This is the continuation of the Alternate History of Europe Timeline, from Alternate History of Europe Timeline/2. In this part of the timeline, you will witness Britain continue to develop and expand it's colonial empire. Spain and Portugal will also nuture and expand their efforts. The Italian Wars will continue as well.
1500: A New CenturyEdit
Europe enters a new century in a state which is different from that of Europe in the 1500 of the real world. Now, 67 years after the divergence, the Ottoman Empire is nearing it's height in power, territory, and influence, Spain, Portugal, and Britain are developing their colonial empires, and Muscovy is experiencing a great period of territorial growth, economic prosperity, and culture flourishing. But, the Italian city-states are experiencing the Italian Wars, which will shape the political future of much of Europe, and a great religious change is about to happen, which will shape Europe's destiny....
In Italy, the 70,000 man army of King Louis XII of France was encountered by the 68,000 man army of the League of Venice, near the town of Siena, just twenty miles outside of Rome. The League army was personally commanded by Pope Alexander XI, who wore a special papal suit of armor, and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who realized that a defeat of France in Italy could lead to a extension of the power and influence of both the Holy Roman Empire and the Hapsburg dynasty. Although the French army outnumbered the League army and had more cannon, it was poorly organized and weak. Eventually, after seven days, Louis's army lost the Battle of Siena on 19 May, and the king himself barely avoided capture. More then 40,000 French and Swiss soldiers became prisoners of the League. As a result of the victory, the Papal States annexed the French-occupied Mantua. French forces were also expelled from Papal territory.
In Britain, just days before his planned marriage to Princess Katherine of Aragon, as had been outlined in the Treaty of Medina del Campo, Prince Arthur of Wales, the eldest child of King Henry VII and heir to the British throne, died on 8 June, after having suffered several crippling fevers and infections. The King was saddened by the death of his son, as was Princess Katherine, who had come to respect and admire Prince Arthur. Arthur's death necessitated a renegotiation of the marriage terms with the Spanish Kingdoms. As a result, Britain and the Spanish Kingdoms (Castile and Aragon) signed the Second Treaty of Medina del Campo on 23 August. Under the terms of the Treaty, the second eldest son of King Henry VII, Henry the new Prince of Wales, would marry Katherine of Aragon (who was older then Henry by eight years) upon reaching the age of 18. The treaty provided for a dowry of 200,000 crowns to be paid by the Spanish Kingdoms. Their eventual marriage, however, will not be successful.
In the East, Muscovy annexed the remainder of the Tatar Great Horde. Thus a great menace to the Muscovites had been exterminated. Ivan III awarded himself the honorary title of "grand conqueror of the Tatars", although four khanates still remained: Kazan, Astrakhan, Crimea, and Siberia. But regardless, the victory provided a great boost to Muscovite morale. Ivan then began preparing for a war against Poland-Lithuania, in order to annex Smolensk and other pockets of Polish-controlled ethnically Russian territory.
In the Spanish Kingdoms, the health of Queen Isabella began to decline. The Queen, who was now in her fifties, complained of various "pains in the breast" (breast cancer) and of "problems in the areas below". As a result, Isabella officially retired from her duties, handing them over to her husband King Ferdinand, although she remained Queen. Ferdinand began preparing for the succession of his eldest daughter, Joanna, as Queen of Castile. Joanna had married Philip, the son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and had given birth to a child, Charles, who was by then 3 years old. However, she was mentally unhinged, a fact which Ferdinand will discover somewhat later.
Portugal and Britain continued the development of their colonial empires. Portuguese settlers formally landed on the coast of Brazil, claiming much of the colonial region for Portugal. The Portuguese began establishing further trading bases and outposts along the coast of West Africa, and the King began exploring the possibility of using Africans as slave labor, in sugar and cotton plantations that Portugal was establishing in Brazil. This will eventually fully usher in the Atlantic slave trade. Meanwhile, the British sent more settlers to their thriving colony in Newfoundland, and organized another expedition, again commanded by Cabot. The expedition was financed by several prominent British merchants, as well as the King. This expedition, by July 5, landed along the eastern coast of North America, in real-life Virginia. They established the settlement of Jamestown and formally claimed Virginia for Britain.
In Italy, King Louis XII of France launched a counteroffensive. After losing the Battle of Siena, the king reorganized his army, again bolstering its strength to 50,000 French and 20,000 Swiss troops and introduced further military reform by establishing a new cavalry corps and sponsoring the establishment of gunsmiths to provide weapons for his forces. After this was done, he again ventured into Italy. Louis, who had retained suzerainty of Milan despite the League victory, assaulted the Valais, a state associated with the Swiss Confederation that had remained neutral in the conflicts. This was meant to close off a potential ally to the League. He ravaged through the valley and had himself crowned Duke of Valais, annexing the territory to France proper. In order to connect his new annexation to France, Louis attacked the northern part of Savoy, defeating the Duke of Savoy in the Alps and annexing the northern part of his duchy. By the end of the year, Louis consolidated his gains, while the Pope began assembling yet another army to launch a counteroffensive.
Grand Prince Ivan III (known by this time as the "Great") of Muscovy declared war against the Grand Principality of Lithuania and launched his armies into Lithuanian Ukraine. The Grand Prince's goal was to capture Smolensk and large parts of Ukraine in order to bring "all of his brethren" under his rule. Ivan's armies advanced quickly into the Lithuanian borderlands, devastating towns and villages in their wake and conquering much territory. Soon, however, a Lithuanian army under the command of Prince Konstanty Ostrogski confronted the Russian force, commanded by Prince Daniel Shchenya. The First Battle of Vedrosha lead to heavy losses on both sides, but temporarily halted the Russian offensive. A stalemate ensued by the end of the year.
In Italy, at the beginning of the year, the League army of 55,000 men confronted Louis XII's army of 70,000 men. Like the previous battle, Louis's army outnumbered the League army, but this time, the French army was much more organized and had a definite plan of battle. Also, they had a reliable supply line. The two armies battled each-other in the First Battle of Cambrai on 21 January. Louis scored a decisive victory, primarily due to the efficiency of both his cavalry corps and the strength of his Swiss corps. Pope Alexander XI, who had accompanied the army, was driven back to the Papal States, which lost much of its northern territory to the French (who attached it to Milan). Louis XII made Florence a vassal once again, directly assumed control of Milan as King of that territory, and deposed the ambitious Duke of Genoa, who had been in power for over 20 years. He replaced him with a French noblemen, who effectively operated as a French puppet. Louis also annexed Ferrara to Milan, in response to that state's support of the Pope. The Pope, dismayed by his loss, died in August after 11 years on the Papal throne and was succeeded by Pius III, who remained Pope until the end of the year, when he expired. This marks a high point in the power of France within Italy.
Muscovite forces gained a decisive victory over a Lithuanian army at the Second Battle of Vedrosha. Ironically, the two armies had the same commanders as the last battle. Prince Shchenya captured his enemy, Prince Ostrogski, and took him back to Moscow, where he was paraded as a prisoner of war before the Grand Prince and his court along with 10,000 other captured Lithuanians. As a result of the victory, the Muscovites occupied much of Lithuanian north-eastern Ukraine, although their attempts to reach Kiev were foiled by Lithuanian militias that were hastily organized by the Lithuanian Grand Prince, Alexander.
In the Ottoman Empire, the health of the Emperor, Suleiman I, drastically declined. The Emperor, who was now an elderly man in his seventies, was becoming increasingly deaf and was also losing his sight. As such, Suleiman withdrew from most day-to-day governance duties, instead handing these down to his son, Selim. Selim, an ambitious man in his forties, began making plans for his upcoming ascension to the throne. Selim wished to resume military campaigns that his father had halted since 1483 (the end of the First Great Ottoman War). He wanted to "lick Hungary off the map of Europe" and even had dreams of relaunching the conquest of Iberia. Likewise, in Castile, the health of Queen Isabella further declined, and she was now near the point of death.
In Italy, King Louis XII of France, tired of campaigning, forced the First Peace of Cambrai on the Papal States, Venice, and other Italian city-states, "attested to" by his puppets Florence and Genoa, and his dominions of Valais, Ferrara, and Milan. The peace was based on the principle uti possiedetis, basically "keep what you possess". As a result of the Peace, Louis's control of Valais, Ferrara, and Milan as King of Milan was recognized, while the "suzerainty of the Most Christian King" was recognized over Florence and Genoa. The annexation of the northern Papal States (including the former Mantua) was also recognized. The suzerainty was confirmed to grant Louis control of the foreign affairs and armies of those puppet states, the right to appoint their leaders, and to demand financial tribute from them. The Papal States and Venice also had to pay Louis financial reparations in the sums of gold, spices, and hard currency. They also had to pledge to "respect his interests in northern Italy". After the Peace was signed and ratified, Louis held a victory procession in Paris at the beginning of May, and his popularity in France reached great heights. Peace will remain in Italy until 1508.
In Castile, Queen Isabella, after a reign of 31 years, died peacefully in her sleep on 2 May. Her reign had witnessed the reconquest of Grenada, the "discovery of the New World" and the foundations of the Spanish Colonial Empire, the expulsion of the Jews and Muslims from Spain, and a great area of prosperity and internal strength. Immediately upon Isabella's death, her eldest daughter Joanna was proclaimed Queen Regnant of Castile by the Royal Council. Joanna's husband, Philip of Hapsburg, became jure uxoris King of Castile. Philip was ambitious, wishing to preclude the intervention of Ferdinand I of Aragon, the widower of Isabella and the last remaining "Catholic Monarch" (that title had been granted to Ferdinand and Isabella by the deceased Pope Alexander XI in 1495). Ferdinand, however, refused to allow this to happen. Using his daughter's deteriorating mental condition as his justification, Ferdinand was proclaimed Joanna's guardian by the Royal Council and he was made regent of Castile, although he had lost his consort status with Isabella's death.
Muscovite armies advanced further, capturing more portions of Ukraine. Finally, an army under Prince Shchenya's command was defeated by Lithuanian Grand Prince Alexander at the Battle of Orsha on 17 May. Grand Prince Alexander, however, did not follow up decisively on this victory and Prince Shchenya evaded capture. Unable to regain the Ukrainian territories occupied by Muscovy, the Lithuanians made peace with Grand Prince Ivan, signing the Treaty of Chernihiv on 18 June. By this treaty, Lithuania seceded much of north-eastern Ukraine to the Muscovites, also acknowledging Ivan's claimed title of "grand prince of all the Rus". In return, Muscovy returned all Lithuanian prisoners of war, including Prince Ostrogski, who was determined to gain revenge for his humiliation at the hands of the Muscovites. Although Ivan did not gain Smolensk, he had scored a major victory against the Lithuanians and had increased his already considerable prestige and that of Muscovy's. Shortly after the Treaty was signed, however, Ivan's health began to decline, and the Grand Prince withdrew from affairs of state, instead assigning his son Vasily more duties.
Grand Prince Ivan III "the Great" of Muscovy, after 40 years on the throne of Muscovy, dies peacefully in his sleep on 19 February. Ivan the Great had fully asserted Muscovy's position in eastern Europe, brought the remaining Russian principalities under Muscovite rule, had defeated Poland-Lithuania in war, and had begun expansion into Tatar territories that would be completed by his successors. Ivan III was succeeded by his second-eldest son, Vasily (his eldest son, Ivan, having predeceased his father in 1490). In contrast to Ivan's reign, Vasily's rule will be relatively uneventful and will not have any significance. Vasily is crowned as Grand Prince in the Kremlin in June.