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Portugal is Portugal Again

After decades of Spanish domination and 28 years of war, Portugal is finally independent from Spain. Back in 1580, young King Sebastian of Portugal died in battle so the crown devolved to the King of Spain. Portugal had led the way in colonizing the East Indies but Spain has not been maintaining the Portuguese colonies. The Dutch have taken over resulting in disgruntled Portuguese nobles. When the King of Spain joined the 30 Years War and blocked the Portuguese nobles from government postings, the rebellion was launched. John the Restorer accepted the throne of Portugal, but he never lived to see the end of war. His heir, Alphonzo the 4th, has been side-lined due to paralysis. His brother, Peter, will be King. Thousands have died to get to this point. England has negotiated the Treaty of Lisbon between The Queen of Spain and the future King Peter the 2nd of Portugal. Portugal will struggle to relearn how to be an independent country. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's complicated but this struggle went on through several Spanish Kings until the kingships were both regencies. The King of Spain was a child at the time of the Treaty of Lisbon, and the King of Portugal was disabled and mentally erratic so his brother, Peter, negotiated on his behalf. Peter didn't become King until much later but for all intents and purposes he was the King. It was a nasty war with a lot of personal vendettas settled in the midst of battle. The fact that the English negotiated this peace treaty is yet one more reason why the English enjoy such welcome in Portugal in the modern day. Portugal has been helped by England any number of times. They have also fought each other, but over all, its good.

Newton's Latest Accomplishment Reflects Well on Him *

Issac Newton builds the first reflector telescope. It will forever more be known as a Newtonian Reflector. It uses a concave mirror at the bottom of a long tube to capture light. The light then bounces back up the tube and focuses on a smaller mirror near the top. The light is then directed at a right angle toward the eye. It makes sky viewing a lot more comfortable and it will make possible very large collection mirrors. Virtually all modern telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope) are variations on the Newtonian reflector invented this year. [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Grinding a mirror for a Newtonian reflector by hand is within the capability of almost anyone over the age of 14. However, it is tedious work, so the mirrors are usually made by grinding machines. Since I once lived near Mead Instruments in Irvine, California, I dropped by and bought a 6 inch primary mirror already made. I also used some leftover tubing from a construction site. (I asked permission.) And I built a reasonably sturdy tripod from scraps of wood. It still works. I had dreamed of building such an instrument since I was a little boy after my neighbor let me look at the moon through a tiny telescope propped up on the hood of his car. I kept putting it off until I just decided to make it happen. I got the job done. The next thing on my bucket list was building my own minicomputer, No kit. No microchips. Straight TTL logic, and a wire wrapper. My experience with the telescope taught me not to put things off until I have time. I never have time. I just have to make it happen, one step at a time, or decide I don't want it bad enough and quit crying about it. (And yes. The minicomputer worked. I failed the first time but I didn't give up. I learned from my mistakes and kept at it.) [9] [10] [11]

United by Consent: Leviathan and the Declaration of Independence

The English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, has published his revised Latin edition of Leviathan. This is one of the philosophical texts that the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution will use to shape the Declaration of Independence. It is from this work that is derived the social contract aspect of governance. We join together as people for the purpose of governance. Governance is a contract between the governed and those who will govern. [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course, a contact requires that all parties stick to the contract. If there is a violation, one is obligated to point out the violation. Thus, the Declaration of Independence spells out the violations of the King. Here is a brief comparison between Leviathan and the Declaration...
The Greatest of humane Powers, is that which is compounded of the Powers of most men, united by consent, in one person, Naturall, or civill, that has the use of all their Powers depending on his will; such as is the Power of a Common-wealth: -- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapter 10 [14]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... -- Declaration of Independence. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1668, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Portuguese Restoration War - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 September 2015. “The Portuguese Restoration War was the name given by nineteenth-century 'romantic' historians to the war between Portugal and Spain that began with the Portuguese revolution of 1640 and ended with the Treaty of Lisbon (1668).”
  2. Treaty of Lisbon (1668) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 September 2015. “The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England,[1] in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza.”
  3. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “In fact, except for a 60-year period of absorption by Spain, from 1580 to 1640, it has retained its boundaries completely unchanged for seven centuries.” 
  4. Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 February 2015. “As Sebastian had no immediate heirs, this event prompted a dynastic crisis, with internal and external battles between several pretenders to the Portuguese throne; in addition, because Sebastian's body was never found, several impostors emerged over the next several years claiming to be the young king, further confusing the situation. Ultimately, Philip II of Spain gained control of the country, uniting the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns in the Iberian Union, a personal union that would last for 60 years, during which time the Portuguese Empire declined.”
  5. Sebastian of Portugal - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 May 2015. “He disappeared (was presumably killed in action) in the battle of Alcácer Quibir. Sebastian I is often referred to as The Desired, for the Portuguese people longed for his return, to end the decline of Portugal that had occurred because of his death.”
  6. Hall, A. Rupert. Isaac Newton: Adventurer in Thought. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on October 28, 2015. 
  7. Newtonian telescope - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 October 2015. “The Newtonian telescope is a type of reflecting telescope invented by the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), using a concave primary mirror and a flat diagonal secondary mirror. Newton’s first reflecting telescope was completed in 1668 and is the earliest known functional reflecting telescope. The Newtonian telescope's simple design makes it very popular with amateur telescope makers.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: This segment reflects (pun!) my own experience with Newtonian Reflectors.
  9. Meade Instruments - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 October 2015. “The Meade Instruments Corporation (also shortened to Meade) is an American multinational company headquartered in Irvine, California, that manufactures, imports, and distributes telescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, CCD cameras and telescope accessories for the consumer market.[2] It is the world's largest manufacturer of telescopes.”
  10. Polaris™ 130mm German Equatorial Reflector. Meade.com (COMMERCIAL) (2015). Retrieved on 28 October 2015.
  11. Transistor–transistor logic - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 October 2015. “Transistor–transistor logic (TTL) is a class of digital circuits built from bipolar junction transistors (BJT) and resistors. It is called transistor–transistor logic because both the logic gating function (e.g., AND) and the amplifying function are performed by transistors (contrast with RTL and DTL).”
  12. Leviathan (book) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 October 2015. “Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil—commonly referred to as Leviathan—is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and published in 1651 (revised Latin edition 1668).”
  13. Thomas Hobbes - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 October 2015. “Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan established social contract theory, the foundation of most later Western political philosophy.”
  14. Leviathan. Gutenberg.org. Retrieved on 28 October 2015.
  15. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Declaration of Independence of The United States of America by Thomas Jefferson. Gutenberg.org. Retrieved on 28 October 2015. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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