Giovan Maria Salati

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Giovan Maria Salati
Giovan M Salati.jpg
Born 1796
Malesco, Piedmont, Italy
Died 1879
Paris, France
Occupation Napoleonic soldier
Known for Escape across the English Channel

Giovan Maria Salati (1796-1879) was a Napoleonic soldier that escaped British capture by swimming across the English Channel.


Giovan Maria Salati was born to Domenico and Anna Maria Salati of Malesco, Piedmont, Italy in 1796.[1]

Giovan initially worked in Malesco as a chimney sweep, but enlisted with the Grand Army of Napoleon in 1812 as a rifleman. He was taken prisoner by the British after the Battle of Waterloo, and held on a prison barge moored at Dover, England.[1][2]

On the night of August 16, 1817, Giovan made his escape by jumping off of the barge so he could attempt to swim across the English Channel. The escape attempt was successful as, the following day, he managed to land on the French beach of Boulogne. He survived to marry, have children, and lived in France until his death in 1879.[1][2]


A permanent exhibition dedicated to Giovan Maria Salati now exists in the town of Malesco, Italy.[3]

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