Monday, October 8, 2018


When you realize that Ferdinand and Isabella drove the last Moors out of Spain on this date in 1492 it is not hard to see the wheels and gears turning in their heads as they wondered what they could do with a 'landed' and heavily armed aristocracy at loose in their new Realm. Pushing Columbus to see what lay to the West was an investment they must have been happy to make since the option was factional fighting until the end of time with their nobles and grandees.

So, Columbus made his way West and found a place he might have called New Spain and went home to report his find and the King and Queen of Spain must have pledged everything save their underwear to underwrite their nobles attempts to seize new lands and fortunes on the far side of the sea.

Ever wonder what would have happened if the King and Queen of Spain had decided to simply pour that 800 years of stored hatred and military supremacy into launching an assault across the Strait of Gibraltar and across north Africa and into plundering Mecca and Isfahan and Qom?

Talk about a different world.


Larry said...

Yes, in some ways different. But the Portuguese would've discovered the Americas when the fleet carrying Pedro Álvares Cabral to India was blown off course by storms and "discovered" Brazil, or perhaps some other Portuguese fleet within a few years since Cabral's mission was no doubt influenced at least somewhat by the Spanish "discovery" of peoples and islands long known to their inhabitants. From there, things would've proceeded along quite similar lines: contact; conflict; epidemic disease for which Native Americans were uniquely unprepared for due to the extreme genetic bottleneck of American colonization by small hunter/gather groups or possibly sea-going fisher-folk; disaster for the indigenous peoples as they're overwhelmed by "guns, germs, and people" (as flawed as the book by the same name is, it gets a lot of things right). The biggest change would have been due to the impossibility of the Treaty of Tordesillas splitting the world between Portugal and Spain. I sincerely doubt that England and France's effort in North America would've been completely changed, just delayed a bit with somewhat different players. I don't think history would've been completely different, just ... different.

Larry said...

Oops, "guns, germs, and steel," but also people.

HMS Defiant said...

I went to Portugal long ago and so, as you know, they have, just west of Lisbon the statue to the new world.

Think about it. New World.

I was forced to work at CINCIBERLANT in a fortress constructed in the 16th century. Srsly, a moat. I spent most of that time in Setubal but way away was the moat and fortress. That was where my counterparts in the Coast Guard worked.

I actually met Woody in Korea, not Portugal. I bumped into him again in San Francisco where we both wore uniforms. He had hair down his back and growing. In the inside world he was an investigator for the NY AG. I was laughing and telling him that in this high class/rank world nobody would call him out for having girl hair. And none of the admirals so much as admitted to knowing him. Trust me, I gave him plenty of splendid grief.

I have both of his books. The little woman did not find either illuminating.

And you know, we're the last two people on the planet that remeber that the pope split the world.