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The Beast of Gevaudan (JAY-voo-don)

A little girl is crossing a French pasture when a wolf-like beast the size of a cow comes leaping across the field with deadly intent, but the cows in the pasture fend off the beast with their horns. The little girl runs to report the incident. Shortly thereafter several adults and children are found dead and torn apart. Hunters with muskets manage to shoot it, but the beast continues its reign of terror for several years. Finally, hundreds of hunters are hired to sweep the forest. One hunter corners the beast and puts a silver bullet into it. It falls dead and when they open it up, they find human bones in the stomach. Estimates of the dead are in the hundreds, but historians are reasonably sure that at least 60 were killed by something. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Really? A wolf as big as a cow? The reports made at the time varied so wildly that it is difficult to credit any of it. The newspaper reporters seemed to delight in shocking their readers with the gory details, thus increasing the sales of newspapers! It is theorized that it was a mutant wolf, but no one really believes it. Nevertheless, the beast is now part of popular culture, becoming the subject of popular TV shows such as MTV's Teen Wolf and the History Channel. I suggest taking it all with a LARGE grain of salt. [4]

The American Sugar Act

In order to defray the costs of defending the British colonies of North America, Parliament has imposed a tax on American sugar, wine, coffee and other imports to the colonies. The idea is to let the people who benefit from the Empire's protection also pay for that protection. After all, garrisoning 10,000 British troops is expensive. The British national debt has nearly doubled due to the French and Indian War (and wars that Great Britain fought across the globe). The Empire is NOT trying to retire the debt on the backs of the colonials. They want the colonists to pay 40% of the cost of maintaining the troops. The colonies are dropping into a recession at this time, so the Sugar Tax is perceived as the cause of the economic downturn. (Probably not the cause, but it didn't help.) The Molasses Tax had been easily circumvented, but the Sugar Act grants new enforcement powers to customs inspectors. Now they can take their cases to the Admiralty courts instead of local courts that were more tolerant of smuggling. Boston merchant (and smuggler) John Hancock is not pleased. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Just as a reminder, the term "American" was a derisive term used by British Nationals to refer to the colonials of North America. (See rube, bumpkin, local yokel, etc.) The colonials did not call themselves Americans and did not think of themselves as a unified whole except as subjects of the King. This attitude had SERIOUS implications when declaring independence. Most of the colonists were willing to fight for their independence to pass their own laws and tax themselves, but that was not the same as revolting against the King. This allowed a minority of radicals such as John Adams to push the Continental Congress into a war of Independence while knowing full well that the King would see it as a revolt against him, personally. Finally, smuggling was considered normal in the colonies as was piracy to some extent. Laws must seem reasonable to people or they won't obey them. That lack of respect for unreasonable laws will eventually extend to the reasonable ones and the system will deteriorate. [7] [8]

Notable Facts

  • Potatoes are Feeding Great Britain. Potatoes are producing 18 times more per acre than the normal crops of the day. [9]
  • James Watt invents the condenser to improve his steam engine. He is on his way to building an efficient steam engine. [10]
  • England starts numbering its houses. Can GPS be far behind? Well... yes it can. [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1764, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Beast of Gévaudan - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. Beast Of Gevaudan (January 17, 2013). Retrieved on 11 April 2016. “This creature was reported being as big as a large calf or young cow, it was covered with a fur that was reddish, the head was big and wolf-like, and more brown than the rest of the body, the jaws are always gaping, the ears are short and straight, the chest white and very broad, the tail very long and thick, the tip white, the back paws very big and long, according to some having hooves like a horse, those of the front were shorter and covered with a long fur, having six claws to each paw.”
  3. The Beast of Gevaudan (June 5, 2008). Retrieved on 11 April 2016. “Events finally reached a peak in June of 1767, when the Marquis d' Apcher brought together hundreds of men, hunters and trackers who then fanned out in smaller bands throughout the countryside. On the evening of June 19, the beast charged a particular group of men. One man, Jean Chastel was taking no chances, and had assumed the beast was indeed a werewolf. He fired at it with a pistol loaded with a silver bullet and killed it. When the creature was gutted human bones were found in its gullet. By the time of its death, the beast of Gevaudan had killed 60 people and cost the state over 29,000 livres - a mountain of money at that time in it's efforts to kill it. The carcass was paraded about and then buried when it began to putrify.”
  4. Fogleman, Valerie M. (Spring 1989). "American Attitudes Towards Wolves: A History of Misperception". Environmental Review: ER (Oxford University Press on behalf of Forest History Society and American Society for Environmental History) 13 (1): 63-94. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3984536. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  5. Sugar Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 12 April 2016. “Historian Fred Anderson wrote that the purpose of the Act was 'to resolve the problems of finance and control that plagued the postwar empire.' To do this 'three kinds of measures' were implemented -- 'those intended to make customs enforcement more effective, those that placed new duties on items widely consumed in America, and those that adjusted old rates in such a way as to maximize revenues.'”
  6. John Hancock - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 12 April 2016. “John Hancock (January 23, 1737 [O.S. January 12, 1736] – October 8, 1793) was an American merchant, smuggler, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution.”
  7. Rube - definition of rube (2016). Retrieved on 11 April 2016. “An unsophisticated country person”
  8. Borneman, Walter R.. American Spring:, American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution, Little, Brown and Company. “The first major disruption to this harmony came when Parliament passed the American Duties Act of 1764. Known as the Sugar Act, it placed tariffs not only on sugar but also on coffee, wine, and other imports to the American colonies. Ominously to some, including Boston importer John Hancock, the act also called for aggressive new enforcement measures to end smuggling and collect all taxes due.” 
  9. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “When the agricultural economist Arthur Young toured eastern England in the 1760s he saw a farming world that was on the verge of a new era. A careful investigator, Young interviewed farmers, recording their methods and the size of their harvests. According to his figures, the average yearly harvest in eastern England from an acre of wheat, barley, and oats was between 1,300 and 1,500 pounds. By contrast, an acre of potatoes yielded more than 25,000 pounds--about eighteen times as much.” 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 352-353. 

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