Thursday, September 24, 2015

History: The Year is 1651

I've uploaded year 1651 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Saint Peter's Flood and the Problem of Global Cooling -- I've talking about similar subjects. Several storm surges change the Islands near Germany and flood Amsterdam. You know that if this happened today it would be called man-made Global Warming even though the actual problem is nature.

The Deluge in Ukraine and the Problem of Winning a War -- Poland beats the tar out of Ukraine... just barely... but Poland fails to learn their lesson because they won, and even though several problems were exposed... they won! Why change? Because they are about to lose everything.

The English Navigation Act and the American Revolution -- England creates a monopoly by passing a law that their citizens use only British shipping. I talk about monopolies.

Saint Peter's Flood and the Problem of Global Cooling

A series of storms in the North Sea have produced storm surges that are collectively called Saint Peter's Flood. The Island of Juist off the coast of Germany is split in half when its sand dunes are washed away. Bodies are washed up all the way to Fulkum Warf and then buried in the backwash. 15,000 souls are lost. Dikes collapse and Amsterdam is flooded. The dual Islands of Juist will be rejoined into a single island in 1932 but the connecting dunes will remain vulnerable to North Sea flooding so additional barriers will be erected to protect them from erosion. These artificial barriers will create their own unique ecosystem that will be studied in the modern day. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've said this before but there is nothing new about storm surges flooding islands, drowning the population and otherwise causing chaos. This is the consequence of Global Cooling or the Little Ice Age. Storms become more violent. If these same natural processes of Global Cooling occurred today, politicians and panic-stricken soccer moms would be screaming about "proof" of Global Warming and the melting of the polar ice caps! I don't doubt that Global Warming is happening. The Great Lakes were once filled with frozen glaciers, but they warmed up. I'm fairly sure that the warming process of the Great Lakes had nothing to do with automobile exhaust or factory chimneys. I'm not even sure Global Warming is a problem, but if it is a problem, I'm fairly sure the so-called solutions will only solve two problems: the problem of getting the next politician elected and the problem of putting money in the pockets of someone's brother-in-law.

The Deluge in Ukraine and the Problem of Winning a War

This is not a flood of water. It is a flood of troops and cavalry as the single largest military engagement of the century kicks off with over 280,000 men near the town of Berestechko. With 80,000 Polish mercenaries on one side and 200,000 Ukrainian peasants, Cossacks and Crimean Tatars on the other, it should be a slaughter and it is. The Cossacks and Ukrainians are killing off the local nobles so the Polish Prince Jeremi leads an army of mercenaries to find the Cossacks. The Prince meets with initial success by killing the Crimean cavalry leader the 1st day. The 2nd day in a miracle that is difficult to believe (but something like it must have happened) the Prince leads a charge into the teeth of the Cossack defenses using nothing but his horse, a saber and a few thousand mercenaries. This should have been impossible, but it helped that the Tatar leadership was killed by Polish artillery and a severe storm later produces so much mud and confusion that the Cossacks are trapped next to the river and destroyed. In the end, 700 Polish troops are killed compared to 20,000 to 30,000 Cossacks and Crimeans. [6] [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The rule of thumb is... the loser of a war learns more than the winner. That is because the winner won't fix what is wrong if it is working well enough to win. Meanwhile the losers have every motivation to build something better from the ground up. Ukraine and the Cossacks were later absorbed by Moscow creating a more efficient fighting force. Most of the Polish nobles disbanded their forces. You had all those costly horses and bullets and stuff. The stand down of forces set up Poland for an invasion by the Swedes that destroyed the Polish/Lithuania Commonwealth and allowed Moscow to move in as well. Thus, "saving money" cost Poland more than one can count in silver and lives. In the modern day, this "Peace Dividend" argument almost destroyed the US military after the Vietnam War. The USA would have cancelled critical combat systems like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Abrams Tank and Stealth Bomber had the "Peace Dividend" advocates won their argument. Regardless of what one may think of the conflicts in which those combat systems were used, the conflicts would have happened anyway. Without the Abrams, Bradley, and Stealth bomber, US troops would have died in larger numbers. [10]

The English Navigation Act and the American Revolution

Virginia grows a lot of tobacco but British shipping doesn't have the capacity (or efficiency) to handle the production so Virginia tobacco farmers have been turning more and more to Dutch shippers. After all, Dutch slaver ships are coming in regularly to provide a labor force for tobacco farmers so they already have a working relationship with the Dutch. (Those b@stards! Oh. I'm sorry. I meant to say, "Those businessmen!" Business can be as much a force for bad as a force for good.) The Puritans are the killjoys of the 17th century and they are running the English Parliament, so they pass the English Navigation Act. This is the first of a series of laws that will limit Virginia's and New England's shipping options to only one. English shipping now has a monopoly by rule of law. All hail Britannia. The Navigation Act will produce short-term gains for English shipping and long-term consequences for the world. The most strange consequence is that it will create a national identity for Norwegians as well as for Englishmen living in North America. [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was shocked when I realized how overreaching and intrusive this Navigation Act was. It put a lot of pressure, not only on Virginia shipping but shipping everywhere. Norway never really had much of an identity. It shared a crown with Iceland, Sweden and Denmark for a while and then just Denmark, but after Great Britain forced them to face the issue of shipping, Norway realized that they were being royally screwed by the King of Denmark! The King of Denmark's policies benefited Denmark a lot more often than Norway. In the same way, Englishmen in America resented this sort of legalized corruption (also known as a monopoly) and the Navigation Act set up the conditions for the American Revolution. (Can you say "The Boston Tea Party?" I knew that you could.) Monopolies don't last long without support of the government. When they occur in the modern day it is usually in the form of safety regulations, standards set by the government or intrusive paperwork that produces so much overhead that only an established business could absorb the costs while a small business running on a shoestring budget is overwhelmed by the up-front costs of starting their business. [13] [14] [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1651, Wikipedia.

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