Episode 20 – Medium Rare, Please

In this episode, we begin to discuss the New Finland fisheries, and the failed attempt of the Portuguese Fagundes to plant a colony on Gnu-Phinland. After that, we discuss the voyages of Gomes and Verrazano, before returning one more time to Noof & Land to discuss John Rut’s pretty lame attempt to find the northwest passage and Master Hore’s Carnival Cruise (spoiler alert: you don’t want to use Master Hore for your party-planning needs). Oh, and there are cannibalism jokes. Just in case you’re at a dinner party that gets too boring or something.

Episode 19 – Those in Peril on the Sea

In this episode, we talk about the poorly-documented English voyages following John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, the man who gave Greenland the name “Labrador” (No, I’m not drunk. Listen to the episode and it will make sense), and the unfortunate brothers Corte Real. We also take a look at Dighton Rock, and have some fun with conspiracy theories in the process.

Episode 16 – Cash Crops and Slavery

This episode wraps up our discussion of the Spanish Indies prior to 1561. We discuss the history of sugar as a cash crop, and how its cultivation brought about the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We conclude our episode with a brief introduction of that plant which will be so important for Jamestown – tobacco.

Episode 15 – Luna the Lunatic

By the late 1550s, everyone, including the Dominicans, realized that something needed to be done about the Indians of Florida. In 1557, the newly crowned King Philip II of Spain ordered that two settlements be built, one on the Gulf Coast and the other in the Carolinas. Tristan de Luna y Arellano was put in command of the project. Luna’s expedition (1559-1561) was met by horrible luck, Luna himself went mad, and the entire expedition disintegrated into squabbling anarchy. In 1561, Luna was fired and Angel de Villafane took his place, but the project was unsalvageable. Following the final failure of the settlement, Philip II decided that he was through with Florida. Events, however, were soon to prove the necessity of a Spanish military presence in Florida.

Episode 14 – A Dominican Debacle

Now that we’ve discussed Las Casas at greater length, we can begin to understand the context of the Cancer Expedition of 1549. Fray Luis Cancer, a Dominican protege of Las Casas, decided to go to Florida with nothing but a few other priests, in the hopes that the population would convert. High-minded as it may have been, Cancer’s idea was impracticable, and led to nothing more than his own martyrdom and the deaths of three of his comrades. We end off the episode with a recounting of the shipwrecks of 1554, wherein three Spanish ships sank off the coast of Texas and of all those who washed up on shore only one would survive the ordeal. These two incidents persuaded those in power back in Spain that the Gulf Coast must be pacified by whatever means necessary…

Episode 13 – A Voice Crying Out In the Wilderness

In this episode, we discuss the remarkable life and career of Fray Bartolome de las Casas, Protector of the Indians. We also talk about the debate over the humanity of the Indians, a debate which roiled the intellectuals of Spain and beyond. With a clearer picture of Las Casas’s life and the Dominican campaign for the amelioration of the Indians’ plight, the stage is set for next episode’s recounting of Fray Luis Cancer’s tragic attempt to convert the Floridian natives.

Episode 12 – What Goes Around, Comes Around

A meandering episode for a meandering expedition. This episode covers the expedition of Hernando de Soto, the next in our inglorious series of conquistadors who had tried and failed to tame the North American Continent. Basically, he and his expedition wandered for four years in circles through what is now the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. Eventually, after having realized that he failed, de Soto pretty much curled up and died. The greatest legacy of the expedition was their introduction of pigs to the United States.

Episode 11 – Cabeza de Vaca

In this episode we relate the tragic story of Panfilo de Narvaez’s expedition to Florida and the horrible fate which overtook his men. We also discuss the remarkable survival of two characters connected with the expedition – Juan Ortiz, taken captive by the vindictive Ucita, Chief of Hirrihigua, as well as the far more famous Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who literally walked his way to freedom, across deserts and in spite of a deck stacked against him. Enjoy!