Questions tagged [alternate-history]

For questions that ask what might have happened if history had taken a different path.

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8 votes
6 answers
636 views

An Irish monarchy and IRA [closed]

I need a change in history so in the year 2020, Ireland is ruled by a Constitutional Monarchy. It is still a catholic nation (not celtic), has a democratically elected parliament and leaders, and the ...
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-5 votes
4 answers
240 views

If people in Iron Age times had access to uranium, would it be used over iron?

Let's say that in 1,200 BC, aliens secretly come to Earth and turn all of the uranium oxides into pure uranium.The aliens then leave and humans discover this new metal. Uranium has a lower melting ...
1 vote
2 answers
76 views

Could advanced Aboriginal Australians have domesticated the Emus/Cassowaries?

In an alternate universe where Eurasia is less advanced and the native peoples of the Americas and Australia build powerful civilizations, what animals could be domesticated that weren't domesticated ...
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

If Aluminum was non-reactive, could there have been an "Aluminum Age" instead of a Bronze Age?

Aluminum is the most common metal on Earth. Despite this fact, this element wasn't discovered until the 19th Century. This is because Aluminum is never naturally found in the ground. Instead, aluminum ...
4 votes
3 answers
268 views

Could cavemen domesticate the Tyrannosaurus Rex?

In pop culture, there are ideas that paleolithic humans and dinosaurs lived together. The Flintstones is the most famous example of this idea. This obviously wasn't the case in reality, but what if by ...
-2 votes
3 answers
219 views

19th century British moon landing [closed]

In the aftermath of the Monroe doctrine, the British empire decided to expand heavenward. As the nobles, captains, empiricists, electricians, and mechanics explained to the Majesty, technological ...
1 vote
2 answers
150 views

Could the Malagasy domesticate the Dodo bird?

In an alternate universe where other groups explored the world before Europeans, what new animals could have been domesticated? In my alternate history world, the Malagasy that came to Madagascar not ...
6 votes
2 answers
240 views

Could medieval Native Americans domesticate the bison?

In an alternate universe where Eurasia is less advanced and the native peoples of the Americas and Australia build powerful civilizations, what animals could be domesticated that weren't domesticated ...
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Maps of our real world without borders, towns, etc?

I am starting to work on an alternate-timeline story on Earth. Is there a web site or software that will let me see just the mountains, rivers, etc. without national or local borders, or cities and ...
-4 votes
1 answer
196 views

What evolutionary pressure would make all of humanity black? [closed]

What evolution pressure or environment would be needed for my alternate humanity to stay black or have an African phenotype what environment would I need to set to make this possible?
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26 votes
16 answers
6k views

What single change in history would make rear steering cars a standard?

In my alternate Earth, which follows our timeline almost consistently, I want one of the differences being that the de facto standard for cars is that they have rear steering wheels instead of the ...
  • 249k
-2 votes
4 answers
508 views

How would men survive without women?

What could make a male-only human reproduction system exist, which makes women obsolete, expendable, and also gives men full control over their paternity?
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1 vote
3 answers
430 views

How to prove "lactose intolerance" is a real thing people from 1000AD

There was a theory that the conflict between Viking settlers and native people in Newfoundland region of Canada in 1000 AD started when the Viking settler offered milk to the lactose-intolerant ...
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2 votes
1 answer
78 views

Course correction for Easter Island - Ecocide

While this post: Course correction for Easter Island discussed potential measures to avoid the collapse of the Rapa Nui culture due to contact with the West, I'm planning to open the scope up now to ...
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Empire across the Himalayas

I was bouncing ideas off the wall about empires that could've plausibly existed in Asia if certain things went differently, and I stumbled across the very physical barrier of the Himalayas. So my ...
-3 votes
1 answer
141 views

How far would science and technology be without wars and religion? [closed]

In an alternate reality a highly developped species, let's call them 3Os, found planet earth just before the neolithic revolution. Upon studying humans, they correctly predicted their social evolution ...
6 votes
6 answers
827 views

Course correction for Easter Island

There are several explanations that I'm aware of as to why the Easter Island culture collapsed. While Diamond put forth a hypothesis of deforestation, soil nutrient depletion and cascading ...
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

How early could we have had nukes?

Suppose a message was sent to the past with a diagram, description, and use, of the simplest fission weapon. It didn't describe how to mine Uranium, enrich it, or even a description of WHY it works or ...
1 vote
4 answers
988 views

In a parallel reality, what is stopping a contemporanean nation from jamming its enemies to hell and back? [closed]

In a parallel reality, what is stopping a contemporanean (from 1940 to 2020 alike tech) nation from jamming its enemies to hell and back? A nation finds itself at war with another nation, what is ...
1 vote
1 answer
108 views

Possibility for ancient East Asian migration to Australia

I am developing a country spanning a more fertile Australia, New Guinea and a far larger New Zealand in which its founder and inhabitants are descended from an ancient East Asian, ethnic group similar ...
1 vote
3 answers
186 views

Multi-Sophont Alliance, Episode 1: Is It Even Possible? [closed]

This question, if not the entire series, is based on the premise behind this painting by Dylan Bajda: Source Set in the world of Serina, the creatures on the boats are called "gravediggers" ...
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1 vote
3 answers
587 views

What should the Australian government do in the event of a sudden greening of the Outback? [closed]

Sometime in an alternate 2005, a handwavium science event creates a situation where excessive rainfall occurs throughout much of Australia. This event, now referred to as "the great rainfall"...
  • 1,742
2 votes
5 answers
299 views

How to make pagan religions popular again [closed]

In my medieval fantasy world, Christianity, or at least it's parallel universe equivalent, is the most dominant religion. However, later in my world, pagan beliefs start to become popular again and ...
  • 1,867
4 votes
1 answer
167 views

Suggestions for Hermetic occult/magical schools in historical fantasy setting?

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I’m currently working on a historical fantasy setting with a magic system based on real world practices and beliefs, and I need some ideas for new ...
2 votes
5 answers
188 views

How can an interlocking system of portals fail to prevent the splitting of the Roman empire?

The first and the greatest of Rome's emperors, Julius Caesar, had conquered vast swaths of territory for the empire, making it rich beyond measure and extending its reach across various continents, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
222 views

What year would technology be advanced enough to spot advanced aliens a dozen light years away from us

I'm planning to write a story and I was wondering if it would be possible to find aliens of interplanetary levels of technology at most a dozen light years away. I know that the first exoplanet was ...
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4 votes
1 answer
261 views

Geopolitical ramifications of a faked Apollo 11 Moon landing being exposed?

Imagine it's an alternate July 20th, 1969. The American people and anybody with a television set watch as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step out of the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle and become the first ...
  • 1,455
4 votes
5 answers
290 views

When is the earliest possible opportunity for earth to create an absolute unit of measure?

Throughout history we have used units of measure that were defined by arbitrary standards; things that were conveniently around when whichever government needed something measured. “How much tax does ...
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5 votes
5 answers
306 views

What would it have taken for the world to skip fossil fuels?

I'm looking for a plausible way that humanity could have discovered, developed and then adopted renewable energy + storage instead of fossil fuels as the catalyst for industrialisation. To be clear ...
  • 388
0 votes
2 answers
278 views

Why would my central bank suddenly increase the interest rates to over 20%?

Question: My plotline is an alternate history of the US and requires the Federal Reserve bank to increase the prime interest rate to an unheard-of 20% for one full year. The political environment is ...
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0 votes
2 answers
81 views

Ideas from the future changing the past [closed]

There is a thesis that I rather support, claiming that most inventions where done when done not because of lack of creativity, but because the technology or society were not ready for them. But I ...
5 votes
4 answers
368 views

Could a hypothetical planet composed of a neon-oxygen or argon-oxygen atmosphere with Earth-like pressure levels sustain life?

I'm trying to create a hypothetical planet scenario, where there is a planet that has a similar atmospheric pressure to that of Earth, but in this case, it has a gas different than that of nitrogen. ...
5 votes
1 answer
126 views

How would a fictional Slavic country in modern times survive the Soviet Union with their monarchy existing into modern times?

Basically, the story I'm working on is Princess Diaries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Princess_Diaries_(film) with a bit more murder and the country is called Belzova which is a Slavic country ...
-3 votes
1 answer
144 views

time machine and paradox problem [closed]

After doing more research on the earlier question. I have rewritten my question in order to change the framing so that it is not about characters but more about my factions and their use of the time ...
1 vote
1 answer
127 views

What would be some social welfare systems of a first world developed nation with a GINI Index of 32.56? [closed]

GINI is a term that is used to measure income inequality (See here for examples https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality) and is a good indication on to what kind of society ...
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1 vote
2 answers
135 views

Can the cryptographic algorithm DES be implemented in a electromechanical machine with the technology of the early 20th century (1900-1938)?

Can the cryptographic algorithm DES be implemented in a electromechanical machine with the technology of the early 20th century (1900-1919)? The machine must have the following requeriments: Must no ...
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3 votes
1 answer
105 views

Can trolls create chimeras with their renegeration ability?

TL:DR = trolls exist, troll cells are universal stem cells on steroids, specifically bred trolls are more powerfull and used to fuse different animals together with their regenerative properties. In ...
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7 votes
4 answers
868 views

What if large pterosaurs like Quetzalcoatlus had survived as isolates in New Zealand and ended up domesticated by the Maori?

The question. Let's say a pterosaur like Q. Northropi survived as an isolate and thrived as apex predator in New Zealand for millions of years. Without much evolutionary pressure its species remained ...
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3 votes
1 answer
95 views

Foucault pendulum before Foucault: how do they explain it?

Foucault pendulum is a good experiment to prove Earth rotation The Foucault pendulum or Foucault's pendulum is a simple device named after French physicist Léon Foucault and conceived as an ...
  • 249k
1 vote
2 answers
290 views

What weest sole change would have actualized High Speed Rail in Canada?

I was startled that Canada is the only G7 country without a high-speed rail system, and this in spite of the fact that the huge distances between cities make it a worthwhile endeavour. Your high speed ...
's user avatar
-3 votes
3 answers
109 views

A Unified, Global Bronze Age, How It Would Affect America [closed]

Here are the points of departure to this scenario: China, not Southwestern Asia, began the Bronze Age in 3300 BCE Either China or the nearby steppes of Central Asia, not Eastern Europe, was the ...
  • 14.2k
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

How might nuclear power have never been developed?

I've been thinking about a world in which nuclear power and nuclear weapons were never developed. What kind of mechanism would allow this to be possible? Nuclear weapons seem the easiest option, with ...
45 votes
18 answers
13k views

The USA breaks up. Who gets the nukes?

When the USSR broke up into fifteen independent states, it's well known that Russia inherited the nuclear arsenal of the dissolving state. I don't know exactly how this was decided: if it was just &...
  • 1,702
-2 votes
2 answers
198 views

What would the internet/web look like if the Soviet Union had won the Cold War? [closed]

Supposing the capitalist bloc collapsed in 1990 instead. The end of the cold War (actually) coincided with the beginning of the internet, with the Soviet Union being assigned a TLD (https://en....
9 votes
7 answers
3k views

If Christopher Columbus hadn't reached the Americas, when would they have been (re)discovered, with wide, international trade networks? [closed]

To my understanding, Christopher Columbus's plan to sail around the world and reach Asia was widely considered a doomed journey (not because most educated people thought the earth was flat, but ...
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2 votes
1 answer
141 views

Explaining Dragons: Arthopods

What if dragons didn't evolve from reptiles? Okay, bear with me. I'm not sure if anyone else has thought of this. Way, way back in Earth's history, when the first primitive lifeforms developed in ...
  • 13k
5 votes
4 answers
503 views

Is there any reason why gladiatorial arenas couldn’t have survived into the modern era?

And I mean honest-to-god Spartacus-style bloodletting, man vs. man and man vs. animal in a grand arena with cheering crowds. Real bloodsport, not the sort of halfway comparisons a lot of people often ...
  • 1,005
-1 votes
3 answers
161 views

What are the minimum historical changes that would permit the use of Tanks at the beginning of World War I? (Central Powers)

What are the minimum historical changes that would permit the use of Tanks at the beginning of World War I for the central powers, so that they accomplish the following requisites: It should be ...
13 votes
23 answers
6k views

Reasons why a high tech species does not have space travel

I am writing a story where humanity has advanced technology, but I want to give a justification for why they are still on their planet. Here humanity has advanced ai, superconductors, laser weapons ...
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4 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are the minimum historical changes that would permit the use of paratroopers at the beginning of World War I? [closed]

What are the minimum historical changes that would permit the use of paratroopers at the beginning of World War I, so that they accomplish the following requisites: It should be maintained a heavy ...

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