Human Chess

The cruelty of the Inquisition is somewhat axiomatic in the modern West, yet it seems that even they had a light-hearted, if dark, side.  Spain was enormously popular in Spain, having been brought there through the Muslim conquerors of Al-Andalus.  In 1485, Pedro de Arbués is said to have set up a game of human chess, using those convicted by the Inquisition as pieces.  Two blind monks played, although if this part is true, it must have been quite an achievement, since while blind chess is relatively common today, at the time, it was nothing short of a marvel.  As each piece was captured, the person was executed.  What happened to the survivors is unknown, but most likely, they, too, were put into the bag, as we all are someday.


Balboa, the Pacific, and Alonso Martin

When Balboa first crossed Panama in search of the Pacific, one of the men in his group, Alonso Martin, left the group and went ahead without them.  By the time Balboa arrived at the Pacific Ocean, Alonso Martin was already in a dugout canoe upon the water, demanding that his colleagues witness that he, not Balboa, was the first European in the new ocean.