A Lesson in History – Royal Charters: Truth & Consequence

Go Lean Commentary

“This is my island in the sun, willed to me by my Father’s hand” – Iconic Calypso song: Island in the Sun

No one doubts the historicity of this expression. Even the Bible lays the premise for the granting of an inheritance by the Declaration of a Father; consider this verse: “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children”. – Proverbs 13:22 – New International Version

So without a doubt a “Last Will & Testament” is a decree/charter that grants property to a beneficiary, just by words; no exchange of capital or valuables. This is perhaps the simplest form of a charter or decree.

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Royal Charter - Truth and Consequence - Photo 2They get more complex, like with Papal Bulls, Royal Charters and/or Royal Decrees. See Photo here.

Consider first the Papal Bull – “letters patent” or charter issued by a Pope, the Head of the Roman Catholic Church; see Appendix A below. The most iconic of all the Papal Bulls was the Inter caetera (Latin for “Among other [works]”) a Papal Bull  by Pope Alexander VI on 4 May 1493, which set a demarcation between the New Lands to Portugal and Spain; this granted to Spain (the Crowns of Castile and Aragon) all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands.[1] All new lands to the East of this pole remained assigned to Portugal. CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Royal Charter - Truth and Consequence - Photo 3

Just before this world-changing decree, there was an earlier Papal Bull that sealed the fate and would prejudice the African Diaspora for 500 years. The African Slave Trade and institution of “Slavery” was legally predicated on a Papal Bull from Pope Innocent VIII (Giovanni Battista Cybo) in 1491; just months before Christopher Columbus’s historic first voyage. Consider this encyclopedic reference:

In his book “Black Africans in Renaissance Europe”, principal author N. H Minnich* described how the position of Renaissance popes towards slavery, a common institution in contemporary cultures, varied. The book states that those who allowed the slave trade did so in the hope of gaining converts to Christianity.[11] But in the case of Pope Innocent VIII, he permitted trade with Barbary # merchants, in which foodstuffs would be given in exchange for slaves who could then be converted to Christianity.[11]

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Royal Charter - Truth and Consequence - Photo 1

This was the de jure authorization of the Slave Trade.

One early adopter of this new commerce was King Ferdinand of Aragon (co-sponsor along with Castile’s Queen Isabella of the initial voyage of Christopher Columbus); he gave Pope Innocent VIII 100 Moorish slaves who shared them out with favored Cardinals.[12]

From this origin, the foundation of the New World was established … with the stroke of a pen.

Any monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, stratocracy, timocracy or theocracy that emerged subsequently in the New World stemmed from this genesis of Papal or Royal Charters. All of these forms of rulership are analyzed in the book and accompanying blogs for Go Lean…Caribbean. This book provides an assessment of the Caribbean today, drawing reference to its historic past. From the origins of slavery, the region traversed the historic curves of social revolution and evolution. In the 1500, the Protestant movement took hold. As other European powers deviated from Catholicism, Papal Bulls carried no significance to them and compliance was ignored. England and Holland established their own Protestant Churches with their own monarchs as head of Church and State; Papal decrees were replaced with Royal Decrees and Charters; see Appendix B below. The intent and end-result was still the same: territories and lands awarded (colonized) with the stroke of a pen by one European power after another. The Royal Decrees and Charters were then reinforced with a strong military presence and many battles. This point was detailed in the Go Lean book on Page 241:

The Bottom Line on European Colonialism
The European colonial period was the era from the 1500s to the mid-1900s when several European powers (Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, France and Portugal) established colonies in the Americas, in a Space Race to dominate the New World. The Northern Coast of South America became a typical New World battleground for conflict and pushing between these powers, and many military campaigns and diplomatic initiatives (treaties) ensued. Through the contact period following the 1498 discovery by Christopher Columbus, the term “Guiana” was used to refer to all this area, between the Orinoco, the Rio Negro, and the Amazon rivers; it was seen as a unified, isolated entity that it was often referred to as the “Island of Guiana”. The real interest in the exploration and colonization of the Guianas did not begin until the end of the sixteenth century when the other European powers developed interest in the Guianas. When did this European Colonial “push-shove-match” end? Not until almost 500 years later, after World War II, after the effects of that war left all these European powers drained – of finances and the will to continue.

Early in the Go Lean book, this need for careful review of the history of European domination on the Caribbean was acknowledged and then placed into perspective with this pronouncement (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 10):

As the history of our region and the oppression, suppression and repression of its indigenous people is duly documented, there is no one alive who can be held accountable for the prior actions, and so we must put aside the shackles of systems of repression to instead formulate efficient and effective systems to steer our own destiny.

As the colonial history of our region was initiated to create economic expansion opportunities for our previous imperial masters, the structures of government instituted in their wake have not fostered the best systems for prosperity of the indigenous people.

So the consideration of the Go Lean book, as related to this subject is one of governance, the need for technocratic stewardship of the regional Caribbean society. This point was also pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) with these acknowledgements and statements:

xi.   Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xiii. Whereas the legacy of dissensions in many member-states (for example: Haiti and Cuba) will require a concerted effort to integrate the exile community’s repatriation, the Federation must arrange for Reconciliation Commissions to satiate a demand for justice.

Let’s add one more option to the forms of rulership that prevailed in the Caribbean: Oligarchy!

The use of the term oligarchy is a synonym for rule by the rich,[4] for which another term commonly used today is plutocracy. (This commentary had previously detailed the dynamics of plutocracies in the corporate arena).

The etymology of the word “oligarchy” (from Greek olígos, meaning “few”, and arkho, meaning “to rule or to command”)[1][2][3] is a form of power structure in a state where power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, religious or military control.

In this discussion of oligarchy, focus is given to powerful families. There are encyclopedic references that relate that oligarchy structures are often controlled by a few prominent families, who typically pass their influence/wealth from one generation to the next, even though inheritance alone is not a necessary condition for oligarchies to prevail.

The islands of the Caribbean fit the story-line in the opening song lyrics: “Islands in the sun; willed to me by my father’s hand”.

This is the challenge that belies Caribbean society. Most of the property and indigenous wealth of the Caribbean region is concentrated amongst the rich, powerful and yet small elite; an oligarchy. Many times these families received their property, corporate rights and/or monopolies by Royal Charter from the European monarchs of ancient times. These charters thus lingered in legacy from one generation to another … until …

World War II.

According to the initial quotation above (Bottom Line on European Colonialism) from the Go Lean book, World War II was the “watershed event” that led to revolutionary change among the European powers. The “Decolonization” movement thusly proceeded to eradicate the “colonialism disease”. Most Caribbean member-states that now feature an independent status obtained this disposition during this time period since WW II; (i.e. Jamaica in 1962, Bahamas in 1973). The European direct rule was gone, but the oligarchs remained; many times negotiated in initial constitutions as a compromise for peace assurances.

The subject of oligarchs is very familiar on the African continent. This has been a real issue there. In many countries after colonialism, like Zimbabwe (1980), the cure for the oligarch disease was nationalization – forfeiting and seizing commercial farms and mines. This turned out disastrously for this country; the cure was worse than the disease. But, next door in South Africa, the strategy, tactics and implementation was different. This country did not ascend to majority rule until 1994; the first President there, Nelson Mandela saw the futility of this nationalization strategy amongst the precedent African nations that sought independence, so he pursued an alternate approach to assuage White Flight and keep the capital and skilled labor in the country. But the continuation of the oligarchs’ ill-gained, and public-perceived-stolen assets forged problems in the reality of economic/wealth inequality. Majority rule therefore brought no revolutionary change for the average man.

Considering these case studies, we see a lesson in this history, an obvious appreciation for best-practices … to apply in the Caribbean. We derive best-practices and prudence by applying these lessons from history, as reflected in the Go Lean book.

This is the quest of the Go Lean…Caribbean book; to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); to spearhead the elevation of Caribbean society. The book advocates learning lessons from many events and concepts in history, from as far back as the patriarchal Bible times, to as recent as the Great Recession of 2008. The roadmap simply seeks to reboot the region’s economic, security and governing engines, hypothesizing that the European colonial stewards did not have societal efficiency in mind when they structured administrations of the individual countries/island-states in this region; (they didn’t even apply the best practices that they employed in Europe).

In general, the CU will employ better strategies, tactics and implementations to impact its prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and mitigate internal and external threats.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book stresses key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to transform and turn-around the eco-systems of Caribbean society. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 member-states/ 4 languages into a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Build and foster local economic engines Page 45
Tactical – Ways to Foster a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing the Economy – Post WW II European Marshall Plan Model Page 68
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – CU Federal Government versus Member-State Governance Page 71
Implementation – Assemble All Regionally-focus Organizations of All Caribbean Communities Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt Page 114
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Single Market / Currency Union Page 127
Planning – Ways to Model the new European Union Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Minority and Human Rights Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from the previous West Indies Federation Page 135
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 – Optimizing Economic-Financial-Monetary Engines Page 136
Planning – Lessons Learned New York City – Managing as a “Frienemy” Page 137
Planning – Lessons Learned from Omaha – Human Flight Mitigations Page 138
Planning – Lessons Learned from East Germany – Bad Examples for Trade & Security Page 139
Planning – Lessons Learned from Detroit – Turn-around from Failure Page 140
Planning – Lessons Learned from Indian Reservations – See Photo here Page 141
Planning – Lessons Learned from the American West – How to Win the Peace Page 142
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Appendix – Failed-State Index for Uneven Economic Development Page 272
Appendix – European Shuffling in the Guianas – Historic Timeline Page 307

Henry Ford Quote - Vanity of Government Entitlements

There are other lessons for the Caribbean to learn from considering history; the following previous blog/commentaries apply:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4935 A Lesson in History: the ‘Grand Old Party’ of American Politics
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4720 A Lesson in History: SARS in Hong Kong
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4166 A Lesson in History: Panamanian Balboa
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2809 A Lesson in History: Economics of East Berlin
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2670 A Lesson in History: Rockefeller’s Pipeline
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2585 A Lesson in History: Concorde SST
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2480 A Lesson in History: Community Ethos of WW II
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2297 A Lesson in History: Booker T versus Du Bois
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1531 A Lesson in History: 100 Years Ago Today – World War I
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 A Lesson in History: America’s War on the Caribbean

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to empower and elevate Caribbean societal engines. It is out-of-scope to impact Europe; our focus is only here at home. Besides, the former European colonial masters all realize the futility of the actions of their ancestors and predecessors. They are now battling to try and weed-out the last vestiges of racism and ethnic supremacy in their society. Though there is a movement to extract reparations from these former colonizers, that effort is not supported by the Go Lean movement.

Our quest is simple, a 21st century effort to make the Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – free … now!


Appendix A – Letters Patent

Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation. They are so named from the Latin verb pateo, to lie open, exposed, accessible.[1] The originator’s seal was attached pendent from the document, so that it did not have to be broken in order for the document to be read.

They are called “letters” (plural) from their Latin name litterae patentes, used by medieval and later scribes when the documents were written in Latin, in the ancient sense of a collection of letters of the alphabet arranged to be read rather than in the modern sense of an “epistle” or item of correspondence: thus no singular form exists.[2]

Letters patent can be used for the creation of corporations or government offices, or for the granting of city status or a “coat of arms”. A particular form of letters patent has evolved into the modern patent (referred to as a utility patent or design patent in United States patent law) granting exclusive rights in an invention (or a design in the case of a design patent). Clearly in this case it is essential that the written grant should be in the form of a public document so other inventors can consult it to avoid infringement.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_patent


Appendix B – Royal Charter

A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a corporate entity.

The British monarchy has issued over 980 royal charters.[1] Of these about 750 remain in existence.

The Royal Decree is the equivalent in Belgium of a Royal Charter.

Consider some examples:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_charter


Appendix * – Book Reference: Black Africans in Renaissance Europe”, N. H Minnich, Thomas Foster Earle, K. J. P. Lowe, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-81582-7


Appendix # – Reference: Barbary Pirates

These are the “pirates” referred to in the Bob Marley’s Redemption Song with these lyrics:

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation

Slave Ship

Bob Marley - Uprising

VIDEO – Bob Marley – Redemption Song (from the Legend album, with lyrics) –  https://youtu.be/QrY9eHkXTa4

No copyright infringement intended; this is a “fan” video that assembled together public-domain photo-stills.

Music: “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers (Google Play • iTunes • AmazonMP3)

Share this post:
, , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *