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Timeline of Events

1816 - The invention of the Stirling engine. At this point, history had not yet split off from the one we know, but this will be important later.

1860 - Smaller, more reliable Stirling engines were being developed for applications requiring low to medium amounts of power.

1861 - Prussia sends the Eulenburg expedition to successfully negotiate trade between Germany and China. Large amounts of iron ore are imported from Chinese mines to Japan. In Britain, the Cornish Diaspora truly begins: The town of Truro takes precautions in converting its economy from a stannary town to a more commercial focus.

1872 - Britain struck by equine flu. Britain at this time relied mostly on horse-drawn carriages to transport goods, and had roughly 100,000 of them. An alternative was needed, and it turned to look at steam-powered cars. Stirling engines profit from the development as well.

1899-1901 - Eight Nation Alliance defeats the Boxer Rebellion. The Chinese economy suffers under the indemnity payments, and national development is brought to a standstill. Eventually, this would cause the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Meanwhile, in Britain, the Cornish diaspora causes low mortgage prices throughout Cornwall. Truro, now a city, benefits, as many British merchants take advantage of the new railway and decide to move out of London's overcrowded, unsanitary and crime-ridden streets.

1913 - Rudolf Diesel successfully makes it to Britain aboard the SS Dresden, and sells his patents to the British. While the British aren't immediately sold on the new engine, engineers and scientists use some innovations to boost the efficiency of existing steam and Stirling engines.

1914 - Beginning of the Great War. The conflict is mostly seen as a clash of ideas: The Germans favoring their diesel engines, whereas the British further develop the efficiency of Stirling engines. Stirling engines overtake steam engines due to the removal of otherwise explosive boilers. France experiments with diesel-powered submarines, but they are seen as 'the enemy's technology' too much to gain much traction.

1915 - In Asia, Japan issues the Twenty-One Demands, which China -- still weakened from the terms of the Boxer Protocol -- begrudgingly accepts. The treaty allowed Japan to take over the German sphere of influence in China, and begin its exports of iron ore -- formerly heading to German markets -- to Japan through its zaibatsus. Through its alliance with Britain, Japan exports large amounts of weapons and munitions to Britain, which it uses to fight in the War. With the London harbor mostly congested with troop transports, many shipments divert to the Truro harbor, which has been steadily expanding for the past decade. The impulse to the economy causes a further influx of the middle class, and a new city district is built to house them, called Elysium, referencing the rebirth of the Cornish economy.

1918 - The Great War ends. Seen as a victory of the Stirling engine over diesel, diesel loses what little popularity it has in Britain. In the wake of the economic collapse of the German economy, the diesel disappeared from public view there also. Due to Stirling engines being able to operate at room temperatures, the prosthesis markets make use of newly developed Stirling-powered models to provide working artificial limbs for those maimed in the Great War. In doing so, they end up saving the sense of optimism held over the Victorian era, though it would take a few years to fully recover.

1923 - The start of the RP. France and Belgium have occupied the Ruhr to force Germany to pay reparations it cannot afford, causing the fall of the German government. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party are still seen as a side effect of the political instability plaguing Germany: Membership is around 20,000 on a population of 61 million. Japan and the British are still allies, and while the iron and steel market is less profitable than during the war, Japan has an ongoing trade deal with Britain for exporting Japanese steel for British Stirling engines and parts. To strengthen ties, Prince Albert, Duke of York and second in line for the British throne, is scheduled to marry Princess Higashikuni Toshiko, the ninth daughter of Emperor Meiji of Japan, on April 29th, Showa Day.