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India: One Drink Too Many

The country of India will not exist until the 20th century. In the Middle Ages several years of war between the Hindu kingdom of Karnata and the Muslim Sultanate of Bahmani has resulted in the deaths of thousands. The Bahmani see themselves as the descendants of King Bahman, the legendary (and probably mythological) ruler of Iran. The current sultan is Muhammed Shah I. He has been building the infrastructure of the Sultanate that will serve them for centuries to come. But today he is dead. Alcohol poisoning has retarded his breathing and choke reflex. He very likely choked on his own vomit. His son, Aladdin, will succeed him, but only for a short time. Aladdin will be murdered by his own uncle... who will in turn be murdered by Aladdin's sister. Then Muhammed Shah II will take control and rule until his death from typhoid in 1397. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Modern day India is a republic of tribes and former princedoms with differing languages and radically different viewpoints. To bring them together would seem impossible yet the British Raj (sounds like "rawjz" with a French "j" sound) managed it. The British Empire was a common enemy against which the tribes and kingdoms could unite and resist. Representatives of India were required to speak English in order to deal with the British at an official level. This is how English became the official language of India... a language foreign to every province but common to every official within India. Once India threw off British rule, having an official GOVERNMENT language of India allowed India to unite as a country despite the differences between provinces. This is also the reason why support calls are diverted to India from the United States... because there are a lot of people in India who speak English.... all due to the British Raj. [7]

Brigandry: Coucy's War

Another outbreak of the Black Death, and a crushing defeat for the English has forced a truce with France. However, this is bad news for both the French and English military. Brigades and companies of the military are mercenaries and even though France tries to pay them to stand idle, the military tradition is to plunder the local countryside for fun and profit. The French nobility realize that the only way to stop the English and French brigands is to start a war some place that is NOT France and lead the brigands there. Thus begins Coucy's War. The Lord of Coucy (pronounced: COO-see) will lead a war against the Swiss in an attempt to reclaim the Hapsburg lands that the Confederation (present day Switzerland) had taken from his inheritance. The Swiss will kick his backside so hard that years later when asked by chroniclers of his participation in the war Lord Coucy will deny ever being in Switzerland at all. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
These are well-armed and well-trained knights going up against the citizen soldiers of the Swiss Confederation. The fact that the Swiss won suggests that the Swiss were excellent fighters (which they were) but it also suggests that the knights were becoming obsolete as a fighting force. It was simply too hard and too expensive to train and maintain even a few knights when it was quicker and cheaper to train commoners in a few simple but effective weapons. Switzerland has not won its independence yet, but it is well on its way.

China: Be Brief or Be Beaten

The Ming dynasty has only recently thrown out the Mongols and taken control of China. Emperor Hongwu wants to lessen the amount of correspondence being sent to him and others in the bureaucracy so he has demanded that officials send him example letters of official correspondence.... templates. Ru Taisu (pronounced: roo tie soo ), a bureau secretary of the Ministry of Justice, has sent the Emperor a memo of further reforms that could be implemented. The memo is exceedingly long... so long, in fact, that by the time the Emperor gets to the 16,370th word it is almost time for bed. The Emperor is so angry that he has Ru Taisu brought before the court and flogged for wasting the Emperor's time with such flowery language. Then the Emperor reads the last 500 words of the memo and is amazed. He agrees with 4 of the 5 suggestions. The Emperor has the last 500 words copied as an example text and warns the bureaucrats to stop using such elaborate prose. Get to the point! [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In writing these history segments the most difficult task is to get to the point! The majority of the editing time is taken up reducing the number of words and reshaping the text to be as clear as possible in as few words as possible for a listening audience. That means speaking the text as well reading it over and over again, looking for ways to improve it. At some point, I must give up the effort and move on. My virtue is also my failure... sometimes I don't know when to quit.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1375, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Bahamani Sultanate, IndyaChalo.com, 2012 [last update]
  2. Rajadhyaksha, Abhijit. (history buff) Indian History: Bahamani Sultanate of Deccan, IndianHistory-Ace.blogspot.com, April 10, 2011.
  3. Facts Facts About Alcohol Poisoning, CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov, July 11, 2007 [last update]
  4. Vijayanagara (Karnata ) Empire - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Bahmani Sultanate - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Kay Bahman - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. British Raj - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 269-271. (BOOK) quote="Left unemployed by the truce, the companies in France reverted to plundering [...] the royal government had attempted by a sweeping ordinance to bring the units under control. [....] Their brigandage continued. [...] Sire de Coucy' [...] was to be a new Pied Piper who could lead the brigands out of France in a foreign war—his own."
  9. 1300-1400 AD, from History Central, Multieducator, Inc. quote="1372 AD Revival Of Hundred Year War off La Rochelle- The Hundred Years War resumed when the French fleet defeated the British fleet off La Rochelle y France. The French were helped by a powerful fleet from Castile. On June 27, 1375 the French and English signed the Truce of Bruges. Under its terms, the British presence in France was limited to Calia, Brest, Bordeaux and Bayonne."
  10. Cantor, Norman F., In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made, Harper Perennial, 2001. p. 130. (BOOK)
  11. Hundred Years' War (1369-89) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Gugler - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. House of Habsburg - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Hongwu Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  16. Brook, Timothy. The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. University of California Press. September 1, 1999. p. 32. (BOOK) quote="In 1375 the emperor received a memorial from Ru Taisu, a bureau secretary of the Ministry of Justice that was 17,000 characters long. [...] When the lector got to the 16,370th character, Hongwu took offense at two harsh passages, and had the man summoned and beaten at court."

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