The Decline of the Carpathians, Reconstructionist Period Through 1936. (U.S.)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This story details the brief history of trolls in the United States, particularly the Carpathian Slave trolls from just after the American Civil War to 1936 when they became extinct.

The Decline of the Carpathians, Reconstructionist Period Through 1936 U.S.
Atticus Pelsnar Harvard Univeristy 2015
 
In the immediate postbellum period following the War between the States it was not clear
whether or not the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves applied exclusively to African American slaves or was meant to include the dissolution of subjugation for Carpathian slave trolls as well. (1)
 
Most scholars agree that the verbiage of the emancipation was kept deliberately vague by
President Lincoln, and his personal opinion and political intent on the issue seems opaque at best.(Henner 2010).
The founding American fathers four score prior to Lincoln spoke of equanimity for all mankind in the face of a blatant cultural tolerance of slavery. Some of these men (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin certainly) had the foresight to realize that their current endeavors were setting the table for the great slave debates in the generations to come. Cognizant that theirs was the foundational struggle for the nascent states to coalesce as one Union, they realized that to debate the slavery issue at this embryonic stage was premature and would present an existential threat to the union.
Sanguine of mind the inaugural forefathers avoided the slave debates and forged a nation;
leaving the burden of addressing the issues of institutionalized servitude to Lincoln and his
contemporaries.

The image of a great girthy Carpathian slave troll (2) with long black wiry hair and tattered loincloth standing 10-feet tall and weighing near 300 pounds straining at the plow as he pulls it through  the coffee-black loam of a Mississippian plantation today remains an iconic image of the antebellum South. It was for many, a symbol of strength and industry and emblematic of man's ability to both conquer beast and tame the earth concomitantly.
 
(1) The term Carpathian slave troll is the common English term used to describe a large hominid species originating out of the Carpathian mountains in Europe, a region that spans modern day Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. homo carpathialis is the
taxonomic designation.
The troll is a mythical creature of Scandinavian or Norse origin and refers to human-like creatures of great size that are often portrayed as slow-moving and of low intelligence. According to Merriam-Webster this term came to be applied to the Carpathian
hominids during the early colonial period of the Americas during which time they were used for slave labor.
(2) The common English reference to these creatures is by use of the term Carpathian slave trolls, however, contemporary linguists have deemed this to be a pejorative term and it will be used only in the historical and utilitarian context for the purpose of this paper.
The term Carpathian will otherwise be used to denote h. carpathialis to reference this particular species; and for the purpose of this essay not be used as an ethnic descriptor for humans originating from this region.

As this is a paper dealing with the subject matter of enslavement of h. carpathialis, the term "slave(s)" will be a descriptor of h. carpathialis and will not apply to African Americans (unless otherwise indicated) whom were also subjugated under similarcircumstances in 15th through 19th centuries on the American continent.

 
The reality of the slave experience for the troll has its parallels to that of the African slave and was most certainly notorious for its cruelty and for the suffering that was endured by those that toiled under yoke and beneath the whips of their white (and black) masters.
Perceived as subhuman and as beasts of burden, the plight of the Carpathian slave troll was often worse than than of their enslaved African counterparts.
Due to the difficulty mastering the English language both written and spoken for the
Carpathians, the historical record is often viewed through the convoluted lens of the written
accounts of their white masters or contemporary historians. The story, however, remains still of a people ripped from their homelands and conscripted into harsh labor and early death.

The humanity of the Carpathians will always be a matter of contention. It was the subject of
religious and academic debate during the time of the American Civil War and continues to be up until today, the matter being complicated by the species extinction in 1936.
Genetics, biological taxonomy, cultural, historical, and anthropological origins remain the
subject of other essays and are in the domain of the scientific and academic communities.
In brief summary, the species had its origin in prehistoric times according to the fossil record and the Carpathians have always been indigenous to that isolated region in the Carpathian mountains.
 
Slave trade of the Carpathians is referenced as early as 200 bce. by Roman historians with one modern day scholar even speculating that Hannibal's elephants  may actually have Carpathian slave trolls, as Hannibal would have had easy access in obtaining these slaves from Carpathia as he marched North from the Iberian Peninsula into Europe during his famed crossing of the Alps during the 2nd Punic War. This particular scholar also notes that the Carpathians would have been better able to negotiate the high mountain passes of the Alps whereas it would have been nearly impossible for elephants to do so. ( Yilma et. all 2011).
 
Slave trade continued throughout the middle ages and the first trolls were recorded as having been brought to the new world by the Portuguese explorer Pasquale de Ortiz in 1551 (Sherman 2008).
By the mid 17th century a moratorium on slave trade in most of Europe had significantly altered trade routes. Troll slave trade which peaked in the new world in the 16th century, had in part flourished due to ease of access to European ports. After slave trade had been restricted in Europe the primary trade route to the new world was through the Bosphorus straits from the ports of Constantinople during the height of the the Ottoman Empire. (Dieker 2001).
It has been surmised that the trading of Carpathian trolls as slaves would have ceased in the late 17th century regardless of any abolition movement in the United States.
 
The Emancipation Proclamation and passage of the 13th constitutional amendment banning all slavery by congress in 1864 had little to no effect on slave troll trading rates (Blake 2008).
Declination in the use of the troll as a free source of manual labor can be attributed to the
aforementioned change in slave trade routes resulting in an increased difficulty and subsequent rise in cost of obtaining a slave. A biological trait of low reproductive rates which dropped by upwards of 55 percent upon forced immigration to the new world also made slave populations impossible to sustain in the Southern States and the fall of the Confederate States virtually ensured that the Carpathian slave trade would cease without any anti-slavery intervention being necessary. (Dieker 2001).
Of note are several refugee camps set up by abolitionists immediately after the war specifically for displaced Carpathian slaves. Once such camp established by New England abolitionist Josiah Turner was
"Established for the care and edification of our savage Carpathian brethren that through the
grace of our Lord and the fortitude of their will they may come to know Jesus Christ and become civilized men among men."

The communities that are on record of being established never reached a point of self
sufficiency and the Carpathian freed slaves never truly became able to live independently apart from their slave masters and plantation homes.
Carpathian slave population in 1865 in the United States is estimated to have been a mere
6000. The last living Carpathian Troll in the United States lived and worked for Frank Barnum athis famed circus and is listed on payroll records as a paid laborer and performer. This last troll died in 1925.

Although sightings of “trolls” persist in Eastern Europe up to the present day, the species was listed as officially extinct by the Royal Geographic Society in London 1936.
In 1901 a cellular pathology study was conducted by Dr. Thomas Patterson at John Hopkins University entitled:
Epithelial cells of h. Carpathialis maintained in vitro in a tepid aqueous saline solution.
(Patterson and Knight 1901).

Tissues samples from this pioneering cellular study were frozen and archived and now are
currently the final remaining biological link that exists to the Carpathians.
April 8th, 1864 Congress passed the 13th amendment which freed all slaves stating,
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.” This act effectively freed all slaves regardless of race and ended centuries of slavery for the Carpathians.
 
While the race would only survive another 7 decades. Many spent their lives post
slavery as sharecroppers, squatters, or household paid laborers. Most never moved off
the plantations from which they were enslaved.
The Virginia Historial Society records one school chartered in Richmond during the
Reconstruction period specifically for the education of Carpathians. Additionally, the
same society records the use of labor camps which utilized large numbers of
Carpathian laborers to repair railroads and infrastructure which had been destroyed
during the war (O’Conner 1990).
In 1867 the New York Times reported that a Carpathian “Troll” would be graduating
from the Columbia School of Law at Columbia College in New York City. College
transcripts and records were destroyed in a fire in 1899 and official school accounts
confirming this story remain unverified.
 
Abraham Lincoln whom was never an abolitionist, does not leave much written record of
his personal views on the slavery of the Carpathians. It is clear that his views on
slavery of African Americans changed and fluctuated over time. It is noted that the
Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order and freed all slaves, but only in the
Confederate States. Southern Border states were permitted to keep their slaves and it
was only until the passage of the 13th Amendment did the Carpathians begin to be
released in earnest from bondage.
 
A singular letter obliquely addressing Carpathian servitude survives in the Lincoln
library in a one page correspondence to his Thomas “Tad” Lincoln in 1862. Tad was 7
years of age at the time and Lincoln often referred to his youngest son as “tadpole” “on
account of his wiggliness.”
Lincoln at the time was in Pennsylvania and he wrote to his son to address this issue of
insomnia. The child was as related in a previous correspondence by his mother,
“Inclined to terrors for fear of trolls and does not easily assume his nightly repose.”
Lincoln addresses this issue adeptly as he was prone to do with an anecdote of his
own. The veracity of this tale remains unconfirmed and whether or not it reflects his
true opinion on Carpathian subjugation will forever be lost to the ages.
The letter is as follows:
 
My dearest boy, it vexes me to hear from your mother that you do not retire to your bed
for slumber at the assigned time. How weak and fruitless must be any attempt of mine
to attempt to beguile you into slumber from a distance so far as I may be during the
current circumstances. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that a
son would be privileged to receive from his father, and in my prolonged absence I would
relate to you a tale from my youth to give you comfort and to guide you to slumber.
When I was a boy of your age I came across a cart which had been overturned upon its
owner who now lay beneath it with legs fractured. The cart had been pulled by a great
troll. Such was common in my boyhood home of Kentucky. These creatures of great
size and strength always filled me with great fear, yet at the same time I would be
consumed with great vexations at their forced enslavement. I confess, I hated to see
the poor creatures hunted down and caught and shackled and carried back to their
stripes and unrewarded toils.
As this great beast of a troll now reared up and shouted to the air I began to fear for my
own life until the beast turned and looked me in the eye. I saw his humanity as tears fell
forth in lament for his strickened master. With great strength yet humane gentility the
cart was rent asunder and the troll freed his master and carried him away forth.
And so my dearest Tadpole. Do not let your thoughts torment you. I will pass a day or
two more in Pennsylvania and make haste towards home. My sympathies are with you
and I am forever yours.

Father.
(Lincoln Library Archives, Springfield, Illinois).


Submitted: January 12, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Atticus Pelsnar. All rights reserved.

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