John’s Believe It Or Not… February 18th

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

It’s Sensational Saturday! Did you know…

* Treaty of Ghent Proclaimed in Washington, ending the War of 1812 on this date in 1815. (This is the last war where Canadians and Americans were on opposite sides. The US declared war on Britain – then attacked Canada. Not nice! So we torched the White House! 😀)

Mark Twain publishes the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in the US in 1885.

* The first Academy Awards are announced in 1929. (It honoured the best films of 1927 and 1928 and the ceremony was held in May 1929.)

* The planet Pluto was discovered in 1930. (With a surface temperature estimated at approximately -360 Fahrenheit, Pluto was appropriately given the Roman name for the god of the underworld in Greek mythology. Pluto’s average distance from the sun is nearly four billion miles, and it takes approximately 248 years to complete one orbit. It also has the most elliptical and tilted orbit of any planet, and at its closest point to the sun it passes inside the orbit of Neptune, the eighth planet.)

The American Party, also known as the “Known-Nothing Party,” convenes in Philadelphia to nominate its first presidential candidate in 1856. (The Know-Nothing movement began in the 1840s, when an increasing rate of immigration led to the formation of a number of so-called nativist societies to combat “foreign” influences in American society. [Sound familiar?] Roman Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Italy, who were embraced by the Democratic Party in eastern cities, were especially targeted. In the early 1850s, several secret nativist societies were formed, of which the “Order of the Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Order of United Americans” were the most significant. When members of these organisations were questioned by the press about their political platform, they would often reply they knew nothing, hence the popular name for the Know-Nothing movement.) 


Look who was born on this date!

Alessandro Volta in 1745. (Italian physicist known for the invention of the battery in the 19th century; he is remembered in the name of the SI unit of electrical potential difference, and the meter with which it is measured (the volt).

Yoko Ono in 1933. (The second wife of John Lennon. Early on, she was criticised for her influence over Lennon and his music, and blamed for the breakup of the Beatles.)

Dr Dre [Andre Romelle Young] in 1965. (He is recognised as a key figure in the popularisation of West Coast G-funk style of rap 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.

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