In 1638, Catholic bishop Cornelius Jansen discovered and codified techniques for psionic disciplines. Though condemned by the Catholic Church, Cardinal Richelieu embraced Jansenism, and it is with psionic power that France conquered Spain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Italy, and made Britain, the Netherlands, and Portugal satellite states. They then handily trounced Russia and a psionic monarchist France effectively ruled Europe. New psionic technology linked their empire together, and eventually they invented the Pascal drive and colonised Mars, Venus, and the moon.
However, in the 1850s, European adventurers were captured inside China, and, in 1892, new psionic Chinese armies sent France reeling; it had gone lax after centuries of peace. China conquered much of Earth, but Louis XXV of France still rules Mars, Venus, the moon, and the Americas. They plan to retake France itself soon.
The current year is 1956.