Little Bits of History

February 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 20, 2017

1472: King Christian I of Norway cannot pay his daughter’s dowry. The Orkney Islands are an archipelago off the northern tip of Scotland. The Shetland Islands are even farther north and both are part of what is today called the Northern Isles and part of the United Kingdom. The Vikings had taken over the region after the Gaels, Picts, Celts, and Scots had all tried their hand at living there. The Vikings used the islands as a way station before heading farther south to raid and plunder coastal Europe. The Norwegians took over the islands by 875 and they remained under Norway’s rule, at first via Earls of Norway and then under the King himself.

By the mid-1400s Denmark and Scotland were in a feud over taxation of the Hebrides, another group of islands off the coast of Scotland. The King of France suggested the daughter of the King of Denmark and Norway (they were united at the time) marry the son of the King of Scotland. In July 1469, Margaret (13), daughter of Christian, married James (18), son of King James II. The Norse king was a bit short of cash. Margaret’s dowry was 60,000 Guilders. Christian was to pay 10,000 Guilders and put up Orkney as collateral for the rest. But the King could only come up with 2,000 Guilders and the Shetland Islands were then also added as further collateral.

Christian was unable to come up with the money he owed to the Scottish rulers and on this day the lands were taken over by Scotland. Neither Danes nor Norwegians accepted the fact their lands were taken and they attempted to fight the annexation for many centuries. However, since the lands had been put up as collateral and the debt had not been paid, there was legal basis for the Scots taking them over. The islands remain under Scottish/British control to this day.

Margaret’s marriage to the King of Scotland was not an entirely happy one. She simply did not care for the man. She joined the marriage bed solely for the purpose of procreation and did have three sons to carry on the line. She was much more popular than her husband and she has been described as better fit to rule than the actual king. Margaret died at Stirling Castle in July 1486 at the age of 30. There were rumors her husband had poisoned her. While these were probably false, they did not endear the man to his countrymen. James III died in 1488 either in battle or while trying to escape. James IV succeed his father to the throne and is generally accepted at the most successful of all the Stewart monarchs.

A currency serves three functions: providing a means of payment, a unit of account and a store of value. Gold may be a store of value for wealth, but it is not a means of payment. You cannot pay for your groceries with it. Nor is it a unit of account. Prices of goods and services, and of financial assets, are not denominated in gold terms. – Nouriel Roubini

The payment for sins can be delayed. But they can’t be avoided. – Shawn Ryan

Everybody loves to spend money at least some of the time – because everybody loves the stuff you can buy with it. The key to the pleasure level of any transaction is the balance between the pain of the payment and the reward of the purchased object. – Jeffrey Kluger

I’ve learned that when someone does something very kind and refuses payment, giving them an engraved Swiss Army knife is never refused! – Christine Lavin

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