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The Spaniards Call Galveston, Texas "The Island of Doom" *

80 Spaniards wash up on the shores of Galveston Island on makeshift rafts. Their ships had sunk in an earlier storm and the commander of the expedition has gone to the bottom leaving his second in command, Álvar Núñez to carry on. Núñez names Galveston "The Island of Doom." Winter is coming and the Indians welcome them but after the Indians come down with a terrible bowel disease, the Spaniards are left out in the cold. By next spring, only 15 men from the expedition will be left alive. Núñez will take his men overland to find Mexico but they will wander, sometimes being captured and enslaved by the Indians. They won't see another Spaniard until 1536. By then only four men will be left: two low-level noblemen (called hidalgos), an African slave, and Núñez himself. Despite his struggles with the Indians, Núñez will oppose enslaving the Indians probably because he understood slavery, having been a slave himself. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Galveston and Pelican Islands take the brunt of many storms. In 1900, a category 4 hurricane struck Galveston. Without satellites and Doppler radar to warn the residents, 6,000 to 12,000 people were killed though they didn't die all at once. Disease claimed many who had insufficient shelter, food and water. With more warning, they could have evacuated sooner. In 2008, Hurricane Ike did extensive damage to Galveston, Houston and surrounding areas but the death toll was less than 90. Texas was prepared and Austin, was one of the designated evacuation centers. As part of the ROTC program, my son spent a lot of time organizing those refugees. He didn't understand why officials gave him an award for that work, but you have to accept those things as they come along. It encourages the others. [5] [6]

Plague and another round of Sweating Sickness Hits England

The Plague hasn't gone away. Europe is in the midst of the Second Pandemic but no one is calling it that. Plague is simply in the background. Nuremberg, Germany will lose a thousand souls in an average year... mostly children. In England the 4th epidemic of the Sweating Sickness has begun. It spreads rapidly and makes the jump to Hamburg. More than a thousand people die within a few weeks. It moves from place to place, spending a couple of weeks at a time and then moves on. There is no cure but death.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Medical historians suspect Sweating Sickness may have been a different form of the Hanta virus. It burns itself out by the mid-1500s. It must have mutated into something less virulent and destructive but there were plenty of other diseases they had to worry about in the 1500s. [7] [8] [9]

Henan, China is Starving to Death due to Bad Insurance

Last year the Chinese decided to cut back on their food reserves in order to save money. That decision is killing them now. The Provence of Henan is experiencing drought and will continue to do so. Starvation and cannibalism will follow. This is what the food reserves were meant for. People will die because their "food insurance" had no backing in real reserves. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Food and fuel reserves are there for a reason. It is like insurance. Sure it costs money. Sure you'd have more in your pocket if you didn't have to pay for something you aren't really using, but when you need insurance... you really need it. Some insurance seems useless, though. My friend took out damage insurance for his phone since he is mechanic. One day he closed the hood of a car and heard the crunch of his phone going bye-bye. His insurance has a large deductible and after calling around he found that it would have been cheaper to pay a guy directly to fix his phone. That's the problem with insurance. Insurance that is at a low enough price to feel comfortable is probably not good enough to help you when you really need it.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1528, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Cabeza de Vaca discovers Texas — History.com This Day in History — 11/6/1528. History.com (November 6, 1528). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “On this day, the Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is shipwrecked on a low sandy island off the coast of Texas. Starving, dehydrated, and desperate, he is the first European to set foot on the soil of the future Lone Star state.”
  2. Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca. PBS (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “Storms, thirst and starvation had reduced the expedition to about eighty survivors when a hurricane dumped Cabeza de Vaca and his companions on the Gulf Coast near what is now Galveston, Texas. They were initially welcomed, but, as Cabeza de Vaca was to remember, 'half the natives died from a disease of the bowels and blamed us.' For the next four years he and a steadily dwindling number of his comrades lived in the complex native world of what is now East Texas, a world in which Cabeza transformed himself from a conquistador into a trader and healer.”
  3. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “Two crafts with about 40 survivors each, including Cabeza de Vaca, wrecked on or near Galveston Island (now part of Texas). Out of the 80 or so survivors, only 15 lived past the winter. The explorers called the island Malhado (&lquot;Ill fate&rquot; in Spanish), or the Island of Doom.”
  4. Hidalgo (nobility) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “In popular usage, the term hidalgo identifies a nobleman without a hereditary title. In practice, hidalgos were exempted from paying taxes, yet owned little real property.”
  5. 1900 Galveston hurricane - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. By contrast, the second-deadliest storm to strike the United States, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane, caused more than 2,500 deaths, and the deadliest storm of recent times, Hurricane Katrina, claimed the lives of approximately 1,800 people.”
  6. Effects of Hurricane Ike in Texas - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015.
  7. The Sweating Sickness Returns. DiscoverMagazine.com (June 1, 1997). Retrieved on 14 December 2014. “Now physicians Vanya Gant and Guy Thwaites, both of St. Thomas' Hospital in London, think they may have identified the killer. Sudor Anglicus, they say, may have been an early version of a disease that has made headlines in recent years: hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which erupted in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest in the summer of 1993.”
  8. Sweating-Sickness 'English Sweat' - England Under the Tudors. Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition. Volume 26 (2014). Retrieved on 14 December 2014. “The malady was remarkably rapid in its course, being sometimes fatal even in two or three hours, and some patients died in less than that time. More commonly it was protracted to a period of twelve to twenty-four hours, beyond which it rarely lasted. Those who survived for twenty-four hours were considered safe.”
  9. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). CDC.gov (2014). Retrieved on 15 December 2014. “Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure.”
  10. Henan - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 25 February 2015.
  11. 1528 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 26 February 2015. “In Henan province of China, during the mid Ming Dynasty, a vast drought deprives the region of harvests for the next two years, killing off half the people in some communities due to starvation and cannibalism.”

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