Alternate History

I’m starting an SF alternate history/dystopia novel. The timelines diverge in 1799 in Haiti. I’m having a lot of fun making up alternate historical twists. Below is my chronology so far. I’ll add updates as I think of them. Interestingly, about a week after I started this, io9 had a post on alternate North America maps, some of which look a lot like what I am imagining. My map is roughly based on the National Atlas of the US’s map of territorial acquisitions (PDF).


Haiti, 1799: The “War of Knives” between Toussaint L’ouverture and André Rigaud begins. Toussaint leads his troops into battle personally and is killed. Without Toussaint’s leadership, the newly independent colony descends into civil strife and falls again under French control. Napoleon Bonaparte successfully reinstates slavery and France regains its economic footing in the Caribbean.

France and the United States of America, 1803: Napoleon refuses to sell the territory of Louisiana to the United States. The United States, fearing French power in the Caribbean, threatens to join forces with Britain. Thomas Jefferson faces strong opposition at home to a war against the French, and the U.S. ultimately remains neutral. New Orleans, Haute-Louisiane, and Basse-Louisiane, comprised of territory stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, remain French possessions.

Oregon Territory, 1818: In a treaty between the United States and Great Britain, the land becomes part of Canada in exchange for British lands which lie east of the Rocky Mountains and south of the 49th parallel. Mexico retains control of its lands west of Louisiane and south of the 42nd parallel.

California, 1846: Gold is discovered in the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Spain goes to war against Mexico to reclaim California but loses. The Mexican Gold Rush draws thousands of people from North America, Mexico, and Europe.

France and Louisiana, 1848: Revolution in France, overthrowing the monarchy and establishing the Second Republic, is accompanied with revolution by the French North American possessions. Louisiane becomes a sovereign state and abolishes slavery.

North America, 1854-1858: The Louisianan-American war is fought after Louisiane refuses to return escaped slaves to the United States. Pressure from abolitionists and massive losses on the American side leads to the Treaty of St. Louis, wherein the United States agrees not to pursue fugitive slaves into Louisiane.

The United States, 1867: The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, narrowly passes both houses of Congress.

Worldwide, 1940: The United States enters World War II after German planes bomb French and American territories in the Caribbean. In the North American West, Mexico relies on hydroelectric power to mass-produce bombers.

North America, 2023: Tensions arise between the United States and Louisiane over the cost and quantity of water imported to the United States from the Ogallala aquifer in Louisiane during the first of the Long Droughts.

North America, 2030-2036, 2039-2050, 2056-2068, 2075-2092: The Long Droughts. Cold war between the United States and Louisiane from 2033-2037 and again from 2060-2072.

The United States, 2062: Due to rising water levels of the Potomac River, plans for New Washington, to be built approximately fifty miles west of the District of Columbia and ten miles east of the Blue Ridge mountains.

The United States, 2088: The newly formed Peoples Coalition of America party picks up seats in Congress.

Worldwide, 2096: Petroleum reserves and groundwater are both exhausted. Temperatures in North America average 115 degrees Fahrenheit 43 days in a row during July and August. New drought begins. Global economic collapse occurs. The PCA is a powerful third party.

The United States, 2100: In a landslide, the PCA wins control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. Martial law is declared, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution are suspended.


The Drought Continues