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John’s Believe It Or Not… March 2nd

Fioravanti stands in front of the classroom blackboard with his hands on his hips. Picture was taken in August, 2006.

It’s Thunderstruck Thursday! Did you know…

1699 – Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, travelling by sea, discovers the mouth of the Mississippi. (He succeeds where Robert Cavelier de La Salle failed; French control now extends all the way down the Mississippi River.; on three consecutive expeditions, in 1699, 1700 and 1701, he builds the forts of Maurepas (Biloxi), Mississippi and Saint-Louis (Mobile) on the Gulf of Mexico. Iberville departs in In 1702 and will die of yellow fever in Havana. Biloxi, Mississippi)Map of North America in 1700 showing European spheres of influence.





1807 US Congress bans the slave trade within the US, effective January 1, 1808. (The first shipload of African captives to North America arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, but for most of the 17th century, European indentured servants were far more numerous in the North American British colonies than were African slaves. However, after 1680, the flow of indentured servants sharply declined, leading to an explosion in the African slave trade. By the middle of the 18th century, slavery could be found in all 13 colonies and was at the core of the Southern colonies’ agricultural economy. By the time of the American Revolution, the English importers alone had brought some three million captive Africans to the Americas.)

2002 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: US conventional forces first deployed as part of Operation Anaconda. (Supported initially by the United Kingdom, the US was later joined by the rest of NATO, beginning in 2003. Its public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power.[32] Key allies, including the United Kingdom, supported the U.S. from the start to the end of the phase. This phase of the war is the longest war in United States history.)

1836 Texas declares independence. (During the Texas Revolution, a convention of American Texans meets at Washington-on-the-Brazos and declares the independence of Texas from Mexico. The delegates chose David Burnet as provisional president and confirmed Sam Houston as the commander in chief of all Texan forces. The Texans also adopted a constitution that protected the free practice of slavery, which had been prohibited by Mexican law. Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s siege of the Alamo continued, and the fort’s 185 or so American defenders waited for the final Mexican assault.)

1978 Grave robbers steal Charlie Chaplin’s body. (In one of history’s most famous cases of body-snatching, two men steal the corpse of the revered film actor Sir Charles Chaplin from a cemetery in the Swiss village of Corsier-sur-Vevey, located in the hills above Lake Geneva, near Lausanne, Switzerland, on this day in 1978. After a five-week investigation, police arrested two auto mechanics–Roman Wardas, of Poland, and Gantscho Ganev, of Bulgaria–who on May 17 led them to Chaplin’s body, which they had buried in a cornfield about one mile from the Chaplin family’s home in Corsier. That December, Wardas and Ganev were convicted of grave robbing and attempted extortion. Political refugees from Eastern Europe, Wardas and Ganev apparently stole Chaplin’s body in an attempt to solve their financial difficulties. Wardas, identified as the mastermind of the plot, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years of hard labour. As he told it, he was inspired by a similar crime that he had read about in an Italian newspaper. Ganev was given an 18-month suspended sentence, as he was believed to have limited responsibility for the crime. As for Chaplin, his family reburied his body in a concrete grave to prevent future theft attempts.)

Look who was born on this date!

Picture of Dr Seuss at a book signing.* Dr Seuss in 1904. (American Children’s Author: Theodor Geisel published over 60 books during his life, 44 as Dr Seuss for children and he remains one of the most beloved children’s authors. Ironically his first children’s book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before being publishing in 1937. Other titles followed after WWI including “Horton Hears a Who!” (1955), “The Cat in the Hat” (1957) and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”(1957).)

* Sam Houston in 1793. (Samuel Houston, the first president of the independent Republic of Texas, is born in Rockbridge County, Virginia.)

* Desi Arnaz in 1917. (Cuban-American Actor: Best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American TV series I Love Lucy, starring with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. He and Ball are generally credited as the inventors of the rerun in connection with the show.)


Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December 2013 and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

5 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 2nd”

    1. I was thinking of you when I included that story, John, but not that particular slant! LOL! Just think, you could build a wall too!

      Liked by 1 person

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