Alternative History:POD [A point of divergence, or POD, is a point in a timeline where history begins to change from our time line]

A point of divergence, or POD, is a point in a timeline where history begins to change from our time line. Prior to the POD, history runs the same as in our timeline. This page is intended as a summary of the POD’s of all the althists covered on

  • 500 million BP – Mars retains a thin but breathable atmosphere, as well as a protective radiation belt. Plant and insect life develop on the planet. (PoD for Habitable Mars).
  • 251 million BP or thereabouts – Sapient lifeforms and civilization emerge just in time for the Permian extinction. (PoD for Permian Extinction: Civilization) (Note: the actual POD would be a few million years earlier, when evolution diverges from its OTL path and produces bipedal life-forms and other wonders of the natural world, such as quasi-flowers, due to a slight change in tectonics and a related change in climate of a small area.)
  • 120 million BP – Plate tectonics fails to split Africa from South America, creating an intact Gondwanaland. Instead, Mediterranean and Red Sea are united and widen to place Gondwana 1000 km south of Spain and Turkey. Homo Sapiens never emerges from Gondwana.
  • c.65,000,000 years ago – A large meteorite fails to hit the Earth, instead hitting the Moon. (PoD for Tooth and Claw.)
  • 200,000 BP – A small group of Homo erectus crosses the Bering land bridge and develops in the Americas. (Primary POD for Zera.)
  • 1 BAU – 5 races of people who speak the same language and believe in the same religion develop. (POD for God eu Mac̉.)
  • 587 B.C. – A Zhou king of the Eight Armies of Chengzhou sends several messenger fleets around the East China Sea; one of these is captured by the Japanese state of Yamato (POD for Gekím)
  • 331 B.C. – The philosopher Anaxarchus is injured in the battle of Gaugamela. He and Pyrrho stay in Babylon for a time and then move to Alexandria – bringing the concept of the number zero with them. (POD for Nothing Changes)
  • 323 B.C. – Alexander the Great does not die, but instead lives to be 86 and unites the Middle East and Europe into a dynasty. (POD for Alexander Empire)
  • 30 BCE (approx) – an Egyptian historian of the 1950’s fell through time to influence Ptolemaic Egypt into seriously contesting Roman expansion (Hidden POD for Ætas ab Brian)
  • 12 BCE – Augustus successfully colonizes Germania, Arminius is betrayed (POD for Roma Invicta)
  • 33 – Jesus of Nazareth is not crucified. In fact, he is released. Christianity lasts for less than a hundred years. (Primary POD for No Christianity World.)
  • 282 – A deadly disease wipes out the Huns (POD for The Kazakhstan Meeting)
  • 375 – The young catechumen Ambrose is dead. (A Primary POD for Germanic Power.)
  • 411 – Theodosius, son of the Imperial Princess Gallia Placida and Athaulf, King of the Visigoths, is born and survives to a ripe old age (A Primary POD for Germanic Power.)
  • 560 – Kingdom of Cambria formed (Original PoD for They Are Protected).
  • 642 – Oswald of Northumbria defeats and kills Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Maserfield (Primary POD for Penda Dies.)
  • 776 – A group of West Saxons follow their bishop’s dream and settle in southern Maryland. (Primary POD for New Wessex 776.)
  • 812 – A Mayan farmer catches a disease which ultimately spreads to the entire world (Primary POD for Papatlaca)
  • 850 – Instead of discovering gunpowder, the Chinese discover explosives, beginning a series of events culminating into an early space age. (Main POD for China’s industrial-age space program.)
  • 933 – Rudolph II cedes his claims to the kingdom of Italy to Hugh of Arles. In return, he gains the kingdom of Provence, thus reuniting the two territories of Burgundy. (Timeline forks immediately afterward.) (Original PoD for Burgundy Survives.)
  • 937 – Battle of Brunanburh – the allied forces of Dublin, Scotland and Strathclyde defeat the English. (First major PoD for Burgundy Survives.)
  • 962 – Muslim invaders were never able to establish a foothold in the Indian Subcontinent. India prospers and becomes stronger, and is more Vedic in religion. (One of a few PODs for Vegetarian World.)
  • 960 – Zhao Kuangyin is defeated in his attempt to take the throne of Northern China. No Song Dynasty get control of China. The diversity creates a Chinese World.
  • 1000 – Erik the Red rejects Christianity, isolating the Greenland colony. The Norse move to Markland where they survive and build a colony, leading to the nation of Vinland.
  • 1000 &ndash Aethelgwythr founds the Kingdom of Britannia from eight smaller Kingdoms. (PoD for Greater Britain – All territories)
  • 1066 – Harold Godwinson sends his brother Gyrth to strengthen his left flank at the battle of Hastings. The Battle of Caldbeck
  • 1100 – Henry II of England dies less than a day after his crowning. This leads to the French and Navarran ties of the Henry II Dies In 1100 timeline.
  • 1176 – The Byzantines defeat the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Myriokephalon. (PoD for The Eagle Lives).
  • 1200 – Genghis Khan dies from a very unlucky fall from his horse. (PoD for the Chaos TL).
  • 1209 – The Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars of Languedoc is a failure, eventually making vegetarianism in Europe stronger, and strengthening Occitanian areas, which would become part of the free nation of Catatania. (One of a few PODs for Vegetarian World.)
  • 1210 – The Hashshashin leader, Hassan III of Alamut comes to power. He develops the order to include any individual who is deemed worthy, not just Muslims. The sect survives into the modern era. (POD for Assassins)
  • 1429 – The clash of English and French arms at Orleans ends with Joan of Arc Beaten.
  • 1485 – Richard of York wins at Bosworth, ending the Wars of the Roses with a Yorkist Victory. The POD for A Kingdom and a Horse.
  • 1478 – Aragon never forms Spain with Castile, and Granada is fighting them to stay Muslim. Later in 1485, Italy is reunited, and in 1492, Italy helps Chrisitopher Columbus with The New World Discovery, instead of Spain, sneaking through The Caliphate of Granada unharmed, Italy replaces The Spanish Empire, claiming all of OTL Spain’s claims, making a bigger and better Italian Empire. Main POD for RepublicanGuy21’s new Timeline Italia!.
  • 1492 – Isabella of Castille is not convinced by Christopher Columbus’ proposal to reach the Indies by sailing westwards allowing for the Cabotia and Brasil timeline.
  • 1492 – The lands discovered by Columbus become known as the Columbias instead of the Americas, a point of divergence for Via Latina.
  • 1493 – The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria becomes caught in a force 5 hurricane and all perish, creating The Andean Wars timeline.
  • Pre-1592 – Yi Sun-sin dies in an accident. His death allows Toyotomi’s invasion to succeed, creating the Toyotomi Japan timeline.
  • 1579: Sir Francis Drake sees San Francisco Bay, keeps it a secret, and establishes a colony in California. (1st POD of New Albion)
  • 25th December 1601: A storm delays the arrival of British troops to battle the Spanish in Kinsale in Cork. The Irish army of Hugh O’Neill and Hugh (The Red) O’Donnell meet up with the Spanish first and defeat the English at Kinsale. This leads to the Anglo-Hibernian War and severly reduces Britain’s ability to forge a colonial empire for quite some time. (POD for An Mhaidín Mhaith sá Chionn tSáile)
  • 1723: An eruption in Iceland brings a large amount of uranium to the surface and it forms a natural nuclear reactor.
  • 1735: A third son is born to James Francis Stuart (the Old Pretender), James Maria Robert Stuart. His mother, Maria Clementina Sobieska, dies two days after giving birth. (1st POD of USA Kingdom)
  • 1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie attacks London instead of returning to Scotland (POD for Bonnie King Charlie).
  • 1753: George Washington killed in his very first military mission. (POD for Washington Shot at Murdering Town! an Open Time Line)
  • 1754: The British Government accepts the terms of the Albany Congress, making sure that America remains British. (1st POD of Here we go again)
  • 1760: Moncalm wait for reinforcement and manage to hold on to Québec. (Day of Glory
  • 1762 – The British fail to capture Cuba durign the Seven Years War. Spain does not lose Florida and Louisiana is handed to the United Kingdom instead. (British Louisiana POD.)
  • 1777 – General John Burgoyne cuts New England off from the rest of the colonies at Saratoga, as a result France does not ally with America, deeming their cause hopeless. (POD of British America.)
  • 1778: George Washington is captured by the British during the Battle of Monmouth. He is later tried and executed for treason. Congress asks James Roberts to take command of the Continental Army. (2nd POD of USA Kingdom)
  • 1784: Thomas Jefferson’s proposal to ban slavery in all new territory after 1802 is ratified by a narrow margin. Expansion of slavery is not an issue. The Republican Party is never formed. New England secedes, leading to civil war.
  • 1793: Lord Macartney’s diplomatic mission to China is a full success, leading to industrialisation in Imperial China (Long live the Qing!).
  • 1794 – Prince Augustus Frederick, son of George III is ordained as a priest of the Church of England.
  • 1812 – Napoleon dies during an unsuccessful attempt to conquer the British Isles. This causes the French Empire to survive to this very day. (l’Empereur Est Mort POD.)
  • 1814 – The British win the Battle of Plattsburgh, allowing them to dictate term ending the North American war of 1812. (1812 closure POD.)
  • 1822 – Bolívar and San Martin agree on a common path to free South America. (Greater Colombia POD.)
  • 1840 – Victoria of Great Britain dies in childbirth (Victoria’s Heirs POD)
  • Early 1840s – James W. Marshall dies of malaria in Missouri. (No Gold Rush POD)
  • 1846 – Zachary Taylor killed in beginning of Mexican-American War, as are other military figures, such as Ulysses S. Grant during the course of the botched war, leading to an American defeat. (Viva California primary POD)
  • 1852 – The Taiping rebel army marches on to Beijing instead of settling in at Nanking; the overthrow of the Qing dynasty brings about a Taiping China.
  • July 12, 1861 – “Stonewall” Jackson dies, Union forces win First Battle of Bull Run, ending the Civil War (Rebellion of 61 primary POD.)
  • January 2, 1863 – Braxton Bragg defeats William Rosecrans at the Battle of Stones River (The First Stone)
  • June, 1863 – Confederate President Davis sends General Longstreet to reinforce the West, rather than approving Lee’s plans for invading the North. The South’s peace efforts fare better in a timeline where there is no Gettysburg.
  • July 3, 1863 – Confederate forces, under Gen. Robert E. Lee, wipe out the Union army at the Battle of Gettysburg. (POD of Eye of the Storm)
  • 1864 – Jubal A. Early takes Washington (POD for Rout at the Monocacy)
  • April 14, 1865 – William H. Seward is assassinated. (POD for Japanese Alaska)
  • 1865 – A shipment of steam boilers gets mixed up, resulting in the death of Hiram Maxim in 1865, and the survival of Anthony Duram who advances naval technology greatly. (POD for The Maxim)
  • 1868 – The Kōmon Emperor (Kōmei *here*) does not die, as a result, Japan’s modernization takes place differently (Rebellion of 61 primary POD)
  • 1887 – Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm is diagnosed with throat cancer. A risky and complicated procedure to remove the tumor is successfully completed. (POD for Long Live Kaiser Friedrich III!)
  • 1888 – General Georges Boulanger stage a coup d’etat and becomes France’s Head of State The Boulanger Era
  • 1890 – Kaiser Wilhelm II is content to allow Otto von Bismark to control the government, as Wilhelm I was, thus Germany Didn’t Drop the Pilot
  • 1897 – David Schwarz does not have a heart attack in 1897 and airship development progresses significantly. (POD for A Good Heart – Lighter Than Air)
  • 1913 – Instead of dying in this year, Alfred Graf von Schlieffen lives long enough to guide the German Army to victory in the Great War. See: Schlieffen’s Plan
  • 1914 – Friedrich Ebert, the head of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), dies in an automobile accident. Germany ultimately becomes socialist and the USA (an Axis power) decides to nuke Berlin. See: Successful German Socialist Revolution
  • 1914 – A terrorist named Gavrilo Princip is arrested before he assasinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. Tensions between major world powers continue and increase. (Major POD for Princip Arrest)
  • 1916 – Lester Pearson, future Minister of External Affairs for Canada, dies in a bus accident. He fails to prevent World War III-1956.
  • 1917 – The Balfour Declaration of 1917 had been intended as a formal but classified statement of policy by the British government on the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the World War I. The letter stated the position that the British government supported Zionist plans for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, with the condition that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of existing communities there. However, in the aftermath of the First World War, with the British commitment to establishing Arab successor states in the former Ottoman domain, the Declaration was not accepted by the Cabinet. Chaim Weizman and other Zionists found their further settlement blocked in the Holy Land. The formerly dismissed Uganda Plan and other territorial schemes under the protection of the British Empire were dusted off for new consideration. Balfour and Lloyd George were amenable, and the colonization scheme that led to the State of Sion was born. POD for Oystralia (State of Sion, Australian Confederacy).
  • January 19, 1919 – Hitler dies in World War I. Following the war, the communists make a strong showing in the first-ever German democratic elections and quickly take control of Germany, leading to major changes in World War II and a strong alliance with the USSR. (Red Germany)
  • 1919 – FDR and Mitchell Palmer are killed by a bomb planted by an anarchist in Palmer’s library. (POD for American Empire)
  • April 1917 – The German railroad car smuggling Lenin into St. Petersburg is intercepted by pro-Tsarist forces, and Lenin is executed along with his compatriots. A battered Russia remains in World War I and Communism never takes root. (Capitalists of the World, Unite)
  • 1919 – Stalin dies of Tuberculosis. Mikhail Kalinin is appointed by Lenin in his place. Lenin is assassinated by anti-communist ‘white’ Russians while inspecting the units of the Red Guard in 1921 just outside Moscow. He is succeded by Leon Trotsky. (POD for To Comrade Trotsky, The World)
  • 1923 – Lenin’s papers criticizing Stalin are published and Stalin never comes to power. (POD for Trotsky Succeeds Lenin).
  • 1924 – Adolf Hitler is erased from the timeline and Weimar Germany survives in Germany, but without a powerful state in Europe, the USSR under Josef Stalin grows increasingly aggressive and a very different Second World War breaks out (POD for Red Napoleon).
  • 1938 – With the success of his local Los Angeles radio show with Lefty Lou, Woody Guthrie’s life was Bound for Glory in song. Instead, his life took a different turning: Hollywood called. (Woody Guthrie, the Singing Sidekick).
  • 1938 – Mathematician Alan Turing extends his visit to America and builds the world’s first electronic computer. Back in England, he is able to complete his dream of producing human-like artificial intelligence by the year 2000 (Cambridge Computing).
  • 1938 – The Czechoslovak government refuse to abide by the Munich Agreement, sparking a German (and later Hungarian) invasion of Czechoslovakia on October 1, 1938. (POD for Fall Grün).
  • 1939 – Romania enters into a nonaggression pact with the USSR. Primary POD for Der Rumänische Krieg.
  • 1940 May 20th: a series of dimensional rifts open connecting the world to one where a nuclear war is ongoing. Hundreds of nuclear weapons rain down around the world. In the carnage and afterwards, Russia is destroyed, America and Germany are shattered. The British Empire inherits the world Sacrifice of angel’s
  • April 1941 – The Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia provokes Stalin to mount a pre-emptive attack on Germany lest Russia become Hitler’s next victim (Seeing Red (Army, that is)).
  • 1941 – Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben successfully assassinates Hitler on May 1941 during a military parade in Paris (See Paris and Die).
  • 1941 – Nazi Germany succeeds in invading the British Isles. This POD triggers several alternative timelines (Unternehmen Seelöwe, 1941).
  • 1942 – The Japanese manage to secure a victory at the Battle of Midway, thereby crushing the US Pacific Fleet (Rising Sun).
  • 1943 – The USA suffers so much from the War, that it turns into a civil war!(1942 Stress).
  • 1943 – In 1943, German finally crushed the last Soviet resistance at Stalingrad and marched on Moscow. With the loss of such a huge army on the Volga, the Red Army was unable to resist this second strike on Moscow. American troops pull out of Europe and make peace with Japan and Germany, while Britain does the same in 1945. However, in 1970, war breaks out once more between the United States, Britain and the Axis Alliance. (POD for Operation: Sealion)
  • 1944 – Wernherr von Braun is arrested and executed by the Gestapo for treason. (1st POD for One Small Step for a Socialist…)
  • 1948 – No assassination attempt on Jorge Eliecer Gaitán, permits him to become President Gaitan in 1950, with repercussions on Cuba and the Cold War.
  • 1952 – During the cleanup of a nuclear accident in Chalk River, Ontario, Nuclear engineer Jimmy Carter accidentally absorbs a dangerous amount of radiation and dies of cancer by the early 70’s, obviously not becoming president. Does this change anything? Who knows!
  • 1963 – A November Tragedy puts John McCormack in the White House and Carl Hayden just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
  • 1968 – Robert Kennedy is not assassinated (PoD for Robert Kennedy Survives.)
  • 1973 – OPEC convinced not to cut the supply of oil, thus averting an oil shock. (One of a few PODs for Peak Oil 1996.)
  • November 3, 1973 – President Nixon’s lawyers convince him to resign, before a successor to Vice President Spiro Agnew has been named. Democratic House Speaker Carl Albert becomes President due to Nixon’s Early Resignation.
  • March 30, 1981 – The short-lived Presidency of Ronald Reagan is ended by a disturbed gunman, as The Gipper Goes Down.
  • September 26, 1983 – Stanislav Petrov is not the officer on duty at the Serpukhov-15 bunker near Moscow, resulting in the 1983: Doomsday nuclear holocaust.
  • 1989 – The students in Tienanmen Square are as mad as hell,and they’re not going to take it any more(Gate of Heavenly Peace:The Third Chinese Revolution).
  • 1992 – Paul Tsongas defeats Bill Clinton to become the Democratic Presidential nominee. Primary POD for the Clinton Who? timeline.
  • 1992 – President Bush dumps Dan Quayle from the ticket, giving him the fig leaf of resigning to run in Indiana’s gubernatorial contest against Democrat Evan Bayh. Quayle’s seeming misfortune turns around, and eight years later he is President Quayle.
  • 1994 – The Clinton Administration gives the world a crash course in the fine art of stopping nuclear weapons proliferation (Shock and Awe: The Second Korean War).
  • 1997 – American Vice-President Al Gore is killed when Air Force Two, his official plane, crashes in California on his way back from a summit in China. Primary POD for the President Gary timeline.
  • 2003 – Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook, dramatically goes public with his opposition to the war in Iraq, by speaking at the London “Stop the War” rally (15/02/03). British troops take no part in the war, leaving George Bush Between Iraq and a Hard Place.
  • 2004 – John Kerry narrowly defeats George W. Bush, sending American politics and policy in a different direction, in the President Kerry alternative.
  • 2005-2006 – Emily Miller, ex-fiancee of Michael Scanlon, doesn’t implicate him to the FBI; also, Brian Ross of ABC News holds off on a story about Mark Foley and e-mails to pages. Failure of these scandals to emerge result in 2006: US Stays Red alternative.

Points of Divergence often center around wars, as it is in these moments that history turns one-way or another. Series of books written by Harry Turtledove and others pick these times, as one change of the result of even the smallest battle can be of great effect on the outcome of the war.

The following are a very common list of alt-history Points of Divergence. You may want to use these as starting points, or find your own to be new, fresh and original.

  • The Civil War. Any number of alternate histories have been written about this; as you can see, as well, we have two that hinge around the American Civil War.
  • World War II. Many alternate histories are based on a Nazi victory in WWII, but there are other posibilities, including earlier or later defeat of the axis, or WWII prevented as we know it.

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