Wednesday, December 2, 2015

History: The Year is 1685

I've uploaded year 1685 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Musical Genius is Born Again, Again and Again -- Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti. Their music will survive and prosper into the modern day.

Long Live the King and the King's Bastard -- King Charles the 2nd dies, creating a big problem. His brother James is Catholic but his bastard son is Protestant. Guess who gets the axe? I also talk about William and Mary.

French Texas -- The French are looking for Louisiana and accidentally colonize Texas. I talk about the Louisiana Purchase and make a joke about the commute between Houston and College Station.


Musical Genius is Born Again, Again and Again

Three musical geniuses are born this year:
* Johann Sebastian Bach is born into a musical family. His father is a musical director and his uncles are all professional musicians. His music is most immediately recognized as the opening piece in the animated film Disney's Fantasia. (Click here for the Disney version) [1] [2] [3]
* George Frideric Handel will soon be recognized as a child prodigy in music but his father will want him to become a lawyer. When the Duke hears the kid play, the father will be overruled. Most people recognize Handel's inspiring "Hallelujah Chorus". It will make you cry. Guaranteed. (Click Here for the Food Court version) [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
* Domenico Scarlatti is born into a family that couldn't care less about music. Yet he will build a reputation that will survive into the modern day. I did not instantly recognize his music, but after sampling one of his sonatas, even a tin ear like mine was impressed. (Click here for a sample on guitar) [9] [10] [11] [12]

Long Live the King and the King's Bastard

King Charles the 2nd is dead so his brother James the 2nd takes the throne, but there is a problem... several problems, actually. The whole question of whether a Catholic could become King of England was never resolved, so a minor problem occurred when King Charles converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. That problem solved itself when King Charles died. However, his brother, James, is now King and a well-known Catholic. Many oaths are sworn... not all of them in loyalty to the new King. Some would rather die, so the new King accommodates them. He has them beheaded. Some nobles back the Duke of Monmouth as the rightful king since he is Protestant and the bastard son of King Charles. The Duke leads a rebellion that doesn't end well for him. It takes several strokes of the axe to remove his head. Then things get really complicated when several nobles write a letter to William the 3rd of Orange, asking him to depose King James and claim the kingship. The troops will hit the beach in 1688 and by 1689 England will have a new King and Queen as co-rulers... William and Mary. [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This was a lot to happen all at once. I assume it took some planning. The Parliament certainly had enough time to figure out what to do but the only thing the political parties could agree upon was that having a Catholic King was going to be a big problem. Who was William the 3rd of Orange? Well.. he was a Protestant Dutch Prince whose mother was an English princess and whose wife was the daughter of King James the 2nd. (Sorry, Daddy!) Several leaders of the Parliament (both Tories and Whigs) had written to William, asking him to depose King James, so he took them up on the offer. William the 3rd and his wife, Mary the 2nd, became co-rulers. The College of William and Mary was established in 1693 and named after the King and Queen. It remains the second oldest college in the United States after Harvard. It is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. [16]

French Texas

If you will recall, Robert La Salle, was the fellow who discovered Niagara Falls and explored the Great Lakes looking for a passage to China. In 1682 he took an expedition down the Mississippi to Louisiana and claimed the region in the name of France. Now he is is coming around the other way through the Gulf of Mexico looking for the mouth of the Mississippi but he is having trouble finding it. He lands on the Texas coast and establishes a French colony. He builds Fort Saint Louis near present day Inez, Texas. [17] [18]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Thomas Jefferson attempted to claim Texas as part of the Louisiana Purchase because of La Salle's Texas colony. It didn't fly. (Frankly, I'm not sure the Louisiana Purchase itself was legal at the time but no one is complaining.) The colony itself had lasted only a few years, and when Spain had heard about it, they sent an expedition to find the colony and remove it. By the time they found Fort Saint Louis, not much was left. Indian attacks and disease had claimed the colonists, so the Spaniards did their best to erase the remains of the fort and moved on. Robert La Salle came to a bad end later when he was ambushed by his own men and killed somewhere between present day Houston and College Station. My daughter-in-law makes that commute every weekday and she confirms that it is a killer. (For those who have had humor-by-pass surgery, that was a joke.)

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1685, Wikipedia.

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