Lost Worlds Page 8 – From 1500-1600 – Dan Byrnes

Lost Worlds Page 8 - From 1500-1600

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Circa 1601: France: With all these distractionsthe King did not neglect his cares of state. He and Sully labouredto increase the Royal revenues. It is impossible to exaggerate thenightmare complexity of the Ancien Regime taxation systemwith its crazy mosaic of regional and social variations inassessment and imposition, its host of levies, dues and tariffs,ordinary and extraordinary, direct and indirect, sometimes nominal,sometimes crushing and frequently self-defeating, and itshydra-headed multitude of exemptions, the whole administered by abattening host of greedy officials; Dallington shuddered at 'theinfinite number in all France, upon why they lie, as thick as theGrasshoppers in Egypt'. Why this chaotic system could not besimplified was of course a question of fundamental law; the rightsof those who levied taxes had to be protected no less than therights of those who were exempt from them, official posts beingsacrosanct. All that Henri and Sully could hope to do was try towork this fantastically cumbersome and antiquated engine: it was aquestion of oil rather than spare parts, let alone newmachinery.They had first to combat the now almost traditional practices ofembezzlement and plain theft which devoured the greater part of therevenue, and to force those who collected monies due to the King topay them into his treasury. Much of the Royal income from indirecttaxes reached him through the agency of 'farmers' whom theimpossible system made indispensable; at least they had anincentive to extract the maximum from the unfortunate taxpayer. Bycutting their percentage Sully made an immediate profit withoutimpairing the tax farmers' greedy industry. Unlawful exemptionswere set aside and corrupt assessments readjusted."...Sir George Carew (the English ambassador) wrote: "When Sullyfirst came to the managing of the revenues, he found... all thingsout of order, full of robbery, of officers full of confusion, notreasure, no munition, no furniture for the king's houses and thecrown indebted three hundred million (that is, three hundredmillion pounds sterling). Since that time, in February 1608, he hadacquitted one hundred and thirty millions of that debt, redeemingthe most part of the revenues of the crown that were mortgaged;that he had brought good store of treasure into the Bastille,filled most of the arsenals with munition, ... but only by reducingthat to the king's coffers which was embezzled byunder-officers."From Desmond Seward, The First Bourbon: Henri IV, King of Franceand Navarre. London, Constable, 1971., p. 143.

Pre-1600?: The little-known Englishman and vicar, armchairnavigator, Samuel Purchas, publishes his book, Purchas, HisPilgrimes, which is to inspire London's merchant adventurers,somewhat based on reports of Magellan's voyages.(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books,1999/2000.)

800AD-1600AD: Unexpected in the Amazon region:Researchers are surprised to find evidence of "civilization" in theAmazon Rainforest region, spread about a 39sq/km area at theheadwaters of the Xingu River, a 1000-year-old network of towns andvillages, evidence of a complex, sophisticated society aware of"mathematics, astronomy and other sciences", The area was occupied800AD-1600AD. There were about 19 villages each housing about2500-5000 people, spaced 2.5-3.5 km apart, and connected bystraight roadways up to 45 metres wide. The people utilisedditches, bridges, irrigation, ponds, causeways, canals. One viewabout the findings is, "not earth-shattering, but not expected in the Amazon".Researchers involved include Robert Carneiro of American Museum ofNatural History, lead archaeologist Michael Heckenberger, ofUniversity of Florida and Jim Petersen, archaeologist of Universityof Vermont. See from this date a forthcoming issue of journalScience (Reported Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September2003)

1600: C16th generally: Roland Fletcher, Assoc. Professor ofArchaeology, Sydney University, thinks that one million peoplelived around Angkor Wat in the C16th. Similar-sizepopulations lived in Edo (now Tokyo), Beijing, Sian (now Xi'an),Sukhothai in Thailand, and Pagan in what is now Burma.

17 February, 1600: Freethinker and heretic GiordanoBruno, naked, with a nail through his tongue to prevent furtherheresies being uttered, is burned at stake in Campo de Fiori,Rome.

1598: France, Promulgation of Edict of Nantes re Protestantism.

1598: One date for first documented minutes of a MasonicLodge in the British Isles.

Life in the 1500s: some interesting things to ponder...submitted "from the Net"

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combinationwould sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someonewalking along the road would take them for dead and prepare themfor burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple ofdays and the family would gather around and eat and drink and waitand see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a"wake."

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England is old and small, and they started running out of placesto bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take theirbones to a house and reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins,one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on theinside and they realized they had been burying people alive. Sothey thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead itthrough the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listenfor the bell. Hence on the "graveyard shift" they would know thatsomeone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer."

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Most people got married in June because they took their yearlybath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June. However,they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowersto hide the b.o.

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Baths equaled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of thehouse had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the othersons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of allthe babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually losesomeone in it. Hence the saying "Don't throw the baby out with thebath water."

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Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw, piled high, with no woodunderneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so allthe pets... dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugslived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimesthe animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying,"It's raining cats and dogs."

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There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and otherdroppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So, they foundif they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, itaddressed that problem. Hence those beautiful big four-poster bedswith canopies. I wonder if this is where we get the saying "Goodnight and don't let the bed bugs bite..."

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The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other thandirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floorswhich would get slippery in the winter when wet. So they spreadthresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter woreon they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door itwould all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at theentry way, hence a "thresh hold."

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They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung overthe fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.They mostly ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eatthe stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get coldovernight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew hadfood in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme:peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the potnine days old."


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Sometimes they could obtain pork and would feel really specialwhen that happened. When company came over, they would bring outsome bacon and hang it to show it off. It was a sign of wealth andthat a man "could really bring home the bacon." They would cut offa little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chewthe fat."

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Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a highacid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food. Thishappened most often with tomatoes, so they stopped eatingtomatoes... for 400 years.

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Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had trenchers - apiece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trencherswere never washed and a lot of times worms got into the wood. Aftereating off wormy trenchers, folk would get "trench mouth."

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Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burntbottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got thetop, or the "upper crust".

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in oldEngland, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell atthem to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's wherewe get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's."

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle bakedinto the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed arefill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet yourwhistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames byropes...when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, makingthe bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "good night,sleep tight" came from.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English lawwhich stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything widerthan your thumb.

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1593: London: Playwright Christopher Marlowe, also a spy, iskilled in "a sordid pub brawl".

1592-1598AD: Korea succeeds in beating off Japaneseinvasions.

1590, Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, outdoes theSpanish city of Seville in splendour, with temples and palaces,busy marketplaces, drugstores, canals with bridges, floating marketgardens, courts for ball games, zoological and botanicalcollections. 200,000 people lived in a city-suburbs of five squaremiles, when the population of Seville was 45,000. ConquistadorBernal Diaz thought all this a dream.

Circa1590-1605AD: Burma breaks up into small states.

1587-1629: Reign of Shah Abbas I (the Great) of Persia; heconsolidates and expands territories.

1585: More to come

1584: Dies 1584, Timofeyevich Yermak; in 1579, he led anexpedition to conquer Siberia for the Russian Empire. He foughtwith Kuchum, the Tatar warlord.

1582: Introduction of Gregorian Calendar in Italy.

1581: More to come

1580: Spain annexes Portugal.

1580: Crowns of Spain and Portugal are united.

1580: English merchants back a voyage into the Arctic (KaraSea), to find any near-Russia North-East Passage to the East,perhaps by "a river near China".(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books,1999/2000.)

1579: More maritime history mystery: Fresh controversyarises over whether history should be rewritten with the case ofEnglish pirate Francis Drake, and the Golden Hind voyage:did Drake discover Alaska? A new book, The Secret Voyage of SirFrancis Drake, by Samuel Bawlf argues that Drake was forbiddenfrom publicly reporting his discovery due to fear of the Spanishbecoming aware of English moves. Working from study of maps andDrake's mention of a "frozen zone" where natives shivered in theirfurs and snow scarcely melted even in summer, Bawlf argues for athorough rewrite of the history of Elizabethan discoveries. TheEnglish he said had an ambitious plan to find the North-WestPassage and found an empire in the Pacific. Part of the problem islack of information on Drake's whereabouts in the summer of 1579, aquestion long and hotly debated on the US' western coasts. Bawlf, aCanadian geographer, believes Drake spilled details to his personalmap-maker, Abraham Ortelius, who is said to have invented theatlas. Bawlf feels that a map showing four non-existent islands offthe coast of California are the shapes of actual islands furthernorth, including Vancouver Island. Sceptics are reportedlyunconvinced, and some sceptics still believe that Drake went nofurther north on these West American coasts than Mexico. (Reported16 August 2003)

1578: More to come

13 December 1577: Francis Drake begins a world voyage fromPlymouth, England, in Golden Hind.

1577: Francis Drake leaves England on his world voyage.

Where did English mariner Sir Francis Drake make hisPacific landfall (Nova Albion?) on North American land. Did heleave a "Drake was here" plate at Campbell Cove, Bodega Head,California in the summer of June 1579 as he repaired his ship,Golden Hind? In 1997, writer Brian Kelleher of Cupertinobegan asking questions about such a site. Or was the landing spotat a Marin County Bay, or on the Oregon coast? Researchersincluding archaeologist Dr. Kent Lightfoot, at University ofCalifornia may follow up Kelleher's suggestions. Drake's five-shipexpedition was the second attempt to circumnavigate the world,following up Magellan. From the western Pacific coast, Drake sailedto Indonesia, then across the Indian Ocean, around Cape of GoodHope and home to England. (Reported 10 July 1999)

1576: More to come

1575: More to come

1574: More to come

1573-1620: Reign of emperor Wan Li in China: period of greatpaintings and porcelain-making; imperial kilns at Jingde producevast quantities of "china".

1620s and earlier: The Great Wall of China should be "the great walls of China" as there are many discontinuous walls. So says modern scholarship according to a TV documentary screened in Australia on 21-8-2015. The modern view is that there are 16 or more separate walls built at different times, The walls end up being about 21,000km long when it was earlier thought that there was little more than one-third of this extent actually built, say 5,000-7,000km. The walls extend from the ocean at the eastern frontiers of China to the western deserts, where old walls more than 1000 years old have recently been identified, probably built to contain the movements of invading skilled horse archers from Central Asia. The walls formed a vast system for protection and anti-invader communication systems, the walls being staffed with an army of 700,000 or more. The later-built walls of the Ming Dynasty (of kiln-fired bricks and mortar) have been very long-lasting, one reason being that the mortar is exceptional, having been made of materials including lime mixed with about 3 per cent of sticky rice to bind the brick.

1572: Mapmaker Ortelius issues his atlas, which amongst otherlegends speaks of King Solomon's ships sailing for (mythical)Ophir, where they gather 420 talents of gold.

1571: The Battle of Lepanto; 117 Turkish galleys takenand 80 lost, only 12 Christian vessels are lost.

1571: Foundation by Spanish of city Manila, thePhilippines.

1570: Geographer and mapmaker Abraham Ortelius publishes hisworld map and following Mercator depicts an unknown great southernland, modifying its name from terra incognita to TerraAustralis Nondum Cognita, or Southern Land Not Yet Known.1570: Ortelius produces a world map which shows New Guinea asseparate from the conjectural land south of it called TerraAustralis. Cornelis de Jode's map of 1593, Speculum OrbisTerrae shows much the same re New Guinea. But in 1594, Planciuson his map shows New Guinea joined to the Great South Land.(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great SouthLand)

1569: More to come

1568AD: -Circa 1600 - Period of national unification inJapan begins when feudal lord, Oda Nobunaga, captures capital,Kyoto.

1568: Spain: Muslims are forcibly converted to Catholicism inSpain.

1567: November: The viceroy of Peru permits controversialmathematician, scientist and adventurer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboato take two ships from Callao to settle "the great southerncontinent". Sarmiento captains one ship but has to answer also to a26-year-old, Alvaro de Mendana, a nephew of the viceroy. Bothhowever belief in lands of gold to the west. After 80 days sailthey found an island, possibly Nui of today's Tuvalu. By early 1568they were at the Solomon Islands, where the local people resentedthem, so the expedition went to today's Honiara on Guadalcanal,where it was again resented, so it went to San Cristobal. Itfinally returned home dismal with failure. Young Mendana however isconvinced he has found outlying islands of the Great South Land. Hetried again in 1595.(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great SouthLand)


1566: Invention of the full stop as a punctuation mark, by AldusManutius the Younger, author of a punctuation handbook,Interpungendi ratio. He was grandson of the Venetian printerwho invented "the paperback book".

1566: Maritime history: Mendana's first voyage.

1565: April: Spain tries again (after 1542), to found a colonyof the Philippines. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi leaves from Acapulco inMexico and founds colony on Cebu with three ships and 300 men.Spanish administration six years later was transferred to Cebu onLuzon Island. With this 1565 expedition was Miguel de Urdaneta, nowa monk, who had been asked to help establish a useful return routehome from the Philippines. Sensibly, Urdaneta wanted to go aboutnew Guinea to establish its proximity to any Great South Land, thento possibly examine just where the Great Southland lay. This wentfar beyond Legazpi's brief to found a colony and establish a routehome. On 1 June 1565, Urdaneta (died 1568) sailed from Cebu andwent north, overshooting on the West North American coast, thensouth, which brought him to California, then to the port of Navidadof Mexico.(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great SouthLand)

1564: Death of artist Michelangelo of Italy and birth of Englishplaywright, William Shakespeare.Note: Michelangelo: The received wisdom that he is ahomosexual is dismissed. From a book review, September 1999. SeeJames Beck, Three Worlds of Michelangelo. Norton, 1999.

1563: Stress of urbanisation: French parliament begs the king toprohibit vehicles from the streets of Paris.

1563: Spanish navigator Juan Fernandez amazes his associates bysailing from Callao, Peru to Valparaiso, Chile in 30 days insteadof the usual 90. Then sailing west into the Pacific he discovered anumber of islands which now bear his name. He was possibly tryingto find any eastern coast of any Great Southland. By legend he gotto New Zealand but this seem highly unlikely.(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great SouthLand)

1562: Maritime history: Legazpi sails in Philippines area.

1561-1562: The French Wars of Religion: "Throughout France,members of the rival creeds (Catholic and Huguenot) attacked eachother, killing, burning, raping, torturing, and looting. Theatrocities were as outrageous as they were cruel. In a frenzy ofProtestant iconoclasm churches were desecrated and their clergyhunted down like vermin; one Huguenot captain wore a necklace ofpriests' ears while the infamous Baron des Adrets made Catholicprisoners leap to their death from a high tower. Even the dead wereattacked; at Orleans a Reformist mob burnt the heart of poorFrancois II and threw Joan of Arc's statue into the river. TheCounter-Reformation was not yet in evidence so Papist fanatics wererare but nonetheless Catholics were goaded into fury. At Tours twohundred Huguenots were drowned in the Loire while the bodies ofthose slaughtered at Sens came floating down to Paris. That grimold soldier Blaise de Montluc made Protestant captives jump fromthe battlements and remarked with satisfaction that all knew wherehe had passed by the trees which bore his livery - a hangedHuguenot; on one occasion he strangled a pastor with his ownhands." As Pascal said a hundred years later, "Men never do evil socompletely and cheerfully as they do from religiousconviction."From: Desmond Seward, The First Bourbon: Henri IV, King ofFrance and Navarre. London, Constable, 1971., p. 143

1560: More to come

1559: First cultivation of tobacco starts in Spain.

1559: Queen Elizabeth I sends aid to Scottish lords to driveFrench from Scotland.

1558: From Brussels, Oliver Brunel advertises that he hastravelled on the coasts of northern Russia, and might soon find aNorth-East Passage to the Indies. He would soon take a Russian shipto the spice islands. (This might reduce a year's sailing time?)This information caused great pain to London merchants, so theydenounced Brunel to the Russians as a spy and he is imprisoned for12 years.(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books,1999/2000.)

1558: Mary Queen of Scots, aged 16, marries the Dauphin ofFrance, the future Francis II.

1557: More to come

1552: More to come

1551AD: Bayinnaung inherits the Burmese throne and overrunsThailand.

22 April, 1550: The first encounter between Europeans and SouthAmerican Indians/Brazil, as recorded by Pero Vaz de Caminha,an official scribe for a Portuguese flotilla that accidentallyarrived on the coast of Brazil, off-course for a voyage to India.The Indians were given a red beret, a linen hood and a black hat.In return, the Indians gave a headdress of bird feathers, anecklace of white beads. Not so long later, the Portuguese enslavedthe Indians. At the time of first contact, there were about fivemillion Indians in 1400 tribes speaking 1300 languages. In April2000, a 500th anniversary was observed at Porto Seguro, a smallcoastal town. Today, DNA research reveals that about 45 millionBrazilians, about a third of the population, share some indigenousDNA levels. Brazil still has about 30 pockets of Amazon junglewhere so-called Stone Age tribes live, of about 100-300 people.Land rights remain a serious issue for Brazil's indigenouspeople.

From 1550: Islam spreads to Indonesia.

1500-1550: (From a website reviewing book on climate change byH. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World): After agenerally warmer interlude between 1500 and 1550, northern Europeturns much colder... there appears The Little Ice Age, whichreached a peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, experiencedtemperatures that were as much as 1.5C colder than the 20thcentury. Great hurricanes arose in the North Atlantic. (A galewhose winds exceeded the speeds of any modern tempest destroyed theSpanish Armada and changed history. Traces of this era of coldpersisted until the mid-19th century.)

1550: Portuguese settlement of Nova Scotia. (Canada)

1549-1551AD: Mission of Jesuit St. Francis Xavier to Japan.

1548: More to come

The rest is here:
Lost Worlds Page 8 - From 1500-1600 - Dan Byrnes

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