11 September 2011

First woman to circumnavigate the globe

In 1811 the French admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville died, aged 81. In 1769 he had become the first Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe and the first person to do so accompanied by naturalists and geographers. One of these scientists, the botanist Philibert Commerçon, named the South American shrub bougainvillea after his captain. He also smuggled his mistress Jeanne Baré on to the ship by pretending she was his valet. Although later unmasked, she became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.
From the QI feature at The Telegraph.

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