Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sobel Wiki: Rotten borough

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the Mexican state of Arizona. This is one of the more curious features of Sobel's United States of Mexico. In our history, Arizona was split off from New Mexico in the 1860s, as a side effect of the Civil War. The origin of the name is disputed, but derives from the Rancho Arizona in the Provinces of Sonora, Ostimuri and Sinaloa, where silver was discovered in 1736.

In the Sobel Timeline, Andrew Jackson split off the eastern half of the Mexican state of Alta California at the Mexico City Convention in 1820, named it Arizona, and made it one of the six states of the United States of Mexico. Sobel never says why he did so, but Noel Maurer of the For All Nails project figured that Arizona was meant to serve as a rotten borough, a largely-uninhabited electoral district that the Anglos of Jefferson could use to maintain a majority in the Mexican Senate, and thereby keep control of the powerful Mexican presidency. Maurer also figured this would be too blatantly unfair for the Mexicans to put up with, so in the interests of believability, he retconned it away in the FAN project.

Like the neighboring state of Mexico del Norte, Sobel's Arizona was home to a large minority of Indians. Jackson attempted to incorporate the Indians of these two states into the fabric of the U.S.M., but he was never entirely successful. After Benito HermiĆ³n made himself dictator of Mexico in 1881, the Indian areas of Arizona and Mexico del Norte escaped control by Mexico City, and became semi-autonomous in fact, if not in theory. Even after democratic rule returned to the U.S.M. in 1902, the Indians of these two states remained separate from the rest of the country. When Mexico's slaves were granted their freedom in 1920, some of the most radical traveled to the Indian-controlled areas of the north, and found protection and employment there, and soon began to intermarry with the Indians. By the time of the Mercator dictatorship of the 1950s, the descendants of these radical freedmen formed the leadership of Mexico's Negro community.

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