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Digital Subscriptions > BBC History Revealed Magazine > November 2019 > Year in Focus: 1905

Year in Focus: 1905

Snapshots of the world from one year in the past


MAR 1905

Before she became a siren of the stage, Mata Hari tried to make ends meet in Paris giving piano lessons and teaching German

On 13 March 1905, Dutch-born Mata Hari – having changed her name from Margaretha MacLeod and now claiming part-Indonesian descent – made her debut in Paris, mesmerising audiences with her exotic dance routines. Her first performance, in Musée Guimet – a museum of Asian art – enthralled the city’s wealthy elite, and she was soon dancing at sold-out performances in many of Europe’s major capital cities. By 1912, as Hari got older, her act started to lose popularity and she became better known as a courtesan, striking up relationships and dancing for powerful men including the Crown Prince of Germany.

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