Thursday, September 4, 2014

History: The Year is 1420

Lately I've been posting a history segment to the TSP Wiki at As an experiment and in keeping with the survival philosophy of "three is two, two is one and one is none" I will post a duplicate here on my blog.

Here we go...

The Year is 1420....

Here are some one liners...

Just Close Your Eyes and Think of France -- Mad King Charles signs away France and trades his daughter, Catherine, to King Henry the 5th for a first round draft choice.

Tamerlane's Grandson is a Scientist -- He builds a major astronomical observatory but his dreams of leading the Mongols to science will die with him.

The Two Capitals of China -- The capital of China is split between Nanking and Beijing but the handwriting is on the wall.

Tomas de Torquemada is Born -- A brief announcement. No more.


Just Close Your Eyes and Think of France

With the stroke of a pen Mad King Charles sells out France, disinherits his own son and pimps out his daughter, Catherine, as he names King Henry the 5th of England as heir to the throne of France and gives Henry the hand of his daughter in marriage. Since Mad King Charles is in fact INSANE, the Treaty of Troyes also makes King Henry the royal regent, handing him control of a large portion of France. The rest is nominally controlled by his ally, Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy. Things are really going Henry's way. Catherine will even give birth to an heir! Who could possibly save France now? Joan of Arc is only 8 years old so the burden falls on the slender shoulders of the former heir apparent of France, Charles the 7th.

My Take by Alex Shrugged

  • Charles the 7th acts as a rallying point for the rebellion, and even declares himself King of France, but his "kingship" extends only to the borders of Bourges in the Duchy of Berry. (In the modern day, the President of Afghanistan is derisively called "The Mayor of Kabul" suggesting he is a local power alone.) Because Mad King Charles was of diminished capacity, many Frenchmen thought the Treaty of Troyes was invalid but Charles the 7th seems unable to leverage his legitimate claim into an effective army so for the next few years the French will remain English in name if not in heart.


Tamerlane's Grandson is a Scientist

Ulugh Beg [OO-loog BEG] has founded a university in Samarkand in present day Uzbekistan. Ulugh Beg [OO-loog BEG] is the grandson of Tamerlane and the one of the few notable scientists amongst the Mongols. (A few have shown up amongst the Persians.) He will set up one of the best astronomical observatories of his time and he will create new star maps. A new star map has not been worked out since the time of Ptolemy [TOLL-uh-mee] and Hipparchus [hih-PAR-kus] around 130 BCE. His writings are in Arabic and Persian so he will remain unknown to the people of Europe. The Mongols don't want to be astronomers so like his grandfather before him, his dream will die with him. He will be murdered by his own son in 1449.

My Take by Alex Shrugged

  • In case no one has noticed, science has taken a backseat for the last 100 years or so. The Great Famine and the Black Death have occupied everyone's time and it has done something else as well. The Black Death has forced the stringent use of quarantines and incidentally has caused a weeding out of the stupid and undisciplined. Those who cannot figure out how to run a quarantine die. Those who can run a quarantine are mostly alive producing children of equal or better intelligence and discipline.



The Two Capitals of China

With the completion of the palace complex in the Forbidden City, and the repair of the Great Canal the Yongle Emperor has moved the capital of China north to Beijing. He will call it the "Northern Capital" and Nanking will be the southern capital, but the handwriting is on the wall. The transition to the north will be complete by 1450. Construction of the Heavenly Temple has begun and when it is complete, it will become tradition that the Emperor will leave the Forbidden City and make a sacrifice at the Heavenly Temple and then return.

My Take by Alex Shrugged

  • The Forbidden City is a walled complex including the Emperor's place. It covers about 180 acres at the center of Beijing. In the modern day it is a museum but in the 1400s only those given permission from the Emperor could enter and one needed permission to leave. The vast majority of the inhabitants were eunuchs. The mind of the Middle Ages perceived most struggles for power as a fight for the future of one's progeny so a man who could not have children made an ideal chief-of-staff and serve in many critical power roles. Looking back on history one can find reasonable support for that conclusion. Modern day leaders will find other reasons in their struggle for power.


Tomas de Torquemada is Born

The infamous Torquemada is born. He will become the first Grand Inquisitor of Spain. The world shudders.

My Take by Alex Shrugged

  • 'Nuff said for now.

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