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Jeanne Baret – Google doodle on 280th birthday of first woman who circumnavigated the globe

Devdiscourse News Desk | Paris | Updated: 26-07-2020 23:12 IST | Created: 26-07-2020 23:12 IST
Jeanne Baret – Google doodle on 280th birthday of first woman who circumnavigated the globe
Thanks to a rural upbringing, Jeanne Baret became adept at identifying plants and earned recognition as a local specialist in plant medicine. Image Credit: Google doodle

Happy Birthday Jeanne Baret!!!

Google celebrates the 280th birthday of Jeanne Baret, who is recognized as the first woman to have completed a voyage of circumnavigation of the globe. According to Bougainville's account, Jeanne Baret was an expert botanist.

Jeanne Baret was born on July 27, 1740, in the village of La Comelle in the Burgundy region of France. Nothing definitive is known of her childhood or young adulthood. She later told Bougainville that she had been orphaned and lost her fortune in a lawsuit before taking to disguising herself as a man.

One of the mysteries of Jeanne Baret's life is how she obtained at least the rudiments of an education, as her signature on later legal documents provides evidence that she was not illiterate.

Jeanne Baret joined the expedition disguised as a man, calling herself Jean Baret. She enlisted as valet and assistant to the expedition's naturalist, Philibert Commerçon (anglicized as Commerson), shortly before Bougainville's ships sailed from France.

Thanks to a rural upbringing, Jeanne Baret became adept at identifying plants and earned recognition as a local specialist in plant medicine. In the early 1760s, she began working for the noted botanist Philibert Commerson.

When France organized its first circumnavigation of the globe in 1765, Commerson was invited along as the group's botanist. French laws barred women from navy ships, so in order to serve as his assistant, Jeanne Baret dressed to appear as a man. The pair collected over 6,000 plant specimens during the voyage.

Today, many credit Jeanne Baret alone for the European discovery of the now-famous bougainvillea vine while the crew was stopped in Brazil. Depicted in the Doodle artwork is a bougainvillea vine in bloom, wrapping around an inquisitive Jeanne Baret aboard the Étoile.

Eventually, crewmembers discovered Jeanne Baret had been dressing as a man in Tahiti, and she and Commerson ended their journey early on the island of Mauritius in 1768. Jeanne Baret remained there for years before she finally returned to France, which marked the official completion of her circumnavigation.

In 2012, Jeanne Baret was finally given a botanical honor that eluded her during her lifetime, when a newly discovered plant from the Solanum genus–which includes potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants–was given the species name baretiae.

Google dedicates a beautiful doodle to Jeanne Baret on her 280th birthday on July 27, 2020.

Also Read: Tatyana Lioznova: Google doodle on Russian women film director on 96th birthday


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