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Archive for April, 2015

Mr. Chini and the TNHP

I dare say that those of you who don’t like history don’t like history because of all the names, titles and dates that come with it.

For example, Mr. Chini was born Eusebius Francis Chini in 1654 in Central Europe which at that time was called the Holy Roman Empire. And, as you will recall from your high school cheat sheet, it, by which I mean the Holy Roman Empire, consisted of many countries, cities, states, city states, counties, castles, highlands, lowlands, clans and religions, all of which passed the time by playing “Game of War,” the object of which was to defeat your elder brother.

Mr. Chini

Mr. Chini

Of course, all of this gaming needed people in charge and people not in charge each of whom required a title and, therefore, we have, in no paricular order, “emperor,” “pope,” “priest,” “prince elector,” “lord,” “knight,” “duke,” minor and major “counts,” “bishop,” “archbishop,” “prince,” “abbot,” “prince abbot,” “elder,” “master,” “marques,” “friar,” “vasel,” “peasant,” “padre,” “bro,” “cuate,” “hermano” and “king” of which there were many. The ladies, of course, also had titles, one of which was “lady,” but we will not go there. Suffice it to say that they also played “Game of War” and though few had the “moxies” of Kate Upton, they played it very well.

If you start counting from Christmas Day, year 800, as you should, the Holy Roman Empire lasted for just over 1000 years, until 1808—a period which, obviously, makes for a whole lot of dates like, for example, 1492, 1517, 1521, 1540, 1540 and 1540 plus 1691, 1767, 1768 and 1821. You should remember those dates, and to help you do so I have prepared the following summary:

  • 1492     Columbus who, as you know, discovers America by which we mean that he rediscovers the Caribbean a few thousand years after several small groups of curious Koreans walked over to the “new” world just to see what was there.
  • 1517     Friar Martin Luther places his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church to protest the “nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism, and sale of indulgences” by any of the Church hiearchy ranked above friar. And thus began the Protestant Reformation.
  • 1521    This was the year the conquistadores finally destroyed the Aztec Empire for the good of the Crown and glory of the Church. Historians believe they were able to do this because the Spanish, by which I mean those who were from Greece, Morocco, France, Italy and Portugal plus a few Jews from Spain who thought it a far better gig than being burned at the stake, had been playing “Game of War: Fire Age” while the Aztecs were still playing “Game of War: Clash of Clans.”
  • 1540    The year 4’ 6” Ignatius de Loyola, being too short to play basketball at that university, organized the Society of Jesus (aka SJ, aka the Jesuits) to combat the Protestant Reformation by chasing down blaspheming Lutherans who kept breaking into subgroups just to confuse the Papists. The Jesuits were, by origin, the younger sons of wealthy landowners and as such, had no shot at inheriting land and title from their fathers as these were saved for the elder sons. Instead, the younger sons were trained at the best universities land and title could buy. Then, with nothing else to do, they became Jesuit priests. Meanwhile:
  • 1540    John Calvin continued the Protestant Reformation by accusing the Lutherans of “nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism, and sale of indulgences” and they, in turn, accused him of heresy.
  • 1540    And, just to make history interesting, Antoine Saunier joins Antoine Froment in accusing the Calvinists of believing in baptism by sprinkle instead of baptism by dunk. The Calvinists accuse Antoine of stealing from the poor box. Most of the Sauniers, however, remain loyal to the Pope.
  • 1691   On what is probably his only visit to the place, Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino SJ (aka Mr. Chini) arrives in Tumacácori to establish one of his early missions. Padre Kino labored in the fields of northern Mexico and southern Arizona for 20 years and established 24 missions, each with its farm and ranch enteprises and trade schools. When he died in Magdalena, Mexico in 1711 he became a future binational hero; the friars who had been sent to the mission at Tumacácori, however, were still trying to figure out how to fund a church building program when in . . .
  • 1767   The King of Spain decided that the really smart, supurbly organized, politically adept, and well resourced Jesuits were some kind of a threat; that is, they preferred to minister to the Indians than to the Spanish colonists which meant that their loyalties were to the Pope rather than to the King. He has them all arrested then force marched hundreds of miles to the sea for a long voyage back to Spain where the survivors were “cloistered” for the rest of their lives. However, the memory of the Jesuits lingers in the New World by which I mean the local folk still firmly believe that the Jesuits were very rich what with all those cows, farms, landed parents and dozens of plumbers and electricians paying union dues.
  • 1768   Friars of the Franciscan Order take over the work of the Jesuits including the mission at Tumacácori and, in the spirit of true partisanship, begin to build a church that will outshine the dinky little ediface that the Jesuits had built. But, for lack of funding, it is all downhill from there for the Tumacácori Mission until . . .
  • 1821  The succesful Mexican Revolution; so succesful that funding for the church building program at Tumacácori is renewed until Mexico evicts anyone not born there including a large number of the Franciscan missionaries. The church at Tumacácori is never finished—indeed, it seems to have gone backwards given a war with the United States, fights with the Apaches, an earthquake, floods, rain and other acts of God. Additional damage is caused by thieves who tear off the roof for the timber and take out walls and the floor looking for Jesuit treasures of gold and jewels but find only the remains of two unfortunate Franciscan friars buried there long after the Jesuits had left by which I mean the Jesuits had nothing to do with building the building that supposedly held the non-existant Jesuit riches.

    San Jose de Tumacácori

    San José de Tumacácori

The moral of this story, of course, is that although you may not like it, you gotta think a bit about history before digging up all manner of sacred ground to find a treasure that was not buried there ever.

San José de Tumacácori

San José de Tumacácori

Tumacácori is beautiful, the Tumacácori National Historical Park (TNHP) is awesome and the staff is great; but I’m still not allowed to give tours.

California and Mexican poppies at Tumacácori National Historical Park

California and Mexican poppies at Tumacácori National Historical Park

Come visit.

r/

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