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History of elephants in Europe

The history of elephants in Europe dates back to the ice ages, when mammoths (various species of prehistoric elephant) roamed the northern parts of the Earth, from Europe to North America. However, these became extinct several thousand years ago, and Europe subsequently went for a long time without any elephants.

Livy records that Hannibal crossed the Rhone with 37 elephants in October/November 218 BC in the Second Punic War.

The first historically recorded elephant in northern Europe was Abul-Abbas, an Asiatic elephant given to Charlemagne by Haroun al-Raschid in 797. He died in 810, of pneumonia.

An elephant was captured in the Holy Land by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and used in the Capture of Cremona in 1214.

Hanno, or Annone, was a white elephant presented by King Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo X on the occasion of his coronation in 1514. He died, probably of an intestinal obstruction misdiagnosed as angina, with Pope Leo at his side in 1518.

Alfonso V of Portugal gave René d'Anjou[?] an elephant about 1477.

The merchants of Cyprus presented Ercole d'Este[?] with an elephant in 1497.



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