Former assistant teacher, part-time analyst, full-time woodworker and handyman, and now an US Navy Nuclear Engineer, hopefully eventually a full time analyst and cryptographer. So i'm simultaneously as off-kilter and pedantic as you feared.
Native Georgian currently trapped in South Carolina, eventually to be trapped on a sub, maybe one day trapped in the shackles of marriage.
I do all sorts of stuff in my time off, such as make maps and flags and graphs and info blurbs and stuff, i'm guessing you're here for those. In which case welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay.
The following is my entry for Sufficient Velocity's new AH sub-forum's Map of the Fortnight competition: forums.sufficientvelocity.com/…
This is my first time ever entering into an MotF and i'd like to personally thank ToixStory for pushing me to finally throw my hat in!
This world diverged from our own in the 1850s, as the Falada Campaign in the Franco-Toucouleur War went more in the favor of the Toucouleur. The war still ended in a stalemate between the French and the Fula Jihadi States, with Umar Tall still sending his empire East to conquer much of former Mali and Bamana, but the success against the French in the West piqued the interest of the British. Following the death of Umar and the descent of Toucouleur into warring states the British moved in to support friendly warlords as OTL, but seeing the potential of Inner West Africa as more of a bulwark against the French than in our world were more vigorous in their support of their new allies. Chief among these would be Samori Ture and his Wassoulou Empire, the strongest of the Warring States, which soon became Britain's middle man in Inner West Africa.
The Almanate of Wassoulou, alternatively known as the Kingdom of All-Mandinka, represented a paradigm shift in West Africa through the solidification of Ture's rule and the founding of his national philosophy known as Fingnengo, roughly translated to "The Red/Black String/Mouth"*, which was a synthesis of his brand of West African Jihadism and more traditional local princely confederations typified by the neighboring Wolof and Fante. With British support in this world's Mandingo Wars, and a policy of industrialization and solidifying the local caste systems as part of the government aparati, the Almanate became, by the 20th century, a highly organized and hierarchical great power. Under the Almanate, West Africa's status as an Islamic scholastic power was restored. Libraries, schools, and printing houses were built, and varying degrees of universal literacy became the norm. Most of the empire was dual-script using to a degree, in Arabic (favored by the upper Clerical/Jakhanke and Singer/Nyamolo castes which held a monopoly on religious affairs) and a local constructed script known as Capatu** (used partly by the Freeborn/Foro in addition with some Arabic, and exclusively by the indentured Jongo). Likewise, inspired by older empires out of Mali, massive agricultural projects and waterworks were restarted. Artificial lakes, fisheries, and rice paddies were carved out of the Niger and Senegal rivers, dams were raised and fresh canals were filled with water. A joint project was even overseen with the British to flood the Volta Basin***, and create an arc of refineries and water shipping lanes across West Africa. The massive flood of capital from these projects soon led to more advancements, from modern plumbing, to railroads, to telegraph lines, and by 1919, a national radio service.
Serving as the main point of contact from which tribute to Britain was extracted from inner Africa did have a number of disastrous effects, however. It became a common sight across the Sahel to see Mandinka men in khaki carrying repeating rifles and brandishing the seven pointed blue star of the Almanate harassing convoys and storming into towns and cities coming to "collect" goods, money, and sometimes even children to be "adopted" into the Jongo Caste to work as what were effectively slaves in the Almanate's factories.
This, predictably, turned almost all of West Africa against the Almanate.
During the Atlantic War of the 1920s the Amero-German Coalition took on the British Empire and disassembled their colonial holdings. In the middle of this conflagration the tenuous British-Wassoulou System collapsed and the whole of West Africa entered a period known as the Great African War (sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic War) that continued on for 10 more years after the guns fell silent in Europe and North America. The war ended in an "Anti-Imperial" victory of native kingdoms and revolutionary regimes (and American volunteers and associated states under America's new "Commonwealth" network) against the Almanate, with it falling to a popular people's revolution (led mostly by the Jongo and sympathetic/cynical Nyamolo castes) by the end of the 1930s.
The Great African War would itself soon bleed into a newer, albeit shorter period known as Revolutionary Wars between the more traditionalist kingdoms and republics in the Anti-Imperial Alliance and the Revolutionary States. Many of the Traditionalists, though despising the old Almanate, themselves were also heavily nationalist and caste centered societies, and soon came to regret the fall of the Almanate as the nation that replaced it, the Mandeman Popular Republic, played a key part in the victory of the Revolutionary States and the fall of the Traditionalists.
By 1948, the Popular Republic and its network of Brother Republics became the dominant force in West Africa, which they remain to this day. Under Mandeman a national philosophy of African Socialism with Islamic Characteristics was born. Under African Socialism a system of devolved governance similar to localized Anarcho-Syndicates, supported by a dual-network of a "central" bureaucracy (in the modern day largely distributed online) that maintained taxes and infrastructure, and multiple clerical institutions that handled many larger social services such as housing, health care, and education became the norm and acted as the engine by which West Africa was propelled into a new Golden Age.
As of 2017 C.E. (1438 A.H. in much of West Africa following the re-adoption of the Islamic Calendar) West Africa is at peace and dominated by Mandeman and its Brothers, themselves surrounded by various friendly or at least cordial democratic states and constitutional monarchies that are loosely united in a de facto trade and science agreement that has pushed the region to the forefront of much of this world's scientific endeavors. Champions of computer science, much of the world uses forms of wireless currency, distributed networks, and block chain made in West Africa and even the capitalist world unofficially uses Mandeman's digital social credits. In the field of nuclear technology too, a band from Dakar to Lake Chad is alight with nuclear reactors that supply energy to the region and even to states as far away as Egypt and Poland. Some smaller states, such as Ougou obtain all of their power from nuclear and solar farms, and have transitioned over entirely to electric public transit.
Where West Africa really shines though, although perhaps not obvious at first, is its literary and theological culture. Under the early Red Jongo and later Revolutionary regimes, the reforms to public education and literacy only expanded, and soon multilingual and multi-script literacy became the norm. With it came an explosion in print media, novels, biographies, comics, poetry, and theological theory. Under the revolutionaries a massive rethink of Islam, its place in society, and inspiration from God came like a tidal wave, and from this a new form of liberationist jurisprudence was born. Combined with West Africa's literary culture and printing capacity this jurisprudence would not be ignored, even as Arabia and Egypt**** attempted to drown out competing traditions as per OTL. In response, much of the Ummah began to question Arabia's place as a head of Islamic theology and a quiet revolt spread across the world with Central Asia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Morocco soon asserting themselves as well. As a result the Ummah itself is entering into its own new age, more placid, less millenarian, less nihilistic, and far less racist than OTL's crisis with modernity.
This does not mean all is well however, as Mandeman now faces a vigorous rival in the form of Morocco's Saadic traditions, a form of crypto-sufi internationalism that has many similarities to OTL's Neoliberalism and which Mandeman finds disgustingly anti-revolutionary and stoic. There is conflict, but not on the battlefield or in the streets, instead on the television, the public chat forum, the livestream, the university, and in the millions of books the scholars of the Ummah pump out to wrestle for the heart of Islam and the World. Mandeman is not concerned however, as to them convincing the world is only a matter of time. To the Mandeman and their Brothers they are content knowing that they've seen the tribulations of jihad, the dangers of imperialism, the cruelty of tribute and capitalism, and the liberation that comes from one's own citizens and trust in God.
Across the fields of the Sahel sighing under the summer sun, through the endless waters pocked with ferries skipping about like jumping stones, taking in the perfumed breath of hamlets and syndicates, rising to the call to prayer in sight of the gleaming moon, and embracing the shimmering and beaming hope of their cities reaching for heaven itself, one can almost feel their resolve and the shape of an ever more glorious age to come.
*Mande languages are heavily context and geography driven and so even the way they refer to seemingly straight forward things like colors can get very murky from an outside perspective
**West Africa is known, IOTL as well, for its abundance of deep constructed and historically reconstructed languages, with many of them, such as N'Ko and Nsibidi, even being unicoded and used in localized apps. This is an interesting phenomenon as even in the face of three perfectly usable lingua franca and scripts (English, French, and Arabic), due to various reasons people prefer linguistic "nationalism" of varying degrees. A phenomenon which has only been picking up in the face of globalization even! This intersects, to a certain degree, with the importance of oral and written communication in West African praising and worship and the desire to have an unbroken chain with one's ancestors and the spirits. Talking and writing to the First Men and other mythical or historical figures in the Queen's English is terribly rude after all. This is not the whole reason of course, there are traditional material, national, and anti-colonial stresses behind this as well, but I find this one the most interesting.
*** Flooding the Volta is actually a horrible idea and IMHO the British were extremely irresponsible to do it IOTL. Were it not for the timely actions of modern Ghana the whole area would be a cesspit of disease, toxic soil from lead and heavy metal leaching, and poverty. However, it is likely a mistake I see most ATL empires making if they controlled, or at least had suzerainty over the Volta.
**** There was in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, in tandem with the re-rise of literacy in the Ummah, a move to standardize Quranic and Hadith traditions, as much of Islam at the time was heavily influenced by oral folk traditions and national interpretations of text. As such what were roughly 200+ standard traditions were officially slimmed down to one based out of a standard from Egypt and so outside of Iran and parts of Yemen pretty much every collection of Islamic writing is based upon this tradition now. Though deviation has started to occur again.
A map I put together after learning about the upcoming show CONFEDERATE. Suffice to say, the premise of the show... upsets me for a number of reasons, so I felt compelled, partly as a means to vent, to write up a quick "CSA survives" scenario of my own.
> The exact nature of the Southron victory isn't important, just that they won. Following the war the CSA quickly started to unravel, as the slapdash confederacy, broke from war, and living to come in to the Long Recession of the 1870s, was hit with the Boll Weevil, breaking the back of much of the South's disparate agrarian economy and nascent industrial system.
> As the CSA started to fall apart towns emptied out, the cities started to surge with what were effectively internal refugees and discontented masses, and slave rebellions supported by the North bloomed again. States began to motion to leave the CSA, and a Confederate Civil War was in the making. In the face of these odds in 1885 the CSA underwent a coup with a cabal of generals taking the lead. They embarked on an economic and civil reform platform that included such desperate measures as manumission of the slave force for their repurposing as "contracted" laborers in the cities and a new army logistics corp.
> Yes, even in a TL with a surviving CSA, Brazil is still the last Western State to outlaw slavery.
> The CSA begins to move internal refugees back to their farms, mainly the lower class whites, giving them "ownership" of old plantations in exchange for working the land to support new cash crops (tobacco and later opium) alongside more traditional foodstuffs to support the country. Meanwhile, the former owners of these estates, many still lost and wandering cities such as Atlanta and Charleston were given IOUs by the government to recompensate them for all their holdings once the government made the money back and was firmly on its feet again.
> This situation, of course, did not work out for anyone, and soon the "Negro Corps" was used to keep down internal dissent, creating a new military class of semi-freedmen effectively hereditarily tied to the families of the ruling cabal. This dysfunctional system, combined with the stillbirth of industry (despite repeated attempts to catch up to the North) left the CSA a country on the brink.
> In the early 20th century there would be a "Second American War" between the USA and CSA that would descend into utter bedlam. The CSA totally collapsed, falling to a dozen revolts and revolutions, while the USA found itself awakening to a veteran' revolt in Kentucky that soon flowered into a full "martial revolution" (which would later on go to form the "Citizens' Republic", an idea much like a lovechild of Heinlein's military libertarianism and state-subsidized capitalism). The CSA itself fractured into over twenty countries with a new nation, the communist "Confederation of Free Socialist States" taking root in the deep south.
> The CFSS soon came to absorb much of the former CSA east of Mississippi (although it was soon disappointed by a number of mixed "Freedmen" Republics that had no interest in it) and quickly established itself as an ardent supporter of the growing global Communist Internationale. Headed now by the descendants of the Negro Corps, the power dynamic in the former CSA was flipped, with frequent purges, struggles sessions, massacres, and intentional starvation campaigns conducted on the urban whites, though many of the rural whites forced into labor under the old CSA were treated much better as long as they towed the party line and formed new state-driven cooperatives.
> Pointing out that the cooperatives were exactly the same as the forced labor of the CSA, except actually less efficient as now there wasn't even an internal market for half of the grain produced was often met with a bullet to the head.
> The CFSS formed close partnerships with other revolutionary states, such as neighboring Haiti, and became a major producer of petroleum goods, especially fertilizers, which kept it aloft in the face of what would otherwise be crippling sanctions and espionage by the USA. Much of the gains of this would not be seen by the average CFSS citizen though, as almost all the surplus went to the new political elite and their offshore stores of gold and other precious goods in Haitian banks.
> The CFSS would come to rely more and more on the state industries of allied communist powers, namely Russia and Germany, to keep their state running, and soon the CFSS became effectively a Fourth World Nation owned by Red European agricultural and industrial interests.
> In the 80s the communist world system came undone and so did the CFSS as all its international support evaporated overnight. By '85 the economy ground to a halt and by '86 the CFSS had fallen and a new transitional government composed of a loose coalition between the lower officers and enlisted in the military and the farming class was established out of Mobile, Alabama. Much of the leadership fled to Haiti or the CFSS' Indies territories to found the Tahoe Democratic Republic. A few generals and some coerced social service workers established a continuing regime in west that would be conquered/liberated in '91.
> In 1987 the Third Southron Republic was established, a tenuous democratic coalition dedicated to a "non-partisan mindset and mutual development of the South". Within months it devolved into a one party state dedicated to little more than the mobilization of a new military and the squashing of the remaining CFSS' pretenders in the west. By the beginning of the 90s though real reform began to be seen.
> Outreach was made to countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic to lean on the tightknit Caribbean system for support. A cool, yet not dangerously volatile relationship was worked out with the USA, and the TSR soon looked for investment from nations like France, India, and Ashanti. The TSR began to develop an economy based around natural gas, processed glass and salts, bauxite, uranium, potassium and phosphorous fertilizers, ceramics, rice, pharmaceuticals, makeup, and more recently in the 2010s, animation, mobile gaming and specialty energy drinks.
> The TSR is a very troubled nation, and a lopsided one at that, emerging from a prolonged period of civil unrest, racial and class conflict, civil war, and depression like much of OTL's Fourth World, but it is finally starting to emerge from what could be called 120 years of hell. It is a solidly one party state (though there are some opposition parties in government), but one more like Ethiopia's Ehadig or China's Communists, and has developed a reputation of actually caring (in its own way) for the well being and future of its people.
> The TSR is starting to experiment with advancing a truly independent foreign policy of its own, rather than continuing to rely upon foreign powers. Centerpoint in this new era of engagement is the TSR's passion project, the Agoritin Agreement, a Free Trade and Mutual Investment Area between it and several of its neighbors. Cooperating on matters such as banking, currency standards, climate change, science, health care, and education, the TSR hopes that this project is the beginning of a newer, better future.
For those wondering about the TSR flag, it is variation of the Moultrie Crescent with stars representing the states of the TSR. Now, did I put it on a green background and position the stars in a way that it looked like an Islamic Republican flag to OTL sensibilities? Yes. Of course I did, because it was funny.