Created By: GracieLizzy on April 14, 2013 Last Edited By: PaulA on June 18, 2016

Royal States Of America

Alternate Universe where either America lost the Revolutionary War or it never happened

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Trope
When fiction presents the idea of the US either losing the Revolutionary War or it never happening, you have a modern day America under British rule.

Due to a lot of this fiction coming from US authors, this is almost always depicted as a bad, bad, thing. Which can make other audiences, particularly British, uncomfortable at times.

See also the Divided States of America, where the US never unified or the union broke up at some point; the Fallen States of America, where the US has become a third world country; and the Expanded States of America, where the US has gotten bigger.

Examples:

Anime & Manga

Comic Books
  • In one issue of Grant Morrison's JLA, a probability-altering villain twisted time so America never revolted, and a King George was on the throne. Amongst other things, the Capitol Building changes to look kind of like a larger version of the Houses of Parliament.
  • There's a very brief reference in JSA to a world where the heroes are the Colonial Society of Justice. For some reason, Starman and Stargirl (the only characters we see) wear Revolutionary War era costumes.

Film

Literature
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy is set sometime in an alternate 1930's or so, and the third book mentions offhand that the The American Revolution is only just beginning. Some of the demons are threatened with "being sent to fight in the Colonies."
  • In Megamorphs #3: Elfangor's Secret, the villain Visser Four travels back in time to alter various points of human history to make Earth of the present easier to conquer. One of these changes is warning the Hessians of Washington's approach, allowing them to ambush the Americans as they cross the Delaware and thus prevent the United States from being founded.
  • A novel with the appropriate title of For Want of a Nail is a faux textbook of North American history from 1763 to 1971. The point of divergence is the Battle of Saratoga, which ends in a British victory. Shortly thereafter a peace faction gets control of Congress and ends the war with Great Britain. Some revolutionaries escape to form a new nation in Texas, while Britain's North American colonies are given dominion status in the 1830s.
  • In the Lord Darcy series, history diverged around 1199: the Anglo-French Empire is still ruled by a descendant of Richard The Lion Heart, and controls most of western Europe as well as America.
  • The Tales of Alvin Maker splits the difference, with portions of colonial America splitting away as a reduced United States, another portion remaining a colony of a republican England where the Restoration never occurred, and a third part being claimed by the exiled House of Stuart.
  • Tunnel Through the Deeps is a book by Harry Harrison in which, due to the fact it was John Cabot, not Christopher Columbus, who discovered North America, Spain was also never unified and unable to fund Columbus. This lead to a scenario where the revolutionary war was lost and George Washington was shot as a traitor. The main character is a descendant of Washington who feels tarred by his family's bad reputation whilst working on a transatlantic tunnel between the British Isles and the Northern American colonies.
  • The Two Georges takes place in an alternate timeline where George Washington and King George III were able to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the problems between Britain and the colonies. In the 20th century, the North American Union consists of most of North America and is a vital part of the British Empire. The plot of the book concerns the theft of the titular "The Two Georges", a famous painting commemorating George Washington meeting with King George. The painting is held for ransom by the Sons Of Liberty, a racist, terrorist organization seeking independence for the North American Union from Britain.
  • In The Year of the Hangman, The American Revolution was swiftly crushed in 1777. The rebellion has thus gone underground, revolting against the British in more covert ways than open war. The story ends on an ambiguous note, as the British protagonist has decided to join the rebellion, but much of its leadership like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are now dead.

Live-Action TV
  • Saturday Night Live had a skit in which the Pentagon had gotten sick of politicians arguing over what the founders would have wanted. So they invent a Time Machine to settle everyone's questions once and for all. George Washington (played by Russell Brand of all people) is brought to the present, but he's so freaked out by modern times that he goes crazy and ends up being killed by Nancy Pelosi (played by Kristen Wiig). The sketch ends with the Pentagon guy (played by Jason Sudeikis) stepping outside and seeing the British flag flying over the U.S. Capitol, to which he says "Oh uh, that's not good!"
  • Sliders: The "Prince of Wails" episode had the cast slide to an Alternate Universe where the US was under British control and George Washington had been executed as a traitor. Members of the cast then tell a member of the royal family after rescuing him that "Why don't you give democracy a go?" as though he should never have heard of it... despite the United Kingdom having been a Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy since 1688 so he'd know what democracy is.

Video Games
  • The second part of the popular Half-Life mod, "Timeline", called "Iced Earth", takes place in a world where the colonies never revolted and the US is under British rule (the Earth is also in the grip of a new Ice Age, hence the title).

Western Animation
  • The Fairly OddParents had "Twistory", which eventually got banned from airing on Nickelodeon as it was considered to take the anti-British sentiment a bit too far. Timmy wishes the founding fathers to appear in his tree house to help him with a history report. Their removal from history, however, turns the US back into a British colony. Everyone gets bad teeth, all the houses of Dimmsdale turn into tudor thatched room cottages (despite construction being very past that point by 1772 in the UK) and there is no electricity due to Benjamin Franklin never discovering it — completely in ignorance of the discoveries in the fields of electromagnetism by the Englishman Michael Faraday. Timmy then has to go back in time to stop Benedict Arnold from convincing the revolutionaries to surrender.
  • The Futurama episode "All the Presidents' Heads". After Fry accidentally changes history by taking one of the lanterns that was ment to signal Paul Revere, New New York is full of London Underground signs and red double decker hoverbuses, symbols of "Western Britannia" include the Tyranny Bell and Dunkin Crumpets, and everyone wears random period outfits from the Elizabethan to the Victorian age, and speaks with really bad Cockney accents. (Even Hermes, who's from a Commonwealth country anyway.)
  • One episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? had her going back in time and altering key points in the The American Revolution, which resulted in America losing the war and the Chief speaking with a bloody British accent.


Community Feedback Replies: 60
  • April 14, 2013
    Clevomon
    Megamorphs 3 has this via Visser 4's screwing around with the result of the Battle of Trenton using the Time Matrix. It's all undone when the main characters use the Time Matrix to make sure his host, John Berryman, was never born, and thus Visser 4 never gets hold of the Time Matrix.
  • April 14, 2013
    Random888
    I've never seen The Fairly Odd Parents, but the description makes it sound like you're taking something that was meant to be silly way too seriously.

    In any case, there was a Saturday Night Live skit in which the Pentagon had gotten sick of politicians arguing over what the founders would have wanted. So they invent a Time Machine to settle everyone's questions once and for all. George Washington (played by Russell Brand of all people) is brought to the present, but he's so freaked out by modern times that he goes crazy and ends up being killed by Nancy Pelosi (played by Kristen Wiig). The sketch ends with the Pentagon guy (played by Jason Sudeikis) stepping outside and seeing the British flag flying over the U.S. Capitol, to which he says "Oh uh, that's not good!"
  • April 14, 2013
    SharleeD
    The Alvin Maker novels split the difference, with portions of colonial America splitting away as a reduced United States, another portion remaining a colony of a republican England where the Restoration never occurred, and a third part being claimed by the exiled House of Stuart.
  • April 14, 2013
    nielas
    • The Two Georges takes place in an alternate timeline where George Washington and King George III were able to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the problems between Britain and the colonies. In the 20th century, the North American Union consists of most of North America and is a vital part of the British Empire. The plot of the book concerns the theft of the titular "The Two Georges", a famous painting commemorating George Washington meeting with King George. The painting is held for ransom by the Sons Of Liberty, a racist, terrorist organization seeking independence for the North American Union from Britain.
  • April 14, 2013
    JonnyB
    The third part of the popular Half Life mod, "Timeline", called "Iced Earth", takes place in a world where the colonies never revolted and the US is under British rule.
  • April 14, 2013
    Tallens
  • April 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    I think you can shorten it to Royal States Of America or Royal Colonies Of America and its understandable. Some alt titles:

    America The British

    United Kingdom Of America

    Oh Say Can You Tea (Joking...)
  • April 14, 2013
    StarSword
    Subtrope of Alternate History.

    Literature:
  • April 14, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    I'll freely admit I am biased with this trope but I'll try my utmost to be objective if it gets a launch (actually it might be worth someone going over the trope afterwards if it gets that far to make sure it's snarky-but-neutral) I think the Fo P one bugged me more than some of the others because of the inaccuracy but then yeah that show was never accurate I think it's just that I dislike the idea that the show things the US is responsible for all tech in the last 200 plus years or something...

    And Drac Monster Oh Say Can You Tea made me giggle but yeah Royal States Of America or Royal Colonies Of America is probably the best names.
  • April 14, 2013
    DunDun
    I'm all for Royal Colonies Of America. I keep reading the current name as "Colonel." And Royal States just makes me think "Alternate History in which Washington decided to be a king instead of a president."

    But this needs a better description. Just opening up with the trope, "Modern day America under British rule," will improve it bunches.
  • April 14, 2013
    freesefan
    A novel with the appropriate title of For Want of a Nail is a faux textbook of North American history from 1763 to 1971. The point of divergence is the Battle of Saratoga, which ends in a British victory. Shortly thereafter a peace faction gets control of Congress and ends the war wth Great Britain. Some revolutionaries escape to form a new nation in Texas, while Britain's North American colonies are given dominion status in the 1830s.
  • April 14, 2013
    JonnyB
    ...
  • April 14, 2013
    TonyG
    In the Futurama episode, the gang travel back to Colonial times and accidentally cause the Colonists to lose the war. They come back to an America still under British rule, with everyone speaking in British accents.
  • April 14, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Literature

    • In Megamorphs #3: Elfangor's Secret, the villain Visser Four travels back in time to alter various points of human history to make Earth of the present easier to conquer. One of these changes is warning the Hessians of Washington's approach, allowing them to ambush the Americans as they cross the Delaware and thus prevent the United States from being founded.
    • In The Year of the Hangman, the American Revolution was swiftly crushed in 1777. The rebellion has thus gone underground, revolting against the British in more covert ways than open war. The story ends on an ambiguous note, as the British protagonist has decided to join the rebellion, but much of its leadership like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are now dead.
  • April 16, 2013
    Arivne
    Just Royal Colonial States Of America?

    It makes it easier to use in a sentence.
  • April 16, 2013
    DunDun
    ^I don't see how it's concise or how it's easier to use in a sentence than just Royal States Of America or Royal Colonies Of America.
  • April 16, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    I think I'm leaning towards Royal Colonies Of America if only for the fact that "States" as a word seems very much tethered to the modern US to me.
  • April 18, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    Any more examples?
  • April 18, 2013
    Astaroth
    It's not quite this trope, but would the Tyranny of King Washington DLC for Assassins Creed III warrant an honourable mention? As the name suggests, it's set in an Alternate History in which the Americans won the war, but Washington chose to declare himself an absolute monarch instead of president.
  • April 18, 2013
    DaibhidC
    Comic Books
    • In one issue of Grant Morrison's JLA, a probability-altering villain twisted time so America never revolted, and a King George was on the throne. Amongst other things, the Capitol Building changes to look kind of like a larger version of the Houses of Parliament.
    • There's a very brief reference in JSA to a world where the heroes are the Colonial Society of Justice. For some reason, Starman and Stargirl (the only charactes we see) wear Revolutionary War era costumes.
  • April 18, 2013
    Tallens
    We've got quite a few examples that haven't been added to the draft yet.
  • April 19, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    Astaroth I think that's close enough to the trope to count.
  • April 19, 2013
    Tallens
    So, would this include any example where the U.S. is ruled by a monarch instead of being a republic?
  • April 20, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    Hmm, maybe that's a different trope or one lumpable with this trope but with two subsection descriptions to this trope page?
  • April 20, 2013
    intersection
    Google Dominion of British West Florida and check out their website for - believe it or not - a Real Life example purporting this! The website has to be seen to be believed! dbwf.net
  • April 23, 2013
    intersection
    In the film Wild Wild West, part of Arliss Loveless' plan for the U.S. surrender and dividing the country was to return the original 13 colonies to the U.K., "minus Manhattan."
  • May 1, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • May 1, 2013
    Xtifr
    Does it count if history diverged much earlier?

    • In the Lord Darcy series, history diverged around 1199: the Anglo-French Empire is still ruled by a descendant of Richard The Lion Heart, and controls most of western Europe as well as America.
  • May 6, 2013
    intersection
    I would imagine so, as it would fall within the idea that the American War of Independence never happened.
  • May 8, 2013
    GracieLizzy
    Yeah I'd say that counts. Too.
  • May 8, 2013
    Tallens
    If the new examples are added and categorized, I'll be willing to hang my hat on it.
  • May 8, 2013
    intersection
    Me too. This has a lot of promise.
  • May 8, 2013
    intersection
    Remember too: the flag of Hawai'i has the Union Jack in it.
  • May 11, 2013
    DaibhidC
    • The Futurama episode "All the Presidents' Heads". When Fry accidentally changes history, New New York is full of London Underground signs and red double decker hoverbuses, symbols of "Western Britannia" include the Tyranny Bell and Dunkin Crumpets, and everyone wears random period outfits from the Elizabethan to the Victorian age, and speaks with really bad Cockney accents. (Even Hermes, who's from a Commonwealth country anyway.)
  • May 18, 2013
    Tallens
    Anyone looking after this?
  • May 18, 2013
    DunDun
    The Up For Grabs page says wait two months? If that's what you mean.

    I would like to know what the decision is about the name; the sponser said they're "leaning towards" Royal Colonies Of America? Can we get a change in the draft's name, please, Gracie Lizzy.
  • May 19, 2014
    DAN004
    Uh...
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    Royal States Of America, what? Royal would not be in the name, despite a monarchy. How about United Kingdoms Of North America for a title.

    Edit: Oh, if you're liking colonies, then it's Crown Colonies. So, Crown Colonies Of America (North not needed here — just because the history changed doesn't mean geography can be ignored!)
  • May 27, 2014
    DAN004
  • May 27, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ Too unspecific I think. There have been multiple monarchies in Central and South America for instance
  • May 27, 2014
    DAN004
  • May 28, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ better
  • May 28, 2014
    JonnyB
    Fixed an entry I proposed earlier: Iced Earth was actually the second installment of the Timeline trilogy, not the third.
  • May 28, 2014
    henke37
    • Teen Titans Evil Brit page image Mad Mod once took over the city and brainwashed everyone into thinking that this was the truth.
  • July 4, 2014
    Tallens
    For Independence Day, bump.
  • October 13, 2014
    jormis29
    Anyone come up with a better name yet?
  • October 13, 2014
    robinjohnson
    This would make a lovely page image (though I don't know who made it originally; someone on b3ta.com I think.)
  • October 13, 2014
    robinjohnson
    My votes for the title: United Kingdom Of America (not Kingdoms) or British States Of America (which is what precisely this is called in the Silders episode used as an example.)
  • October 14, 2014
    robinjohnson
    Does this count?
    • In The Difference Engine, America isn't British-ruled: there's the Union, the Confederacy, and the Republics of Texas and California - but it is implied that British subterfuge is deliberately stopping those countries from unifying into the US as we know them.
  • January 16, 2015
    jormis29
    Bump for decision on name and launch
  • January 17, 2015
    jormis29

    Tabletop Games
    • GURPS Alternate Earths, Volume II: The point of divergence for the Cornwallis timeline is the decision of Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot to not criticise Marie Antoinette as he did in the our world. Without the queen's animosity to Turgot, King Louis XVI followed his advice against supporting the American Revolution over that of the anti-British Charles Gravier causing the revolution to fail and the Tories in Britain acquiesce to a restoration of true royal power. By the current year (1984), the British monarchy keeps the Thirteen Colonies economically repressed and confined to the east of the Appalachians due to the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

    Here's an article on io9.com that might be worth a look.
  • January 17, 2015
    jamespolk
    I hope that we get to absorb Canada in these alternate histories. Maybe the United States could learn to love poutine.

    Just Launch It Already.
  • January 17, 2015
    jormis29
  • February 2, 2015
    jormis29
    • Examples section formatting
      • Updated some Namespaces that have changed since my last edit.

  • April 15, 2015
    lakingsif
    CROWNER Have at it.
  • April 15, 2015
    Tallens
    I think the description needs to be re-written to put more emphasis on this trope rather than the other alt-history tropes.
  • April 19, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ yes, description needs to better describe the trope
  • April 29, 2016
    Berrenta
    Has the description issue been resolved? This appears to have been launched prematurely.
  • April 29, 2016
    PaulA
    [edited description to put the list of related tropes at the back of the description instead of the front]

    What's your definition of "prematurely"? It's clearly over the minimum required age for a ykttw to be launched, and has an enviable number of hats.
  • June 18, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Maybe they think the description is a little barebones?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cfuwlyjm9hneg68dzoef99ey