Questions tagged [alternate-history]

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

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3answers
794 views

Alternate Timeline/Universe where the extinction level incident that occurred 65 million years ago didn't happen

Disclaimer : I'm working on the entire pseudo-science thing , so the scientific part of this whole thing isn't made up properly... Certain things have not been explained , this is to keep the post ...
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13answers
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Present time travelers in bronze age - how much could they boost technological development?

Short version How much would reasonably well-educated but unprepared time travelers from the present be able to speed up the technological and social development of civilization from the first ...
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9answers
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What if the Germans captured Moscow in WWII?

During Operation Barbarossa, the Germans came dangerously close to capturing Moscow - in fact they were within 20km of the city, and some could even see its buildings. The failure to take Moscow is ...
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6answers
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What if the attack on Pearl Harbor had been defeated in World War 2?

It is widely known that the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked in the morning of Sunday, 7th December, 1941 - resulting in the US entering the Second World War (source: History.com). ...
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4answers
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Zombie perpetual machines - logistics

Linked to Zombie perpetual machines This carriage was devised by Vitrivius as a way to make good use of the Zombies discovered in Roman territory. Question: How many zombies would be needed to ...
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6answers
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What would be the state of society without semiconductors? [closed]

So let's say that we never figure out how to purify silicon and germanium to the levels required to make transistors. This would readily happen in a technical culture that wanted clear and quick ...
12
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4answers
957 views

How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?

This is the start of an experiment to see just how useful Worldbuilding Stack Exchange can be. I'm planning a work of fiction, but rather than build the world around the story, I'd like to write the ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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16answers
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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, ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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8answers
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What is the smallest change one could make within the past two hundred years to save the most lives? [closed]

I have made a fairly simple time machine. It works by ... well that's not important. It can send one user back in time (up to two hundred years). This person can appear anywhere they want on this ...
11
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9answers
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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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5answers
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How to create the Un-United States of America?

In the scenario proposed in this question, the Thirteen Colonies choose not to unite. Sure they work together, but not as a United Nation, as a coalition of Independent Nation States; all working ...
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12answers
905 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 ...
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4answers
2k views

Can an independent country join the commonwealth?

Background: In a world I am building, France becomes a much larger power in the New world, actually maintaining control of French Louisiana and even gaining control of Canada during an alternate ...
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3answers
578 views

How can I keep the state of Muskogee independent?

Background The State of Muskogee was an independence movement in the late 1700's and early 1800's started by William Bowles. The goal was to create a united aboriginal nation in the southeast that ...
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5answers
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Modern Body Armor for Medieval Style Weapons

Imagine an alternate history, where weapons types didn't advance past "medieval" type weapons. So like: swords, maces, flails, crossbows, bows, polearms, mauls, etc. I'm intentionally excluding "gun"/...
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6answers
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Reasons for horns/antlers on helmets

One of the great misconceptions of history is the horned helmets of vikings. This is in fact untrue, they didn't have horned helmets. But horned helmets were a thing thousands of years before the ...
11
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2answers
775 views

How far would science advance if we lived in a cave? [closed]

In the book The Quantum Universe, the author suggests that: If the human race evolved in an underground cave system, never to see the sky, it is possible that they could have imagined a ball of ...
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3answers
1k views

Steampunk…In a Realistic Timeline

Perhaps one of the most popular flavors of worldbuilding is steampunk, which is basically today's technology under Victorian attitude, architecture and materials. The clear inspiration for steampunk'...
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9answers
1k views

The biggest flaw with a Democratic Taxation system? [closed]

Imagine a country where once a year, the citizens file a sort of vote with their tax return, where each return decides how taxes will be spent. Each citizen controls an equal portion of the taxes, ...
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16answers
4k views

What information could a Time Traveller give to Nazi Germany to make them win WWII?

So, let’s say a certain type of person steals a Time Machine and travels to Berlin August 1st, 1939. He shows his time machine to Adolf Hitler, and tries to give him advice necessary to win WW2 before ...
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11answers
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What language would the Anglo-French Empire use?

In the backstory for my world, the British and French royal families married into one another in the early-mid 18th Century. By the early 20th Century, what would the main language be for official (...
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6answers
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Ancient tanks of war

I plan to go back in time and help Asterix and Obelix to turn the tide of Gallic wars against the romans. To achive this i will build ancient versions of our most dreaded land weapon: Tanks ! The ...
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6answers
1k views

How long would it take for the Americas to reach Renaissance-level technology?

Let's say history went on as it would have with one major exception - a virus/series of viruses decimated the European/Asian populations repeatedly to such a degree that they simply could not advance ...
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2answers
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What would happen if Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo

Okay, so the Napoleonic wars are raging. Many men are dying in Waterloo. It appeared as if the Duke of Wellington and his allied army would prevail, but Napoleon rallied his troops at the last ...
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7answers
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The Rollercoasters of Ancient Egypt

Suppose that Khufu, pharaoh of Egypt and builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza, was introduced to the idea of an amusement park. More specifically, suppose that he was visited by a time traveler and ...
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8answers
708 views

Resolving anachronism: Have a modern society with outdated warfare

I am currently trying to resolve a problem of heavy anachronism in the story/world I am "building". I will start of by giving a small summary of the story/world, and why there is an anachronism. (...
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3answers
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What prosthetics would be suitable for a rural aristocrat in history?

What kind of prosthetic technology would be available to a wealthy but rural aristocratic person without a leg and how would it affect their social standing? The time era is sort of pre-Elizabethan, ...
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4answers
254 views

What would our knowledge of physics look like without astronomical observations?

I always feel like "hypothetical history of science" questions are kind of impossible, but here's a go anyway: Imagine that, for the entirety of human history, EM radiation from anything beyond the ...
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9answers
3k views

How much would a civilisation develop without war?

Conflict between civilizations has played a key role in the technological development of the human race. If humanity never had a single war, how would technology in such civilization evolve? Would it ...
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4answers
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How can I lightly irradiate 30,000 km² for just 3 generations?

In the book i'm currently working on, the main protagonist has a special (yet unknown himself) mutation because his ancestors have been involved in nuclear disasters while their mother was pregnant. ...
10
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2answers
397 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 ...
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3answers
468 views

Alternate History: How much area do I need for viable dinosaurs to be found thriving in Antarctica

To narrow this down, I'm looking only for climactic specifications. Not cultural responses, etc. During Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic continent, he found a huge canyon/crevasse ...
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9answers
2k views

Leg powered propeller for boat in Punic war time

Galley was a widely used type of ship in the Mediterranean sea. It was propelled by rowers and sails. Supposing the ship builders at the time of the Punic wars got the right "inspiration" (how they ...
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11answers
2k views

Could a Time Traveller prevent the Civil War in the United States?

A sequel to Could a Time Traveller Prevent the Black Plague? Todd the time traveler's a cool dude and has decided to use his powers for good, more specifically he wants to stop the American Civil War ...
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5answers
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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 ...
9
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3answers
771 views

How would a drug cartel claim legitimacy as a government entity?

Scenario America's issues with the Mid East are less pronounced due to a series of events, allowing it to focus on domestic issues. The Setting 1982 - Ronald Reagan declares his own ...
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8answers
922 views

How to defeat the two-party system?

This would happen post-WW2 (probably late 50's-early 60's). An activist thinks things in the USA have to change but knows (or is firmly convinced) that as long as only the Republican or Democratic ...
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4answers
521 views

How to bring Vikings to South Africa?

I want to explain large Viking kingdom that keeps the worship of the Norse Gods (Odin, Thor, Loki) not the Christian nonsense of the Normans. So I was thinking of bringing a Viking fleet to South ...
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5answers
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If America could not annex Hawaii, what nation (if any) most likely would?

The primary reason that Hawaii was annexed as a territory of America is that they believed (and rightfully so) that if they didn't annex it, some other nation would, but which nation? There are a ...
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6answers
943 views

What events could keep Zeppelins in the air today?

The Hindenburg was a massive failure in blimps, it practically banished them from the skies, it didn't matter that events such as the Hindenburg disaster were not as common as plane crashes today or ...
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6answers
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What would a Christian calendar look like?

After the adoption of Christianity as the one official religion in late Ancient Rome, the new role of pope inherited some duties of previous leaders, among them he’s responsible for the calendar. The ...
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4answers
212 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 ...
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4answers
870 views

What if the asteroid never hit? [closed]

Science fiction and fantasy stories are full of alternate worlds populated by races of beings that look mostly human but kind of different. But is that at all realistic? When the dominant life forms ...
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4answers
856 views

Could a 19th century setting support purely mechanical orbital satellite and manned orbital launches?

In my setting, military innovation spurred by the American Civil War (1861-1865) prompts the design and construction of counterweight-driven skyhooks for the delivery of suborbital long-range ...
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2answers
1k views

What would the impact of a global and unchallenged empire be on world history?

I'm currently doing some research for my first book which involves a planet with an empire that has had its roots in Antiquity. It's basically a country that formed about 2200 years ago and has ...
9
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4answers
177 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 ...
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4answers
2k views

What American animals would have been domesticated had they not gone extinct?

Here are some lists of North American and South American megafauna that went extinct during the Quaternary. In Eurasia, many species of large mammal were domesticated, most particularly the 'big 4' ...
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4answers
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If the gravity on earth were different, how would the human body change?

If the gravity on earth was different, how would our bodies change? For this question, assume that gravity was five time stronger (5G) from the beginning of the Earth. Would a human-like body still ...