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November 27, 2021

Some history you might be thankful you didn't live through

17 year old.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! I thought it might be interesting today to consider a little history, and maybe think about some aspects of it that we might be thankful that we didn't have to live through.

The statue above is inspiring.
There is a lot we can learn from it. But sometimes we forget how difficult the Revolutionary War was, not only for George Washington's troops, but for teenagers and even children.

. . . childhood in Colonial America meant growing up fast. New Mexico State Historian Rick Hendricks says that "the concept of teenager is something that is relatively new. In the 1770s, at the time of The Revolution, nobody would've really understood the concept of 'teenager.' You were young, and then you were an adult."

According to Kirk Ellis, who wrote and served as co-executive producer on HBO's 2008 miniseries John Adams, "Children [in the Revolutionary era] came into their maturity much sooner than they do now. John Quincy Adams was only 13 when his father packed him off to Russia as secretary to our ambassador to the court of Catherine the Great. John Quincy was already fluent in several languages by that time, including French, the language of the Russian court."

Teens were involved in the American uprising against British colonialism even before The Revolution. Ellis said, "A teenaged apprentice named Samuel Maverick was one of the five people killed in the so-called Boston Massacre, when British soldiers fired into a crowd of angry protesters on the night of March 5, 1770 -- one of the initial sparks that would eventually flare into the American Revolution."

The comparably accelerated adulthood of colonial youths came in handy for both sides when The Revolution began. Rebel militias took in fighters as young as 10, while the British military drafted men ranging from 16 to 60 years of age. It was expected that the youngsters take on the brunt of the fighting and marching while the older men stayed behind to defend their hometowns.

Children and teenagers not involved in battle took on other roles. Because of their seemingly innocent appearance, boys and girls were able to spy on the enemy and relay information back to their sides. University of New Mexico history professor Richard Melzer explains, "They had these big cloth buttons, and sometimes they would sew messages inside the buttons on their coats. And then they would wear the coats and deliver the message. When they got there, they would just pop the button and there it would be."

Smallpox affected them, too, on top of the rigors of war.

Compare the fighting teens of the American Revolution to the Petrograd Women's Death Battalion of the Russian Revolution, before the Bolshevik takeover. Setting an example for the men.

The MOST EXPENSIVE Thanksgiving

Here's a quite comprehensive piece from Breitbart honoring our forefathers on the 400th anniversary of the first and most expensive Thanksgiving:

Ann Coulter gave an excellent summary of the woke interpretation of Thanksgiving: "As every contemporary school child knows, our Pilgrim forefathers took a break from slaughtering Indigenous Peoples to invite them to dinner and infect them with smallpox, before embarking on their mission to fry the planet."

On the other hand,

. . . Pilgrims saw themselves as fleeing a cataclysmic conflagration about to engulf Europe. And like the Roman hero, they too hoped to forge a new civilization with a spark from the dying embers of the old one.

This is exactly how John Quincy Adams viewed the story of the Pilgrims. In a speech in 1802 commemorating the landing at Plymouth, Adams described the Pilgrims as America's origin myth; but unlike other nations, the heroes of our founding myth were clearly known to us by their historical record, and they were defined by their virtue, not by their conquest.

"In reverting to the period of [their] origin, other nations have generally been compelled to plunge into the chaos of impenetrable antiquity, or to trace a lawless ancestry into the caverns of ravishers and robbers," Adams told his American audience. "It is your peculiar privilege to commemorate, in this birthday of your nation, an event ascertained in its minutest details; an event of which the principal actors are known to you familiarly, as if belonging to your own age; an event of a magnitude before which imagination shrinks at the imperfection of her powers. It is your further happiness to behold, in those eminent characters, who were most conspicuous in accomplishing the settlement of your country, men upon whose virtue you can dwell with honest exultation."

Getting there was hard, and they were off course. Then came the first dark winter, then Samoset and Squanto.

The settlers learned from Samoset that this area was the Wampanoag Tribe's territory, but the tribe had been so weakened by the plague that their leader, Massasoit, felt increasingly at the mercy of enemy tribes, who also happened to be the same ones menacing the Pilgrims. . .

With the help of Squanto, the Pilgrims had a successful harvest in the fall of 1621. They had come through the first winter, after losing 60 percent of their group. But rather than mourn the 60 percent lost, they rejoiced that 40 percent still lived and gave thanks to God.

Let the record show that this first Thanksgiving actually was a "quintessential feel-good holiday."

And considering how much it cost them in death, suffering, and toil to get to that celebration, I think it's fair to say that this first Thanksgiving was, in fact, the most expensive in our history.

The REAL First Thanksgiving

Well, actually, the first American Thanksgiving was in Florida! No starvation before the feast. Unfortunately, it was followed shortly by massacres.

In 1565, a fleet of Spanish ships bearing 800 colonists and 700 soldiers sighted land. Since it was Aug. 28, the feast of St. Augustine, the colony was named in honor of one of our greatest doctors of the Church. The entire colony -- all the settlers, all the troops -- went ashore on Sept. 8. As he set foot on land, the admiral of the fleet, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, kissed a crucifix and then claimed the land for the king of Spain.

The colonists erected a makeshift outdoor altar, decorated and furnished it, and then gathered around as the colony's chaplain, Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, celebrated Mass -- the first in Florida and the first in what is now the United States. Members of the Timucuan tribe were drawn to the beach by the arrival of the strangers and then stayed to watch the Mass. Afterward, the Spanish invited the Timucuans to join them in a feast to thank Almighty God for their safe arrival. And so Europeans and Native Americans shared a meal together, in a spirit of gratitude for their blessings -- and they did so 56 years before the pilgrims and Wampanoags' Thanksgiving in what is now Massachusetts.

Sadly, this era of good feelings came to an end quickly. Two weeks after their arrival, Menendez led his troops against a French settlement to the north. Through his spies in French seaports, King Philip II of Spain had learned that the French were encroaching on his territory. Worse still, the settlers were Huguenots, French Calvinists.

Philip authorized Menendez to exterminate the unauthorized colony. Menendez's expedition killed 130 men, sparing only the women and children. A few weeks later, Timucuans reported that a couple hundred shipwrecked Frenchmen had washed up on a nearby beach and were walking north. Once again, Menendez led out his forces and massacred these Frenchmen, too.

About a century later, the inhabitants of St. Augustine found themselves on the receiving end of national and sectarian violence. An English pirate captured the town, ransacked churches and private homes, killed about 60 people and carried off captives, some of whom he ransomed. He sold the rest as slaves. Colonial America could be a very bloody place.

Headlines from October 4, 1915

Turkey warned about atrocities

Oct 4 1915 turkey.jpg

Kaiser's Forces Fully Ready
Some entertainment that would raise a few eyebrows today, too.

oct 4 1915 1.jpg

Germans cannot re-take trenches

oct 4 1915 3.jpg

Slaughter of the Armenians
Mexicans Fire on U.S. Troops

Oct 4 1915 4.jpg

Really Old History

Evidence of Human Sacrifice in Denmark

Evidence of Child (and Llama) Sacrifice in Peru

Music and Dance

Albinoni, h/t pep.

Queen Elizabeth watches Cossack Dancers

Hope you have something nice planned for the weekend. Hope you have lots to be grateful for. I do.

This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

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posted by K.T. at 11:02 AM

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