Joshua Norton: The man who would be emperor
California and New York have had their share of titans, moguls and kings, but only California can boast of having been the home of an emperor: Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. The reign of Emperor Norton began in San Francisco with little fanfare on Sept. 17, 1859, the day after Sen. David Broderick died in a duel with Justice David S. Terry. It was a simple notice published in the San Francisco Bulletin: "I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months part of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of These United States." His sovereignty continued unchallenged and uninterrupted for nearly 21 years.