'Human Zoo' In The 19th Century

Did you know, zoos have also housed humans around the 19th and 20th centuries? It may sound strange, but that is what happened when it became a center for exhibiting 'strange' people such as dwarves, albino and humpback, especially in Europe.


In addition, black peoples are also 'victims', especially by white peoples who are proud of their skin color. In short, it is symbolic of the 'glory' that white people have over other peoples.

This era of 'human zoos' has actually begun since the European or Renaissance Era, especially among the upper 16th century. They are said to love collecting people of different nationalities including from Turkey, Africa, India because they are considered unique.


By 1870, the 'human zoo' exhibition was popular and spread to Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan, New York, and Warsaw. The number of visitors is also large enough to reach between 200,000 and 300,000 people for each exhibition.

However, the Persian World Expo in 1889 called the Negro Village managed to attract up to 28 million visitors. It showcases about 400 indigenous Africans for public viewing.

However, the existence of this human zoo invites a lot of controversy and criticism as it is considered to undermine one's own dignity.

This is because at that time, many visitors acted harshly by shouting, mocking and even making animal noises aimed at the 'occupants' of the zoo.


Today, although no zoo exists that confronts and exhibits 'strange' humans, the concept is still in use. For example, an African village was established at the Zoo Augsburg, Germany in 2005 and the African Safari in Puebla, Mexico.

In contrast, it serves to give people a better understanding of the culture of the country than in the past in the form of humiliation and entertainment.

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