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How a big rhinoceros ended up on If island

Durer's rhino | Max Braun / CC-BY-SA
Castle Animals If castle

1516. King of France François I came back from Marignan and stopped in Marseille. Well, well, well… he discovered a little wild island, near the harbour! François wanted a place to raise a citadel to protect the city… He went there with a boat, landed, put the foot on dry land.

And he saw… a rhinoceros! A big Indian rhinoceros king of Portugal Manuel I wanted to offer to pope Leon X! A creature who waited his departure for the Vatican on the island. But when the moment came, a storm destroyed the boat: the drowned rhinoceros was stuffed and they gave it to the pope.

You know what? Famous German painter Durer drew it in 1515! And 8 years later, they raised the fortress: the castle’s name comes from the numerous yew trees (if in French) we found here on the island.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!