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Today In History: April 13th, 1796

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The First Elephant to Ever Step Foot in the US Arrives This Day

On April 13, 1796, a truly unique event unfolded as the first elephant ever seen in the United States arrived, capturing the imagination of the public. This young female elephant, purchased in Calcutta by Captain Jacob Crowninshield of the renowned Salem-based shipping company Crowninshield & Sons, disembarked in Salem, Massachusetts, before captivating crowds in New York City and beyond. Her journey to America was not only a significant cultural milestone but also an adventurous tale.

illustration of an elephant standing on the deck of a wooden ship arriving in america
Photo Credit: Created by The Vintage News

Legend has it that during her voyage across the ocean, the crew aboard America realized the elephant was at risk of drinking all their water supply, prompting the crew to switch her to an unconventional diet of beer to sustain her through the long journey. This led to her being slightly tipsy (at the very least) when she landed in the US and began to explore her new home.

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This elephant’s presence marked the start of what would become a deep-seated interest in exotic wildlife, enriching America’s cultural and entertainment landscapes and laying the groundwork for the future popularity of circuses and zoos across the nation. Her journey and subsequent tours around the country were pivotal in expanding American knowledge and appreciation of global biodiversity.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News