History Timeline

“America: A Nice Italian Name”

Some of the many contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans include:

1492 On that fateful morning of Friday, October 12,1492, “Christopher Columbus”(Cristoforo Colombo) lands in “The New World.” The Genoese navigator,sailing under the flag of Spain, changes the course of human events, beginning a 500 year history of Italian American contributions to the greatness of America
1497 The English flag is first planted on American soil by “John Cabot”(Giovanni Caboto), giving England her claim to North America. Cabot also plants “The Lion of St. Mark,” symbol of Venice, marking the Discovery of North America.
1524 Giovanni Da Verrazzano, the Florentine explorer, enters New York Harbor 85 years before Henry Hudson.
1619 Before the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock, Lt. and Mrs Albiano Lupo settle on 400 Acres of land purchased from the Virginia company.
1622 Sixteen Italian glass workers arrive in Jamestown, Virginia where they erect and operate a glasshouse.
1776 William Paca of Maryland signs the Declaration of Independence. Later, he becomes Govern or and Chief Justice of the state.
1870 A.P. Giannini is born in San Jose, California, where his parents run a small hotel. In 1904 Giannini opens his one room Bank of Italy with three full time employees and serves as an unpaid director. When Giannini dies in 1949, his Bank of America is the largest privately owned bank in the world.
1806 Pascal Bouis, whose father emigrated from Genoa in 1780, becomes the first Italian-American graduate of west point.
1897 Amedeo Obici, age 18, decides to go into business for himself. Obici rents sidewalk space in front of a store and spends $4.50 for a peanut roaster. The planters Company is born with “Mr. Peanut” as its world famous trademark. By the 1930’s, Planters is doing more than $12 million annually and Obici is one of the richest Italians in America.
1928 Arturo Toscanini becomes principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic, leading it to worldwide acclaim for eight glorious years.
1933 Fiorello La Guardia becomes the first Italian-American elected mayor of New York City.
1969 Rocco Petrone is director of NASA’S Apollo Space Program when a “giant step for mankind” is taken on the moon’s surface.
1984 Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman in American history to be nominated by a major political party–for Vice-President of the United States.