06-07-2017: World of Civilization
 
(this works better on DeviantArt: https://nlspeed.deviantart.com/art/World-Of-Civilization-690941322 )

I've always had the idea of creating a world inhabited by all of Civilization's (that is to say, the games Civilization I through Civilization VI) civilisations, and most of the leaders present therein. And thus was born; a World of Civilization!

1) Mostly theoretically under Japanese rule; no one ever bothered with this land until Japan started frantically looking for ways to safeguard its existence against the oncoming Indian and Mongolian tide. The Korean part is even more theoretical; approximately zero Koreans live there, and Japan all but forced these lands onto Wang Kon; this way, the Koreans can flee too, and we will have an ally to help us rebuild.

2) A small party of Mongol colonists arrived here in the medieval age, as the Aztecs were busy down south. This put the Aztecs in contact with eastern Asia, and especially with India, so the Aztecs have never bothered this small colony. Except for ensuring that it remained small. Besides, the Aztecs had no interest in expanding into desert.

3) They did eventually get around to exploring the eastern coastline, though, and some thought it would be a good idea to plop down a colony here. It has since then been largely forgotten and runs itself as an independent country.

4) Though lately, it hasn't been so forgotten anymore; the bold Teddy Roosevelt has carried out his, shall we say, very courageous proposal of simply ignoring the rightful masters of the Americas and settling the vast tracts of mountainous desert and other lands Montezuma hasn't yet gotten around to colonising. Montezuma doesn't mind; let the American populace ingrain themselves in these lands, all the more slaves and servants for the Aztecs when the hammer comes crashing down.

5) The Aztecs are the American counterpart of India - no wonder they are such good friends. So long as it is profitable to the ruthless Montezuma, God-Emperor of All Mankind, Personification of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl and Harbinger of the Sixth World, of course. Every citizen serves in the military, and it is the military that is in charge of every single facet of government and civil administration. Farming and manufacturing is done by slaves - who have long since become a permanent caste, without any possibility of advancement - and the primitive service economy that is slowly taking shape as even the Aztecs enter the twentieth century is either staffed by slaves or by courageous foreigners. Mostly by the Shoshone and Sioux, who are treated well enough by their Aztec overlords. Enough to inspire some loyalty, and enough to slowly but surely become a vital component of the Aztec lifestyle. As the service economy becomes more and more important, one wonders what will happen...

6) A personal prestige project of Louis XIV in cooperation with the Danish and the Americans. Though this did strengthen diplomatic ties, De Gaulle sold half of this colony off to the Austrians who wanted in on the colonial game - not for diplomacy, but because the prestige wasn't worth the financial cost, in his eyes - and they gave half of their slice to their Venetian allies, ostensibly a a bountiful reward, but likely for financial reasons. Still, through a complex legal arrangement, the Austrians and Venetians are contractually bound to help defend France. One wonders if they are actually aware of that little fact.

7) The English were late to the colonial party, but not too late to pick up the almost uninhabitable frozen wastes. In the process, this landed them some quite nice land to the east, near the Great Lakes.

8) A wayward Danish colony, probably established by Vikings that opted to travel further inland and found a shattered Viking nation awaiting them upon their reappearance. The Dutch colony below was actually bought from the Americans, as opposed to conquered, like the Romans did (but 'bought' might mean 'part of a peace settlement').

9) The Iroquois' lands were only recently expanded to the coast, as a gift from the USA. This allows them to better engage in trade and diplomacy, and vastly increases their value to their American allies. Of course, this event was preceded by hundreds of years of war. Ancient mythology suggests that the Iroquois actually successfully occupied the capital of the USA and displaced the fledgling nation. Perhaps this single act paved the way for the harsh and cruel Aztec dominance of the modern day.

10) The Dutch never did have the population base to compete with the rest - especially when they got bogged down in a war with the Iroquois - but this still sizeable colony runs a profit every year.

11) The very first colonies in North America were those of the Vikings. Upon the Vikings' collapse, the many thorps and forts they had established either faded into the wilderness, or - as was true for those nearer to the shore - elected to which of the four Viking nations they would swear their loyalty.

12) Frederick I and Frederick II teamed up to see what the whole colonial excitement was about. To this day, you can hear Bismarck butter 'I told you so' when the treasury announces the revenue that these slices of ice generate. Note; 'revenue' might not be the best word to describe the situation.

13) Carthaginian, and a monument to one of their great people; Hanno the Navigator.

14) The Maya used to inhabit the Yucatán Peninsula, until the Aztec army was unleashed. Considering that the Aztec army has usually outnumbered the second largest army by at least three to one, the Maya were utterly crushed. A handful of survivors fled to the islands they had colonised - with but a handful of people - and a drastically reduced Maya State now clings to life. They are fortunate that the Aztecs have always badly lagged behind in naval technology, preferring to lure the enemy on land and crush them with numbers. Now that the range and damage of naval warfare is sharply increasing, the Aztecs have begun making efforts to create their own 'iron ships' - but perhaps the Maya's fortune is their doom; traditionally, the Aztecs collect tribute by brute force, and guess which nearby state has always had an affinity for shipbuilding, science, and astronomy?

15) Which is not to say that the Maya fleet is in a good condition. It isn't at all, and has never been, when compared to the non-American powers; the population base of the Maya is simply way too small. Only a few million Maya are alive in the modern day, and that number includes emigrants. Of course they didn't stand a chance against the massive fleets of Spanish galleons, invited to reap the spoils of the Maya by the cruel Aztecs. Still, the guerrilla warriors turned insurgents turned terrorists of the by now practically deified Smoke-Jaguar have managed to harass the Spanish for a good few centuries by now. Of course, the Maya government is in full agreement with Spain that these terrorists should be rooted out for good. Of course, of course.

16) That said, the main detachment of Smoke-Jaguar's terrorists has just launched an offensive and violently carved out a piece of this island for themselves. Are they seeking to infiltrate Aztec society? Are they somehow seeking to cause an apocalyptic war with the Aztecs, that would surely destroy all Maya? Certain officials in the Maya government are aware of a great joke concerning Montezuma's epithet of 'Sixth World' and the mythology surrounding it. Something about bringing him his new sun. Fewer officials are aware of a relation between 'Smoke-Jaguar' and 'nuclear bomb', but even fewer officials are aware of what that means. And is it just an odd coincidence that a group of Indian scientists recently visited the Maya?

17) As the Spanish fleet swept in again - this time with decidedly fewer wooden vessels - the Romans came along, carved out a small part of Florida to serve as a local base, and went on to colonise an area with suspiciously few Americans present. One would wonder why, but then, it is a place very close to the Aztec core territory. Very close to the Aztec army. Very close indeed. The Americans, though deeply disliking the Romans for their wanton acts of conquest, might be forced to cooperate with the Romans, lest the Aztecs swallow them both.

18) Tawantinsuyu - steadfastly called 'the Inca' by the entire world, for reasons unknown - actually pushed hard to reach the Atlantic coast. This has earned them the enmity of Montezuma, however, but his armies gathering in the south to attack the Inca would be noticeable long before war would be declared, so Sapa Inca Hauyna Capac feels safe for now. Besides, Montezuma has his eyes on North America - Aztlan, as he calls it.

19) The Portuguese were the second to establish a colony in the Americas - bless you, Henry the Navigator - but they were the first to make it large and lasting. Of course, the Spanish shortly followed, and even a Malinese trading post was set up eventually. The islands to the north were often contested, but with the Spanish bequeathing some to the Malinese as a 'neutral intermediary', the naval balance of power now decisively favours the Spanish.

20) Unlike the Portuguese and Spanish projects, this Malinese trading post was taken by force from Brazil. Portugal then went on to sign an alliance with Brazil, and promptly handed over caches of knowledge, diagrams, and blueprints. Now, Portugal's main strength may well be Brazil - but that's alright, so long as Brazilians will come to fight in Europe, should Spain try something.

21) Rumours of silver drew the daring adventurer Joao II to South America, intending to follow in the footsteps of Henry, and so Joao established a new and even more prosperous colony for Portugal. Brazil doesn't mind so long as it retains a land connection; Portugal is more scientifically advanced and can thus better exploit the land, and somehow, large sums of money seem to find their way into Brazilian coffers.

22) The Polynesians have long since made contact with the Inca, but it took centuries for them to set up an actual colony. They did so together with the Indonesians, which was a refreshingly nice experience, in a world of intrigue and oncoming nuclear hellfire.

23) For instance, the Zulu were convinced by the Portuguese to settle some land, as were the Moroccans - but they needed funding, not prompting - and, if all goes well, the Lusosphere may soon be expanded to include the Pact of the Bison and Morocco. Unfortunately enough, Brazil doesn't seem to like the warlike Zulu overly much, nor the frightened Moroccans.

24) Sumerian South America must be the most adorable colony ever. While in other universes, it might only serve as proof for the existence of ancient aliens - come on, what do you think all those immortal leaders are? - here, it has the additional purpose of being an excellent site for future nuclear experiments. Isn't it adorable?

25) French, because Louis XIV really can't get enough of money-sinks. Also French, because Napoleon has caught wind of the whole 'we need an out of the way piece of land to test the most lethal weapons ever' idea that's all the rage nowadays. Not that many can seriously start thinking of using the atom - if they can even get their hands on uranium - but it helps to plan ahead.

26) The rebelling Norwegians seized Iceland from the collapsing Viking Empire, but weren't interested in the tiny few outposts established on Greenland. Who could live there anyway?

27) The Anglo-Dutch war was started by the commercially-minded William of Orange. With Dutch pikemen advancing on London, England acquiesced to William's simple demands; open your borders to our merchants. This made the Dutch fabulously rich, but also worked wonders for the English; traditionally isolationist and toiling under the weight of Gallic swordsmen and Pictish spearmen, their gradual inclusion in European diplomacy culminated in the Romans helping out the English with their Celtic problem. Gaius Iulius Caesar, Celtslayer Extraordinaire, now governs Eire - that is to say, Hibernia.

28) Portugal has been buckling under Spanish cultural pressure for centuries. Their string of ineffective alliances in the old world - with the English, with the Dutch, with the Austrians... - finally turned when France approached the Portuguese, only for France to embark on a war of conquest with Spain. Having spent all goodwill in Europe, the Portuguese presence in Europe probably won't last much longer, and the Kingdom of Spanish Iberia is ready to drop the 'Spanish' part from its name.

29) Spain was subject to aggressive colonisation by the Carthaginians in the ancient age. Only the timely intervention of Rome saw the nascent Spanish continue their independent existence. The Carthaginian-turned-Roman cities in Iberia have long since lost any trace of their original culture or ethnicity, though a relative of the Spanish king Philip II is stirring up trouble in Catalonia. This relative, Isabella, is doing her very best to completely wipe out the Jewish religion that had taken root there. This has caused the Jewish citizens of Spain to become quite interested in their (sometimes made up) Carthaginian ancestry, as Carthage is perhaps the foremost Jewish civilisation. Will this religious strife see Carthage reclaim its ancient lands?

30) The French musketeers completely upset the European balance of power, ruining Spain's dominance of the continent (and the Dutch golden age too, for good measure). The Roman counter-offensive eventually prevailed, using the Alps to great effect, but it did have the unfortunate consequence of wiping out the last bastions of Celtic culture. It was their own fault; they accepted the weapons and training of their Frankish cousins a bit too eagerly.

31) The Romans called for Austria's help to keep the Germanic tribes away from the Alps, lest they join up with their Gallic, Celtic, or Frankish brothers. Of course, this was in the time of Roman supremacy, when Maria Theresa didn't even control a tenth of what Rome controlled. After her diplomatic coup, the Holy Roman Empire struck back and seized the northernmost Austrian lands, but it exhausted her armies and couldn't possibly recoup the losses of the entire south of the Holy Roman Empire. And Rome didn't even bother to join in this war, showing the first cracks in the Greco-Roman Peace.

32) Various Holy Roman princes and dukes and whatnot are still in charge of their respective cities and lands, though. So long as they obey the will of the Austrian-appointed Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, who, of course, is only Holy Roman Emperor in name, and is ignored as a non-entity by everyone who doesn't live in Austria. Francis I hailed from France, and marked the signing of a non-aggression pact between the Austrians and the French. Nowadays, however, you will hear Francis I proudly boast of his Hungarian ancestry, picked to please his new subjects and to deprive him of any possibility of actual leadership of Austria.

33) The Thassalocracy of Venice is all that remains of Rome's once sizeable holdings in the east. The diplomatic coup of Maria Theresa, letting vast tracts of lands fall under her control and essentially neutering the Holy Roman Empire, shattered the balance between the Greco-Roman powers. Venetia declared independence, renamed itself 'Venice', and moved into Austrian orbit, away from the Romans. A smart move, for it at least preserves a semblance of independence that would have been lost with outright annexation by the Austrians.

34) A smarter move still, for recognising that Venice was far more experienced in matters of naval commerce and naval warfare, Maria Theresa bequeathed a small tract of land on the coast of the Mare Nigrum to Venice.

35) After the Romans in the ancient age conquered vast swaths of Europe, after the Holy Roman Empire gained dominance over much of Europe in the early medieval age, to be succeeded by the Austrians only a few centuries later, after trade, wealth, and commerce held sway over Europe in the colonial age - most of all Spanish trade, wealth, and commerce - and after the French played their hand just before the industrial revolution, the Germans seem to be up next. Their own power grab so far has involved copying the Austrians - who are Germanic cousins, after all, here, sign this alliance, pretty please? - by stirring up the Polish to reject the authority of the Holy Roman Empire. They did fight Austria on the behest of Holy Rome in the past, during Maria Theresa's stroke of genius, but Germany lost most of her soldiers for no gain whatsoever. Not even as much as a thank you. No wonder the Germans switched sides this time around. Their overtures towards Austria haven't resulted in anything concrete though. Haven't yet, perhaps.

36) The Danish have only really bothered themselves with the English (a good land for raids) and the Dutch (a good land for trades). They are the friendly kind of young brother-Vikings that you do not harm, lest the big brothers up north come down upon you. Germany is trying to pull Denmark into its sphere, though.

37) One would be mistaken in thinking that Sweden is less powerful than Norway; Sweden controls the Baltic trade, has friendlier relations with the Vikings, is more cohesive, unified, and stable, generally enjoys a higher quality of life, and perhaps most importantly, is far more diplomatically and commercially active in Europe at large, rapidly shedding its 'fearsome Viking' image in favour of a 'peaceful Denmark 2.0' mask. Norway, meanwhile, needs to contend with unifying hundreds of tiny thorps amidst impassable glacier and on top of the highest mountains. Still, if they can manage that, more land does equal more production - but it's a big 'if'.

38) The Vikings used to control the entire north, but when national identities and ethnicities became more important than houses and families, the core of their empire shattered, split between a multitude of warlords seeking to enforce their own will. Now the Norwegians and Swedes rule together, locked into a cold war between each other, while the Russians nibble away at the tiny ports and safe havens the arctic fleets of the Vikings established and maintained for centuries. Stalin, the attack dog - or war bear - of Tsarina Catherine, likes his Russia clean and quiet.

39) This sliver of land was hard-fought for by the Russians, all to cut off Holy Rome from the Mare Nigrum. Pity that the prince of Krim has an easily defensible position, a large and loyal army, and no intent on leaving the Holy Roman Empire. If only Russia had a navy worth speaking of - but Peter the Great is working on it, conducting a diplomatic mission to the Netherlands.

40) The Greeks were never a fan of the eternal war with the Ottoman hordes, for it drastically hampered their commerce. When the orator Pericles was finally elected to govern the Greek city-states, winning the support of both the pacifist Athenians and the battered and bruised Spartans, Alexander of Macedon, Strategos Autokrator of Pan-Hellas, declared his independence by force. This was shocking for several reasons, primarily that the Spartans had by and large abandoned Alexander and that the Pan-Hellas cause he championed was now dead. The Greek city-states had elected total independence, not even wishing to remain part of the Greco-Roman Peace, let alone joining their Byzantine cousins in a world-bestriding superpower. Alexander still had his supporters in Macedon, which, as a region bordering the Byzantines, had always welcomed the prospect of joining them. Alexander promptly placed his Macedon under Byzantine stewardship and set off to the walls of Constantinople with his armies. There, he still is, defending all the Greeks and all the Romans against the eternally hated Ottoman invaders.

41) The new Strategos Autokrator of Greece is now the Spartan Gorgo. While Pericles settled the issue of ownership of Cyprus' valuable copper depots with diplomacy - Carthage, with Rome's backing, demanded the island back from the Ottomans that had seized it many centuries ago - Gorgo moved in with force. This didn't do much to endear the peace-loving Greeks to their age-old Ottoman enemies, nor to the Romans they had just betrayed, but if rumours about uranium being present on Cyprus were correct... So far, they haven't been proven to be correct, though.

42) The Ottomans have weakened, as the centuries passed by, having had to deal with Hunnic raiders looking for profit and even having had its Hittite rivals challenge the Ottomans for supremacy of Anatolia. The Ottomans put short work to the latter, enlisting the help of the Mesopotamian Concord. The Concord has since then declared peace, while the Ottomans would like to take just a tiny bit more of the Hittite pie for now. And perhaps the Greeks might be interested in helping, now that they quit the Greco-Roman Peace? When the Ottomans are done, however, they will surely return to the gates of Constantinople.

43) The Huns once rode roughshod over much of eastern Europe, unfazed by even the combined Byzantine and Holy Roman armies, but they broke against Rome's legionnaires. The Byzantines and Holy Romans then went on the offensive, and the Greco-Roman Peace was born. Now, the Huns carve out an existence by hiring themselves out as a mercenary force - usually for Holy Rome or Russia - and by extracting toll from any trade passing through. Or extracting toll from Ottoman and Assyrian lands, though especially the latter is a risky proposal. It's all fine by Russia, though, because Russia then extracts toll from the Huns in return for their continued existence. Recently, the Huns have wondered if they might not serve the Indians as a more permanent mercenary force, so as to ensure their safety when India conquers the entire world.

44) The Carthaginian queen Dido was exiled to the city of Tyrus by the Romans. As Rome and Carthage grew closer, queen Dido was recalled to rule Carthage, bringing the now world-famous purple dye with her, and perhaps more importantly, the Jewish religion. Carthage's traditional focus on trading, easily rekindled with the new dye, is but one of the reasons why Judaism is associated with commerce. Recently, the Mesopotamian Concord cooperated with the Ottomans to destroy the Hittites, and as a result, after millennia, Carthage got is age-old homeland back.

45) The Mesopotamian Concord was formed as the surrounding civilisations grew too powerful. With Sumerian agriculture, Babylonian science, Assyrian military, and Hittite industry, all united in peace, the Mesopotamian Concord is a power capable of punching well above its size. Recent triumphs include the carving up of the Hittite Empire and scoring massive amounts of diplomatic points with Carthage (and the Triple Entente as a whole), profiting massively from India's crushing of Persia - yet the Concord wonders, is it next on India's hitlist? - and presenting a front strong enough to dissuade both the Arabians and the Huns from attacking. All while secretly working on exploring the mysteries of rocketry and leading the world in various scientific fields such as medicine.

46) Speaking of Persia, the remaining princes of the once so powerful shahdom are now squabbling like little children of who gets what of the meagre remnants. Gandhi smiles.

47) The Mongolian offensive crippled Scythia and Russia, and now for the first time Tomyris is considering striking up bonds of friendship and alliance with the Russians and the Huns. Needless to say, thousands of years of warring aren't just forgiven because the Mongols pose such a threat.

48) Besides, Kublai Khan is currently busy evicting all Russians from useless arctic islands. This to the frustration of Gandhi, who would prefer Mongolia to attack more useful targets; a deeper push into Russia, or perhaps the Koreans or Japanese.

49) The Indian lightning offensive over the mountains razed much of China in mere weeks. As the massive - though underfed and under-equipped - Chinese army mobilised, the Indians retreated, and detonated the very first nuclear bomb ever. Tibet is now a distant and irradiated memory, the Chinese army is reduced to a paltry force, and its top general - Mao Tse Tung - has defected to the Indians, taking China's historical core with him and conducting a guerrilla war against China proper. Qin Shi Huang only just managed to escape, and now rests uneasily on his new throne, in the Forbidden Palace, spending many hours in silent thinking, gazing at terracotta figures of his once mighty army. He dreams of glory days long gone past, of when China ruled the entire east, when the Middle Kingdom was the centre of the world, when all of Asia paid obedience to their Chinese masters... Now China's former vassals have gone over to India, now Korea and Japan try to appease the Indians instead of the Chinese, and now the cultured Siam and militant Khmer poke at the exposed underbelly of China...

50) The Khmer were once known for their culture and their taming of mighty elephants. They were one of the few civilisations effectively able to make use of the rainforests and jungles, together with the neighbouring Siam. While the Siam were perhaps more diplomatically inclined, and more populous as well, the wonders of Khmer - such as Angkor Wat - and the mighty elephants made the two neighbours equal and friendly rivals. Under the protection of China, they were safe to pursue their hearts' desires. Then, however, the Indian threat emerged. The Khmer, closer to India, amplified their natural strength; war elephants. Pol Pot deposed the weak Suryavarman, who was more interested in refining the gold-plating of Angkor Wat. Then Pol Pot unleashed his elephants on Siam, in a show of strength to demonstrate the Khmer's worth to India. Gandhi laughed, ever so pleased, as the fertile farms of Siam were ruined and as the Siamese population were largely forced off the mainland. Smirking, he established a buffer kingdom between Khmer and Siam, even though both are his minions now. His exiled brother Ashoka, once his greatest general, now preaches there of religious extremism and pacifism. One day, he will get a nice bath of polonium-210 in his meal.

51) You can put all sorts of long-ranged weaponry, military bases, and intelligence gathering devices on islands like these.

52) Korean scientists are >this< close to inventing their own nuclear bombs. The entire state has been mobilised to hasten this process, and also to keep it top secret, two rather conflicting goals. But if the merest whisper reaches the Indian court, Korea would be utterly obliterated...

53) Historically antagonistic towards all of Asia, alternately fighting China and Korea - or the both of them together, and sometimes sending in Samurai assassins to incite a war between the two - but now desperately fortifying the Pacific and preparing for the inevitable move towards the Americas; the Japanese navy is sizeable and powerful, but no match for the aircraft of India, let alone nuclear bombs. And the Mongolian army, if it can embark upon the Japanese islands, will utterly crush the Japanese defence force.

54) Help may come from an unlikely corner; Indonesia is a superpower that has long been content to simply amass the resources and wealth of all its territory, growing rich on trade, home to so many rare resources and to so many valuable food crops. With the largest population of the world, Indonesia may well be able to raise an army capable of dealing with the Indians. But how is Japan - unfriendly, isolationist, antagonistic, even - ever going to convince Indonesia of this?

55) Arabians from the Hejaz, fearing that Egypt's cultural influence may one day bring an end to Islam, embarked on a great expedition into the unknown and founded Jennah - Paradise - here. This explains Australia's and Indonesia's surprisingly large Muslim populace.

56) The Polynesians have always enjoyed the gentle streams and waves, producing great works of art - sculptures, poetry, paintings - and happily trading with the Australians. They are a bit more cautious towards the Indonesians, and lately, the Japanese, as they are expanding into Polynesian waters. The Polynesians don't really see the threat of India, but if it drives the Japanese closer to the Polynesians, well, the more people the more happiness, no?

57) The Sinai used to be the main power source of the Arabians, exporting Islam far and wide and cashing in on all the trade flowing through the channels and forts, cities and ports. Eventually, however, Egypt's culture became overwhelming and the people living on the Sinai demanded Egyptian customs, living standards, quality of life, goods, laws... The Arabians couldn't compete with the extravagant Egyptian lifestyle, with wonders such as the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the Great Library and the Great Lighthouse. The medieval era saw Arabia try to fight back, using their religious fervour to build a plethora of temples, monasteries, and cathedrals, but that only kept the Hejaz free of Egyptian culture - it didn't get them the Sinai back.

58) The restored Merchant Republic of Carthage has come very far indeed, as an ally of Rome, instead of an enemy. It is the Triple Entente's main watchdog on the burgeoning threat of Mali and Songhai, as well as a very convenient insurance that Morocco doesn't try anything stupid with Spain again.

59) The last time that happened, Morocco lost much, but not all. Ahmad foolishly tried to close Al-Zuqaq - what might in another time be known as the Strait of Gibraltar - to prevent the Spanish colonisation fleets from leaving the Mediterranean. Spain and Carthage made sure that Ahmad recognised just how foolish an action this was. Rumours that the Portuguese secretly supported Ahmad are, no doubt, entirely unfounded.

60) Still, stuck between the superpower that is the West-African Community and the Triple Entente, Morocco is now trying to colonise the largely empty desert in the hopes of finding uranium or oil there. A long, long shot, perhaps, but maybe Carthage would be interested in having a buffer between the West-African Community - and so, Morocco and Carthage could grow closer? There are a surprising amount of manned forts in the desert...

61) Morocco is lucky to have kept one island, at least. Still, Spain is capable of enough of blockading all the naval facilities of Morocco.

62) Musa Keita, Mansa of Mali, had a lot of gold to offer to the exploring European nations. Instead of paying them to fight the Songhai, who have raided Mali since the dawn of history, Musa paid them for skilled craftsmen and knowhow, rapidly transforming all of Mali in a gigantic trading network, full of learning and knowledge, an abundance of resources... Soon, the Europeans - busy with colonising and conquering - came to Mali for the latest inventions.

63) And the Songhai? It took some time, but Musa convinced their leader - Askia - that the Songhai attacks could only bring ruin to them both. Instead, backed by the gold of Mali, equipped with the latest inventions, trained in the latest tactics and strategies - who, then, could stand against Songhai? Askia had a lot of fun, field-testing his new muskets against the Moroccans, and soon, the West-African Community was born.

64) Since then, Egypt has felt the wrath of the Songhai, and may well feel more, because there are so many juicy wonders in Egypt.

65) Ethiopia's great ploy was to position itself as the leader of the Christian world, Unfortunately enough, only Isabella of Spain cares overtly much, and she has been sidelined by Philip II, the king of Spain. Holy Rome, Austria, the Byzantines, and even Poland, would care if they weren't busy with their own conflicts, all on opposing sides. India, meanwhile, has been spreading Hinduism more and more aggressively, whipping their soldiers in religious fervour just before battle. India has also recently seized the islands of Suqutra by force, and is now funding piracy campaigns - to hamper the trade in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, or as a prelude to the invasion of Ethiopia?

66) The Great War of Africa, involving the two superpowers of the continent - the West-African Community and the Pact of the Bison - ended in a decisive victory for the West-African Community. Kongo was crushed and partly absorbed by the Songhai and the Malinese, but before the two powers could fully absorb Kongo, the nearby Spanish colony put pressure on them to let Carthage operate as an independent buffer. Needless to say, this has caused some disagreement, and has given the Ethiopians an opportunity to join one of the most powerful blocs in existence, as the Ethiopians, too, would like a slice of the Kongolese cake. It would be wise to do so before the Indians come, though.

67) While Haile Selassie concerns himself with governing the realm and conducting these diplomatic steps, Zara Yaqob has bitten this tiny slice of land off from failing Kongo. He is zealously spreading Christianity there, and hopes to suitably Isabella this way. A potential royal wedding, perhaps?

68) Established by enterprising Spanish colonists, perhaps to keep an eye on the two African giants, perhaps to better profit from the Malinese commerce. More and more, however, the Malinese are annoyed at this 'intrusion into their rightful land'.

69) As the Spanish eyed the Malinese, the Portuguese made overtures towards the Zulu. The Romans seized the sliver of land inbetween, on the suggestion of the Spanish, purely to deny it to the Portuguese. The Spanish didn't think Mali would appreciate an even larger Spanish colonial empire on their border.

70) The Zulu aren't kind masters; with the dramatic under-performance of Kongo in the war, Shaka demanded the fertile east of Kongo, as the Zulu can obviously make better use of the land than Kongo can. Kongo is now reduced to a vassal, weak on productive or fertile land, but strong on disease-spawning jungle.

71) As the Great War died down, the Indians exploited the momentarily depleted Zulu armies to take over this small area. It's precisely the less fertile land, so Shaka doesn't care overtly much for the moment - though never forgives nor forgets - and he has more pressing issues such as the restructuring of the entire Zulu warmachine... But what if he soon has to face battle against the Indians?

72) The Zulu never officially expanded to these islands, but there were certainly Zulu people living here when Indian armies arrived to proclaim that Vishnu had smiled down upon them, for from this blessed day onward, they would fall under the authority of Gandhi and His India. The native Zulu might have had a different definition for 'blessed', amongst other words.

73) The Australians are the main explorers of the antarctic coastline, and hold a rather forgettable amount of influence over these islands. Antarctica, alas, is impassable. So obviously, no ancient ruins, no so-called goodie huts, and certainly no Cthulhu-esque creatures, can be found there. Obviously.