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Quality Control the Hard Way

The Hanseatic League [hahn-say-ah-tic] is a guild of merchants with strict rules on commerce and quality control. They recently took over the herring trade from Finland due to problems with rotting fish at the bottom of the barrel. The League can be quite forceful at times. This year they caught a British fishing vessel violating the League's fishing grounds so they tied up the crew of 96 men and tossed them overboard to drown. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The original mandate of the League was to protect German shipping from pirates and to improve business practices with their neighbors. When a business community runs by consistent rules, a business can plan ahead and run smoothly. Even when things go wrong, the rules make it clear what will happen and like it or not, one knows what the consequences are for NOT following the rules. Over all the League will improve commerce, but their methods of enforcement make it difficult to distinguish the League from the pirates they are protecting the community from. [2]

Great Schism: Pope Innocent Returns to Rome

Two years ago Pope Innocent the 7th in Rome elevated his nephew to cardinal. The Cardinal then rounded up several of Rome's leading troublemakers and murdered them. Rome dissolved into riots and the Pope vacated the Vatican with the Romans in hot pursuit. This year Pope Innocent returns triumphant after his troops restore order. Frankly, the Romans want order but by November the Pope will be dead. Although people suspect foul play there is no evidence of murder. Pope Gregory the 12th will succeed him before the year is out. [3] [4]

As a side note: Mad King Charles of France has already chased Antipope Benedict the 13th out of Avignon but the Great Schism is not yet over.[5].

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Pope in Rome is trying to reestablish the Church at the Vatican, but it is dangerous, so one wonders whose bright idea is was to try it in the first place? There is an answer to that question... Saint Catherine of Siena... an amazingly pious woman who inspired Pope Gregory the 11th to move the papacy from Avignon back to Rome where he died almost the moment he arrived. So a Pope in Avignon was elected by the cardinals who didn't like the move to Rome, and a Pope in Rome was elected by the Roman cardinals. Thus began the Great Schism... and this is the reason one should use caution when taking the advice of pious people like Saint Catherine. Pious people are not always the most practical people. As it turned out she was correct... but it is 26 years into this project it's not over yet.[6]

Italy: Selling Out Pisa

Italy is not yet Italy. It is like Greece was in ancient times... various warring states fueled by petty jealousies and dynastic feuds that have gone on for generations. It's the Hatfields against the McCoys and for the city of Pisa, the McCoys have just won. Gabriele Maria Visconti is a nobleman of Milan who recently inherited Pisa and the lands surrounding it but Florence has sent ships to take it. Fearing he wouldn't be able to hold the city (which was a valid concern), Gabriele entered into secret negotiations and sold Pisa to Florence for 200,000 florins. (29.4 million dollars as of August 11, 2014.) The people of Pisa were shocked and horrified. They rebelled but it has been a century since Pisa was a significant military force so they finally surrender to Florence this year. Next year Gabriele Maria Visconti will lose his head as he tries to collect on his share of the florins. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the long run it is often cheaper and more sensible to settle disputes over land by simply paying for it. Certainly the United States learned this lesson. After the Mexican-American War in 1847, Mexico relinquished land that became California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Wyoming but the Treaty of Hidalgo was unclear about the southern portion of Arizona and New Mexico. The Gadsden Purchase offered $10 million dollars ($260 million in today's dollars) to settle the dispute and Mexico agreed. The US Senate ratified the Gadsden Treaty in 1854. Apparently this area is still under dispute as Mexican nationals continue to cross the border in this area. [12] [13]

Interesting Extra: The Gadsden Purchase allowed the family of author Linda Chavez to become US citizens. Linda Chavez was a Bush nominee for Secretary of Labor but she withdrew when it was discovered that she had hired an illegal alien as a domestic worker. Her book Out of the Barrio is worth reading.[14] [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1406, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History. New York:Penguin Books. 2002. (BOOK) quote="In 1406, the Hanseatics caught ninety-six British fishermen off Bergen, tied their hands and feet, and threw them overboard."
  2. Hanseatic League - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Durant, Will and Durant, Ariel. The Story Of Civilization, Volume 5, The Renaissance: A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D.. 1953. pp. 402-403. (BOOK)
  4. Pope Innocent VII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Antipope Benedict XIII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Catherine of Siena - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Gabriele Maria Visconti, Signore di Piza, Sarzana e Crema b. 1385 of, Milano, Lombardy, Italy d. 15 Dec 1407 Genoa, Liguria, Italy - Community Trees Project. histfam.familysearch.org. 2014 [last update]
  8. Gabriele Maria Visconti - Wikipedia. it.wikipedia.org. 2014 [last update]. lang=Italian. quote="Florence then bought the lordship of Pisa by Gabriele Maria (meanwhile retired to Sarzana) for 200,000 gold florins (of which three-fifths went to Boucicaut, the rest of the Visconti); acquiring the city, with its harbor, Florence had its own access to the sea, thus being able to compete with Genoa, but the transition was not well accepted in Florence to Pisa, where an uprising broke out again, to which the Florentines responded by placing the 'siege', which ended with the conquest of the city exhausted."
  9. House of Visconti - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Gold Price Calculator, goldprice.org, 2014 [last update]
  11. Toren van Pisa, dutchthings.nl, 2014 [last update]. lang=Dutch with an English quote. quote="In 1392 Pisa was sold to Florence, a big humiliation for the people of Pisa. The [sic] started a rebellion but in 1406 they had to surrender because they were under siege and everybody was dying of starvation."
  12. Mexican-American War - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Gadsden Purchase - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Chavez, Linda. Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation. New York: Basic Books. 1992. (BOOK)
  15. Linda Chavez - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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