Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel was the most forward-thinking rabbi in Amsterdam, if not the world, in the 1600s. He was considered the most famous Jew in Europe then, but he struggled to find respect among his neighbors. He’s still an inspiring figure today.
True tolerance — not grudging, not hesitatingly offered. That’s a model of how we should act and the kind of country we should be. Between Locke and Spinoza, one of these philosophers had a vision for it – and the man who inspired the American Revolution wasn’t it.
I’m already itching to start writing the next one. Yes. I said it. There will be a second book in this series — I said it, a series. I’m thinking five books to do it right. Plus maybe extra books on the side for some of the characters. Who knows, maybe ten when all is said and done. The more I research, the more potential I see.
In the 1590s, the newly independent Dutch Republic looked to flex its economic muscle, but stronger, more-established nations like Spain and Portugal stood in its way. Their ships blocked the way to wealthy trading ports in Asian nations. Besides, even without their interference, the trip to the Spice Islands (now known as Indonesia) took the better part of a year. What was desperately needed was a faster route to the wealth of Asia that bypassed the military threats of European rivals.
Enter Willem Barentsz.
During its Golden Age, the Dutch Republic became a hub of many things: the spice and sugar trade, diamond crafting, master artworks – and optics. Why the Netherlands?
So what does all this say about Rembrandt and Vermeer? Can we draw any conclusions about the two men based on the work they produced? As a writer myself, it’s hard for me to imagine that you can separate an artist from their creation. One depends upon the other.
History doesn’t belong to any one person or group. There’s no single narrative to it. Everyone alive contributes their own kaleidoscope view to history, and each time we get a chance to glimpse another one of them, we get a truer picture of what history really is.
What you think is “brown sugar” isn’t. It’s just bastardized white sugar. Ah, but there actually IS a brown sugar. Sugar that’s brown because the molasses never left it. And that, my friends. That is muscovado.