Friday, February 27, 2015

History: The Year is 1529

I've uploaded year 1529 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Economics of Measles in Cuba and Honduras -- Measles is going to kill millions in the New World. I discuss the economic impact on the colonies, the decision to import African slaves and how the modern day panic over measles may be more economic than biological.

An Ottoman for Your Living Room -- The Ottoman Turks bring it to Vienna. They will also leave it at Vienna. Weather defeats them. I also talk about the furniture named after the Ottomans.

The Lutherans Become the Protestants -- The Emperor's brother reads the Lutherans the riot act. As a result, a protest is made by the Lutheran nobles Thereafter they will be called Protestants.

The Economics of Measles in Cuba and Honduras

Two thirds of all native Cubans and half of all Hondurans will be dead within the next 2 years as a measles epidemic sweeps through the New World. Loss of labor due to disease has become a serious monetary issue. Indians slaves are dying in massive numbers and so are European slaves. For example: 2,000 Jewish children were forced to work the fields in the New World. Less than 500 survived. A business cannot sustain 75% labor losses yearly when they are paying huge transportation costs just to get laborers into the fields. (FYI: I'm Jewish so I can make this calculation without being called a ... well... you know.) African slaves are even MORE expensive to bring to the New World but sickle cell anemia helps them to survive. Also many African slaves were exposed to childhood diseases like yellow fever. With crops in the field, it is biology as well as necessity that brings African slaves to the New World. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is odd to think of "yellow fever" as a childhood disease but usually African children are able to fight it off. Those who had insufficient immune systems died as babies and never passed on those genes. That process played out long ago in Africa. It's not the kind of "disease prevention program" I'd support, but the Indians experienced a similar process with the measles epidemic. Measles can spread like wildfire, and in the modern day if your kid catches it you can't take him to daycare. You'd cause a riot, so you must stay home with your child. If you take time off from work, measles becomes an economic issue as much as a biological one. [4]

An Ottoman for Your Living Room

Suleiman the Magnificent has proven to be an excellent tactician both in war and politics but he will make all the wrong moves at the Siege of Vienna. It began when the Ottomans finally took Belgrade which is the same strategic point that Attila the Hun held in 441. With southern Hungry in Ottoman hands, the Holy Roman Emperor claims the Hungarian throne so Suleiman slogs through the spring mud and pushes him back to Vienna. Nothing brings unity like a common enemy, especially when that enemy is a proven threat. Austria, Hungry and Bohemia unite to fend off the Ottomans, but what really defeats the Ottomans is the weather. The spring rains force him to leave his heavy siege cannons behind and with winter setting in he can't wait out the city defenders. A united Austria-Hungry will remain until 1918 when it will be broken up along with the Ottoman Empire. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
These Muslim warriors both frightened and fascinated Christians. The Turks were using a backless seat as part of their furniture. It was a style that Christians borrowed. They named this low seat an "ottoman" and the word stuck. People will have ottomans in their homes into the modern day.[9]

The Lutherans Become the Protestants

The Holy Roman Emperor is under pressure from the Ottoman Turks so the last thing he needs is the Lutherans giving him a hard time so a new Diet is formed at Speyer to square things up. Unfortunately, his brother didn't get the memo. The Emperor's brother, Ferdinand, reads them the riot act. In turn the "Lutheran princes" (that is... the nobles who support Martin Luther) write out their protest against such heavy-handed treatment. Thereafter they will be called the "Protestants" since they protested these edicts. The word will also apply to anyone who objects to the Catholic Church and is willing to break away from its hierarchy. [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Protestants are also protesting against each other. As in the case of the Anabaptists, division amongst the Protestants seems to be a defining characteristic of the overall movement. That is not a criticism, but an observation. Reform within the Catholic Church in the 1500s was not possible since anyone who really wanted reform had already left. Within Judaism, this chaos and division did not occur until the 1800s for reasons I'll explain when we get there. For the year 1529, this chaos is all Christian. It's going to get better... but not before it gets much worse.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1529, Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

History: The Year is 1528

I've uploaded year 1528 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Spaniards Call Galveston, Texas "The Island of Doom" -- A doomed expedition washes up on the shores of Galveston. I talk about storm preparedness and helping one's neighbors.

Plague and another round of Sweating Sickness Hits England -- Disease and death is a part of life in the 1500s.

Henan, China is Starving to Death due to Bad Insurance -- The Chinese cut back on their emergency food reserves and now they are paying the price. I talk about insurance: when it makes sense and when it doesn't.

The Spaniards Call Galveston, Texas "The Island of Doom"

80 Spaniards wash up on the shores of Galveston Island on makeshift rafts. Their ships had sunk in an earlier storm and the commander of the expedition has gone to the bottom leaving his second in command, Álvar Núñez to carry on. Núñez names Galveston "The Island of Doom." Winter is coming and the Indians welcome them but after the Indians come down with a terrible bowel disease, the Spaniards are left out in the cold. By next spring, only 15 men from the expedition will be left alive. Núñez will take his men overland to find Mexico but they will wander, sometimes being captured and enslaved by the Indians. They won't see another Spaniard until 1536. By then only four men will be left: two low-level noblemen (called hidalgos), an African slave, and Núñez himself. Despite his struggles with the Indians, Núñez will oppose enslaving the Indians probably because he understood slavery, having been a slave himself. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Galveston and Pelican Islands take the brunt of many storms. In 1900, a category 4 hurricane struck Galveston. Without satellites and Doppler radar to warn the residents, 6,000 to 12,000 people were killed though they didn't die all at once. Disease claimed many who had insufficient shelter, food and water. With more warning, they could have evacuated sooner. In 2008, Hurricane Ike did extensive damage to Galveston, Houston and surrounding areas but the death toll was less than 90. Texas was prepared and Austin, was one of the designated evacuation centers. As part of the ROTC program, my son spent a lot of time organizing those refugees. He didn't understand why officials gave him an award for that work, but you have to accept those things as they come along. It encourages the others. [5] [6]

Plague and another round of Sweating Sickness Hits England

The Plague hasn't gone away. Europe is in the midst of the Second Pandemic but no one is calling it that. Plague is simply in the background. Nuremberg, Germany will lose a thousand souls in an average year... mostly children. In England the 4th epidemic of the Sweating Sickness has begun. It spreads rapidly and makes the jump to Hamburg. More than a thousand people die within a few weeks. It moves from place to place, spending a couple of weeks at a time and then moves on. There is no cure but death.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Medical historians suspect Sweating Sickness may have been a different form of the Hanta virus. It burns itself out by the mid-1500s. It must have mutated into something less virulent and destructive but there were plenty of other diseases they had to worry about in the 1500s. [7] [8] [9]

Henan, China is Starving to Death due to Bad Insurance

Last year the Chinese decided to cut back on their food reserves in order to save money. That decision is killing them now. The Provence of Henan is experiencing drought and will continue to do so. Starvation and cannibalism will follow. This is what the food reserves were meant for. People will die because their "food insurance" had no backing in real reserves. [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Food and fuel reserves are there for a reason. It is like insurance. Sure it costs money. Sure you'd have more in your pocket if you didn't have to pay for something you aren't really using, but when you need insurance... you really need it. Some insurance seems useless, though. My friend took out damage insurance for his phone since he is mechanic. One day he closed the hood of a car and heard the crunch of his phone going bye-bye. His insurance has a large deductible and after calling around he found that it would have been cheaper to pay a guy directly to fix his phone. That's the problem with insurance. Insurance that is at a low enough price to feel comfortable is probably not good enough to help you when you really need it.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1528, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

History: The Year is 1527

I've uploaded year 1527 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Sack of Rome -- The Swiss Guard go down hard in a holding action to give the Pope time to escape the Imperial Stormtroopers! (Obewan! You're my only hope!) All respect goes to the Swiss Guard. They still remember that one.

King Henry the 8th Wants a Divorce -- Yeah. The old lady is all played out so the King wants to trade her in on a new model... a couple of new models... maybe three.

In a Word: Eavesdropper -- That drip, drip, drip is the sound of moisture from the roof and becomes associated with "drips" hanging around the window.

The Sack of Rome

Imperial troops of the Holy Roman Emperor head for Rome to express his displeasure with Pope Clement the 7th. To be fair... the Pope has been about as reliable as a politician after election season. He has just switched sides again, and frankly, the troops have missed too many paychecks so when they get to Rome they take their pay out of the Pope's hide. 147 of the Swiss Guard go down hard on the steps of Saint Peter's Basilica in a delaying action to allow the Pope to escape to the Castle of the Holy Angel. The Pope ransoms his freedom for 400,000 ducats (about $53 million in February 2015 money). For perspective, Venice bought the entire city of Zadar, Croatia for 100,000 ducats in 1409. Thereafter, the Pope is careful not to make the Emperor upset. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Sack of Rome was out of proportion to any offense of the Pope. Granted, the Pope was being bad, but that doesn't explain all the destruction. The troops were using churches as horse barns. That kind of disrespect can only be explained by a general discontent with the Church at the lay-level. Some historians mark this event as the beginning of Church reform, but frankly, the Church will find justification for "business as usual" even after this debacle. The only Church officials that are reforming are the ones going Lutheran. The Catholic establishment is hunkering down.

King Henry the 8th Wants a Divorce

King Henry the 8th of England has been having a reasonably secret affair with Elizabeth Blount and maybe Mary Boleyn, the sister of Ann Boleyn. The King is currently married to Catherine of Aragon, so he sends an envoy to Pope Clement the 7th in Rome to get an annulment. However, by the time the envoy gets there, Rome has been sacked and the Pope is holed up in the Castle of the Holy Angel... leaving the Pope at a disadvantage. This allows King Henry to lean fairly hard on the Pope. The King's argument is that his wife is too closely related to himself (which is true) and that she is too old to produce children. (She is around 42 years old at this point.) It will take a few years but eventually the marriage will be annulled. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Hmmm... King Henry was hot to marry Catherine in the first place, but she became focused on reading and religious study. While the King liked reading, he also liked sex and apparently he wasn't getting any at home so he was often "gone to Jericho," a cottage in Essex that he leased from the local priory. (Wink, wink.) He believed that affairs with married women made more sense so as to cover up any pregnancies. That may be why he arranged a marriage for Mary Boleyn with an understanding fellow at court. He eventually pursued Mary's sister, Anne Boleyn and married her. These sort of shenanigans were tolerated as long as it was kept out of public, but when the King started divorcing and beheading wives, it became intolerable and very disruptive to the government. [8] [9]

In a Word: Eavesdropper

That "drip, drip, drip" is the sound of moisture from the roof falling from the eves and becomes associated with "drips" hanging around the window. People would share the latest gossip or hear conversation at the window so they began to be called eavesdroppers at this time. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Japanese have a similar idea of "listening at the gate". The Kanji symbol for eavesdropping is a picture of two gate doors and an ear in the center. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1527, Wikipedia.

Monday, February 23, 2015

History: The Year is 1526

I've uploaded year 1526 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Tyndale Bible -- The English translation is a big hit... in Germany. William Tyndale's translation will be carried to England and eventually become the basis for the Authorized Version. Of course, if they catch him, they will kill him. They will catch him in a few years.

The Beretta Weapons Factory ... A Family Business Since 1526 -- Yep. THAT Beretta. He sells muskets to the military for about $200 each. I talk about the problem with inflation and getting caught on the wrong end of a contract.

Solving Cubic Equations Is a Secret! -- A math professor finds a general solution to solving cubic equations... and keeps it a secret! Why? Because in those days it was NOT "publish or perish". It was "show everyone that you can do something that they can't!" It's job security.

The Tyndale Bible

With only seven printing presses in London, it is impossible to get anything controversial past the authorities, so William Tyndale takes a boat to Hamburg, Germany and drops out of sight. Martin Luther's German translation has been filtering into England, but Tyndale thinks an English translation from the original is needed. German presses publish his translation of the New Testament and it's a best seller. Tyndale's translation will eventually become the Authorized Version as he works on the rest of the Bible with additions from Bishop Coverdale. Tyndale is risking his life so he is watching his steps. It will be another 9 or 10 years before they catch him and when they do, he will be strangled to death at the stake and his body burned. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Tyndale had a wicked sense of humor but his puns won't make sense to the modern reader without context. He also has a smooth rhythmic writing style that does not come through to the modern reader but it made his translations very easy to read. To give you a sense of his style, I've selected Matthew 5:29-30, but as you read it, think of what someone might do if they took it literally. Here we go...
Wherefore if thy right eye offend thee, pluck him out, and cast him from thee. Better it is for thee that one of thy members perish than that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Also if thy right hand offend thee, cut him off and cast him from thee. Better it is that one of thy members perish, than that all thy body should, be cast into hell. [3]

The Beretta Weapons Factory ... A Family Business Since 1526

Weapons master Bartolomeo Beretta sells 185 arqebuses (ARK-keh-buses) to the Venetian military for 296 ducats (a little over $200 per firearm). The war business runs hot and cold, but it never seems to run out. The family business will be passed down from father to son until the modern day when the sons will go childless leaving the succession in doubt. Ugo Gussalli will marry one of the Beretta daughters and take on the Beretta name. The family name will live on. Beretta's original bill of sale from 1526 will remain in the family's archives into the modern day. [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
An arquebus is a primitive muzzle-loading musket that will likely burn you as blind you when you fire one. $200 many seem cheap for a military-grade weapon, but the value of the gold content of a ducat varied due to market conditions. In the 1500s there was a severe shortage of gold so the value of gold shot up. When gold and silver were discovered in America, it had a warping effect on the European and Chinese economies, driving the price of gold down but with existing contracts remaining the same. It's like when you take out a mortgage at a static interest rate. Inflation makes your money worth less for buying food and fuel BUT your mortgage payment remains the same. During the days of Jimmy Carter, inflation was so bad that people were paying off their mortgages with worthless dollars. That was when variable interest rates came into being.

Solving Cubic Equations Is a Secret!

It is not known exactly when the mathematician, Scipione del Ferro (ship-pee-OWN-ay del FAIR-oh) solved the problem of cubic equations mathematically. He found a general solution but doesn't know it because negative numbers haven't been invented yet. Nevertheless he almost takes his formula to the grave. The mathematician is a lecturer at the University of Bologna, and he dies this year after he hands over his secret formula to a student. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The secret formula is... ahhhhhhhhhhh! Just kidding. The formula is x3 + mx = n. Why is this such a secret? His father was a printer. Why didn't he publish his finding! Well... in those days mathematicians tended to challenge one another to solve difficult math problems. If you lost, then you often lost all credibility with your students and thus lost your job. Being a student was a pay-as-you-go proposition and if they wouldn't pay then OFF YOU GO! (The professor goes.) These math challenges are career busters so having a card up the sleeve, so to speak, made sense at the time. In the modern day it is "publish or perish" for college professors.[10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1526, Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1525

I've uploaded year 1525 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Sheep Among Wolves: The Anabaptist Movement is Born -- Martin Luther is not the only one seeking reform. The Christians that will one day become the Mennonites and Amish have their beginnings now. I also talk about how our co-religionists can embarrass us at times.

The Straightedge and Protractor -- A great artist publishes the first applied mathematics book, and becomes a favorite artist of the Nazis.

In a Word: Spatula -- Simply... this word came into use this year.

Sheep Among Wolves: The Anabaptist Movement is Born

Some people people think that Martin Luther hasn't gone far enough so they have convinced the German peasants to start a war. The peasants think they are following Martin Luther, but he opposes the German Peasants' War and rejects its leaders. But there is a third group who believe in reform but won't join the war and won't follow Martin Luther either. They believe that True Christians should be like sheep living amongst wolves, tried in fire, refusing to kill and that Christians should be re-baptized with understanding rather than as infants. Their enemies call them Anabaptists... those who baptize AGAIN. They believe they are baptizing the FIRST time. In the modern day these Christians will be called Mennonites and the Amish. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Amish seem locked in the 18th century. They don't use tractors or automobiles and they don't join wars. Jews have similar sects although they will use modern devices. They wear those wide-rimmed black hats and look like the Amish. It brings to mind that old saying, "I don't care what religion you belong to as long as you are embarrassed by it." I am occasionally embarrassed by my fellow Jews, but they are still my fellows. I once asked a Christian woman if she was ever embarrassed by the Amish, she was utterly unaware that the Amish are Christians and I don't think she believed me when I explained that they were. It seems odd to me that Christians handle disagreements with their fellow Christians by dismissing them as Christians. [5]

The Straightedge and Protractor

The first book on applied mathematics is published this year. Albrecht Dürer [DYOO-rer] is an artist convinced that perspective should be precise. He demonstrates in his book, "Instructions on Measurement" how to use the straight edge and protractor to produce more realistic images in 2 dimensions but also provides the mathematical proofs for why this should work. Over time he will not only influence artists, but cartographers as well, and will make possible the Mercator Projection map in later years. He won't see it happen though. In a couple of years he will die of fever ... one of the richest men in Nuremberg. [6] [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Albrecht Dürer was fascinated with the art and treasure from the New World that Hernando Cortéz was sending to Europe. He was also a supporter of Martin Luther. In modern times his art became a favorite of the Nazis. His engraving, Knight, Death and the Devil, was presented to Adolf Hitler. It depicts a knight riding through a grim world with Death and the Devil close at hand. While the Hitler's supporters saw the German knight as an heroic Hitler, no doubt Hitler's enemies thought Death and the Devil close to Hitler had an entirely different meaning. [10]

In a Word: Spatula

The word "spatula" comes into use in England. It literally means "little broadsword" but it actually refers to a broad flat piece of wood used for stirring or as splints. The word is also related to "spade" as in "shovel". [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I love that Weird Al Yankovic fake commercial called "Spatula City," a store that sells only spatulas.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1525, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1524

I've uploaded year 1524 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Trading, Usury and the Reverse Mortgage -- The Church is running a "Reverse Mortgage" scheme that is unseemly to Martin Luther. He talks about many abuses by merchants and government in general. I also talk about Jews in the banking industry. (I'm Jewish, BTW.)

The German Peasants War and the Golden Ass -- The peasants are in an uproar and a priest has suggested that they kill all the princes and redistribute their wealth! He wants to rebuild society to the model of the novel "The Golden Ass". This preacher will be the ass in this drama though.

Granada, Nicaragua... the Oldest City on the Mainland -- They have the documentation to prove it. Nuf said.

Trading, Usury and the Reverse Mortgage

Martin Luther points out that the government will hang a man for stealing half a guilder (about a dollar in 2015 money) but allow merchants to steal thousands... legally. Also the Church had been accepting donations of property BEFORE A MAN DIES and charging him "rent" to live in his former home. This is a legal fiction that allows the Church to sell "Reverse Mortgages," or annuities. Martin Luther thinks this is unseemly... a violation of the spirit of the law and a conflict of interest for the Church, so to speak... like having a starving man guarding a grocery store. He has a lot to say on the subject of charity, loans and legal issues related to trade and one cannot do justice to it all in a single paragraph. A link to the entire sermon can be found below. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Check with your local religious authority before you act on anything I have to say on this subject. As I read Martin Luther's complaint about loans, he is using the biblical definition of a loan... that is... loans as a form of charity. For example, if your friend asks you for 50 bucks until payday, you loan him the 50 bucks BUT DON'T CHARGE HIM INTEREST. The same goes if he needs money for medicine so that he can go back to work. Free-loan societies exist today for this purpose. There is one in Dallas, Texas. I still have to pay the interest on my mortgage and credit card because I owe the money to a corporation... not a person per se. [6] Additional Information (optional): Jews dominated banking because it was viewed as an unseemly occupation for Christians. As loans became a critical part of business and government finance, especially during war, Jews worked as special agents for the government, big business... and acted as intelligence agents. Some suggest that Jews such as the Rothschild family of 1700s were conspiring to enrich themselves, playing both sides against the middle. In the short-term, yes they were. In a conspiracy spanning 200 years? Occam's razor says no.

The German Peasants War and the Golden Ass

The peasants are dissatisfied with their lives. The Diet that tried to bring Martin Luther to heel is now shaking it its collective boots. Even the sister of the Emperor is taking Holy Communion through a Lutheran priest. The clergy are the stabilizing force in Germany and with this split in the Church, public order is breaking down. Thomas Miinzer calls for death to the godless by the sword! "Godless" meaning anyone who is not following him. What he describes as a perfect society sounds like communism. They will take from the the princes and equally distribute their wealth and if the princes don't agree, they will be hanged. Martin Luther is getting a lot of help from those "princes," though... and not just cynical help. Luther has Miinzer expelled. And then a massive hailstorm hits and kills the crops in the south. That does it. Southern Germany is up in arms. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Thomas Miinzer calls his army the "Barefoot Friars." Their call is "Forward! Forward while the fire is hot! Let your swords be ever warm with blood!" Oddly... and forgive me because I don't quite get the connection but he wants to set up a society that resembles the novel "The Golden Ass" which is a love story but in particular a magician tries to turn himself into a bird but instead turns himself into an ass and finally finds salvation through the goddess Isis. Miinzer will be the "ass" in this story, though. By the end of this war, 100,000 German peasants will be dead to no good end. [8] [9]

Granada, Nicaragua... the Oldest City on the Mainland

The oldest city on the mainland was established this year in what is modern day Nicaragua along the coast of Lake Nicaragua . Francisco Hernández de Córdoba names the city Granada, after the city in Spain that was taken from the Moors in 1492 and it maintains a Moorish appearance. The official money is named the córdoba in his honor. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Not much to say except that despite claims by others cities, Granada was officially registered earliest in Castile and Aragon which are present day Spain.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1524, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1523

I've uploaded year 1523 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Nuns in a Barrel ... Risking Everything for Reform -- Martin Luther will find his wife and the first martyrs for the Reformation will be burned at the stake.

The Chinese Get Portuguese Cannons -- The market relationship between the Chinese and Portuguese will be a love-hate relationship.

The End of the Kalmar Union -- A new Swedish King will take the throne and in less than a century they will produce one of the greatest generals of all time.

Nuns in a Barrel ... Risking Everything for Reform

Martin Luther is now getting requests. He receives a letter telling him how much they agree with his call for reform and asking for help with a special problem. He calls on a friend who is a city councilman and merchant who makes regular deliveries to the local convent. As the merchant pulls away from the convent, his wagon holds 13 barrels, each of which weigh about the same as a nun and smelling like herring. One of those nuns is named Katharina von Bora and she will one day become the wife of Martin Luther. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is obvious that the people are ripe for the message of Reform. Things don't fall apart this fast in a world where communication is limited to letters and pamphlets sent by wagon down muddy roads to towns with a literacy rate so low it would make the average modern high school drop out seem like a tireless scholar. Yet... there are people willing to carry a message they consider more important than their mortal lives. This year Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes will become the first to be burned at the stake for becoming adherents of the Reformation. Martin Luther will write a hymn to these martyrs entitled, "A New Song Shall Now Be Begun." [2]

The Chinese Get Portuguese Cannons

The Chia-ching Emperor of China receives multiple breech-loading culverins as a gift. It's not clear who exactly is giving this gift, but a culverin is a type of cannon, from the smallest portable cannon weighing about 80 pounds to massive brutes on ships. These cannons are Portuguese in make, and the Emperor is delighted. His engineers will copy this design and in the years to come they will buy Portuguese arquebuses [ARK-keh-buses]. The Portuguese are competitors with the Chinese in the market place but there are some goods that the Chinese must have and they will get them from Portuguese. [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is going to be a love-hate relationship. The Chinese want the Portuguese goods and the Portuguese want Chinese goods, yet the Chinese just won't be able to stop themselves from placing restrictions on trade even to the extent of building separate market places and using price controls. It won't work but they will do it over and over again, in some cases even leading to armed conflict with the Portuguese. [5]

The End of the Kalmar Union

Remember the Stockholm Bloodbath? King Christian the 2nd of Denmark invited the Swedish rebels to work things out and he worked it out by killing them or imprisoning them. Well... the chickens have come home to roost. The son of one of the rebels has taken the throne of Sweden and he's going to keep it for a good long time. King Christian had acted in bad faith and now he has lost a critical member of Kalmar Union. There is no Union now. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The new King of Sweden is Gustav the 1st of the House of Vasa. The House of Vasa will be around for a very long time and will produce Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, a critical leader in the 30 Years' War of the next century... perhaps one of the greatest generals of all time. [7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1523, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1522

I've uploaded year 1522 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Luther Bible New Testament -- The New Testament translation from Martin Luther in the new High German. He is right to do so even if the Catholic Church was doing everything else correctly. I talk about the need for regular translations or learning how to translate yourself.

The Headhunting Hospitallers and Tax Incentives -- The Knights of St. John have hired away an engineer to help them fortify Rhodes. In the end they lose to the Turks and the Turks allow them to leave but offer tax incentives for the natives to remain.

The Poor Barons' Revolt and the Problem with Change -- Society is changing its behavior and this has caused a problem for the barons who have no way to tax people who aren't doing what they used to do.

The Luther Bible New Testament

The New Testament portion of the Luther Bible is published this year. It is a translation into the new High German directly from the Hellenistic Greek. Thousands of copies are printed and distributed within weeks due to the printing press that has spread primarily through what is modern day Germany. This translation will contribute to the normalization of High German into it's modern form just as the popularity of Dante's Inferno prompted the standardization of modern Italian. Martin Luther had disappeared for a year but he has come back with a vengeance. He believes that the Latin translation of the Bible (Saint Jerome's Bible) has been influenced by Church doctrine so a fresh translation is needed. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Every Bible translation is influenced by the current understanding of religious doctrine in order to make it comprehensible to the reader. That is why Martin Luther's translation was needed in the 1500s. Even if you trust that the official Church was as careful and honest as possible in 1522, the Latin translation was over a thousand years old by that time. Translations are required from the original every few decades as the understanding of words change. The alternative is translating them yourself. I'd recommend that as best practice. Using a concordance is a reasonable compromise. Even if you trust your clergy's understanding of the Bible, having this skill keeps the clergy on their toes so that they will remain trustworthy. Or as the old Russian proverb goes... "Trust but verify!" FYI: Ronald Reagan is famous for using the same proverb when negotiating with the Soviet Union.[4]

The Headhunting Hospitallers and Tax Incentives

The engineer Gabriel Martinengo is lured away from his current job for better pay with the Hospitallers (The Knights of St. John) in order to build up the defenses of Rhodes. Rhodes is an island off the coast of present day Turkey and has become a thorn in the side of the Ottoman Turks but after the penetration of the impenetrable walls of Constantinople, the Knights have rethought their defenses. Bastions are star-like structures whose walls present themselves at an angle to siege-cannon fire. (Think of the Pentagon that did not collapse even though a plane flew into it.) Bastions also eliminate dead zones where sappers can hide to undermine defensive walls. Gabriel has many good ideas for defense and he is so impressed by the Knights that he joins their order. Unfortunately his fortifications won't be enough. Rhodes will fall by the end of the year and the Turks will allow the Knights to sail to Crete with their weapons and banners. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As always with these history segments, official dates will vary depending on the Julian or Gregorian calendar so I tend to use vague terms like "end of the year". The Hospitallers refused to give up earlier in the year mostly because they had killed so many Turks that they could not believe that the Turks would let the Knights go unmolested. In the end, starvation forced the Knights to accept terms and the Turks kept their word. Several thousand natives from the island went with the Knights even though the Turks had suspended taxes on the island for 5 years. Apparently tax incentives were in use even then.

The Poor Barons' Revolt and the Problem with Change

Martin Luther has really tipped over the tea table. The lesser nobles, knights and poorer barons have taken up his cause for various reasons. To be fair, some of them are willing to put their lives on the line. Others... not so much but the upshot is the same. They believe that the Catholic Church in combination with the Holy Roman Emperor are taking advantage of them and the peasantry. The knights foment rebellion and encourage the peasants to rise up and claim their rights. While the peasants certainly could use the help, they distrust the knights almost as much as they distrust the Emperor. The Poor Barons' Revolt will fail but it will set the stage for the German Peasants' War in 1524. It will be a bloody encounter. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is an underlying problem here that cannot be fixed by religion or civil rights. Society has been changing it's structure, moving toward city living, semi-industrial jobs like weaving and less farming. New star-like fortifications called bastions surround the cities, making siege warfare preferable over a direct attack. Knights are no longer needed. Since the tax system in Germany is a muddle there are only limited ways for the lesser nobles to make money. This is the same problem that many modern governments face as the behavior of its citizenship changes. For example, the roads are maintained with a gas tax but as the people buy more fuel efficient cars, or even electric cars, the road maintenance funds are starved out... all because old laws aren't flexible enough to change as people and technology change and government is not sensible enough to plan further ahead than the next election. Bridges collapse, potholes grow like tribbles and we muddle along.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1522, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

History: The Year is 1521

I've uploaded year 1521 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Aztecs: The Fall of Tenochtitlan -- Cortez returns to take down the Aztecs. Due to disease and multiple changes in leadership, they are easy pickings. Cortez will make the Aztec Emperor's daughter pregnant.

Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms -- Martin Luther is called to defend his 95 Theses. His speech is short and not too sweet. He then drops out of sight for a year.

Magellan Reaches the Known World and Dies -- Magellan is killed in the Philippines and out of the 265 men that began the journey, 18 men return to port next year.

Aztecs: The Fall of Tenochtitlan

The Aztecs have known from the first that Hernando Cortés and the Conquistadors are not gods. Inviting them into the city of Tenochtitlan (teh-nosh-TIT-lahn) was a ruse to size them up but Cortés took Emperor Montezuma hostage which angered the Aztecs. The Emperor died as the Conquistadors escaped the city. The Emperor was replaced by his younger brother but he died of small pox so he was replaced by a cousin, Emperor Descending Eagle. These rapid changes cause chaos in the chain of command. The Aztecs cannot work it out before Cortés returns with over 2,000 Conquistadors at his back. Tenochtitlan falls and Emperor Descending Eagle is captured. The Emperor makes Cortés promise to protect his family. Cortés will arrange a marriage between the Emperor's 12-year-old daughter, Isabel (a Christianized name), and a Conquistador. She is already a two-time widow and she will have several marriages before she becomes pregnant at the age of 17. Cortés will be the father. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Warning: all reports on Cortés should be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to think of him as the biggest butthead on the planet, I won't try to dissuade you. He has some determined enemies including his own wife, Catalina. (It's a long story.) By next year she will be dead. It really smells but he will walk away unscathed. He will send several Aztecs back to Europe to expose the Old World to New World culture including the wonders of a rubber ball and a game that looks like a combination of soccer and basketball. Cortés will introduce cattle ranching to the Americas, and slavery to the North American continent. Had he focused on developing his lands, he might have done better with what he had but like Christopher Columbus, he will neglect his administrative duties to seek adventure.

Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms

Martin Luther is called to Worms to defend his 95 Theses. Pope Leo the 10th has already excommunicated him and issued an opinion that the 95 Theses contain 44 errors. Martin Luther shows up, and defies the Holy Roman Emperor by refusing to recant his alleged heresies. The speech he gives to the Diet is short and to the point. In summary: he is willing to set his own books to the flames if anyone, great or small, can demonstrate through the words of the New Testament or the Prophets where he is wrong. Usually such defiance is a guaranteed trip to the horizontal barbeque (burning at the stake), but Martin Luther has convinced some powerful princes and they manage to protect him for now. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A link to Martin Luther's speech can be found below. The last time a prominent person had been called up to defend his alleged heresies was John Wycliffe who died of a heart attack in 1384 before he could make travel arrangements to Rome and Jan Hus who had been guaranteed safe passage, but was burned at the stake anyway in 1415. A terrible war ensued that lasted for years and ended more from exhaustion than anything else. Nothing really changed. The Church has kicked the can down the road one too many times. Martin Luther has put his foot down but make no mistake... the strongest man knows to step aside as a bull comes charging at him. Martin Luther will drop out of sight for a year.[6]

Magellan Reaches the Known World and Dies

Ferdinand Magellan has attempted the circumnavigation of the world by going south around South America into the Pacific Ocean. This year he has found Guam, and the Philippines. He befriends and converts a number of the natives to Christianity, and in the midst of a minor war between tribes, Magellan is stabbed to death. His officers will continue the journey to Spain, coming full circle.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Out of the 237 men who began this journey in 1519 only 18 men will return to port in 1522. Juan Sebastián Elcano will bring the Victoria home with a load of spices. This is not an ideal route to the Philippines but now they know it can be done. They keep missing Australia though.[7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1521, Wikipedia.

Monday, February 16, 2015

History: The Year is 1520

I've uploaded year 1520 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Stockholm Bloodbath or Why Killing Off the Rebel Leadership Hardly Ever Works -- King Christian the 2nd acts in bad faith and sets himself up for the fall of the Union. I also talk about leaderless organizations like Al-Qaeda.

The Revolt of the Communities of Castile -- This is a fairly common revolt against the nobility but juxtaposed with the Stockholm Bloodbath, it is a lesson in what is allowed in war and what is not.

On the Freedom of a Christian -- Martin Luther is excommunicated and the printing business for his pamphlets is soaring. I also talk about how government rhetoric sounds a lot like a pulpit haranguing at times.

The Stockholm Bloodbath or Why Killing Off the Rebel Leadership Hardly Ever Works

King Christian the 2nd of Denmark has finally succeeded in putting down the Swedish rebellion. The King invites the rebel leadership to his palace to work things out, but this is the third time he has had to fight these rebels so he must have been thinking, "If I cut off the head of the snake then the body will die," Instead of negotiating, he has them all imprisoned or beheaded... including several bishops. What the King doesn't realize is that by acting in bad faith he has sown the seeds of destruction for his union of Scandinavian kingdoms. The sons of these rebels are still alive and they will remember this day. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Not all organizations have leaders who give orders. A good example is the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda. Whenever the #1 or #2 Al-Qaeda leader is killed does it EVER stop the organization? No. It's like the police breaking into a meeting of the self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous and shouting, "Who's in charge here?" All the police will hear is laughter because NO ONE IS IN CHARGE, yet here in Austin, Texas there are over 425 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every single week. If you can't understand how that can happen without a leader then you can't begin to understand how Al-Qaeda is organized. I suggest reading the book "The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations" by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. I've provided a link below to a video lecture from one of the authors explaining how it works.[3] [4] [5]

The Revolt of the Communities of Castile

The communities of Castile have been uncomfortable with the King of Spain, Charles the 5th, because, frankly, he had been raised in Flanders, and when he took the throne he brought his friends and advisors from Flanders with him. The rule under his mother, Joanna the Mad, had been chaotic and with the death of her father, Ferdinand the 2nd of Aragon, the people felt like they were being ruled by a foreigner. When King Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor, he moved to Germany, thus making him an ABSENT foreign ruler. Riots ensued and to add oil to this fire, they chose Joanna the Mad to rule them all. By next year the rebellion will turn against the landed nobles and the rebel leaders will be executed after the Battle of Villalar [VEE-yah-lar]. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This same year, during the Bloodbath of Stockholm, King Christian the 2nd of Denmark had the leaders of the Swedish rebellion imprisoned and beheaded, so what is the difference? The difference is that the Castillian rebellion was a straight up battle. The rebels lost and naturally the leaders lost their heads. This was expected, if gruesome. King Christian had invited the Swedish rebel leaders with the implied promise of protection during negotiations. The King negotiated in bad faith and thus, his subjects found a good reason to be faithless in return.

On the Freedom of a Christian

The Rev. Father Martin Luther is excommunicated this year after writing three scathing rebukes of the Catholic Church and Pope Leo in particular. All of these are in print and making the rounds in public. This third pamphlet contends that a Christian is both a free lord and a dutiful servant. Thus Christians are no longer COMPELLED to follow God's law but FREELY do so. To explain what he means takes many words so follow the link below and read the full text but one point he is making is that one is not saved by works alone. Thus compelling someone to perform a ritual to rid one of sin without first repenting in one's heart negates the ritual. In other words... sprinkling a little holy water on an evil person does not make him holy. Accepting money as if it were a sin sacrifice at the Temple does not absolve one of sin without the corresponding change of heart. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
While Martin Luther implies that the state has no business in the conscience of the individual in his faith in God, people will continue to think of the state as the embodiment of God's will right into the 20th century and beyond. Even with the modern secular state, if you substitute "God" for "government," the rhetoric sounds like the preachings from any pulpit... help the poor, the sick and the hungry. You are a steward of the earth, the waters, the plants and the animals. Nag, nag, nag. I'll take that from God, but not from government.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1520, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 13, 2015

History: The Year is 1519

I've uploaded year 1519 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

"Follow the flagship, and ask no questions!" The Magellan World Tour -- Magellan and the King of Portugal are fighting so at the last minute he takes his idea to the King of Spain and Magellan launches his circumnavigation of the globe.

Cortés Scuttles His Ships and Jump-starts His Career -- The Aztecs are going to get one in the shorts but not before Cortés sinks most of his ships... not burns... sinks. I also talk about the similarity in logic between God's will, survival of the fittest and Manifest Destiny.

The Need for Gun Safety Lessons Has Just Become Apparent -- This marks the first recorded accidental death by firearm. I provide a link to a video demonstration on how to fire a matchlock. Note the burn marks on the man's hand.

"Follow the flagship, and ask no questions!" The Magellan World Tour

It's time to "stick it" to the King of Portugal and write "PAID" to a debt of honor. Having heard of Balboa's discovery of another ocean, Ferdinand Magellan has been planning to circumnavigate the globe under the flag of Portugal but at the last minute, because of a longtime grudge, the King refuses to back the voyage. Magellan is a 37-year-old man with his hair on fire to make this voyage so he gets backing from the King of Spain [1] and launches his fleet from Seville! His ships cross the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro to take on supplies and stay to observe the festival of Christmas which lasts for several days. By early next year his ships will take a short-cut through the strait that will one day bear his name (the Strait of Magellan) and enter the Pacific Ocean. [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Historians would love to know what grudge the King of Portugal had with Magellan. They must have buried the hatchet to remain in each others company for so long but they must have remembered where it was buried. Magellan had been a page for the Queen though he was only 14 at the time, so historians can only guess what it was about. Magellan was a fast talker because the King of Spain jumped all over this project. Unfortunately, Magellan is not going to make it home from this voyage. In the Philippines he will get into the middle of a minor fight between native tribes and get stabbed to death in a melee. [4]

Cortés Scuttles His Ships and Jump-starts His Career

Hernando Cortés is the son of a lesser noble. His chances of fame and glory in Spain are remote so he has spent the last 15 years at lower-level jobs in the New World until he uses a legal slight-of-hand to jump-start his career. He was supposed to land troops on the Mexican coast and colonize the interior, but his orders were revoked at the last minute. Instead of returning, he scuttles his ships, explaining that they are no longer seaworthy. Hernando wins election as the magistrate of a local colony, organizes a new expedition into Mexico and asks the King of Spain to co-sign this load of hooey (and includes a shipload of treasure to help the King decide). Cortés will massacre thousands at Cholula, so that by the time he reaches Tenochtitlan in November, Moctezuma the 2nd simply lets the Spaniards into the city, but the Aztecs are not conquered yet. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
600 conquistadors cannot conquer an empire, yet that is what happened. How could they see it as anything but God's own disapproval of pagan sacrifice and approval of themselves as Crusaders? Darwinists use similar logic, substituting "survival of the fittest" in place of God's approval but it's the same thing. "If I can beat you up and take all your stuff, it's because I was MEANT to beat you up and take all your stuff." North American settlers did the same thing with Manifest Destiny. Whether it is God's will, survival of the fittest, or "It's just meant to be!" it's all the same to the poor sap getting the tar beaten out him. [9]

The Need for Gun Safety Lessons Has Just Become Apparent

Peter Frenchman is demonstrating his gun prowess when a woman walks in front of him just as he is firing. Apparently situational awareness was at a minimum in the 1500s. This is the first recorded accidental death by gunfire. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It sounds odd, but a matchlock musket can blind you when the powder from the flash pan ignites. (That is... literally blind you for life.) Most folks tend to hold the gun up higher and close their eyes before they pull the trigger. Just a tip for the matchlock owners out there... both of you. I've provided a link to a video demonstration on "How to Fire a Matchlock". Note carefully the scars on the man's right hand. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1519, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

History: The Year is 1518

I've uploaded year 1518 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Smallpox Enters the New World Without Blankets -- Small pox breaks out in the New World, but according to what people tell me, colonists passed out blankets as a form of bio-terrorism. That is a load of hooey.

Strasbourg Dance Mania and LSD -- A woman jumps up and dances. People join her and soon hundreds of people are dancing... dancing like they are on LSD!

Nothing Focuses the Mind Like an Impending Ottoman Invasion -- The Treaty of London is a mutual defense treaty and begins the process of defining what Europe is.

Smallpox Enters the New World Without Blankets

The flu raged though Hispaniola in 1493 but something much worse has reached the New World. Small pox is regularly killing by the hundreds of thousands in Europe in the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s. People who contract this disease are covered in ugly bumps and these bumps might form over the cornea of the eye, causing about a third of all blindness. Chance of death is 25% for adults to 80% for children who contract it. What it does to the New World is devastating. Small pox will quickly move to Mexico, then down Central America to South America. It is called "the pox" at this time, but it will soon be called small pox to distinguish it from the "great pox", syphilis, which is a more virulent form of the modern disease of the same name. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I heard that Europeans handed out blankets filled with small pox disease as a means to kill off unwitting Indians. In reality this was a suggestion made in 1763 before the USA was formed and over 200 years after the disease was introduced to the New World. Exposing people to ground small pox scabs in a controlled fashion is called "inoculation". It was the primary way to help at that time. The fact that it helped 2% of those exposed into the grave was an improvement over the 25% death rate the population was experiencing before. It seems ridiculous to think that Indians would be unwitting dupes. They had been experiencing small pox over 200 years by that point.[3] [4]

Strasbourg Dance Mania and LSD

Frau Troffea of the city of Strasbourg jumps up and begins dancing. Her dancing continues for days until she falls into a heap. Thus begins the Dancing Plague of 1518. The number of dancers jumps by tens to hundreds within a few weeks, oddly enough, to the accompaniment of musicians! It is called Saint Vitus' Dance. It's not exactly a disease. Some think it is a form of mass hysteria. It may well be a reaction to LSD, an hallucinogenic by-product of a fungus infecting the rye crop. People have been suffering from outbreaks like this for centuries and these outbreaks will continue into the modern day. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it is strange, and often tragic as people dance themselves to death. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Historians don't really know what caused this outbreak of dancing. Hysteria could explain it to a point, but once people starting breaking ribs and dropping dead from heart attacks (which really happened) it seems likely that would break the trance. An LSD hallucinogenic reaction to fungus seems more likely and there are examples of this happening in modern times where "ergot poisoning" was proven to be the culprit.[8] [9]

Nothing Focuses the Mind Like an Impending Ottoman Invasion

The Ottoman Empire has been pushing steadily toward the heart of Europe and the Europeans have finally noticed. The major leaders of Europe or their ambassadors have met in London to sign a mutual defense agreement. The Treaty of London will commit the various nations of Europe (except Turkey) to come to defense of each other and each nation agrees not to attack the other Treaty members. The Treaty will last only a few years before fighting amongst themselves breaks out, but the Treaty begins a process that will be revisited time and again as danger looms from the Ottomans. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course the Europeans noticed the Ottoman encroachment before this time but they weren't thinking as a unified whole. Europe as a unified group of nations is not a fully formed idea at this time. This treaty will help that process along. The Treaty reminds me of that Samuel Johnson quote: "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1518, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

History: The Year is 1517

It's an all religious segment! You can dump the whole thing if you want but I suggest reading Martin Luther's "Out of the Love for the Truth" segment.

I've uploaded year 1517 to the TSP Wiki...

and for the sake of redundancy's sake...

Here are some one liners...

Out of the Love for the Truth: the Ninety-Five Theses -- Rev. Martin Luther nails his demands to the church door. I explain how I can have an opinion on Christianity as a Jew.

How the Ottoman Turks Came to Control the Levant -- The sultan of the Ottoman Empire is a Sunni... not a Twelver, yet Egypt seems to be helping a Twelver so it is off to war we go. I define the area of the Levant and talk about my personal experience with Sunni vs Shia.

Out of the Love for the Truth: the Ninety-Five Theses

Martin Luther, at present, is a priest of the Catholic Church. He walks to the All Saints' Church of Wittenberg and hangs a notice on the door. It begins as follows...
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place.
What follows are 95 ideas that the Reverend is willing to debate with his fellow Catholics. It seems like an esoteric inquiry into Church doctrine but down the centuries it will pound the Catholic Church over and over again. It has become traditional to think of Martin Luther as stepping purposefully to the door and pounding a nail into it to hang his notice of defiance. Perhaps it really happened that way, but the notice itself is simply challenging the local intellectuals to a debate. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
To this point, I've avoided referring to the Church as "Catholic" because despite disagreement amongst Church factions, they all want a single catholic (meaning universal) church. However, I don't care how much self-effacing rhetoric he uses to preface his remarks, it is clear that Rev. Martin Luther isn't backing down. There are errors in any organization run by man but Pope Leo the 10th has been acting like a Medici baron, attacking his enemies and collecting lands and riches. Most of the cardinals act the same way. The Church has moved well beyond any temporary breech for the sake of expediency. They have been selling the papacy for 30 coins of silver, so to speak. It will get better, but not before it gets much, much worse.[4] Alex Shrugged notes (optional, as always): I'm Jewish so a Christian me asked how I could be writing about Rev. Martin Luther. I replied, "Very carefully." Christians are interested in Martin Luther from a religious aspect, so I do my best to remain neutral. Unfortunately, his words will be used by the Nazis to justify the oppression of the Jews. In the long run, though, the Reformation will be better for everyone including the Jews. For that I am grateful.

How the Ottoman Turks Came to Control the Levant

Selim the Grim is the current sultan of the Ottoman Turks. He follows Sunni Islam which means he follows the Sunnah or "traditional practices" of the Prophet Muhammad. (For those keeping score: this means that Selim the Grim is definitely NOT a "Twelver".) Selim has accused the sultan of Egypt [5] (who is also a Sunni) of harboring a "Twelver".[6] Twelvers believe that the Twelfth Imam (with Jesus helping out) will bring about the redemption of Islam and the resurrection of the dead. When the smoke clears, the Ottomans are in possession of the Levant, a region that includes present day Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria... and sometimes Iraq, Egypt and Turkey. The Ottomans will remain in control of the area into the early 20th century. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I'm not sure I want to have an opinion on this but here we go. My best personal experiences with Muslims have been with Sunni Muslims. However, about a mile from my home is a Shia mosque. My kids used to play soccer with some of their kids and my wife and I have had one couple to our home. No one got massacred. Nevertheless, in 1517, the Jews of Hebron were murdered by Sunni Muslims... probably during the looting. Many Jews escaped to Beirut and the Shia Muslims ran for the hills. I'm not asking for an apology. It is difficult enough for people to get along without asking them to apologize for the actions of their great, great, great, great grandfathers. Accounting for the actions of the present-day is a big enough job.[11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1517, Wikipedia.