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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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8
votes
4answers
120 views

Why would China and UK peacefully agree Hong Kong to be returned to UK?

At mid-night 1 July 1997, UK returned HK to China. Call my imaginary China's handover to UK "Patriation" - it must happen after 1 July 1997. As we know from real world 2019 protests, some ...
7
votes
11answers
1k views

What should a modern human-turned-king do to accelerate medieval society and science to modern standards?

Bob is a thirty year old atheist man from our modern times. One day, he is irreversibly thrown back into medieval France around 1300 C.E. His education consists of a Bachelor's degree in mathematics, ...
3
votes
0answers
37 views

Native American Society in a World Where Beringia Is Still High and Dry

Multiple times in Earth's geological history, a bridge connected Asia to North America, bringing in an influx of colonists. Without Beringia, North America would never have the iconic Triceratops or ...
15
votes
18answers
4k views

Cultural reasons to prevent the industrial revolution

In a world similar to Earth, how can I realistically prevent the industrial revolution from occurring as an event? I need it to be held off for at least 200 years. It has to be a ...
13
votes
7answers
669 views

What are the minimal questions I need to answer for Muslims and Vikings to have discovered America?

I want to start writing alternate history story, set in the 'Wild West' where there are factions of Muslims and non-Muslims vying for territory and resources. I need to have a reality check on this ...
9
votes
4answers
201 views

what could be used for flexible piping in the 1780s

How and out of what could flexible, thin air-tight tubes be made of at around 1780? These tubes need to be around a centimeter wide, with a 7.5 mm tube going through it. It must also be heat resistant ...
6
votes
2answers
230 views

Will the Dinosaur Empire Still Stand Strong If Chicxulub Hit Earth at the End of the Jurassic?

66 million years ago, the dinosaur empire was in its death throes when its final nail in the coffin came hurtling down from the sky. A clump of rock the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Gulf of ...
11
votes
12answers
884 views

What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses?

What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses? And roughly how fast might that be under optimal circumstances? Innovations have to be dreamed up, but there must ...
30
votes
17answers
10k views

Would evolution happen the same exact way if Earth restarted?

If Earth instantaneously reverted back to when the only organisms were small microscopic creatures in the sea, would evolution happen the same exact way creating the same animals and species? Was ...
53
votes
15answers
11k views

Would a steam powered plane be able to cross the Atlantic ocean?

In a world where the development of internal combustion engines had been seriously delayed (for whatever reason), would it have been possible to power heavier than air aircraft by steam propulsion? ...
22
votes
17answers
3k views

Lost in the multiverse: how to find home?

You have an individual who can travel backwards and forwards in time. They normally maintain an observer status but occasionally a butterfly is stepped on. Because, home is where the heart is, how ...
47
votes
16answers
12k views

Is this alternate history plausible? (Hard Sci-Fi, Realistic History)

Is this alternate history I came up with plausible? What holes does it have? Are some events very unlikely to happen, even impossible? Should I change some dates of some events? Most of my knowledge ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

What if the partition of India were bottom-up [closed]

In 1947 suppose that, instead of attempting to draw a fair line between Muslims and non-Muslims, British India has a referendum asking each village, “With which of your neighbors (including native ...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

What would have happened to the world if the sepoy mutiny of 1857 had suceeded?

In 1857, native soldiers in the Crown Jewel of the British Empire--the Indian subcontinent-- mutinied and for three days established rule of a native monarch. Eventually, British imperial might ...
-1
votes
1answer
229 views

Medieval/renaissance superweapon [closed]

Using the technology available at the time, what kind of superweapon could the medieval or renaissance age produce?
3
votes
3answers
329 views

Could organised crime gangs have ever usurped government in the United States of America?

The place: The United States of America. The time: Whenever organised crime bosses think that they could have a chance of succeeding, between the English recognition of the US as an independent ...
7
votes
5answers
349 views

How NOT to Turn Volkshalle Into a Rain Factory

This is a model of Volkshalle, the People's Dome, part of a vision of "Germania" by Adolf Hitler. But the tides of war had washed Germania away, yet this and other architectural plans by Albert Speer ...
8
votes
4answers
561 views

The Catholic Caribbean Viking Kingdom?

Could Viking settlers have established a catholic kingdom in the Caribbean by 1450? What challenges would they face, and be unique to their colonising this region by this time? And if they had, ...
7
votes
3answers
227 views

Maintaining a Moon Suit

The Apollo-era A7L Extravehicular Mobility Units were used for less than eight hours at a time, within a few days, with a maximum of three moonwalks per mission. Assume a fictional moonbase with ...
7
votes
3answers
174 views

Preserving the mammoth steppe

During much of the Late Pleistocene stage, the world's most widespread biome was the so-called "mammoth steppe" - a cold, dry grassland which spanned eastward all the way from Spain to Canada. It was ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

Demon Empire annexs North America. How would the world react in 1972? [closed]

I had an urge to make an alternate history, which is an alien space bats scenario. Here some worldbuilding that I made. In another dimension, a planet is divided by 4 space filling empires. Theis ...
6
votes
10answers
831 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

Alternate history where Italy finds oil [closed]

One of the most important resources in the world in the modern era has been oil, but arguably at no time more than during WW2 where many of the Axis' plans revolved around the procurement of a steady ...
-1
votes
8answers
412 views

Aborting Abrahamism [closed]

Let's imagine that some powerful evil eldritch abomination decided to hijack Roman Republic 45 BC, saving Caesar in the last moment and fashion itself as Mercurius (Hermes), who was sent by Olympus as ...
11
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
301 views

Helping the Roman Empire with chemistry and metallurgy [closed]

You are a modern chemist and metallurgist and unexpectedly get sent back in time to the era of Caesar Octavius Augustus. After spending a couple years learning ancient Latin, what changes or ...
14
votes
4answers
473 views

Moving the US capital to the Midwest before 1900?

A few years ago, an old map started circulating around the internet from 1850 with a proposed Western District of Columbia located in western Kentucky, across from the real Illinois town, named in a ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

The Industrialization of Earth and the Effect on Magic [closed]

I am currently writing a story that takes place after what we would call World War Three, in a post-war setting. In this setting, magic exists along with creatures created by radiation from WW3 and ...
3
votes
6answers
653 views

Steampunk helicopter [closed]

In an alternate reality scenario that takes place during the renaissance, how can the world create a helicopter? Aside from the obvious need for machines, factories, and aviation knowledge, what other ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Could a large enough semi isolated population keep up with Eurasia in technology? [closed]

Could a semi-isolated country island about 3,000,000 square miles and 1000 miles south of India avoid becoming a colony and develop into a rich and strong modern state today? They have about the ...
1
vote
4answers
139 views

Technological Turning Points [closed]

OK so in my roleplaying game (inspired by AAW’s Future’s Past but using Savage Worlds in my homebrew universe) the big bad is a time travelling AI which the party will be chasing back in time. The AI ...
6
votes
4answers
908 views

Could Bamboos Evolve Into Trees In the Past?

This question is based on a scenario on DeviantArt. The presented image is here: The description is as follows: By the start of the Cryocene, bamboo has become one of Serina's most successful ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Could a split cycle intercooled flamelicker have been a viable power source?

Flame lickers work by sucking hot air into a cylinder and then relying on the cooling of the air by the cylinder wall to create a partial vacuum to pull the piston back. see video In an alternate ...
3
votes
2answers
148 views

Handmade metallic cartridges [closed]

Could a group of survivors resupply metallic cartridges with hand-operated tools to be used on small arms in their shelter? What would those tools be and how usable are these handmade cartridges? ...
9
votes
2answers
145 views

Could Xenarthrans Be Ferried Outside South America?

Right from the beginning, the xenarthrans--armadillos, sloths and anteaters--have been at a disadvantage. For the longest time, their home was an island continent, which made them extremely ...
-6
votes
1answer
136 views

Bolt-action rifle in the 15th-17th century [duplicate]

Lets say a nation around this timeline was making research and advancements in firearms. Other than a flintlock or breech-loader, is it possible for them to produce a repeating bolt-action rifle? ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Could a steamship be built somewhere during the 14th-17th century? [duplicate]

Could an earlier and simple variation of the steamship be built around the 14th-17th century? If not, are there alternatives to having a ship not powered by sails?
-1
votes
2answers
123 views

Would a medieval-type castle still arise in an alternate history? [closed]

So, to set the background a bit. I'm writing a story that is an alternate history basically diverging midway through the 1st century BC: the roman empire falls. Here I am looking at a Germanic people ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What would happen if I showed the Vikings advanced technology? [closed]

Today, I answered a question in an essay which related to time travel and what I would do if I could go back to a historical period. This got me thinking, and I came up with a hypothetical scenario in ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Atmospheric pressure engine train in the 15th-16th century

With the knowledge and tools required, could an atmospheric pressure engine train be built in the 15th-16th century? If so how effective would it be and what change would it bring to the world in that ...
3
votes
0answers
141 views

Is it possible for industrial revolution to happen without colonialism? [closed]

As we all know, with Christopher Columbus re-"discovering" America in 1492, the wondrous Age of Discovery began - and with it new dreams of conquest and wealth, that became realized in the way of ...
0
votes
2answers
139 views

What are the logistics of wiping out the current world to the point a “new” generation of humans would not be able to find it? [closed]

Backstory I have a race of biologically advanced aliens that develop by fighting, adapting, and growing immune to the current highest standards of technology a species has to offer. By doing this they'...
6
votes
5answers
456 views

What is the earliest time a pulsejet could be built?

Let's assume that some wealthy characters somehow find the plans for a valveless pulsejet. How is not important. Maybe there was a time travel incident, or some Atlantean book was unearthed, or ...
10
votes
2answers
393 views

Romans in the air

We know that the Romans invented or used simple machinery like waterwheels, crank mechanisms and even simple steam and atmospheric engines, as well as what we would recognize today as clockwork, but ...
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Last name earning system [closed]

I just had an idea for a story based on Islamic Spain and Barbary pirates. But after doing some research I found some kind of chaos and randomness in last names. The people's last names are either: ...
9
votes
1answer
159 views

Minimum tech level to invent core memory

Magnetic core memory was a critical innovation in the development of computers. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory it was the most advanced form of memory from about the mid-...
-4
votes
4answers
192 views

Anal Retentiveness in a tribal nomadic society - why would it be advantageous?

Please note: This has no relation to any real persons on this site or elsewhere and should not be taken to be such. In my world there is a human nomadic desert tribe. They have a long-standing custom ...
41
votes
12answers
16k views

What steps are necessary to read a Modern SSD in Medieval Europe?

So the main team of characters is traveling back in time from "modern day" to medieval Europe, arriving around the 1300s. Assumptions: They Know they are going, they have space and time to prepare, ...
3
votes
5answers
314 views

Missile strike detection (but it's not actually a missile)

I'm writing a story to be set around the late 1980s or early 1990s. The story opens with a spaceship crashing to Earth, hitting and destroying a large part of central London. The idea is that, before ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What did the night sky look like 63 million years ago?

I'm working on a comic which is essentially alternate-history fiction, and a big upcoming part of it involves the formation of the Chicxulub crater 63 million years ago. As I am a stickler for ...