If You Could Change Any Historcial Event, What Would You Change?

Similar to “Which historical figure would you kill” thread.

The only real rules are:
-No changing religious events (ie say preventing the Crucifixion for example)
-Be serious (ie no "John Doe eats Cheerie-Os instead of Corn Flakes on the morning of June 1st 2005)

-The Union decisively wins the Battle of Chancellorsville, ending the Civil War two years early (while the Emancipation Proclamation still takes place)
-The British and the French launch an offensive against Germany while most of the Wehrmacht is in Poland is in 1939
-Richard Nixon is elected President of the United States in 1960

It may sound trivial, but I’d prevent the destruction of the Maya Codices by Diego de Landa and his cohorts. So much knowledge was lost.

I suppose preventing the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations would be better. What constitutes an “event?”

Try to be somewhat specific and use an actual major event that could have changed (ie for your example say Hernan Cortez dies in the retreat from Tenochitlan for example). Incidentally, its not as if the Aztecs were nice people either…

Does “Having the Council of Nicea allow Christians freedom to keep Kosher, Sabbath & the Hebrew Festivals rather than banning such things, even to believers of Jewish heritage” count?

Booth doesn’t schmooze his way into Lincoln’s box.

I’d change the wave of invasions from Europe to the American that brought the diseases that decimated the native population and made them so underpopulated when the invasion arrived. So I suppose my change would be to give resistance to the native American populations.

Prevent Lenin from reaching Russia in 1917.

FDR doesn’t get polio.

I just read Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Fountains of Paradise,” and he argues that if the Battle of Tours hadn’t turned Islam away from Europe, civilization, and science in particular, might be hundreds of years ahead of where they are in our reality.

I thought about trying to nudge history so that the Nazis never take power. I don’t know, though; I’m afraid of unintended consequences. It’s possible (maybe unlikely, but possible) that things would turn out worse. Maybe a full-scale nuclear exchange or something comparably unpleasant.

How about the Romans don’t get clobbered by the Germans at Teutoburgerwald? Or Crassus doesn’t get sliced up by the Parthians. I’d kinda like to see a world where the Roman Empire lasted a couple centuries longer.

A negotiated peace between George Washington and George III could be pleasant; Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss presented a nice version of this in their alternate history novel “The Two Georges.”

I would be warry of changing anything. Let’s assume that you classically prevent WWII. Maybe you’ll get instead a global nuclear war during the 60s.
ETA : beaten to it by Trinopus with the exact same example.

I would have U.S. Grant invade and conquer Canada in 1870.

Howe destroys Washington at Long Island. In todays British North America we have a fringe political group called the Tea Party calling for the removal of the Law Lords who upheld the colonial legislatures health care act.

Alexander the sort of okay gets his head cleaved in during the Battle of Garnicus. That would have far reaching consequences for todays world.
The British Army is trapped and surrenders at Dunkirk. It will probably lose the war (for the time being) but save Britain from a ruinous year that was 1940/41. There is no battle of Britain and no N African campaign and as she has done so many times earlier the British bide their time and enter when the Germans are over extended, I think Greece in 1941 has the potential to be the Peninsula War of WW2 drawing in Germans into a long and fruitless campaign.

Blanca I of Navarre survives her second husband and their son Charles IV succeeds her peacefully; meanwhile, their daughter Blanca manages to get her husband, Henry II of Castille, in bed long enough to produce an heir. No Isabella and Ferdinand… doesn’t necessarily mean things would have been nicer, but they sure would have been different!

Not that I really feel like the world would be a better place, but what would North America look like if the Indians had been paranoid enough to kill all the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving?

What would John Lennon be doing right now if he’d just got winged instead of being shot through the abdominal aorta?

Also, no burning of the Library of Alexandria. I want all that stuff back.

I’d just drop a word to America’s founding fathers that maybe a bit of clarity on that second amendment wouldn’t hurt. Is it just so we’re armed for militia duty or can we have guns for any reason we like or no reason at all? I’m not that picky about what answer they give but lets make it crystal clear please.

I suspect it would makes absolutely zero difference. But then I’m a notorious skeptic about the impact of Tours.

That would be interesting. I’m not sure of the impact, but it might be quite significant in butterfly-wing sort of way. Similar to William of Normandy losing at Hastings.

Probably not a lot of impact. Crassus was up against a small regional force, which magnifies the level of humiliation of defeat, but strictly limits the impact of any success.

Ah, that is an interesting one. Could the Revolution have been snuffed that easily? I’m uncertain myself, but it certainly would have crippled it.

Maybe. But the Achaemenid state was a ramshackle, senescent mess by that point. Still immensely powerful in a general sense, but heading south politically and economically. And the Age of Hellenism in the east ultimately was an ephemera ( albeit a long-lived one with echoes down the ages ). If Alexander hadn’t struck the death-blow, I’d predict eventual fragmentation ( barring the emergence of a truly dynamic reformer which Darius III didn’t appear to be ) and it surely wouldn’t have impeded the rise of Rome. One of the most significant impacts of Alex’s conquest was the release of the immense hoard of gold that had been building up at the Persian capital for generations ( inflow exceeded outflow ), causing a severe shortage of bullion elsewhere and an increasingly anemic and strangled economy.

Now if Alexander had lived long enough to successfully conquer the Mediterranean Basin and leave an orderly succession…

Just as interesting, Miguel de Paz survives to peacefully unite the Iberian peninsula. You’d still have the rivalry with France in Italy, but no bleeding sore to deal with in the Low Countries. Don’t know if an earlier unified Iberia would have fared better, but it certainly would be a bit different.

Or for another thwarted inheritance, Otto III survives to marry his Byzantine princess and sires an heir to both the Holy Roman and Byzantine Empires ( succeeding Constantine VIII ) . I doubt any unity would survive long, but it sure would have been interesting.

I’d be interested to see the Library of Alexandria survive intact ( which sadly would probably require more than one survival event ). Wouldn’t change history much, but it would be a bibliophile’s dream.

ETA: Ah, HMS Irruncible beat me to the last one :).

YEAH! Pay attention to your commas!

Ronald Reagan pays his income taxes, and doesn’t knock up his girlfriend Nancy Davis, and doesn’t end up becoming the puppet of the right wing feudalists who have destroyed our glorious republic.

Gavilro Princip - I tackle him as he is taking aim at the Archduke.