Project 500 Years
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Project 500 Years

1593: The Korean War, Ottomans & Habsburgs, and more…

Part of a later allegorical painting of the “Thirteen years War”, by Hans von Aachen

Happy Pi Day everyone! How fortuitous that today I write about 1593, which had a “Super-Pi” Day: 3/14, 1593. (During 1593, the Flemish mathematician Adriaan van Roomen arrived at 15 decimal places of Pi using the polygon approximation method.)

Today, I’ll be brief:

Reproduction of a “hwacha”
Christopher Marlowe
  • In July, France’s King Henry IV, long a target of intense criticism from the country’s powerful “Catholic League”, finally made a public renunciation of his earlier Protestant leanings. The Catholic League had been adamant he could not go to Paris unless he did so. He is said to have muttered under his breath, “Paris is worth a mass!” (En francais, of course.)
  • Also in July, the “Long Turkish War” or “Thirteen Years’ War” (or sometimes, “Fifteen Years War”) broke out between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. This was a land war, primarily over the Principalities of Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It lasted, as we can see, quite a long time. The casualties on both sides are described as “Unkown, heavy.” And the outcome? “Indecisive.”
  • At the end of 1593, horticulturalist Carolus Clusius, the director of the newly established Hortus Botanicus at the Netherlands’ Leiden University, planted tulips in both a teaching garden and his private garden. The following spring, these would be the first tulips reported to have blossomed in Western Europe. They had been much admired throughout Western Europe after some merchants and envoys to Constantinople had first encountered the many beautiful tulip gardens cultivated there. (Just a few decades later, tulips would be the subject of one of Western Europe’s first large-scale speculative bubbles.)
The tulip’s range: natural (pink) and introduced (yellow)

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Helena Cobban

Veteran analyst of global affairs, with a focus on the Middle East. Senior Fellow, Ctr for International Policy. Fuller bio at my Wikipedia page.