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Questions tagged [alternate-history]

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

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84 views

can an army armed with smgs defeat an entire medieval army? [on hold]

Lets say in an alternate reality where technology developed quicker and mankind started using firearms, how effective would an army armed with submachine guns be against an army armed with smooth or ...
2
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0answers
94 views

Implications of phlogiston theory? [closed]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory Assuming experiments in the 1770s had proven phlogiston theory correct instead of invalidating it, what would the implications be for the development ...
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0answers
65 views

Our home is lost, are we too? [closed]

A girl had a vision,she's a close friend of my wife and she told everyone that the village will be destroyed. The lands will open and people will fall into the abyss, those surviving will be burned ...
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1answer
106 views

Tanks in medieval age [closed]

If people of the medieval age or 14th century had knowledge over steam engines and decided to make tanks out of it, how would it work and how effective would it be? Since they would be big and heavy, ...
7
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13answers
4k views

Could machine guns be produced in the 14th century? [duplicate]

Could light machine guns such as the Madsen be made during the 14th century? And since materials may be scarce only a few would be produced for use by a single soldier in a unit. Lets say their ...
34
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24answers
11k views

What is the most reasonable way for non-binary computers to have become standard?

Let us assume planet Earth, with a history similar to ours. Except, the result of the computer revolution is not a computer system based on binary (i.e. 0 and 1), but some other system. This system ...
3
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2answers
83 views

Could the gatling gun of the civil war be made smaller for individual use?

Could the gatling gun used during the civil war which was heavy and large be made into a smaller variant with perhaps 3 barrels for individual use? What challenges would be faced and how can they be ...
42
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14answers
8k views

Can the Aztec Empire learn and reuse Conquistador technology?

In this alternate history, Christopher Columbus makes landfall in Central America, after passing south of Florida and sailing through the Gulf of Mexico, arriving right on the doorstep of the Aztec ...
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5answers
1k views

Could people of the 14th century create an inline engine for use in aircraft and vehicles?

If an expert of some kind travels back in time to the 14th or 15th century with modern tools and machines that don't require power to work and if he were to past on the knowledge of modern technology ...
3
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5answers
190 views

Would it be possible to use chlorine trifluoride as the payload of an artillery shell?

Let's assume that a country with technology at about the same level as Germany in the early 1930s wants to weaponize ClF3. Would they be able to use them it as the payload of artillery shells? What ...
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0answers
29 views

Can a steam powered plane be as effective as a normal plane? And if so what can be done to improve it [duplicate]

can a steam plane fly as long as a normal one? Can it carry heavy loads and can it fly as high as a normal one?
7
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6answers
762 views

Time Travellers And The Roman Empire, Part 1: Transport and Control

I am a time traveller from the not so distant future. I have gone into the past to the Roman Empire (specifically the Nerva-Antonine period) and via -handwaving magical mumbo-technobabble- have become ...
7
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2answers
208 views

How long could kings reasonably stay itinerant?

While the person of the king may go on trips or lead armies in battle, it is another thing to have an itinerant government. In the earliest feudal kingdoms of Europe, the entire apparatus of ...
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1answer
92 views

What happens if all peoples are converted to German? [closed]

What happens if all peoples are converted to German race? Explain Why!?
5
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4answers
194 views

How to break down consciousness/soul from an alchemical perspective

I am trying to describe consciousness from a magic elementalist perspective. I've dug through a ridiculous amount of pages of occult alchemical lore without success. My goal is to learn if students ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

What would be possible reasons for Russia splitting into East and West? [closed]

I'm designing an alternate history that centers around an event known as the 'Russian Separation War', where Russia splits into two halves, East and West. EDIT: This is based in modern times (i.e. ...
5
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3answers
233 views

Making a Plague Worse?

Starting in 541–542 AD, the Plague of Justinian and a series of subsequent outbreaks killed between 13-26% of the world's population. The plagues were caused by Yersinia pestis, the same microorganism ...
3
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1answer
143 views

History without resource driven wars

Usually when a population overgrows it expands in search of new land and if the fields are virgin and empty they become farmland and cities, but if the fields are already occupied and the resources ...
23
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7answers
6k views

How much alteration would be needed for the Cuban Missile Crisis to go nuclear? [closed]

My story takes place centuries in the future, in the year 2567. Over 600 years ago, during 1962, an all out nuclear war broke out. Most modern day historians believe it to have occurred in autumn, but ...
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3answers
163 views

Ice Age Cavalry

The history of horse domestication, according to recent research, starts somewhere on the plains of eastern Europe 6,000 years ago. Since then, cavalry had become a major turning point in Old World ...
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1answer
107 views

Switch men and women' social position? [closed]

In my world, women always covered powerful roles since the beginning of the human species. They were warriors, politicians, leaders, and the head of a family. How should my world differ from ours to ...
2
votes
2answers
173 views

Living on an Island - Minimal Population for Free Choice of Partnership

Ok, I'm working on an creating a fantasy island. It plays in a similar time like the 17th to 18th century. Everyone on the island has one job, so he/she can focus on it. I estimated ~35 Jobs so far ...
9
votes
2answers
204 views

Can a star with a large habitable zone have two planets revolving each other as they revolve around their star,?

Just an idea that had me doing a lot of navel gazing. Both planets are habitable to carbon based life forms, but intelligent life on each planet evolves very differently. Eventually, the two life ...
20
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4answers
3k views

Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Orcs

I plan to make this a series of questions to avoid being overly broad. Each question will address a particular fantasy species ("race" in RPG terms). The traits will be based on the content included ...
201
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14answers
29k views

Is there a single historic event which could be changed to cause the USA to use SI units?

I am time traveller with aim to make world better. Last time I went to the past, all I heard was: "Kill Hitler!" So I went to the past and I must tell you, April 1945 was pretty loud in Berlin! ...
6
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10answers
487 views

What unexplained historical events or disasters could a kaiju have been responsible for?

I am currently exploring the idea of writing an SF / alternate history series that inserts kaijus into historical events. Specifically, I'm looking for unexplained or strange historical events that ...
7
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9answers
902 views

Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Elves

I plan to make this a series of questions to avoid being overly broad. Each question will address a particular fantasy species ("race" in RPG terms). The "racial" traits will be based on the content ...
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2answers
99 views

How could a modern company-state form? [closed]

In today's society, with most if not all of the surface land masses claimed by existing nations, and nations' authority being supported by virtue of recognition of other states, how would a company be ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

What would a medieval steam locomotive look like?

My question is pretty simple, if the steam locomotive were invented during the middle to late medieval period, what would it look like? We are just going to ignore how it was invented. My guess is ...
5
votes
9answers
555 views

Was it possible to keep the nuclear mechanism of the atom bomb a secret?

After the bombing of Hiroshima, US President Harry Truman issued a speech talking about the use of an "atomic bomb". But was it possible to keep this mechanism a secret? Perhaps by pretending it was a ...
29
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5answers
4k views

How could the Mafia retain its power in New York into the new century?

A mutant who sees multiple futures has predicted that the world will be invaded by aliens. Every future ends disastrously for the human race with us being wiped out. The only one in which we survive ...
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4answers
137 views

Could the Romans have Invented Graphene? [closed]

This scenario is inspired by this article. Long ago, it was thought that this super-cool, extra strong material called carbon nanotubes is a recent invention. After all, what ancient culture could ...
13
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4answers
346 views

Can the Mongols conquer France?

Background In the mid 13th century, France was without a doubt the richest land of the West. Inside its modern borders there were perhaps 18 million people, and maybe more, at that time perhaps 1/5 ...
7
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3answers
236 views

How does Maximilian establish a lasting Mexican Empire?

On 20 October 1861, while in Paris, Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph Maria von Hapsburg, brother of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, received a letter from Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada, a Mexican ...
11
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16answers
3k views

Radio technology: Receiving without the ability to transmit

Scenario: In my alternate-Earth scenario, Europeans did not colonize the Americas. They use navigation only to circumnavigate Africa and go to India. Maybe they know there is something to the West, ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Could the Library of Alexandria have survived until today?

The Royal Library of Alexandria was one of the greatest library of the ancient world. However it was destroyed during the 3rd century after years of decline. Was such a library doomed to ...
0
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1answer
166 views

How big can my tank be? [duplicate]

In an alternate 1950s cold war, the Soviet Union and the United States (and their NATO and Warsaw pact allies) are locked in an arms race not unlike our own. What's the difference you ask? Instead of ...
6
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3answers
171 views

All hail the sun disk! How to maximize ancient Egypt's acceptance of Ahkenaten's religion?

Premise Ahkenaten was a bit of a heretical pharaoh in ancient Egypt. While it was customary at the time for the pharaoh to choose a god to be associated with, Ahkenaten went further and proclaimed ...
8
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6answers
1k views

Preventing the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire

In this alternative reality Constantine the Great never embraces the Christianity and the Roman Empire remains polytheistic. So I would like to know what realistic change(s) could have prevented the ...
2
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6answers
328 views

Pacific war with Europe at peace [closed]

January 1939, Hitler has a dream where he sees that he will lose the war he is planning. Thus, he renounces to war and doesn't invade Poland. Mussolini does the same dream a few weeks later and ...
2
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7answers
240 views

JFK has clones, is he still safe?

Premise Human cloning tends to discombobulate our moral compasses; the potential for scientific gain and the potential for abuse are vast. Now, contrast this moral dilemma with the public sentiment ...
13
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15answers
5k views

How might a Professor of Mathematics Change History?

A professor of mathematics is sent back in time to a post-Neolithic farming village. They accept him as their wise man, and he spends 30 years teaching them all he knows about mathematics until he ...
8
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6answers
786 views

Survival strategy for a time traveller in the Roman empire [closed]

I would like to know what would be the best strategy to survive and prosper in the roman empire for a time traveller? Let's say that the time traveller is a 30-year-old Italian from the XXI century ...
19
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5answers
4k views

AIDS vs Great Plague in medieval period

The Great Plague is known as one of the worst pandemics in human history as it killed between 75 and 200 million people from 1347 to 1351 (according to wikipedia). I would like to know if AIDS had ...
7
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7answers
3k views

How would racial perceptions be different if the atlantic slave trade had been outlawed from the beginning?

We all know about the horrific history of the slave triangle which transported people from Africa to the Caribbean and America in exchange for sugar and other plantation produce. I'm trying to ...
42
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it possible to create a Gas Mask using only Medieval Technology?

This question was inspired by this one, which brought up the concept that a lot of the issues with a sword that created toxic fumes would also kill the user (that question also has one of the best ...
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2answers
218 views

Population of Europe if the bubonic plague never hit?

I'm writing a story about an alternate timeline wherein the bubonic plague never appeared. I was trying to figure out what the population of Europe (the area of the world most affected by the plague) ...
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3answers
265 views

Cost and efficiency of naval vs railway transport in mid-19th century

I'm creating a developed country in South America with its development similar to that of Canada or Australia (little behind the US). See the map below - the white line surrounds fertile and populated ...
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3answers
253 views

How could fascist Italy have survived into the modern world?

In this alternate timeline, Hitler was killed during the first great war. This prevented the Nazis from becoming a true force in Germany. The real threat came from communism in Russia under a man ...
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3answers
154 views

In an age of flying sailing ships, would airfoils be invented earlier or later, and what uses might they serve?

In the question What would an age of sail flying ship look like?, I wrote an answer which defines the type of flying sailing ships that I am considering for this question. To clarify matters, keel ...