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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Once upon a black time.... HISpanic in history_ Human zoologic shows

We offer a little passage way into our BCN history in black and white perspectives:

1_ BROTONS, Ròmul. Parcs d'atraccions de Barcelona des de 1853 fins a l'actualitat. Barcelona: Albertí Editor S.L., 2011

Tibidabo’s oldest mechanical attraction is a century old

On 22 may 1915 the Ferrocarril Aeri (aerial railway) was opened, one of Tibidabo’s most emblematic attractions.

ETHNO shows - A. Marco Greco 

The "ethno-shows" are the first ground contact between the worlds so-called "exotic" and our standardised western  urban population (from London to Moscow, Paris Barcelona, ​​Milan to Madrid). 

The "cheap-entertaiment" gives the rich and the poor ones, the educated and the workers, children and women too, the feeling of entering another dimension.Looking at these archaic worlds, the inhabitants of the city seem to feel, without frustration, the members of a winning empire. The savage / civilized binomial present in the aesthetics of these shows, is comforting, a true instrument of popularizing the idea of ​​race hierarchy: a formidable combination between scientific and popular racism.  


Núm. 968 – Barcelona 30 Juliol 1897
  Los Ashantis.
Nigger people - 150 crowd.
open all day and night at  Ronda de la Universidad, 35.
Entry ticket 1 peseta; every Thu,  2 pessetas.

These Africans  are real and show a crystal truth: their Blackness. Blacks are more "other" than the other  indigenous, as their sexuality linked to primitivism and bestiality are easier to explain and justify. 

Cover your body, girl

  1. 1900, vino la troupe indígena de Búfalo Bill que contaba con la presencia de varios indios americanos. 
  2. También vino un grupo de inuits de la península de Labrador. Se instalaron en el teatro El Nuevo Retiro antes de desplazarse a Madrid. La prensa, al hablar de los esquimales, destacaba la altura media de las mujeres: tan sólo 1,25 metros. 
  3. Pero quizás uno de los espectáculos humanos de más éxito fue la presencia de un grupo de cien senegaleses en el Tibidabo, en el espacio que ahora ocupa la atracción del avión. Venían de una gira por Le Mans, Nantes y Amiens. Estuvieron entre marzo y finales de agosto e incluso se vendieron postales.
  4. El último zoológico humano del que se tiene constancia en Barcelona es el de la tribu fulah, de Guinea Ecuatorial, que se instaló en 1925, también en el Tibidabo, aunque ya con menos repercusión.


Modernity and the self  (by Andrea Meza and Guido Abbattista) 

  • Paris exposition in 1878, living human ethno-exhibitions properly speaking, with full village reconstructions, 

  • anthropological exhibits, also in the form of living human exhibits meant to document the human and cultural national varieties – as it happened at the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair with the first true American anthropologist, Frederic Ward Putnam

Cultural notes: 

note 1_ USA: 
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the classification by race expanded to include the measurement of “mulattos”—persons of mixed black and white ancestry. By 1890, the census racial classification scheme reflected a growing preoccupation with identifying persons with even the slightest hint of African ancestry, adding categories for “quadroon” (persons with one-fourth black ancestry) and “octoroon” (persons with one-eighth or less black ancestry). 

note 2_ 1933

   Even Chilean Salvador Allende wrote something in the 1930's!!!) 

note 3_


the last organized exposition of this kind was recorded at the Brussels 1958 universal exposition where, just on the wake of the Belgian Congo independence, a Congo village was erected and authentic Congolese people hosted in it, soon to be dismantled, however, and its guests repatriated, under the pressure of public and diplomatic protests. 

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