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The Economics of Measles in Cuba and Honduras *

Two thirds of all native Cubans and half of all Hondurans will be dead within the next 2 years as a measles epidemic sweeps through the New World. Loss of labor due to disease has become a serious monetary issue. Indians slaves are dying in massive numbers and so are European slaves. For example: 2,000 Jewish children were forced to work the fields in the New World. Less than 500 survived. A business cannot sustain 75% labor losses yearly when they are paying huge transportation costs just to get laborers into the fields. (FYI: I'm Jewish so I can make this calculation without being called a ... well... you know.) African slaves are even MORE expensive to bring to the New World but sickle cell anemia helps them to survive. Also many African slaves were exposed to childhood diseases like yellow fever. With crops in the field, it is biology as well as necessity that brings African slaves to the New World. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is odd to think of "yellow fever" as a childhood disease but usually African children are able to fight it off. Those who had insufficient immune systems died as babies and never passed on those genes. That process played out long ago in Africa. It's not the kind of "disease prevention program" I'd support, but the Indians experienced a similar process with the measles epidemic. Measles can spread like wildfire, and in the modern day if your kid catches it you can't take him to daycare. You'd cause a riot, so you must stay home with your child. If you take time off from work, measles becomes an economic issue as much as a biological one. [4]

An Ottoman for Your Living Room

Suleiman the Magnificent has proven to be an excellent tactician both in war and politics but he will make all the wrong moves at the Siege of Vienna. It began when the Ottomans finally took Belgrade which is the same strategic point that Attila the Hun held in 441. With southern Hungry in Ottoman hands, the Holy Roman Emperor claims the Hungarian throne so Suleiman slogs through the spring mud and pushes him back to Vienna. Nothing brings unity like a common enemy, especially when that enemy is a proven threat. Austria, Hungry and Bohemia unite to fend off the Ottomans, but what really defeats the Ottomans is the weather. The spring rains force him to leave his heavy siege cannons behind and with winter setting in he can't wait out the city defenders. A united Austria-Hungry will remain until 1918 when it will be broken up along with the Ottoman Empire. [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
These Muslim warriors both frightened and fascinated Christians. The Turks were using a backless seat as part of their furniture. It was a style that Christians borrowed. They named this low seat an "ottoman" and the word stuck. People will have ottomans in their homes into the modern day.[9]

The Lutherans Become the Protestants

The Holy Roman Emperor is under pressure from the Ottoman Turks so the last thing he needs is the Lutherans giving him a hard time so a new Diet is formed at Speyer to square things up. Unfortunately, his brother didn't get the memo. The Emperor's brother, Ferdinand, reads them the riot act. In turn the "Lutheran princes" (that is... the nobles who support Martin Luther) write out their protest against such heavy-handed treatment. Thereafter they will be called the "Protestants" since they protested these edicts. The word will also apply to anyone who objects to the Catholic Church and is willing to break away from its hierarchy. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Protestants are also protesting against each other. As in the case of the Anabaptists, division amongst the Protestants seems to be a defining characteristic of the overall movement. That is not a criticism, but an observation. Reform within the Catholic Church in the 1500s was not possible since anyone who really wanted reform had already left. Within Judaism, this chaos and division did not occur until the 1800s for reasons I'll explain when we get there. For the year 1529, this chaos is all Christian. It's going to get better... but not before it gets much worse.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1529, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Measles - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 January 2015. “In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of the natives who had previously survived smallpox. Two years later, measles was responsible for the deaths of half the population of Honduras, and had ravaged Mexico, Central America, and the Inca civilization.”
  2. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “Before Colón (Columbus -- ed.) none of the epidemic diseases common in Europe and Asia existed in the Americas. The viruses that cause smallpox, influenza, hepatitis, measles, encephalitis, and viral pneumonia; the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera, typhus, scarlet fever, and bacterial meningitis--by a quirk of evolutionary history, all were unknown in the Western Hemisphere.” 
  3. Outbreak of Measles -- San Diego, California, January--February 2008. Center for Disease Control (January 2008). Retrieved on 18 January 2015. “Once ubiquitous, measles now is uncommon in the United States. In the prevaccine era, 3 to 4 million measles cases occurred every year, resulting in approximately 450 deaths, 28,000 hospitalizations, and 1,000 children with chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis. Because of successful implementation of measles vaccination programs, fewer than 100 measles cases are now reported annually in the United States and virtually all of those are linked to imported cases (2,3), reflecting the incidence of measles globally and travel patterns of U.S. residents and visitors.”
  4. Yellow fever - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 February 2015.
  5. Historical Timeline of Vienna (PDF). Expat Center Vienna. 2014 [last update] (TIMELINE) Quote: "1529 The first Turkish siege of Vienna."
  6. Siege of Vienna - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 February 2015.
  7. Siege of Vienna 1529 Sultan Suleiman I Ottoman Empire. wien-vienna.com (2015). Retrieved on 27 February 2015. “The invasion and its climactic siege, however, exacted a heavy price from both sides, with tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians dead and thousands more sold into slavery. It marked the end of the Ottomans' expansion towards the centre of Europe and arguably the beginning of their long decline as the dominant power of the Renaissance world”
  8. Szczepanski, Kallie (2015). Suleiman the Magnificent Biography. about.com. Retrieved on 27 February 2015. “Suleiman's army of perhaps 120,000 reached Vienna in late September, damp and sickly after marching through an unusually rainy spring and summer in Europe. The Ottomans had been forced to abandon most of their heavy artillery and siege machines, which got mired in thick mud along the way, so they had only 300 light cannons with which to try to bring down Vienna's walls.”
  9. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “He was by far the strongest ruler in Europe, and the Western Christians were in terror of him. Nevertheless, there is cultural borrowing even across the harshest and most fearful enemy lines. An overstuffed backless seat, popular among the Turks, was adopted by the West and called an ottoman in consideration of its origin.” 
  10. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “In 1529, however, a gathering of notables took place at Speier on the Rhine River, and Charles now took a hard line against the Lutherans. In anger, a group of Lutheran princes promptly drew up a document protesting this action. The signers were naturally termed the Protestants...” 
  11. Diet of Speyer (1529) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 February 2015. “The Diet of Speyer was convened in March 1529, for action against the Turks, whose armies were pressing forward in Hungary, and would besiege Vienna later in the year, and against the further progress of Protestantism.”

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