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Relics of the 1907 Colonial Exhibition in France

Human Zoo – the 1907 Colonial Exhibition


I’m at present flitting round Europe ready for North Korea to open up.  This implies watching China intently (by earlier requirements North Korea opens up 6 months after China). I’m staying simply outdoors Paris in a small city known as Nogent sur Marne, and got here throughout this little gem of a spot….not price travelling continents to go to, maybe not even a trek out from the capital, however it’s quaint… and has given the ominous description of getting been ‘a human zoo’…

The Colonial Exhibition of 1907 was the fourth colonial exhibition organized in France. Organized on the Tropical Agronomy Backyard of Paris which is at one nook of 1 a part of the wooded park the Bois de Vincennes. The backyard was set as much as advise the colonies on trial farming, and in addition to offer them with seeds, seedlings, and cuttings in order that they may perform their experiments on dwelling soil.

The exhibition was an enormous success; it was estimated to have had 1.8 million guests, the French paper L’Illustration echoed this on Could 18, 1907: “Parisians and suburbanites flocked… with disturbing realism, these desert visitors briefly fastened underneath the foliage of the Bois de Vincennes…”.

And that is the place it will get fascinating…or maybe worrying…

The colonial exhibition of 1907 is of explicit notice for having held ‘human zoos’. A number of villages have been reconstituted; Indochina, Madagascar, Congo, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco – the main possessions of the French Empire. To good the scene, they introduced in locals who have been provided a contract and wage to return to France to animate these villages. The customer might see with their very own eyes the ‘natives’ who have been proven within the movie information reels. It was clearly an period of ignoring the unfavourable affect on human dignity.

The most well-liked scene was possible that of the exhibition of ten Indian elephants which, underneath the steering of their mahouts, engaged in varied spectacular workouts.

Colonial Exhibition

The “Chinese language sacred gate” was initially from the Parisian exhibition on the Grand-Palais, 1906 (proven underneath the glass ceiling) and put in within the colonial backyard of Nogent in 1907.

In 1916, in the course of the First World Struggle, a colonial hospital was put in within the colonial backyard in addition to a mosque. Following the battle, it was chosen for the erection of monuments in reminiscence of the troopers of the colonies who died for France in the course of the First World Struggle.

The ambiance is definitely not of Europe …maybe it’s price taking the metro to Nogent le Marne in spite of everything…journey to the unknown awaits us!

Colonial Exhibition

‘Tonkinese Bridge’ (Northern Thailand)


Colonial Exhibition

The Moroccan Pavilion has seen higher days


Colonial Exhibition

The Guyana Pavilion (French Guiana) transformed to a hospital for colonial wounded within the First World Struggle.


Colonial Exhibition

High left: Esplande du Dinh (Vietnam), center: ‘Temple of Remembrance for Indochina’, High proper: Pavilion for Réunion, (French island within the Indian Ocean)

Backside left & center: damaged sculptures ‘to the glory of the growth of the colonies’ backside proper: Khmer Bridge (Cambodia).



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