Pistols given to Madison made from a meteorite?





Given pride of place in an unassuming museum on the East Coast of America is a pair of 200-year-old duelling pistols shrouded in mystery.

The intricately decorated guns were said to have been forged from the iron of a fallen meteorite.
They were a unique gift from the commander of a South American region, which would later become Argentina, to the fourth US president, James Madison.

"Permit me therefore to present to your Excellency... a specimen of the first essays of the manufacture of arms established in the provinces of Buenos Ayres and Tucuman," wrote General Ignacio Alvarez in an accompanying 14-page letter.

Over time, they passed into the hands of Madison's successor - James Monroe - and are now on display at a museum dedicated to him.

Since that time, the story of their origin has gone unquestioned.

Now, scientists armed with a battery of hi-tech machines have probed the pistols in unprecedented detail.
Their findings cast doubt on the accepted theory of their origins and have thrown up a whole new set of questions for historians about the guns and the motives of the original protagonists.


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