27 December 2005

Alternative History Buffs Take Note

Many people write stories in which the Civil War or World War II came out differently. Of course, almost any branch point in history could change the world. One of the less well known ones was noted by Denver Post Columnist Ed Quillen in his Christmas Day column.

In 1803, [James] Wilkinson was the highest-ranking soldier in the U.S. Army, which he commanded from St. Louis. He was also on the payroll of America's most likely enemy, the Spanish empire. And he colluded, off and on, with Aaron Burr, the former vice president who was later tried for treason. They were plotting to raise an army and set up their own country in the West.

The Spanish Empire was on the verge of war with the newly formed United States and Zebulon Montgomery Pike, after whom Pike's Peak is named, and soldiers under his command, were exploring the West (in part to further Wilkinson's plot, although Pike probably didn't know that part of the story).

Imagine what a world we would have if Wilkinson's plot had suceeded.

No comments: