Monday, January 15, 2018

A Victorious Comunero Alternate Timeline

Once upon a time as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, I took a class entitled "Spain of Cervantes," which was about Spanish history and culture in the early modern period. One thing that stuck out to me was the revolt of the comuneros, in which a bunch of cities rebelled against the increasingly overbearing Spanish monarchy and like "every other early modern revolt" got crushed. However, during the lead up to the decisive battle, the Comuneros made poor decisions and the battle itself could have gone differently.

So what might have happened if the Comuneros defeated the royalists? Here's one possibility, "La Republica Comunera de Castilla." I'm not totally sure where the divergence from actual history is, but the end result is the kingdom of Castile becomes an alliance of self-governing cities, some of which have issues with each other--some communities are tolerant of Lutherans and Erasmians, for example, while others are stringently not. There's also a sort of folk democracy emerging in the rural areas, especially those whose nobility were killed or chased out during the revolt. Finally, the old notions of dishonor del trabajo (the idea that working with one's hands is degrading) fade and the more liberal (in the classical sense) ideas of several Spanish philosophers and economists that were ignored or suppressed in real history get implemented.

Spain's European wars go rather differently--for starters, the new Castilian (not Spanish) republic is allied with the old enemy France against Aragon and the Imperial possessions in Italy and Germany who want Spain back. And most of Spain and Spain's empire in the Americas (at this point just the Caribbean and greater Mexico) lost, the Hapsburgs are going to pay more attention to and be more respectful (at least in matters of economics and at least for awhile) to what would become the Netherlands, forestalling our history's Dutch Revolt. England ends up getting incorporated into the Hapsburg domains through marriages and the convenient deaths of male heirs. Meanwhile, the conquest of the Inca goes rather differently and more piecemeal, since the republic cannot support or control the conquistadors to the degree the Spanish kingdom did.

At the current point in the timeline there's a shift back toward monarchism in Spain with this one politician becoming a Caesar-figure, although it's not clear if he's going to end up an unofficial monarch like the Medici in Italy, formally claim kingship, or overreach and get killed like Caesar. We'll see how it goes. I would like to see a sustained republican system in Spain, but the culture in this time period was very monarchical. And the history of England, the Americas, Portugal (repeatedly beaten by the Castilian republic), etc. is going to be very different regardless.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't seen this one. The comuneros revolt is an interesting (and perhaps ahead of its time) event in history, I'll definitely need to check it out when I have the time. Thanks for posting about it!