Jean Baptiste Colbert – II

Lead: Schooled in the intricate politics of the royal administration of France’s King Louis XIV, Jean Baptiste Colbert had ambitious plans for France’s economy. His hopes were crushed by King’s rush to war.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Colbert served in many capacities over the years, adapting quickly to the King’s desire to build a civil administration based not on connections, wealth or aristocracy, but rather on talent. Colbert gathered many jobs under his wing over the years but his most important was Superintendent of Finance. In that capacity, he revised the tax system, removing many of the exemptions that the nobility enjoyed from paying the taille, a land tax, the principal source of national revenue. He created a new civil office, the intendent, royal agents sent into the provinces to collect taxes and keep the King informed about local public opinion. He helped build Paris into a more modern capital but was frustrated in this by the King’s diversion of enormous sums into the construction of Versailles the magnificent royal lodge in the Paris suburbs.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert I

Lead: Jean-Baptiste Colbert, royal finance minister, was French King Louis XIV closest cabinet advisor. Louis’ war with the Dutch, shot down Colbert’s dreams of making France an economic superpower.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: When his father, Louis XIII, died, the future King was five years old. During the years before he reached maturity, France was wracked by popular unrest and governmental chaos. Once he took the reigns of power, Louis determined that he would not depend on the services of a chief minister as had his father who elevated Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin to unprecedented power. Louis decided to rule France himself and that rule would be iron-fisted, competent and absolute. The closest that one of his servants came to having the chance to wield independent power was Jean-Baptiste Colbert and he had big plans for France.

 

Discovery of Cuba – II

Lead: The first major discovery of Christopher Columbus after his initial landfall in autumn 1492, was Cuba. He then turned his attention elsewhere and not until 1508 was Cuba even determined to be an island.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The early development of Cuba by Europeans was a much-delayed thing. This was primarily due to the premier motivation for Spanish exploration in the so-called New World. Spain wanted a route to the rich spice islands of East Asia and it wanted gold and silver. It soon became obvious to most observers that the islands and mainland of the new lands were not Asia. Columbus died still convinced America was Asia but he was in a growing minority. It also became clear that the islands forming the eastern border of the Caribbean had only tiny deposits of precious metals. The search for gold went west into Mexico and South America.

 

European Discovery of Cuba – I

Lead: The first voyage led by Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought Europeans to the Caribbean. One of his most significant discoveries was the largest island in the Antilles, Cuba.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: After decades of frustration, the Italian sailor and visionary, Christopher Columbus finally convinced the ruling house of Spain to commission him for a voyage of exploration out across of the Western Ocean in search of a water bridge to East Asia. King Ferdinand and his bride and fellow monarch Queen Isabella, had just achieved a seven-century long goal of the Christian kingdoms of Spain. They conquered Grenada, the last remaining Islamic kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula.

Anglo-Zulu War – III

Lead: The war went well for the Zulu at first. British military incompetence produced some early victories for the Africans, but the defense of their homeland against the Europeans was in the end a hopeless cause.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

               

Content: Chief Cetyshwayo knew he was going to lose. He had watched the slow encroachment of European civilization, Dutch Afrikaners from the west, Brits from Natal, as they crowded the once powerful Zulu nation in Northeastern South Africa. He even secured a British agent, John Dunn, to advise when dealing with his adversaries, but by 1878 it was clear that London had decided that Zulu power had to be broken.

               

Anglo-Zulu War – II

                Lead: The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 arose from conflicting aspirations of the Zulu, prospectors for gold and diamonds, Christian missionaries, and Dutch and British settlers frontier in South Africa’s Natal province.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: In 1838 the decades old expansion of the Zulu nation in northeastern South Africa was abruptly halted at the Battle of Blood River. 3000 Zulu warriors were killed in a bloody confrontation with Afrikaner voortrekkers under Andries Pretorius. The Zulu retreated into their tradition homeland north and east of the Tugela River in Natal province. Their powerful army and centralized government allowed them to remain independent of European encroachment for more than four decades. By the mid-1870s this autonomy was under serious threat.

Anglo-Zulu War – I

Lead: In the late 1870s faced with a British imperial ultimatum to disband their military system, the Zulu clans of Northeastern South Africa prepared for a war their leader was certain they would lose.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The ancient tribal homeland of the Zulu lies north of the Tugela River in the northeastern part of South Africa’s Natal Province. The Zulu are a Bantu-speaking people, part of the Nguni ethnic grouping and were a relatively unimportant clan until the early decades of the 1800s. At that time there came to the throne one of the significant military thinkers in world history. Shaka (Chaka) subdued his family rivals and united the Zulu clans under his leadership. He then began to re-organize the Zulu war apparatus. He modified the traditional tribal weapon, the assegai, creating a new short iron sword designed for close in combat, he shaped his army into regiments, housed them in barracks for most of the year, refused to allow them to wear shoes so as to toughen their feet, thus increasing their speed, and then developed new unified flanking tactics directed by hand signals which when perfected overwhelmed his African enemies and gave the Zulu preeminence in the region.

Guillotine

Lead: One of the most fearsome and famous methods of capital punishment  was actually developed as a more humane and democratic way of execution. It is named for an obscure member of the French National Assembly, a young physician, Joseph-Ignace Guillotine.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Decapitation as a means of execution has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of time. The quick easy removal of the victim’s head brought a swift conclusion to their earthly journey; a sharp blade, a heavy well-placed blow brought matters to a timely end. Mechanical devices for execution may have used in various European countries before 1300, but there is no evidence for this prior to the execution of Murcod Ballagh near Merton Ireland in 1307. By 1564 in Scotland such a mechanism was in common use. It was called “The Maiden,” and consisted of two grooved upright posts held together at the top by a cross-member and at the bottom by diagonal supports. The person to be offed was trussed-up, laid faced down with their neck lined up with the grooves. At the moment of execution a very heavy oblique, steel-clad, iron blade held in lead-lined wooden casing would be released and the victim’s head would be quickly and painlessly severed from his torso.