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John’s Believe It Or Not… March 30th

John Fioravanti standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…

* March 30, 1885 – North West Rebellion – Cree chief Poundmaker (Pitikwahanapiwiyin) attacks and surrounds Battleford, Saskatchewan with Little Pine and 200 other warriors. (Local settlers are forced to seek shelter in NWMP [Northwest Mounted Police] barracks for a month. A formidable soldier, Poundmaker had participated in the signing of Treaty 6, and in 1881 had guided the Marquis of Lorne from Battleford to Calgary. But he was distressed at the treatment given the Cree people and had agitated for the fulfilment of the promises made under Treaty.)

Portrait of Poundmaker
Cree Chief Poundmaker

* 1867 US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 [2 cents an acre – Seward’s Folly, translates to $111,560,536.61 in 2016 USD] (The Alaska Purchase was the United States’ acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, by a treaty ratified by the United States Senate, and signed by president Andrew Johnson. Russia wanted to sell its Alaskan territory, fearing that it might be seized if war broke out with the United Kingdom. Russia’s primary activities in the territory had been fur trade and missionary work among the Native Alaskans. The land added 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of new territory to the United States.)

Picture of the actual check used in the transaction.
The 7.2 million USD check used to pay for Alaska (Roughly $123 million today).

* 1981 President Reagan shot. (On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by a deranged drifter named John Hinckley Jr. The president had just finished addressing a labour meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahanty was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital.)

Scene showing secret agents holding Hinckley down on the pavement after the shooting.
Barrage of Secret Service agents holding down shooter Hinckley and tending to wounded during assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. (Photo by Dirck Halstead//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

* 1870 15th Amendment adopted. (Following its ratification by the requisite three-fourths of the states, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution. Passed by Congress the year before, the amendment reads, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude.” One day after it was adopted, Thomas Peterson-Mundy of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, became the first African American to vote under the authority of the 15th Amendment.)

Illustration of African Americans voting

* 2009 President Obama announces auto industry shakeup. (On this day in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to make dramatic changes in the way they run their businesses. The president also announced a set of initiatives intended to assist the struggling U.S. auto industry and boost consumer confidence, including government backing of GM and Chrysler warranties, even if both automakers went out of business. In December 2008, GM (the world’s largest automaker from the early 1930s to 2008) and Chrysler (then America’s third-biggest car company) accepted $17.4 billion in federal aid in order to stay afloat. At that time, the two companies had been hit hard by the global economic crisis and slumping auto sales; however, critics charged that their problems had begun several decades earlier and included failures to innovate in the face of foreign competition and issues with labour unions, among other factors.)

President Obama gave Detroit's auto industry tough love and was rewarded. Detroit's carmakers are immensely profitable and a global force.
President Obama gave Detroit’s auto industry tough love and was rewarded. Detroit’s carmakers are immensely profitable and a global force.

Look who was born on this date!

Head shot of Celine Dion* Celine Dion in 1968. (Canadia Singer: Celine Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world before releasing the English-language album “Unison”, which made her a North American and eventually a global pop star. She is renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals.)



Portrait of van Gogh* Vincent van Gogh in 1853. (Considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt. Van Gogh was a largely self-taught artist who remained poor and unknown throughout his life. Today, his paintings are some of the most expensive in the world. Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr Gachet” sold for $82.5 million and “Irises” for $53.9 million. He is known as much for his unstable psychological health, including famously cutting off his own ear, as he is for his huge body of post-Impressionist paintings (e.g. “Sunflowers” and “The Starry Night”), drawings, and sketches.)

Clapton playing his guitar.* Eric Clapton in 1945. (English Rocker, Blues Guitarist and Singer-Songwriter. One of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton has received 18 Grammy Awards and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004, he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.)

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.

7 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 30th”

  1. I’ve read a lot of books related to the Plains-Indian wars in the US following the Civil War and during westward expansion. Sad that governments on both sides of the border saw fit to renege on promises made.

    And I’ll counter John W. on Celine. That woman has an amazing voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting, Mae. Yes, neither Canada nor the US has a great track record in their treatment of the Native Peoples. Yay! Another Celine fan!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with Poundmaker. I think the Crees were had. Nice eclectic post, John. I still don’t understand the popularity of Celine, though. That’s just me. Eric Clampton is another story. Love his music.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for visiting with your comments today, John! I’m a huge fan of Celine and I also love Eric Clampton’s music too. Neat that they share a birthday.

      Liked by 1 person

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