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Angus MacAskill, frequently referred to as Giant MacAskill (c.May 29th, 1825-August 8, 1863), was the world's tallest "true" giant (normal proportions, no growth abnormalities). The 1981 Guinness Book of World Records listed Angus as the tallest natural giant, the strongest man who ever lived, and the man having the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man (80 inches).

MacAskill was born on the Isle of Berneray in the Sound of Harris, Scotland. His father was Norman MacAskill who stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, and his mother was Christina Campbell and Angus had twelve siblings, several of whom died young. Apparently Angus was an ordinary-sized baby. After several years in Stornoway, Outer Hebrides, the family settled in the fishing community of Englishtown, Cape Breton Island around 1831.

As a child he was also said to be of normal stature, but in entering his adolescence he began to grow rapidly and by his 20th year and eventually reaching a height of 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) within another year or two. His early adult weight was 437 pounds. His shoulders were 44 in. wide, and the palm of his hand 8 in. wide and 12 in. long; by 1863 he was wearing boots 17.5 inches long. He had deep-set blue eyes, a musical, if somewhat hollow voice and a mild and pleasant manner. Despite his size he was well proportioned.

He was known in his home community of St. Ann's as "Gille Mòr" (translated to "Big Boy"). He was also known to many as the "Cape Breton Giant" or simply "Giant MacAskill." When MacAskill was approximately 14 years old he travelled on a fishing schooner from St. Ann's to North Sydney and the crew took him along to a dance. An altercation with a dancer led to MacAskill striking his tormentor's jaw with his fist . That gentleman landed in the middle of the floor and was unconscious for so long the other dancers thought he was dead. When the captain returned to his schooner he found MacAskill on his knees praying that he had not killed the man.

MacAskill was well known for feats of strength such as lifting a ship's anchor weighing 2800 lb. to chest height, and an ability to carry barrels weighing over 300 lb. apiece under each arm or reputedly able to lift a hundredweight (50kg) with two fingers and hold it at arms length for ten minutes. People also claimed to see Angus lift a full-grown horse over a four-foot fence, without breaking a sweat.

In 1849 he entered show business and went to work for P.T. Barnum's circus, appearing next to General Tom Thumb. In 1853 he toured the West Indies and Cuba. Queen Victoria heard stories about MacAskill's great strength and invited him to appear before her to give a demonstration at Windsor Castle, after which she proclaimed him to be "the tallest, stoutest and strongest man to ever enter the palace", and presented him with two gold rings in appreciation. The fishermen of St. Ann's envied MacAskill's strength. While they laboriously bailed their boats, MacAskill set his weight under his half ton boat, tipped it on its beam ends and reportedly emptied the bilge water. He also reportedly single-handedly set a 40-foot mast into a schooner.

There are various accounts of an incident with an anchor that may have taken place in New York or New Orleans,. French sailors apparently taunted MacAskill to lift an anchor lying on the wharf, which was estimated to weigh 2200-2700 pounds. MacAskill easily did so and walked down the wharf with it, but one of the anchor's flukes caught in one of his shoulders, crippling him. However this was not the cause of his death as he lived for many years thereafter. His brother denies the story about the crippling as he stated that Angus was as straight as an arrow when he came home that day.

After a show business career demonstrating his size and strength in Europe and North America, he returned to his home community of Englishtown and purchased a gristmill and several other real estate holdings as well as a general store. One story is that a customer wanting to buy tea would be asked by the giant, "will you take a pound or a fistful?". Since tea was expensive in those times, most would ask for a fistful, not realizing that MacAskill's fist would easily hold more than a single pound of tea.

In the summer of 1863 MacAskill undertook a trip to the colonial capital at Halifax where he had been planning to sell produce and purchase stock for his store from the city's wholesalers which he would need for the winter season. During the trip he suddenly became seriously ill and was returned to St. Ann's where his family moved him back to his parents' home. His original childhood bed was hastily lengthened and put up in their living room to provide for his care. The doctor's diagnosis was brain fever. After a week's illness, MacAskill died peacefully in his sleep on August 8, 1863, the Rev. Abraham McIntosh, the Presbyterian minister, being in attendance and many neighbors in the house.

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