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The Chinese Secret Police

At the beginning of the Ming dynasty, eunuchs were treated with caution. Now eunuchs make up the majority of the residents in the Forbidden City (the Palace complex at the center of Beijing). They have insinuated themselves in every aspect of the palace bureaucracy and manage the palace guards. In 1382 a secret police force called the chin-i-wei [chin-ee-way] was established to oversee the bureaucracy and enforce strict central control. They will come to regret this decision. The eunuchs are so close to the Emperor that they hear every secret and the Emperor accepts what they say without much investigation. Using blackmail and insinuation, they are working their way into the secret police. In years to come they will wield an enormous amount of power and while some of these eunuchs will remain true to their ideals, the majority will become corrupt and a real problem for China. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
One of the major lessons when reading Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is that very smart people can become very stupid when they don't have the information they need... especially when they are dependent on others to bring the correct information to them at the proper time. The Laputian intellectuals were deep thinkers but they were dependent on their servants called "flappers". The King did not hear unless his servants flapped his ears and he did not speak unless his servants flapped his lips. Thus if a subject needed the king's help a subject first had to convince the King's "flappers" that the king needed to hear it. This gave the "flappers" an enormous amount of power and a potential for corruption. Thus when the President of the United States says "I first learned about it when I read it in the newspapers," this may be an indication that he is too dependent on his "flappers," or he has darker reasons for saying such a foolish thing.

A Sterling Example of Quality Control Out of Control

The Hanseatic [han-see-AH-tic] League (or Fellowship League) began as a means of protecting German shipping through the Baltic Sea and establishing good commerce laws. As their power has grown they've been able to impose quality control standards over the preservation of fish for shipping. One Englishman even suggested that the word "sterling" as in "pound sterling" was a contraction of "Easterling" which was the name given to these Baltic merchants but it seems unlikely. The "Fellowship" fleet has grown so powerful that they are now threatening the Nordic countries. A war is just getting started. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The "Fellowship League" is looking a lot like pirates. They've just about worn out their welcome. They came up with standards that people needed to do business and they enforced those standards but they couldn't leave it at that. Venice is making the same mistake right now. They are acting more like mobsters than merchants as they corner the salt trade in the Mediterranean but they are going to tangle with the Ottomans and its going to hurt them.

Holland Sings!

Holland has become the musical capital of the world! [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have seen this declaration on several timelines but whether it is actually true is unclear. It would take a trip to the library to hunt this down, but one would think Holland would be crowing about it. Yet, aside from a vague declaration in music history timelines, I find nothing. I'm calling BS until proven otherwise.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1426, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. pp. 397-398, 407. (BOOK)
  2. Graham, Amanda. Circumpolar History Timetables: 1400-1449. 2001. (PDF DOCUMENT) Quote: "the Hanseatic League began a regular war against the Nordic Union." (Kirkeby, Ch. 3)
  3. Hanseatic League - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Easterling - definition of Easterling by The Free Dictionary. 2014 [last update] | Quote: "a. 1. Relating to the money of the Easterlings, or Baltic traders. See Sterling."
  5. Online Etymology Dictionary. 2014 [last update]
  6. Easterling theory (Sterling Judaica). 2010 [last update]
  7. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 204. (BOOK) Quote: "Holland becomes the center of European music."
  8. Early Renaissance Music History Timeline. ClassicalWorks.com, 2014 [last update]

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