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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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7
votes
3answers
552 views

What conditions would be needed for Spartacus to defeat Rome?

In a certain project of mine, people encounter humans (cyborgs, really) from an parallel Earth in which the slave rebellion led by Spartacus successfully invaded Rome, overthrowing the Romans and ...
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3answers
460 views

Could an advanced culture exist without a government?

Immediately upon reading the Twiweekly challenge for government I saw the prompt; Any significantly advanced society will probably have government in one form or another. This made me ask, could an ...
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6answers
997 views

Computers before cars?

Eric Schmidt famously declared that it should be considered "a bug" that cars were invented before computers. He was talking about the ability of self-driving cars to remove driver error--the ...
7
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2answers
749 views

Would an earlier HIV pandemic be a realistic, plausible historical apocalypse scenario?

The most recent common ancestor of the HIV-1 M group, responsible for the HIV pandemic, dates back to the Belgian Congo city of Léopoldville (modern Kinshasa), circa 1910. And the genetic history of ...
7
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3answers
499 views

How can Takeda Katsuyoui win the Battle of Nagashino?

In OTL, Takeda Katsuyoui, son of Takeda Shingen leads his clan to battle against Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu over the objections of his father's "24 Generals" (high ranking military advisors and ...
7
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2answers
906 views

What would the effects of a French Seven Years' War victory be on the American Revolution?

The Seven Years' War was arguably the most important war in the history of the United States of America. After all, the revolt begun in the then-British colonies was a result of taxes levied there by ...
7
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3answers
282 views

How can the church secure its authority over the papal states up to the 20th century?

The Papal States were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of ...
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3answers
3k views

How much of an effect would there be on WW2 if Pearl Harbor never happened? [duplicate]

Conspiracy theorists discuss Pearl Harbor all the time, implying it was planned as an excuse for the war or that we knew it was coming. Well, let's say that we did discover it in time and were able ...
7
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3answers
178 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 ...
7
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2answers
265 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 ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What would the British have done in Argentina and the surrounding area if they had been victorious in Buenos Aires in 1807?

If the British, under the command of John Whitelocke, had been able to capture Buenos Aires in July 1807 (after a much smaller British force was defeated the year before, following an initial victory ...
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9answers
2k views

Stunting Technological Growth After World War II

Alternate Earth. Using our own Earth as a baseline, this question opens up altering details of our history or societies to accomplish the intended outcome. The goal, quite simply, is to stagnate ...
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8answers
2k views

How many countries could theoretically exist in North America? [closed]

Compared to the vast majority of the world, North America is pretty bland when it comes to countries, we have the US, Canada and mexico, that's it. Now Cascadia, California and Texas were all at one ...
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7answers
2k views

How to explain electricity discovery and usage in 12th century?

I am thinking about an alternative - history scenario, where humans were able to discover and use electricity, in a 12th-13th century. I don't need any complex devices, I want to make society study ...
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13answers
2k views

How could a civilization with approx. 18th-century technology weaponise mined nuclear materials?

In a nutshell, what are the pre-requisites for having sailing ships fire nuclear cannonballs? The setting is entirely alternate-universe, so the available material can be a lot more naturally "primed" ...
6
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9answers
982 views

Technological gradient within a solar system?

Suppose there was an alternate reality where humans had focused on their space program and everyone worked together to colonize the solar system all the way out to Jupiter in the 1950s. Many years ...
6
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10answers
852 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 ...
6
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3answers
1k views

France wins the 7 Years War

After France lost the 7 Years war, they were forced to give away land. No matter how little land they are forced to give, it is most likely that they will give away French Louisiana as all other land ...
6
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5answers
977 views

How would Roman Warfare have changed if they actually had legendary 'flexible glass', and it was cost-effective?

How would Roman Warfare have changed if they actually had legendary 'flexible glass', and it was cost-effective? Flexible Glass (vitrum flexile) It's an unbreakable, and I mean literally unbreakable,...
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6answers
760 views

Minimum required super powers to enable a group of people to quickly create 1910s technology?

I want to tell my kid an Atlantis-like story, where humans had the minimum required super powers to enable a group of people to create 1910s technology in a fairly quick and easy manner. I have a bit ...
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6answers
2k views

Modern Society… Without the Americas?

Supposing explorers from Europe either never sailed to the Americas, or were all killed off and never seen again, could the world resemble the way it is today? A couple things that may have been ...
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2answers
266 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

Roman ancient balloons

Frontinius, while dreaming, was visited by Vulcan. The god showed him a big ball of cloth, flying above Rome, fueled by a fire. Once he woke up, he understood. He built a large bag of cloth, ...
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7answers
374 views

How can the church stop Mass media from spreading throughout medieval Europe?

The Protestant Reformation in the 15th century was devastating for the catholic church because it broke its exclusive hold over Christendom and ended up leading to the diverse branches of today. Due ...
6
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4answers
923 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 ...
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2answers
136 views

Missouri Flood, 2011--FULL POWER

From June 2011 all the way to August, the American Midwest underwent a headline disaster--the overflow of Gavins Point Dam just outside Yankton, South Dakota, resulting in a region-wide flood. The ...
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2answers
2k views

How would civilization have evolved if salt was a common resource?

Today we take salt for granted and we even dare to spread it on streets but salt was a critical element for human life up until not so long ago. Salt production was probably in many ways the world’s ...
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4answers
485 views

How to get a Female Archbishop of Canterbury of the 1950s Anglican Church?

What changes to the culture of 1950s Britain/England would be needed for a Female Archbishop of Canterbury, of the Anglican Church of that time period? She also has as much political power and social ...
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3answers
564 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

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 ...
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5answers
2k views

What single change would have given the best chance for Iraq to win the Iraq War?

Inspired by the similar questions about The Cold War and World War 2, As worldbuilders the most common question asked is; What if? These what if question usually focus on factors leading up to, ...
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4answers
2k views

What if Germany had atomic bombs in WWII

What if Germany had been first to create atomic bombs in WWII? Assume they had additional scientists and resources so that none of their other research/projects was slowed down, yet they were still ...
6
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3answers
2k views

If the Cold War went hot in the early 1970s, do NATO and the Warsaw Pact have any plans to rebuild after the last nuclear warhead goes off? [closed]

So, if you are thinking this is just another random scenario, it is not. It is a sequel to my previous question on whether the Soviets and other Warsaw Pact forces, henceforth referred to as PACT ...
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1answer
642 views

Bronze age Aztecs?

We see from The Zande People that a culture can remain in a tribal mentality yet have steel weaponry. We also see that their weaponry evolved after having access to metals. I am wondering how ...
6
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2answers
834 views

The Key For a Longer-Lasting, Steampunkier Industrial Revolution

From 359 to 298 million years ago, the "Carboniferous Coal Swamps" dominated the continents. It was the Carboniferous coal itself that sparked one of the greatest watersheds in human history--the ...
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4answers
1k views

“The American British Colonies Support Great Britain in the War Effort!”

In this scenario, the American British Colonies never revolted against Great Britain. Therefore, GB still has many of its colonies. Now, imagine that it is 1938, and the Second World War is right ...
6
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2answers
448 views

How to make Varus win the battle of the Teutoburg Forest?

As is well known, the battle of the Teutoburg Forest was an important turning point in the history of the Roman empire. Now a time traveller goes back into that time in order to change history, with ...
6
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2answers
821 views

How effective could a steam cannon be compared to a range of conventional weapons?

Could a steam powered cannon be a practical weapon? And if so how good a weapon might it be? As a measure of how good a steam cannon might be, comsider how might it compare to existing weaponry in ...
6
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2answers
129 views

Effects on human history, culture and scientific development of a rotating moon scenario

Imagine a scenario where the moon is not tidally locked with one side facing the earth but where it is able to rotate about its own axis. This could be due to a larger distance from earth or a mildly ...
6
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2answers
339 views

Humanoid evolution

Background We all know that our species evolve during and after the last ice age, (or is it sufficient to say that they evolve at the end of ice age?). A. Initial Condition Suppose I had another ...
6
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5answers
461 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 ...
6
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3answers
652 views

A modern-day scientist travels back in time to Nazi Germany [closed]

What can he do with his knowledge of 21st century science and engineering to shift the tides of war in Germany's favor? Saying "help them build a nuke" isn't allowed (because it's way too obvious).
6
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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 ...
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4answers
391 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 ...
6
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1answer
311 views

If a Volcano Killed Rome Instead of the Barbarians

In the fourth and fifth centuries AD, the Roman Empire had fallen under bad times. Within its boundaries, the once powerful nation had been getting compromised by political corruption and civil ...
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2answers
371 views

How do I keep California independent

In 1846, following reports of the annexation of Texas to the United States, settlers in inland Northern California formed an army and declared independence there as the California Republic. At the ...
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2answers
242 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 ...
6
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0answers
603 views

How would Roman Warfare have changed if they had viscoelastic silicone polymers? [closed]

If the Indian rubber supply was destroyed or cut off due to border conflicts, and the Romans went on to discover Non-Newtonian synthetic silicone polymers, how would it have changed the face of ...
5
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9answers
753 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 ...
5
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9answers
2k views

How advanced could someone make a firearm with Medieval Technology

Assume I have someone who doesn't age, and has a lot of time to learn any skill or experiment with things, but who was born and raised (prior to becoming ageless) in a medieval farming village. He is ...