I’m in the middle of a personal quest to find any and all facts that I can regarding the year 1642. The surrounding years will probably start to feature as soon as I have enough information about 1642, but 1642 seems to be a starting point. The reason for my quest: a dream. Well, many dreams, actually. I have always dreamt of an old galleon, and in one of these dreams the year 1642 was mentioned. Not only was the year mentioned, but, bizarrely, I had the ‘feeling’ that it was 1642 as well. All very strange, but this ‘feeling’ has stayed with me, as though I have a connection with 1642. Hence, my quest. I want to know why I have this connection to this year in particular.
So far on my journey, I have discovered that Galileo died in this year, and Isaac Newton as born. The First English Civil War began. New Zealand and Tasmania were discovered by Abel Janszoon Tasman. Marie de Médicis, Queen Consort of France, also died this year, and her grandson, King Louis XIV granted Blaise Pascal a Royal Privilege in 1649, after Blaise had invented a mechanical calculating machine in 1642 (this machine was the earliest stage on the microprocessor, used in computers today).
I’ve written about all of this before. That was just a recap! A year is quite a long time, and it is quite likely that a lot of people from that time would have crossed paths, especially those in the ‘public eye’, in royalty, the sciences, literature, or conflicts and discoveries.
It stands to reason that some of them would have met, had a cup of tea, and talked tactics, or presented their latest hypothesis or mechanical creation, or simply passed each other whilst walking down a road totally unaware as to who the other person was. I’m sure I will find out about such meetings during my quest.
I’ve written about 1642 in the sense that it was the definite year, but in a time of many calendars, dates may become slightly vague. Some events may have more links with 1641 or 1643, but they all relate to that time, so they are as accurate as I can see them.
I’ve stumbled upon another strange ‘coincidental’ fact (if you can have a coincidence that is separated by hundreds of years!). When I first started this blog, I mentioned that Iceland is a place where I have always wanted to visit. It, like 1642, has some kind of ‘draw’ on me. In 1642 a Lutheran Bishop in Iceland, Brynjólfur Sveinsson, came in to possession of the Codex Regius, which is a manuscript that contains the Poetic Edda, the oral literature of Iceland and ancient Norse pagan beliefs from centuries earlier. Brynjólfur gave the Codex as a gift to King Frederick III of Denmark in 1662, where it was kept in the Royal Library of Copenhagen until being returned to Iceland in the early 1970s. Incidentally, the Rundetårn (or Round Tower) in Copenhagen, was completed in 1642. The Rundetårn was used as an astronomical observatory, but was the first purpose-built facility of the Copenhagen University Library. From what I have been able to find out so far, this library is different to the Royal Library, but the library and 1642 links are there, so they are both part of my journey…
I’ve also read that in 1642, Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens discovered the Martian southern ice cap. What I have found fascinating about Christiaan is that he invented the pendulum clock, which he patented in 1657. In the same year, he published his first book on probability theory, after being encouraged to do so by none other than Blaise Pascal.
See… things are starting to tie together. Still no idea why I’m finding all of this out, but 1642 seems to be some kind of connection point for space, time, knowledge and discovery.
In other parts of the world, Persia’s Shah Safi I died at the age of 26 in 1642, after a 13-year reign. He was succeeded by his son, who was ten years old, and was known as Shah Abbas II, the seventh Shah of the Safavid Dynasty. This may be useful information for the future… we’ll see.
In Tibet in 1642, the fifth Dalai Lama took over control from the previous Tsang rulers, and ruled Tibet until 1959.
And in China in 1642, hundreds of thousands of people were killed in Kaifeng, which was flooded during a siege by the Ming Dynasty. The flood is in the history books as one of the top ten deadliest natural disasters. Kaifeng was one of Seven Ancient Capitals of China, but was deserted after the flood.
And, in yet another random coincidence, I mis-typed Kai fang into Google to discover that this means ‘Opening Up’.
I don’t mind admitting that I am fascinated by what I am finding out about this year. I may still have no clue as to why I have such a strong interest in it, but I am certainly opening up to whatever information I can find about it. I’m finding more questions than answers at present, but without questions there will be no answers, so everything happens for a reason.
I think it may be getting close to the time to find out what that reason is…