There is nothing anyone can do with the past. In a way, the past is not real because it is no longer ‘in existence’. There really is only NOW… but, sometimes images come to us in half awake dream scapes, phantom images casting grotesque shadows on the walls of dark subconscious canyons.
Historical accounts of Human activity are similar to our own personal dreams. The study of Human history is a way of determining our current position of NOW and a way of looking at Human behavior from a longer perspective. Have Humans changed? Are we ‘making progress’? Are we ‘improving’?
Or is the Human saga best thought of in terms of some kind of ‘spiritual evolution’… that takes place within each individual Human, on a ‘one at a time’ basis?
Every circumstance or way of Life has it’s ups and downs, it’s positives and negatives. Who can say which way of life or circumstance is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another? In the end, each person will have a unique collection of their own Life experiences; some happy memories, some tragic ones, some joyful ones, some painful ones. Might as well enjoy the ride as much as we can. It beats the alternative.
Evidence suggests that this ride (Life) has a beginning, a middle, and… an ending some day.
I’d like my Life story to have a happy ending and I’d like the story of my Life to have a comedic flair rather than having it tending toward the tragic end of the spectrum.
Our lives seem to be experiments which imply an unspoken intention of discovering how much or how little control we really have in ‘writing the stories of our Lives’. Each individual Life is an experiment; begging the centuries old question: ‘free will’ or ‘predestination’?
As I wander around what is now Peru a few background thoughts are always present. One is the background thought, that everywhere I go I am witnessing the results of the Spanish arrival in the ‘new world’ and how that changed the lives of indigenous tribal groups, and how the subsequent events changed the European world.
There were no horses, no cows, no steel, and no gunpowder in ‘the new world’ when the Spaniards arrived. (there had been horses in what is now the Americas before they became extinct sometime during the Pleistocene era) <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/quaternary/pleistocene.php>
I visited the tranquil fishing village of Caleta La Cruz Pizarro; the exact beach landing from where Francisco Pizarro launched his conquest of the Incan empire in 1532. Notice that ‘conquest’ is the root for the word that describes those early expeditionary forces: ‘conquistadores’.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to lay eyes on the Pacific ocean; successfully crossing the isthmus of what is now Panama in 1513. Balboa and Pizarro were acquainted.
Pizarro soon repeated Balboa’s trek. He led two ‘unsuccessful’ expeditions Southward from Panama having forged alliances with other men of ambition. The governorship of Panama had to ‘authorize’ the provision of further expeditions. That authorization wavered. A few years passed, with many disappointments and a few encouraging encounters.
Ever heard of drawing a ‘line in the sand’ ? The man to whom that is attributed is none other than Francisco Pizarro. He drew that line in the sand at Isla de Gallo (actually a small peninsula on the Pacific coast of Colombia). Only thirteen of the many men there crossed that line, committing themselves to join Pizarro in future missions into Peru. These were later named the ‘famous thirteen’ (los trece de la fama).
Pizarro sailed back to Spain to make a deal directly with the King… Charles I. In 1529 Pizarro received a ‘royal decree’ from Queen Isabel naming him governor and ‘captain general’ of what is now Peru. Now he was on a roll and had more incentive than ever to proceed.
When he returned in 1532, he and his band of experienced and determined mercenaries, with scores of horses, landed on a beach near what is now the small town of Culeta de cruz Pizzaro. It was here that the priest which accompanied him planted the first ‘Christian’ cross in these parts, and where Pizarro claimed the whole place for his king, the pope… and himself. It was from this beach that they launched their invasion as they marched inland toward Cajamarca, stole the Incan gold, and murdered thousands of Incas, including Atahualpa, the Incan ‘king’.
The Spanish/European version is that these were brave men fighting for God, Jesus, the pope and the king. Pizarro (who was mostly illiterate and born to a woman ‘out of wedlock’ ; a big no no in those days) … rose to immense power and successfully pulled off one of the biggest gold heists in history. The Pizarro tale is a case study of how ‘history’ repaints one of the most outrageous crimes perpetrated by ambitious, greedy, ruthlessly brutal men as a fine example of religious devotion and utmost patriotic courage. Odd, isn’t it?
Nine years later, one of his brother’s killed an early partner; Diego de Almagro. < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/16724/Diego-de-Almagro > Not long afterwards, Amargo’s family has Francisco Pizarro murdered, in retaliation.
Francisco Pizarro: A classic, ‘rags to riches’ / ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’ story… all rolled into one.
To some, Francisco Pizarro was a ‘heroic’ figure, a ‘man’s man’. To others (the Incas, for example) he was a despicable, ruthlessly brutal, liar, cheat, thief, and murderer.
Below is a fairly accurate video account:
I passed through the small town of Zorritos, <http://pttc.mines.edu/Peru.pdf > where the first oil well was drilled in South America in 1863 (330 years after Pizarro’s plundering). Drillers continue to drill and now oil platforms can be seen near the coast all along Northern Peru.
Visited Cabo Blanco, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabo_Blanco,_Peru > where Hemmingway watched as the film version of his ‘Old Man And The Sea’ was being made.
Below: Videos of surfing the Cabo tube when the swell is in:
Below: Black marlin fishing action from the days when there were many ‘granders’ caught near Cabo Blanco.
Below: Photos of Papa Hemmingway at Cabo