1403

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Taxes: The Bottom of the Barrel

The "German Merchant Guild" or Hanseatic League [hahn-say-ah-tic] began as a union of merchants formed for the mutual defense of German shipping and consistent commerce laws. The League expanded to include non-German regions that saw benefit from the German commercial rules but the Danes felt they were being crowded out and went to war with them in 1360. Now the League has won control over the herring market and is imposing excellent quality control and importing better and cheaper salt from Portugal. In time the Hanseatic League will control something like 40,000 ships and command over 300,000 men. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Poor quality control over the packing of herring in barrels has caused problems in the past. Often the salt brine was cut with ash to save money but it reduced the salt's preservative quality so that the herring rotted. The rotten fish would be repacked at THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL and good herring would be packed on top. The Hanseatic League put a stop to this practice, burned any rotten herring and used cheaper salt from Portugal. Portuguese salt was cheaper because of their LOWER TAX structure. The League used the savings to pay for the shipping and improve the quality of the end product.

Korean Type Casting

The Korean government has commissioned thousands of Chinese characters to be cast in metal movable type. Chinese symbols represent entire words or concepts. Those symbols tend to be complex so they are often handwritten by skilled scribes or creating stamps in wood and inking them to allow consistency and speed in writing. Casting 100,000 traditional characters in metal will speed things up considerably. The Gutenberg Press won't be invented until 1436, but this is the first time a system like Gutenberg's movable metal type will be used. [2] [3]

In 1443 the Koreans will introduce the Hangul symbols that most people think of as "Korean writing." The symbols work as an alphabet but the characters are grouped into blocks rather than like English where each character is written in a line. Hangul characters won't be completely accepted in Korea until the 20th century. [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Traditional Chinese symbols are complex and often constructed from smaller symbols. For example... the Chinese symbol for "house" looks something like a house. The symbol for "woman" looks something like a woman and the symbol for "trouble" looks like two women under one roof! My Mandarin Chinese language teacher had a good laugh over that one. I hope you all enjoyed it too. [8]

Henry Hotspur Gets One to the Head

The English called him "Hotspur" probably because of his impulsiveness and for his winning ways as a knight in the battles against the Scots. In turn, the Scots call him "Hot Spoor" as a crude joke. Henry "Hotspur" Percy is a knight and was a one time favorite of King Henry the 4th of England because of Hotspur's help in deposing King Richard the 2nd, but now good old Hotspur has had a change of heart. He has joined the Welsh in their rebellion against King Henry and at the Battle of Shrewsbury, there will be one less Henry to kick around. Hotspur raises the faceplate of his armor just as an arrow comes flying through, killing him instantly. King Henry will have him buried but with rumors of Hotspur still alive, Henry has the body exhumed and has Hotspur's head mounted on a pike for all to see. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Henry Hotspur's name is perfect for a knight. It reminds folks that he "won his spurs" in battle as all traditional knights must do and he was quick to react. His name lives on in modern times. The Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is a soccer team in Tottenham, London, but they used to play in Northumberland Park which is an area associated with Henry Hotspur and thus where they got the nickname "The Spurs". [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1403, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History. New York:Penguin Books. 2002. (BOOK) quote="By 1403, when the Hanseatic League gained complete control of Bergen, Norway, it had achieved a monopoly on northern European production of herring and salt but not without constant warfare with rebellious Baltic states."
  2. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. ISBN pp. 335-337. (BOOK) quote="One hundred thousand Chinese characters were cast in 1403 and other founts were produced successively during the course of the fifteenth century."
  3. Printing press - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Hangul - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Movable Type: In Korea - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Logogram - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Featural alphabet - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Alex Shrugged Notes: I took a class in Mandarin Chinese in high school in order to support a friend. I only remember a little bit of Chinese but it comes in handy on occasion. I volunteer for a phone hotline and when a Chinese woman called in to ask a question I impressed her with a few words in Chinese. She seemed delighted to know I had bothered to learn a little bit of her language.
  9. Henry Percy: Biography from Answers.com, answers.com, 2014 [last update]
  10. Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, ShakespeareandHistory.com, 2014 [last update]
  11. Sir Henry Percy, called Hotspur (1364-1403). Luminarium.org. 2014 [last update]
  12. Battle of Shrewsbury - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Battle of Shrewsbury - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Feces (Spoor) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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