Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Medici Family

Hi Everyone, 
For History, we were looking at the Medici family, so I though that I would write a bit about them for you. Hope you enjoy!

The Medici family first came to Florence in the 12th century, when the family from a Tuscan village called Cafaggiolo moved to Florence. They rose to power after they began their bank called the Medici Bank that, during the 15th century, was the largest in Europe.

The Medici family ruled under many titles, such as the
·      Grand Duke of Tuscany
·      Duke of Florence
·      Prince of Ottajano
·      Duke of Urbino
·      Duke of Nemurs
·      Marquess of Castellina and
·      Pope.
Under these many roles, they managed to rule Florence for around 3 centuries.

The family that held power in Florence prior to the Medici’s were the Albizzi family. The powerful Albizzi’s exiled Cosimo de Medici in 1433, but a year later, a Signoria was signed by the guilds in favour of the Medici’s, and Cosimo returned to Florence, where he was the head of one of the, now, most powerful families in Florence. However, Cosimo and Lorenzo rarely held official positions, but were no doubt in charge and were the heads of the family in their own time.

Through arranged marriages, the Medici’s made sure they held prominent roles in the society of Florence like that of Lorenzo de Medici’s daughter, Maddalena to the son of Pope Innocent VIII, however, these marriages were not enough to help Piero, Lorenzo’s son, who seemed quite terrible at doing what his Great-grandfather, grandfather and father did, in ruling over Florence. This is why he was nicknamed Piero the Unfortunate, and two years into his rule, he and his supporters were forced into exile, and were replaced once again by a republic government.

The Generations

Cosimo started the political ruling of the Medici family over Florence after his father, Giovanni di Bicci de Medici brought fame and wealth to the family, partly due to the introduction of the proportional taxing system, a fixed tax rate. In 1434, when Cosimo succeeded his father, the Medici held the unofficial heads of Florence.

Piero the Gouty lived from 1416 to 1469, but only ruled Florence for five years. This is due to his death mainly from gout, leading to his nickname of Gouty. Unlike Cosimo, Piero was not a patron of the arts, and did not greatly influence the rule or wealth of the family. This was mainly
due to the fact that he was always bedridden. Piero who held the title of Lord of Florence,  also had an illegitimate son, called Lenihanio fled from Italy to the Alps, where he lived for 15 years.

Lorenzo the Magnificent lived from 1449 to 1492,  and died at the age of 43. He was the best in the family at ruling Florence, but did not strengthen the banking side of his family, leading to the banks, downfall. His son, Piero II was groomed to succeed him, and be a                                                            great leader, but was a failure, and after two years, was forced into exile. Another of his son’s, Giovanni, was to be Pope Leo X.
Lorenzo lived in a time of assassination, and one was attempted on him and his brother, but they only killed his brother. Lorenzo got away, injured, from the Mass service where the assassination took place, but his brother, Giuliano, was killed and stabbed 23 times. This brutal attempt on the Medici’s life meant that Lorenzo had to take revenge, which he did, and he had the archbishop and a member of the family that made the assassination killed. This revenge angered the Pope of the time, Pope Sixtus IV, who also held a part of the assassination, as Lorenzo had killed a member of the church. The result of this deed was excommunication, essentially meaning that the Pope blocked God from Lorenzo.

There were many reasons for the assassination attempt. The family that made the attempt, the Pazzi, were rival banking families, and wished to take down the Medici influence that made their bank so strong. The Pope als had had some disagreements with the Medici’s. That is why the Pope, while not officially, agreed to let the assassination attempt happen.


Richard Mills

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Overfishing and it's dangers to coral

Hi Everyone,
In geography, we are learning about coral and their dangers, and I thought it might interest you. I will keep on posting about Florence, because I find it interesting and I hope you do, but if there is anything you want me to post about, I will be happy to oblige.


The Issue

The problem with overfishing is that it is reducing the amount of fish in certain waters, and sometimes, the amounts of fish caught, even in one trawl, can not recover even twelve months later.

Types of overfishing

Types of overfishing include
·      Bottom Trawling
·      Cyanide Fishing
·      Dynamite Fishing and
·      Ghost Fishing.
Bottom trawling is when a trawler goes along a surface, rocky or flat, and simply catches fish in their nets. Attached with rubber wheels, the rockhopper trawls, introduced in the 1980’s can be very damaging, and in Alaska, one single trawl wiped out 55% of the area’s coral, and that coral had not claimed back that space 12 months later. The coral is damaged, because the rockhopper nets that can go to a depth of 2,000 metres, can move boulders that weigh up to 25 tonne meaning that the coral is simply killed. Scars can be found in the ocean for up to 4km where these rockhoppers have passed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Cyanide Fishing is where fishers squirt sodium cyanide into the water, so that the fish are stunned but not killed, meaning that they are easy to catch. This technique is dangerous because for every one fish eaten that has been caught by sodium cyanide, a square metre of coral has been killed.

Dynamite Fishing is a technique where fishermen throw dynamite or other explosives into the water. Once detonated, the explosives kill all the fish around it, as well as reducing the nearby landscape to rubble.

Ghost Fishing is where fishing equipment is lost overboard. This equipment can continue to catch fish, and it is estimated that over a quarter of the rubbish at the bottom of the North Sea is fishing nets. Although it is unknown, the catches made by Ghost fishing is likely to have a large impact on the numbers of fish and wildlife in the sea.

Why is it a problem?

Overfishing is a problem as it kills many fish species. Where fish populations used to be large, they have now been reduce to a far smaller amount, or even totally wiped out. This also has an impact on the coral in the area due to some techniques of fishing. These techniques like Bottom Trawling and dynamite fishing can ruin the coral population.

Where is it a problem?

Overfishing is a problem in Alaska, where 55% of the coral was wiped out, Australia (mainly South Australia), where 90% of the areas where coral used to grow is now bare rock, Southeast Asia, the North Pacific Ocean and the North Sea.


Richard Mills