Sunday, November 15, 2015

History: The Year is 1676

I've uploaded year 1676 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

King Phillip and the First Indian War -- King Philip is not a king and this is not the first Indian war, but this war will literally decimate Massachusetts.

Bacon's Rebellion and the Burning of Jamestown -- People call it a slave rebellion, and while it is important to the slavery debate, it is not a slave rebellion. It's a economic rebellion and it's not good.

Science High Lights -- The speed of light, microorganisms and a new equation.

King Phillip and the First Indian War

King Phillip is not really a king and this is not really the First Indian War, but it is certainly the worst in the 17th century. King Phillip is chief of an American Indian tribe and he is sick of the encroachment of New England colonists. Recently, several of his tribe were put to death after being convicted of the murder of Christian Indians. He attacks several colonies, burning everything to the ground and massacring the inhabitants in a hail of bullets or hacking them to death with hatchets. The New England colonists have been at war with one tribe or another since they have arrived. It has never come out well for the Indians. This will be the bloodiest war in New England's history in terms of per capita deaths. One-in-ten men of the Massachusetts Bay colony will be dead within a year which is the actual meaning of the word "decimated"... every tenth man killed. However, by the end of this war the Indian tribe will be virtually wiped out and King Phillip will be hunted down and shot by a "Praying Indian," one of the Indians who had converted to Christianity. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
King Phillip's real name was Metacomet, and his name shows up one way or another in popular literature, film and he even has street names and a golf course named after him, though I doubt they realize who he was. A lot of what we know of this terrible attack comes from Mary Rowlandson who wrote a narrative of her experience being held captive along with her children. She was eventually released but her six-year-old daughter didn't survive the experience. In researching this episode in American history, I noted an opinion piece in the New York Times that suggested a parallel between King Phillip's attack and the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center. That idea doesn't work for me. For one thing, one-in-ten people in New York did not die in the attack. There was some similarity in the reaction to the attack. The response was all-out. Indians were not killed for being Indians but one probably fared better as a Christian Indian. [3]

Bacon's Rebellion and the Burning of Jamestown

Nathanial Bacon is a government official who has organized 500 volunteers to fight off the Indians along the frontier because his uncle, Governor William Berkeley, has not addressed the problem. In fact, the Governor seems to have lost control of the colony. He is over 70 years old and hard of hearing. People must shout at him to make themselves understood. Governor Berkeley has refused to endorse Nathaniel's improvised army so Nathaniel marches into Jamestown and sets fire to the town. It's a full blown rebellion and the slaves have joined in. This rebellion falls apart shortly after Nathanial contracts dysentery and dies. The rebel leaders are rounded up and hanged. King Charles the 2nd hears of the rebellion but doesn't realize that the fighting is over. He sends troops to Virginia and after a lot of shouting (because the Governor still can't hear a thing) Berkeley returns to England to clear his name. He will die before he ever reaches the King. [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Too many historians are looking to Bacon's Rebellion as one of the first slave rebellions and attempting to draw lessons from it. In fact, we are attempting to draw a lesson from these facts right now! The problem is that the facts have been distorted so much that it is difficult to figure out why things happened the way that they did. Complaints of Indian attacks on the frontier just don't explain the burning of Jamestown. Unfair taxes are mentioned and even though slaves join the rebellion, calling it a slave rebellion seems unjustified although it did scare the slave owners. The Governor tried to force farmers away from tobacco crops in order to diversify the Virginia economy, but the switch required a large capital investment. It was a risk with a big short-term downside and a small long-term payoff. Berkley was a rich man so he could cover that bet, but his fellow colonists could not. I think they grabbed any excuse to give this governor the boot and because they did, Virginians tied themselves to a tobacco/slave economy.

Science High Lights

* Ole Roemer makes the first estimate of the speed of light by timing the eclipse of the moons of Jupiter and noticing that there is a ten minute delay when the Earth is furthest from Jupiter than when it is closest. Scientists use his observations to come up with a number. Given the instruments of the day, it's not precise but a good first try. [8]
* Antonie Philips makes a better microscope and discovers microorganisms which is calls animalcules (like molecules, only they are animals!). [9]
* Jacopo Riccati is the mathematician who produces the Riccati Equation! (Explaining why this is important is beyond my ability but I took calculus in college and I recognize it. No doubt my professor is grateful.) [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1676, Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment