The Female Explorer
Today is the anniversary of the death of Jeanne Baret, who died on this day in 1807.
Baret was the first woman to have circumnavigated the world as part of the expedition, which was led by Louis Antoine de Bougainville.
Beret was able to join the expedition after posing as a valet to the expedition's naturalist: Philibert Commerçon.
Before the expedition, Baret had been employed as Commerçon's housekeeper. A few years later, his wife died, and Baret took over the management of the household in addition to having a personal relationship with Commerçon.
Commerçon had poor health, and it was likely that he needed Baret to join him on the expedition because he needed her assistance.
Baret herself was a botanist herself and her own right. When the ship stopped in Rio de Janeiro, an old leg injury prevented Commerçon from collecting specimens. Thus, it was Baret who ventured out into the tropics and returned with the lovely tropical vine that would be named to honor the expedition's commander: Bougainvillea.