A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
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
In 1821, capitalizing on the temporary weakening of French central authority caused by the death of the Emperor Napoleon on May 5, Bourbonists in Spain rise in rebellion against the 'usurper,' Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte. Heavy fighting erupts in the capital, which falls to the rebels within days, forcing Bonaparte to flee by ship. As word spreads, rebellion does also, until the entire country is aflame.
Technically, the ruler of France and its empire is now the Emperor's son, who has been crowned Napoleon II.
However, the real power is Prime Minister Metternich - and initially, more concerned with consolidating his hold on authority at home than with foreign affairs, then Prime Minister takes no action, trusting the French troops already stationed in Spain to put down the uprising. This will prove to be one of his rare mistakes, for the force on hand is inadequate; before his death, Napoleon had been gradually shifting troops from what had seemed a pacified Spain to other parts of his far-flung empire, including the Polish border of Metternich's native Austria.
In 1796, General Napoleon Bonaparte is placed in command of the French 'Army of Italy,' which he will subsequently lead on a successful invasion of that country ordered by King Louis XVI in retaliation for several hostile pronouncements by Pope Pius VI regarding the 'excesses' of the French court and its 'inattention to its Christian duties to the humblest of its subjects.'
In 1810, word of attacks on Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Charleston by Napoleon's fleet reaches London, and it is realized that France's naval strength is far greater than had been assumed; had the ships dispatched to attack the American colonies been added to those attacking England in the Aug. 4 Battle of the Channel, in which the British Navy held off a massive French assault, the outcome quite likely would have been different. A panicky King George III realizes the war with Napoleon is likely to be a long one.
In council with his ministers, the King asks how much help in the way of arms manufacture London can count on from America. He is told bluntly that even leaving aside the damage done by the French attacks, he can expect little such aid because of the Crown's deliberate policy, extending back decades, of discouraging industrial development in the American colonies except for shipping, in order to preserve America as a source of raw materials for British industry and a captive market for British manufactures.
In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, King of Spain, Protector of the Germanies and the Netherlands and ruler of Poland, dies. His ten-year-old son Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles Bonaparte becomes nominal ruler of France's vast domain; the real power, however, will lie for years with his father's feared Prime Minister, Klemens von Metternich.
In 1807, French 'First Citizen' Napoleon Bonaparte announces the creation of a new national police, the Surete Nationale. The new agency will quickly acquire a fearsome reputation as a political secret police force.
In 1821, Joseph Bonaparte, who has been forced to flee Spain in the face of a Bourbonist uprising, arrives in Marseilles, where he will remain under the protection of his nephew Napoleon II. His supporters, backed by a French army under Marshal Joachim Murat, will fight for his restoration as the 'rightful monarch' of Spain. Spanish Crown Prince Ferdinand, the son of Spain's King Charles IV, has other ideas.
Charles, who had been deposed by Napoleon in 1810 and had died in exile in Mexico, had spent years impressing on his son the idea that he was the rightful heir to the Spanish throne. With Napoleon gone and Joseph Bonaparte ousted by rebels loyal to Charles's dynasty, Ferdinand is determined to take up his father's crown.
In 1821, Britain's newly-installed King George IV announces his support for the Spanish rebels who have overthrown Joseph Napoleon and for 'the rightful monarch of Spain, His Royal Highness Charles IV, and his lawful heirs.' British naval vessels are dispatched to aid the rebellion against the military response France s expected to mount. George IV's support for Charles amounts to a figure of speech: the exiled king had died in Mexico City two years previously.
His support for Charles's 'lawful heirs,' however, is ore important: it comes as welcome news to Crown Prince Ferdinand, who had joined his father in Mexico a few months after Joseph Bonaparte's installation in power and who has been seeking allies in his quest to take the Spanish throne.
In 1807, King Louis XVI is overthrown in a military coup led by one of his generals, the Corsican-born Napoleon Bonaparte, who declares himself 'First Citizen' and 'Protector of the Nation' and vows to 'redeem the honor of France,' which he asserts the King damaged by losing Louisiana to Britain. Over the next few months, Napoleon will institute a series of republican reforms while strengthening his own hold on power.
In 1810, on the third anniversary of his overthrow of King Louis XVI, France's 'First Citizen' Napoleon Bonaparte declares himself emperor of France.
This action angers both royalists who have resented Napoleon's seizure of power from the 'rightful monarch of France' and French republicans who, despite misgivings, have supported the First Citizen since that time. Napoleon's feared Surete Nationale moves quickly to round up the most vocal critics, among them an agitator by the name of Maximilien Robespierre.
In 1810, French Emperor Napoleon I, who has spent the last three years furiously arming his country, issues an ultimatum to Britain demanding the immediate return of Louisiana to France.
England's acting monarch, George, Prince of Wales, recently established as regent for his ailing father King George III, is incensed at the peremptory tone taken by Napoleon and sends an official reply which concludes, 'If the Corsican usurper believes he can wrest from Britain what the legitimate monarch of his country was unable to hold against her, he is welcome to try.'
Napoleon's response upon receiving the British note is, 'Of course, you understand this means war.' And it does: the French emperor immediately orders mobilization of France's military forces, including the assembly and launching of a large fleet to strike at New Orleans and a second to cross the Channel and strike England itself.
In 1804, the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase are organized into the Territory of Louisiana and the District of Orleans. Both will eventually become states, although Orleans will be renamed New Orleans before that time..
In 1821, reacting to the intervention of the British in support of the Spanish Bourbonist rebellion against Joseph Bonaparte which followed the death of his brother the Emperor Napoleon I, France formally declares war on England.
Three years of heavy fighting will follow, in Europe and the New World.
France will be handicapped by the need to devote a significant portion of its military force to keeping its imperial conquests, including Spain, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the so-called Duchy of Warsaw, under control. By contrast, England will need to employ much less force in this task, for France?s de facto ruler Prime Minister Klemens von Metternich, operating as regent for the ten-year-old Napoleon II, does not consider Britain's overseas colonies in North America worth the kind of effort previously expended by Napoleon. It is a rare and costly misjudgment on the part of the canny Austrian.