Thursday, January 29, 2015

History: The Year is 1509

I've uploaded year 1509 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First "Wearable" Technology: the "Nuremberg Egg" Watch -- There is dispute over who invented the first pocket watch but it is reasonable to assume it was the locksmith, Peter Henlein while he was living in a Nuremberg monastery. I go on to talk about the so-called promise of wearable technology which has been wearing on me lately.

Henry the 8th Takes the Throne by Storm -- People love him but it's like moths to a flame. Or maybe it is like some other flying insect. The stuff is really going to hit the fan this time.

The First "Wearable" Technology: the "Nuremberg Egg" Watch

The exact date is fuzzy for the invention of the pocket watch, and several people want to claim its invention but it was PROBABLY Peter Henlein... a young locksmith taking refuge from the law in a Nuremberg monastery a few years ago. He has a lot of time on his hands, so to speak, so he creates a better clock. Clocks of this time are delicate devices that require a sturdy base but Peter creates a more durable mechanism inside of an intense-burner that was used to protect one's self from the Plague. (If the incense is smokey enough it keeps people away from you so it probably helps.) His new table clock probably kept time for 14-16 hours and was accurate to within a half hour... a miracle! This year he has produced a wearable clock with only an hour hand. It's spring mechanism lasts for 40 hours on a winding. It has a spherical casing called a "Nuremberg egg". It is a work of art that is pinned to one's clothing or worn as a pendant. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Nowadays pocket watches are disappearing. Personally, I find a wrist watch uncomfortable and I've stopped carrying a pocket watch. Apparently the manufacturers can no longer produce one that actually tells the time more accurately than Peter Henlein's original watch. (I'm not kidding. The timekeeping is hideous.) Now I flip open my cell phone to see the time. The tech media has been crowing over the possibilities of wearable technology ever since the comic-strip hero, Dick Tracy, used a "2-Way Wrist Radio" in 1946. As of this writing, the Apple Watch is being released in 2015. It seems like an solution looking for a problem to solve. Time will tell. [5] [6]

Henry the 8th Takes the Throne by Storm

King Henry the 7th of England has died of tuberculosis at age 52. His son, King Henry the 8th, takes the throne. He is 17 years old. Shortly thereafter he has two of his father's ministers arrested and tried for treason and extortion. They are beheaded and the money they stole is returned to the people, thus, making King Henry a very popular man. He quickly marries Catherine of Aragon, a marriage that his father had forbidden. However, King Henry reports that his father changed his mind on his deathbed. (Yeah... funny thing those deathbed conversations. The dead are so talkative.) Sir Thomas More wrote of King Henry the 8th, "The King has a way of making every man feel that he is enjoying his special favour." Sir Thomas More will be singled out for the King's special attention. In the future he will be tried for treason and beheaded for opposing the Protestant Reformation. The feces is about to hit the rotating oscillator. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Aside from that silly song from 1965, what people remember most about King Henry the 8th were his many wives that he had beheaded including Anne Boleyn. He also had an affair with her sister, Mary Boleyn. The King had taken a real liking to the Boleyn family. His first bodyguard was Sir Thomas Boleyn, the father of Anne and Mary. Later Sir Thomas will be appointed Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, but once his daughter is executed, he will lose that office and die miserable. Of course that may be better than what happened to his successor. The next Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal will end up with his head on a pike on London Bridge for saying that King Henry was impotent. Oddly, that was not on the list of crimes when the poor man was indicted. Later, King Henry would remark that the fellow was the most loyal man he ever had. With friends like the King, who needs enemies?[10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1509, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1508

I've uploaded year 1508 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Yet Another War and the Problem with the Renaissance Popes -- No one would push for the kind of changes the Reformation is going to bring about unless the status quo was really, really bad. So let's talk about bad.

The Sistine Chapel and the Creation of Adam -- There is a myth that Michelangelo painted the ceiling on his back. This is false. It's much worse than that.

Juan Ponce de León Takes Puerto Rico -- Currently he is working his way up the command chain, but his expedition to Puerto Rico and establishment of a colony will make him the first governor of Puerto Rico next year.

Yet Another War and the Problem with the Renaissance Popes

The Venetians look weak. The Ottomans have encroached on their trade routes and Venice made concessions with France during the Italian Wars. Then Pope Alexander the 6th and his son seized a number of territories south of Venice for their personal use and ambitions. When the Pope died of disease, Venice moved into those territories. Now Venice is willing to pay tribute to Pope Julius the 2nd but it's not good enough for him, so the Warrior Pope has organized the League of Cambrai with France, Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor to attack Venice. The League won't last long. Pope Julius and King Louis the 12th of France won't get along. When that happens the Pope will turn around and join with Venice to attack France... calling his new association "The Holy League". In 1516, when it is all over, the territories will look about the same as they did BEFORE the war. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Why do they do it? Some of it is short-sightedness but it is a time of personal ambition and power plays for the Renaissance Popes. Pope Alexander the 6th was from the Borgia family. He wangled himself this Pope job for the riches and lands it would bring him and his family... including all of his children! It is embarrassing for Christians, but the Reformation happened for a reason. Religious people don't split up a major institution like the Christian Church unless things get really, really bad. Well... it's bad. When Jesus turned over the change tables in the Temple, his complaints extended further than where they decided to locate the foreign-coin exchange center. Years later the Jews were scattered to the winds. People don't change until things get THAT messed up. And the Reformation itself will bring about a change so fundamental that it will be difficult to describe in a couple of paragraphs. I beg forgiveness in advance and I welcome corrections and clarifications. Really. No joshing.

The Sistine Chapel and the Creation of Adam

After the lessons of the Second Italian War, the Warrior Pope Julius the 2nd is having St. Peter's Basilica refurbished and fortified. He has also commissioned a number of architects to improve the design of the Sistine Chapel. One of those designers is Michelangelo. He has begun painting several exquisite frescoes on the ceiling, including one of the most recognizable images of the modern day: "The Creation of Adam." It shows the outstretched arm of God on the right and the outstretched arm of Adam on the left with their fingers almost touching. The ceiling frescoes won't be completed until 1512 so he will be spending a great deal of his time bending over backward to complete his task. Contrary to the myth (and a popular film starring Charlton Heston) Michelangelo is NOT painting these frescoes while on his back. He has designed a special scaffolding that allows him stand, bend backward and reach up to paint. He reports that it is miserable work. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Michelangelo had to learn how to paint a fresco first. It is pretty good work for a first try. Eh? His first love was sculpting and the Pope promised to pay for several lucrative pieces but not until Michelangelo finished this ceiling. Aside from the miserable work, the whole project was often in doubt whenever the Pope was on death's door. If Julius died and a future Pope wanted something different then all of Michelangelo's hopes for the future would be lost. What a life.

Juan Ponce de León Takes Puerto Rico

Ponce de León is best known for the discovery of Florida but that is a few years in his future. For now he is working his way up the command chain. After Christopher Columbus had left Hispaniola in chaos, bringing order to the island was left to several people including Ponce de León. Apparently he did a good job from the perspective of Spain. From the Indian's perspective, not so much. Nevertheless, his region at the eastern tip of Hispaniola is now orderly and bringing in food. He has heard of gold on the island of Puerto Rico so he leads an expedition where he establishes the first colony there, plants some crops and finds gold. By next year he will be appointed the first governor of Puerto Rico. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Our perspective on these events are biased due to who is reporting on these events. Thus, if a Spaniard makes a mistake you can feel reasonably assured that he made a mistake, but you don't really know how much of a mistake he made. It could be exaggerated either way depending on whose agenda is being serviced at the time. The Spaniards on Hispaniola have every incentive to trash Christopher Columbus to make their efforts to restore order look more effective. Granted... Columbus was not a good administrator and now that he is dead he cannot defend himself. His son, Diego Columbus, has existing claims to some of the local islands. Those claims will force Juan Ponce de León to search further out for lands to exploit and that why he will be searching for Florida in 1513.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1508, Wikipedia.

Monday, January 26, 2015

History: The Year is 1507

I've uploaded year 1507 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Terra Nova, Terra America -- The first global map is printed with Columbus's discoveries included but the new regions are not labelled as Columbia. They are labelled America. I also talk about how people decide what things are named such as ISIS, vs ISIL, vs IS vs what have you.

The Aztecs and the End of the World -- The Aztecs have a ceremony that is supposed to stave off the end of the world. It doesn't work because Cortez is coming and I talk about Y2K and the panic over that. As an option, the Jonestown massacre was along those same scarey lines.

Living OVER a Bridge and the Gas Tax -- The Pont Notre Dame bridge is completed with 60 brick houses on top of the bridge. I talk about the poor maintenance of the bridge, the 2007 collapse of the Minnesota bridge and the proposed raising of the gas tax.

Terra Nova, Terra America

Cartography or map-making is still terra incognito [TAIR-uh in-cog-NEE-tow] (unknown territory). People need maps but there is no committee to set the naming standards. Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann are German Cartographers who have produced the first global map that includes the many discoveries of Columbus. Martin is a great admirer Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer, so he labels the New World as "America.". A thousand copies of the map go out before Martin regrets his decision. He tries to change the name to "Vespucci" or simply "Terra Nova" meaning "New Territory," but it's too late. Map-makers are already using the name "America" as the standard. The name has stuck just like the name "Indian." At this time people understand that the people living in the New World are not from India, but the name continues to be used no matter what informed people may say. It's already too late to change. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
If we could go back, we would use the most accurate names possible but in the end the people will decide which name makes sense to them. A good example is the name "ISIS" which is the name applied to that group invading Iraq and Syria and threatening other countries. But I've heard other names applied to that group (some of them unrepeatable): ISIS, ISIL, DAESH, or simply "IS". ISIS sounds pagan... and therefore carries a warning for Christians and Jews even though Muslims are not pagans. Other names that the government might use are probably more accurate to various degrees, or more politically correct, but I think ISIS is the name that people will use in the end. [6]

The Aztecs and the End of the World

Every 52 years the Aztec calendar undergoes a reset similar to a turn of the century called a calendar round. Since it is a time of uncertainty and fear (just as it is for modern, "enlightened" people of today), the Aztecs perform a ceremony to fend off an end-of-the-world apocalypse. It involves bloodletting, letting go of old household goods and silent contemplation. The time has come but it will be the last time. The end is near for the Aztecs. By 1519, Hernando Cortéz, and a number of disgruntled tribes that live near the Aztecs, will declare war and the Aztecs will fall. Just to remind everyone... the Aztecs are famous for human sacrifice, but those humans came from neighboring tribes who were resentful having to produce them. That is why Cortéz will find willing allies for a while at least. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Does everyone remember the Y2K Bug? It was a computer issue that was supposed to make airplanes fall from the sky and bank account lock up. It was a real issue. Don't get me wrong. A lot of computer programs had to be fixed to accommodate the turn of the century, but the irrational panic that ensued, makes the most primitive tribal nonsense seem like sensible, mature reflection in comparison. The same thing happened with the Mayan calendar scare and several other scares that everyone can bring to mind. The human mind can be a frightening thing. Optional example: In 1976 People's Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana was established as a communist haven. They called it Jonestown. Jim Jones and his followers wanted to escape a creeping fascism in the USA. In 1978 a US Representative began an investigation of Jonestown, so Jones and over 900 men, women and children of "The People's Temple of the Disciples of Christ" committed mass suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. If you ever wondered where the phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" came from ... now you know.[10]

Living OVER a Bridge and the Gas Tax

In Paris, the bridge across the Seine began as a simple footbridge. The river split and created a small island in the midst of the city. Eventually the bridge was replaced by a more substantial wooden bridge in the early 1400s called "Notre-Dame." 60 houses were built atop the bridge with 30 on each side, but in 1499 the bridge collapsed into the river due to poor bridge maintenance. New stone foundations were laid and a new bridge was constructed. That construction is completed this year. 60 more houses have been built on the bridge out of stone and brick and are built to last. They will last until around 1786 when the houses will cause instability to the bridge. It will be rebuilt and cause so many accidents will be called the Devil's Bridge. In 1919 the bridge will be replaced with the Pont Notre Dame bridge we see today. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've known people who have lived under bridges and I've seen people on TV who have escaped a tornado by hiding under a bridge. I wouldn't recommend it as a first choice but you take what you can get. Next, this history story revealed that there was no money spent for regular bridge maintenance. After that Minneapolis Bridge Collapse in 2007 our government called for money for bridge maintenance. While roads and bridges need maintenance, that money was supposed to come from our gas taxes. As gas prices drop, the taxes collected are lessened. There is talk of raising the gas tax for "maintenance of the roads," but when gas prices shoot up again, will the government lower the gas tax? Not a chance. [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1507, Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1506

I've uploaded year 1506 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Dominican Sugarcane Crop and Hitchhiking Insects -- Sugarcane is introduced to the New World as well as scale insects with no natural predators and one natural protector... the fire ant.

The Founding of the Pope's Swiss Guard -- Have you ever seen those guards around the Pope in the weird looking uniforms? Smile when you say that. The Swiss Guards is established this year.

Christopher Columbus Dies Rich and Bitter -- Simply because a man is good at one thing doesn't mean he is good at everything. This guy dies frustrated and unhappy.

The First Dominican Sugarcane Crop and Hitchhiking Insects

Europe doesn't know it yet, but it is going to develop a big sugar tooth in the coming years. Sugar was first introduced to Europe when the Crusaders brought back a gritty plant product from the Holy Land called "al-zucar" which is the Arabic word for sugar. Sugarcane was domesticated thousands of years ago on the island of present day New Guinea, Indonesia. This year, sugarcane has reached the Dominican Republic and one other thing has been introduced... a new type of insect. Scale insects have a waxy coat and since they are new to the environment, the normal plant defenses are useless and the insects have no natural predators. Their growth rate becomes astronomical. Scientists call this an "ecological release" but most people call it an explosion. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
People of the time didn't notice the new insects but rather wrote about the sudden increase in native insects such as the local fire ant which looks different from the imported fire ant we see in Texas. The native fire ant protected these new scale insects because of the sugary substance they produced. With the increase in nourishment, the fire ant population increased exponentially. Santo Domingo was abandoned for a time as the people ran before the stinging explosion of fire ants. Later, a different imbalance in the environment will result in a massive increase of carrier pigeons and buffalo, but that is a story for another time. [4] [5] FYI, much of the information I present here comes from Charles Mann's excellent book, "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created." It largely documents the introduction of new plants, insects and diseases back and forth between the New World and the Old and the consequences thereof.

The Founding of the Pope's Swiss Guard

The new Pope is known as the "Warrior Pope". Pope Julius the 2nd understands the importance of military power as part of the papacy after his predecessor barely survived the Italian War between France and Spain. The French army came marching into Rome with Swiss mercenaries leading the way. The Swiss had recently thrown off the Hapsburg rule and have established a reputation for fearsomeness. The Pope needs more protection than the walls of St. Peter's Basilica. He will have the Basilica rebuilt and Michelangelo will put a new coat of paint on the ceiling. The Pope will also establish the Swiss Guard. The Guard will remain with the Pope through the centuries and maintain his security into the modern day. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a reason why the Pope travels in a "Pope Mobile". It is a security measure imposed after the attack on Pope John Paul the 2nd on May 13th, 1981. While greeting the crowd in Saint Peter's Square a Muslim assassin got off several shots at the Pope before the crowd knocked the assassin to the ground. The Pope took four bullets and lived. The assassin (whose name is a mouthful) was pardoned at the request of the Pope in 2000. The assassin returned to the scene of the crime in 2014 to lay white roses on the tomb of Pope John Paul the 2nd. [9] [10]

Christopher Columbus Dies Rich and Bitter

Over the years Christopher Columbus has been sidelined by the King and Queen of Spain. Other explorers have followed the path he has blazed and have eclipsed his accomplishments. Columbus certainly has his faults, but he has become rich despite it all. For many people that would be enough but not for Columbus. He has spent his last years in frustration and dies this year from a parasite he likely picked up on his second voyage to the New World. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
WARNING: The information we have for these years is suspect. Thus, if you like Columbus, you can find enough information to cast doubt on his critics. On the other hand, the general timeline suggests that he was goofing up the administrative end of things rather badly since he was eventually relieved of his responsibilities as governor. Simply because a man is good at one thing doesn't mean he will be good at everything. Or as my father used to say, "A man is promoted higher and higher until he is eventually incompetent at his job."

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1506, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1505

I've uploaded year 1505 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Vow of Martin Luther -- On his way to becoming a lawyer, Martin Luther undergoes a spiritual transformation. He becomes a monk. I talk about his significance for those unfamiliar with his influence on history.

Poland's Golden Liberty and Silver Serfdom -- Democracy and legal equality is established in Poland. Religious freedom will follow. The bad news is that it only applies to the nobility and there is a second serfdom in the future for the peasants.

Bermúdez Discovers Bermuda -- As he is on a supply run, Juan de Bermúdez spots the island that will one day bear his name.

The Vow of Martin Luther

This is the year when everything changes for Martin Luther. He has graduated from the University of Erfurt with a master's degree and has entered immediately into law school. His father has picked his path and as he returns home for celebration, his father speaks of arranging a marriage. Seeing his future before him with every day looking much like the next, he flees from his family to a monastery. Along the way a thunder storm rises up and a lightening bolt strikes. He is so frightened he shouts, "Help, dear Saint Anna! I will become a monk!" He knows that if he doesn't act soon he will lose his resolve so he sells his law books, gives a farewell dinner for his friends and enters the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. He is 21 years old. By the time he is 34 he will change the Western World. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
For those unfamiliar with the significance of Martin Luther, initially he will lead Church reform called "The Reformation." By tradition he will nail his list of demands on a Wittenberg church door. It's inspiring, but that was only one account. Other accounts were more sedate. Unfortunately, the Church will disagree with Martin Luther, excommunicate him and the Protestant Movement will come into being. You might find this difficult to believe but despite all the commotion and bad feelings this is going to create, Christianity is going to become a whole lot better overall because of Martin Luther and the many who will follow. Hang in there. Eyes on the prize.

Poland's Golden Liberty and Silver Serfdom

The King of Poland agrees to a limited democracy for every Polish noble. The Act of Nihil Novi requires the king to be elected like a president and the commonwealth will be made up of all the nobles, each granted equal legal status. A parliament will be held every 2 years. A bill of rights that has already been negotiated with the king is now in force. Religious freedom will be granted in the future. It's not exactly the Constitution of the United States but it is considered the beginnings of a modern democracy. [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Now for the bad news. Only 10% of the population will have these freedoms with no path for the peasants to ever find those democratic freedoms for themselves. This will lead to a "second serfdom" imposed on the peasants by the nobles. Thus, even though we can take heart that certain critical ideas are being introduced here, there is still a long way to go. In the 20th century, some people will look back on this Golden Liberty and call it the "Jewish Liberty" as if the Jews were somehow part of these special privileges. This is a modern invention and possibly antisemitic. Jews held a special status in the Middle Ages but don't mistake "special" for "better". In the military your sergeant might assign "special duty" for you but that usually doesn't translate into anything good for you.

Bermúdez Discovers Bermuda

Juan de Bermúdez is on a supply run on his ship, the Garza. On his way to Hispaniola he spots an island which will eventually carry his name... Bermuda. He will return a few years later and drop off some pigs so that they can breed on the island. Ever the supply officer, his intent is to provide an easy food source for passing sailors. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Basic logistics can be dangerous work but Bermúdez is not exactly the great explorer of the western world either. Nevertheless, there are a lot of features to find out there and supply ships making runs from A to B are finding their fair share. Three years ago a Portuguese supply ship found Guanabara Bay, a massive bay which they mistook as the mouth of a great river. They called it Rio de Janeiro. [7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1505, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1504

I've uploaded year 1504 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The War for Naples Ends and Modern Warfare Begins -- France surrenders a major strategic city and agrees to give up Naples and Sicily to Spain. This ends the Italian War and begins modern warfare.

Mad Queen Joanna and Modern Spain -- Queen Isabella dies and her daughter, Joanna, takes the Crown of Castile. Once her father, the King of Aragon, dies, she will join the crowns of Aragon and Castile into modern day Spain. Is she really mad? Maybe. Her husband has been driving her crazy!

Christopher Columbus Brings Back the Sun! -- Stranded on Jamaica, Columbus uses the prediction of an eclipse to convince the local Indian tribe to help him repair his ship.

The War for Naples Ends and Modern Warfare Begins

Last year in Italy the Spaniards spanked the French forces with their quicker cavalry and better use of small arms. With that defeat, France has surrendered the ancient city of Gaeta. Years of fighting between France and Spain is over. The Treaty of Lyons seals the deal. King Louis the 12th of France will retain control of northern Italy and Spain will control Naples in the south, including Sicily under King Ferdinand the 2nd of Aragon (the husband of Queen Isabella of Castile). Gaeta was strategically significant. The whole reason for this war was to give King Charles the Affable of France a base of operations to begin his Crusade. King Louis had lesser goals. In the modern day NATO will maintain a base at Gaeta. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The significance of this war is that it forced a complete reorganization of the Spanish military in terms of hierarchy, discipline and military tactics. Gone is the chivalry of the old order. This will have significance for the New World as Spain makes in roads into Mexico and confronts the Aztecs. Spain's growing military dominance will push other European countries to improve their tactics. The West has begun its evolution into modern warfare.[3]

Mad Queen Joanna and Modern Spain

Queen Isabella the 1st of Castile has been in declining health and has died at the age of 53. The Crown of Castile goes to her daughter, Joanna. Mad Queen Joanna is already married to Philip the Handsome who is 28 at this time, a year older than she. He will be crowned king in 1506 and drop dead the same year. Historians believe he died of typhoid fever but Mad Queen Joanna will believe he was poisoned. For a time she will refuse to bury him and she will be deemed too insane to reign in Castile. Apparently she won't be too insane to reign in Aragon and Naples. The point is that because she was the daughter of both the ruler of Castile and the ruler of Aragon, Mad Queen Joanna will be queen of the largest portion of what is modern day Spain once her father passes away.[4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was Queen Joanna really mad? Maybe. Her husband was driving her crazy!  Philip the Handsome had an ugly soul. He cheated on her, which was not unusual, but he also tormented her, locked her up and I suspect he spread rumors of her unstable mental state. Considering how he was treating her, perhaps she had cracked, but she seemed a little unstable anyway. The evidence is that she held back burying her worthless husband. We can all speculate on why. Insanity does not disqualify one from ruling... at least not all the time. During bouts of insanity, a ruler could appoint a regent to run things. Mad King Charles of France ruled France with a regent and King Henry the 6th of England had a regent as well.

Christopher Columbus Brings Back the Sun!

Last year a storm stranded Christopher Columbus at St. Ann's Bay on Jamaica. He and his crew must make repairs using whatever resources they can find and they will need the native Taino [TAY-no] tribe to help. Unfortunately, they know Columbus too well but Columbus knows that an eclipse of the sun is coming. He uses this knowledge to convince the Taino [TAY-no] to help him. In 1540, Jamaica will be given over to the estate of the Columbus family but they will neglect it. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Imagine what it was like in those days when your ship is torn to pieces and you have only yourself to depend upon and a few raw resources. How can you effect repairs under such primitive circumstances? First of all... remember that these ships are not very big. They are about the size of the Columbia ride around Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. That ride is a full-scale replica of the American ship Columbia that circumnavigated the world. No kidding. So... if you have lost a mast during a storm, you are going to need block and tackle which they have aboard any ship, lots of rope, a suitably straight tree and a many men with strong backs. For a reasonably short but detailed description of this very process, read the Horatio Hornblower novel, "Beat to Quarters" by C. S. Forester. You will also learn more about naval tactics in the age of the mast than you can imagine. It's a great read.[9] [10] [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1504, Wikipedia.

Monday, January 19, 2015

History: The Year is 1503

I've uploaded year 1503 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Italian Wars: The Spaniards Strike Back -- The Spaniards are using different tactics against the French and the first battle won with small arms is won. I then talk a bit about these early weapons as if I know everything there is to know about them when that is far from the truth.

The Treaty of Everlasting Peace -- England and Scotland will pledge peace forever. This particular forever will last about 10 years. Queen Margaret is about 13 years old so I talk a little but about young marriages and proxy marriages.

Christopher Columbus Discovers the Cayman Islands --He calls them the Turtle Islands and then a storm beaches him on Jamaica. He sends for help but no one gives a... uh... hoot.

Italian Wars: The Spaniards Strike Back

The secret treaty dividing the Kingdom of Naples between France and Spain has broken down. The French are fighting in the same old way because when something is working you don't fix it, but the war hasn't been working for the Spaniards so they are fixing it. They use a light muzzle loader called the arquebus [ARK-eh-bus] compared to the heavier tripod muskets of the French. The Spaniards have light cavalry in front to stick and run and hold their heavy cavalry in reserve. The French have mostly heavy cavalry. Spain's cannons are light and fast-loading. They are in place and firing smaller cannon balls while the French cannons are still being dragged into place. Small and on time is better than too big and too late. The French will take years to learn this lesson. The Spanish are going to win this battle. It is considered the first battle won with small arms tactics.[1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
These earlier weapons look for all the world like muskets and rifles, but they aren't rifles and they barely qualify as muskets. The arquebus [ARK-eh-bus] is a hand cannon with a matchlock firing mechanism. (Heaven help you if it is raining.) These things could blind you with a flash of gunpowder so you close your eyes and fire. A man with a modern .22 rifle would be king on a battle field like this. The arquebus [ARK-eh-bus] is considered a light caliver. The caliver took a standard-sized projectile... a caliber (or calibre) size. Other weapons required that you melt and cast your own shot before every battle so sharing shot between those weapons in the heat of battle was impossible.

The Treaty of Everlasting Peace

The war between England and Scotland has produced a devastating loss in life and property... mostly on the side of Scotland. It's time to put a stop to it, so King Henry the 7th of England gives over his daughter, Margaret (13), in marriage to King James the 4th of Scotland (30). Pope Alexander the 6th has blessed this peace treaty which promises that any breech will result in excommunication of the violator and active intervention by the Pope. The kings take oaths binding themselves and their decedents to the peace treaty forever. This particular forever will last about 10 years. [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
They had been trying to negotiate this marriage since Margaret was 10. Not to worry. The happy couple will wait until Queen Margaret is 16 before they start having children. At this level marriages were negotiated like NFL draft choices and young girls were not forced into sex. The marriage of King James and Queen Margaret will be known as "the Union of the Thistle and the Rose." It was a proxy marriage meaning that Margaret had a marriage ceremony with a stand-in for King James. She will meet the King a few months later. In the modern day proxy marriages are allowed in a few states like Texas. It is usually reserved for the serving military, stationed overseas.[5]

Christopher Columbus Discovers the Cayman Islands

On his 4th and final voyage, Christopher Columbus has landed in Panama. He has heard of a river that goes straight through to another ocean and there is gold to be found. After exploring the river for a few months and losing one of his ships, he heads back to Hispaniola. Along his way he spots the Cayman Islands which he calls the Turtle Islands for all the sea turtles there. The word "cayman" means crocodile which is not much better. A storm comes up and they are beached on the shores of Jamaica. Columbus will send a canoe to Hispaniola for help but the governor there would rather that Columbus drop dead. Abandoned on Jamaica it will be a year before Columbus can make repairs and push on. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Columbus is an unloved fellow if the local governor is actively trying to mess him up. Back home, folks are loving Amerigo Vespucci's reports on the New World. They are getting wide distribution. By the time Columbus gets back he'll be the goat. Frankly, that's the very least Columbus deserves. He has been a terrible administrator and caused needless deaths through his incompetence. But giving him his due, he turned a great idea into reality. It wasn't exactly what he had in mind, but he is remembered for this accomplishment, and the bad stuff is largely ignored or forgotten.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1503, Wikipedia.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1502

I've uploaded year 1502 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

No Africans, No Jews, and No Orthodox Christians -- Queen Isabella does not want to fill up the New World with non-Christian castoffs so she orders a stop to African slaves, Jews and Orthodox Christian converts. Indians are pure souls and must be offered Christianity. But real money is at stake here so her ideals will remain just that... ideals.

The Pope Orders a Book... Burning -- The Gutenberg press has put pressure on the Church and the Church is pushing back. The Church is going to lose this one but they are not going to stop trying. And... a minor Martin Luther update included.

Rio de Janeiro (January's River) is not a River -- The Portuguese head west to China and hit Brazil. Now you know why Brazilians speak Portuguese.

No Africans, No Jews, and No Orthodox Christians

Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain fear that too many heretics are escaping to the New World, so last year they changed their policy to allow only slaves from CHRISTIAN countries to be sent to the New World colonies. (See 1501, "Italian Slave Girls for Sale") Even so, slavers are circumventing the policy by marking their slaves as coming from Spain and Portugal. These slaves are quickly disappearing into the jungle, joining the Indians. By the 1600s they and their descendants will be identified as a distinct group called "Maroons." In French the word "marron" means "runaway slave." This is a great monetary loss to the colonies and a loss of valuable skills. (Africans are known for their blacksmithing at this time.) Also, Jews and Orthodox Christian converts need not apply. Orthodox Christianity is seen as incorrect Christian observance to the Spaniards and while they might tolerate those who were born as Orthodox Christians, anyone actually converting is seen as wrong-minded and therefore blocked from entering the New World. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Spaniards classified Indians as pure, having not willfully rejected Christianity... yet. Queen Isabella and much of the Christian clergy looked upon the New World as a chance to Christianize an entire continent. Thus it made no sense to them to fill it up with people who did not represent Christianity in a good light. The reality will be that Christians of the time will abandon their ideals as long as the silver, tobacco and especially the sugar keeps coming. (Europeans will discover a sweet tooth they didn't know they had.) The clergy will complain bitterly that the Spaniard's atrocities made Christianity look bad to the Indians. Yes, it will. Before this is all over, Christopher Columbus is going to look like a sweet heart in comparison. FYI, Columbus was no sweetheart but he was about average in terms of the brutality of the time... which was horrifying in any modern context. [4]

The Pope Orders a Book... Burning

Any books which threaten the legitimacy and power of Pope Alexander the 6th are to be cast to the flames and new books must obtain a license to print by order of the Pope. Usually this means having the book's content reviewed prior to printing. However, the number of printing presses to monitor (over a thousand), the number of books they produce (and thus review) and the speed of the printing press compared to copying books by hand is overwhelming the system. This order will fail and the Church will have to use other means to stop these dangerous ideas from spreading. If that sounds ominous... it is. And in case anyone was wondering... Martin Luther is currently 20 years old and attending college at the University of Erfurt. Hang in there. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
We are seeing how the Gutenberg press is changing the course of history. When books were hand-copied and took months or years to complete, very few were produced. This imposed a practical self-censorship. You only copied books that others were guaranteed to buy such as religious works or scientific research. The printing press changed the strategy of book printing. It took a lot of effort to produce one page but very little effort to produce 99 pages just like it. Compared to modern printing, it was like a trickle in a rain storm but compared to hand-copying, it looked like Noah's Flood. Collecting them all required a lot more effort and there will always be a few they will miss. [9]

Rio de Janeiro (January's River) is not a River

Rio de Janeiro is located on what is Guanabara Bay in present day Brazil. The Portuguese explorer, Pedro Álvares Cabral, has led his ships west to find China, but finds Brazil instead. If you ever wanted to know why Brazilians speak Portuguese. Now you know. One of his supply ships wanders into the enormous bay but mistakes it as the mouth of a river. The day is the 1st of January so they name the river (which does not exist) Rio de Janeiro... January's River. In fact it is the second largest bay in that region, eclipsed by their previous discovery of All Saints Bay.[10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though the King of Portugal thinks that Christopher Columbus has not found China, he still thinks it is worth trying to find. He has already cut a deal with the Pope and thought he was shrewdly selling the Spaniards the rights to a few worthless islands in the Atlantic and kept his African routes and islands. But what he has given away is North America and Central America. This deal will become an albatross around his neck which keeps him from making claims on lands that are rich beyond anyone's reckoning... but Brazil is still a pretty good deal. [13] [14]

Thursday, January 15, 2015

History: The Year is 1501

I've uploaded year 1501 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Italian Slave Girls For Sale -- The Italian city of Capua falls and the women are rounded up and sold in Rome. I talk about slavery, indentured servitude and what Europeans thought of the moral problem of selling white slave girls in the heart of their religious city.

The Secret Treaty of Granada -- The Kingdom of Naples is split up between France and Spain in a secret deal. It reminds me of when France and England made a secret pact to split up the Ottoman Empire after World War One.

Why Sharia Law Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time -- The new Mamluk Sultan attempts to impose reform on the corrupt and brutal justice system by centralizing the courts and imposing Sharia Law. It doesn't work, but the point is that at the time Sharia law was the better option than what they were doing. I also talk about the brutal laws on the books of Christian law and Jewish law.

Italian Slave Girls For Sale

The Italian city of Capua (KYE-poo-ah) was once the city of princes but the centuries have lessened its significance. As the Second Italian War rages on, the city has fallen. The women are rounded up and taken to Rome to be sold as slaves. There is no word on what the Pope and Cardinals think of the morality of this sale but Popes of the past have accepted and given slaves as gifts. It was not a common occurrence because slavery didn't make much sense for the services that a Pope or Cardinal would find useful. It happened often enough, though. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Do I really have to say this? Why buy a slave girl when you can rent one by the hour? So to speak. These slave girls likely were not being used for what you think they were being used for. Secondly, indentured servitude made more sense than slavery since servant contracts are cheaper and the servant feels more-or-less responsible for working off his debt. Also, in those days, wives and children were used as collateral for business loans. They lived with the banker as hostages and performed manual labor. Finally, slavery today is seen as something happening to people of color but "Italian slave girls for sale" puts the lie to that assumption. People of the 1400s and 1500s had their likes and dislikes of appearance but it had nothing to do with an idea of superior or inferior races. That sort of thinking is a modern phenomenon.

The Secret Treaty of Granada

Italy is being turned upside down as the Second Italian War produces conquest after conquest for the French. France and Spain have secretly agreed to divide the Kingdom of Naples and Pope Alexander the 6th has blessed what is called the Treaty of Granada. It was created in 1500 but it is finally signed this year. What they don't realize is that the Kingdom of Naples is made up mostly of seasonally nomadic shepherds who pass between borders several times a year... which begs the question: who gets the taxes? It won't take long before this treaty breaks down and the fighting begins once more. [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This treaty reminds me of the Sykes-Picot (sykes PEE-co) Agreement where England and France secretly agreed to split up the Arab states between them after World War One and the Ottoman Empire fell. After that agreement was revealed, it caused the great distrust of the West that we see in the Middle East today. [5] [6]

Why Sharia Law Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Al-Ghawri didn't want the job. He was 60 years old and a former slave who had risen to a high position but when the current Sultan went missing, the amirs cast around for someone to take his place. Al-Ghawri knew that the Mamluk justice system needed serious reform. If you had enough money, a local amir could make justice happen for you. To any point of view this type of system is ripe for corruption. Al-Ghawri becomes Sultan and establishes central courts based on Sharia legal principles and bans all others. A power struggle erupts, and it is clear the amirs are not going to comply for several reasons, not least of which is that change will take away a major source of income. The Sultan will try again later but in the end he will fail. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, Sharia law seems unduly strict and brutal yet in the early days it was an improvement over the kind of corruption and brutality of medieval custom. For comparison, in 1501 Pope Alexander the 6th allowed slave girls to be sold in Rome and the Spanish Inquisition allowed torture and burning at the stake. It is obvious that Christian, Islamic and Jewish legal systems all have brutish laws on the books that modern religious people find uncomfortably embarrassing. Christians and Jews have found ways to circumvent those laws without abandoning their core principles. Islam must find a way to do the same and sell it to their laity. The modern day has no place for the brutish elements of a medieval law system. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1501, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

History: The Year is 1500

I've uploaded year 1500 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Century That Was -- A review of the last 100 years and comments of the death and destruction yet to come.

Cannons at Sea: The Second Battle of Lepanto -- I'm told that this is the first time that cannons are used in a sea battle but I found a reference that disproves that contention.

The Century That Was

Let's review the 15th century. We have transitioned from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and the beginnings of the Modern Age. The Great Vowel Shift moved English pronunciation higher up the throat. A German merchant league imposed quality control on fish packing and grew into a naval fighting force. Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks and became Istanbul. Dracula lived and hopefully died. Tamerlane felt misunderstood and then dropped dead. Good. The Great Western Schism split the Church. John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English so it was banned. The Hussites fended off Church forces, inventing mobile warfare and the wooden tank. The Church returned to an uneasy unity. The Chinese Starfleet went on a Grand Tour. The Gutenberg printing press made books affordable and the first modern patent system was established but too late for Gutenberg. Joan of Arc pushed France to victory and was put to the flames for her trouble. The Portuguese found a route to India around Africa and brought back slavery! The Blarney Stone was set into place. Volcanoes exploded. The Little Ice Age got colder, driving wolves into Paris. A shortage of silver and wool caused an economic depression called "The Great Slump". The first Tudor king took the throne. Witches were burned. Heretics died. The Spanish Inquisition was established and the Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal. Christopher Columbus discovered a route to the Americas but he thought that he had reached the East Indies. Thus he called the people "Indians". The word stuck. Other sticky words were Calico, Tangerine, Mocha, Sherry, Lackey and Bedlam. You can't hold a candle to that!
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's been a heck of a century and in another century the world will be completely different... again. The Black Death will continue to ravage Europe into the 16th century. A lot of Indians of the Americas will die of disease, unknown and unsung. Could we have stopped it even if we had known how disease was carried? Absolutely not. It would have meant finding the New World, immediately realizing that it was a new continent, realizing that the people there might catch germs from us and then selflessly shooting ourselves so that our friends in Europe would think we were lost at sea.... and every generation thereafter shooting themselves as they came across the Atlantic over and over again. Never in a million years would that have happened. And the Europeans will die as well, bringing syphilis from the New World along with potatoes and a blight that will destroy the Irish potato crop MOSTLY DUE TO MODERN (at the time) FARMING METHODS! A lot of Irish men and women who depend on those potatoes are going to die. The next century is going to be a heck of a ride and its just getting started.

Cannons at Sea: The Second Battle of Lepanto

"The Battle of Lepanto" [lih-PANT-o] that most people think about will be fought in 1571 when all of Christendom is saved but before that happens, several significant battles in the same area are fought in 1499 and 1500. They feature cannons at sea. The Ottomans strike at the Venetians in the Ionian Sea and overwhelm their forces. The battles result in yet another devastating loss for the Venetian Republic. Their commercial empire is being torn apart. With the French army at their doorstep in the 2nd Italian War, the Venetians have no choice but to capitulate to the Turks. In the next few years the Venetians will find the Ottoman cavalry on Italian shores. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In my research I found references to these battles as the first time that cannons are used at sea, yet, except for that simple statement, I was unable to find anything to verify that claim. However, I did find something to pass doubt on that claim. In historian Will Durant's book on the Renaissance, he notes that the Venetians used cannons at sea against their enemies, the Genoans, to great effect. The date? 1379. That is over 100 years before this battle. 'Nuf said.[8] [9]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1500, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1499

I've uploaded year 1499 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Swiss Independence and Opportunity -- The Swiss stop paying their taxes and the Swiss War begins. It also ends in Swiss independence. Now they are free to help France in that war in Italy.

The Second Italian War and the Motivational Power of Defeat -- The King of France thinks he is the King of Naples but Naples disagrees so he is going down there with his army to explain it to them. Along the way he is going to kick the backside of every Italian he sees. The Italians will learn from this defeat and in the long run France will get its own backside kicked.

Swiss Independence and Opportunity

The cantons of the Old Swiss Confederation, which will one day be called Switzerland, have refused to pay their taxes to the House of Hapsburg. Out come the pikes, the swords and the guns. The Swiss War is on. The Hapsburgs appeal to the Swabian League to put down this rebellion. Since the League's purpose is to bring stability to that region, it seems like a good idea. Unfortunately the charismatic leader of the League died a few years ago and no single leader has arisen yet amongst the city members. (For a modern reference, this would be like NATO without the USA to push the member states into action. It would be mushy, but mushy has its virtues.) The Swiss already have a reputation for disciplined and relentless fighting. Some people will surrender when they see them coming. They have won their independence from the Hapsburgs and are now free to pursue other interests... like selling their frighteningly efficient military services to the French in the 2nd Italian War... and to the Pope. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The actual name of this war depends on who you ask. Most people call it the Swabian War which is a reference to the Swabian League of Cities, a mutual defense treaty with a general goal of stability in the region called Swabia. (For orientation: It is a region in south Germany just north of Switzerland. Today Lake Constance on the Rhine is also known as "the Swabian Sea.") I prefer to call this conflict "The Swiss War" which is what most Germans called it. It was a mild insult. It's like calling all Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans and Panamanians just "Mexicans". As it turns out the name "Swiss" sticks and eventually the cantons of the Old Swiss Confederation will be called Switzerland although there won't be a unified government called Switzerland until the 1800s. It's complicated but there is a reason that Switzerland is often neutral ground in the modern era. [3]

The Second Italian War and the Motivational Power of Defeat

King Louis the 12th of France has made claim to the crown of the Kingdom of Naples in the south of Italy but the current King of Naples (a Spaniard) is resisting. Since King Louis must send an army through the northern Italian states and the Papal States he is making deals with the Pope and the powers of Europe to split up the Italian states. King Louis cuts a deal with Venice because Venice is distracted by a shootout at sea with the Ottomans. Milan and Genoa are being stubborn but the fix is in. Leonardo da Vinci escapes Milan as the French army moves on the city-state. At the head of the French army are Swiss mercenaries who have recently won their independence from the Hapsburgs. Italy will be chewed up once again but something will change for the Italians. They are being forced to change the way they fight and the lesson is being paid for in blood. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
For want of a nail the shoe was lost... -- part of a proverbial rhyme, well known in 1499.[6]
A small war in the Kingdom of Naples many years ago destabilized it enough to make it an attractive target to the French king. Thus began a cascade of defeats for the Italians called the 1st Italian War. In the 2nd Italian War, France continued to use those big cannons that take over 20 horses to drag around the countryside but the Italians and Spaniards learned something and began using smaller but easier to transport cannons with better wheels that take only 9 horses to drag around the countryside. Those cannons also fire three or four shots for every one of France's. The French were the winners in the short run but in the long run, the Italians and the Spaniards learn their lesson and the French do not. An embarrassing defeat in war spurs massive innovation and rock-hard determination. Had Hitler realized this in World War II he would have never tried to cow the British with the bombing of London (called the Blitz). Saint Paul's Cathedral stood there mocking Hitler and the British came back at him even harder. This same motivational power of defeat spurred the USA into innovation after the Vietnam War and changed the way the USA fights wars today. [7] [8]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1499, Wikipedia.

Monday, January 12, 2015

History: The Year is 1498

I've uploaded year 1498 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Portuguese Reach the REAL India -- Vasco makes the run from Liston to India in a little less than 11 months. His voyage will overturn the old thinking about how the trading routes to Europe work.

The First Italian War Ends with a Crack -- The King of France knocks his noggin on a door lintel  in his palace ending the war and placing his cousin on the throne. The new king will then accuse his wife of being deformed in order to get an annulment and marry Anne of Brittany.

Christopher Columbus's 3rd Voyage Goes Badly -- Columbus touches the coast of South America but he turns ill and heads for Hispaniola. The colony is in rebellion and he puts it down ruthlessly.

The Portuguese Reach the REAL India

The King of Portugal has chosen Vasco da Gama to sail to India to set up merchant connections and establish a colony. By the time Vasco rounds the African cape, his crew is dying of scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. The Portuguese know the cure is to eat citrus fruits so they have been planting trees along their coastal route but there are no Portuguese ports along the east coast of Africa yet. They stop for a month in Mozambique for repairs and to recover from illness. They offer gifts to the local sultan but the gifts are not well received. The Muslim merchants realize that some real competition has arrived. The sultan chases them out but by the time they reach Kenya, they find a pilot that can lead them to India. They had left Lisbon on July 8th, 1497 and arrive at Calicut, India on May 20th, 1498 which is just short of 11 months. With better coastal support they can shorten that trip considerably. In a few years, Mozambique will become a major Portuguese trading port just as the Muslim merchants feared. With this voyage, the Portuguese have turned the old land-route trading relationships on their heads, creating a new route to Europe and colonizing the coasts of Africa, India, China and the East Indies. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's difficult to know why Vasco da Gama was chosen for this voyage other than he distinguished himself in a recent battle. He seemed to lack the talent for negotiating trade deals though he managed it anyway. This may speak more to the entrepreneurial intuition of the merchants of India and the east African coast than to Vasco's persuasiveness. In any case, his journey will also open up the East Indies to the Americas. In the years to come, merchant sailors will realize that China is anxious for silver too. With this new route and some simple bookkeeping, these merchant sailors (sometimes known as pirates but let's not be crass) can deliver silver from the Americas into the hands of the Chinese. Their European masters will be none the wiser.

The First Italian War Ends with a Crack

King Charles the Affable of France is ugly and he knows it. He has a head too big for his body and as he walks through his palace, his massive noggin slams into a doorway lintel... ending his dreams of a Great Crusade at the age of 27. All of his children had died in infancy so without a male heir, he will be succeeded by his cousin, King Louis the 12th. King Louis will continue the fight in Naples for his claim to the throne there. He will be known as "The Father of the People." [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There was a controversy over the marriage between King Louis and Queen Joan. King Louis the 12th believed that marrying the late king's widow, Anne of Brittany, would bring him more political and strategic power so he asks the Pope for an annulment of his marriage to Queen Joan. Normally one needs a good reason for an annulment but the King has no grounds, so he claims that Queen Joan has a deformity that prevents him from... well... you know. Queen Joan brings witnesses to testify that the King boasted of mounting his wife three or four times a night. Normally Queen Joan would have won her case but due to the war in Naples, the Pope needed better relations with the King of France... so Joan got the boot. She received permission from the Pope to start a new religious order dedicated to the Virgin Mary and publicly committed herself to it. She was sainted by the Church in 1950. [8] [9]

Christopher Columbus's 3rd Voyage Goes Badly

Christopher Columbus sets off on his 3rd voyage to the New World. He will reach Trinidad and kiss the South American coast. He knows he has hit something big like a continent by observing the amounts of fresh water pouring from the rivers. Columbus is still convinced that he has reached the East Indies but his health has deteriorated so he turns his ships toward Hispaniola. By the time he gets there, the colonists are in rebellion. They have found no easy riches but only hard work. He hangs several of his crew and puts down the rebellion ruthlessly. When he returns to Spain, those who return with him will take him to court for his tyrannic rule. He and his brothers will be arrested and languish in jail for a few weeks until the King and Queen release them. Christopher Columbus will be relieved of his governorship, but Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand will finance one final voyage of Columbus. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Amerigo Vespucci set off before Columbus's 3rd voyage and was already exploring the coast of North America. (Some historians believe this data is shaky.) The Portuguese have already reached India going south and east. By the time the Portuguese reach China and the East Indies, no one will believe Columbus any more. Fortunately, for Columbus, will be dead by then. He caught a debilitating parasite from bad water that he drank at his poorly located Spanish colony on Hispaniola. He died as a rich man but a discredited one. [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1498, Wikipedia.