Human Zoo

   A public exhibit of human beings, as ethnological displays, that became increasingly popular after the 1870s. Facilitated by the possession of overseas colonies, human zoos were common, either in their own right or as an integral feature of international exhibitions, in major cities of most of the Great Powers. The German zoo entrepreneur Karl Hagenbeck organized a traveling exhibit of wild animals and Nubians from the Sudan, which was a hit in Berlin, London, and Paris. The 1889 Parisian World’s Fair featured 400 colonial peoples. The format varied from the simple display of human beings in cages to elaborate dioramas of entire villages with primitive peoples in their “natural” setting.
   See also <>; <>.
    Osborne, Michael A. Nature, the Exotic, and the Science of French Colonialism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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