I know what you're thinking, "WHO?".

Joshua Norton is probably not a name you immediately know but he is the coolest guy ever. So popular in fact that Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Neil Gaiman have all written about him.

He was originally a business man who lost his fortune after investing in rice that suffered a great shortage.

In 1859, this guy lost it a bit, and distributed letters to the various newspapers in the city, proclaiming himself "Emperor of these United States".

The newspapers printed it and it got so popular he eventually gave himself the title "protector of Mexico".

He then tried to formally abolish the United States Congress. He followed this up by issuing a mandate in 1862 ordering both the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches to publicly ordain him as "Emperor"

The crazy thing about this man, is he got so popular in the city of San Fransisco, people revered him.

Norton was arrested and placed in a mental hospital in 1867 and there was so much public outcry that the Chief of Police ordered his release. After this happened police officers would salute Norton as he walked around town.

Norton would attempt to stop riots happening in San Francisco, to the point where the city even recognized his contributions.

Norton died in 1980 with merely $10 to his name, surprising many who believed him to be wealthy.

The day after his death the paper reported it saying.

"On the reeking pavement, in the darkness of a moonless night, under the dripping rain... Norton I, by the grace of God, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, departed this life"

10,000 people lined the streets of San Francisco to say goodbye to the Emperor.

You can learn more about him by clicking here.

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