October 25, 2018 | Edge Canopy
Who funded Spain and Portugal when they cracked open the society of people in Central and South America, unleashing the era of colonialism that introduced the “moral” framework of slavery, paving the way for the world we live in today?
Some bankers from Germany, including Jakob Fugger the Rich, one of the wealthiest men in recorded history, and his son Anton Fugger gave money to Spain during this period of time and was a force to be reckoned with financially. Although this detail seems left out of most accounts of colonialism and the history surrounding that era, the Fuggers administered Spain’s mercury mines at Almadén, and took assets like that in exchange for loans to the Spanish crown.
The mainstream media calls them the “Renaissance super-rich.”
Not to mention, Spanish prisoners, slaves, and dissidents were punished and forced to work in the mercury mines of Almadén until they were poisoned.
They say the era of “Colonialism” didn’t just start with the Spanish and Columbus in the late 1400’s, but empires practicing some type of conquering have existed forever. An early example of “colonialism” was cited as Carthage, Phoenicia.
It was “Colonialism” when the Romans established their empire, and they also made people who disagreed with the empire work until they were poisoned and died in their mercury mines.
The connection with mercury and the unspoken playbook of hegemony over our class of people was explored in another article we recently published, but this one is going to focus on the official narrative of Colonialism, and what it means in relation to our “wage slavery” today.
The best an ordinary member of our class of people, born at the end of the 20th Century can do, is read as much as we can find about the topic and hunt for all the best info.
Let’s start with an academic paper published in Germany about Colonialism. The introduction of it reads:
“Whenand partitioned the world by signing the on 7 June 1494, they declared a genuine European claim to hegemony. A similar claim was never staked out in this form by a world empire of Antiquity or a non-European colonial power in the modern period, such as or the . The extraordinary continuity of Chinese colonialism or that of the Aztecs in before the Spaniards arrived is indeed structurally comparable to modern European expansion. But similar to the Phoenician and the Roman empires, the phenomenon of expansion usually ended with colonization and not in colonial development.”
In mainstream history, it is recognized that this 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas was a declaration of “we own you,” from the Spanish and Portuguese rulers to the native people of the Americas.
It was distinguished from other acts of aggression against the native people, because this was a bold, open, legal declaration that European people with power and money deserve to live free, and the people who are not Catholic or European don’t deserve to live free.
That academic paper said it was a “European claim to hegemony.” That’s exactly what it seems to have been, a laying the foundation for the philosophy of slavery. It led to the creation of the Encomienda system, look that up.
Therefore, this laying the foundation for a philosophy of slavery was a dreadful node of progress, leading to where we are today. It’s relevant for us wage slaves to take a close look at the history of “Colonialism,” “Feudalism,” all of these things that have been isolated from our consciousness with these words that fail to paint a picture of what they actually mean.
The German paper referenced above continued, just in the introduction, to reference Social Darwinism. It continues:
“It is characteristic that the impetus for colonialism was often derived as an answer to European history itself. This includes capitalist striving for profit, the colonies as valves for overpopulation, the spirit of exploration, scientific interest, and religious and ideological impulses up to Social-Darwinistic and racist motives.”
That’s some official recognition of how the ways of hegemony, money, and slavery brought us to where we are today.
So that node of progress toward a philosophy of slavery was made in 1494. How does that tie into the Fuggers of Augsberg, those German bankers?
The Fuggers were said to have come to the Free Imperial City of Augsburg, in the German Holy Roman Empire in 1367, when weaver Hans Fugger established the family.
In three generations, the Fugger firm became one of the leading mercantile operations in Europe.
Hans came to the city with seed capital, and according to an official Fugger history website, “Shrewd business and prudent marriages allowed him to increase his influence and his wealth.”
Hans didn’t personally sit there at the loom working, instead he chose to provide cotton and flax for the people doing the hard work, on credit, just securing those finished fustian textiles for himself. Then he sold the finished products for profit.
The “shrewd business” was apparently passed down to Jakob Fugger the Elder, his son, who was the seventh richest taxpayer in Augsburg by 1466.
Then, Jakob Fugger the Elder’s son, Jakob Fugger “the Rich” had another son, Anton Fugger, and he was the man man to work with Spain.
According to that official page about the Fuggers:
“Between 1472 and 1486, the family’s wealth is doubled. The Fugger firm owns trading bases, so-called “factoring companies” in Venice and Nuremberg, handles its first financing operations for the Roman Curia and already has business connections with the House of Habsburg. In 1473, Ulrich Fugger supported Emperor Frederick in brokering a marriage for his son Maximilian by providing textiles. This marked the beginning of a successful relationship between the Fuggers and the Habsburgs.”
Basically he had all these “factoring companies,” trading bases, financial institutions with roots in the early banking cities like Venice. People believe Venice, Italy became a banking center because of its connection to Phoenicia, modern day Carthage, Phoenicia, the main city of the Phoenician empire. This is relevant to the culture of the ruling class today.
Because he provided credit to the manorial lords, Fugger was able to gain “almost monopolistic control” of the copper and silver deposits, in his main centers of business in Tyrol, Carinthia, and Upper Hungary (now Slovakia).
He was a man who demanded precious metals, and precious metals were exactly what was stolen from the Americas, while his family empowered the Spanish crown to steal them.
He financed bribes and wars, and various expensive tools of statecraft, insisting that in return he receive long-term, exclusive concessions for things like mining. He demanded long-term contracts to mine places for precious metals, doing business that way.
The entire period of Spanish colonialism, where Spain became the richest country in Europe by the end of the 1500’s, was marked by their relationship to those bankers.
According to a past article on the Fuggers,
“In 1566, the German bankers (the Fuggers) failed to meet production quotas in the mercury mines. In response, 30 prisoners were sent by the King of Spain to labor away at Almadén. In 1583, this number increased to 40.
The prisoners, known as “forzados,” were selected from a group of convicts waiting for transport to the galleys from the jail of Toledo. Although the king insisted living conditions at the mines were fine, between 1566 and 1593, 24% of all convicts died before their release dates.
A slow, excruciatingly painful death that came with an Alzheimer’s-type insanity was handed down to these prisoners, a result of the mercury poisoning. The prisoners experienced severe pains in the body, loss of sanity, trembling limbs, depression, anxiety and worse. Almost all of the men at the even more dangerous furnaces died of the poisoning.
Slaves imported from Northern Africa were also subject to poisoning at the mines, and by 1613, the slaves joined the forzados at a two to one ratio. The Fugger concession was canceled by 1645 and the Spanish government took over the mines.”
The Spanish colonial era slowed down when the crown was unable to pay back some major debts to those Fuggers and their people, “mostly foreign bankers,” according to a Wikipedia page about the Spanish treasure fleet that would transport silver and precious metals from the stolen land in the Americas.
The colonial era slowed when the foreign bankers stopped lending the Spanish crown money, clearly showing the influence of people like the Fuggers, these people who dealt in precious metals and slavery. According to that Wikipedia page, a fairly neutral source on the topic: “By 1690 some of these lenders could no longer offer financial support to the Crown. The Spanish monopoly over its West and East Indies colonies lasted for over two centuries.”
During the 1500’s, the era of Spanish colonialism peaked, and that was the time their relationship with the Fuggers peaked. The Fuggers obtained long-term concessions for valuable metals like silver or mercury, and the Spanish stole loads of silver, exactly what the Fuggers dealt in, shipping it back to Spain and Portugal with slaves.
This is a story of slavery and banking, the upper class and the bottom class, and it’s so relevant to where we find ourselves today it can hardly be understood in its proper context.
This is a complex, very long story, and keep in mind certain relevant pieces of it were emphasized in this article and the last two about the Fuggers, while a lot more necessary details remain.
Hopefully that was a thought inspiring dose of info. In future articles, we’re going to go into even greater detail on this topic.
(Image credit: Diego Rivera / Research Gate)
This article may be freely republished with attribution to the author, and a working link back to this article at Edge Canopy.