In 1529, it looked like Switzerland would fall into war between its Protestant and Catholics. Similar religious wars, both small and large, were raging across Europe.
Switzerland's cantons were divided by religion. To the north was the Protestant-favouring canton of Zürich, led by Martin Luther-like reformer Ulrich Zwingli, a parish overseer who was spreading reform. To the south was Zug and the allied Catholic cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy, who felt their rural union should remain aligned with the Vatican and Rome. In June of 1529 diplomacy failed and the Zürich soldiers marched south to fight.
When the armies met, negotiations between the leadership continued. Meanwhile the soldiers in both armies were hungry, and Zürich had plenty of bread and salt, while Zug had a surplus of milk from its farms. They pooled their resources to make a simple soup of milk and bread. The men who ate together would not fight against each other, and no fighting would happen that year. And the legend of the miltschuppe was born. Even today, politicians in Switzerland share miltschuppe to (symbolically) help resolve disagreements.
Pineapples were cultivated by the Tupi-Guarani indigenous people in South America. In their language, "nana" means "excellent fruit." When the Spanish encountered the pineapple, they called it "pina" from Latin's "pinus" meaning "pine." The French called it "ananas" after the Tupi-Guarani word. And thus the fruit spread around the world with two very different names
Greensleeves, a traditional English folk tune, dates back to 1580! And it was not written by Henry VIII, nor is it likely about a prostitute who stained her clothes...playing...in the grass. At the time green was associated with romance. Rather like pink is today!
Catherine of Aragon was the first-ever female ambassador in Europe. She was named the ambassador from the kingdom of Aragon to England in 1507.
At the time, Catherine was the 22-year-old widow of the former crown prince, Arthur. He had died in 1502, and Catherine had stayed on in England and become betrothed to the new crown prince, Henry. It was not because Henry particularly wanted her. No, Catherine was still in England because her father-in-law King Henry VII did not want to give back Catherine's very large dowry.
Catherine’s position was precarious. She had little money, as neither her parents nor her penny-pinching father-in-law wished to support her financially. She had no status, as her husband was dead and her betrothed had remained just that for going on three years. Naming Catherine ambassador, therefore, was less a compliment to her diplomatic skills and more a way to bolster her position and therefore her parent’s.
A Close Look At The First Use Of The Word "America"
This is the famous Waldseemüller map, from 1507. It is believed to be the first use of the word "America" as a name for the newly-encountered continents. Waldseemüller was apparently impressed with the stories of Amerigo Vespucci, and bestowed the name on today's South America in honor of Vespucci.
Waldseemüller also named North America "Parias" on this map. Parias came directly from a passage in the Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci: the expedition arrives at a region that was "situated in the torrid zone directly under the parallel which describes the Tropic of Cancer. And this province is called by them [the inhabitants] Parias." The (possibly) indigenous name did not stick. (I had not heard the word “Parias” before writing this post, and you probably hadn’t either.) Instead, the two continents are called after a random Italian explorer because a random German mapmaker was a fan of the explorer’s book. But that’s history for you.
The Waldseemüller map was intended for a well-educated, elite audience. It was large, made of twelve panels, each 18 by 24.5 inches (46 cm by 62 cm). The entire map could be hung on a wall, or kept folded for when one wanted to reference a particular panel. One thousand copies of the map were printed, and unfortunately, there remains only one survivor in its entirety. It is now housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
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By Lillian Audette
This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!