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The Rich Are Seeing Dollar Signs. The Poor Are Starving *

A massive silver strike in Upper Peru (modern day Bolivia) has caused the town of Potosí (poe-TOE-see) to grow by leaps and bounds. Bars of silver over-stamped with the abbreviation PTSI are believed to be the source of the dollar sign "$" in use today. The rich are seeing dollar signs as ship loads of silver are dumped into the European economy but it is causing severe inflation. Wheat prices are spiking causing a famine. The only thing going right for the poor are taxes. Taxes are based on a fixed amount of silver so people are paying taxes with silver that is worth... less. Government revenues remain the same but they cannot cover the rising costs of supplies and salaries. Governments are struggling to adapt to the fluctuation and the rich are not as rich as their thought they would be but they are still filthy rich. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Dumping all that silver into the economy was the equivalent of printing money. Printing money is inflationary, and the fact that one is not actually printing anything is meaningless. That is why President Obama can laugh and say truthfully that the government is not printing money while still causing inflation by creating money through the Fed. As Saudi Arabia pumps "black gold" into the marketplace, fuel prices drop, oil workers lose their jobs... and certain nations that depend on oil revenues to fund their wars, such as Russia and Iran, are stalled because their "black gold" is now worth... less. [4].

The Wreck of the Mary Rose

The French have an invasion fleet of 200 ships to measure against a paltry 80 ships from England. The French try to draw the English out for a battle in the Solent channel in southern England (between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland). The English ships, including the Mary Rose, go out to meet them. As the battle ensues either a gust of wind or a sudden turn of the ship causes the Mary Rose to heel over, exposing her open gun ports to the sea. Out of the complement of 415 men, a bare three dozen survive as the Mary Rose goes to the bottom. King Henry himself hears the cries of his sailors. She had gone through a rebuild in 1536 which added a second row of gun ports. That meant more cannons which shifted the center of gravity of the ship and created a greater broadside to catch the wind. This may explain why the Mary Rose might heel over more than normal. The wreck of the Mary Rose will be discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
One might ask... why the heck were the French attacking England? Well... it was because of that Italian War (actually several wars) that had been going on since the 1490s. Remember when the King of France was so unhappy that there were no Great Crusades any more? He claimed the throne of Naples to create a base of operations against the Ottomans but the Pope sided against him. That caused the French to march through Italy against Naples, knocking over kingdoms as they went. The Swiss sided with the French and then sided with the Pope. The Holy Roman Emperor got into the mix while kicking the snot out of the Protestants. And then England jumped into the Italian wars and that is why the French were trying to invade England in 1545. The English managed to fend off the invasion. [10]

The Council of Trent's Opening Salvos

The Protestant Reformation is no longer a few radical priests stirring up the peasants. The German Princes (the Protestants) are backing Martin Luther. Pope Paul the 3rd has to do something bold, so he calls a Council of Cardinals to the city of Mantua in northern Italy to address the issues plaguing the Catholic Church. He meets with push back. The King of France wants to include the Protestant Princes and Reformation priests. Naturally, the Pope doesn't want to concede legitimacy to the rebel priests and he doesn't want secular princes involved in Church matters. An internal report on Church reform has already been circulated. It centers around financial corruption. The Pope changes the location of the Council from Mantua to Trent. The Council of Trent will drag on until 1563 but in the end it will define the major recognizable elements of the modern Catholic Church. This will be the final Council to meet until Vatican I in 1864. [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The miracle of the Council of Trent was that it happened at all. In getting it organized one sees all the elements of international negotiation.... all designed so that no conclusion is ever made. (Any number of similar modern negotiations come to mind such as the Israel-Palestinian negotiations... the UN-Israeli negotiations... USA-Iranian negotiations, North Korean-USA negotiations... need I go on?) The Protestant Princes wanted a delay in order to consolidate their military positions. (There was a war going on, after all.) The Cardinals wanted to delay any financial reforms that would hurt them personally. The Council also defied the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor who wanted it all to go away without another excuse for division. Against all odds, the Council of Trent will come to definite conclusions on Purgatory, transubstantiation and the counter-Reformation.[12]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1545, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Price revolution - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update] |quote=Generally it is thought that this high inflation was caused by the large influx of gold and silver from the Spanish treasure fleet from the New World, especially the silver of Bolivia and Mexico which began to be mined in large quantities from 1545 onward.
  2. Potosí - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Farr, William. The Influence of Scarcities and of the High Prices of Wheat on the Mortality of the People of England. Journal of the Statistical Society of London , Vol. 9, No. 2 (Jun., 1846), Royal Statistical Society. pp. 162. (JOURNAL)
  4. Klondike Gold Rush - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  5. Why did the Mary Rose sink. The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “With the gunports opened for battle, the ship could have flooded and quickly foundered. So why had she never foundered before? Perhaps she had simply become too heavy after a recent refit, which had added extra guns to her firepower.”
  6. Mary Rose - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “The Mary Rose was a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent, the straits north of the Isle of Wight. The wreck of the Mary Rose was rediscovered in 1971 and salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The surviving section of the ship and thousands of recovered artefacts are of immeasurable value as a Tudor-era time capsule.”
  7. Treasures from England's Mary Rose ship resurface. AFP News Service (YouTube) (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015.
  8. Rule, Margaret (May 1981). "The Raising of the Mary Rose". Journal of the Royal Society of Arts (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) 129 (5298): 332-343. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41373302. 
  9. Battle of the Solent - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 March 2015. “In 1545, Francis launched an invasion of England with 30,000 soldiers in more than 200 ships. Against this armada — larger than the Spanish Armada forty-three years later — the English had about 80 ships and 12,000 soldiers.”
  10. Battle of the Solent - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 March 2015. “The French troops ashore made no progress and returned to France in August.”
  11. Council of Trent - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update] |quote=The Council issued condemnations on what it defined as Protestant heresies at the time of the Reformation and defined Church teachings in the areas of Scripture and Tradition, Original Sin, Justification, Sacraments, the Eucharist in Holy Mass and the veneration of saints.
  12. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy (BOOK), Random House. “But the important thing about the Council [of Trent] was that--in the teeth of all the opposition--it actually happened; moreover, it showed itself ready to defy the emperor and fearlessly to debate the hoary old questions of doctrine: justification by faith, transubstantiation, Purgatory, and many more.” 

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