Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

This blog will be devoted to my literary and cosplay interests and stories set in my own alternative historical steampunk background. I hope people enjoy the stories, as much as I enjoy devising and writing them and that it stimulates their own artistic interests, entertains them or if nothing else fires their own imaginations.

A special note to new readers of this blog, the entries "Nation States" are gazetteers of the nations as they exist in the An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron background, each with a few remarks/observations about each nation as they exist within. Any post headed by the title containing the words "Story Snippet" or "Fragments" is a stand alone, snapshot of the background, they will be developed into fuller stories in future, but at present they serve to give the viewer/reader a measure of what this world is like, what is going on in it and who some of the players are. Full stories, will be headed by their title and a roman number, as they will generally be in several parts.

Comments, suggestions or remarks by readers are welcomed.

I would like to thank the following people:

Yaya Han, for getting me seriously interested in cosplay at a time when things were looking very glum for me back in 2006 with several extended stays in hospital due to illness, and motivating me to get actively involved.

Ashley Du aka UndeadDu, for her unfailing friendship and cheerful support since we first met in 2014 at the Hamilton Comic Con, and for being my Cosplay mentor and advisor.

Sara Marly, for her interest in and support for my writings, since we first met in 2016 at the Hamilton Comic Con and incidently helping me make up my mind to finally do this.

Stephen Thomson, my friend, for his advise and assistance with creating and setting up this blog.

Daniel Cote, my friend and co-worker for his advise and friendship over the years.

The People of the The Aegy's Gathering (particularly Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Scott Washburn and Jenny Dolfen, all of whom I have kept in contact with over the years), who were brought together in friendship by a certain randomness of chance and a common interest in the Honor Harrington books and stayed together despite distance and the strains of life.

The People of the Wesworld Alternative History website, who gave me the opportunity to sharpen my writing and story telling skills while directing the affairs of Lithuania and briefly France during their 1930s timelines.

My parents Mary Ellen and Logan, my siblings Adam and Danika and various friends both online and at work and play for putting up with me, encouraging and supporting me both in the very good times and the very bad times.

I remain as always yours very sincerely, your obedient servant, Matthew Baird aka Sir Leopold Stanley Worthing-Topper

Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Question of Territorial Exchange (Part III)

Imperial and Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ballhausplatz, Vienna, Austria-Hungary, January 1889.
"In addition to the former Ifni consul-general, I am also expecting an offical from the Spanish Embassy, to explore the details of this offer." Haymerle remaked absently returning his attention to the papers on his desk.
"The Spanish are being damned secretative about the whole affair but at the same time energetic about pushing the matter with us. Probably worries about how the matter will be viewed by the parties in the Spanish Cortes." Haymerle said after some moments of quiet refection. Archduke Friedrich nodded in response before commenting himself.

"I suppose, the Spanish Embassy is anxious because of all the diplomatic thunder and lightning that was occassioned by our ongoing negotiations into obtaining a lease on Walfisch Bay from the Germans in their Southwest Africa colony. They likely expect a similar uproar from the other Great Powers with an interest in the West African situation as it currently stands. Then there is the Moroccan side of it. How will the Sultan Hassan react?"
"Hm. True, very true." Haymerle nodded and turned as his aide knocked at the door, then entered.

"Yes, Franz?"

"The former Ifni Protectorate consul-general and senior military officer has just arrived, Your Excellency do you want to see him immediately?"

"Yes, Franz, send him in immediately."

Haymerle, gave his side whiskers another absentminded but thoughtful tug, as he turned the matter over again in his mind. Compared to most of the Great Powers, Austria-Hungary's colonial possessions were fairly minor. They amounted to a handful of colonies, protectorates and trade concessions scattered around the world; just enough to give the Empire a certain amount of prestige amoungst it's peers. They were also quietly prosperous and internally peaceful enough on their own merits that they did not cost the k.u.k. government too much to protect, police or administer to. The flip side of that agreeable equilibrium was that said colonies, protectorates and concessions were sufficiently profitable and so placed that they inevitablely irked someone else in the region or found themselves being entertained in some other powers's expansionistic designs.

Haymerle, snorted to himself quietly, in thoughtful exasperation and sarcasm.

The bulk of the colonial trade concessions that the Austro-hungarian Empire possessed rested in Asia. In particular, the two trade concessions in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Tientsin respectively. The other two Asian concessions were in India, Cabelon on the Coromandel Coast and Banquibazar on the Hooghli River, upstream from Calcutta in Bengal. These concessions were almost exclusively concerned with trade and travel and thus were largely run by the k.u.k. Consular Service, although the Ministry of the Marine and Colonies was in charge of their security and overall management. The last of the Austro-Hungarian trade concessions was located in Delagoa Bay, in Portuguese East Africa. It had been established by the Austrian East India Company in the 1776-81 period and had sufficiently annoyed the Portuguese into attempting by force to evict the trade concession from an area they considered theirs.

Their response had been to send a battalion of 500 men and a 40-gun frigate from Portuguese Goa in India to drive the Austrians enscounced at the trade fortresses of St Joseph and St Maria. The Austrian East India Company had been warned that the attempt was coming and had taken precautions including assembling a small fleet of a half dozen warships or heavily armed east indianman merchantile vessels and reinforced the fortresses with several hundred men and a hundred artillery pieces of various sizes. To the Portuguese commander's credit he did make a serious effort to carry out his orders but after being defeated by William Bolts, the Portugese authorities thought better of the effort and concentrated on other more profitable projects.

The Austro-Hungarian colonies proper could be considered to start with North Borneo in the East Indies, this area had been acquired semi-privately in the 1866, 1876 and 1879 by the Torrey-Dent-Overbeck Colonial Trade Company before becoming a formal Austrian possession in 1881. Moving westward towards Europe came the Nicobar islands, in eastern part of the India Ocean. These islands had been originally claimed by the Austrian East India Company as far back as 1778. The Austrians had stubbornly held onto them despite various attempts by both the Danish and the English to dislodge them at various times, sometimes by force. Next came the Austro-Hungarian Diu Enclave in western India, which actually included Diu island and a sizeable portion of the adjacent shore.

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