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Great Adventures: Nellie Bly

Pat Kinsella meets Nellie Bly, the journalist who went around the world in less than 80 days, racing against the fictitious Phileas Fogg and a very real rival travelling in the opposite direction…
FULL STEAM AHEAD Among the 1,710 passengers aboard the Oceanic when it arrived in San Francisco in January 1890 was Nellie Bly, near the end of her round-the-world adventure
GETTY X1, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS X2

AROUND THE WORLD IN 72 DAYS

“Never having failed, I could not picture what failure meant...” Nellie Bly

With his 1873 classic Around the World inEighty Days, master raconteur Jules Verne skilfully captured the excitement of an era in which people could feel the planet shrinking beneath their feet.

TRAIL BLAZER A 26-year-old Bly poses for the camera in 1890 – the year she finished her trip

In 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad began sending trains across America, and the Suez Canal opened, connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. A year later, Indian railways linked up across the sub-continent – creating a news story that acted as the imaginary catalyst for Verne’s plot. It was this that led his protagonist, Phileas Fogg, to set a wager that he could circle the globe from London’s Reform Club, door-to-door, in 80 days.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The Roman occupation of Britain changed the course of our history – building cities, roads and great walls, pacifying tribes and creating a unified economy. But how and why did they come to invade, and why did their mission ultimately fail? PLUS The Black Death: The terror of medieval Europe Stalin: the brutal regime of Britain’s WWII ally Prohibition: when America was dying for a drink Coco Chanel: the ultimate rags to riches story The 10 wealthiest people ever The King and Mrs Simpson: Edward VIII’s abdication The Wright Brothers Boston Tea Party The Cold War Death on the Lusitania And much, much more!