In the year 1853, the Ottoman Empire had been in power for 554 continuous years. Abdülmecid I was Sultan and, shortly into the year, the Albanian-descended Governor of Crete Giritli Mustafa Naili Pasha took the post of Grand Vizier.
Queen Victoria was the Monarch of the British Empire and Lord Aberdeen was her Prime Minister, though the Queen favored one of his rivals, Benjamin Disraeli, as an advisor.
In France, Napoleon III had been elected President of the Republic in 1848, and had dissolved the National Assembly two years previously in 1851. In December of 1852, the Second French Empire was established, with Louis-Napoleon becoming named "Napoléon III, Emperor of the French."
Across the Atlantic, Franklin Pierce was the President of the United States of America and Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War. There were 31 states at that time, and the American Civil War had not yet been fought.
In mid-1853, the Russian Empire started maneuvering troops to key places on the Baltic Sea near Ottoman territories. Hostilities were about to break out into the Crimean War. The primary forces were Ottoman, British, and French fighting the Russians. The war ended with a decisive British/French/Ottoman victory.
70 years later, after 624 of continuous rule, the Ottoman Empire fell to Entente powers - the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire. The United States, now 48 states strong and under Woodrow Wilson as President, entered the war as an ally of the Entente Powers.
Things change fast, though it doesn't seem that way when we're living through them. 80 years ago in 1931, Herbert Hoober was President, the Great Depression was in full swing after the 1929 bank and stock market crashes, and World War II hadn't started.
In 1931, the German Socialist National Workers' Party was still a fringe movement, Adolf Hitler didn't hold political position, and the Weimar Republic was struggling through hyperinflation and massive unemployment.
Hirohito was Emperor of Japan, Korea and Taiwan were part of the Empire of Japan, and the Japanese Empire had just occupied Manchuria.
The Kuomintang and Communist Party were still at war fighting for control of China. Amidst that conflict in 1931, infighting broke out in the KMT between Chiang Kai-shek and three of his commanders, at a cost of 1.4 million KMT lives lost. The Chinese forces were still not at war with the Japanese.
In the USSR, Stalin had largely completed collectivizing agriculture and the state's economy, but the Soviets weren't aware how much disaster they were in for. Over the next few years, millions would starve to death, including 5 million intentionally starved in the Ukraine. The incident is still underreported in the West. The Great Purges hadn't happened yet.
The Statute of Westminster was passed in 1931, beginning the end of British governance of overseas colonies and ethnic nationalism began to replace pro-British imperialism in the colonies. This legislative shift towards local governance, cultural shift towards pro-ethnicism instead of pro-imperialism, and the Japanese occupation of British Asian territories and German occupation of the European continent over the next 15 years would mark the end of the British Empire.
70 years... 80 years... how long is that?
Not that long, really. Average lifespan in the Western world is right between 70 and 80 - and still climbing. Many of us will be alive 70 years from now.
How long is that? Not so long, in some respects. But long enough for the entire map of the world to be rewritten.
What will the world be like in 2081?
It's hard to say. But there's no doubt it will look very different from today's world.
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