A rather violent coup just happened in one of the poorest countries on earth. The top general of Guinea-Bissau was blown up and so the troops ran out of control and burned the Presidential Palace and shot the head of the ‘elected’ government. This is a land of pure chaos. But it also has a very long and interesting history: it was the Land of Gold and the British name for gold coins was, for hundreds of years, ‘Guineas’ and this is still used in the auction world in London.
The killing of Joao Bernardo Vieira is thought to have been a revenge attack, after the army chief of staff died in an explosion a few hours earlier.
The army denies there is a coup, and the capital Bissau is said to be quiet.
Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s poorest states. It has a history of coups and has become a major transit route for smuggling cocaine to Europe.
This poor ‘nation’ is the victim of hundreds of years of the most rapine looting outside of South and Central America, of course, which were also brutally raped by European CHRISTIANS. I hope everyone tries to understand how various religions use their gods as a tool of rapine and looting! Many religions are very much addicted to this and we shall look closely at Guinea to see how this operates.
Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo ‘Nino’ VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA’s regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country’s first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA’s ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA, after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was ousted by the military in a bloodless coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation.
Well, with the collapse of international finance, the ties that bind many people are now being severed. The usual effect this has it so create chaos and uprisings. The Europeans are still busy bailing each other out and the IMF and World Bank handle ‘white’ Christian nations with kid gloves while putting on the boxing gloves when dealing with ‘yellow’ Asians and of course, when dealing with ‘blacks’ and ‘reds’, ie: natives of Meso-America and Africa, they get the iron fist.
Guinea has a long and bloody history for it had great wealth to loot and took centuries to be looted. It was the main staging grounds for slaves as well as much of the interior wealth of Africa such as gold, silver, ivory, ebony, spices, etc. It was one of the first places looted by the newfangled ships with cannons.
If we glide over the countryside via the satellite photos, we can see great desolation there. Abandoned fields are outlined next to rivers but the outlines are fading. The tiny villages show signs of heavy foot traffic. Much of the landscape looks like satellite photos of places swept by tsunamis only the tsunami is human, not water.
Natural resources: fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Population: 1,503,182 (July 2008 est.) Age structure:
0-14 years: 41% (male 307,353/female 308,726)
15-64 years: 55.9% (male 404,747/female 436,245)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 18,819/female 27,292)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 47.52 years
male: 45.71 years
female: 49.39 years (2008 est.)
This country is so poor today, like Haiti, most of the population is under 20 years of age and most do not live past 40 years. Humans, when reduced to the lowest levels of sustained life, can and will reproduce. Indeed, the reproduction rate rises as the life span shortens. In Japan, for example, there is the highest percentage of elderly above 100 years. And the birthrate is approaching zero.
If we scan all the nations with the lowest fatality rates, they all have very low birthrates. The few ‘new-rich’ commodity nations like the richest OPEC countries still have immense birth rates while the elderly population balloons. But either they return to poverty due to too many people or they reduce their birthrate.
Once, Guinea was one of the wealthiest nations in Africa. So was Egypt and the Northern African nations lining the Mediterranean Sea. Now, all of these nations are basket cases. And no small measure of this is due to European conquests and some of the most brutal exploitation of people and land in history.
The HIPC Initiative was first launched in 1996 by the IMF and World Bank, with the aim of ensuring that no poor country faces a debt burden it cannot manage. The Initiative entails coordinated action by the international financial community, including multilateral organizations and governments, to reduce to sustainable levels the external debt burdens of the most heavily indebted poor countries. Following a comprehensive review in 1999, a number of modifications were approved to provide faster, deeper, and broader debt relief and to strengthen the links between debt relief, poverty reduction, and social policies. In 2005, to help accelerate progress toward the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the HIPC Initiative was supplemented by the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The MDRI allows for 100 percent relief on eligible debts by three multilateral institutions—the IMF, the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, and the African Development Fund (AfDF—for countries completing the HIPC Initiative process. In 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) also decided to provide additional (“beyond HIPC”) debt relief to the five HIPCs in the Western Hemisphere.
Just like the Silk Road communities and the Middle Eastern nations, the African nations that were once very wealthy now limp along, begging for pennies from the Great Powers which are still European [and by extension, the US] while no one rights the wrongs done to these nations. The blessings of ‘democracy’ were handed out too late and with no acknowledgement of past misdeeds and past thefts. On top of this, the European invasion and divisions of Africa which were once all part of mighty empires [that ALL went bankrupt!] were cast in cement after the UN was formed. Now, all these rump entities of empires are ‘nations’ even though this weakens them greatly.
The Great Powers will not allow anyone to unite these fractured lands into an African Empire. This, the powers fear greatly. Just like they fractured Germany after the 30 Years War so trade died, the power of German industry died and France and England could dominate Germany [revenge was, the German royals didn’t kill each other so they took over the other thrones via marriage].
Time to look deeper into the business of Guinea because this is an important turning point in history:
1453: Turks take Constantinople, for Europe, so cutting off trade routes with the East. 29 May 1453: The Fall of Constantinople.
8 January 1454: Portugal: Pope Nicholas V gives to Henry the Navigator a Bull (a virtual divine right) to render navigable the seas by Africa (“the Indies”), to help western Christendom against the Saracens, and subdue the pagans left untouched by Islam.
1454-1455: Portugal: The Order of Christ (with Henry the Navigator as Grand Master), licences the Venetian merchant, Alvise da Ca’ da Mosto (Cadamosto), to make two voyages to the upper Guinea Coast, resulting in perhaps the first European sighting of Cape Verde Islands. Cadamosto’s narrative was not published till 1507 in Vicenza.
1455: Papal Bull Romanus pontifex grants exclusive rights to use of the Guinea Coast of Africa to Prince Henry’s Order of Christ.
One of the great turning points in history was the surge of Islam into Constantinople. This was the final end of the last pretenses of the Roman Empire. Since the Ottoman warriors also took the entire Middle East as well as Egypt, the only way Europe could trade with the India was to find a way around the Ottoman Empire.
The European Christians didn’t want to empower the Ottoman by doing business with them. They needed a new way to trade with the East. The Ming in China were very eager to trade with all and sundry. The very first Portuguese ships sailed cautiously along the West Coast of Africa. When they saw that the natives were not armed like the Ottoman or the Mongols [who used gunpowder and cannons!] the Portuguese ran back to the Pope to ask for permission to take over Africa. This was granted.
The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers,
(at http://www.grandmotherscouncil.com/) is making a journey
next week to the Vatican, calling upon the Holy See to
acknowledge and revoke the papal bulls Dum diversas, June
18, 1452, Romanus Pontifex, January 8, 1455, and Inter
Caetera, May 4, 1493. These papal edicts set into motion
perceptions and relationships based on power and domination
‘in the new world’ that are still the basis of legal systems all
around the globe.
For example, the Inter Caetera papal bull of 1493 called for the
overthrow of “barbarous nations.” Similarly, the bulls Dum
diversas and Romanus Pontifex authorized the monarchy of
Portugal “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue
all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of
Christ wheresoever placed …” and “reduce their persons to
perpetual slavery.” The Council’s trip to Rome is part of a
continuum of requests from various Indigenous groups going
back to 1984 and calling on the Holy See to acknowledge
and revoke these papal edicts.
The edicts allowing the enslavement and looting of all lands of ‘pagans’ still stands. And I am glad to see that the victims of this massive crime are still pushing to have this ended, once and for all. We can see in Guinea that the majority of the population is now Islamic. Despite hundreds of years of European domination, there are even many pagans left. Here is a part of the Papal Bull allowing looting of pagans:
The bull Romanus Pontifex was published by Pope Nicholas V. It is an important document in the long struggle betwen Portugal and Spain for the control of the lands inhabited by the so called “unbelievers” (“heathens” and “infidels”). As an arbitror of disputes in the christian world empowered by his role as the”successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Christ”, Nicholas V settled the matter in 1455 in favor of Portugal. The competition betwen the two monarchic states started nearly 100 years before the first voyage of Columbus in 1492.
And so it came to pass that when a number of ships of this kind had explored and taken possession of very many harbors, islands, and seas, they at length came to the province of Guinea, and having taken possession of some islands and harbors and the sea adjacent to that province, sailing farther they came to the mouth of a certain great river commonly supposed to be the Nile, and war was waged for some years against the peoples of those parts in the name of the said King Alfonso and of the infante, and in it very many islands in that neighborhood were subdued and peacefully possessed, as they are still possessed together with the adjacent sea. Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.
Lot 259 : VATICAN Nicolas V (1447-1455).
We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit — by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors, nor without special license from King Alfonso and his successors themselves has any other even of the faithful of Christ been entitled hitherto, nor is he by any means now entitled lawfully to meddle therewith — in order that King Alfonso himself and his successors and the infante.may be able the more zealously to pursue and may pursue this most pious and noble work, and most worthy of perpetual remembrance (which, since the salvation of souls, increase of the faith, and overthrow of its enemies may be procured thereby, we regard as a work wherein the glory of God,
This land was called ‘the Ivory Coast’ because of all the ivory from elephants that poured into the European-controlled ports. I strongly suspect that the human porters who brought in all the gold, ivory, etc were then sold as slaves, too, on top of this. When the natives of the Caribbean were literally worked to death or killed by plague, farmers of the West African lowlands were rounded up and herded into small ships and then the survivors were put to work as slaves.
In places like Haiti, the wealth from growing indigo, which came from the Guinea region of Africa, made many French aristocrats very wealthy. Today, Haiti competes with Guinea for ‘poorest nation on earth.’
As I keep saying, human labor, when added to the land and resources, is the greatest method to gain wealth. Like South America, the lower malarial areas of Africa didn’t use ‘money’ in the sense of ‘coins’ so there was a lot of decorative gold floating about in the cultures there. This was all looted and turned into gold coins.
The guinea is an obsolete coin that was minted in the Kingdom of England between 1663 and 1813. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin. Made from gold imported from Guinea, the coin was originally worth one English Pound Sterling, which was twenty shillings; but rises in the price of gold caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times as high as thirty shillings. The name, which was an unofficial name for the coin, came from Guinea in Africa, where much of the gold used to make the coins originated.
In 1774 almost 20 million worn guineas of William III and Queen Anne were melted down and recoined as guineas and half-guineas.
Towards the end of the century gold began to become scarce and rise in value. The French Revolutionand the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars had drained gold reserves and people started hoarding coins. Parliament passed a law making banknotes legal tender in any amount, and in 1799 the production of guineas was halted, although half and third-guineas continued to be struck. Following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800, the king’s titles changed, and an Order in Council of 5 November 1800 directed the Master of the Mint to prepare a new coinage, but although designs were prepared, the production of guineas was not authorised….
In 1813 it was necessary to strike 80,000 guineas to pay the Duke of Wellington‘s army in the Pyrenees, as the local people would accept only gold in payment. This issue has become known as the Military Guinea. At this time gold was still scarce, and the guinea was trading on the open market for 27 shillings in paper money, so the coining of this issue for the army’s special needs was a poor deal for the government, and this was the last issue of guineas to be minted.
In the Great Recoinage of 1816, the guinea was replaced as the major unit of currency by the pound, with a coin called a sovereign.
Even after the coin ceased to circulate, the name guinea was long used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings (£1.05 in decimalised currency). The guinea had an aristocratic overtone; professional fees and payment for land, horses, art and bespoke tailoring were often quoted in guineas until decimalisation in 1971. It is still quoted in the pricing and sale of livestock at auction, racehorses, and many major horse races in Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia bear names ending in “1,000 Guineas” or “2,000 Guineas”, even though the nominal values of their purses today are much higher.
Well into the late 20th Century the guinea was still used in the UK for professional fees and auction prices. The extra shilling provided a convenient 5% for lawyers to pay their clerks and for saleroom fees.
The gold guinea was operational until the Napoleonic wars. Note how England had to surrender gold to ‘allies’ because all mercenaries, in history, prefer gold over any other form of payment. So, to fix things, the Bank of England began to issue paper currency and simply promised to pay off in gold in the future.
Translating paper into gold had a 5% differential which was pocketed by the people doing the transactions even if no gold actually was exchanged. Do note that this sort of technical glitch is used ruthlessly by modern speculators and bankers to enrich themselves. Wars often are the engine of change in the banking system. It is amusing that the upper classes still clung to the language of the older, gold coin system, even as the gold coin was withdrawn from the mint and paper was introduced.
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