16-HAYM SALOMON

America kept popping up in Mayer’s mind because he saw the New World as a place offering a fantastic banking opportunity. Mayer knew the English were having trouble over there because he had learned through General von Estorff that they were seriously thinking about sending Hessian soldiers to the colonies. It seemed the colonials weren’t happy because the mother country wasn’t providing enough credit while gauging them with taxes. He just had to find a way to get firsthand information on what was really going on over there.

Mayer automatically thought of Haym Salomon who was presently working for him in Hanau. He invited him to Judengasse for a good schmaltzy dinner because he wanted to know what his wife Gutle thought of him before asking him to go to America. Haym was an extraordinary young man whom Mayer had befriended in Hanover. He was a Sephardi whose family had fled Portugal and settled in Poland. Haym had left what family he had in Poland, traveled through Europe, and had learned eight languages. While helping Mayer in Hanau, he had learned all there was to know about how to buy and sell bills of exchange and was getting ready to move on.

As they approached the north gate of Judengasse, they dismounted and left their horses at the blacksmith’s barn where Mayer kept his mounts and carriage. The guard at the gate recognized Mayer readily and saluted the two men as they entered. When they entered the ghetto, Haym couldn’t help but notice a crude drawing depicting Jews doing unnatural things to a sow, which included eating her excrement. Haym, a Sephardi, was taken aback, and he couldn’t help thinking that Ashkenazim must be spineless to let goys treat them that way.

Mayer knew what he was thinking and told him there was no use spending energy fighting such vulgarities. Since the Frankfurt Council turned a blind eye on such abuses, and thereby encouraged the lowlifes that perpetrated hate crimes, wiping the wall clean would only make things worse. He continued by saying that the age of enlightenment would soon reach the Hesse region, and the walls would come down. Mayer preferred becoming rich and powerful, and taking down the walls stone by stone with his bare hands when the time came. One engaged in battle only when one was sure of victory.

As they went down Judengasse, Haym wondered how people could live in such crammed conditions, with so much noise, so little light, and so many strange odors, while Mayer saluted everybody, addressing most of them by name, inquiring about their families, and wishing them well.

They reached the tall narrow house where Mayer lived, and where his wife was waiting for them. They sat down for dinner, and Mayer started the conversation by asking Haym what he thought of America. Haym answered that there seemed to be a lot of fertile land to be had, that the winters were harsh, and that there was a well-established Sephardi community in New York City. He had also heard that it was a good place for an ambitious young man who wanted to get rich. Mayer replied that he was getting a good feeling for the colonies from the newspapers he read, but that he’d really like to have first-hand knowledge. Then he asked directly if Haym would be interested in going to America. Mayer was willing to pay his passage and set him up as a shipping broker in New York City. Haym was to open a New York counting house that would work with the Rotterdam one run by David. The Sephardi community in New York would surely welcome him, and since Haym was a smart good-looking young man, he would have no problem finding a wife.

Mayer continued by saying Haym could count on his unqualified support, and that he would have all the money he needed. In the first instance, all he had to do was keep Mayer informed. If everything turned out to be like Mayer expected, Haym would then come back to Frankfurt to be debriefed, and they’d both decide what to do next. If Haym disliked New York City to the point of wanting to come back to Europe early, Mayer would not hold a grudge. All he asked was for Haym to give him fair warning if he so decided.

When Haym asked when Mayer expected him to leave, Mayer answered that winter crossings were very rough, and that it would be wise to leave as soon as possible. He hoped that Haym didn’t suffer from seasickness, for a westward crossing could take anywhere from two to three months.

Haym said he was more worried about New York’s cold winter, and that all he hoped for was to find a rich widow who had a well-built boarding house with a fireplace in each room.

12-GLORIOUS REVOLUTION

The word revolution is a banker’s term. It was used by the owners of the East India Company when they launched their first revolution, in England, in 1688. It was called the Glorious Revolution. A revolution is a well-planned, well-financed affair that succeeds and is permanent in nature. It is always part of a bigger plan for a better world. The Glorious, Industrial, American and French revolutions are all interrelated, and they opened the door to the great world we live in today. A war, an uprising, a rebellion, a revolt, or a military coup can only be called a revolution if it succeeds and is permanent in nature, in other words, if it has the international financiers’ approval.

When the owners of the East India Company decided to finance the construction of the chateau de Versailles, it was with the aim of destroying the Holy Roman Empire. Naturally, they started with the most obvious target, France, its crown jewel. The construction of the chateau was the first step in a long series of events that would lead to the French Revolution. Construction of the chateau began in 1661, and by 1678, it looked like the chateau we know today. Once things were well under way in France, the owners of the East India Company turned their full attention to the upcoming Glorious Revolution. In 1688, that revolution would give England a constitutional monarchy, and the world a new form of government called democracy.

After his father’s execution in 1649, Charles II of England had fled to the Netherlands where he had lived in exile until he had been invited back in 1660 after Cromwell’s demise. He subsequently wore the English crown from 1660 until his death in 1685. As the shareholders of the East India Company had expected, much of England grumbled under his rule because he was for letting Catholics sit in parliament, and because he had befriended King Louis XIV of France. The shareholders of the East India Company, who effectively ran the Netherlands, did their best to encourage the antipapist feelings, hoping to have him deposed and replaced with a constitutional monarch. When, in 1672, king Charles asked Louis XIV to do him a favor and declare war on the Netherlands, it was time to act and figure out a plan.

Since Charles II had no legitimate heir, his younger brother, James II, a catholic, was next in line. They would wait for Charles’ term to run out, while continuing to stoke anti-royalist feelings among English parliamentarians. Then, since James II had a daughter who was being raised as an Anglican, arranging a marriage between her and William III seemed to be a good long-term goal. As a Catholic, James II would be easy to overthrow, and when the time came, the crown would be handed to Mary who was next in line.

In 1677, the marriage between Mary II of England and William III of Orange was celebrated in St. James Palace, and it wasn’t a happy affair. At fifteen, an arranged marriage with a much older and repulsive William was not meant to make Mary happy, and she cried throughout the whole ceremony. She had a very unhappy life, especially while in the Netherlands, where she lived for the first eleven years of their marriage. William was a homosexual who spent most of his time leading a double life away from home, and Mary spent all that time in a castle on the outskirts of The Hague. She returned to England in 1688 after the “Immortal Seven” invited her and her husband to come to England and wear the crown. William landed in England with a small army, and he marched on London without hardly firing a shot. James II took off for France, and parliament subsequently declared the crown vacant. William and Mary were then both offered the crown after signing the Bill of Rights which precluded that they submit to parliament’s authority and have no catholic descendants. That series of events is known in the history books as the Glorious Revolution.

However, that was only half of what was to be democracy, England now needed a financial institution. And as it so happened, not about to throw in the towel, and wanting James II to reclaim the crown of England, the Pope gave the financiers the perfect opportunity to create the Bank of England. The French king’s powerful navy gave the English navy a good drubbing as it went about invading England by way of Ireland. Naturally, the English parliament was asked by King William to retaliate and build a strong navy. But since no public funds were available, and since the credit of William III’s government was non-existent, it was impossible for parliament to borrow the huge sums needed. The East India Company shareholders were waiting for just that moment. They readily offered to become private subscribers providing they be incorporated into a company that would be known as the Bank of England. The bank was to be given exclusive lending rights to the government, and it was to be the only entity allowed to issue bank notes or coin money. Once the conditions were accepted, the necessary funds were raised in a matter of days, and the private financial institution known to this day as the Bank of England was created

For the first time in the history of mankind, the bankers were sure of being repaid in an orderly and just fashion. Parliament got rid of the antiquated Farmers’ General tax collection system inherited from France and proceeded to develop the country’s infrastructure in order to be better able to collect taxes. The shareholders of the East India Company had wanted an autonomous parliament because they were banking on a human foible whereby the people’s representatives, once their political campaigns, elections and salaries properly funded, would want to prove their worth and do things before taxes were collected. Since the Bank of England’s shareholders, now established in the City and in control of the English monetary system, could accept or refuse to finance the parliamentarians’ projects, they indirectly controlled all important developments in the country. That was democracy then, just as it today, and it’s the owners of the East India Company who created the concept. Democracy can only work if the concerned country is indebted, and a democracy is always indebted.

If democracy has proven itself to be the best political system in the world, it’s because people representation and monetary control are separate. The people’s representatives manage things while the bankers decide what’s to be managed by increasing or decreasing the flow of credit. If the one who prints the money is the same as the one who spends it, that is, if the parliamentarians do the printing and the spending, the system can only implode.

10-EAST INDIA COMPANY

 

In the Netherlands, William the Silent, also known as William of Nassau and Prince of Orange, was a robust champion of Protestantism who encouraged thousands of Jews, new Christians as he called them, and Huguenots, Christian Protestants from France, to migrate to Amsterdam. Thanks to this influx, Amsterdam became the trading capital of the world and the Dutch ruled the oceans for much of the 17th century.

Sephardim were money men while Huguenots were entrepreneurs, and together, they formed a formidable team. They created the East India Company in 1600, in London. but in 1602 they decided to move their headquarters to Amsterdam. Even though Jews and Protestants had been free to enter England, a development that had started under Henry VIII, the people were still very much brainwashed by the old ideas of the Roman Church. So, because the Marranos weren’t free to practise their religion, and because Protestants were still viewed as enemies, the company shareholders decided to set up their headquarters in Amsterdam.

Once established in Amsterdam, they got right down to business. In order to protect the North American fur trade, the company shareholders built a fort at the tip of Manhattan in 1609 which would become New Amsterdam in 1624, and later, New York. In 1652, they expanded and created a colony on the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, in order to protect the spice trade with Asia. The Dutch East India Company ruled the waves, and its founders, Jews and Huguenots, became so rich and powerful, that they could start planning the demise of the Holy Roman Empire.

But they hadn’t given up on re-establishing the company’s headquarters in London, for England was across the channel from France and its economy had much more potential. However, before they could return, they would have to find a way to get rid of the papist kings and get a king that would accept parliamentary rule. As it so happened, there were strong anti-royalist feelings in the English parliament, and the word Catholic was starting to be used to distinguish the papist followers from the Anglicans. Because Charles I, a Catholic, had just been crowned after marrying the Catholic Bourbon Princess Henrietta, it wouldn’t be too difficult to finance an army that would answer to an anti-royalist parliament, defeat the catholic king, and force him to accept parliamentary rule. The country was ripe for civil war.

Oliver Cromwell came to the financiers’ attention in 1642, when he joined the roundheads, the pro-parliamentarians. At the outset of what became known as the English civil war, he distinguished himself militarily and was subsequently promoted to commander of the New Model Army. Over the next few years, the royalist forces were defeated, and when Charles 1, the divine right king, was captured following a battle in Scotland in 1645, he was handed over to the English parliament which was under the protection of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. However, Charles refused to accept a constitutional monarchy and escaped. In 1647, he was recaptured, and in 1648, he was tried, convicted and executed. Cromwell then dominated the Rump Parliament created in 1649.

But Oliver Cromwell was a puritan fanatic who had been extremely aggressive towards Ireland and Scotland, both catholic strongholds. Not able or not wanting to work with the Irish and Scottish parliamentarians, he simply dissolved parliament. After assuming the title of Lord Protector of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, he turned the powerful English navy against the very financiers that had financed it, the shareholders of the Dutch East India Company. He wanted England to take charge of the Atlantic trade. Of course, that was not to be, and Cromwell was doomed.

When Cromwell died from natural causes in 1658, his inept son couldn’t hold the Protectorate together, and the Convention Parliament decided to recall the Catholic kings. During the Restoration period (1660-1688), two kings of divine right, the two sons of Charles I, James II and Charles II, ruled in turn and fought the East India Company for trade supremacy.

The Jews and Huguenots both in Amsterdam and in London had to find a way to put a stop to the fratricidal naval wars and especially to the rule of papist kings in England. An arranged marriage between William of the House of Orange and Mary of the House of Stuart would be a very good way to do just that. In the interim, the financiers turned their attention to France.

9-HUGUENOTS

The Christian Church was intolerant and sanguinary from the very beginning and it fostered much hate throughout the Holy Roman Empire. The absolute kings of divine right, anointed by the Pope, ruled over the different parts of the empire and not only persecuted the Jews, the ‘Christ killers’, but all those who refused to follow the Roman Church’s liturgy as well. For instance, the Pope would suggest the need for a crusade, and the kings and nobles fearing excommunication, or wanting to earn their passage into heaven, would be quick to raise an army, France leading the way. The first crusade was against the Muslims in 1099. After slaughtering the Muslims in Jerusalem, the French conquered Palestine and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem which lasted until 1291. In 1209, Pope Innocent III asked the French king to carry out a crusade against his own people, the Cathars, and it lasted from 1209 to 1229. The Cathars were completely annihilated down to the last ‘good man’ who was executed in 1231, more than a million in all. All this because the peaceful Cathars refused to accept the Roman Church’s liturgy.

The Church committed so many atrocities and was so inflexible that opposition to it could only grow. So, when Gutenberg’s printing press came along in 1440, it slowly paved the way for the Protestant Reformation that was to come. At first, printing had a very limited impact, for it was used mainly to print the Bible and such. The Church controlled what was being printed, the language used was Latin, only a few scholars could read, and fewer still could write.

In Germany, in 1517, the pamphlet was first used by the leaders of the protestant movement to inflame popular opinion more efficiently against the Pope and the Church. Martin Luther was one of the earliest and most effective pamphleteers. The coarseness and violence of the pamphlets on both sides and the public disorder attributed to their distribution led to their prohibition. Many scholars, disgusted by the abuses and barbarism of the Church, rallied to Luther’s side, and started reading the contents of the pamphlets to the masses. The Protestant Reformation was not about to go away.

By 1520, Luther’s ideas had spread in France, and as early as 1521, at the initiative of the Sorbonne, the condemnations of the Protestant heretics began. Fines and prison sentences were imposed on lowly infidels, while heretical monks and priests were condemned to the stake.

Then came along Jean Calvin, a follower of Luther, who would do something Luther hadn’t considered doing. Luther had mainly been a reformer trying to change the Church from within, but Calvin, a French humanist, wanted much more, he wanted to lay down the rules for a new religion. He had great success among the French bourgeoisie, which comprised the greatest entrepreneurs of the day. Wanting to make up for lost time after the Hundred Years’ War, these businessmen wanted the backwards and cruel Roman Church out of the way. They of course used pamphlets to make their views known, and after the ‘Affaire des Placards’ in 1534, King François I, having lost patience with them, had several of their leaders hanged or sent to the stake. Following these events, Jean Calvin left France and settled in Geneva. Other French Calvinists started emigrating to Hanau, Amsterdam and London.

While Latin continued to be the language of the Roman Church, French became that of the Calvinists in France and French-speaking Switzerland. As of 1570, the printing houses in Geneva and Amsterdam became major centers for the dissemination of French, and consequently of Calvinism. The French nobility had massively adhered to Calvinism as early as 1555. The French Roman Christians, feeling threatened by the Calvinists, perpetrated the Wassy massacre in 1562, when several hundred innocent Huguenots, as Calvinists began to be called, were slaughtered like animals. Then, in 1572, with printing becoming widespread in France, the Huguenots were on the verge of tipping French political power in their favor, and King Charles IX, no doubt with papal approval, engineered the massacre of St. Bartholomew. On the night of August 24, 1572, more than 10,000 noble and notable Huguenots were killed, in Paris and in the provinces.

Because of the Placards Affair in 1534, the massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572, the siege of La Rochelle in 1627, and the dragonnades under Louis XIV in 1681, hundreds of thousands of Huguenots migrated to more clement lands, and it was the biggest brain drain in the history of any country. That’s why, when Henry VIII was forced to open the door to those with financial and business skills in 1534, many Huguenots had ended up in England where French was still widely spoken among aristocrats.

But in 1573, when William of Nassau-Orange converted to Calvinism, and later, in 1579, when the Treaty of Union was signed in Utrecht, making the Netherlands independent from Spain, Amsterdam became a Huguenot haven and many Calvinists were encouraged to join up with their brothers who were already established there. More importantly, when the Marranos started arriving after their expulsion from Portugal, they joined forces with the Huguenots in both London and Amsterdam, and their union changed the face of the earth

8-MARRANOS

 

When the prelates decided to revamp the image of the revered messiah Apollonius by changing his name and turning him into the son of God, the founding fathers had a problem. The Apollonius lookalike had to be an Essene from Palestine, and that meant he had to be a Jew. How does one build a Roman religion based on the teachings of a Jew? Well, they did it by likening the money-lending Jews of the Temple of Jerusalem to Jews in general. By conjuring up a story where the invented messiah was violently opposed to the Jewish usurers, and where these same usurers were responsible for his horrible death on the cross, it would be one way to turn him into a very acceptable Jew. Furthermore, the faithful would readily accept the idea that Apollonius, their long-departed Greek messiah, had, some 300 years prior, accomplished miracles and was indeed the Son of God as touted by the prelates of the Church of Rome. Whether the results were desired or not, Jews would henceforth bear the Christ-killer stigma. Christians, believing that Jews were responsible for the death of their Christ, wouldn’t be unduly upset to see them tortured, burned at the stake, or despoiled and banned from their homes.

Geographically, France is the hub of Europe, and it naturally became the cornerstone of Christianity when the Church of Rome took over the administration of Gaul and the Western Roman Empire after Constantin’s departure for Byzantium. Clovis, a Frank, was the Church’s first anointed king of divine right, and during his reign, he did his best to persecute and convert the ‘barbarians’ who were by then called Arians.

Once the converting tactics were well under way, the Church of Rome turned its attention to the Jews. In 629 CE, the Pope directed King Dagobert to expulse the Jews from Christian Gaul. Later, in 996 CE, when King Robert the Pious came to power in France, he burned a great number of Jews at the stake. When in 1009 the Muslims burned the alleged Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Christians blamed the Jews, and consequently, many French Jews were again tortured and massacred. Later, in 1096, Jews started being systematically despoiled, and burned at the stake or expulsed from the realm. It was the start of the first crusade, and Philip 1st and his noblemen had taken advantage of the situation in order to replenish their coffers. By despoiling the Jews and expulsing them, they were killing two birds with one stone. Philip was not only doing his Christian duty but he had found a way to finance the crusade ordered by Pope Urban II. Over the next centuries, when King Philippe Augustus and others needed money they would let the Jews back in for a fee, and the whole process would start over again. However, in 1394, Charles VI officially declared the definite expulsion of Jews from France, and as many as 100 000 French Jews made their way to Spain.

They chose Spain not only because it was close to France, but it was also because the Muslims were by then in full control of Spain and were more tolerant towards other religious groups. But when the Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula in 1478, the Pope ordered an Inquisition as soon as it became feasible. The Jews were again forced to convert to Christianity, and if they refused, they were burned at the stake. Understandably, many Sephardim chose to convert while continuing to practise their religion in secret, and they became known as Marranos. In 1492, they were expelled from Spain and many of them fled to Portugal and Morocco.

In 1536, there was another Inquisition directed at Jews in Portugal. Once more, facing torture and death, many Jews fled. This time, because a world shattering event had just taken place in England, many of the great banking and shipbuilding Jewish families chose to go there. It had to do with Henry VIII after the Pope had refused to annul his marriage. The Pope, who was in the habit of arranging and annulling royal marriages for political and religious reasons, had refused to grant Henry VIII his divorce, and here’s why. King Henry had married a Spaniard, Catherine of Aragon, and since the Church of Rome considered the Kingdom of Spain much more important than the Kingdom of England, it was therefore unwilling to displease the King of Spain. When the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII his request, the latter was so determined to have a son that his present wife could not give him that he declared himself head of the Church in England, separated from Rome, and divorced Catherine.

In the process, England was deprived of the financial services of Rome. At first, Henry sold off all the unprofitable Church property and even had his friends rummage through the unsold properties for possible treasures and valuable materials, but it was a futile move. Most of the revenue derived from these operations ended up in the hands of those doing the demolishing and the selling, and very little revenue reached the state coffers. Not surprisingly, many old aristocratic families are to this day indebted and loyal to the King of England.

With no other option, Henry decided to admit the Jews back into England. The Jews had been expelled from England since 1290, but these were special Jews. The Marranos or Conversos, as they were called, professed to be Christians when in fact they still practised their religion in secret. But Henry overlooked their deceitfulness, for he was in dire financial straits and needed their financial skills. In accepting Jews for their financial skills and Huguenots for their great entrepreneurship, Henry caused a breach in the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire as a financial and political power.

7-HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

From 481 to 751, the Merovingians converted the Arian populations to Christianity with great success, and since conversion implied conquest, France became the greatest power within the Holy Roman Empire.

In 771, after the suspicious death of his brother Carloman I, Charlemagne ousted his two young nephews, legitimate heirs of their father, and took possession of the kingdom. The nephews took refuge in Italy among the Lombards with their mother. Charlemagne pursued them and captured them in Verona where they vanished without a trace, probably having been imprisoned in a convent.

After conquering the Lombards, Charlemagne spent several years subduing the Saxons to the north and conquering the Muslims to the south. Charlemagne became extremely powerful, and before France engulfed the Holy Roman Empire altogether, the Pope reacted. He decided to consecrate Charlemagne emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Rome on December 25 of the year 800. Feeling more important as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire than as king of France, Charlemagne accepted, and without realizing it, restored the authority of Rome over France.

Europe being entirely converted, and the faithful being obliged to pay tithes, it resulted in considerable revenue for the empire. In addition, many of the faithful were willing to pay to have their sins redeemed, and many others bequeathed their property to the Church in order to secure a place in heaven after death. The Holy Roman Empire thus became not only a gigantic financial power, but also a power that tolerated no competition.

In a position of strength, the Bishop of Rome undertook to convert the populations of England, Scotland and Ireland. He chose to send William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, across the Channel in order to make him King of England. But in doing so, the Pope made a major mistake, because when William the Conqueror was crowned King of England, he continued to be Duke of Normandy, and that didn’t bode well for future relations between France and England. When, in 1152, William’s great-grandson, Henri Plantagenet, married Aliénor of Aquitaine, ex-wife of Louis VII, king of France, the kingdom of France and that of England became seriously entangled. In fact, when the third son of Eleanor and Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, became King of England in 1189, he was Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, Count of Maine and Earl of Anjou. Fortunately, during his reign, which only lasted from 1189 until his death in 1199, he spent barely a few months in England, and thus, there was no war between France and England during that period. The first war took place in 1202 when Philippe Auguste, king of France, seized the Duchy of Normandy which had been passed down to Jean sans Terre, Richard’s youngest brother. The Hundred Years’ War between French Kings of England and French Kings of France was to officially start in 1337. That’s when Edward III, king of England, and direct descendant of the king of France on his mother’s side, declared himself to be king of France. The battle for the crown of France remained a bloody family affair for over a century.

Nonetheless, when the Pope sent William the Conqueror to England in 1066, Rome’s cruel ways didn’t lessen in other parts of the empire, and the historical period that followed was extremely violent. In 1095, Pope Innocent III launched the first crusade in order to liberate the holy places of Jerusalem from the Muslims who forbade their access to Christians. In 1099 the Franks managed to seize the city of Jerusalem. After two hundred years of rule, the Frank kingdom known as the Kingdom of Jerusalem collapsed in 1291 following the defeat of the Franks in Saint-Jean-D’Acre.

In France, the crusade against the Albigensians began in 1209 with the Béziers sack where the whole population was massacred, and officially ended in 1321 when the last of the Good Men, Guillem Bélibaste, was burned at the stake. But in fact, the last group of Cathars, 510 strong, died in a cave in Lombrives in 1328 after the crusader, Simon de Montfort, walled the entrance to the cave and left them to die. For many centuries, countless infidels, whether Cathars, Muslims or Jews, were tortured, killed and sent to the stake by the Bishop of Rome’s henchmen, and this heretic cleansing lasted long after the death of Joan of Arc in 1404. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII preached an inquisition against witchcraft, an attack directed against women where many were condemned to the stake. Later, this religious barbarism was even adopted by the Protestants, as exemplified by the Salem trials in America in 1692, where dozens of women were hanged for witchcraft.

With regards to the fratricidal wars between England and France, when Edward I of England was crowned king in 1272 following his return from the ninth crusade, he declared he had legitimate rights over France because he held title to all the fiefs of western France, from Flanders to Aquitaine. And Philip IV, known as Philip the Fair, who reigned from 1285 to 1314, didn’t help to pacify things. During his reign, he transferred the Holy See of Rome to Avignon, and because the kings of the Holy Roman Empire were not disposed to submit to the authority of a Pope who answered to the King of France, the transfer was short-lived. However, when he officially declared that Aquitaine belonged to France, that decision was to lead to a fratricidal war that would last more than one hundred years.

Philippe the Fair having died in 1314, in 1337, Edward III of England not only declared that Aquitaine belonged to him, but that he was the legitimate heir to the throne of France on his mother’s side. His mother was Isabelle of France, daughter of Philip the Fair. Not surprisingly, the Plantagenets and the Valois clashed on the battlefield many times over the next hundred years, until Louis XI, king of France, took definite possession of Aquitaine in 1453.

The atrocities committed against the “heretics” by the Bishop of Rome with the help of his absolute kings of divine right over so many centuries, were unspeakable. And they continued after the 100 Years War with Inquisitions against the Jews in the Iberic Peninsula. However, when the Church started to persecute the Protestants within France’s borders, it signed its death warrant. The Protestants, also called Calvinists or Huguenots, were business entrepreneurs with great know-how, and they wanted to make up for lost time following 116 years of senseless war. But because the idea of making a profit went against the Roman Church’s doctrine, the Bishop of Rome decided to apply his well-tried persecution tactics with the help of his French kings.

The French Protestants would become the Church’s mortal enemy, and would eventually join forces with the Jews in Amsterdam. The two persecuted groups would go on to create the East India Company in 1600, an institution that would eventually replace the Holy Roman Empire as a financial and political power. However, the Bishop of Rome had seen the threat developing in early 16th century, and had anointed Charles-Quint Emperor of the Holy Germanic Empire in 1520. But the latter failed in his mission to counter French power, as well as in his attempt to put an end to the Protestant Reformation, and his reign was not only ineffective but a serious setback for the Holy Roman Empire.

6-THE RISE OF FRANCE

Shortly before the convening of the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Emperor Constantine gave the Lateran Palace estate, the land where the Vatican stands today, to the bishop of Rome. For the western world, this was to be the center of power, religious, political and financial, right up to the City bankers’ takeover in 1688.

Shortly after the Council of Nicaea, the Christian bishops, supported by the Roman emperor, started Christianising the Arian ‘barbarians’ who occupied most of the empire. But the new Trinitarian religion that stated that the bishop of Rome was the representative of God on earth and that his authority had precedence over that of the ‘barbarian’ kings, was vigorously opposed by the latter. The Arian barbarians were followers of Apollonius, a holy man and prophet, and they found the concept of the Holy Trinity, where the son of God had come down on earth in person, totally absurd. They were more in tune with the doctrine that stated that Mother Earth was the ultimate source of power. They were prepared to accept the Roman administration, and even to live in harmony with the Roman civil servants, but they could not accept the archaic Roman religion nor the new Trinitarian religion.

That is why the bishop of Rome and the emperor had to resort to force. When, in 486, at the age of twenty, a certain Clovis, king of the Salian Franks, won the battle of Soissons against Syagrius, the bishops realized that they had found their strong man. In order to convert Clovis to Christianity, they arranged to have him meet Clotilde, a Christian Burgundian. He married her in 493, and once the kingdom of the Salian Franks was allied to the kingdom of the Burgundians and to that of Soissons, Clovis was able to go after the Alamans to the east and the Visigoths to the south.

During the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alamans in 496, the Frankish warriors, Salians and Ripuarians, were far outnumbered by their opponent. Clovis, seeing victory escape him, decided to invoke the God of his wife Clotilde, asking him to intervene. When the Alamans fled, their chief having been killed by a flying ax, the Franks claimed victory, and Clovis converted to Christianity.

On December 25, 498, Clovis was baptized and anointed king by Saint Rémi in Reims. From that moment onwards, the conquered Arians were not unhappy to have Christian Franks as masters, and Clovis adroitly exploited his status as the first king of divine right.

Later in 507, Clovis’ campaign against the Visigoths took on the appearance of a crusade, and the decisive battle took place in the plain of Vouillé, near Poitiers, a battle from which Clovis emerged victorious. Alaric II, king of the Visigoths, perished in the fray, and Clovis not only seized a big slice of the Visigoth kingdom but also managed to get his hands on Alaric’s treasure which was in Toulouse.

When Clovis died in 511, the vanquished Arians had by then accepted the Trinitarian religion, and the Frankish kingdom had become a Christian kingdom. France was an important part of the Holy Roman Empire, for it was not only its geographical centerpiece but it played a major role politically and militarily.

Clovis’ military successes against the Alamans and Visigoths, as well as those of his sons against the Burgundians, were such that Arianism disappeared almost completely from what is today Europe, the only exception being the Lombards in Italy. After Charlemagne defeated the Lombards in 770, Arianism was totally eradicated from the empire. When Charlemagne was crowned King of the Franks in 768, and especially when he was anointed Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Rome, in 800, it meant the rule by kings of divine right was entrenched with France leading the way. It remained so for the next thousand years.