The Armada Landed:
In this time-line the Spanish armada succeeded in defeating the English navy and landed Philip's forces on the Southern shores of England before proceeding to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and finally end the existence of the Protestant state. The establishment of a new Hapsburg branch on the throne of England seemed to solidify the new state and the Hapsburgs looked set to control all of Europe.
However pride cometh before a fall and the Hapsburg Empire begins to strain underneath its own weight. Due to Protestant rebellions and the ineptitude of increasingly insane or incompetent rulers the Hapsburg Empire began to unravel. England and the Netherlands rebelled almost simultaneously in 1632. The two states later joined under a Protestant monarch and established a new state to rival the Hapsburgs in Europe and overseas.
By the late 18th Century the vast Hapsburg empire still laid dominion to most of Europe but the rise of nationalist ideals alongside new philosophies of government would lead to complications. A war with the Anglo-Dutch in the Caribbean that escalated out of control led to rise in taxes in combination with food shortages and general unrest led to a revolution breaking out in Milan and spreading across Europe.
Today the Kingdom of Spain once ready to be the near ruler of the world is now a shadow of its former self. Through massive concessions and the ceding of most of their power the Hapsburg family still sits on the Spanish throne but they are a very faint shadow of their former self. Spain does still hold colonial control over some portions of Africa but their hold on them is becoming increasingly brutal as anti-colonial rebellions constantly breakout. Despite this Spain has been edging towards the Anglo-Dutch Empire in hopes of holding off the Republicans and tentative feelers are being extended further and further during diplomatic meetings.
Europe is still united under an alliance system of Republics that was founded by a 'German Napoleon' in the early 19th Century but it has decentralised since it's early days after the Global War and the period of authoritarian rule that threatened to tear the system apart by the closing years of the war. The Germanic Federal Republic is now the lead state of the Republican Convention which still annoys the Italian Republic, after all they were the ones who founded the Revolution. They should be in charge. However a rival influence in the Convention is France which was reunified after the last war with Spain in 1834 and is now increasingly throwing its weight around.
The Convention stands against colonialism but still retains a number of 'overseas departments' that they often use as bases to cause trouble in the Anglo-Dutch territories, covertly of course.
The Anglo-Dutch Empire is an enormous federal construct united through a combination of economic agreements, military treaties, partial autonomy and even some loyalty to the crown. The establishment of the Republican Convention, their subsequent takeover of Europe and their expansion overseas prompted the Empire to expand their empire further and begin industrialising their colonies more. Results were mixed but helped keep things together. The Empire began to decentralise in 1938 after the Global War due to financial pressure and the worry over the development of radical groups (the Empire lost India in 1935 after a Socialist* uprising). Of course the decentralisation has made it increasingly difficult to coordinate national policy and there is an increasing number of politicians worried that the entire thing may collapse around them at any minute and new efforts are being made to promote a form of Imperial pan-nationalism.
The Anglo-Dutch saw their greatest period of expansion in the Early 19th Century as the Hapsburgs grew weaker and the control over their colonies became weaker and weaker. A series of wars overseas saw much of the Americas come under their control as well as India and the whole of OTL Australasia. The Empire expanded again into Africa after the Revolutionary nations in Europe began looking for their own colonies overseas. The industrialisation of the colonies (to an extent) has kept the Empire in power. The Empire has shrunk since the 1930s after loosing India and the Middle East to revolution and then dumping the more unprofitable portions of Africa but it is still an enormous entity.
The Empire of Portugal & Brazil a long time ally and economic dependency of the Anglo-Dutch continues to take great leaps and strides in both high-technology and green politics (ATL ones anyway). Brazil overtook its homeland of Portugal in the Early 19th Century and is now the centre of their empire.
Russia is often considered the oddball of the world. For much of it's history the Empire of Russia was a backward state but still had ambitions in both Asia and Europe and did have a successful expansion phase. However the Late 19th Century was known as the Russian Humiliation as it's many rivals such as China and the nations of the Convention continued to contain Russian expansion and were more advanced technologically and defeated several attempts by the Tsars to expand into their territory. In 1908 after the 2nd Sino-Russian War the Tsar and his government were overthrown by Revolution that ended in 1910 with the ascension of an authoritarian technocratic government that began a force-draft rapid industrialisation of the nation. The party is still in charge but is not very democratic (IQ and loyalty tests are required to be involved in government), however it has made Russia into a self-sufficient power if under a paranoid panopticon that monitors all civilian activity.
One product of the Global War was the Indian People's Republic, an extremely radical nation founded by uprisings in the middle of the Global War that succeeded in pushing the overstretched Anglo-Dutch forces off the subcontinent. The Republic funds many 'Socialist' insurgencies across the world but does not work with the Convention's efforts due to their own anti-European ideals. The Republic does have a system of allies in Southern Asia and the Middle East that also follow their ideals but they are now beginning to have trouble controlling them (think OTL Prague Spring but with some religious extremists tagged alongside them). The Republic itself is beginning to have trouble with it's food shortages as the population continues to rise and the inefficient agricultural system continues to fail to feed them.
A China under different leadership in the 17th century managed to modernise better and capitalise on the technology of the westerners and avoided the humiliations of OTL but was still seen as a backward and inferior state by the Europeans. Economic troubles in the 1870s led to Revolution which overthrew the Emperor and saw the establishment of a radical new government. However whereas Europe’s governments were more left-leaning in nature, China's was the opposite. A right-wing nationalist government completely seized power in China in 1879 and began a period of rapid force-draft modernisation in order to compete with and overthrow the Europeans as the world power.
The Republic made significant gains in the war defeating the Russians, pushing out the Japanese and Anglo-Dutch, succeeding in helping the Indians rebel but failing to bring them under their control. However their victories in Russia ended by 1936 and were soon reversed. Anglo-Dutch and Japanese forces eventually landed on their shores once more and in February 1988 the Anglo-Dutch dropped their first atomic bomb on Nanjing and after ramping up production dropped two more on major concentrations of Chinese forces. The development of this weapon in combination with defeat in Russia, failure in India and the surrender of their Polish and Hungarian allies in Europe prompted the Chinese government to surrender on June 14th 1938.
The former National Republic of China is beginning to get back on it's feet. Broken up after its defeat in the Global War China has once again burst onto the world stage after what is known as the 2nd Chinese Technological Revolution and has begun to effectively compete with the Anglo-Dutch and the Convention in global markets. Fiercely nationalist and capitalists the Chinese stand to once again dominate the planet but this time through economics rather than imperialism. However there is an increasingly loud movement calling for the reunification of territories taken from China after the Global War. The reconciliation with Formosa (returned by the Anglo-Dutch) in 1998 is seen as an important step in Chinese efforts to emerge as a world power once again.
One nation that is worried at the prospect of this is the Empire of Japan which in ATL was successfully able to subjugate Korea and able to grab portions of Siberia from Russia but has been forced to abandon their gains in China as the nation recovered and is now worried about it's economic position as China continues to grow often at their expense.
Technology is more advanced than OTL in most fields especially biotech. However the world is slightly less advanced with space technology due to the lack of a Space Race though there are ICBMs. A lot of food is now increasingly vat grown or provided by GM crops due to an increasing population and a changing climate.
Despite more industrialisation and development much of the world has yet to hit the demographic transition. The prevalence of nationalist governments has led to a continuing number of baby tax benefits in some countries like China and parts of the Anglo-Dutch Empire.
Culture and Social ideas are more conservative than OTL. The Anglo-Dutch Empire still has a noticeable class system (though you can still move up in it) and schools still have classes on social manners and graces. There was no equivalent of the 60s and popular music tends to be a sort of ATL jazz equivalent with classical operatic music being popular with the upper classes (its more of a social symbol for them these days). Universal suffrage was granted to women in the 1980s in the Anglo-Dutch Empire but the Convention often boasts about its granting universal suffrage to all citizens in the 1950s. A lot of nations do still have voting requirements such as Russia which takes an IQ (and loyalty) check prior to any election.
Global relations are somewhat turbulent due to the presence of a wider variety of fairly antagonistic political systems. However the world is clearly multi-polar and has not had anything like OTLs Cold War though there are a number of powers with obvious rivalries towards each other. The ATL equivalents of capitalism and socialism are both seen as legitimate forms of efficient government though the practices tend to differ from nation to nation. The world is also more authoritarian with the liberal movements being a highly insignificant minority. Nationalism is also far more obvious in this world.
The worlds eyes are currently drawn to the Indian Ocean. Despite their best attempts to hide it the Indian government is now unable to cover up the events that are appearing on satellite pictures as riots break out and troops are mobilised in the major cities. The world powers are now moving back into Africa in order to exploit the failing states especially China.
*Isn’t called Socialism in ATL and has several different characteristics.