Thursday, June 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1594

I've uploaded year 1594 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Pompeii Coverup and the Problem with Mount Rainier -- An excavation company uncovers the ruins of the lost city of Pompeii so they do the only thing any reasonable company would do. They cover it back up. I talk about volcanoes and the danger that Mount Rainier poses to the City of Tacoma and possibly Seattle.

The Dutch East India Company and the Power to Do Good and Evil -- A little Dutch company forms to take on the spice trade. They will eventually consolidate with others to become a semi-governmental organization. I talk about the power of a massive organization to do good and the danger of it doing evil... massive evil.

Their First Polar Bear Gets Iced -- William Barents is commissioned by the Dutch to find the Northwest Passage but he bags a polar bear instead. He is the guy that the Barents Sea is named after.

The Pompeii Coverup and the Problem with Mount Rainier

While digging a canal, excavators uncover strange statues and walls that include frescos that were once part of the ancient city of Pompeii that was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79. The architect, Domenico Fontana, inspects the ancient frescos and has them covered over again... probably because the art was of a sexual nature. Another excavation of the ancient city of Pompeii will not take place until 1748 when various sites will be dug up for their souvenir art. A methodical and more serious excavation will begin in 1806 when French scholars are brought in. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Pompeii is best known for the ash-covered bodies found at the excavation. It looks as if people were caught in mid-step and their bodies preserved where they fell. Pliny the Elder had ordered his ships into the harbor to evacuate the city. The shouts of men and the cries of women and infants could be heard as a black cloud poured into the city. No one escaped. What was described is a pyroclastic surge or flow. These hot collections of gas and rock can overwhelm a region like an avalanche and travel for miles. Mount Saint Helens produced such a flow and it is feared that when Mount Rainier in Washington state finally erupts, the glacier will melt, causing a flow of volcanic mud that will bury the city of Tacoma and everything between. Seattle might survive. Only time will tell. [5] [6]

The Dutch East India Company and the Power to Do Good and Evil

A new company has been set up to compete with the Portuguese pepper trade in India. Trading in spice from India is big business and the Dutch want to be part of it. So do the English. Unfortunately this particular Dutch company won't make much money. It's just too small. Sailing from Holland to India is a dangerous business even setting aside the little detail that Spain is at war with the Dutch Republic. Eventually this company will consolidate with several others into a larger and more successful company. At first it will be called the United East India Company. They will be the first to issue stock in a publicly held company. In time it will change it's name to the more recognizable Dutch East India Company. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Dutch East India Company will become a semi-governmental organization with the power to start a war, execute the guilty and negotiate treaties. They will do good, such as the founding of New Amsterdam... otherwise known as New York City. They will do bad... such as the founding of New York City. The concentration of power in a massive entity can do massive good, but when it does bad it can be massively bad. The Founders of the United States created a government where power is distributed with the most power left at the local level. But over the years we have convinced ourselves that we can control the massive power of the state to do only good. We are mature enough and smart enough, smarter than our Founders. We have seen the massive good done, yet we have also seen the massive bad. Are we done yet? Apparently not.

Their First Polar Bear Gets Iced

The Dutch Republic is trying to get to China without running into the Portuguese along the way. (There is a war going on after all.) Captain William Barentsz is commissioned to find the Northwest passage around North America but so far all he can find are polar bears. When one bear tries to climb aboard his ship he wounds it with a musket shot. His crew nets the bear and drags it on board thinking they are going to love a live polar bear back home in Holland but it is not to be. The bear will not be contained. It rampages across the deck and must be put down. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
For the nature lovers out there, his crew also tried to hack to death a herd of 200 walruses for their tusks. The walruses wouldn't sit still for that so they were not very successful. The voyages were considered a success despite never reaching China. The Barents Sea was named in Willem Barentsz' honor in 1853 and he remains a legendary hero in the Netherlands for his rough adventures across ice and sea.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1594, Wikipedia.

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