Wednesday, January 6, 2016

History: The Year is 1703

I've uploaded year 1703 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Major Weather Disaster Hits England and the News -- A major hurricane hits the English coast. It's not the first time, but it is the first time such a storm will get national news coverage.

The Founder of the Methodist Movement is Born -- John Wesley is born. I talk about Methodism and why I mention people at their birth rather than when they actually do something.

The Foundations of St. Petersburg -- The myth of the founding of St. Petersburg and the reason why the myth developed.

A Major Weather Disaster Hits England and the News

One November evening, a major storm hits England with winds gusting to 140 mph. Tiles are ripped off the roofs and houses are stripped bare. 2,000 chimneys collapse killing residents while they scramble out of bed. 4,000 oak trees are knocked flat in south-east England alone. Many ships are sunk with all hands or set adrift hundreds of miles off course. This is a major weather event and it becomes the first national news story on the weather... ever. After "The Great Storm" there are not enough building materials to restore houses to livable condition before winter sets in. The price for building materials skyrockets but all the tile production into next next summer will not finish the task at any price. Wood shingles become the norm. The author, Daniel Defoe, calls it an act of God and chastises those who do not believe in God's punishment. Many preachers agree. It is difficult to tally the dead with so many washed away or lost at sea, but the count could be as high as 15,000. That is not counting those who will die because they must spend a winter in a home open to the sky. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
England has been hammered by storms in the past, but this storm was significant because of the availability of national news coverage. It was not simply a matter to be noted in a diary or a captain's log book. People were experiencing the disaster as a whole, knowing the troubles of a fellow in the next county, and the problem the storm caused for ship building, etc. While this sort of information can be helpful in motivating people to be better prepared, in the modern day it has become a means to panic people for ratings. Although I've seen meteorologists speak very sensibly about the weather, the graphics they use are the worst kind of sensationalist tripe. Even when San Francisco was predicted at a high of 69 degrees, I saw it colored in deep red on the map as if it was on fire! Coverage of weather disasters can be helpful, especially after it happens. It alerts the individual to the needs of his neighbor. The weather news becomes a problem when they attempt to predict the weather. A meteorologist can speak sensibly about the weather for tomorrow. He can even have intelligent things to say about the weather three days from now. Five days and it is close to guessing. Seven days? Someone is three sheets to the wind. [8]

The Founder of the Methodist Movement is Born

John Wesley is born in Epworth, Lincolnshire. He is the 15th child born to his mother, Susanna, and his father Samuel, the local rector. He will be raised as a strict Anglican, learning Greek, and Latin and memorizing passages of the New Testament. As a child he will be pulled from the flames as his home catches fire. This will be a turning point for him, like "a brand plucked out of the fire." John and his brother Charles (yet unborn) and George Whitefield (also yet unborn), will found the Methodist movement within the Anglican Church. It is a movement of renewal, following strictly the Common Book of Prayer. In fact, they follow the book so closely that they get the nickname of "Methodist" and the name sticks. It is going to be a wild ride for the Methodists, but by the time of John Wesley's passing, he will be known as "the best loved man in England," and his followers will number well over 100,000 on both sides of the Atlantic. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK, the reason I point to the birth of influential figures is to provide a context to their lives. The children are watching... so what was John Wesley seeing? Well... he was living in a world with a punishing God. In 1703, the Great Storm hit England. Thousands died and many more were rendered homeless. The first reaction was that God was punishing England as a whole... not necessarily as individuals. Group responsibility implies a group relationship with God rather than an individual relationship... a sort of "social holiness". That means the group must worship in the correct way in order to gain God's favor. Thus renewal would mean following the ritual exactly. It also implies that people advocating religious ideals outside the standard must be corrected... hopefully gently. John Wesley was a public preacher, encouraging his fellows to follow the Methodist way of the Anglican ritual. He was not always well received by the establishment, but Methodism was probably the most successful of the Anglican derivatives of the time.

The Foundations of St. Petersburg

As the story goes, Peter the Great was exploring the coast along the Neva delta and he landed at Hare Island. As he looked up he saw an eagle which was the symbol of Russia. It was there that he set the foundations for Peter Paul Fortress. He had a vision of a future Saint Petersburg and he built the city exactly to that vision. [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is clear from the building directives Peter the Great made for Saint Petersburg that the above story is pure myth, probably created by his daughter, Elizabeth the 1st, who ruled Russia after his death. Catherine the Great added to that myth and thus drew some authority to herself by associating herself with Peter the Great. She had a statue of him created and inscribed it with the words, "To Peter the First from Catherine the Second." That is... Peter the first Great One and Catherine the second Great One. She collected a great deal of art at her Saint Petersburg palace in a complex generally called "The Hermitage." As World War 1 started, Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd which means "Peter's City", and after Lenin's death it was renamed "Leningrad" meaning "Lenin's City." The city returned to Saint Petersburg in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Hermitage has been open to the public since 1852. [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1703, Wikipedia.

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