September 17, 1859

On THIS DATE IN TWISTED-HISTORY! in 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself the Emperor of the United States and anointed San Francisco as his capitol city. He later on added the title of “Protector of Mexico and all things Mexican” especially the liquid called tequila. He served unopposed as Emperor from 1859 until his death on January 8, 1880. The Emperor was a well known figure around San Francisco and was well-loved by the residents. He was known for issuing edicts abolishing both the Democratic and Republican parties, as neither were doing any real work. He issued his own currency, which most businesses accepted (especially since even in his craziest mental states he didn’t over-print his money and only used what he needed for food, shelter, wine, and the occasional woman), and he also ordered that all religions were forbidden to use violence as a means to recruit new (or back-slidden) followers. In older times and more ancient cultures, this man would have been declared a visionary or shaman, or he’d been beaten with sticks and run out of the village. Either way, San Francisco had its own Emperor for a while. Even the US Census from 1870 listed his profession as Emperor.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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