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Inside Paris’s Belle Époque-Era Human Zoo

human zooMessy Nessy Chic on a surreal symbol of the history of colonialism — the human zoo:

In the furthest corner of the Vincennes woods of Paris lies the remains of what was once a public exhibition to promote French colonialism over 100 years ago and what we can only refer to today as the equivalent of a human zoo.

In 1907, six different villages were built in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, representing all corners of the French colonial empire at the time– Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. The villages and their pavillions were built to recreate the life and culture as it was in their original habitats. This included mimicking the architecture, importing the agriculture and appallingly, inhabiting the replica houses with people, brought to Paris from the faraway territories.

Over one million curious visitors [attended] from May until October 1907 when it ended. Today, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale is kept out of sight behind rusty padlocked gates, abandoned and decaying.

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