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'I am Samoset. Do you have any Beer?' The Pilgrims Meet the Prince of Darkness *

The winter death toll has been severe. Of the 102 original men, women and children to wade ashore last year, only 52 Pilgrims remain. The 1st governor of Plymouth is dead, so Captain Miles Standish takes charge. They can hear the movement of large numbers of Indians in the forest, so security has become the number one priority. Thus, when an Indian comes walking into town, everyone scrambles. He seems not to notice. It is as if he is taking a stroll down the lane on a summer day. A Pilgrim blocks his way and the Indian smiles, holds out his hand and says in English, "Welcome Englishmen! I am Samoset. Do you have any beer?" In fact, they don't have any beer but they feed him and offer him some "strong drink". Later, Samoset returns with another Indian named Squanto whose tribe once occupied the area. (They died of a plague and the Pilgrims can see their bones littering the landscape.) Together, the Pilgrims and Indians work out the first peace treaty of North America. When a good harvest comes in, the Pilgrims offer a thanksgiving feast to the Lord. The Indians are invited. They have been an integral part of the success of the colony. This Thanksgiving feast is not the first for North America but it is a notable one. George Washington will declare a day of Thanksgiving in 1789, but Thanksgiving will not become a U.S. national holiday until Abraham Lincoln makes it official in 1863. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. About Satan... everything I said was true (as far as I can determine the truth) but there are some serious issues going on behind the scenes. Even though the Indians helped out the Pilgrims in the spring, they also let them die in droves the previous winter. They waited because the Indians had recent bad experiences with Englishmen but after observing the Pilgrims, they realized that these Englishmen were babes in the woods... clueless. The Pilgrims were not quite the fools the Indians thought they were. Nevertheless, Samoset was sent waltzing into town since he had some English skills. Squanto had better English skills but he was a problem. He took the name of the Indian god of darkness. It would be like a stranger walking up and saying, "Hi! I'm the Prince of Darkness, but my friends call me Satan! Would you like to share the blood of an unclean sacrifice with me?" I'd say "No" to that one. Eventually they became aware of Squanto's secondary motives, but you can't tell the kiddies about that stuff, so the story has been cleaned up over the years. [10] [11]

Blood for Nutmeg and New York: The Banda Islands Massacre

Nutmeg is an amazingly expensive and rare spice found only on the Banda Islands (otherwise known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia). The Dutch East India Company has managed to chase out the weakening Portuguese merchants and have strong-armed the Banda Island natives into a treaty that sounds more like a contract with a mobster: "You trade your valuable stuff for some of my worthless junk. I'll be happy and you will be poor so it works." The natives are forced to buy wool blankets in the tropical climate of the East Indies, but the natives have had enough. They refuse to keep to the treaty so the Dutch bring in the big guns. The Islands are the home of an estimated 15,000 natives. 1,000 are immediately put to death. The rest are enslaved but it won't be enough. The Dutch will bring in more slaves from Java to increase production. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The English East India Company had claim to Run Island, one of the minor Banda Islands in 1621. They weren't getting a lot of production out of it but it was still a valuable piece of real estate. In 1667 the English traded away the Island of Run for a useless, snow-covered piece of rock in the New World called Manhattan Island. Knowing the future, this probably seems like a good deal in the modern day, but back in the 1600s Great Britain was forced into this agreement after losing the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War.[17] [18]

Just as a warning: nutmeg can produce hallucinogenic effects if taken in large quantities. I remember a chef publishing a recipe for spice cookies or some confection like that. In typing out the recipe, he called for several CUPS of nutmeg. It would have killed anyone who actually took him seriously and could somehow choke down the resulting confection. 0.3 ounces of nutmeg can cause seizures. [19] [20]

The 30 Years' War, the 80 Years' War and the Battle for Fallujah

The 80 Years' War started back in 1568 when the Spanish Netherlands began a revolt against the King of Spain, Philip the 2nd. That fight resulted in the 12 Years' Truce which established the Dutch Republic as a de facto separate entity. But that is all over now. King Philip the 2nd is dead. King Philip the 3rd has died this year and King Philip the 4th has taken the throne of Spain and Portugal at the age of 16. He's a kid with a really big toy in his hands. He is a serious kid, though. He listens carefully to his advisors. By all accounts he is diligent and disciplined. During his entire reign he will be seen to laugh only 3 times. There is not much to laugh about. The 80 Years' War is a bloody mess and it can be seen as part of the 30 Years' War in many respects. Both wars are going to kill millions. [21] [22] [23]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You are seeing what happens when young idealists grab hold of the reigns of power instead of letting crabby old cynics fight for stability. You get change you can believe in... and more often than not... a lot more people dead. This is why a young soldier is warned, "Don't be a hero!" It is usually best to think before acting. Example: In the book "We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah," the author, Patrick O'Donnell, was accompanying a group of Marines. He had flown to their position so the author had a reasonable idea of the conditions on the battlefield. (I think he was almost shot down.) The Marines wanted to attack a certain position. They were getting all worked up before they jumped into a hail of bullets when the author stopped them. He had seen the enemy position as he flew over. The Marines had not. The position was too firmly held and their group was too small to take it. They needed a lot more support which they didn't have at the moment. Later the author ran that decision by an officer. The officer thanked him for stopping his Marines from throwing away their lives on that one. (I am relating that story from memory of a book I read a long time ago. I hope I did the author justice. He deserves it.) [24]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1621, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Samoset - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “On March 16, 1621, Samoset entered the encampment at Plymouth and spoke to the colonists in English, saying, 'Welcome, Englishmen! I am Samoset. Do you have any beer?' After spending the night with the Pilgrims, he left to return with five others, who brought deerskins to trade. As it was Sunday, the colonists declined to trade that day, but offered them some food.”
  2. Squanto - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 July 2015. “On March 22, 1621, the Abenaki sagamore Samoset, who was visiting Wampanoag Chief Massasoit, introduced Squanto to the Plymouth colonists near the site of his former village. It is widely believed that he helped them recover from an extremely hard first winter by teaching them the native method of maize cultivation, which buried local fish (menhaden) in the soil to fertilize crops. In 1621, Squanto was the guide and translator for settlers Stephen Hopkins and Edward Winslow as they traveled upland on a diplomatic mission to the Wampanoag sachem, known today as Massasoit.”
  3. Myles Standish - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “A defining characteristic of Standish's military leadership was his proclivity for preemptive action which resulted in at least two attacks (or small skirmishes) on different groups of Native Americans—the Nemasket raid and the Wessagusset massacre. During these actions, Standish exhibited considerable courage and skill as a soldier, but also demonstrated a brutality that angered Native Americans and disturbed more moderate members of the Colony.”
  4. Mohegan people - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “The word Mohegan translates in their respective Algonquin dialects (Mohegan-Pequot language) as 'People of the Wolf'.”
  5. Massasoit - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “According to English sources, Massasoit prevented the failure of Plymouth Colony and the almost certain starvation that the Pilgrims faced during the earliest years of the colony's establishment. Moreover, Massasoit forged critical political and personal ties with the colonial leaders John Carver, Stephen Hopkins, Edward Winslow, William Bradford, and Miles Standish – ties which grew out of a negotiated peace treaty on March 22, 1621.”
  6. Samoset - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “On March 16, 1621, the settlers were more than surprised when Samoset strolled straight through the middle of the encampment at Plymouth Colony and greeted them in English, which he had begun to learn from English fishermen frequenting the waters of what now is Maine.”
  7. Thanksgiving (United States) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “The event that Americans commonly call the 'First Thanksgiving' was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans (as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow) and 53 Pilgrims.”
  8. Thanksgiving - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 August 2015. “In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned the colony's thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.”
  9. Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. AbrahamLincolnOnline.org (1863). Retrieved on 9 August 2015. “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
  10. Philbrick, Nathaniel. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781101218839. Retrieved on 3 August 2014. “Squanto had named himself for the Indian spirit of darkness, who often assumed the form of snakes and eels. It was no accident that he used eels to cement his bond with the Pilgrims.” 
  11. Alex Shrugged notes: I'm not sure why Squanto named himself after the Indian god of darkness. I assume it was because after years of effort he finally made it home, only to find his entire tribe dead and these Pilgrims taking over his tribe's plot of land. I can imagine someone calling himself, "The Omen of Destruction" or any number of depressing names because apparently everything he touched turned to crap. Luckily, this colony succeeded.
  12. Banda Islands: Massacre of the Bandanese - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “In 1621 well-armed soldiers were landed on Bandaneira Island and within a few days they had also occupied neighbouring and larger Lontar. The orang kaya were forced at gunpoint to sign an unfeasibly arduous treaty, one that was in fact impossible to keep, thus providing Coen an excuse to use superior Dutch force against the Bandanese. The Dutch quickly noted a number of alleged violations of the new treaty, in response to which Coen launched a punitive massacre.”
  13. The world's oldest clove tree - BBC News. bbc.co.uk (23 June 2012). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “And just as corporations today seek to monopolise plant genes in the developing world, the Voc set about seizing total control of spice production.”
  14. The Banda Islands - a Brief History of the Spice Islands - Indonesia. dive-the-world.com (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “Apart from the scuba diving tourist economy, fishing and nutmeg are the only 2 industries that the Bandas have. Nutmeg is a large evergreen tree, native to the Moluccas and the Spice Islands, and is now cultivated in the West Indies. The fruit produces 2 spices - mace and nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed kernel inside the fruit and mace is the lacy aril covering on the kernel.”
  15. History of Nutmeg Spice. about.com (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “The Dutch soon followed the Portuguese to Indonesia, but they proved unwilling to simply join the queue of spice shippers. Traders from the Netherlands provoked the Bandanese by demanding spices in return for useless and unwanted goods, like thick woolen clothing and damask cloth, which was completely unsuitable for tropical climes. Traditionally, Arab, Indian, and Portuguese traders had offered much more practical items: silver, medicines, Chinese porcelain, copper, and steel. Relations between the Dutch and Bandanese started out sour, and quickly went down-hill.”
  16. Nutmeg History. spiceskerala.com (2013). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “The trade in nutmeg later became dominated by the Dutch in the 17th century, who managed to establish control over the Banda Islands after an extended military campaign that culminated in the massacre or expulsion of most of the islands' inhabitants in 1621. Thereafter, the Banda Islands were run as a series of plantation estates, with the Dutch mounting annual expeditions in local war-vessels to extirpate nutmeg trees planted elsewhere.”
  17. Treaty of Breda (1667) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “In the East Indies, the Dutch secured a worldwide monopoly on nutmeg by forcing England to give up their claim on Run, the most remote of the Banda Islands.”
  18. East India Company - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “The East India Company (EIC), also known as Honourable East India Company, or John company was an English and later British joint-stock company,[2] formed to pursue trade with the East Indies, but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and Qing China.”
  19. 21 Deadly Dishes - The Daily Meal. thedailymeal.com (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “How much could kill you: Yes, you can trip on it, but it's said that eating just 0.2 oz of nutmeg could lead to convulsions, and 0.3 oz could lead to seizures. Eating one whole will supposedly lead to a type of 'nutmeg psychosis, which includes a sense of impending doom.”
  20. Alex Shrugged notes: I apologize for being so vague about this nutmeg incident. I remember it happening but when I searched for a citation I couldn't lay my hands on it.
  21. Philip IV of Spain - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 August 2015. “Olivares rapidly became Philip's most trusted advisor and when Philip ascended the throne in 1621, at the age of sixteen, he showed his confidence in Olivares by ordering that all papers requiring the royal signature should first be sent to the count-duke. Philip retained Olivares as his confidant and chief minister for the next twenty years.”
  22. Twelve Years' Truce - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “It was a watershed in the Eighty Years' War, marking the point from which the independence of the United Provinces received formal recognition by outside powers. For the time of its duration, the Truce allowed King Philip III and his favorite minister the Duke of Lerma to disengage from the conflict in the Low Countries and devote their energies to the internal problems of the Spanish Monarchy. The Archdukes Albert and Isabella used the years of the Truce to consolidate Habsburg rule and to implement the Counter-Reformation in the territories under their sovereignty.”
  23. Philip IV of Spain - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 7 August 2015. “Philip IV of Spain (Spanish: Felipe IV; 8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665) was King of Spain (as Philip IV in Castille and Philip III in Aragon) and Portugal as Philip III (Portuguese: Filipe III). He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Spain until his death and in Portugal until 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the challenging period of the Thirty Years' War.”
  24. Patrick K. O'Donnell. We Were One. Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780306814693. 

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