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Saartjie Baartman is exhibited naked in a cage as the "Hottentot Venus" in London.

Date: 1810


Saartjie, or "Sarah," Baartman is an African woman of the Khoikhoi people in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She is a wet nurse in Cape Town in the home of Peter Cezar, where Hendrik Cezar meets her and begins to bring her to the city hospital in exchange for money so that doctors, who are fascinated by her physiology, can look at her body. It is here that he meets the surgeon, Alexander Dunlop, who is a collector and showman of animal specimens.


Both Dunlop and Hendrik take Baartman to London in 1810 and begin exhibiting her in a cage at white wealthy people's parties, calling her the "Hottentot Venus." There is a protest against the exhibition by some abolitionists, insisting she earn her own living wage, but Dunlop and Cezar will continue to display her in London, and, then, Limerick, Ireland in 1812. They will ultimately end up in France, where Baartman will be exhibited at the Palais Royal in Paris for 15 months by animal trainer, Jean Riaux. She will die in 1815 at 26 from unknown causes, and her body will be sold to scientist Georges Cuvier.