People have been judged on the basis of their skin colour and their origins for as long as we can remember. From the slavery of African American people to the genocide of Jews in Europe, we have all heard stories of how our ancestors used wars and discrimination to make themselves feel better.

Zoos are now looked upon by many because  of the cruelty induced to the animals, but did you know, there were human zoos as well which paraded humans like they were a piece of art.

Here is everything you need to know about horrible human zoos

Human Village Display in France

If you thought the human zoo concept was centuries old and it couldn’t find its way into the modern world then you are absolutely wrong. As recent as in 1994, France had a human village where they displayed people from the Ivory Coast.

According to reports, the zoo owners had confiscated the passports of all the people and forced them to perform ethnic activities for food and future work, which of course, never happened. Soon the international media got a whiff of it and the zoo was closed down.

Carl Hagenbeck started putting humans in cages

While Montezuma and Columbus both wanted to put humans in their natural habitat to show the audience their stereotype activities, Carl Hagenbeck was the first one who decided to put humans in cages along with other animals.

And he did not do it at just one city, he was so proud that he had built zoos in Germany, France and even United States. The people he kept in these zoos included Nubian, Bushmen and Native Americans.


Columbus paraded Native Americans

While Christopher Columbus is often depicted as a hero in history books at school, he wasn’t exactly like that in real life. He didn’t come to America straight away, instead he discovered some Native American villages on islands and when he saw the people and their gold, he knew he had hit a jackpot.

He then took the Native Americans back to Europe and paraded them in the streets like they were objects. The first batch of slaves died within the first six months only, and that didn’t even slow down Columbus. Hundreds of Native Americans died just so people in Europe could have something to look at.

Emperor of the Aztec Empire started the Human Zoos

While Columbus was parading lost and week opponents, Montezuma, Emperor of the Aztec Empire was the one who came up with the concept of human zoos.

human zoo

But instead of making a zoo full of his chained lost opponents, Montezuma wanted a real zoo where people would come in and be amused. So he made his own version of a ‘freak show’ filled with people with genetic anomalies which included dwarfs, albinos, hunchbacks,and surprisingly there were also some animals to give them company.

US exhibited Filipinos after defeating

When the war between US and Filipinos in the 1900 ended, the victory wasn’t enough for the United States so they decided to take Filipinos out from their native country and bring them to the US to parade them in front of the public.

US decided to bring the Igorot tribe to a 47-acre exhibit in St Louis in 1904. The reason why the Igorot tribe was chosen among all the others was because they hunted and ate dogs, occasionally. US saw this as an opportunity to show the American public how savage the Filipinos were. They made the Igorot tribe people cut, cook and eat dogs in front of everyone.

The story of Sarah Bartman

When William Dunlop, a British Doctor was visiting Africa, he met Sartje and seeing her surreal characteristics he convinced her to come with him. Whatever the reason he might have given to the innocent woman, slowly it became apparent that Dunlop had only asked her to come with him because of her strange appearance.

Sarah Bartman

Dunlop also renamed her to Sarah Bartman to make her sound more familiar. She had a condition called steatopygia which made her buttocks and genitalia elongated. And she was taken all over Europe by Dunlop as a part of a freak show. She was made fun of regularly, people gave her no respect and eventually she died of alcoholism and small pox. Some scientists believe that she wasn’t pure human in the first place.

Whatever reason it was, she never got the respect she deserves.