Was England’s claim to N. America pre-empted by Norway?

At its recent Church convention, the Episcopal Church of the United States, traditionally America’s branch of the Anglican Communion, denounced the late-medieval “Discovery Doctrine” which encouraged / justified (Western) Christian nations’ annexation and exploitation of newly-discovered non-Christian lands, nations, peoples, and persons.  This appears to be at this time an unofficial or ‘semifinal’ version of the adopted resolution, minus the strikeouts.  They also call on the Successor of one royal perpetrator of this legal doctrine, in her capacity as “Supreme Governor” of their Sister Church, the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II, to also repudiate it … for their government lobbyists to press overturning this legal basis for a kind of suzerainty over Native American Tribes with the U.S. Government … and for their member dioceses and adherents to support Tribes’ struggles for their God-given rights as Indigenous Nations.

As Wikipedia relates, this “doctrine” backed-up Western European overlordship of Indigenous Peoples not previously Christianized.  Commonly it was considered for the “heathens’ ” own good, as well as providing cover for all the depredations Indigenous have suffered at their hands and those of their “legal successors,” including the United States, down to the present.  More to the point, also for the seizure of their lands and resources, especially all the gold that was rumored to be here.  I don’t know enough about the claimed legalities beyond this, for Spanish- and Portuguese-claimed territories … but for English, “the rule of law,” i.e., the English Common Law, eventually developed at least a legal fiction of respect for existing inhabitants of lands they were interested in acquiring, as having actual legal rights to or in those lands, as long as they lived in them — rights to which ambitious English rulers and explorers needed to at least pay lip-service.  (Remember, this is the system wherein the lawyer asks his client, “What do you WANT the law to say?”!)  This was an evolving thing, as I’ve said previously here.

American relevance was nailed down (supposedly) by Chief Justice John Marshall in an 1823 case.  He stated that on the plot of land at issue, in Illinois, England/Great Britain had “discovered” and taken precedence over the Natives, whether directly or by treaty(!) from France, and the United States succeeded to British “rights” therein.  Therefore, Native Nations had limited rights to their own lands and resources, Britain/America having ultimate determining legal authority, at least vis a vis other European powers.  The idea included reducing the Europeans’ habit of going to war with each other; Indigenous didn’t matter!  (Though England came preferring to acquire their rights by “treating with them,” i.e., treaties — even if these, too, often became “legal fictions”!)

Here’s Marshall’s language I want to focus on (emphasis added by me):

The states of Holland also made acquisitions in America and sustained their right on the common principle adopted by all Europe. They allege, as we are told by Smith in his History of New York, that Henry Hudson, who sailed, as they say, under the orders of their East India Company, discovered the country from the Delaware to the Hudson, up which he sailed to the 43d degree of north latitude, and this country they claimed under the title acquired by this voyage.

Their first object was commercial, as appears by a grant made to a company of merchants in 1614, but in 1621 the States General made, as we are told by Mr. Smith, a grant of the country to the West India Company by the name of New Netherlands.

The claim of the Dutch was always contested by the English — not because they questioned the title given by discovery, but because they insisted on being themselves the rightful claimants under that title. Their pretensions were finally decided by the sword.

No one of the powers of Europe gave its full assent to this principle more unequivocally than England. The documents upon this subject are ample and complete. So early as the year 1496, her monarch granted a commission to the Cabots to discover countries then unknown to Christian people and to take possession of them in the name of the King of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title.

In this first effort made by the English government to acquire territory on this continent we perceive a complete recognition of the principle which has been mentioned. The right of discovery given by this commission is confined to countries “then unknown to all Christian people,” and of these countries Cabot was empowered to take possession in the name of the King of England. Thus asserting a right to take possession notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and at the same time admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery.

Here’s the problem: Since around the Millennium, North America* had been “known to the Christian people” of Norway, as mentioned here.  The Norse main settlements were in Greenland.  But knowledge of the lands to Greenland’s west is undeniable from approximately then, which was about the same time those colonists became Christians.  Even if you give no credence whatsoever to my foster-kinsman St. Brendan, Carthaginian Early Christian monks in Connecticut, the alleged succession of Catholic Titular (absentee) Bishops of the village of Gardar, Greenland and Vinland, and as-yet-undiscovered Icelandic Sagas, etc etc etc, living knowledge came down to the first Lutheran bishop of Greenland before he attained to that title by venturing there in 1721 in hopes of rescuing the many-centuries-old and long-isolated colony from Catholicism(!–or Orthodoxy!!) or apostasy … not finding them (as far as he knew!) … and setting out to evangelize the Native Inuit (Eskimos) instead(!).

But Britain did not treat with Norway or Norway’s sometime sovereign Denmark for any of its North American rights (under European law), nor did it acquire them “by the sword.”  Now, it is not currently known that any Norse (or their Mixed-Blood descendants) survived here until 1492 or ’96.  However, the Cabots’ charter did not say, as later English ones, “not actually possessed by any Christian prince,” merely “unknown to all Christian people.”  Christian Norway’s “knowledge” of this northern landmass may have been obscure at that time, but it was knowledge:  Norway “discovered” North America before England did!

So what?  As one commentator to the story at the website of the newspaper Indian Country Today reminds us all,

Just better be careful that you don’t also overturn our sovereignty while overturning Johnson v. M’Intosh. Too many times, an unideal but working scenario gets scrapped when ‘reformers’ come in and start changing things. I present as evidence term limits, ‘independent’ legislative redistricting and other such ‘reform’ scenarios that have contributed mightily to the current state of ideological gridlock that grips both federal and state governing bodies.

I know enough about law and history, and more about courts, judges, lawyers, and politicians, to take this counsel seriously!  Also, although today Norway is a rather politically correct place, who knows about the future?  Is it a case of The Devil You Know over The Devil You Don’t Know?!  Though it might be interesting to see Washington and Ottawa have to re-negotiate their independence with PC Oslo!

One might say that Norway has never pressed its claim, challenging Britain, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, or anybody else.  But with the discovery of the Sagas and their settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, in a possibly-improving climate of International Law and politics, especially Norway being a NATO ally of both the U.S. and Canada (and let’s remember the last bits of New France), Norway itself may have a “Native Claim” needing respect and recompense!  Even the US Supreme Court awarded huge money to the Lakota for the Black Hills!

No one ever said the ‘Piskies don’t know how to make life interesting sometimes!!!  😉

(*–Presuming Marshall is associating Spanish and Portuguese “discoveries” with OFF North America.)

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The phrase “one-world government” is ungrammatical.

Unless it’s preferring to limit government to a single world, say Earth, so it doesn’t also cover, I dunno, Mars, the Moon, Europa, Venus….

Why do they use the hyphen, making “one world” a single adjective instead of part of a phrase, as in, “I support (or oppose) one world government” or even just “a world government”?

My first encounter with the expression was I think on the back of a Keith Green album (along with anti-Catholicism) when I was spinning Christian Contemporary music on my college radio station in the early ’80s (I also spun Adult Contemp, Classic Rock, Classical, and read and wrote news), and it sounded as conspiracy-theorist then as it does now … even with some religious tilt I don’t quite comprehend, even after spending most of the ’90s among Protestants.

Inquiring minds wanna know!

“Town Destroyer” equals Genocide

The Iroquois nickname for George Washington, supposedly from his behavior towards non-combatants among Native Nations that sided with the Crown in the Revolutionary War.  War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, all part of Settler America’s (not-so-)revolutionary heritage.

Happy Columbus Day.

How to solve Israel’s Iran problem

Israeli leaders – in the midst of a growing domestic scandal, interestingly – threaten to attack Iran, which would be an act of war and perhaps provoke the holocaust – if they will pardon the expression – that they claim to want to avoid.

They’d take alot of wind out of Iranian sails if they just made peace with their neighbors, especially the Palestinians.

This wouldn’t be “appeasement.”  Letting Israel hang on to the Illegally-Occupied Territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights, and attack her neighbors Lebanon and Syria with impunity and out of all scale to the problem that was emanating therefrom, is appeasement.  Letting Israel continue to make innocent Palestinians’ lives hell on earth, and not pay for the excessive devastation in Lebanon, is appeasement.  Letting Israel perch the whole planet on the precipice of World War III / Global Jihad / World Crusade for its own shortsighted, misguided, narrow policies and international noncooperation and dictation, is appeasement.  Bu’ushist threats of a nuclear first-strike against a non-nuclear Iran, besides illegal in themselves, are an appeasement of Israel.  New French “neocon” threats of a similar nature are shockingly disappointing for this formerly-responsible member of the world community, as well as appeasement and “red meat” for their “base” in France and the U.S.  US and French disingenuousness is similarly appeasement.

Iran is most definitely not “a direct threat to the national security of the United States and our allies,” because we have no treatied allies under Iranian “threat.”  Such a statement is ignorant of the situation at International Law as it currently stands.  Iran is a nation of more than 70 million population, a modern State and economy, and a major world culture.  It cannot be simply ordered around like some tribal sheikdom or Third-World Banana Republic.  Bu’ushists bluster in perfect Middle Eastern fashion, while “the West” claims to be heir to a better-developed international legal and diplomatic tradition.  Bush thus gives the lie to Western claims, makes Mideasterners nervous, and they would reasonably feel the need to prepare to defend themselves against violations of their territorial sovereignty, even if they weren’t making such preparations, as Iran, and US and international intelligence estimates claim they are not.  (Of course, reason is not something the Bu’ushists are known for, as they belittle The Reality-Based Community!)

The real rogue states in this process so far are Israel, the US, and now France also.

“Muslim leaders want to curb ‘Islamophobia'”

From MSNBC.  Though they could start by working on their own people who give their faith a bad name, like the Saudis and their highly sectarian and provocative Wahabbism (a minority among the world’s Muslims), bin Laden and his ilk, get Ahmadinejad to tone it down a scooch, introduce those radical madrasa schools a little bit into the Reality-Based Community, stuff like that.

Then, just try to understand where “libertarian” Westerners are coming from: today’s Western Christianity and “post-Christianity” are built on the foundation of the Rennaissance of Classical pagan Greek and Roman culture, which was much aided by translations of Classics via the Muslim world at the height of its own culture.  As an Orthodox Christian, I see alot of problems with this too, but it’s there and it’s highly influential around the world now.

If the Islamic Conference just tries to beat countries over the head it doesn’t like with international law, they’re more likely to drive more countries into the U.S. camp, which largely disdains international law.  Then nobody benefits, as the Iraqis and Saddam Hussein have learned, and the Iranians may yet learn, sadly.

Maybe what they should do is work domestically, within countries, based on their own existing legal systems and parliaments.  Form “Anti-Defamation Leagues” in each country, like Jewish folks have in the U.S.

I personally have a growing problem with growing Muslim influence in the West, in particular the retrograde influence of Saudi / Wahabbist and other radical ideologies who take advantage of “liberal” Western immigration, speech, and publishing laws to oppose Western values, societies, and people’s lives and safety, and so-called honor killings (aka revenge vendettas).  But I oppose all false rhetoric, and favor critiques based only on truth.  In a Western country, if you can prove slander or libel in court, you can win some kind of award.  As for non-Muslim cartoonists or their publishers who violate Muslim rules, well, you shouldn’t just expect people who don’t belong to your religion to follow its rules, any more than Jews expect non-Jews to keep kosher; you have to inculcate genuine sensitivity.  We do that with White police; there’s no reason rational Muslim representatives can’t peacefully ask to meet with Western periodical publishers, etc., and help them voluntarily become more sensitive to your religion’s concerns, just like any other growing minority religion here.  But does a problem in Denmark have to provoke violence in Pakistan and the East Indies?  Is that reasonable?  Isn’t that just “Westophobia”?

OTOH, if you come to the West, you implicitly agree to the rough-and-tumble of Western democracy and political “dialogue,” which sometimes is “in your face” and offensive.  I oppose gratuitous, senseless offensiveness, but sometimes legitimate critique and questioning will offend, but in the end is helpful.  Where’s the rationalism and reasonableness of Medieval Islam, the cultural height of your civilization?  There were limits to potentially-scandalous criticism, but there was also literary give-and-take.  Embrace the best of your heritage; we’re supposed to embrace the best of ours as Westerners; challenge us to do so.

There’s productive confrontation, and there’s just unproductive point-scoring.  The latter feels good only for a short time, like self-gratification; the former can bring significant, permanent improvement for everybody concerned.  Ask American Jews and Blacks.

Insofar as “Islamophobia” is a “phobia,” it is an irrational fear, one not based in reality, and so in theory has a psychotherapeutic treatment and cure, even on a societal scale.  Outlawing it through the UN won’t cure it, only make it worse.  Treat the phobia, show it to be irrational and not based in reality.  What Westerners fear is terrorism, war, weapons of mass destruction, violence, unruly mobs, senseless property damage, intolerance, any real loss of rights or freedom or democracy, threats to their elected governments and to what they value in their own historic cultures, etc.  Is this unreasonable, irrational?  Don’t Muslims fear the same things?  Yet Westerners feel these things are being threatened by some people in the name of Islam, rightly or wrongly.  Help us out, please.

Then again, if all you’re going to be about is avenging 800 years of Western victories over Muslims, well then I guess it’ll be World War 3 and the end of everything.  Then the Promised One will come, and we’ll see who was right.  Is that it?  Do you want the same thing as American Fundamentalists, Armageddon?

Why can’t we both choose peace?