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The Dutch Far East: 1900 by mdc01957 The Dutch Far East: 1900 by mdc01957
Here's something I spent the past few days working on as a little surprise: a map-profile of a Japan where the Dutch were a lot more lucky and powerful than in our reality. Some details here, though reflect certain tidbits about the Dutch presence in real life Japan (such as Nagasaki and the Napoleonic Wars).

Admittedly, this is a bit of an unexpected work, since this was an idea that came to mind one day (and explaining a bit why things have been a bit slow on the others). It's also a distant follow-up of sorts to my old Viceroyalty of Southern Japan map ([link]) made last year and I could use this as a starting point for a story.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this little surprise! :)

*UPDATE* I made some last-minute tweaks to the map. Hope they're better this time around!

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Some may consider the Dutch Far East, like the very existence of the Netherlands to be one of those great anomalies in history. If not for certain historical events and perhaps even some stroke of luck, it shouldn’t even exist at all. And yet centuries after the first Dutch sailors landed ashore this unusual colony has despite the odds flourished into a showcase of the Kingdom’s power in Asia. From the grand boulevards of Poort Willemstad (Nagasaki) to the canals of Nieuw Antwerpen (Osaka) and the preserved archaic wonders of Kyoto, it is also a center of diversity reflecting both European prestige and the persistent legacy of its past as part of Japan.

At first, the realm’s very survival, like the early days of Fort Zeelandia in Formosa was very uncertain. While the pioneers and merchants had the resources to challenge the feudal domains and their precious Samurai, they were initially forced to satisfy themselves with increasing their influence in Kyushu, driving away the occasional Spanish trader or Portuguese missionary. It wasn’t until the bloody and protracted Sekigahara Wars (named after the battle that had effectively put the Tokugawa clan in power) that the fledging Dutch East India Company (with government backing from Europe) took the initiative and secured as much of southern Japan as was feasible. In the process, the newcomers sought out (or in some cases “coerced”) sympathetic daimyo to guarantee both some sense of legitimacy and a reliable coalition of local allies. But it only after the Fall of Kyoto in 1621 that the advance finally came to a halt, hindered in part by an increasingly unified if exhausted enemy. Following the Treaty of Edo signed a year later, the conquered lands were officially consolidated as the Dutch Far East. Their local allies were “rewarded” by becoming protectorates under the Free Fiefdoms while the Shogunate was forced to formally relinquish its authority over its now-lost domains, although Kyoto would remain a sore point for centuries to come.

The years that followed would see it transition away from Company control to the homeland (albeit via the East Indies at first) and a small but growing influx of Dutch colonists (primarily traders, farmers and adventurers). Though the newcomers initially tried to use a modified version of the existing rigid classes (with the Dutch as the new Samurai and Merchant castes), this gradually faded over time as more either intermingled with the locals or sought to implement a more “European” society in place. But the most significant moment in the colony’s history happened towards the end of the 18th Century and well into the French Wars of Revolution in the early 19th. Groups of refugees from the East Indies, Cape Colonies (both “secured” by the British Empire) and as far away as their distant homeland (occupied by the French) began arriving in droves in what some were calling by then “the last Dutch Bastion.” Even after the Wars ended and the Netherlands restored to its former glory, this ultimately served to not only increase the number of Europeans and Mesties in the Far East but also accelerate its development further. The result is in an increasingly prosperous and highly developed domain surpassing even the well-tailored facades of Batavia (what another world calls Jakarta). Already calls are being made to grant the colony Home Rule and equal footing as a constituent part of the Kingdom.

Beneath the surface however, tensions are simmering. The Tokugawa Shogunate to the north continues to bolster itself behind its isolationist (or Sakoku) policy and expand north towards the Russian fringes despite being seemingly frozen in time. With rumors abound of the Shogun’s dealings with Russian and British agents as well as the Emperor-in-Exile’s growing clout in Edo, some are concerned that there’s more going on behind the scenes. Meanwhile in its borders, social unrest and grievances centuries in the making continue to boil. The remaining Shinto and Buddhist sects find themselves threatened by the encroaching reach of Christianity and other Western ideas. Many of full-blooded Japanese, despite increasing social equality find themselves split between embracing the Dutch way of life and returning to the ways of their “noble predecessors” (and embodied by their brethren across the border). And that is not yet even counting the complicated case of the Mesties or the growing threat posed by the Russians, French, British and even Americans. Still, time will tell how all this would play out.

For now, it is more fitting to give a toast to this grand New Year. The Year of Our Lord 1900. May be it be a fine century…
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:icongalaktit:
Galaktit Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Russian Empire is not Русская империя. It is Российская империя
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
My bad. ^^;
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:iconroyalpsycho:
RoyalPsycho Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
Ah so this is what you were talking about in my Khanate of the West map. Fair enough. Its most likely a coincidence though.
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
Yours is arguably better though. ^^;
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:iconienkoron:
Ienkoron Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012
with the Tsarist regime still intact I'd doubt that WW1 would have happened, as Kaiser Wilhelm pushed Nicholas into the Russo-Japanese war to weaken him, therefore many of the major conflicts of the 20th century would either not have happened, or at least not until later,and I doubt that Nazi Germany would have risen at all...
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012
Perhaps. But then again, it's still in 1900. A lot could happen in the next century...or not. ;)
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:iconienkoron:
Ienkoron Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
Exactly :D
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
Nice map and history.

But it was my understanding that it was the Portugese who werre the first Europeans to discover Japan. So wouldn't it be them who would try and take over?
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
In this turn of events, the Portuguese lost their chance. ;)
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Also, what of Sakhalin and the Kurils? :?
If i remember correctly, Japan acquired Karafuto (southern Sakhalin Island) as tribute for winning the Russo-Japanese War.

Very neat and intriguing map and idea, Migs! Well done!
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
With the loss of southern Japan, the Shogunate tried moving into Karafuto and the Kurils much earlier than in reality, managing to settle at least some of it by the time the Russians start showing up.

And thanks! I'm glad you find this strange map wonderful! :D
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The Russians must have had some...er...strong resentments to the colonization of then-Russian soil. Would the Russo-Japanese war still have occurred, then? Or would the Tokugawa Shogunate still be too focused trying to quell internal dissent and keep the Dutch at bay?

Also, would the Dutch have installed local leaders, as the English did in India? Or did they rule directly?

You're welcome! It is a very cool idea :3
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
For the Russians, the Japanese were lucky to arrive on Sakhalin and the Kurils before the Russians could get to them substantially. Although the folks in St. Petersburg don't take too kindly of Samurai wandering about what ought to be Russian soil. ;)

The Shogunate meanwhile is looking outward for both Russian (despite those aforementioned setbacks) and British aid in strengthening themselves...at least as much as they could spare while keeping their loyal daimyo fixated on the Dutch.

The "newcomers" meanwhile do have something like that, with the Free Fiefdoms (daimyo domains loyal to the Dutch) being an analogue to the Princely States of India, although even they are gradually becoming Dutch, with said daimyo starting to call themselves Stadhoulders (roughly "State/Landholders" in English).

Hope that helps. :)
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I imagine the Meiji Restoration would occur much, much later then, as the Shogunate tries to consolidate it's power, and keep the fragile union together. Or it may never occur at all.

As a result, wouldn't the West have more interest in trading with the Dutch-held South than with the rather isolated and xenophobic North? A situation like this could keep the Shogun in power well into the 20th century :D
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
There are signs that the Shogun may be repealing the Sakoku to both compete with the Dutch and ensure the Shogunate's very survival. Though with the Emperor starting to be more than engaged in local politics, he may have a few more things to say...
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:icongigoxxiii:
GigoXXIII Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting, with no Meji Restoration due to Japan been partly ruled by the Dutch you have no Russo-Japanese War to humiliate Russia which has three massive shockwaves on history, first the lack of a defeat means Russia is not humiliated and thus their is no revolution in 1905 and the Tzars government is till seen as been in control meaning the communist groups have much less support and confidence to carry out a revolution.

Two Russia for all intents and perposes gets Korea and Manchuria and thus its warm water port and still has its navy in decent condition.

Finally because there is no Russo-Japanese war europeans are not beaten in a majior war by a nation and culture that was at the time considered inferior which means that the various nationalist independance movements don't have prof that europeans can be beating which effectivly changes the whole decolonization situation.

Then there is the obvious lack of a pacific theater in WWII if it happens at all (taking butterflys into account as they would get alot more extreme as the 1900's progress).

At any rate this is very interesting and has a heck of alot of potential, are you planing on doing anything else which its TL ?. Consider this to be under very close watch =)
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
Right now, I'm not sure how to continue this, aside from perhaps showing the European side of things...but in any case, stay tuned for anything more! :la:
Reply
:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You could focus on the American side, with Commodore Perry and the likes :3
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
By 1900, the good Commodore would likely be long dead. Although it's safe to say that the Americans have a few tiny outposts to bypass the Sakoku
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Artist
The Koreans may take the shoes the Japanese could have taken, but then they are vassalized by the Russians, too.
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:iconeclipse-paladin:
eclipse-paladin Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
I can't even imagine the effect might have on the events of the twentieth century. Awsomeness!
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
There have been stranger things in history... ;)
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:iconimuildaeren:
Imuildaeren Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
Very nice
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:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
Glad you liked it! ^^
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:iconimuildaeren:
Imuildaeren Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
It would certainly be a fascinating place.
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Artist
Wow. A No Meiji Restoration scenario. Then, what happens to Dejima?
Reply
:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
It's just part of Poort Willemstad/Nagasaki now. ;)
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Coool.... Great job!
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