Saturday, May 1, 2021

Another Med-America

Enthusiasts of the site/concept have no doubt seen this video from Youtuber WhatIfAltHist. He himself namedrops White's site, even citing it as the inspiration what what he has done since. There are a few differences between what this video claims and White's world, which comes down to a few factors.

1) The video makes no clear delineation on how far back or ahead this Medieval America is. The one White presented makes very clear this is approaching a millennia after the clock was reversed for whatever reason, and I would say it's at a level of technology and sustainability to akin to early 1300's Europe. 

2) White has also been very specific about what religions or institutions may arise. This would have a snowball effect on how events would unfold, but it also means the Youtube video might not want to verge sheerly for the sake of not copying.

3) It's also possible political perspective has played a part. WhatIfAltHist is more libertarian--Whites' perspective on politics is a little more obscure.

The first major difference is that the world of the Youtube video is a lot more explicitly Tribal in its social structure--the feudal core is roughly half the site of White's Medieval America. Granted, it's possible the world of White also has mountain and swamp people effectively living in the way WhatIfAltHist does, it's just, population-wise, they are a drop in the water to the grand scheme of the more organized kingdoms. But the key difference may be in two additions that White came up with himself, putting his thumb on the narrative. The first is that the United States remains as a diminished but still extant political entity, that holds territory in the Northeast, and the larger skeleton of the Non-Denominational Church functions like the glue of the Medieval Catholic Church. As a result, there may be more infrastructure and unity. The frontiers have the rough edges sanded off, and New England is less Viking Land, and more akin to a rusty but prestigious intellectual center like Greece. White's other invention, the Secretarial State, also provides a novel but effective system of government, which stabilizes the region, and thus South is not a place where things kind of peter out, but one complex culture tranistions to another.

Another major difference is the estimate of what the largest cities would be. WiAH believes it would be 1. New Orleans, 2.  Detroit 3. San Francisco, 4. Philadelphia 5. Buffalo, 6. Chicago 7. Seattle 8. New York 9. Columbus and 10. Pittsburgh. White's ranking is less definitive, but the twelve biggest cities include New Orleans, Cincinnati, Portland, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City (we know those are the seven biggest), Louisville, Augusta, Seattle, Albuquerque and Shreveport. They're both fairly close in agreement on New Orleans, Philadelphia and Buffalo, however,  WiAH is much more on the coastal urban settlement train, while White subscribes to the theory a city is better off being several miles up river. Also, White has much more equilibrium for major urban centers between East and West. Western America is much more top-heavy--it quickly gets outnumbered once we go further down the list, but this might come to their general historical outlooks. WiAH largely believes that autocratic fiefdoms result in stagnation, while White believes irrigated societies, while not great to be at the bottom, encourage more infrastructure, and thus can result in denser, if not sprawling, societies. 

Interestingly, while both seem to believe in the idea of Ohio becoming the nucleus of Medieval America (Though each think it would expand in different directions), White has Cincinnati being its largest city (And a rival for biggest city on the continent), while WiAH has its capital, Columbus, as the largest, which is interesting as it's very much landlocked. This is one of the rare instances where White comes down more Frontier American precedent than modern day continuity. The Youtube video also presumes that Atlanta, as the capital of Georgia, would still be very large because it is the seat of power for a large kingdom, so it follows that Columbus would benefit from being the state capital for the even bigger state of Ohio. However, White does something very different with state capitols in his Medieval America, making them headquarters of the Non-Denominatinal Church, which is a political entity unto itself, and which the cities, when not something of an ecclesiastical city state themselves, might be autonomous from the greater kingdom. A governor might not want to put his throne there, unless the convenience or prestige proved undeniable. That expanded Ohio includes four former state capitals also has a profound effect on that dynamic. In short, both scenarios are internally consistent but are dependent on a specific chain of events.


  1. Maybe you should do a YouTube video on your expansions of MedAm...

    1. I think besides learning how to make videos with maps and everything, I use my channel largely for comedy. Doing this is as a side hustle might confuse folks.