We are incredibly excited about this edition.
Yes, the events of this year sucked - sorry - have been abominable, but, a grand change cometh... can you feel it? See it? Smell it? We can.
In the air there is a stirring, a churning, a manifestation of hope and expectation about to erupt all around us; creating a shift so great we will not believe its reality... or maybe it is due to our knowing this reality why it has - will occur?
Whatever the reason, prepare...
Of course, this transformation has been a long time coming, with no short change of hard work, dedication and passion to produce it. Finally, it has arrived, the result of decades of loss, suffering and relentless perseverance.
Will the struggle be Over? Not entirely. We humans refuse to allow ourselves that kind of peace, but, we will stand on guard - for each other. The evidence is clear: The Vulnerable are saying, "No More!"- where once unwanted advances were "the norm." Folks of every orientation are demanding - no - seizing license to BE WHO We ARE - without apology or explanation; folks of the African Diaspora refuse further tyranny under the whip of colonialism, stepping up to our seat at the head of the table as ancestors intended. Pro athletes are bending knees, cancelling games to force the hand of change. ALL people have awakened to our basic human freedom to exist happily: marching in the streets, setting up blockades, striking, globe trotting to help, tic toking - not for privilege but to claim our birthright.
We have languished in the world created by greed, barbaric idiocy, and brutality. We have fought for a magnanimous world, sowing the seeds of community, respect and honour. Now, we reap the harvest, as the years of making allowances end.
We, at queeniebrownmagazine.com are witness to this evolution. As our "Doing You A Little Differently" feature (Winter 2019 edition) Adama Paris of Adama Paris Studio is recognized by one of Hollywood's leading families, Adama, in her grace, established a connection with us, granting permission for the use of an image she commissioned - providing us a stunning cover!
This is Black Business supporting Black Business; women extending a hand to other women; individuals BUILDING a community. This is the change. THIS is the power. It is time to embrace the present and hail the future. Finally.
"Glisten in your skin." Love and Blessings, All.
FASHION FORWARD - Blows Minds!
What does an industrious fashion designer do during a pandemic? Make a 3D video of her wares, of course!
Riddled with a painful history, the beauty of Congo is often untapped and overlooked. The gentleness, beauty, history, poise, majesty, strength, power, and hope of the Congolese spirit inspired this collection. When creating each piece, I was reminded of the stories my mother told me of the women she knew back home in Congo. Women who suffered great loss but still, mustered every ounce of strength everyday to show up. My hope is that this collection inspires all women to stand tall in their power and like the Democratic Republic of Congo, to use their history, whether pretty or painful — to redesign their future. My country, the land of Congo, is ripe with an abundance of natural resources — the greatest of which are its people — its women.
Loving Us Some Kemi Telford
Why? Well, this Credit Risk Analyst turned blogger turned fashion designer is finally following her five year old dream of having a dress shop where she sold beautiful clothes to women. She is evidence, that when we return to our innocent self, our true purpose awaits.
In her own words, "The clothes we design and sell are more than just stylish clothes; they are loud, bold and tell the whole world, “Look at me, I am fabulous.” Some of the clothes sold here have a Nigerian influence, but with a western twist. What is important is that our clothes speak for the women who wear them. Our clothes encourage women to take up their rightful place. They encourage them to stop shrinking themselves... something I have had to work on, and I am still working on."
Thank you, Kemi Telford. We applaud you!
Fifty is Nifty?
I was excited about, and loved turning forty. I celebrated with a party of family, friends, and friends of friends dancing into the wee hours of the night. The years of my forties were liberating years. Unlike my thirties which was a blurry whirlwind of shocking revelations, my forties was a time of realization, acceptance and enlightenment. True enlightenment, contrary to the fluff I chanted before life had truly challenged me. My fifties? My fifties rate far superior to my forties. In fact, if my fifties is an example, I LOVE getting older.
My mother once told me, as I was complaining to her about aging, "...it is better than the alternative," and at this stage of my life, it is. Thankfully.
Sure, morning stiffness is a norm if I don't begin with a good stretching regime. If I don't stretch well the night before there can be aches so relentless and deep within my bones that I am thrust from my slumber; there is the sudden giving out of one knee or the other, and, my personal favourite, being told, "Mam. It is only another arthritis flare up" while sitting in emergency because my knee is thrice its original size.
What could I say? I had no idea that sore knee was arthritis. I had arrived! As the emergency room doctor told me that day, it (my arthritic state) could be worse. To me that meant, I was doing something right or was blessed with great genes or both. That coming of age revelation proved "getting older" was my reality, as opposed to a time in the distant future. Augmenting my dedication to treating my body like the incredible creation it is. Reinforcing my dedication to foods that slowed my bodies maturing process, rather than hastening it.
That is the physical.
The psychological and emotional are the bona fide rewards of being in my fifties. I feel, I have stepped into the self I had envisioned as a young girl. The young girl who, as the eldest girl of a long line of children, cousins and grandchildren -who enjoyed socializing with her mother, aunts, uncles and grandparents felt older than chronology suggested.
As a young girl, I had seen myself in the year, 2020. And although I could not have imagined these events, the older me left the younger me in awe.
These days: together with The Man of My Dreams 34 years, "retired" from my 9 to 5 stint, relocated from the hustle and bustle of The Big City, and pursuing the dreams postponed because they were not "feasible," at the time, Fifty-FIVE is even better than expected.
Due to the preparation of past decades, today there is much less stress.
I have conceded that life is precious - a gift. Allowing all distractions to drift around me - as opposed to in or even through me. Witnessing the (little) irrelevant things drift away, one by one. The priority for me: laughter, deep discussions, sharing discoveries with family and friends is today's focus.
What tomorrow brings, I cannot say.
Currently, the acceptance of literally caring for myself coupled with the absoluteness of time (seeing my mother dead was proof time waits for no one, not even Lilieth Brown) ushered in a feeling of peace with just being.
Not "trying" to be or "having" to be or even "wanting" to be, just being - existing in the stillness of one's actual self as one is in that moment.
What a feeling...
No fear, no nicety, no anger... well, maybe some of those feelings, occasionally; I am only a learning, growing, human, after all.
When I feel myself "being pulled back in" (as spoken by Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, in the film The Godfather: Part III, (1990)), I remind myself then become mindful of, honouring The Oneself - and others as One's Self.
We are one: one family, one people. Getting caught up in insecurity, competition, hate is wasting our precious gift. Time continues to pass, whether one choses to live within it or hide from it.
I chose to experience the best of it.
For all that I am and all that I have, I am grateful. When I forget to show my gratitude through caring for me (and others) in a healthy way, my body reminds me.
This is the great reward of getting older.
A football player wrote an animated short film?
Yes! Matthew Cherry, former NFL pro wrote "Hair Love" with three goals in mind: to highlight Black fathers "who so often get a bad reputation in mainstream media;" to centre a Black family in animation, and to - wait for it y'all - normalize the curl of Black people's hair. Matthew also had a lot to do with making the Crown Act - a law that prevents discriminating based on hair texture and style happen - you know we love that!! (Thanks also to Dove who is greatly involved with the Crown Act). Matthew's short was animated by Karen Rupert - who was the first Black person to win an Oscar in this category. Yes! the 7 min film won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, as Matthew publicly predicted in a 2012 tweet!
Put it out there people. Prepare and execute.
Expect to see more Family Programming from Mathew Cherry, featuring Black family and Black life in positive ways, helping to normalize these obvious realities.
We can't wait!
O.K. so we know Barbie has diversified through the years with action dolls, celebrity dolls, Inspiring Women dolls like Ella Fitzgerald (they might have to work on that one just a bit). But, have you seen the Barbie® Fashionistas® doll? 176 DOLLS: 9 BODY TYPES , 35 SKINTONES, 94 HAIRSTYLES - with various physical uniquenesses like having a wheelchair, vitiligo, and prosthetics. We must also remember Ken. No longer overly buffed, Ken can be slim, broad, with dreads and cornrows! There are plump Barbies, petite and TALL Barbies. No Hair Barbies. If that is not inclusive enough, Mattels Barbie Creatable World™, is a customizable doll line offering endless combinations all in one box. Creatable World invites kids to create their own characters. Extensive wardrobe options, accessories and wigs, allows kids to style the doll with short or long hair, in a skirt, pants, or both.
No wonder Mettel swept the 2020 toy awards!
You Can Get Collagen on the GO!
Have you heard of Vital Protiens? Well, in late 2019, they launched a six pack of water flavours (in addition to their collagen creamer, shots, on the go bars and peptides). Each 12 oz bottle contains 10grams of collagen. Depending on who you talk to, the daily recommendation for consuming collagen is 2.5 to 30 grams. SkinnyPop Popcorn is another example of companies adding collagen as a staple to food items. Their launch is a sea salt and herb flavor.
So, why is collagen such a big deal? Well, collagen is a protein that is integral to the human body function (like for your bones, joints, hair, nails and skin health) which decreases production with age but ironically helps prevent aging.
So, why not just take collagen supplements?
Well, why not?!
It is just, sometimes, supplements are easy to forget in the cupboard. That bottled water, bag of popcorn, nut butter, creamer or breakfast bar - to name a few items -is just an additional way to get that little boost of amino acids (which collagen breaks down into after it is consumed) that the body can use wherever they are needed.
Why not, indeed.
Market High and Lows... or should it be
Lows and HIGHS?!
March 2020 marked the extreme for stock markets across the globe. Stock prices plummeted from an all time high to a shocking all time low when stocks dropped an average of 30% (54% and more in many cases) due the Covid 19 trigger.
For weeks, stock prices increased and dipped like a four hundred-foot-drop roller coaster ride. Some analysts had zero clue what to predict while others suggested "not purchasing anything, just yet" while others cried, "the end of our economy as we know it!" Some truly dire predictions were made just to keep The Hopefuls on their toes... only to be topped off by oil wars and pipeline hostilities.
This month, long held breaths have released - some squealing all the way to the bank as stocks like Tesla (of which many predicted a complete collapse) flew from around $95 to the whopping $270+ before split prices that opened at low $300s jumped to the low 400's within days. Today, September 27, 2020, Tesla's 5:1 spit was at $430.70... not a bad increase from the March Madness!
Then We Have the Housing Market.
Depending upon your Toronto location, in September 2019 an interesting turn in the market became clear. Suddenly, that local home buyer/ investor had the opportunity to enter the market without the usual stiff competition - driving house prices up in the high seven hundred thousand dollar price point. This was a breather for eager investors on a stricter budget than buyers had weeks earlier. As if out of nowhere, around mid October 2019, housing prices fell approximately 30% at the lower high-end (one million to two million dollar) price point. Those trying to sell in those pockets, felt that price drop hard, and was left to wonder, WHAT WAS GOING ON?!
That question reverberated within the real estate community, until fast forward five months to the world screeching to a stand still. COVID? Everyone heard the rumblings but few put the pieces together. That real estate drop -before the realization that "we were experiencing a pandemic" -coincidently represented the impact Chines investors had on the housing market. Our Chinese counert
parts must have been confused and frightened by what was taking place around them (related to family, friends, government and businesses).
COVID? Most of us heard nothing of it; some still have questions about it, especially, thanks to some country leaders who played the virus down pretending it was "just a regular flu.' But, March shut down the world. In April and May, most people held their breaths waiting for the other shoe to drop.
By June, those eager investors took advantage of the lessening competition and purchased homes like a kid in a candy store. Real estate agents in the city could breathe, again; the dooms day speculation, finally faded. Caution still prevailed, like virtual home tours, diligent cleaning of homes up for sale et cetera, but, purchases increased - still with some competition which meant prices (slowly) increased, but held. The outskirts of the city saw a dramatic increase in sales - the likes rural agents had never before witnessed. Folks wanted out of areas with greater Covid numbers. Those rural properties that took months - even years - to sell, began selling within weeks. As Covid became more alarming properties sold in days. In more exclusive areas (like on the water), properties sold in hours -
sales set at prices completely unheard of in the community.
These September days finds us waiting to see what will happen next with real estate. How much higher can "rural" sales rise, and, when will the million something dollar home prices "return to normal?" In other words, when/ will the Chinese influence return?
More importantly, what will the "new normal " look like, much the same as before October 2019 or something completely different?
Only time will tell.
Diaspora Conflict Resolve
The pain, the frustration, the anger; the historical hate, abuse and intolerance is all so overwhelming.
During this time of raised voices and correcting wrongness, THIS is the time to grasp, to SEE, to know the full story - Our Story.
Why is it relevant to gain perspective on our past? As James Baldwin said, "If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
Knowing Our Story forces us to step back, and examine where we are then establish our plan for the future. Pieces of Our Story circulates. Parts of the tale are shared. Pieces and parts of a whole are only that - pieces and parts. We have been like scattered pieces left to blow in the wind or broken parts discarded and forgotten. Our pieces and parts are the reasons for our confusion, for the current state of chaos. When those pieces are put together, the true picture - like that in a puzzle - is revealed. Once the parts are assembled, the authentic purpose and function becomes clear. In turn, once the whole story is told then understood, regardless the circumstance or the manipulation, zero influence will sway us from the reality of who we are.
Previous queeniebrownmagazine.com issues, guided us through our beginning. Recounting our brilliance from tens of thousands of years ago, where we navigated land and water; created: tools, language, systems and civilizations that awe us to this very day. We were introduced to our cousin group in Africa; the oldest existing people up to 140,000 years old, relatives of those who left home over 100,000 years ago. The Khoisan people are the people of the Southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
Let us begin our understanding of Our Story by recognizing that Humanity is a fascinating story of survival. This survival began tens of thousands of year long before the formal recording of history. In other words, what we know today, what we have been taught about our past, is only a sliver of what has actually occurred. It is difficult to receive the full and complete information about our past because records reflecting those experiences were not noted by pen and paper. Scripts that did exists were mostly destroyed by The Ignorant and or buried by time. Interestingly, newly discovered experiences may not be in writing we can understand, but their messages exist via drawings or unearthed objects. Some truths that were destroyed are making their way to the surface as evidence of unknown facts.
With all that we know and all that is coming to light, the undisputed fact is, we Beings survived through ages other similar and not so similar creatures proved incapable of surviving. What was it about us that allowed us to learn, adapt and evolve in spite of occurrences like extreme weather changes, diseases, and dietary adjustments? Many are the explanations to that question. The fact remains, we survived.
The sad truth about our human survival is, our history has been a sorted and continuous chronicle of the combat for space which later translated into a combat for power. From the beginning of humanity we have jostled for space. When the Nile was our home, thousands of years before formal record, for example, it flowed through our lands providing all that was necessary to survive. As more and more groups discovered its benefits through the centuries, some were edged off their claim or their plot size reduced to accommodate "new comers." Inevitably, some stood their ground or pushed back, resulting in turf wars that probably continue to this day.
Clans became Groups, became tribes, became civilizations, became towns, became countries, became empires became dynasties - in general terms - and repeat. This pushing and shoving continued throughout time - eventually, across the globe, where one group wanted what another had enough to kill for it. From empires and dynasties in Africa to empires and dynasties across the world, the story remains the same for tens of thousands of years.
One can follow our human progression through the ages from Southern Africa up to central Africa, moving to the East and West coasts as well as North toward Egypt, around the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. Follow the Nile; examine our World timeline - witness the evolution of the newbies vying for dominance. We jostled and built and grew and forgot our home; fighting and clawing until we returned thousands of years later as strangers.
It is important to understand this fact as it is our human condition. A restlessness, a curiosity, a need, greed, a desire for more plagues us - drives us. This Jostling for Space translated into a Jostle for Power, broken down even more keenly is the jostle for economic power; one could be as mighty as a bull without the influence of money (economics) a bull is only a beast of burden.
It is crucial to know the horrors we inflicted upon each other as we jostled for power, in order to see who we Humans are - who we have always been. War, for instance, did not just end with folks in bloody battle. The victors - the conquers - (if they did not kill every man, woman, and child of their conquests) brought survivors home, and they did with them as they chose. If those "survivors" were lucky, all they had to do was the work the victors did not want to do themselves - as slaves, of course.
The topic of slavery can be a sensitive one for people of the African diaspora. This repugnant system plagues us to this day in insults, assaults, criticism and continued victimizations the likes of which we have witnessed, again, lately. When we understand the savagery that is the human conditioning, we will recognize savagery as part of our Human Condition. Slavery is the perfect example of this statement.
Slavery is a perfect example of our human savagery conditioning because we humans have always found ways of making - extorting/ subjecting - others to the tasks we did not want to or could not do ourselves (i.e. turning them into our beasts). Opportunists have always proven pragmatic in facilitating this demand, making the trade of slaves a viable operation for centuries - to this day. There are very few civilizations that emerged and thrived without the practice of domination over fellow humans - probably since the beginning of human existence.
There are those who indicate that slavery was a viable economic imperative within civilizations - seldom existing within the Hunter Gatherer era. Logic insists, though, during a period where laws were not well established, brute force was likely a very useful tool when it came to "making someone do what one wanted" and or "keeping" someone against their will. Also, in these times, the trading of someone less useful or problematic - also against their will - was probably a regular occurrence. Such negotiations would have been advantageous in ridding a group or tribe or individual of a problem while gaining something in return - beginning the global effort of "trading humans." Giving away a child, sibling, spouse or relative (mostly of the female persuasion) was - and still is - a common practice for a family's economic security, protection and bond preservation between families or within groups. With this knowledge, it is no long leap understanding that emerged empires did so at the exploitation of peers.
As new societies fought for, lost or won power, so slaves were captured, used and traded; used to build and sustain their capturers' societies. This was a cultural norm across nations, most ethnicities conducted themselves in this fashion across the globe.
The Roman state turned empire, for example, spread from around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, each region ruled by emperors. The empire gained slaves from warfare from all over Europe the Mediterranean, including Gaul (Celts), Hispania, North Africa, Syria, Germany, Britannia, the Balkans, Greece and the middle east. Slave mortality rates were high while birthrates, low; they were considered property under Roman law with no legal rights as a person. In some states slaves outnumbered the free by about seven to one with no opportunity of being freed. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation (prostitutes were often slaves), torture and immediately killed if accused of a crime.
Another model for empires building on the backs of enslaved peers is the Ottoman Empire. It was only in the early 19th century that Caucasians (surrounding lower Russian areas) were banned as slaves within the Ottoman Empire (which was founded by a Turk tribe leader in the 13 century). This empire stretched from Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. The surge of Islamic conquests (after Ghandi's death triggered a Muslim Holy War - the desire to convert ALL to Islam) brought in a huge number of slaves, including Syrians, Copts, Persians, Indians, Greeks, Turks, and people of today's North African coast, like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The Arab SlaveTrade (with an intent to enslave non Muslims) stemmed from the Indian Ocean, mainly in Western and Central Asia, Northern and Eastern Africa, India, Europe, and the Caucasus region (between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea) from around 500 to the early 20th century.
Into the 16th to 18th century, The Barbary Slave Trade, dealt in the trade of European Christians along the Mediterranean. Barbary pirates raided ships and coastal towns, kidnapping those from Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, England, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and as far north as Iceland.
After a handful of original humans left the African continent, and walked across, populating, the globe, The Jostle for Power continued.
While there were Indian Empires; the Mayas, year 400s/900s; the rise and decline of the Roman Empire; Mohammed's birth and death, late 570/632; the reunification of China; the Christianization of England, re-established by Germanic tribes, late 500s; the Sui Dynasty, late 5 -early 600s; the Catholic Church power gain; the last Great Roman-Persian war, early 600s; Pepin the Short, 751; the Ottoman Empire, the invention of gun powder, 900... great African civilizations participated in extensive trans-oceanic travel, establishing valuable relationships and building international trading networks through Africa, India, China and other parts of Asia.
We are all aware of the Nubians and their Sudanese Lower Egypt origin. They held vast mineral resources and controlled the middle Nile trade route to the South. Some historians believe Nubia (or Kush as others may know it) was the homeland of Egypt. Much like children leaving the nest to build their own future yet returning home, regularly, for financial or other support, so was Egypt to Nubia. Supporting this argument are the Egyptian writings, referencing travels to Nubia and returning with incredible riches, including soldiers for protection. Whatever truth is yet to be unearthed, Nubians were well known archery specialist with a history of female rulers - some of which were found buried with their archery equipment. A Swiss team, excavating a Nubian site for over 30 years, discovered temples, cemeteries and a city wall with bastions, revealing that the site (city of Kerma) was a centre for trade in gold, ivory, cattle, and other commodities. Records also reveal the event where Nubian soldiers from the city of Meroe, won a raid of Roman Egypt. As a result, Rome and Meroe agreed to a peace treaty around 20 B.C., resulting in centuries of relative stability due to trade.
The Mandinka kingdoms of Mali began as a small state. The region consisted of mountains, the Savannah and forests which provided ideal protection and resources for the population. The little state grew to an empire, expanding through the incorporation of city states, villages or towns or conquests. Post conquest, an appointed member of the Mali empire would be placed in control of the land. Once the conquered people displayed loyalty, they were allowed to elect their own local representative who could be trusted in that ruling position. This system was successful in maintaining loyalties - dissuading rebellion by elites. Social and economic reforms including prohibitions on the maltreatment of prisoners and slaves were put into place. The Mali Empire, known the world over for its wealth and luxury, acquired control over the salt trade to include with their gold trading. The capital, Niani, with a population of 100,000, was situated on the agriculturally rich floodplain of upper Niger. Two main trade routes were established through their region: one heading North, exporting gold dust and agricultural produce, the other heading South, eventually gaining control of the Trans-Sahara trade route - making this region the centre of commerce. This empire was so successful, in the 14th century, their cowrie shells were established as a form of currency for trading and taxation.
The Wagadou Empire (also known by the leaders royal title, "Ghana" as in the Ghana Empire), was located approximately four hundred miles North West of modern Ghana. Based on genealogical evidence, traditional stories that survivors of the Ghana Empire relocated to the current day Ghana location, is true. This means many of today's people of Ghana can trace their lineage back to this incredible time. The original Ghana Empire, was made up of today's Senegal people. Clans came together under a leader with semi-divine status, called Dinga Cisse. The Ghana Empire, known to have the richest gold mines on earth, as well as healthy tax expectations, also traded salt and copper in exchange for textiles, beads and finished goods. Its reign was around 300 until around 1100.
In addition to coastal trade routes, for centuries, equally substantial routes down to, up from, and across the Sahara Desert, existed. These routes connected people of many cultures and languages who were: farmers, crafts people, fishermen, hunters, et cetera, trading long as well as short distances across the continent. These routes were controlled by kingdoms, empires, substantial towns, well organized communities above and below the Shahara Desert. These were profitable, integral, trading systems that turned little villages or states into active prosperous entities.
Over thirty to forty kingdoms, empires and dynasties - that we know of to date - rose across the continent of Africa before arriving to the time of Lower Egypt. African kings, chiefs, and leaders across the continent traded gold, crops, exotic wildlife, ivory, peppers, textiles, wax, grain, copper as well as war prisoners from conquered tribes or their enemies that sustained bustling societies. More than just trade, much evidence exists informing of African people living full and productive lives, sometimes playing high ranking roles, in countries across the Mediterranean into India and China; the same such evidence speaks to people from across the seas making Africa their home.
So, if Africa was a cosmopolitan hub of trade and good living, how did its original people become slaves, affecting opinions about and conflicts with people of the African Diaspora to this very day?
The historical answer is, rivalry, audacity and the Catholic Church.
The above mentioned (of only a few) prolific trade systems in "The World," indicate the complex affairs among nations, at that time. Portugal was one such nation. Toted as the oldest established European country, this (Iberian Peninsula) region was invaded and conquered by numerous tribes of multiple ethnicities through the centuries. Many of these tribes established kingdoms from the North to the South and across the peninsula. For example, various Celt groups, from Central Europe, invaded the land in waves during the first century, over time intermarrying with the indigenous people. Germanic tribes descended upon the land in the 4th century, following an almost 400 year rule by the Romans. Muslim tribes conquered the area in the early 700s until displaced Germanic nobles fought for, then retained, power in the Northern region. These nobles set out on the mission of reconquering the country. But, before that could happen, the North, remained socially and politically Catholic (as was established by the Romans) and the Central South areas were of Muslim claim by the North African, Arab conquerers. The North, closer to Spain, faced many complex power struggles from neighbouring empires like France and Spain. A French alliance helped assist the region in gaining great power and territory. 1139 CE, the borders of what became Portugal, were finally defined. Continued struggles, warfare and declaration of royalty enabled Portugal's defeat of Muslim dominance in the 14th century.
As Portugal established, built, then gained its power, so did Spain with a similar history including a Greek influence. They too fought from under Muslim rule, and won their freedom shortly after Portugal. The liberation of these countries was the start to their empire building due to their explosion of overseas exploration. Spain explorers came across the Canary Islands, and set about battling the the local people for almost a century before controlling everything - well, almost everything; the Portuguese purchased lands from one of the captains that conquered under Spain - to the chagrin of both Spain and local leaders. Speaking of The Portuguese, facing economic decline, the monarch supported a captain's venture to take over the newly defeated Muslim trade routes of North Africa. The first conquest was a major port on the Trans-Saharan gold and slave trade. This post ended up being an economic bust for Portugal, as Muslim caravans simply changed routes to other Muslim ports. This conquest was the furthest the Portuguese had ever explored. Venturing so far from home, the captain wanted answers to questions that pestered him.The first
question was, how far did the Muslim territories in Africa actually extended. Obviously, Portugal was unaware of the strong Muslim influence along the Trans Sahara trade route where many African merchants built relationships with Muslim merchants, and converted to Islam as far back as the 8th century. The second query the captain had was whether it was possible to reach Asia by sea. Keep in mind, empires in the Eastern Hemisphere, like Portugal and Spain, had no idea what lay beyond Cape Bojador, Morocco. Beyond Morocco, navigators assumed "The World" came to an end! The Portuguese captain, though, wanted to reach the source of the much talked about Spice Trade; he also had inspiration of joining forces with a fabled Christian kingdom, rumoured to exist somewhere in the "Indies."
The 15th century (like every other century) ushered in military mights all with the goal of establishing their own personal trade routes. Spain, "The empire on which the sun never sets," was one of the largest empires in our human history. The sum of two mighty empires, amalgamated into one through marriage, Spain had the goal of attaining wealth (gold) and expanding territory (gaining economic power). The trading of spices - used in pretty much everything from medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery, food additives, preservatives and dyes - served as currency along some trading routes. The Spice Trade was hugely valuable in this century. It also had a fantastical secret origin that was controlled, and heavily taxed, by the Ottoman Empire. Wishing to avoid taxes and relations with the Ottoman Empire, but wanting in on the (secret and lucrative) Spice Trade, the Spanish Empire set about establishing trading routes to its origin - in stiff competition with Portugal. When explorers, scouting for new territory on behalf of Spain, discovered "The World" was larger than they knew i.e. an Italian explorer happened upon the Western Hemisphere believing it was India, raids and warfare, commissioned by the Spanish Monarchs, ensued. Defeating indigenous empires of the Caribbean islands brought about claims of ownership on the lands won (in name of the Spanish Monarchs). Eventually, the extension of territory reached the Philippines as well as, what would become, "the Americas."
Sidebar: notice various vacation spots and U.S. cities with Spanish names and backgrounds? This is how and when they came to be.
Portugal's maritime exploration prowess, new ships that could sail farther and faster, mishaps, and conquered lands, shaped its success well ahead of Spain's. Almost 3o years after their first sail beyond the Iberian Peninsula post capturing that Trans Sahara Muslim port, they ventured along the coastlines of Africa (remember they wanted to know how far Muslim territories extended in Africa) then profitably engaged in the slave and gold trades. It was approximately a century before competition arose from their rivals. Portugal's encounter with the Gold Coast, created a gold rush when their neighbours and greatest competitor heard about it. Spanish merchants and sailors but particularly The Monarchs, wanted in on Portugal's profitable venture - desperately. Though Portugal held a monopoly on trade below Morocco, as granted by their royalty, that monopoly was enforced (at the behest of their royalty) by the ultimate authority and mediator of conflicts (whose steady increase to power, after the fall of the Roman Empire, granted the privilege of judge and jury) the Papal.
Pope Nicholas V, publicly declared, the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands south of Cape Bojador in Africa. The Pope's declaration granted Portugal a monopoly on trade in West Africa and Spain the right to colonize the New World (as they had already commissioned explorers to do on their behalf).
What gave the Catholic Church, Portugal and Spain "the right" to make claims of ownership on a world that, not only existed but, thrived long before their arrival? The audacity of a Humanity that believes it can take what it wants simply because it wants it. The same audacity declared by most every other dynasty, empire, kingdom, king, chief, leader, group or bully before them: the savagery that is the human conditioning.
The difference with this audacity, the Romanus Pontifex of 1455 as declared by the Pope Nicholas V? It turned the trading world on its heals; leading to the first ever period of DBP, Discrimination by Pigmentation. This Discrimination by Pigmentation lead to what we now identify as "Racism."
Did it start out that way? Did the Portuguese profit on the trade of Africans because they were Black? Remember, that side of "the world" was completely oblivious to what - if anything - lay beyond Cape Bojador, Morocco. So, it is safe to say, "No." What ended up becoming the Transatlantic Slave Trade was not about pigmentation or anti Black sentiment. The Transatlantic was about making money, capitalizing on a system that had been practiced and had made societies rich for about a millenium.
Did the Pope suspect the tens of millions of people that would be kidnapped from their home, abused, and used in the most grievous of ways? Considering the European Slave Trade resulted in a little over one million people being kidnapped and used, the appropriate question would be, "How could Pope Nicholas V fathom the number of lives and generations his decision would affect? He too was focused on one thing when he supported Portugal - well two things - gaining wealth and expanding territory. He knew, Portugal's gain would also benefit The Church - to include converting possible new societies to Christianity. Do we know if Pope Nicholas V would have cared about the destruction his declaration would befall A People? Well, his predecessor, who actually received the letter from the Portugal King, did not respond to the King's request. In fact, on January 13, 1435, almost 60 years before Portugal was to explore the West African coast, the papal condemned slavery as soon as this crime was discovered in one of Portugal's first colonies. Eugene IV was clear in his intentions both to condemn the enslavement of those on the Canary Islands, and demanded correction of the injustice within 15 days. "Those who did not restore the enslaved to their liberty in that time were to incur the sentence of excommunication." It was for this reason (and several such warnings from The Church), the Ottoman Empire (eventually) ceased in the trade of its local people. The Church (in its time of wealth and great influence) was adamantly against the trade of - Christian - people. Although one must wonder what The Church was actually thinking, considering it took approximately four hundred years for The Transatlantic Slave Trade to end; not to mention the holy wars - sorry - crusades The Church sanctioned - including on the Canary Islands!
In the meanwhile, the British Empire, described as being a free association of independent entities, was not a legal empire under one founder or ruler like the Mali Empire, the Roman Empire or any Empire mentioned above. The British Empire (Common Wealth) was an agreement of countries, dominions, nobles, politicians, the poor who shared The Dream of economical wealth - on the land some explorer stumbled upon and conquered local elites for ownership.
How did this small country construct such notoriety (power) and wealth?
Remember, Britannia existed long before its people were slaves in the Roman Empire. They suffered raids from the Celts, Romans, Germans, French, the Vikings. They witnessed the Africans, the Romans, the Ottoman, The Barbary, the Arabs prosper on established trade relations - they might have been slaves at that time, but, were there to witness, nonetheless. They grew competent through warfare with Ireland, Wales and Scotland; developed hierarchal systems that were torn down, watered down then fine tuned, all while dealing with civil battles over - you guessed it - the Jostle for Space and (economic) Power. As with the start of all great kingdoms, exporting and importing goods helped create enterprise and build wealth as well as thriving communities in Britannia. Conversion to Christianity helped garner alliances and protection for more jostling, but, it also brought contention from those who believed in trust of state more than trust in God.
As land grew scarce, disease, and dis ease between the classes, rampant, word along the trade route reached British leaders about gold - lots of gold - as well as about a land that was new, free and available for the taking. This land held the promise of opportunity - opportunity to build to escape disease to escape one's fate, to make money - to rule. With the Papal, changing ideas about enslaving Christians and (essentially) forbidding the sale of Christians to non Christians i.e. to the Muslims, there was one source left to kidnap a labour force while remaining in keeping with The Church's requirements. That source was the still thriving "trading" system on the continent of Africa - now controlled by the Portuguese.
To further understand why Africans ended up being The "Last" People Traded, take a look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom
Britain, The Netherlands, France, Denmark all wanted to get into the act of creating wealth, extending territories, and using slave labour to build these lands they stumbled upon then conquered. Pope Nicholas V afforded Portugal the "opportunity" to facilitate this demand, these countries like most nations through time, capitalized upon it. The new kids on the block: Britain, The Netherlands, France, Denmark were able to succeed where old kingdoms could no longer (afford to) maintain control. Meaning, like many before them, Portugal and Spain over extended themselves, and could not afford, financially or militarily, to retain their far reaching grip on lands they had conquered. The British, the Dutch, the French either bought or conquered their claims before battling each other until establishing agreements.
Although there is the claim that Britain was not a legal empire under one leader, we understand the truth. Regardless the associations, all ties return to The British - parliament that is. The British Parliament may not have been ruled by one individual, but it operated as one "supreme" body, made up of an elite choosing. This body of elites had one goal in mind - you guessed it - the gaining of wealth and power. This goal was accomplished through the very lucrative practice of monopolizing trade. Remember how trade was inclusive between nations? During this period, it became exclusive (between parliament and British merchants) with a particular strong hold on the colonies. Restrictions were placed on trading with the French, Spanish and Dutch empires, and were enforced by the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy, borne from the need to fight invading powers like France, North Germany, and the Vikings, eventually evolved into a powerhouse on the seas; able to defeat opposing nations, and maintain control of Britains posts and profits. As we know, those who control trade - controls all.
Britain was the last great empire leading us to this time. As our ancestors were stolen, hiding or escaping from their past, the only thing left was dreaming of a future filled with hope and possibilities. Bogged down by lies or half truths too few of us, today, know from whence we came or who were our people. We are stuck in ridicule and hate to hide our ignorance. We fight over fake news perpetuated by those screaming it the loudest.
Today's great powers: The U.S., Russia, China, Germany, UK, (as per largest economy/military might) continue the fight - continue the Jostle for Space and Power - wealth and territory.
What aided our survival was the instinct to share, to form community for protection as well as to help each other survive - because we needed each other to survive; we still do. But, when we bought into the rhetoric, the false narrative, the Jostle for wealth and power that made some of us victims and some of us heroes; some worthy and others not quite worthy enough, our problems began.
Knowing Our History shows us how we have converged and crashed against each other through the centuries due to us giving in to the savagery that is our conditioning, perpetuating the illness that the measure of a human is by coin as opposed to character.
Today, our eyes are open.
We see our choices.
The questions is: Will we submit to the temptation unworthy of us by buying in to The Rhetoric, the outright lie about who we are or
will we stop being distracted by the savagery - the tragedy - of The Jostle, and focus on seeing the assembled parts of OUR incredible story; seeing the amazingness of each and every one of us?
Marley had it right, "Stop Spreading Propaganda."
Let us instead, be awed by the ZERO limitations laid out before us.
If not for our sake, for the sake of our children.
Let us help each other stop the passing on of lies and pain.
The Roman Empire
Arab Slave Trade Circle
Halloween 2020? No Problem!
This 2000 year old, Celtic, New Year tradition was amalgamated
with, the similar, All Saints Day then moved
to October 31st.
It sure will look different, this year.
The question is, what will you do about it?
Well, freak not.
The secret to coping with disappointed kids who
might feel like they are missing out, is honesty.
Explain to your teary tots that though the situation is unusual,
all is not lost, games, treats, costumes and costume parades are still possible. It is just about ingenuity.
Time to get creative.
Many are the options families can adapt, this year:
A family Party, complete with ooey gooey slimy guessing games. A halloween dinner, eaten only with hands and
watching scary movies.
Maybe a scavenger candy hunt is possible
- while dressed up, of course.
If you wanna get out of the house,
why not plan a stop at the local drive thru
then a drive around neighbourhoods checking
out spoooky Halloween lights?
The super organized might love to plan a
Socially Distanced Street Costume Parade!
Who knows, this year could be better than previous years.
The start to even better traditions.
As is the common theme of 2020:
this year, it's all up to you!
Say goodbye to plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics 'cause Single Use Plastics are being banned in Canada! These items will be out of use, nationwide, by the end of 2021.! Along with this announcement, Alberta announced a Pro Plastic Plan on October 5, 2020 with a goal of becoming the nations recycling hub.
But what of businesses and the cost of purchasing recycled materials? Is this effort cost effective for an already heavily tapped industry? Are, restaurants expected to have to "pay, even more?!"
Not if Megan Takedis Tully can help it. At a dollar per order - not per dish - this entrepreneurial lover of take out decided to step up and make a difference as opposed to complaining about adding recycled restaurant containers to the recycling system. Via her Suppli company, 18 gauge stainless steel containers will be filled with take out orders, rinsed then left at the consumers front door for pick up twice per week. This Founder & CEO has her recycled containers sanitized by Events Rental then distributed to participating restaurants of Takeout sustainable solutions.
Brilliant, Megan. Simply brilliant.
LOVE these Dragon Den winners!
Their philosophy, their passion, but most importantly, their food is exceptionally impressive.
You know we only recommend what we use, and TRULOCAL orders arrive every six weeks at our front door.
The price might be daunting - do we really spend $250 on meat every six weeks??? But, if you check out their website you will see the options available are more than you expect.
In addition to great options, your order can be changed as frequently as you wish. If that is not convenient enough, your order can be paused or arrive before you indicated for those last minute plans - just try to give them some notice, remember they have to arrange your order then coordinate delivery.
If you believe in shopping locally for high quality food, check them out, yourself.
Dragon, Michele Romanow did a great job backing these guys.
We think you will love them, too.
Hey! SHOP Sophia's Collection.
I have had the opportunity to meet fascinating people, and have found some very cool things along the way. Here is a sample of some of my favourite items - with plenty more to come in the future.
So, shop until you drop - Oh, and for this introductory period, shipping is on us. Enjoy!