FYI March 14, 2017


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On this day:

1489 – The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice.
Catherine Cornaro (Greek: Αικατερίνη Κορνάρο Venetian: Caterina Corner) (25 November 1454 – 10 July 1510) was the last queen of Cyprus from 26 August 1474 to 26 February 1489 and declared a “Daughter of Saint Mark” in order that the Republic of Venice could claim control of Cyprus after the death of her husband, James II (“James the Bastard”).[3]

Catherine was a daughter of Nobile Huomo Marco Cornaro (Venice, December, 1406 – Venice, 1 August 1479), Cavaliere del Sacro Romano Impero (Knight of the Holy Roman Empire) and Patrizio Veneto (Patrician of Venice), by his wife Fiorenza Crispo. Her father was the great-grandson of Marco Cornaro, Doge of Venice from 1365 to 1368.[4] She was the younger sister of the Nobil Huomo Giorgio Cornaro (1452 – 31 July 1527), “Padre della Patria” and Knight of the Holy Roman Empire.[5] The Cornaro family had produced four Doges. Her family had long associations with Cyprus, especially with regard to trade and commerce. In the Episkopi area, in the Limassol District, the Cornaro family administered various sugar mills and exported Cypriot products to Venice.[6][7][8]

Catherine’s mother, Fiorenza Crispo, was a daughter of Nicholas Crispo, Lord of Syros. The identity of Fiorenza’s mother is uncertain as Crispo had two known wives, either of which could have been the mother. According to his own correspondence, Niccolò was a son-in-law of Jacopo of Lesbos.[9] An account by Caterino Zeno dated to 1474 names another wife, Eudokia-Valenza of Trebizond; Valenza was a reported daughter of John IV of Trebizond and Bagrationi. However her alleged parents were married in 1426 and one of Valenza’s daughters was reportedly married in 1429. (John IV and his wife are unlikely to have been the grandparents of a married woman only three years following their own marriage.) Valenza is considered likely to have been a sister of John IV, rather than a daughter; in this case her parents would have been Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene.[10]
Portrait of Caterina Cornaro by Titian, 1542

Niccolò had been created lord of Syros by his father Francesco I Crispo, Duke of the Archipelago. His mother was Florence Sanudo, a member of the previous reigning dynasty of the Archipelago.[11] Florence was Lady of Milos. She was the daughter and successor of Marco Sanudo, Lord of Milos from 1341 to 1376. Marco was a younger son of William I Sanudo, Duke of the Archipelago from 1303 to 1323.[12]

Marriage and reign
In 1468, James II of Cyprus, otherwise known as James the Bastard, became King of Cyprus. In 1468 he chose Caterina for his wife and Queen consort of the Kingdom of Cyprus. The King’s choice was extremely pleasing to the Republic of Venice as it could henceforth secure the commercial rights and other privileges of Venice in Cyprus. They married in Venice on 30 July 1468 by proxy when she was 14 years old. She finally set sail to Cyprus in November 1472 and married James in person at Famagusta.[14]

James died soon after the wedding due to a sudden illness and, according to his will, Caterina, who at the time was pregnant, acted as regent. She became monarch when their infant son James died in August 1474 before his first birthday, probably from illness even if it was rumored that he had been poisoned by Venice or Charlotte’s partisans.[15] The kingdom had long since declined, and had been a tributary state of the Mameluks since 1426. Under Caterina, who ruled Cyprus from 1474 to 1489, the island was controlled by Venetian merchants, and on 14 March 1489 she was forced to abdicate and sell the administration of the country to the Republic of Venice.[16]

According to George Boustronios, “on 15 February 1489 the queen exited from Nicosia in order to go to Famagusta, to leave [Cyprus]. And when she went on horseback wearing a black silken cloak, with all the ladies and the knights in her company […] Her eyes, moreover did not cease to shed tears throughout the procession. The people likewise shed many tears.”[17]

Having been deposed in February, Caterina was obliged to leave Cyprus on 14 May 1489.[citation needed]

Later life at Asolo
The last Crusader state became a colony of Venice, and as compensation, Catherine was allowed to retain the title of Queen and was made the Sovereign Lady of Asolo, a county in the Veneto of Italy, in 1489. Asolo soon gained a reputation as a court of literary and artistic distinction, mainly as a result of it being the fictitious setting for Pietro Bembo’s platonic dialogues on love, Gli Asolani. Caterina died in Venice in 1510.[18]

The operas Catharina Cornaro (1841) by Franz Lachner and Caterina Cornaro (1844) by Gaetano Donizetti are based on her life. The Cornaro Institute, a charitable organisation based in Larnaca for the promotion of art and other culture,[19] memorialises her name in Cyprus. Also in Cyprus, in October 2011, the Cyprus Antiquities Department announced Caterina Cornaro’s partially ruined summer palace in Potamia would be renovated in a one million euro restoration project, becoming a cultural centre.[20] However it did not happen while the building still decays and faces despoliations.[21]



Born on this day:

1800 – James Bogardus, American inventor and architect (d. 1874)
James Bogardus (March 14, 1800 – April 13, 1874) was an American inventor and architect, the pioneer of American cast-iron architecture, for which he took out a patent in 1850. In the next two decades he demonstrated the use of cast-iron in the construction of building facades, especially in New York City, where he was based, but also in Washington, DC, where three cast-iron structures erected by Bogardus in 1851 were the first such constructions in the capital. The success of the cast-iron exteriors from 1850-1880 led to the adoption of steel-frame construction for entire buildings.

Born in Catskill (town), New York, Bogardus quit school at the age of fourteen to start an apprenticeship at a watchmaker.

Bogardus attached plaques to his cast-ironwork that read: “James Bogardus Originator & Patentee of Iron Buildings Pat’ May 7, 1850.” [1]

He married Margaret McClay.

A small park in TriBeCa, where Chambers Street, Hudson Street and West Broadway (Manhattan) intersect is named James Bogardus Triangle.

He was a descendant of the Rev. Everardus Bogardus (d.1647), the second clergyman in the New Netherlands. Bogardus died in New York City aged 74. Bogardus is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Notable inventions
A cotton-spinning machine called a ring flier (1828)
A mechanized engraving machine (1831), employed for engraving dies for bank notes
The eccentric mill (1832), still used in principle for fine finish of ball bearings, and, with variable eccentricity, for lens grinding.

Bogardus buildings
Buildings still standing
63 Nassau Street
254 Canal Street
75 Murray Street
85 Leonard Street
Iron Clad Building, Cooperstown, New York (92 Main St, Cooperstown, NY)


1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, American dentist and educator (d. 1910)
Lucy Hobbs Taylor (March 14, 1833 – October 3, 1910) was the first American woman to graduate from dental school (Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866).[1]

Early life
Lucy Hobbs was born on March 14, 1833 in Constable, New York. She entered the working world by teaching school for ten years in Michigan. In 1859, she moved to Cincinnati, intending to become a dentist. When she was refused admission to dental school, she began a private program of study with a professor from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery.[2]

Dental career
After studying dentistry, Lucy Hobbs started her own practice in Cincinnati in 1861. She soon moved to Bellevue and then McGregor, Iowa, where she spent three years. In 1865, she finally gained all professional recognition when she was allowed to join the Iowa State Dental Society. That November, she entered the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, where in 1866 she earned her doctorate in dentistry,[2] becoming the first woman in the United States to do so.[3] She later wrote, “People were amazed when they learned that a young girl had so far forgotten her womanhood as to want to study dentistry.” [4]

Hobbs next moved to Chicago where she met James M. Taylor whom she married in April 1867, becoming Lucy Hobbs Taylor. Taylor then convinced her husband to also enter dentistry. The two then moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where they practiced jointly until James Taylor died in 1886. After her husband’s death, Lucy Taylor ceased to be an active dentist, but became more active in politics, campaigning for greater women’s rights, until her own death on October 3, 1910.[2]

By 1900, almost one thousand women had followed Lucy Taylor into dentistry, an increase many attribute largely to her accomplishments.[5] In 1983, the American Association of Women Dentists honored Taylor by establishing the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award, which it now presents annually to AAWD members in recognition of professional excellence and achievements in advancing the role of women in dentistry.



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