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John’s Believe It Or Not… November 1st

1613 – Samuel Argall burns and destroys Port Royal. 2012 Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars. 1512 Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public. 1993 European Union goes into effect. 1959 Jacques Plante is the first goalie to wear a facemask.

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did you know…

* 1613 – Samuel Argall burns and destroys Port Royal.

Port-Royal National Historic Site is a National Historic Site located on the north bank of the Annapolis Basin in the community of Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The site is the location of the Habitation at Port-Royal.

The Habitation at Port-Royal was established by France in 1605 and was that nation’s first settlement in North America. Port-Royal served as the capital of Acadia until its destruction by British military forces in 1613. France relocated the settlement and capital 8 km (5.0 mi) upstream and to the south bank of the Annapolis River (see Port-Royal (Acadia)); the site of the present-day town of Annapolis Royal.

The relocated settlement kept the same name “Port-Royal” and served as the capital of Acadia for the majority of the 17th century until the British conquest of the colony in 1710, at which time the settlement was renamed, Annapolis Royal.

Port-Royal was founded after the French nobleman Pierre Du Gua de Monts who spent a disastrous winter in Île-Saint-Croix. He was accompanied by Samuel de Champlain, Louis Hébert, and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just. They decided to move their settlement to the north shore of present-day Annapolis Basin, a sheltered bay on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy which had been recorded by Champlain earlier in the spring of 1605 during a coastal reconnaissance. Champlain would note in his journals, that the bay was of impressive size; he believed it an adequate anchorage for several hundred ships of the French Royal Fleet, if ever necessary. As such, he would name the basin “Port-Royal”, the Royal Port; this was, for many years, the name of both the body of water and the subsequent French and Acadian settlements in that region. Poutrincourt asked King Henri IV to become the owner of the Seigneurie which encompassed the settlement.

The Admiral of Virginia Samuel Argall led an English invasion force from Virginia to attack Acadia. He began with the Saint-Saveur mission (Mount Desert Island, Maine) and then St. Croix Island. In October 1613, Argall surprised the settlers at Port-Royal and sacked every building. The battle destroyed the Habitation but it did not wipe out the colony. Biencourt and his men remained in the area of Port-Royal (present-day Port Royal, Nova Scotia). A mill upstream at present-day Lequille, Nova Scotia remained, along with settlers who went into hiding during the battle. (At this time, future Governor Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour migrated from Port-Royal to establish himself at both Cap de Sable (present-day Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Port Royal National Historic Site
Port Royal National Historic Site (Wikipedia)

* 2012 Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars.

In between the thousands of bright galaxies that populate many Hubble Space Telescope photos of the distant cosmos are empty dark spots—tantalizing patches that could be chock-full of more galaxies if only we could see them. Now, astronomers have taken another look at those empty patches and spotted faint light streaming from stars formed only 500 million years after the Big Bang. The new results suggest this light came from some of the first galaxies ever formed, which could be 10 times more numerous than previously thought.

This so-called “extragalactic background light” likely dates from roughly 250 million years after the Big Bang. Shortly after the birth of the universe, space was filled with a hot, dense fog of ionized gas. But over hundreds of thousands of years, the gas expanded and cooled, allowing giant clouds of hydrogen and helium to collapse and form the first stars. Ever since these stars first ignited, their light—and all the light from successive generations of stars—has been filling the universe, creating a pervasive glow throughout the darkest depths of space.

Although the extragalactic background radiation has proved arduous to conclusively detect, the light seen in the Hubble photos looks to be the most distant background light yet. Using data from the Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) and the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), the team was able to separate out the light from later stars and galaxies, isolating the contribution from the first stars.

Astronomers look back to the period when the first stars began to form
Astronomers look back to the period when the first stars began to form (

* 1512 Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s finest works, is exhibited to the public for the first time.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese in 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. After demonstrating his mastery of sculpture in such works as the Pieta (1498) and David (1504), he was called to Rome in 1508 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—the chief consecrated space in the Vatican.

Michelangelo’s epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works. Central in a complex system of decoration featuring numerous figures is nine panels devoted to biblical world history. The most famous of these is The Creation of Adam, a painting in which the arms of God and Adam are stretching toward each other. In 1512, Michelangelo completed the work.

After 15 years as an architect in Florence, Michelangelo returned to Rome in 1534, where he would work and live for the rest of his life. That year saw his painting of the The Last Judgment on the wall above the altar in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul III. The massive painting depicts Christ’s damnation of sinners and blessing of the virtuous and is regarded as a masterpiece of early Mannerism.

Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe’s greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music.

On this day in 1512 the new paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first exhibited to the public. Named for Pope Sixtus V,
On this day in 1512, the new paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first exhibited to the public. Named for Pope Sixtus V. (

* 1993 European Union goes into effect.

The Maastricht Treaty comes into effect, formally establishing the European Union (EU). The treaty was drafted in 1991 by delegates from the European Community meeting at Maastricht in the Netherlands and signed in 1992. The agreement called for a strengthened European parliament, the creation of a central European bank, and common foreign and security policies. The treaty also laid the groundwork for the establishment of a single European currency, to be known as the “euro.”

By 1993, 12 nations had ratified the Maastricht Treaty on European Union: Great Britain, France, Germany, the Irish Republic, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Austria, Finland, and Sweden became members of the EU in 1995. After suffering through centuries of bloody conflict, the nations of Western Europe were finally united in the spirit of economic cooperation.

Brexit is the popular term for the prospective withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).

In a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of the participating UK electorate (the turnout was 72.2% of the electorate) voted to leave the EU. On 29 March 2017, the British government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. The UK is thus on course to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK would not seek permanent membership of the single market or the customs union after leaving the EU and promised to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and incorporate existing European Union law into UK domestic law. Negotiations with the EU officially started in June 2017.

The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973, with membership confirmed by a referendum in 1975. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by Labour Party members and trade union figures. From the 1990s, the main advocates of withdrawal were the newly founded UK Independence Party (UKIP) and an increasing number of Eurosceptic Conservative Party members.

Map showing the members of the European Union.

* 1959 Jacques Plante is the first goalie to wear a facemask.

On November 1, 1959, Montreal Canadien Jacques Plante becomes the first NHL goaltender to wear a full facemask. Montreal Maroon Clint Benedict had worn a leather half-mask for a brief time in 1930 after an errant puck smashed his nose and cheekbone—but it blocked his vision, he said, and he took it off after only a few games. By contrast, Plante wore his mask from then on. A few seasons later, his idea began to catch on, and soon almost every keeper in the league wore a mask.

Plante had been practicing in his white fiberglass mask all season, but the Canadiens’ coach, the legendarily difficult Toe Blake, wouldn’t allow him to wear it during games. But on November 1, Plante simply put his foot down. Barely three minutes into that night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, ace right winger Andy Bathgate wound up and fired a backhand shot from only a few feet away. It cracked Plante across the face, splitting his lip from the corner of his mouth up into his nostril. Blood was everywhere. He kept playing for a few minutes, and then went into the locker room to get stitches from the Garden’s Dr. Kazuo Yanagisawa (who, reporters said, could “stitch a wound, smoke a cigar, and play gin rummy all at the same time”). He was gone for about 20 minutes—an unusually long time for locker-room stitches at a hockey game—and when he returned to the ice he was carrying his cream-colored mask. Blake had pitched a fit about it, the newspapers reported, but Plante insisted. “If I don’t wear the mask,” he said, “I’m not playing.”

Teammates, opponents, fans and reporters mocked Plante mercilessly about it, but Plante didn’t care. “I already had four broken noses, a broken jaw, two broken cheekbones and almost 200 stitches in my head,” he pointed out. “I didn’t care how the mask looked.” And the truth is that Plante was such a good goalie that it almost didn’t matter what he did. (Case in point: Plante always knitted his own underwear and stocking caps, saying that knitting was the only thing that truly soothed him. “Someday,” he said wistfully, “I’m going to learn to knit with my feet.”) He won the Vezina Trophy, the NHL’s goaltending prize, seven times, and he won it every year from 1956 to 1960. He was the NHL MVP in 1962. He was named to the All-Star Team seven times, and his team won six Stanley Cups.

Once it caught on, most goaltenders wore Plante-designed masks until the end of the 1960s, when Soviet goalies introduced cage-style masks that made it easier to see. And his insistence on protecting his face probably extended Plante’s career—he played in the NHL until 1975

11/1/1959-New York, NY- His face and shirt bloodied, Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante puts on a special plastic mask after being treated for a facial cut received in the opening period of the Rangers-Canadiens hockey game. Plante suffered a severe gash on the left side of his face when he was struck by a shot off the stick of Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers. After donning the mask, which he had designed himself, Plante returned to the game. November 1, 1959 New York, New York, USA
11/1/1959-New York, NY- His face and shirt bloodied, Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante puts on a special plastic mask after being treated for a facial cut received in the opening period of the Rangers-Canadiens hockey game. Plante suffered a severe gash on the left side of his face when he was struck by a shot off the stick of Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers. After donning the mask, which he had designed himself, Plante returned to the game. November 1, 1959 New York, New York, USA

Today’s Sources: 

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

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

* Scientific American                    

* This Day In History – What Happened Today              

* Wikipedia                                                     

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.

21 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… November 1st”

  1. Another intriguing list, John. Thank you. A confession…I’ve been to the Sistine Chapel multiple times and always felt perplexed. Michelangelo’s artistry is amazing, but the room itself with the art did not evoke reverence in me. I wanted it to, but it didn’t. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And for your penance… You have me beat, Gwen – I’ve never seen it. I’m sure the artwork is fantastic. Interesting reaction to the rest of the chapel. Thanks, dear!


  2. Nice edition, John. We have a resort here named Port Royal. Very popular. Plante caused a stir with his facemask. Some thought it unmanly.(I would like to see them take a puck to the face) I am always amazed at the discoveries in space. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glenn Hall, the great Chicago Black Hawks goalie from that same era, vomited before every game knowing the danger he faced (no pun intended). As a kid and teenager, I played defence on local hockey teams and I wore a leather headgear that protected my forehead, temples, and the back of the head. I don’t know how many times during my career that I would drop to the ice to block a shot and the puck would whiz past my ears – often as deflections which cannot be defended against. I was lucky – I retired at 18 with all of my teeth, my jaw intact, and no concussions. Thanks, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know which I prefer best – the light from the Sistine Chapel or the light from the first galaxies.
    Walking into the Sistine Chapel (particularly after it was cleaned up) was amazing. The colours are wonderful. But then how awesome is the thought of the universe starting up?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve not seen either sight, but I can imagine the awe I would feel. My guess is that seeing the universe unfolding would be beyond spectacular. Thanks, Opher!


  4. Though I do not get over here nearly as often as I would like, I always learn new things from your posts and I adore them! Thank you for giving me a history lesson and a bit of time out of the rabbit hole. Y’know … we despair of the current situation, but a look back at history reminds us that (short of destroying the planet, which we seem intent upon doing) humankind has survived much worse and still survived. The lessons of history are many, and should help us put our current situation into context. The Chinese believe that history is cyclic, and sometimes I am inclined to agree … your thoughts, as an expert? Thanks again, John! I needed this tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy you made it over, Jill! Rabbit hole indeed! Knowing the content of your wonderful daily blogs, I can see how it is hard to stay positive and hopeful. I don’t know about a cycle of history, but I do believe that each new generation repeats some of the mistakes of previous generations because a) human nature that drives our wants and needs has not changed one iota since humanity lived in caves, and b) each new generation seems to think (arrogantly) that it is superior to earlier generations and balks at the lessons from the past. We see this in our own families with our teenaged children. They think their parents are the stupidest people alive – yet when they are more mature adults they are in awe of the wisdom of their parents! How often have we spoken to our own kids and then reflected later, “Gee, I sounded just like my mom/dad!” It is this second point that I battled every day in class for 35 years.

      I write these posts because I think it is very important that we all have some context and perspective about the troubling events happening today. By the way, I’m learning as I research these events for each day – often they were not part of any curricula that I studied or taught.

      Thanks for your kind remarks, Jill!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very astute observations, my friend! I have often said we fail to learn the lessons of history, and your points shed some light on the reason for that. Human nature/greed/arrogance.

        I agree with you … quite often I come across things that I think, “why didn’t I learn that in any of the history classes I took?” Based on my own observations, rarely is history taught in such a way that makes the students so fascinated that they are hungry for more. There are exceptions, and I was fortunate enough to have a teacher in high school that was so passionate about the subject that one couldn’t help being challenged to go further. I suspect you have done the same, for I hear your passion in your words. But others simply teach from a textbook and kids come out saying that history is boring. Anything but!!!

        Thanks for your kind words, John. Yes, with all the news this week, I am mired in muck in the rabbit hole and it takes a toll, but …. it’s what I do. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. And by gosh, you do what you do very well, Jill! I learn so much from your posts, Gronda’s, and others as well. I’ve always told my students that there is no country in the world that is as much like ourselves, historically, culturally, and ideologically as the USA. Because our economy is intertwined with yours, there is no country that has as great an impact on our daily lives and lifestyle. Therefore, it is insane for Canadians not to know as much as they can about our colossal friend and ally to the south.

          Jill, I often think that if I could do my teaching career over knowing what I know now, there are so many things I could do much better. Thanks again for your insights and thoughtful words.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I agree about the connections between the U.S. and Canada, but ideologically, I think we may, under the era of Trump, be drifting in another direction, and not one I like. I find that most of my Canadian friends (as well as my UK and EU friends) understand the U.S. political system better than probably half of the people who live here!

            Hindsight is 29/20, as they say, and there are many things in my life that I wish I had done differently, better. But, I’ve done the best I could at that time, and I have a feeling you were an awesome teacher!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, we did our best at the time. We are ideologically similar in that we occupy the center of the spectrum and believe in the same democratic rights and freedoms. Essentially we’re on the same page. Trump and friends are way off to the Right, but most Americans aren’t.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Perhaps you are right in the areas that count. But I see this nation moving toward a bigotry, an isolationism, an arrogance, that I do not like. I think, from what I see and hear, that we are moving more toward an intolerance, whereas you guys are much more liberal-minded. I do have great hopes, however, that we can turn back and get back on track before … before we become even more of a pariah than we have already become in the last 9 months. Sigh. Otherwise, I may take Emily up on her offer to sponsor me and my family and move up your way. 😉

                Liked by 1 person

                1. As I read your words, I’m reminded that often it is only the noisy minority that we hear. I don’t think Trump is swaying anyone besides his fan base with his awful rhetoric. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. His approval rating earlier this week dipped to 33% – but that bunch can make a lot of noise. As much as I’d love to see you enjoying our beautiful country, I’d also be sad that you had to leave your home. Keep doing what you’re doing – I think you’re making a difference.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Again, you are right … and they sure are loud and obnoxious … rather like that church choir that couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if they tried … just grates on one’s nerves and sets the teeth on edge. Think fingernails on a chalkboard, multiplied by some 50 million people. Argh!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I understand. Those protesting against Trump et al need to leave weapons at home and stick to their non-violent message. Anything else plays right into the hands of the alt-Right. Hopefully, the policing will be done fairly on the 4th.

                      Liked by 1 person

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