Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Celtic influence

The English language is a Germanic language but it has influences from a variety of other languages. One of them is the Celtic language where it gets a wordage that is unique to Celtic and English.  These are the only two known languages in the world to use the “meaningless ‘do’ “. In the statements “How DO you feel?” and “Why DO you walk?” the word ‘do’ has no meaning and it just takes up space in a sentence.

(The Great Courses – Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage)

The New World press

With one very brief exception in Boston in 1690 no New World colonies were allowed to have newspapers because the European nations were all afraid of dissension in the papers. After 1700 British officials felt more secure and allowed the press. The first paper appeared in Boston in 1704 and by 1739 there were thirteen newspapers in seven colonies/. However almost all of the news in these newspapers was about the happenings in London with very little local news

(Book – American Colonies:The Settling of North America – Alan Taylor)

Settling the New World from the New World

In the 1600’s the Spanish claimed the coast of North America but only occupied Florida and they were getting weaker militarily. The English had colonized the Virginia area which was far enough away from the Spanish and was producing tobacco. Meanwhile Barbados in the Caribbean was producing huge amounts of sugar for the English and was quickly becoming overpopulated by English wanting to cash in on the sugar crop. All of this left overpopulation in Barbados and no European settlements in the Carolina’s. So….The Carolina’s were initially settled by people sailing in from Barbados. The Spanish tried to evict them but did not have the military strength to do so. The settlers in Carolina then learned how to grow rice from their African slaves who knew how to grow it in Africa. Rice eventually surpassed tobacco to become the second largest crop from the America’s trailing only sugar.

(Book – American Colonies:The Settling of North America – Alan Taylor)

Two completely different ways to colonize

During the first half of the 1600’s the Virginia and Maryland colonies were being populated from England by lower class people who couldn’t get jobs. They were not volunteers and sending them to the Americas was a good way to get them out of England and provide manpower for the new tobacco fields. They were almost all men and he death rate was VERY high and only by continually sending more people could the population remain constant or grow at a very slow rate. The New England regions were much cooler and not nearly as productive agriculturally but it was also MUCH healthier for the immigrants. Almost all the people who immigrated in the 1630’s came for either religious reasons or as a new start for tradesmen who could not find jobs in England. They were volunteers and often came with families. Because this area was so much healthier they were able to increase the population of the area without new immigrants. Almost all the inhabitants in New England in the later part of the century were direct descendants of the original immigration movement in the 1630’s. Another interesting note is that during that immigration of the 1630’s only one ship was lost on the way to the New England area.

(Book – American Colonies:The Settling of North America – Alan Taylor)

A precursor to WWF?

A recently discovered fragment of writing from 267 AD in Egypt concerns a wrestling match between two teenagers. It is a contract between the father of one of the participants with the trainers of the other participant. They have reached an agreement where one of the teenagers would ‘fall three times and yield’ for a price of 3800 drachmas. If the boy reneges on the deal it would cost him 18,000 drachmas.

(Magazine – Archaeology – July/August 2014)

The Colombian Exchange

With the ‘discovery’ of the New World the ‘Colombian Exchange’ occurred. This was the exchange of plants, animals and other things between the Old World and the New World. The most devastating of these exchanges was the introduction of diseases like smallpox into the New World inhabitants. Native Americans had no resistance to these diseases and their populations were decimated. By 1650 it is estimated that 90% of the Native population had died. Scholars used to believe that all the tribes in the Americas were the direct descendants of tribes that had always resided on the continents. Instead it is now believed that the process of ‘ethnogenesis’ occurred. This is the process of new confederations being formed from the remaining members of older tribes. It is now believed that most tribes after 1700 were new composite groups of older tribes.

(Book – American Colonies – Alan Taylor) (The Great Courses – Turning Points in Modern History)

Even a pirate can buy a Knighthood

In the 1580’s and 1590’s while the Spanish were importing gold and silver from their New World colonies the other European nations were left  to pirating the Spanish fleet to get some of the booty. Francis Drake raided the Caribbean and then the coast of Peru and Mexico before finishing his famous circumnavigation of the world. The patron of Drake who was Sir Walter Raleigh called him more than a pirate due to the size of his thefts. Queen Elizabeth received a cut of Drakes’s profits and was rewarded with a knighthood.

(Book – American Colonies: The Settling of North America – Alan Taylor)