Monday, August 10, 2015

History: The Year is 1621

I've uploaded year 1621 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

'I am Samoset. Do you have any Beer?' The Pilgrims Meet the Prince of Darkness -- Squanto takes on the name of the Indian god of darkness. It's like calling oneself 'Satan'.

Blood for Nutmeg and New York: The Banda Islands Massacre -- The Dutch massacre the natives of the Banda Islands for their nutmeg. Years later they will force the English to exchange one of the English Banda Islands for a New Amsterdam island called Manhattan.

The 30 Years' War, the 80 Years' War and the Battle for Fallujah -- The new King of Spain is 16 years old as the 80 Years' War starts up again. I talk about the problem with young idealists with power and young Marines in the taking of Fallujah.

'I am Samoset. Do you have any Beer?' The Pilgrims Meet the Prince of Darkness

The winter death toll has been severe. Of the 102 original men, women and children to wade ashore last year, only 52 Pilgrims remain. The 1st governor of Plymouth is dead, so Captain Miles Standish takes charge. They can hear the movement of large numbers of Indians in the forest, so security has become the number one priority. Thus, when an Indian comes walking into town, everyone scrambles. He seems not to notice. It is as if he is taking a stroll down the lane on a summer day. A Pilgrim blocks his way and the Indian smiles, holds out his hand and says in English, "Welcome Englishmen! I am Samoset. Do you have any beer?" In fact, they don't have any beer but they feed him and offer him some "strong drink". Later, Samoset returns with another Indian named Squanto whose tribe once occupied the area. (They died of a plague and the Pilgrims can see their bones littering the landscape.) Together, the Pilgrims and Indians work out the first peace treaty of North America. When a good harvest comes in, the Pilgrims offer a thanksgiving feast to the Lord. The Indians are invited. They have been an integral part of the success of the colony. This Thanksgiving feast is not the first for North America but it is a notable one. George Washington will declare a day of Thanksgiving in 1789, but Thanksgiving will not become a U.S. national holiday until Abraham Lincoln makes it official in 1863. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. About Satan... everything I said was true (as far as I can determine the truth) but there are some serious issues going on behind the scenes. Even though the Indians helped out the Pilgrims in the spring, they also let them die in droves the previous winter. They waited because the Indians had recent bad experiences with Englishmen but after observing the Pilgrims, they realized that these Englishmen were babes in the woods... clueless. The Pilgrims were not quite the fools the Indians thought they were. Nevertheless, Samoset was sent waltzing into town since he had some English skills. Squanto had better English skills but he was a problem. He took the name of the Indian god of darkness. It would be like a stranger walking up and saying, "Hi! I'm the Prince of Darkness, but my friends call me Satan! Would you like to share the blood of an unclean sacrifice with me?" I'd say "No" to that one. Eventually they became aware of Squanto's secondary motives, but you can't tell the kiddies about that stuff, so the story has been cleaned up over the years. [10] [11]

Blood for Nutmeg and New York: The Banda Islands Massacre

Nutmeg is an amazingly expensive and rare spice found only on the Banda Islands (otherwise known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia). The Dutch East India Company has managed to chase out the weakening Portuguese merchants and have strong-armed the Banda Island natives into a treaty that sounds more like a contract with a mobster: "You trade your valuable stuff for some of my worthless junk. I'll be happy and you will be poor so it works." The natives are forced to buy wool blankets in the tropical climate of the East Indies, but the natives have had enough. They refuse to keep to the treaty so the Dutch bring in the big guns. The Islands are the home of an estimated 15,000 natives. 1,000 are immediately put to death. The rest are enslaved but it won't be enough. The Dutch will bring in more slaves from Java to increase production. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The English East India Company had claim to Run Island, one of the minor Banda Islands in 1621. They weren't getting a lot of production out of it but it was still a valuable piece of real estate. In 1667 the English traded away the Island of Run for a useless, snow-covered piece of rock in the New World called Manhattan Island. Knowing the future, this probably seems like a good deal in the modern day, but back in the 1600s Great Britain was forced into this agreement after losing the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War.[17] [18] Just as a warning: nutmeg can produce hallucinogenic effects if taken in large quantities. I remember a chef publishing a recipe for spice cookies or some confection like that. In typing out the recipe, he called for several CUPS of nutmeg. It would have killed anyone who actually took him seriously and could somehow choke down the resulting confection. 0.3 ounces of nutmeg can cause seizures. [19] [20]

The 30 Years' War, the 80 Years' War and the Battle for Fallujah

The 80 Years' War started back in 1568 when the Spanish Netherlands began a revolt against the King of Spain, Philip the 2nd. That fight resulted in the 12 Years' Truce which established the Dutch Republic as a de facto separate entity. But that is all over now. King Philip the 2nd is dead. King Philip the 3rd has died this year and King Philip the 4th has taken the throne of Spain and Portugal at the age of 16. He's a kid with a really big toy in his hands. He is a serious kid, though. He listens carefully to his advisors. By all accounts he is diligent and disciplined. During his entire reign he will be seen to laugh only 3 times. There is not much to laugh about. The 80 Years' War is a bloody mess and it can be seen as part of the 30 Years' War in many respects. Both wars are going to kill millions. [21] [22] [23]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You are seeing what happens when young idealists grab hold of the reigns of power instead of letting crabby old cynics fight for stability. You get change you can believe in... and more often than not... a lot more people dead. This is why a young soldier is warned, "Don't be a hero!" It is usually best to think before acting. Example: In the book "We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah," the author, Patrick O'Donnell, was accompanying a group of Marines. He had flown to their position so the author had a reasonable idea of the conditions on the battlefield. (I think he was almost shot down.) The Marines wanted to attack a certain position. They were getting all worked up before they jumped into a hail of bullets when the author stopped them. He had seen the enemy position as he flew over. The Marines had not. The position was too firmly held and their group was too small to take it. They needed a lot more support which they didn't have at the moment. Later the author ran that decision by an officer. The officer thanked him for stopping his Marines from throwing away their lives on that one. (I am relating that story from memory of a book I read a long time ago. I hope I did the author justice. He deserves it.) [24]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1621, Wikipedia.

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