On this day in 1943, an interesting headline in the New York Times: “Sicily Vying With Hawaii To Become 49th U.S. State.”
Of course, neither Sicily nor Hawaii became the 49th state. Alaska did.
But there really was an effort to bring Sicily into the Union.
Remember, 1943 was right in the middle of World War II.
The Allies liberated much of Italy around this time, including Sicily,
The Allied troops were especially popular with people on the island, even though technically they had been fighting against those Allied troops for years.
But the union between Sicily and mainland Italy hadn’t always been a happy one.
Some people in Sicily wanted to break away from Italy entirely, and many of the separatists wanted Sicily to become an independent country.
But not all of them did.
One group, called the Sicilian Party of Reconstruction proposed that Sicily push to join the United States.
They made the Statue of Liberty their logo and argued that it wouldn’t take hardly any work or effort to make Sicily a state.
If that didn’t work, they could instead become a part of the British Commonwealth, or some larger European body.
In the end, Sicily didn’t become a state.
In fact, it didn’t leave Italy at all, even though the separation question became one of the biggest issues in Italian politics for years.
In 1946 Italy became a republic, and it gave Sicily regional autonomy.
It became partly separate.
And 13 years later, Alaska became state number 49.
Around this time in 2021, Owain Davies was canoeing in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, when he dropped his smartphone into the River Wye.
Ten months later, Miguel Pacheco was canoeing in the same spot and found the phone.
He took it home, dried it out… and it still worked!
Though its battery did need to be charged.
Sicily Vying With Hawaii To Become 49th U.S. State (The New York Times)