Friday, May 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1580

I've uploaded year 1580 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Too Much Silver Limits Spending in the Ottoman Empire -- The Sultan has run out of money to pay his elite soldiers so he has to limit his wars to only the bare necessities. (Choke. Cough.)

When Fighting for Your Rights Goes Wrong -- The Catholics in England are getting along, sort of, but the Continental Catholics want to poke their finger in the eye of Queen Elizabeth. I talk about the civil right movement in the USA and how outsiders tended to stir things up.

60 Years in a Fog: Portugal is Annexed by Spain -- King Sebastian of Portugal dies without an heir so the King of Spain claims the throne. I talk about the granaries for the poor set up by King Sebastian.

Too Much Silver Limits Spending in the Ottoman Empire

Janissary soldiers are young Christian slaves trained with strict discipline to be Turkish special forces. They are so good, that they are paid a salary and they have their own pension plan. (Promotional brochures on demand. Please drop by the recruiting office.) Without putting too fine a point on it.... they are carrying guns and they know how to use them really, really well. You don't want them unhappy and this year they are officially UNHAPPY. Silver coming from the New World has caused inflation, but taxes and salaries are not adjusted for inflation. The soldiers are risking their lives for pennies on the dollar and the government is not taking in enough revenue to pay for the increased price of everything. Rebellions are springing up. Eventually things will settle down but this has stopped the rapid expansion of the Ottoman Empire. To save money they will hire mercenaries as needed and as they can afford it. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
When the US Constitution was written, it was well known that government spending had to be restrained, so they limited tax revenues to tariffs and excise taxes on booze and such. They believed that a smaller pool of money would force competing interests to cooperate. That was supposed to be a big fight with few winners. It also meant fewer wars or at least shorter wars since every dollar spent on war was one less dollar spent on that farmers aid package. But Prohibition cut off a major source of tax revenue so the government replaced it with an income tax. When Prohibition was repealed (so to speak) the tax on booze returned but the income tax never went away. The income tax supplies the government with an enormous pool of money and it adjusts to inflation, pushing tax payers into higher and higher brackets as salaries rise to match higher prices. The government will NEVER give up this system voluntarily. That train has left the station. There is just too much money involved and too few people deciding what to do with it. We are heading for that big bend in the track at 100 miles an hour. I sure hope a rock doesn't hit us. [3]

When Fighting for Your Rights Goes Wrong

In England, Catholics are skipping the Anglican services and praying at home. These Catholics must pay a fine for a lack of attendance. Since most of the English Catholics are submitting to the fine, Queen Elizabeth the 1st remained hopeful that the Catholics would eventually be drawn to the Anglican church.... that is, until Catholics missionaries from the Continent (meaning Europe) arrived in England to convert the Protestants. They do so in such a public manner, even setting up their own printing press and distributing pamphlets criticizing the Queen. The English Catholics are not going along with the Continental Catholics and their confrontive ways. At the Siege of Smerwick, Ireland, Catholic forces made up of Italian and Spanish soldiers are forced to surrender unconditionally. When the English Army enters the town, 600 Catholics are executed. By next year the English parliament will call for a law to make the practice of Catholicism high treason. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the civil rights movement of the 1960s there was a push to get black people registered to vote. Many Southern white people were trying to discourage them by blowing up churches. A KKK bomber came to Mississippi to blow up the president of the local synagogue. (I think that was in Jackson, Mississippi.) The sheriff caught the bomber as he was coming across the lawn. There were a lot of good Christians in the South who were willing to help out black people and Jews. I'm not just saying that or hoping that. I know that. My point is that it may seem brave (and often it is) to come swooping in from out of town, lead a protest, and then leave. Just remember that there are people left behind who must live with the consequences of your actions. [6] Further comments (optional): I am old enough to have cycled through several polite labels for black people such as "colored," "black," "American African," and "African American." This last one seems oddest of all. I know Africans, FROM AFRICA, who are white. Secondly I remember watching TV news coverage of a riot in England. The newsman wanted to say, "African-Americans are running down the street" but he couldn't. They were English. Were they African-Anglos? Black-Brits? I just don't care any more.

60 Years in a Fog: Portugal is Annexed by Spain

The young King Sebastian the 1st of Portugal has disappeared. It is believed he has been killed in battle but without a body, the rumors persist that he is simply lost and will one day reappear out of the fog. (Really. I'm not kidding.) He has no heir so there is a fight for the throne. There are even people who come forward claiming to be King Sebastian himself. Finally, the King of Spain, Phillip the 2nd, takes the throne for himself and joins the crowns of Portugal and Spain. It is a more-or-less peaceful annexation. His claim to the throne is reasonable (as reasonable as any other claimant) and he is the big dog in this hunt. Portugal will remain as a separate state within Spain but for the next 60 years they will be in decline. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During his reign, King Sebastian had set up communal granaries for the poor. These granaries provided loans, and seeds so that the poor could grow their own food. (Imagine that! Helping yourself out of poverty by the sweat of your own brow. The poor were expected to pay the loans back once they were productive again. It seems to me there are two kinds of poor: those who are disabled due to illness or injury and those able-bodied poor who, due to circumstances or plain laziness, need a jump-start (or a swift kick in the backside) to get going again. In the Bible, the poor came to the fields and walked behind the harvesters picking up whatever they dropped or missed. The charity of the Bible required some work. [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1580, Wikipedia.

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