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Harmonia Time Capsule: 1535

Crown of Thorns reef, Galapagos Islands.

Composer Giaches de Wert was born in 1535 in Flanders, near the city of Antwerp.  In early childhood, de Wert traveled to Italy, where he trained at the chapel of the Marchesa of Padulla.  Later associations with Italy's most powerful families—the Gonzagas and d'Estes—promoted de Wert's musical work in Mantua and Ferrara.  Between cities, he became a seminal figure in the development of late renaissance secular music.  His ebullient musical style encouraged similar innovations in the madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi and exerted influence on the music of the baroque.

In 1535 England, Thomas Knyght worked as an organist for Salisbury Cathedral and put forth polyphonic settings that would appear in the Peterhouse and Gyffard partbooks.  The unique preservations reflect a widespread shift from large choirbooks to that of smaller partbooks.  Such a shift likely occurred in order to reduce expense and promote greater ease in reading.

The same year that saw twelve Anabaptists run nude through the streets of Amsterdam also marks the discovery of Montreal.  French explorer Jacques Cartier set off on his second voyage for the Northwest Passage in 1535.  The sea route would be a vital path from the Atlantic to the Pacific, enabling Cartier and his men access to Asia.  Cartier's course up the St. Lawrence River led him to the Iroquoian village of Hochelaga, now called Montreal.  There, he scaled a “mountain,” which he named Mount Royal in honor of King Francis I.

In 1535, another explorer, Francisco Pizarro, began a settlement in Peru's Rímac valley that would later be known as the city of Lima.  The Spanish crown issued an edict granting Pizarro governance over all lands conquered.  After the defeat of the Incan emperor Atahualpa, Pizarro at last established his capital and called it Ciudad de los Reyes (or “City of the Kings”).

Meanwhile, off the west coast of South America, Bishop Tomas de Berlanga's ship sailed through uncharted waters.  Berlanga had set a course for Peru in order to help settle a dispute between Pizarro and his lieutenants.  Unexpectedly, his vessel was blown off course and found its way toward an archipelago of undiscovered volcanic islands.  A diversity of flora and fauna astonished the travelers and prompted continued exploration in years to come.  Later in 1570, the archipelago was named Insulae de los Galopegos (or “Islands of the Tortoises”) in honor of its mammoth inhabitants.

Music heard in the time capsule:

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