John’s Believe It Or Not… April 2nd

Photo of John Fioravanti standing beside the blackboard in his classroom.

It’s Sumptuous Sunday! Did You know…

* 1975 – CN Tower topped off by high rigger Paul Mitchell; at 555.35 metres, the world’s tallest free-standing structure until 2010. (Design architect: John Andrews International. The CN Tower was the world’s tallest free-standing structure and had the world’s highest public observatory until 2010 when Dubai’s Burj Khalifa officially took on the title. The tower is said to have 147 floors as the internal staircase has that many levels from the ground up to the Skypod, a public observation deck. The tower was constructed by Canadian National Railroad to improve television reception. The CN Tower cost $63 Million (CAD) to construct. Member of “World Federation of Great Towers.”

CN Tower – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

* 1513 Ponce de Leon discovers Florida. (Near present-day St. Augustine, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon comes ashore on the Florida coast and claims the territory for the Spanish crown. Although other European navigators may have sighted the Florida peninsula before, Ponce de Leon is credited with the first recorded landing and the first detailed exploration of the Florida coast. The Spanish explorer was searching for the “Fountain of Youth,” a fabled water source that was said to bring eternal youth. Ponce de Leon named the peninsula he believed to be an island “La Florida” because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida.)

Map showing his route from Puerto Rico to St. Augustine, Florida in 1513.
Ponce de Leon’s route from Puerto Rico in 1513.

* 1982 Argentina invades Falklands. (On April 2, 1982, Argentina invades the Falklands Islands, a British colony since 1892 and British possession since 1833. Argentine amphibious forces rapidly overcame the small garrison of British marines at the town of Stanley on East Falkland and the next day seized the dependent territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich group. The 1,800 Falkland Islanders, mostly English-speaking sheep farmers, awaited a British response. In 1816 Argentina declared its independence from Spain and in 1820 proclaimed its sovereignty over the Falklands. The Argentines built a fort on East Falkland, but in 1832 it was destroyed by the USS Lexington in retaliation for the seizure of U.S. seal ships in the area. In 1833, a British force expelled the remaining Argentine officials and began a military occupation. In 1841, a British lieutenant governor was appointed, and by the 1880s a British community of some 1,800 people on the islands was self-supporting. In 1892, the wind-blown Falkland Islands were collectively granted colonial status. In March 1982, Argentine salvage workers occupied South Georgia Island, and a full-scale invasion of the Falklands began on April 2. Under orders from their commanders, the Argentine troops inflicted no British casualties, despite suffering losses to their own units. Nevertheless, Britain was outraged, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assembled a naval task force of 30 warships to retake the islands. As Britain is 8,000 miles from the Falklands, it took several weeks for the British warships to arrive. On April 25, South Georgia Island was retaken, and after several intensive naval battles fought around the Falklands, British troops landed on East Falkland on May 21. After several weeks of fighting, the large Argentine garrison at Stanley surrendered on June 14, effectively ending the conflict.)

Map showing the Falkland Islands.

* 1917 Wilson asks for a declaration of war. (On this day in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to send U.S. troops into battle against Germany in World War I. In his address to Congress that day, Wilson lamented it is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war. Four days later, Congress obliged and declared war on Germany. In February and March 1917, Germany, embroiled in war with Britain, France and Russia, increased its attacks on neutral shipping in the Atlantic and offered, in the form of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, to help Mexico regain Texas, New Mexico and Arizona if it would join Germany in a war against the United States. The public outcry against Germany buoyed President Wilson in asking Congress to abandon America’s neutrality to make the world safe for democracy.)

Front page of the New York Times reporting this event.

* 2005 Pope John Paul II Dies. (On this day in 2005, John Paul II, history’s most well-traveled pope and the first non-Italian to hold the position since the 16th century, dies at his home in the Vatican. Six days later, two million people packed Vatican City for his funeral, said to be the biggest funeral in history. A conservative pontiff, John Paul II s papacy was marked by his firm and unwavering opposition to communism and war, as well as abortion, contraception, capital punishment, and homosexual sex. He later came out against euthanasia, human cloning, and stem cell research. He travelled widely as pope, using the eight languages he spoke (Polish, Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin) and his well-known personal charm, to connect with the Catholic faithful, as well as many outside the fold.)

The Pope lying in state.

Look who was born on this date!

Portrait of Charlemagne* Charlemagne in 742. (Frank Holy Roman Emperor:  Charlemagne united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire, and spurred the Carolingian Renaissance. Sometimes called the ‘Father of Europe’.)

 

 

Head shot of Marvin Gaye* Marvin Gaye in 1939. (He was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”.)

Head shot of Rodney King* Rodney King in 1965. (American Victim of Police Violence: Rodney King, an African-American construction worker was on parole for robbery when after a car chase in Los Angeles he was stopped and beaten by LA police officers in 1991. The beating was filmed and shown around the world. Four of the police officers were acquitted of assault in a Los Angeles court, sparking the 1992 LA riots in which 53 people were killed. Two of these officers were subsequently convicted of violating King’s civil rights. King was later awarded US$3.8 million compensation in a federal civil rights case but for the rest of his life struggled to come to terms with the events and his personal addictions, accidentally drowning in 2012.)

 

 

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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 (http://fiorabooks.com), 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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