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A Suddenly Missing Island

The second largest eruption in history, in terms of measurable sulfur in ice deposits, occurs this year. (The exact date varies depending on which authority one cites.) According to the local story, most of the Island of Kuwae was destroyed leaving two smaller islands on either side of of a really big empty space now filled with ocean. The two islands that are left are now called Tongoa Island and Epi Island. Kuwae is has become an underwater volcano. The release of sulfur from this eruption is 6 times larger than the Philippines eruption of Mount Penatubo in 1991. It will remain an active volcano into the modern day with the last confirmed underwater eruption in 1974. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Scientists can only estimate when this eruption occurred within a few years. Not a lot of witnesses survived to tell the tale of this exploding island. Those who survived in the general area were not that interested in keeping accurate records. We can do is speculate on the effects this eruption had on weather conditions: as with other massive volcanic eruptions, the world temperature would drop by a degree or more. Along with the lengthened the winters for the Little Ice Age, this temperature drop will keep snow on the ground longer and shorten and already short growing season. Volcanic eruptions also produce rains out of season and less sun during summer and fall. All of this means less than optimum harvests. Unless the people have enough food preserved and stored, famine soon follows.

The New Hussite King

George of Podiebrad has been named King of Bohemia after a long struggle with Roman papal supporters and the more radical elements of the Hussite movement. King George is a Hussite himself... one of the "Orphans" of John Ziska, the blind man who invented the wooden "tank" and mobile warfare in 1422. King George has taken the throne after the heir of the previous king dies at a young age. Many people think of poisoning, but for the sake of unity, even the Catholics vote to make George king. He will seek peace but the new Pope Pius the 2nd will fight him all the way. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though many people thought that George had murdered young King Ladislaus, they still voted for George probably because the boy was only 17 and he seemed to be a hostage to his cousin, Frederick the 4th, Archduke of Austria. Had they accepted the young Ladislaus, Fredrick would have been running Bohemia in reality. They voted for George as king since he was already running things in Bohemia and he was Bohemian. (Modern experts say the young king died of leukemia and was not poisoned at all.)[8]

The Erfurt Treasure

In 1365 the Jews of Erfurt , Germany were harried and murdered because it was thought they were to blame for the Black Death. When the Jews were gone and the Black Death continued, it was obvious that the Jews were not the cause. During the massacre some of Jews managed to bury a small treasure of gold and silver coins, hoping to return to claim it, but when they returned several years later, the treasure remained hidden. Over the next 100 years the Jewish community was persecuted and abused until Father Juan of Capistrano demanded that the Jews of the city be expelled. The city council resisted until money passed hands and all legal protection for the Jews of the city was removed. After over a hundred years since their return, the Jews are expelled once more. The Erfurt Treasure will remain hidden until 1998 when it will be uncovered during construction. The treasure will be placed on display in the old synagogue which became an armory in 1458 and a museum in the modern day. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is not clear why money had to change hands before the Jews were forced out. I suspect that the city was worried about a financial loss once the Jews left since they were a source of tax revenue and probably provided important services. When a group, such as the Jews, are persecuted, the way a group survives is by making themselves indispensable. The Jews of Erfurt made sure it was more expensive to get rid of them that it was to keep them until someone came up with 450 silver marks and 4,000 gold gulden. (It is difficult to calculate what the modern value of that exchange would be today since the coinage was debased so many times during that period.)[17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1458, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Mount Pinatubo - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 31 October 2014.
  2. Kuwae - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 31 October 2014.
  3. Kuwae - Volcano World - Oregon State University. volcano.oregonstate.edu (2014 [last update]). Retrieved on 31 October 2014.
  4. Global Volcanism Program - Kuwae. volcano.si.edu (2014 [last update]). Retrieved on 31 October 2014.
  5. Luders, David (1996). LEGEND AND HISTORY: DID THE VANUATU-TONGA KAVA TRADE CEASE IN A.D. 1447?. Retrieved on 31 October 2014.
  6. "The history of the planet's biggest volcanic explosions - deep in the ice of Antarctica - Science - News - The Independent", The Independent, Independent News & Media, 06 July 2014. Retrieved on 31 October 2014. “The second largest eruption in terms of sulphate deposits found in the Antarctic ice cores was the explosion of the Kuwae caldera near the Pacific island of Vanuatu, which erupted in 1458.” 
  7. George of Podĕbrady - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  8. Ladislaus the Posthumous - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  9. Erfurt Treasure - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  10. Erfurt: Middle Ages - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  11. Black Death Jewish persecutions - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  12. Erfurt massacre (1349) - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  13. Jewish Community - Jüdisches Leben (2014 [last update]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014. “In 1453 the municipal council revoked the protection of the Jews, and all Jews left the town around this time. Since the year 1454 Jews were no longer tolerated in Erfurt. The Jewish dwellings were sold, the synagogue was converted into an armoury and the cemetery was razed.”
  14. Elector of Mainz - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014. “Both a ruling prince and an archbishop, the Elector of Mainz held a powerful position during the Middle Ages and retained some importance until the dissolution of the empire in 1806.”
  15. Dietrich Schenk von Erbach - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.
  16. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. pp. 115-116. (BOOK) quote="Homeless ghosts, the Jews filtered back from eastern Europe, where the expelled had gone."
  17. ERFURT - JewishEncyclopedia.com (2014 [last update]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014. “In 1454 John Capistrano visited Erfurt, and excited the mob to violence against the Jews. The latter complained to the emperor, who severely remonstrated with the council; but his remonstrances remained unheeded, and in 1450 the council succeeded in obtaining from Elector Dietrich of Mayence, in return for the payment of 450 silver marks and 4,000 gold gulden, permission to banish the Jews from the city.”
  18. John of Capistrano - Wikipedia (2014 [last modified]). Retrieved on 2 November 2014.

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