-long Alaska War in late 1962. American Marines stormed Kodiak Island, fighting with Soviet troops for days in bitter cold. The Russians counterattacked in the Kuril Islands, and the world sat on edge with everyone panicking at the thought of nuclear exchange. After both operations became successful invasions, desperate diplomacy cleared the mess, and agreement was reached that the two nations would officially exchange the islands.

Many historians note that it required involvement in three wars to fix a seemingly advantageous treaty that proved inexpedient. Commentators routinely call upon it as evidence for diplomats to be mindful of future strife as well as modern business.

In 1806, a declaration of guaranteed freedom of navigation upon the Mississippi River removed the final obstacle to the United States' diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Gloriana.

Western MagicOnly the misdirection of no less than three Heads of States could have driven events down this odd fork in the road of American development.

Despite his lofty aspirations of western expansion, the overriding imperative of US President Thomas Jefferson was the removal of European Military Power from the continent:

"Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part".

Upon reflection Jefferson had decided that the formation of a Mississippi confederacy was a highly desirable outcome because it enabled his Republican Government to dismantle the US Navy, scrap foreign embassies and remove all other undesirable legacies of the Hamiltonian System.

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had been ceded huge tracts of land from Spain but had lost interest in the Americas after a twenty-five thousand man force of crack French troops led by his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc had failed to put down the Haiti Insurrection. Mischievelously planning to create a maritime rival to challenge Great Britain, L'Empereur offered to sell the Louisiana Territy for the incredible price of only fifteen million dollars.

"This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride".

Even so Gallic pride would force him to withdraw the offer after he calculated that the deal represented a fire sale of only three cents an acre, even less than the pittance paid to the Indians for the purchase of Manhattan Island. Jefferson refused to raise the increased price because it would have destroyed his legacy. His fifteen year plan to retire the national debt was driven by profound regret over his "greatest blunder" during his service as Secretary of State in Washington's first term, mistakenly assisting Alexander Hamilton to consolidate government.

Thus the opportunity of a life time presented itself to Aaron Burr. Destined to rule, he founded the breakaway Republic of Gloriana after intrigue prevented him from governing in the United States.

Of course in adhering to his own near-sacred character of republican principles, Jefferson was also mindful of the very real challenges presented by the governance of an extended territory with an ethnic diversity of the Creole population. And ultimately Jefferson was happy to shift the problem to another American authority led by Burr, a perverse consolation prize for his defeat in the 1800 Presidential election.

Nevertheless history marched on as Napoleon had predicted and Jefferson himself had feared because an American Empire would indeed require an Imperial President. By the time Andrew Jackson put down border uprisings in nearby Florida, American expansionism was once again on the agenda. But Jefferson's heirs would look South, dreaming of a Tropical Empire.

"[There will be] distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand [the nation]... & cover the whole northern if not the southern continent" ~ Thomas Jefferson, on American expansion.

In 1870, rebels in Texas fight off efforts to rejoin the United States.

Texas becomes last confederate state readmitted to Union
By Robbie Taylor
Texas had descended into anarchy for two months between the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union General Gordon Granger. Violence had marked the early months of Reconstruction. In 1866, the restoration of civilian government was prematurely declared.

But even with all of their Confederate allies back in the Union, the newly reformed Texas Republic remained independent and refused the amnesty offered by President Grant if they would just surrender and merge back with America. Nevertheless Texas eventually ran out of the ability to resist, and was conquered and absorbed back into the U.S. in 1886.

In 1981, U.S. President Edward M. Kennedy is shot and gravely wounded by a former mental patient named John Hinckley.

Scoop Jackson's Eight-hour PresidencyUnder the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Vice-President Henry M. Jackson becomes acting President, until it is clear that Kennedy will recover. Afterward, comedians will have a field day with jokes about Jackson's 'eight-hour presidency.'

Following Hinckley's arrest, it will emerge that the would-be assassin has been stalking the President for months, and that his motive for attempting to kill Kennedy was not political but instead a desire to impress the actress Jodie Foster, with whom he has become obsessed since seeing her in the movie Taxi Driver.

An odd consequence of the shooting will be the cancellation of the TV superhero spoof The Greatest American Hero, whose lead character had been named Ralph Hinckley. Given Kennedy's near-assassination, on top of the successful assassination of his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the ABC television network will decide that retaining this series is bad for its public relations.
This post is an article from Eric Lipps's No Chappaquiddick thread.

In 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest by former mental patient John Hinckley and gravely wounded.

Although Reagan survives, a blood clot produced by his injury travels to his brain, causing a crippling stroke and forcing Vice-President George H. W. Bush to assume the duties of President under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment. Bush announces his decision to invoke the amendment after being informed of the medical complication by the President's doctors.

US President
US President - Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

In his announcement, Bush asserts that he will refrain from a formal swearing-in and, although acting as president, will not accept the actual title. "I hold this office in trust for the man elected to it," he announced. "Although I am called upon to exercise its powers, I shall not claim the title until I may succeed to it by lawful means".

Mr. Bush declines to mention that one possible "lawful means" is the death of the stricken Reagan, whose survival remains in question for several months. Others, however, are not so reticent. In addition, there is speculation that Reagan may choose to resign, or may even be removed by Congress, although constitutional scholars question the legitimacy of the latter option absent impeachable offenses. In fact, however, neither occurs: Reagan proves remarkably resilient, and in September of 1982, after a final thorough examination by his physicians, he resumes the presidency amid a ceremony gaudier than his original inauguration.

Unknown to anyone at that time, however, is that Reagan was in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease at the time of his shooting, and that his injury has accelerated the progress of the condition. This will become tragically apparent only during President Reagan's second term, after he had won re-election by defeating former Vice-President Walter Mondale in all fifty states.

Nominee

In 1989, President Jack F. Kemp introduces legislation to return the United States to the gold standard, something hen has long advocated as a means of curbing inflation. Congress is less than enthusiastic about the idea, because of fears it will prove an economic and political bonanza to gold producers, including apartheid South Africa while doing little or nothing to benefit the U.S. economy.

Nominee - Jack Kemp
Jack Kemp

On this day in 1957, the injury bug bit Sandy Koufax again as he went down with a broken second finger on his right hand during the 3rd quarter of Game 1 of the 1957 NBA league championship series. The Celtics ended up losing that game in double overtime to the St. Louis Hawks 129-124 and would end up losing the series in six games.

 - NBA Logo
NBA Logo

In 1964, South Carolina senator J. Strom Thurmond emphatically denies rumors that he is considering switching parties to become a Republican. "Ah know the Democratic Party has taken a wrong turn in recent yeahs", Thurmond drawls. "But mah abandonin' the party of Jeffuhson won't put it back on the raht path. Ah intend to stay and fight fo' the principles upon which this pahty, and this nation, were established: fo' states? rahts an' limited gov'ment, and against the godless Communism which threatens us ovahseas and is reachin' into America as well".

 - Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond

Observers with long memories comment that Thurmond in fact had bolted the party once before, in his unsuccessful presidential run in 1948 on the States' Rights Party ticket, and speculate unkindly that his real objection to joining the GOP is that the Republicans are the party which abolished slavery.

In 2004, fascinated by the Titanian parasites they have dubbed the Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan assemble a super-cooled chamber to carry a load of P.V. and methane crabs back to earth. They wisely elect to keep this chamber outside of their ship - just in case.
In 1992, South African dictator Terreblanche places a puppet government in Botswana and begins transfering that country's wealth to his own. Although as ideologically rigid as his American ally President Ralph Shephard, Terreblanche is far more concerned with enriching himself than with driving out leftist influence on the African continent.
In 1981, a mere two months after taking office, President Edward Kennedy was shot by an assailant in Washington, D.C. The assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., was attempting to impress the actress Jodie Foster with the feat. The Kennedy Curse, which had claimed the lives of all 4 of Joseph Kennedy's sons, was invoked again as another member of the storied clan died a violent death.
In 1972, South Chilean forces launched a major offensive against the American-sponsored northern army at La Serena. The reactionaries had been dealing the Soviet States of America many blows, but had never won an outright engagement. La Serena, in spite of some initial success, was no exception, as American and North Chilean comrades halted their advance.
In 1952, the Baron von Todt and his lover are aboard a vessel in the middle of the Mediterranean when pirates attack the ship and seize it. Mikhail von Heflin was never one to shy away from a fight, and, with Velma Porter's help, he kills all of the pirates in a long, bloody night.
In 1867, Conspirators of the Speaker's Line working both sides of the deal transferred Alaska from Russia to the United States. They had discovered a rare element in the frozen territory that they planned to use to power a new vessel they were creating, which would make powered flight a reality.


March 29

In 1638, the first two Swedish ships, the "Fogel Grip" and the "Kalmar Nyckel" landed at the site of today's metropolis Kristinastad and established the first Swedish settlement in the New World. With 600 settlers following to strike roots soon after, the new colony was soon at loggerheads with the Dutch settlement of Nieuw Nederland.
This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of #onthisday #history Google+ posts.

New Sweden founded in AmericaEven though the Dutch did not take violent action while the Thirty Years' War raged in Europe and the mother country was threatened, matters changed after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Nya Sverige (New Sweden) would have been a short-lived episode if King Charles XI had pursued his policy of strength in the eastern Baltic regions.

With profits from fur trade coming in and the old Swedish chancellor Oxenstierna having a focus on consolidating the economy, the new course of the Swedish Empire became quite obvious. Following victories over Denmark and control of the Kattegat and Skagerrak passages into the North Sea and the Atlantic, as well as an agreement of more or less exporting people from Poland and Lithuania - instead of warring on them - to tackle the colony's main problem, the lack of manpower, soon established a busy traffic between the north eastern American seaboard and Scandinavia. The Dutch saw their position in the Americas almost indefensible when war after war followed with the English in the second half of the 17th century and decided to sell their possessions rather than have them fall into English hands and ally with the Swedes.

Nya Sverige meanwhile had expanded to the Stora Sjoarna (Great Lakes) region in the west and drove a wedge between existing French and English settlements in the North and South of the continent, and the great colonial conflicts of the early 18th century between the three European major powers were already foreshadowed, when Swedish settlers drove away the French explorers Jolliet, Marquette and La Salle from the Mississippi River valley and founded the local capital of Gustavia (after the governor Gustav Johansson Prinz). The War of Spanish Succession finally brought hostilities to the Americas in earnest, with the French and Spanish on one and the Swedes and the English on the other, with the excellent Swedish troops making all the difference in the North of Louisiana, leaving France with the area south of the Arkansas River after the Peace of Utrecht.

Growing ideas of absolutistic rule in the late 17th and early 18th century in the Swedish Empire under Charles XI and Charles XII, colonial taxation and the competition with the English in North America marked the uneasy situation of Nya Sverige until the 1750s when the Amerikanska Kriget or American War determined the new development the continent was about to take.
An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.

In 1916, on this day the thirty-seventh President of the United States Eugene Joseph ("Gene") McCarthy was born in Watkins, Minnesota.

Birth of the NeedleWhile teaching at St. Thomas College in Minnesota, he became increasingly interested in politics and launched a successful campaign for a Democratic seat in the House of Representatives, where he served from 1949-1959. His genial nature and good humour made him a popular newcomer in the House, where his wit earned him the nickname "the Needle". But his Presidency was the accidental result of an acrimonious fall-out between Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Baines Johnson during the 1960 election. As a result, Johnson developed an unwavering hatred for Humphrey that precluded any possibility of partnership four years later. And instead, McCarthy became the Vice Presidential nominee in 1964 in Humphrey's place.

Because McCarthy could not challenge Johnson in New Hampshire, the President continued his re-election efforts uncontested. But unfortunately for Johnson, the effort and stress of campaigning lead to his second heart attack, and this time the result was fatal. And so six months before the 1968 general election, McCarthy was sworn in as his successor. While President McCarthy attempted to reverse Johnson's Vietnam policies, his reputation among those opposed to the war was compromised by his connection to the Johnson Administration. In the end he lost the election to Richard Nixon and McCarthy's Presidency was viewed mostly as a continuation of the Johnson Administration. Among the shortest in American history, his tenure lasted slightly less than a year.

In 1790, on this day tenth President of the United States John Tyler was born in Charles City County, Virginia.

Birth of President TylerOnly three years after the death of William Henry Harrison due to illness, he was killed in an accidental explosion that caused many superstitious Americans to believe the office of President had become cursed.

During a party aboard the USS Princeton (the first screw stream ship in the Navy), some 400 guests were treated to displays of modern technology, including the 12-inch cannon known as the Peacemaker. It had been fired twice successfully over co-designer John Ericsson's warning that the gun was not ready. The third firing, a tribute as they passed Washington's home at Mount Vernon, caused the cannon to explode. Tyler, who was eager to impress young Julia Gardiner of his virility despite being a 54-year-old widower, had hopped up the ladder onto the deck, just in time to catch shrapnel to his head. Julia's father, New York businessman David Gardiner, and Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur were also among the casualties in the worst peacetime explosion to that point.

Mourning for the disaster included curiosity at another unprecedented occurrence: the ascension of a President pro tempore of the Senate to the office of President of the United States. After the death of Harrison, Tyler had been the first Vice-President to assume the office, though many such as John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay thought that he was meant to fulfill a role rather than be a wholly new president. Despite being nicknamed "His Accidency", Tyler went about resigning from the Whig political party and launching his own economic policy. He vetoed bills for a National Bank repeatedly, causing his cabinet to resign in disgust. While Tyler had a few supporters, such as Daniel Webster, he fought with the Whigs so much that they initiated the first impeachment hearings against him, though it would ultimately be voted down. Tyler's greatest separation from the Whigs, however, was the potential annexation of the Republic of Texas. The matter had been raised before in 1837 with a Texas proposal that was declined by President Martin van Buren. Tyler had Secretary of State Upshur begin work on a treaty, but it remained incomplete at the time of their deaths. What Tyler had planned to be the great issue of the election of 1844 was a political afterthought.

As President pro tempore of the Senate, North Carolina Whig Willie Person Mangum became the eleventh president of the United States. Mangum was something of a reversal of Tyler, having left the Democratic Party in 1834 after declaring himself a Whig. He left politics and reinvented his career, working as part of a failed Whig plot to nominate four men for president to block out Martin van Buren in 1836 before returning triumphantly to the Senate in 1840. When New Jersey Senator Samuel L. Southard resigned from the Senate in 1842 due to his failing health, Mangum came onto the track that would accidentally make him president. Where Tyler had broken with the Whigs, Mangum worked alongside party leader Henry Clay to institute as much of his American System as possible with the Whig majority in the Senate, though the Democrats controlled the House and resisted several proposed tariffs. A new National Bank was established to capitalize on the rebounding economy after the Panic of 1837, and numerous transportation improvement projects began. These projects would be the main issue of the election of 1844 when Henry Clay narrowly defeated Martin van Buren with the promise of extending the National Road to Oregon and clarifying American control there rather than joint-rule with Britain.

The issue of annexation arose again after the California Republic won its independence from Mexico in 1846 under men such as Mexican general Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and John C. Fremont. The republic proposed annexation by the United States, but Henry Clay politely declined. Such an annexation might have sparked war with Mexico, who was already upset over American soldiers unofficially participating in the rebellion, seemingly a mirror to Texas. The move is believed to have cost Clay and the Whigs the election of 1848 that gave the White House to Democrat Lewis Cass despite the efforts of the Free Soil Party under Martin van Buren to limit slavery in the territories.

Settlers poured westward on improved roads (including many government-funded rail projects), giving rebirth to the question of slavery in federal territories. Popular sovereignty became the strategy for Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which turned into guerilla warfare as men committed to both sides fought to protect interests. Alongside this issue came the discovery of gold in the newly founded California Republic, which spawned a renewed call for Manifest Destiny. With the approval of Britain, the United States annexed California, prompting Mexico to declare war. The Republic of Texas came as an ally, winning many victories and expanding its territory in the resulting treaty in 1854, which also brought the Republic of Sonora to the US. Some suggested annexing Texas as well, but no formal proposal was made as abolitionists saw it as an extension of slavery and the general attitude of Texas (which had been independent for over a generation) felt best to stay independent.

In 1860, the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln caused the South to declare its independence, inviting Texas to join in a confederation, which it considered before declining and remaining neutral. The war was finished by 1864, and the question of slavery was answered in the United States, though it remained legal in Texas until the 1880s. Texas and the US continued diplomatic relations despite being on opposing sides of the French intervention in Mexico. Suggestions for annexation arose again in the 1890s with a new wave of expansionism, but conservative Texans valued independence while local businesses hoped to hold onto the growing oil industry there. Over the next century, Texans would continue to be friendly with Americans, even joining the Allies in the Second World War, though its production-based economy was especially crippled by the Great Depression. Today it stands as a close trade-partner with the United States, but still fiercely independent.

In 1592, the celebrated Elizabethan poet William Shakespeare assigned the blame for his acrimonously departure from the Lord Chamberlain's Men on the well-known playwright Robert Greene.

Upstart CrowIn a pamphlet published by Henry Chettle, Greene had openly accused the Upstart Crow of copying from the "Richard, Duke of York" which was a collaborative piece of work he had written with Marlowe. And sure enough "The Third Part of Henry VI" included the travestied line "Oh tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide" which Green directly referred to in his stinging attack on the player.

In fact, Green was a bitter, dying man but the controversy was enough to force Shakespeare to leave the capital and rejoin his family in Stratford-upon-Avon. There was a star danced, and under that was I bornBut fate intervened, and through a connection at court with Walter Raleigh, the Shakespeares were invited to join settlers setting sail for Virginia.

His career as a player, and wannabe writer/manager was over, he turned his attention to sonnet writing on themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. He emerged as one of the new world's most famous poets. And the inspiration for his gifted son, Hamnet, who in 1615 authored the celebrated play "The Lady and the Dragon".

In 1461, in the midst of a snowstorm in the North of England, the Wars of the Roses would come to an end as the House of Lancaster reaffirmed itself to its royal position gained by the overthrow of Richard II.

House of Lancaster Victorious at Towton The matter settled civil wars that had plagued England for years with the growing dissent over the weak king Henry VI. The House of York under Richard Plantagenet, Third Duke of York, rose up in opposition to the nobles who held Henry's interest and easily swayed his opinions. Initially, York was successful, establishing an act by Parliament to make him and his progeny to succeed Henry upon his death. Henry's consort, Margaret of Anjou, fought back with a quickly raised army, and York was slain at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. His son Edward took up the fight to defend his right, which would soon be taken from him by the might of Lancaster.

The war continued until the fateful day in late March of the next year. The army under John de Mowbray, Third Duke of Norfolk, was late, making the Yorkists seem grossly outnumbered, but he managed to arrive shortly before the battle began. Lord Fauconberg offered a strategy of arranging his archers to fire with the wind, thus outside of the range of the Lancasterian arrows, but a fierce north wind came up quickly, bringing snow with it. Some commanders on both sides considered postponing the battle, but the arrival of Norfolk's troops prompted a quick fight before the snow became worse.

The two armies drew up ranks on the plateau between Saxton and Towton, Lancaster using the marshes and valley as protection for its flanks. The narrow space meant that Lancaster would not be able to use its numerical advantage at once, seemingly a disadvantage that would actually hand them the battle. After the initial attack, fighting continued indecisively for hours, despite the charge of mounted spearmen from the Castle Hill Wood into the Yorkist flank. Edward had joined the battle himself to stop the charge, which bolstered his men's confidence. However, after some seven to ten hours, the exhausted Yorkists finally began to falter while Lancaster continued to bring up fresh troops who had been waiting behind the front line for space to attack.

When the Yorkists broke, the battle became a slaughter. Snow and weariness slowed their escape, and as many perished from the cold and wet terrain as did by the Lancaster sword. Edward himself was killed in battle, most likely mistakenly since his body was not discovered until two days later. With Henry VI firmly upon the throne again despite his bouts with insanity, Margaret of Anjou and her allies quickly began purifying the parliament of disloyal nobles. Lancaster would hold firmly for some time, but their harsh methods would eventually be their undoing.

The reign of Henry's son Edward IV had proven as weak as his father's with Edward being coddled or bullied by his mother and her council. Upon Margaret's death in 1482, Richard Plantagenet, who had been only nine at the time of his brother Edward's death, acted out after years of careful plotting and intrigue. He had played a fool during much of his youth, later writing of inspiration from Claudius, and maintained a hold on a little of his father's land through Margaret's purges. Gathering his own allies among the ambitious and disenfranchised of England, he made his greatest gain in power by taking in Henry Tudor, a distant relative of Lancaster who had no chance at royal power otherwise. The uprising became an overall revolution, and Richard swiftly defeated the forces of Edward IV by 1485. Tudor was rewarded with seized Lancasterian lands, and his daughter Margaret married Richard's son Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales, who would become Edward V.

The House of York became dominant in England and swallowed up much of the latent power of the House of Lancaster. With its internal affairs in order, the country turned to warfare with other European powers, particularly Spain and Portugal, which grew wealthy on gold taken from the New World. England would find the Protestant movement favorable and joined with the Empire of Sweden, the Dutch Republic, and many of the northern German states. War tore apart the British Isles as Catholic Scotland and Ireland rebelled, though the advantaged English would eventually affirm their domination in war and intrigue that would have made proud the much applauded King Richard III, about whom the biographer Shakespeare wrote glowingly.

In 1818, the last organized independentista force in Spanish Mexico surrenders, ending a rebellion which had begun in 1810 and which had been encouraged by expatriate survivors of the rebellion in the British colonies four decades earlier, including the notorious agitators John Adams, now living in exile in Cuba, and Thomas Jefferson, currently residing in Versailles.

 - Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

To the frustration of the British authorities, who have had warrants against Adams and Jefferson since the days of the American rebellion in the mid-1770s, neither man will be punished for his role in the uprising. The brilliant and cultured Jefferson has become a favorite at the court of the Napoleon despite his political agitation, and he is able to persuade the Emperor to order his brother Joseph Bonaparte, who has served as the puppet ruler of Spain since 1810, to keep the Cuban colonial administration from acting against Adams.

Jefferson's continued efforts at political subversion in the name of 'liberty' will, however, cost him following the death of Napoleon and the crowning of his son ten-year-old son Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles Bonaparte, who will reign in name only for years under the regency of Klemens von Metternich, the first Napoleon's feared Prime Minister. Metternich will see to it that the privileges and wealth Jefferson had enjoyed are gradually stripped away, so that by the time of his death in 1826 he will be broke and hounded by creditors.

In 2004, experiments on the methane crabs of Titan show the Sheridans that the tiny organisms that caused hallucinations on earth are parasites living on the crabs. In their natural environment, they are fairly harmless, but when heated to earth's temperatures, they become agitated and start projecting images of crabs around them.
In 1997, British General Peter de la Billiere captured New York City. With the collapse of the Mexican front, and Asian forces advancing from the west coast, the Constitutionalist government of President Ralph Shephard looked doomed to defeat, and he began toying with the idea of launching a nuclear strike against his enemies.
In 1848, Niagara Falls stops flowing temporarily as Mlosh contractor Kent'O'Lihay builds the famous Niagara Dam in order to capture hydroelectric power from the rushing river. The falls and the artistic dam are one of the many wonders tourists flock to see in the North American Confederation.
In 1058, Frederik van Lotharingen, a bishop of the Roman branch of the British Catholic Church, died in Belgium. During the first century of the Holy British Empire, many leaders of the old Roman church had been active in seeking to take back leadership from London, but with van Lotharingen's death, the Roman church's position was settled for a few centuries.
In 1951, in the middle of the White Scare, scientists Rita and Michael Oppenheimer are convicted of funneling nucear secrets to the European monarchies, and sentenced to death for treason. In spite of numerous pleas from scientists around the country, the Soviet States of America felt that an example had to be made of the Oppenheimers; tragically, after the end of the Cold War, it was revealed that the Oppenheimers had never been spies for Europe.
In 1972, Bruce Lee left the set of Kung Fu following disagreements with Executive Producer Jerry Thorpe over the lead role of Kwai Chang Caine. Lee was replaced by the American actor David Carradine who shared the same vision as Thorpe, indirectly causing the series to bomb through lack of authenticity. As Master Kahn would say "To suppress a truth, is to give it force beyond endurance".


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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.