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Beans in History
They've BEAN around forever

The love of jelly beans may go back to the dawn of civilization, according to leading anthropologists.

Recent scientific studies of prehistoric paintings discovered on the walls of a cave near present-day Lascaux, France, suggest that jelly beans may have been enjoyed in social gatherings as early as 23,000 BC. After a careful reexamination of the murals, anthropologists now believe that the art was actually the work of late night revelers at a bean tasting party - prehistoric graffiti, if you will - possibly scribbled on the walls after a fine dinner of Wooly Mammoth au vin or Escargot Pie.

Earlier theories suggested that these ancient illustrations of animals and hunting parties were instructional or religious in nature. One view even held that the chilly cave was used as a sort of butcher shop or meat market and that the paintings indicated what was available to the customers. But none of these theories had adequately explained the well-defined jelly beans depicted on the ceiling of the third chamber of the cave, about 24 inches west of the flying saucer drawing.

Proving any of this is nearly impossible, of course, but the more recent history of the jelly bean is better documented and deserves a look before you rush on to other topics.

300 BC
Village of Beanzantium established on fertile, bean-growing shore of the Bosporus.

330 AD
Constantine moves capital of declining Roman Empire to Beanzantium and renames the city Constantinople. Thus begins the prosperous Beanzantine Empire, known for its great art, architecture, and jellybeans.

1453
Fall of Beanzantine Empire to the Turks who rename the city, Istanbul, and open the world-famous Topkapi Museum, Duplicating Service, and Gift Shop.

1536
Hans Holbean, the Younger, newly appointed court portrait artist to Henry VIII, introduces Beanaissance painting to England.

1745
Beany Prince Charlie lands in Scotland to lead an invasion of England in an unsuccessful bid to reclaim the throne for the House of Stuart.

1776
Beanjamin Franklin lobbies for Turkey to be named official U.S. mascot for the winter games. The Turks are confused.

1800
Napolean Beanoparte sets sail for vacation on island of Meddybemps. The Emperial Yacht, blown off course, lands on St. Helena instead.

1876
Rutherford Bean Hayes elected 19th President of the United States.

1894
Judge Roy Bean, ornery Texas saloonkeeper establishes the "Law West of the Pecos".

1910
Friar Sonny Beano, unhappy over Beanedictine Order's lack of interest in Mendel's genetic research, founds the Flavorful Brothers.

1928
Stephan Vincent Beanet awarded Pulitzer Prize for narrative poem, John's Brown Bean.

1936
Beanito "Ciao, Bambeano!" Mussolini imposes fascist rule on Italy, makes name for himself by forcing trains to run on time, later moves on to big-time international mischief-making.

1993
Bean Jovi borrows themes from Albinoni, J.S. Bach, and Handel for landmark Baroque-and-Roll concert tour.

2009
Barack O'Beana sworn in as 44th President of the United States, possibly the first bean in the Oval Office since Ronald Reagan kept some on his desk.

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Copyright 1995, 2009 Jerry Jindrich. All rights reserved.

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