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John’s Believe It Or Not… March 19th

Picture of John Fioravanti at the front of his classroom.

It’s Sublime Sunday! Did you know…

* 1885 – Beginning of the North West Rebellion in Batoche, as Louis Riel seizes hostages and proclaims the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan. (This was the second great struggle to protect Métis (mixed blood: Native and French or British) rights as the new Dominion of Canada was expanding into their territories in the prairies and threatening their way of life. Riel had been exiled to the US after leading the successful Red River Rebellion in 1869-70. Leader of the buffalo hunt, Gabriel Dumont, rode to Montana to ask Riel to return and lead their fight against the Macdonald Government. Riel set up a provisional government at Batoche and Prime Minister Macdonald responded by sending British Regulars and Ontario Militia to put a quick end to things. However, the brilliant strategist, Gabriel Dumont, humiliated the troops sent against them until November when the Métis ran out of ammunition.

Portrait of Louis Riel
Louis Riel: “Father of Manitoba”


Portrait of Gabriel Dumont.
Gabriel Dumont: Leader of Buffalo Hunt & Metis General.







* 1989 – Kurt Browning wins Men’s gold at the World Figure Skating Championship in Paris. (Canadian figure skater, World Champion, choreographer, commentator, born at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, June 18, 1966. Browning grew up the youngest child on a farm in Caroline; 1985 won the Canadian Junior title; 1988 at the Budapest Worlds, he landed the first quadruple toe loop ever in competition; first Canadian to win four World Figure Skating championships (1989, 1990, 1991 and 1993); 1993 skated as Rick from the movie Casablanca; turned pro after a fifth place finish at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer; 1996 June 30 married Sonia Rodriguez, a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada.) {Kurt is still skating: click here to see the commercial he made recently with skating great Don Jackson!}Picture of Browning on the ice performing.

* 2003 War in Iraq begins. (On this day in 2003, the United States, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiates war on Iraq. Just after explosions began to rock Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, U.S. President George W. Bush announced in a televised address, “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” President Bush and his advisors built much of their case for war on the idea that Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction.)

Picture of the moment of the falling of Saddam's statue, with the help of the US Army.
The toppling of Saddam’s statue with the help of the US Army.


* 1931 Nevada legalises gambling. (At the beginning of the Depression, Nevada’s mines were in decline, and its economy was in shambles. In March 1931, Nevada’s state legislature responded to population flight by taking the drastic measure of legalising gambling and, later in the year, divorce. Established in 1905, Las Vegas, Nevada, has since become the gambling and entertainment capital of the world, famous for its casinos, nightclubs, and sporting events. In the first few decades after the legalisation of gambling, organised crime flourished in Las Vegas. Today, state gambling taxes account for the lion’s share of Nevada’s overall tax revenues.)

Photo shows gambling in full dress marked the first operation under Nevada’s new Sky-Limit gambling law at one of Reno’s fashionable suburbs in Reno, Nevada, on Saturday, night, March 24, 1931. Here is a roulette table with a few patrons. (AP Photo)
Photo shows gambling in full dress marked the first operation under Nevada’s new Sky-Limit gambling law at one of Reno’s fashionable suburbs in Reno, Nevada, on Saturday, night, March 24, 1931. Here is a roulette table with a few patrons. (AP Photo)

* 1953 First Academy Awards telecast on NBC. (On this night in 1953, for the first time, audiences are able to sit in their living rooms and watch as the movie world’s most prestigious honours, the Academy Awards, are given out at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. Organised in May 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was envisioned as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of the film industry. The first Academy Awards were handed out in May 1929, in a ceremony and banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The level of suspense was nonexistent, however, as the winners had already been announced several months earlier. For the next 10 years, the Academy gave the names of the winners to the newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the awards ceremony; this changed after one paper broke the tacit agreement and published the results in the evening edition, available before the ceremony began. A sealed envelope system began the next year, and endures to this day, making Oscar night Hollywood’s most anticipated event of the year.)Picture of award winners for Best Picture.

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.

8 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 19th”

  1. Thanks for your comment, Madelyn. Canada is a great country but we are not without our problems. I hope you can take the opportunity to visit some day.


    1. Louis Riel was a favourite topic of mine. I have to admit that the guerilla war tactics, used by small numbers of skilled buffalo hunters to hand defeat after defeat to the British Regulars, fascinated me! Those hunters were skilled sharpshooters on horseback at full gallop since it took a well-placed shot to bring down a buffalo. Soldiers didn’t have a chance…

      Liked by 2 people

        1. That was about as “wild” as Canada’s west got. In Canada, law & order was set up in a new territory before settlers were allowed to enter – unlike the States where settlers arrived first.

          Liked by 2 people

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