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.

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