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John’s Believe It Or Not… June 24th

In 1497 – John Cabot From Bristol Claims America for England. In 1509 Henry VIII is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey. In 1997 U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell. In 1675 King Philip’s War begins. In 1901 Picasso exhibited in Paris.

John Fioravanti is standing in front of the blackboard in his classroom.

Yay! It’s Saturday! Did you know…

* 1497 – John Cabot From Bristol Claims America for England. (Italian sailor and explorer John Cabot was born Giovanni Caboto around 1450. In 1497, Cabot traveled by sea to Canada, where he made a claim to land for England, mistaking the North American land for Asia.

Cabot was the son of a spice merchant, Giulio Caboto, in Genoa. At age 11, his family moved to Venice, where he learned sailing and navigation from Italian seamen and merchants. In 1474, John Cabot married a girl named Mattea and eventually became the father of three sons: Ludovico, Sancto, and Sebastiano. Sebastiano would later follow in his father’s footsteps, becoming an explorer in his own right.

In 1476, Cabot officially became a Venetian citizen and began conducting trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Records indicate that he got into financial trouble and left Venice as a debtor in November 1488. During this time, Cabot became inspired by the discoveries of Bartolomeu Dias and Christopher Columbus. Like Columbus, Cabot believed that sailing west from Europe was the shorter route to Asia. Hearing of opportunities in England, Cabot traveled there and met with King Henry VII, who gave him a grant to “seeke out, discover, and finde” new lands for England.

In early May of 1497, Cabot left Bristol, England, on the Matthew, a fast and able ship weighing 50 tons, with a crew of 18 men. Cabot and his crew sailed west and north under Cabot’s belief that the route to Asia would be shorter from northern Europe than Columbus’s voyage along the trade winds. On June 24, 1497, 50 days into the voyage, Cabot landed on the east coast of North America, though the precise location of this landing is subject to controversy. Some historians believe that Cabot landed at Cape Breton Island or mainland Nova Scotia. Others believe he may have landed at Newfoundland, Labrador or even Maine.)

1497 John Cabot, sailing for England [from Bristol], arrives in Canada at Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
1497 John Cabot, sailing for England [from Bristol], arrives in Canada at Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. (Pinterest)
* 1509 Henry VIII is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey. (Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon were crowned King and Queen of England in a ceremony of pomp and splendor at Westminster Abbey. The coronation ceremony was performed by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Despite having six wives only Queen Katherine of Aragon and Queen Anne Boleyn received a coronation. What is interesting is that on this day in 1509 King Henry VIII took an oath which he would later amend to reflect his views about the relationship between the sovereign crown and the church.

Henry VIII was a fierce-looking man. He would use his build and masculinity to hold court. It was evident that most members of court feared the King for his looks, power and frequent mood swings. This is a very different style to that of our Queen Elizabeth II, who throughout her sixty years has used grace and beauty to take the monarchy into the future.

Following the crowning of Henry VIII, a magnificent banquet was held in Westminster Hall. Westminster Hall is the oldest part of the Parliamentary Estate. Her Majesty the Queen delivered a humble address to Parliament to mark her Diamond Jubilee in the very same space.)

The Crowning Chair in Westminster Abbey, every British King or Queen has been crowned in this chair since 1308
The Crowning Chair in Westminster Abbey, every British King or Queen has been crowned in this chair since 1308 (Getty Images)

* 1997 U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell. (On this day in 1997, U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.

Public interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, began to flourish in the 1940s when developments in space travel and the dawn of the atomic age caused many Americans to turn their attention to the skies. The town of Roswell, located near the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico, became a magnet for UFO believers due to the strange events of early July 1947, when ranch foreman W.W. Brazel found a strange, shiny material scattered over some of his land. He turned the material over to the sheriff, who passed it on to authorities at the nearby Air Force base. On July 8, Air Force officials announced they had recovered the wreckage of a “flying disk.” A local newspaper put the story on its front page, launching Roswell into the spotlight of the public’s UFO fascination.

The Air Force soon took back their story, however, saying the debris had been merely a downed weather balloon. Aside from die-hard UFO believers, or “ufologists,” public interest in the so-called “Roswell Incident” faded until the late 1970s, when claims surfaced that the military had invented the weather balloon story as a cover-up. Believers in this theory argued that officials had in fact retrieved several alien bodies from the crashed spacecraft, which were now stored in the mysterious Area 51 installation in Nevada. Seeking to dispel these suspicions, the Air Force issued a 1,000-page report in 1994 stating that the crashed object was actually a high-altitude weather balloon launched from a nearby missile test site as part of a classified experiment aimed at monitoring the atmosphere in order to detect Soviet nuclear tests.

On July 24, 1997, barely a week before the extravagant 50th-anniversary celebration of the incident, the Air Force released yet another report on the controversial subject. Titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed,” the document stated definitively that there was no Pentagon evidence that any kind of life form was found in the Roswell area in connection with the reported UFO sightings, and that the “bodies” recovered were not aliens but dummies used in parachute tests conducted in the region. Any hopes that this would put an end to the cover-up debate were in vain, as furious ufologists rushed to point out the report’s inconsistencies. With conspiracy theories still alive and well on the Internet, Roswell continues to thrive as a tourist destination for UFO enthusiasts far and wide, hosting the annual UFO Encounter Festival each July and welcoming visitors year-round to its International UFO Museum and Research Center.)

Depiction of UFOs flying above the surface.

* 1675 King Philip’s War begins. (In colonial New England, King Philip’s War begins when a band of Wampanoag warriors raid the border settlement of Swansee, Massachusetts, and massacre the English colonists there.

In the early 1670s, 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Wampanoag Indians began to deteriorate when the rapidly expanding settlement forced land sales on the tribe. Reacting to increasing Native American hostility, the English met with King Philip, chief of the Wampanoag, and demanded that his forces surrender their arms. The Wampanoag did so, but in 1675 a Christian Native American who had been acting as an informer to the English was murdered, and three Wampanoag were tried and executed for the crime.

King Philip responded by ordering the attack on Swansee on June 24, which set off a series of Wampanoag raids in which several settlements were destroyed and scores of colonists massacred. The colonists retaliated by destroying a number of Indian villages. The destruction of a Narragansett village by the English brought the Narragansett into the conflict on the side of King Philip, and within a few months, several other tribes and all the New England colonies were involved. In early 1676, the Narragansett were defeated and their chief killed, while the Wampanoag and their other allies were gradually subdued. King Philip’s wife and son were captured, and on August 12, 1676, after his secret headquarters in Mount Hope, Rhode Island, was discovered, Philip was assassinated by a Native American in the service of the English. The English drew and quartered Philip’s body and publicly displayed his head on a stake in Plymouth.

King Philip’s War, which was extremely costly to the colonists of southern New England, ended the Native American presence in the region and inaugurated a period of unimpeded colonial expansion.)

King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity
King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (

* 1901 Picasso exhibited in Paris. (On June 24, 1901, the first major exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s artwork opens at a gallery on Paris’ rue Lafitte, a street known for its prestigious art galleries. The precocious 19-year-old Spaniard was at the time a relative unknown outside Barcelona, but he had already produced hundreds of paintings. The 75 works displayed at Picasso’s first Paris exhibition offered moody, representational paintings by a young artist with obvious talent.

Pablo Picasso, widely acknowledged as the dominant figure in 20th-century art, was born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881. His father was a professor of drawing and bred Picasso for a career in academic art. He had his first exhibit at age 13 and later quit art school so he could experiment full-time with modern art styles. He went to Paris for the first time in 1900, and in 1901 he returned with 100 of his paintings, aiming to win an exhibition. He was introduced to Ambroise Vollard, a dealer who had sponsored Paul Cezanne, and Vollard immediately agreed to a show at his gallery after seeing the paintings. From street scenes to landscapes, prostitutes to society ladies, Picasso’s subjects were diverse, and the young artist received a favorable review from the few Paris art critics who saw the show. He stayed in Paris for the rest of the year and later returned to Paris to settle permanently.

The work of Picasso, which comprises more than 50,000 paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures, and ceramics produced over 80 years, is described in a series of overlapping periods. His first notable period–the “blue period”–began shortly after his first Paris exhibit. In works such as The Old Guitarist (1903), Picasso painted in blue tones to evoke the melancholy world of the poor. The blue period was followed by the “rose period,” in which he often depicted circus scenes, and then by Picasso’s early work in sculpture. In 1907, Picasso painted the groundbreaking work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which, with its fragmented and distorted representation of the human form, broke from previous European art. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon demonstrated the influence on Picasso of both African mask art and Paul Cezanne and is seen as a forerunner of the Cubist movement founded by Picasso and the French painter Georges Braque in 1909.)

The death of Casagemas La mort de Casagemas Artist: Pablo Picasso Completion Date: 1901 Style: Expressionism Period: Blue Period Genre: genre painting Technique: oil Material: wood Dimensions: 27 x 35 cm Gallery: Musée Picasso, Paris, France
The Death of Casagemas La mort de Casagemas Artist: Pablo Picasso Completion Date: 1901 Style: Expressionism Period: Blue Period Genre: genre painting Technique: oil Material: wood Dimensions: 27 x 35 cm Gallery: Musée Picasso, Paris, France (

Today’s Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport

* This Day In History – What Happened Today

* Biography                                                 

* Royal Central                                              


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.

18 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 24th”

  1. Picasso quit art school?! That just goes to show that talent comes through full force even without the schooling. Someone recently asked me if I had an English degree. Nope that wasn’t my major in school. It startled them. Assumptions, right?! Happy Saturday, John 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post, John. I’ve never been to Roswell and never had the interest, but many have seen that which is claimed to be fantasy. I suspect life is not limited to our little planet, why would it be? And, if there is life elsewhere, I also suspect its inhabitants would find us quite interesting and want to visit. Where else could they find entertainment such as the U.S. elections? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gwen. It is so preposterous to think that we are the lone sentient species in the universe. I don’t know what to think about Roswell – we know for sure that no government on the planet is truthful with its citizenry, for all kinds of lofty reasons. I pray that we aren’t visited by invaders some day. Of course, we could bribe them off by giving them our very best specimen of human veracity and integrity… POTUS himself! Thanks for the comment, dear!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Henry VIII is my favourite part of English history despite the fact that the man was a complete despot. Interesting that only two of his wives had coronations – he was such an exhibitionist, I would have thought he would have milked every opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s too bad that this King is mainly remembered for his harem of queens. He’s actually the monarch who laid the foundations for the Royal Navy which, in turn, ensured the security of Britain from predatory European armies and also made possible the British Empire. And all we can remember him for is his womanizing and fights with the Pope. Lovely. Thanks for your comment, Robbie!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, John. They certainly churn those out with great regularity. “Let’s confuse the poor dolts (citizens) – they’ll never figure it out!” Thanks for your insight, John!

      Liked by 1 person

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