This is a sort of “18th Century lasts forever” map. In this world the British managed to defeat the Americans outside Philadelphia like OTL but also kept their initiative and took the city, capturing Congress. It did not take them much longer to find and capture George Washington and his army and without their military or their government the American Revolution collapsed. Following a series of executions and an occupation period the Thirteen Colonies were pacified and reorganized.
Flash forward to the year 1945 AD.
Today the British Empire is a vast, bloated and arrogant superstate. Their empire covers most of the world and has now reached a size so great that governing it has become increasingly difficult. It has not been idle in its power though. The continued existence of rivals has prompted it to industrialise not only the British Isles and the white settler colonies but the rest as well. Currently the cities of the empire have a grimy steampunk look to them and they have suffered from horribly toxic smog at times that has caused no end of problems for the local and pan-national governments. Whilst far from a truly federal government the British Empire has been forced to grant more autonomy and privilege to their more developed colonies. Prestige and economics currently keep the more powerful dominions tied to the UK itself but there is already talk of moving the empire to the more economically and demographically relevant regions like America or some even suggest India these days. The spreading of the nobility into the settler colonies and the ennoblement of several local families also mollified many complaints of the local upper classes. They are being joined by a lot of the older noble families of India and South Asia as well which is being received with mixed reactions by many.
America has gone out of its way to rival and exceed the (supposed) splendour of the British Isles with massive governmental residences and the famous statue of the Queen Mother and Britannia over New York. The North American colonies have also industrialised and exceeded the economic output of the UK long ago. However as India also industrialises they too are being outdone in terms of output and volume of products. A slight introduction of the UK’s democratic practices to India has also reduced tensions here and there in the “Jewel in the Crown”. Africa however is a completely different state of affairs. Most of the continent came under British rule after some wars with the French and Germans but ruling such a vast area has proven difficult and also made them a potential target for most of the rest of the world not allied to them. A number of their African territories are ruled through puppet regimes thanks to a very different style of colonisation in Africa and “divide and conquer” tactics have helped prevent the rise of organized resistance. Slavery lasted longer which did lead to a slightly greater depopulation of the West African coastal regions and saw a lot of kingdoms collapse once the Europeans moved in.
Russia is Britain’s closest ally thanks to some ties between the royal families and a lot of economic investment on the part of both nations. Russia industrialised a little earlier thanks to a lack of Napoleonic Wars negating the reactionary phase of OTL. The presence of Germany also highlighted the necessity of presenting a strong front and so the Russian Empire has successfully turned itself into a steampunk-esque nation of grimy cities, massive factories and near endless railroads. Russia is a bit more populist than Britain but their general population is conservative enough. The Tsar still holds absolute power in theory but the, now fairly powerful, Duma has increased in influence despite the nature of Russian politics. They do suffer from a socialist problem but the movements have become too radical for most peoples liking. The empire has also been forced to decentralise much like the British in order to survive and is also a complex system of clients, autonomous regions and protectorates. Thankfully the whole thing is maintained by a fairly tolerant system of organization and administration and most of the empire has become secular enough that matters of faith rarely lead to violent argument.
Portugal is another old ally of the British and a major beneficiary of financial investment over the past few centuries. Brazil is the heart of the empire now and really the centre of government with Portugal itself only really getting the token acknowledgement of having their name in the title. Portuguese Africa is also incredibly wealthy and continued colonisation (sometimes forcibly) has created a substantial and influential colonist population backed up by creoles which has offset several nationalist groups. Japan is Britain’s other ally. The Japanese were opened up to world in a slightly different manner and also industrialised differently. With a more peaceful history and a greater cooperation with other European powers they have avoided anything like OTL Imperial Japan. The military does have a lot of influence in government but it is the navy rather than the army which has had some major impacts on their development as a colonial power. Taiwan is now running at about 20% Japanese but it has autonomy and the rest of their territories are run as protectorates anyway. The Ottoman Empire accepted British assistance after their war with the Hapsburgs which quickly morphed into British intervention and protection when portions of their empire became unstable. Their industrialisation is a bit of an uphill battle at the moment and they are a constant strainer on Anglo-Russian relations.
France used to be a major power and a British rival until the rise of Germany. France has been beaten, bruised and slapped down when they try to go above a level of power Germany is uncomfortable with. They are still ruled by the Bourbons but their grasp is a lot more tenuous than before. The Ancien Regime has now been replaced by a new system that puts the wealthy commoners in the place of the old wealthy nobles instead. Their main claim to power is in their meagre empire in Northern Africa and their alliance with Spain. Spain is still a massive empire with their American empire still intact and the Bourbons still in power. They prop up France mostly out of filial piety and a need for allies in the face of British hegemony. The Americas are increasingly becoming the centre of their empire as well and the industrialisation of these territories has made them incredibly wealthy and influential. There are already calls from Mexico City to move the official capital there. France’s territories in Africa on the other hand are still ruled via good old fashioned colonialism but there is an effort to bring them up to some form of autonomy. However it is by France’s standards and on their schedule so it may be a distance prospect.
The nations that have really changed are the various German states. Like OTL the Prussians were the ones that finally united the nation but they managed to go much further than OTL. The Austrian Empire and even the Netherlands were absorbed during Germany’s short and aggressive expansionist phase. After beating the French into submission they stopped to consolidate their gains. Today Germany is a militant, authoritarian and industrious nation. Society is organized and stratified with expectations placed on the population that encourage productivity and efficiency. There has been a blossoming of several sciences in Germany along with a bit of a Gothic revival that has led to a lot of odd architecture and art. This cultural revival has also been exploited by the government who have commissioned a lot of nationalist art and architectural pieces. Germany has been able to grab a few pieces of territory here and there overseas but they are still very upset at failing to grab a hold of the Dutch East Indies in time. Their smaller empire has been a bit easier to invest in and there have been a lot of industrialisation initiatives in order to bring them up to certain quotas and standards that have been set. This of course has been unsettling for a few countries especially the British who are worried that the rise in Germany may threaten their empire overseas.
The Hapsburgs have been forced out of Austria and Bohemia by the Hohenzollerns but they still have control of Hungary and all of their territories in the Balkans. The war against the Ottomans has also seen them gain even more land in Southern Europe that they have been granted by Germany. Technically they are satellite states but have a lot of autonomy and influence within the German sphere. Italy was also united by the Germans after the French had been defeated. The new Italian kingdom was granted to a local branch of the Hapsburg family as well. There are a lot of tensions between the North and the South and the few attempts to turn the Southern half into more Germanic Italians did not go over that well. Other bits and pieces in Europe have also found themselves under German control or influence. Most have some degree of self-determination but they are all still on a leash with a limited length.
Another nation that has defied the old status quo is China. Butterflies led to some different leadership that successfully opened up the nation to European technology. It took an incredibly long time to reform the nation and a few revolutions had to be put down in the attempt but today China is a power on the world stage. The Eastern cities of China have now turned into massive smoggy urban sprawls with enormous factories belching smoke over the endless slums that have grown as people move in from the countryside. The industrial oligarchs that have emerged since then often clash with the older noble families and bureaucrats within the Emperor’s Court. The nation is still an absolute monarchy but the bureaucracy still run everything and make sure that the Emperor’s decrees are properly reinterpreted or lost when necessary. A lot of revolutionary groups plague China as European ideals move in with the trade ships but none of them are that influential and most are seen as radicals. This is a China that has not had as poor an experience as OTL and is generally more traditionalist in its views. The prosperity that is emerging in a new and vibrant middles class is also starting to suppress the radicals that have grown amongst the proletariat. They are also more confident on the world stage with a few vassal states here and there. They may have lost Taiwan and Korea to the foreign barbarians but they still have Northern Vietnam to boss around which has done a couple of favours for national pride.
Technology is only a couple of years behind OTL. Heavier than air flight has been a real thing for a couple of decades now but most commercial flights are still done by zeppelins (having no big Hindenburg-esque crashes helps). The world’s first commercial propeller plane flight took place a year ago and carried seventeen people from the province of Mississippi to East Oregon. Cars have only recently entered mass production and stopped being a toy of the wealthy but trains still remain the most popular means of transportation for the public. Tank warfare is still being perfected but they are no longer the death traps they were when they were originally fielded in Africa. Chemical and biological weapons have also been banned by international treaty as well after the horrendous effects they had in the Anglo-German wars several decades before. Most attitudes are still very conservative. Scientific racism never really took off thanks to the survival of the Chinese and Ottoman Empires. Arabs, Turks and most Asians are now in the ‘Dusky White People’ category and Africans are viewed more as culturally retarded rather than racially inferior. Women’s Rights are a new and terrifying movement for much of the world especially for the women who are not the white upper class ladies that make up the majority of activists and can actually afford the jobs and rights they are demanding. As the empires of the world develop and smoke stacks grow in the colonies, the world looks forward to a new age where the empires of the world will enlighten the formerly dark portions of the planet. Only time will tell what will happen.