Bougainvillea, the prestige of France and the first woman circumnavigating the globe






A French admiral left Nantes in November 1766, his mission was to circumnavigate the globe as the 14 Th navigator in the history of western world. The admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville was a researcher, too, and his expedition, given the permission from Louis XV , was not only meant to foster the prestige of France after the Seven years wars, but was also the first expedition circumnavigating the globe with professional naturalists and geographers on board. Tanks to this expedition bougainvillea was discovered in south America and introduced to the western world. Having some more time for my French literature these days I was sure happy to see this gorgeous plant today and  I just have to post it! For it brings not only some French history reminiscences to me, but also for it is summer holidays time now and you bet the first sailor from the French expedition who possibly saw this plant was a woman, Jeanne Bare, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe !

Jeanne Baret joined the expedition disguised as a man, calling herself Jean Baret. She enlisted as valet and assistant to the expedition’s naturalistPhilibert Commerçon(anglicized as Commerson), shortly before Bougainville’s ships sailed from France. According to Bougainville’s account, Baret was herself an expert botanist.



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