Sons Of Atlantis:
This is one of those worlds where there was a small continent in the Atlantic that created few to no ill topographical or meteorological effects on the rest of Europe and had no effect on human activity until about the Bronze Age. Enjoy.
The island kingdom of Atlantis was a human marvel in its heyday. Whilst the lands of Europe and Asia moved into their basic Bronze Age, Atlantis had already formed a prosperous unified state that covered the entire continent on which they called home. Fleets of specially built ships plied the seas and eventually found the coasts of Africa and from there Europe. When the Mycenaean civilization was born and the Minoan culture began to decline the Atlantean were experiencing a golden age, their ships sailed into the seas around the British Isles, across the entirety of the Mediterranean and even around South Africa in search of riches and trade, founding colonies and outposts as they went. It was during this period that their most infamous phase of expansionism took place. Armed with weapons of iron they conquered the bronze and flint wielding civilizations of Europe and Western Africa and built an empire that would forever define human civilization. It was during this time that ships sent to find islands to the west found an entirely new continent. Colonies were established, technology and animals were brought along and the natives caught several diseases. Being generally cleaner than 16th Century Europeans and having not exposed themselves to as many diseases as OTL the exchange was far less severe and the incredibly slow rate of colonisation by the Atlanteans allowed the natives populations some time to adapt to the new diseases and recover their numbers.
The Golden Age of Atlantis came to an end in the 10th Century BC. Imperial overstretch combined with cultural decadence and complacency led to rebellions that the empire struggled to put down. Corruption began to set in and eventually blossomed into political rivalry and full on civil war. Vassals and conquered nations rose up, armed with the very same weaponry that had subjugated them and forced out the Atlantean ruling classes. The Atlantean Empire collapsed, many colonies died as ships bringing necessities stopped arriving whilst others were overrun by native people and dismantled or destroyed. A few survived but would slowly be assimilated until the colonists had been replaced almost entirely by either natives or creoles.
Atlantis recovered but would never again reach the heights of its ancient history. A weaker shadow of the former empire would reform on the continent but never reach out to conquer distant lands. Instead they would set themselves up as a mercantile power. The island linked Europe with Africa and still held secrets from Asia or even the distant continents to the West which made it a valuable and prosperous trading hub.
In the 7th Century the Aechian civilization, descendant of the Mycenaean culture would rise to power and conquer most of Europe, stretching from Mesopotamia up to the British Isles, the Baltic Sea and even touch the Ukraine. Eventually they too would collapse and be replaced by other states. In Asia a great period of migration happened centuries later, forcing the various tribes of Central Asia to find entirely new lands to settle. The Shang culture would unite the Han people into a mighty civilization that would then be splintered and reformed several times by migratory peoples from the North and West. In the Americas the introduction of diseases was also joined by metallurgy, draft animals and some knowledge of Atlantean organizational systems. New empires were forged by the native populations and they too began to innovate. However the true legacy of Atlantis was its legend. The history of their empire would serve to inspire and drive people from across the world as they attempted to succeed and surpass them in glory and achievement.
Today Atlantis is a shadow of its former self, clinging to the edifices of its past and struggling to maintain what little position it still has on the world stage. For centuries now the empire has isolated itself in a vain attempt at preserving its cultural purity despite a small sprinkling of technological development over the years. The stagnation of the empire took place at the behest of several generations of conservative emperors and aristocrats. The greatest blow to their prestige came when the Albayanneans took control of one of their most prosperous port cities nearly two centuries ago. It is only recently under a more radical emperor that the Atlanteans have begun to incorporate foreign discoveries and technology. This has upset a large portion of the ruling class and general population who feel insulted that they need foreign aid in order to prosper. The attempts at high-technology modernisation are hampered by these conservatives as well as the relatively backwards infrastructure that the nation still relies on. Most of Atlantis’ influence comes from the prestige of their ancient empire but that no longer has anywhere near as much meaning as it once did. The new empires that have emerged have surpassed them and there is little genuine respect left for the “Cradle of Civilization”.
Albayannea arose to power after the collapse of the theocratic government that had risen to power in the OTL Middle Ages and had ruled for centuries. The development of what would later be called the Coal Kingdom by many led to the establishment of their overseas colonial territories and was expanded from there. Much of their empire has been extensively settled by colonists from Europe and Asia at the expense of the local Africans and Amerindians. The development of their more recent colonies took place in what would be the OTL 18th Century and was done by indentured labour, actual chattel slavery having been ended nearly a century prior to that. The capital remains in the British Isles for now mostly due to tradition but movement is already happening. Much of the empire has been built around puppet and ‘Princely’ states several of which have been absorbed by the Empire Proper over the years. The rest are now economically and politically dependant on the rest of the empire. Most of the former ruling classes of these local states have long been assimilated into the old colonial governments which has helped settle a few more moderate resistance movements.
Albayannea is a flamboyantly arrogant nation with an enormous amount of pride invested in its own empire as well as the power they project through it. A few of the more insightful politicians began the process of assimilation and homogenisation over a century ago and there work has been continued to this day and is still in progress. The cities of the Homeland have been completely redesigned from the old manufacturing cities and instead are now multi-tiered complexes of glistening crystalline towers formed of newly discovered alloys and other materials. A lot of the old manufacturing families have moved onto high-technology and eclipsed the conservatives long ago. Most modern architecture incorporates ancient Atlantean and Aechian designs alongside industrial motifs and post-industrial designs. Nearly all hard industry has also moved to the colonies along with much of the administration over the more recent decades which has allowed the Homeland to redesign their cities whilst the colonies industrialise. A lot of colonial industry looks like a strange combination of post-industrial and steampunk as massive shiny towers exist alongside huge industrial complexes that belch toxins overhead. Some environmental groups have arisen as a result and a few governors have begun cleaning initiatives from time to time. The development of the overseas territories has both raised and lowered certain tensions between the native populations and the colonists. The rise of the native middle class along with the numbers of creoles has also helped smooth relations as well. However changes are taking place.
The Aechian Empire gave rise to many empires on the European continent that have risen and fallen over the centuries. The current reigning power would be the Quadripartite Kingdom of Hy-Vorea. Named for the old term the Aechians used to describe much of the northern portion of the continent, the kingdom is a federated construct of four separated kingdoms (and a few smaller ones) ruled over by a, now elected, central monarchy. Hy-Vorea used to be larger but the Eastern portion of their empire seceded after a short but painful civil war several centuries beforehand. Hy-Vorea is a large industrial nation with a noticeable steampunk look to itself. Massive urban sprawls exist surrounded by large factory complexes churning out manufactured goods for the rest of Europe. “Made in Hy-Vorea” is seen as a sign of quality in much of the world. Latter Hy-Vorea is the nation that emerged in the East after they won their independence after the civil war. It is a far more belligerent nation with a similarly heavy industry based economy but a far larger military and police complex. Latter Hy-Vorea is ruled by a single monarch but their power has long been curtailed by an oligarchic collection of military, economic and religious leaders. Both nations speak a form of Aechian that has adopted some Baltic and proto-Slavic over the centuries as well as bits and pieces of various Iranian dialects thanks to some migrations over the centuries. Both nations also follow the more popular offshoots of the Aechian religion with a few inclusions from the Asian cultures. Human sacrifice is still a thing but nowhere near as common as it used to be. It is even more acceptable in Latter Hy-Vorea though and often follows up any major national occasion or festival.
In the Americas the largest and powerful nation is in fact the Native built Empire of Abrosou. Whilst not the first nation to adopt the new technology that the Atlanteans supplied they were isolated enough to gain the necessary immunities and avoid colonisation. Their culture remained fairly insignificant until around the OTL 1300s where they built a massive empire with armies of efficient and ruthless cavalry soldiers. When Europeans arrived once again the Empire had already absorbed numerous other states including several with a penchant for ingenuity and philosophy allowing them a bit of an edge at technological development and more available resources than the colonists. Abrosou has survived several invasions and managed to maintain control of their territory. Some expansion even took place as some colonies were abandoned or attacked and conquered. Today their empire is a vast and fairly authoritarian state. Justice is harsh but also swift and applied fairly and there is a lot of emphasis on communal harmony and camaraderie. Their religion is based on worshipping the celestial bodies and has had to do mental gymnastics over the past few centuries as science reveals more about the heavens. Human sacrifices to the sun and moon still take place but is now confined to solstice occasions and is only done to lucky (it is supposed to be a great honour) death row criminals.
The rest of their empire is run largely through a system of federalised vassals and associates that are a surprisingly efficient system of government. There is a sense of pan-Amerindian nationality that has been maintained mostly as a form of unification. The military is the biggest unifying factor these days. This is reinforced by an anti-European message that is regularly circulated in education and the media. The Abrosou religion is the constantly encouraged and given precedence by all government officials but is not actively forced on others. Technology is another important part of Abrosou society. Innovation and technological development became more significant to them as the Europeans and other colonial powers became stronger in the Americas. The need to stay on top of technological advancement continues to this day though it is nowhere near as desperate as it once was. A lot of the younger cities are planned and have been constructed with militaristic organization. Cities of heavily of tightly packed and heavily fortified high-rise towers dot the landscape connected by precise highways that were originally designed to rapidly move military and relief forces. During the last century the Abrosou people fully expected an invasion on par with a war of annihilation from the various other empires of the world. The lack of such a war is now beginning to cause problems in a few areas. Many now call for mass reformation of the infrastructure and that it should be converted for more civilian use.
Other powers exist here and there. The remnant of the Aechian Empire has risen and fallen again over the centuries but there has always been a cultural core that survives and recovers. Today much of the Mediterranean has been united in a new Aechian League. They are a fairly EU style union that was founded primarily for defence against the more aggressive Tyranny of Khemet which is a militaristic nation that speaks several forms of Aechian derived languages and is ruled by a government that seems to be a strange hybrid of a traditional Aechian elected monarchy and a 'fascist' military junta. Khemet claims not only the power and legacy of Aechia but also that of the various indigenous civilizations of Khemet that existed previously. Far to the west a remnant of the ancient Kvetchu Empire survives. They have received both European and Asian culture over the centuries but they are very much a 'Sick Man' by this point. Their empire suffers from corruption and general unrest and they are technologically inferior to nearly all of their neighbours. Several resistance movements are receiving foreign backing from some colonial powers but the Kvetchu have recently entered into an alliance with the Abrosou which is very worrying for the rest of the world. The Outavaya Empire is probably the strangest of the minor empires. Discovered by Xiang explorers, what would be OTL Australia received diseases and technology in much the same way the Amerindians did and managed to make something of themselves once colonising nations actually arrived. Today they are an abrasive and racist empire ruled over by a mostly Creole population that has a distrust of every other race and empire. They still trade with others however, necessities and all that.
One other power that has an impact on the world stage is the Empire of Xiang. Their civilization has had a very different development compared to OTL. Different migration patterns broke up the fledgling states in their infancy but their culture survived and still managed to absorb the Turkic, Mongol and Indo-European invaders. Their empire was even a colonial power for a time and founded colonies across the Pacific. Their empire came out of a period of chaos and internal turmoil a couple of centuries ago and has rebounded and recovered since then. Their empire is a little decentralised at the moment with the more Han coastal states surrounding the more Turkic/Aryan provinces of the interior. They have yet to reclaim all of their old colonies and vassals but they have managed to stave off most European interests and attempts of puppetization. Much like Albayannea the Xiang have rebuilt their nation into a modern state with a more archaic facade. Their architecture incorporates several older styles and designs alongside the more modern materials and construction techniques. Society follows what can only be called neo-traditionalism with a lot of old social practices being meshed alongside more modern ideals that have developed over the centuries. Some old gender roles and attitudes have been reinforced but many newer ideas have been retained and adapted.
Technology is well ahead of OTL. Atlantean discoveries in the distant past accelerated the development of other cultures technological development across the world. A more widespread industrialisation and adoption of the scientific method led to more rapid technological development. However with more industrialisation their have been side-effects. Climate change happened earlier than OTL and only recently has the world been able to construct the measures to hold off sea level rise. Changes in weather patterns eventually led to the widespread adoption of genetically modified crops and other plants. New drought resistant trees have been planted in order to mitigate erosion and a number of food animals have been modified in order to make husbandry more efficient. New fish farming methods have replaced fishing in most advanced nations and the development of cloned meat is beginning to gain popularity now that the products actually have flavour and don't cause horrible bowel problems. Some genetic toys have broken out and caused trouble in the wild such as the Assyrian Tiger Cat which has wiped several species of rodent and bird in Mesopotamia and a variety of Toy Flowers which have wrought havoc in portions of Abrosou. Most fossil fuels have been depleted but creating artificial fossil fuels is still cheaper than most alternatives. Fuel burning factories have been modified to cleanse themselves (as much as possible anyway) of such gases as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide but the process is still unrefined and prone to problems. Nuclear fusion has been a reality for over a decade now but is still too capital intensive for many. New alloys and other artificial materials have allowed architects to build higher than ever and many have even attempted to explore crazy new designs whenever possible. Space travel has been around for a lot longer and the Abrosou, Albayannea and Latter Hy-Vorea all have bases on the Moon and Albayannea also set a base up on Mars a little under a decade ago.
Most religions are still polytheistic but rarely have more than three or four Gods to worship. The concept of Monotheism does exist but is mostly relegated to a few strange cults and fringe faiths that rarely impact society in any significant way. Most popular faiths have been forced to adapt to the discoveries of science over the past few centuries but they have pulled through, their continued popularity evidence of that. Outright atheism is not as popular with a form of ATL Humanism instead replacing it and whatever significance it holds. This is a world still in the grips of imperialism and nationalism has not really taken off as a concept in most of the world except for a few extreme groups. Most governments are still monarchical but systems of technocracy or bureaucratic oligarchy now hold most of the real power in much of the world. Democracy (of a sort) was still developed but is a very different and more oligarchic system than OTL. Universal democracy does not really exist and the thought of giving everyone a say in government tends to frighten people.
Credit to B.Munro/Quantumbranching for the inspiration behind the organisation of the Abrosou.