As part of the world of the Steam Empire Chronicles, I’ve mentioned the ideas of colonies in the new world multiple times. Indeed, there’s a variety of reasons that Rome would indeed seed and establish colonies in the ‘new world’ or Caesaria, in the novels. From ‘expansion space’ for retired veterans, to the ever driving need for new markets, slaves, and farmland, etc. A Rome with stronger, more stable neighbors, would need an additional outlet.
So, you want to fund successful colonies in the new world?
You’re going to need a few things.
1.) Natural Ports – One thing the eastern coast of North America has in spades? Natural ports – While Romans were not normally considered a ‘seafaring’ civilization, by the time of the Steam Empire Chronicles, the merchant marine had expanded, with the support of coal powered paddle wheelers, and provided both an impetus and a base of experienced seamen from which to recruit for expeditions.
2.) Population overload – At it’s height, major Roman cities, especially Rome itself, had a population over a million people. By the 1850s, Roman cities in the Era of the Steam Empire Chronicles (SEC) had populations similar to our timeline’s industrial cities. Naturally, there’s always an element of disillusionment amongst the masses, and with free land in the Empire becoming more and more scarce, the new world would seem a viable option for anyone seeking to strike out on their own.
3.) Government backing – Let’s be honest. Most colonies did not survive without direct, or implicit, government support. Rome would be no different. But Rome did have a policy of establishing colonies within the lands of newly conquered neighbors, gradually assimilating local populations. An industrialized Rome would have an insatiable appetite for new markets and new territory, and with the immediate surrounding territory either well defended or barren desert, the ‘uninhabited’ coasts of North America would be a tempting target.
4.) Money – From a thirst for new markets, to a desire to be the first to claim new land in the name of the Senate and Emperor, money rules all. Several new world Empires are strong enough to be both trading partners and rivals – such as The Iriquois Confederacy, Aztec Empire and Incan Empire, The Pueblo-Aztl Tribes – all of which are stable enough to lure Roman merchant vessels.
So…could Rome have created colonies in the new world? Absolutely! Not during the traditional timeline of the Western or unified empire, but definitely later on had the Empire had the resources the seed colonies, they would have grown naturally. Roman policy was generally to assimilate and spread, melding local ideas with Roman ideals. I can’t wait to share this idea more with you!
Until next time,