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The Year of the Three Musketeers *

The novel "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas won't be published until 1844 but the stories in the book are set in France between the years 1625 and 1631. This is an historical novel so many of the characters are real people in a fictional plot while historical events surround them. D'Artagnan is a real person though he is really nothing like the character in the book. Queen Anne of Austria (queen consort to King Louis the 13th) is real, filled with intrigues and tragic in many ways... really. Cardinal Richelieu is real and quite the villain both in the story and in reality. So these people were good subjects for speculation in a novel that will remain popular into the modern day. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Cardinal Richelieu has often been the subject of speculation in popular novels, and films. From what I read in historical accounts (meaning real history books) he seems to have loved France and wanted to keep it whole as a national entity and under the rule of a French king. To that purpose he moved Heaven and Earth. That means a lot of people got pushed out of the way, good and hard. His spy network was real and he really did manipulate the 30 Year's War to pit the Protestant King Gustav the 2nd against the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor, a Catholic. A Catholic Cardinal set that up... all for the sake of France, and apparently it worked. So, as you are reading The Three Musketeers and you ask yourself, "Could anyone really be this crafty and cold-blooded?" The answer is "Yes. Someone really could be because someone really was that crafty and cold-blooded."

Welcome to Beantown: The Founding of Boston, Mass.

John Winthrop, the new Governor of the Massachusetts Company, has arrived in Salem, but Salem is out of food, so they move the new colonists to Charlestown. This is the first capital Massachusetts. In the modern day, Charlestown is a neighborhood in Boston, but in 1630 it is a separate town. Unfortunately, the water supply is poor, so Governor Winthrop moves the group to a spring with good water. They named the town Trimountaine (Three Mount) referring to the three hills in the area. (As the city develops, two of the hills will be leveled so that only Beacon Hill will remain.) The city is to be "a model of Christian Charity,"... "a city upon a Hill" as Winthrop put it. Later, the city will be renamed "Boston" after the city in England and the English patron saint of travelers and farmers. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, "Boston" is a corruption of the name for "Saint Botolph" who is the English patron saint of travelers and farmers. (Saint Christopher is also a patron saint of travelers but Saint Botolph was an Englishman so the Puritans gave him priority.) A club named Saint Botolph Club was established in 1880 by John Quincy Adams (the grandson of the US President of the same name). Boston is often called "Beantown" due to the distinct molasses flavor of their baked beans. And while we are talking about molasses, Boston is also the site of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. A tank of molasses burst and went rushing through the streets at 35 miles per hour giving the lie to the phrase, "slow as molasses." Twenty-one people were killed and many more were injured. This disaster led to regulations on businesses to insure the public safety, so if you ever wondered how the government got involved in your own business on your own property, now you know. [8] [9] [10]

The Day of the Dupes: Cardinal Richelieu vs the Queen Mother

The French King Louis the 13th has managed to throw off his mother's overbearing manipulation, and has been depending on Cardinal Richelieu for advice, but after a lengthy illness, the King has called for a priest to receive last rites. The Queen Mother sees her opportunity to stab the Cardinal in the back, metaphorically, and probably literally if the King dies. She conspires, with her supporters amongst the nobles, to push her pro-Catholic, pro-Spain acceptance of a peace treaty with Spain. But Spain (and Cardinal Richelieu) see the treaty for what it is: the surrender of French influence and eventually, the surrender of France itself. The Queen Mother forces the King to choose between her and the Cardinal. The King calls the Cardinal to his lodge and lays down the law. King Louis supports the Cardinal against Spain, and he will sign warrants against the Cardinal's enemies, including one against the Queen Mother. The King is not sick. The Queen and her supporters have been duped! She flees to the Spanish Netherlands, never to return. [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Please don't feel sorry for Queen Mother Marie. She was absolutely horrible to King Louis. He didn't deserve even half the stuff she dished out to him while growing up. She was also a terrible ruler. The Queen Mother was a member of the Italian Medici family so she let her Italian friends run France.... right into the ground. Cardinal Richelieu was one of the Queen Mother's men, but he soon sided with the King. King Louis the 13th knew a bad ruler when he saw one and the Queen Mother was a bad ruler. If she wanted peace with Spain, the decision was easy. Some historians say that the King was manipulated by the Cardinal, but the King was not an idiot and he could hardly do worse than Queen Mother Marie. The Cardinal was competent and pro-France. That was enough. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1630, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. 1628 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “The events of the historical novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas take place in this year, and include fictionalized versions of the Siege of La Rochelle and the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham.”
  2. Anne of Austria - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “Under the influence of Marie de Rohan-Montbazon, the queen let herself be drawn into political opposition to Richelieu and became embroiled in several intrigues against his policies. Vague rumors of betrayal circulated in the court, notably her supposed involvement with the conspiracies of the Count of Chalais that Marie organized in 1626, then those of the king's treacherous favorite, Cinq-Mars, who had been introduced to him by Richelieu.”
  3. 1600-1650: The Birth of Boston. Beantown History (2015). Retrieved on 21 August 2015. “The first formal Court was held at Shawmut. The town was officially named after the city of Boston, in Lincolnshire, England.”
  4. Boston's nicknames: Beantown, Hub, the Walking City. Boston.com (The Boston Globe) (August 24, 2004). Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved on August 20, 2015. “It was actually an overabundance of molasses made from sugar traded from the West Indies that contributed to the early colonial obsession with Boston Baked Beans.”
  5. Charlestown, Boston - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 August 2015. “Originally called Mishawum by the Native Americans, it is located on a peninsula north of the Charles River, across from downtown Boston, and also adjoins the Mystic River and Boston Harbor. Charlestown was laid out in 1629 by engineer Thomas Graves, one of its early settlers, in the reign of Charles I of England. It was originally a separate town and the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”
  6. History of Boston - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 August 2015. “In June 1630, the Winthrop Fleet arrived in what would later be called Salem, which on account of lack of food, 'pleased them not.' They proceeded to Charlestown, which pleased them less, for lack of fresh water. The Puritans settled around the spring in what would become Boston, acquiring the land from the first English settler, William Blaxton.”
  7. First Church in Boston: History - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 August 2015. “The church was created in 1630 when the settlers on the Arbella arrived in what is now Charlestown, Massachusetts. John Wilson was the first minister, and the only minister while the church was in Charlestown. Two years later they constructed a meeting house across the Charles River near what is now State Street in Boston, and Wilson was officially installed as minister there.”
  8. Great Molasses Flood - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 August 2015. “The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.”
  9. St. Botolph Club--History. stbotolphclub.org (2015). Retrieved on 21 August 2015. “Under the temporary chairmanship of John Quincy Adams, the name of St. Botolph Club was chosen, after the VIIth century abbot around whose monastery in the fens of East Anglia Botolph's Town, later corrupted to Boston, sprang up.”
  10. Giving the lie - definition of giving the lie (2015). Retrieved on 21 August 2015. “Example in classic literature: "He did not know that his quietness was giving the lie to Arthur's words of the day before, when that brother of hers had announced that he was going to bring a wild man home to dinner and for them not to be alarmed, because they would find him an interesting wild man." --"Martin Eden" by Jack London”
  11. Wilson, Peter H.. Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy, The. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674036345. 
  12. 11/11/1630 - XVIIth century. Versailles 3d (2015). Retrieved on 20 August 2015. “The Day of the Dupes was a political and diplomatic turning-point of the reign of Louis XIII, and the first major event in the history of France at Versailles.”
  13. Marie de Medicis - biography - queen of France - Britannica.com. britannica.com (2015). Retrieved on 20 August 2015. “Readmitted to the king’s council in 1622, Marie obtained a cardinal’s hat for Richelieu, and in August 1624 she persuaded Louis to make him chief minister. Richelieu, however, did not intend to be dominated by Marie. He enraged her by rejecting the Franco-Spanish alliance and allying France with Protestant powers. By 1628 Marie was the cardinal’s worst enemy. In the crisis known as the Day of the Dupes (Nov. 10, 1630), she demanded that Louis dismiss the minister. Louis stood by Richelieu and in February 1631 banished Marie to Compiègne. She fled to Brussels in the Spanish Netherlands in July 1631 and never returned to France. Eleven years later she died destitute.”
  14. Alex Shrugged notes: I spoke to a family friend who is studying to be a Catholic priest. I mentioned that Cardinal Richelieu cared more for his own nation than he did for the Church and our family friend said, "That happens a lot." He seemed unsurprised.

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