Africa, America, Asia, Countries, South America, UK

Brasaleia and other sold countries

For the day that’s in it when The Dutch Republic sold New Holland to Portugal in 1661 here’s Brasaleia and other sold countries.

No, you didn’t know the Dutch took 63 tonnes of gold from Portugal for what would become Brazil.

They had run the north-east part of the country we now know as Sambaland for 31 years before cashing in after a war.

The Dutch were the great merchants of their day and dealmakers.

And the best dealmaker of our day, and most famous living New Yorker, Donald Trump, would have approved of another deal.

Manhattan transfer

The art of the deal: With The Donald in New York

Dutch governor Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the native Americans in 1621 for trinkets to the value of $24.

And when the Dutch relinquished it in 1674 to the English who rechristened it New York they got the rich sugar and cotton territory of Suriname in South America in return.

Now you might remember Trump offering to buy Greenland a couple of years ago probably thinking we still deal this way.

United Stakes

The table is set: In Vegas

And in truth that is how America completed their manifest destiny.

Through most famously the Louisiana Purchase from France for $15m to help the Gauls fund the Napoleonic Wars.

And having got a taste that spending money is better than spending blood they went back 16 years later with $5m for Florida.

The growing US splashed out $18.25m to buy California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona from the Mexicans in 1848.

All of which would be a poor take on a weekend in a Las Vegas casino.

LA is my laddie: In Los Angeles

Ten million greenbacks got them southern Arizona and New Mexico from their neighbours five years later.

But they weren’t finished there and sealed the deal of all deals when they waved $7.2m under the Russian Bear’s nose in 1867 for Alaska.

And again that proved to be mere loose change compared with the oodles of money they’ve taken in oil since.

While the Americans have waved the chequebook more than anybody the British haven’t been slow in flashing cash either.

Rate Britain

Water island: Singapore

And at various stages they have bought bits of India and Africa from the Danes.

All of which makes you think Trump could have done a deal with them over Greenland.

While Singapore was purchased from Johor, a state in Malaysia, for $60,000 in 1824.

Scots bank it

Leg it to… the Isle of Man

Who would have thought too that the Scots were at it too long before any of them.

When they forked out 4,000 marks sterling and 100 mark annuity to the Norwegians for…

The Hebrides, Kintyre, islands off the Firth of Clyde and get this, the Isle of Man, from Norway in 1266.

It’s ironic then that the Scots were “bought and sold for English gold such a parcel of rogues in a nation” when they surrendered to the union with England which created Great Britain.

And which you can read all about in the excellent Price of Scotland from historian Douglas Watt.

All of which we’ll reflect on on this lazy Saturday afternoon… Brasaleia and other sold countries.



America, Countries, Ireland

An American-Irish Thanksgiving in Dublin

It probably wasn’t like this for the Pilgrims in Plymouth in 1421… but I’ll more than take An American-Irish Thanksgiving in Dublin.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, masks, double dose certificates at the Radisson Blu Royal.

And certainly not what the Pilgrims laid before the natives…

Dried meat and fish, grains and flour, dried foot, cheese and hard biscuits.

Chow on chowder

Catch of the day: chowder

Thankfully culinary fashions have changed and we dined on New England chowder, mini burgers and wings.

All the time listening to the band belting out American standards.

And taking a tour of America, around the stands, from New England, Washington DC, Georgia and Florida.

Right across the Mid-West (Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah).

And over to my old friends in California.

Flying time

Fly the flag: Aer Lingus

And you’ve got it… Aer Lingus and British Airways were there (are there) to take us back.

Now that the borders are open again.

Now like a kid in a candy shop the difficult thing is what to choose first.

Our American Travel Fair resumes in Florida in May.

Orlando, woah, woah, woah

Minnie brwak: Minnie and me

So all roads lead there… to Orlando.

Now if the Pilgrims thought that New England was a good enough starting point to explore the New World who am I to disagree.

The eastern seaboard collection of states and commonwealths I know well from a summer in Boston after university and day trips to New Hampshire.

Connect with Connecticut

Making his Mark: Mark Twain

But I’m grateful here to Sue from Connecticut for clueing me in on her state.

You might be familiar with Mark Twain name-checking it in his time-travelling tome A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur.

And you’ll find everything you want to know about the Great American and his great creations Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in his museum here.

And also take in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house and get a glimpse of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

She’d be known today as HBS but back in the day to Abraham Lincoln she was ‘the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.’

It’s a rich old history and one I can’t wait to add to in 2022.

But for now it’s enough to acknowledge my dear old friends and embrace (with an elbow nudge) my new ones.

With an American-Irish Thanksgiving in Dublin.


America, Countries, Culture

Native American signs point the way

I’d advise anyone who is thinking about taking a summer out before work to spend it in ‘At or about the great hill’. Or Massachusetts to you and me!

You see, we all know more Native American language than we thought.

Always in the big tent

But imagine if somebody came to your country and changed all the names of the places which the settlers did.

AIANTA, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, have got us on board for their initiative Mapping Indigenous Place Names.

Where is..?

Do you know the way to?

Now as the United States took shape and they formed new settlements they went for names from the Old World and then just put New in front of them.

Some though were more inventive and took Native American names.

So, let’s play a game of what does that American state mean?

Rivers run through it

All kinds of everythng with Carol Dana, language master for Penobscot Nation

Starting with A, of course, and Alaska is from the Aleut word alexsxaq, meaning ‘the object towards which the action of the sea is directed’.

K is for Kentucky, a hallowed place in American Country music, is Iroquoian for ‘at the meadow’ or ‘on the prairie’.

While Michigan who we met up again with this week at MTM21 and are close to welcoming us all back, nods to the Ottawa mishigami, ‘large water.’

Dressed to thrill

Our magical Mississippi, whose old man river just keeps rolling, is derived from the Algonquian language Ojibwe. meaning ‘big river’…

And yes, there’s a theme here.

Utah, another we caught up with at MTM21 and where we’ll visit after the American Travel Fair, IPW, means ‘high up’. Naturally!

Follow the trail

They were here first

When we all get travelling again we should definitely add Native American experiences to our lengthening list.

Helpfully AIANTA has done the heavy lifting for us and pointed these information packs our way.

That bbbbbuckin’ Bronco

Top Ten Experiences:

Pre-Columbian Sites:

Native American Tours:

Must fly, I’m being called back to ‘the Place Where The Scary One Breathes Fire’, sometimes called ‘Home’.