Holy Roman Empire

Chapter 424: Ethiopia
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Chapter 424: Ethiopia

During the London Conference, the British did not stop their global strategic deployment. In order to strengthen their control over North America, the British Parliament approved a bill to establish a Canadian dominion in May.

This sparked protests from the United States federal government, but the result was naturally ignored, as this was a measure aimed at them in the first place.

After the American Civil War, capitalists had an increased demand for markets, as the Southern market had bid farewell to them due to the North-South divide.

Mexico was also under the sphere of influence of the three powers of Britain, France, and Spain, leaving no room for American involvement. Central America was regarded as Austria’s private territory. Meanwhile, the Caribbean islands were also the gathering place for the great powers.

The Americas had become a joke for the Americans. The European powers were making a comeback, and the post-split Northern government was simply unable to compete with them.

To change this situation, both American governments were restless. The Confederate government was still doing well, as they exported industrial raw materials and did not need to compete with the powers.

The Federal government was not so lucky. To break the deadlock, they supported the revolutionary party in Mexico and backed the Indian tribes in Central America.

That was not all. As the number of Irish immigrants increased, anti-British sentiment became an important political force in the federal government. In 1866, Irish members of Congress proposed a bill to annex Canada.

Needless to say, such a suicidal bill was naturally not passed. However, this situation still provoked the British, and the British government decided to strengthen its forces in the Americas.

The establishment of the Canadian Dominion was one of these measures. The British government was prepared to relax its suppression of Canada and allow it to develop on its own to increase its influence in North America.

The British were not the only ones taking action. In fact, the French had already sent additional troops to Mexico before this. Maximilian I had listened to Franz’s advice to some extent, and Mexico’s debt had increased by a third compared to the same period in original history.

As the largest creditor, France was naturally held hostage. The more they invested, the less the French government was willing to let go.

Mexico was not without the ability to repay its debts. As long as the rebellion was suppressed, the Silver Empire would soon be able to overcome the crisis.

The actions of Britain and France also affected Austria. The Austrian government was also very annoyed by the restless Americans.

Looking at the information provided by the Governor of Central America, Count Hümmel, Franz felt that it was necessary to give the Americans a lesson and let them know the limits of their own strength.

“How much investment do the Americans have in Central America?” Franz asked.

“About three million guilders,” Colonial Minister Josip Jela?i? replied.

Josip Jela?i? had all of this basic information at his fingertips. If it weren’t for the Civil War, Central America would be the backyard of the Americans.

As early as more than a decade ago, the Americans had been infiltrating Central America. Only when the Civil War broke out and Austria occupied the region did the Americans’ activities quiet down.

Franz casually said, “Then keep an eye on them, and if there are any problems, confiscate their assets.”

Austria’s colonies were not welcoming to foreign investment. To the great disappointment of many, the Austrian government was not interested in promoting economic development in its colonies.

Stability was paramount, and Franz would rather keep the colonies in his own hands and develop them slowly than allow foreign powers to get involved.

On the surface, it seemed that foreign capital would promote economic development in the colonies. However, in this era, overseas investment was often the vanguard of colonial expansion.

The introduction of all sorts of chaotic ideas was also one of the ways in which countries stabbed each other in the back. If not careful, the colonies would rebel before the economy had even developed.

In the late 19th century, all large-scale colonial rebellions were manipulated by international powers. This was also the main reason why countries closed the doors of their colonial markets.

The Americas were too far from Vienna, making it inevitable that control over the colonies would weaken. This gave the Americans an opportunity, prompting them to cause trouble.

Finding an excuse to confiscate these American investments was a warning to the federal government. Of course, it would not be so simple. Austria was merely taking the lead, with other countries expected to follow suit.

Before the American Civil War, their capital had penetrated many parts of North America, such as Mexico, Cuba, and other regions.

When the United States was strong, other countries were wary of its power, and naturally no one would touch these investments. Now, the situation has changed, and the post-split federal government does not have the strength to protect these overseas investments.

If they had behaved themselves, the other countries might not have taken drastic action. But how could capitalists behave themselves?

Without sufficient markets and a large enough domestic economic circulation, capitalists had no choice but to stir up trouble to survive.

Based on the intelligence he had, Franz could confirm that the internal struggle within the federal government was intense, and the forces pushing for outward expansion were acting out of necessity.

Unless there is a major upheaval in Europe, they will not have a chance to develop under the suppression of various countries.

“Yes, Your Majesty!” Colonial Minister Josip Jela?i? replied.

This was just a small interlude. Franz’s main focus was still on the African continent. Since the Austrian government passed the Colonial Integration Act, the importance of the African continent to European countries has risen to a whole new level.

Among them, Britain and France reacted most strongly with the French being the first to respond. Napoleon III was ready to follow suit, and the French government formulated a North African province plan, preparing to incorporate this region into its mainland.

However, due to Europe’s strategic priorities and a shortage of immigrants, this plan remained on paper and could not be fully implemented.

The British reaction was much more intense. It was impossible for them to follow suit. Colonial integration was not suitable for a maritime nation, and even if it was forcefully implemented, Africa would not be their primary choice!

Just open a map and you can see that France and Austria are already very powerful on the African continent. To curb the expansion of the two countries, the British government is preparing to take control of Ethiopia and Somalia first, connecting East Africa and South Africa.

Compared to the original timeline, the British African plan has been greatly reduced. It only occupies the southeast corners and does not run across Egypt.

Ethiopia and Somalia were the final links in Austria’s African strategy. Once the plan was completed, half of the African continent would be Austrian territory.

The British, of course, could not sit idly by, especially since they had already set their sights on Ethiopia. As early as 1839 after occupying Aden, they had been infiltrating the region.

Multiple feudal lords of vassal states have now colluded with the British and after the recent visit of British Consul Fernie Cameron to the Turkish Sultan, the supply of arms to Ethiopia was cut off. f𝗿𝚎eweb𝗻o𝐯𝐞l.𝚌om

At this time, the Ethiopian monarch Tewodros II committed a foolish act by directly detaining the British Consul.

There is no doubt that Ethiopia has handed over an excuse to the British. If they are not allowed to experience the iron fist of the empire, how can John Bull maintain face in the world?

Originally, Franz had planned to intervene, but in recent years, Austria’s reputation in Africa had not been good. With such an unsavory image, others were trying to avoid them, let alone seek their involvement.

This was an unavoidable situation. Austria’s many colonies were not obtained by paying fees but through bloody battles.

If Franz encountered problems on the European continent, he would proceed with caution. But on the African continent, he tended to go to the other extreme, usually acting recklessly without regard.

Diplomacy? Unfortunately, the colonial government did not even have such a department. Any problem that could be solved with bayonets and cannons would never be resolved through other means.

There are few problems on the African continent that cannot be solved with bayonets and cannons, and as a result, Austria has no friends. Even if they take the initiative to offer military aid, others may not dare to accept it.

There is naturally no need to change their style of doing things. European countries are like this these days. No one cares about playing around in the colonies, and shameless colonizers still claim to be the spreaders of human civilization.

Franz asked, “It’s only a matter of time before Britain invades Ethiopia. What plans does the Colonial Department have?”

Colonial Minister Josip Jela?i? replied, “Your Majesty, the gap in strength between the two sides is huge, and there is no suspense in this war.

Our sphere of influence is already adjacent to Ethiopia. This African country has a large territory, and the British cannot swallow it in one bite. The Colonial Department plans to claim a share of the pie.”

This “share” would likely be more than just a small portion. Even if the British swallowed most of Ethiopia, Franz would not be the least bit surprised.

The reason the British wanted to curb Austria’s expansion on the African continent was that Austria’s presence there was already too strong.

If left unchecked, they fear they will eventually be driven out. As anyone who follows the situation knows, British colonial companies have been struggling in Africa lately.

It was not for lack of effort, but rather that survival was truly difficult. As soon as they established a colonial outpost, they would immediately be attacked by modernized African armies.

The attackers were all African natives, naturally having nothing to do with Austria. Without evidence, the British government was powerless.

Dispatching troops to suppress them would be nonsense. On the vast African continent, how could they identify the attackers?

To retaliate, the British also organized Black troops, and the two sides fought bloody battles.

In the end, it was the British who couldn’t hold on, not because they were not good at fighting, but mainly because there were too few of them.

At their peak, there were thousands of casualties each year, and many British colonial companies went bankrupt because they could not afford the pensions.

Under such circumstances, the British colonies on the African continent inevitably shrank. It was not until the two countries reached an agreement that the situation improved.

The British were good at learning from experience, and they soon realized that it was only when they ventured deep into the inland jungles that they would suffer losses. It was still quite safe to establish strongholds in coastal areas and rely on fortifications for defense.

Now, the British expansion was all about building forts. With fortifications in place, they were not afraid of surprise attacks by black troops.

This was all a clandestine struggle, and the Austrian army could not possibly take to the field itself. The two sides settled into a stalemate.

Due to cost considerations, British expansion on the African continent was slowed down, and they were often forced to abandon their spheres of influence. After all, Austria was not the only one playing dirty tricks; the French were no less guilty of this kind of thing.

With multiple enemies, after being ambushed, the British often could not even discern who was responsible. Framing others and shifting blame were common tactics, and in the struggle for colonization, no one had any scruples.

This is also the reason why the British are eager to occupy Ethiopia. Only by controlling this region can they have a large number of cannon fodder to fight an underground black war with Austria.

Franz said with an unchanged expression, “Send people secretly to sell arms to Ethiopia. Let them resist more fiercely.”

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