Philibert (Commerson) and Jeanne (Barret)
As described by Regis:
"February 1767 : the french botanist Philibert Commerson, 39 years old, joined the Bougainville’s expedition around the world. His young housekeeper, Jeanne Barret, 26 years old, would accompany him, but expeditions were forbidden for women. Philibert was in great love with Jeanne. He disguised her as a man and as his valet, nicknamed Jean Bonnefoy. Incredibly, the passengers remained ignorant of her gender during 14 months.
April 1768 : the expedition reached Tahiti. The "savage" Tahitians recognised and revelead her true gender.
November 1768 : the expedition reaches Port Louis of Mauritius. Philibert remained at Port Louis with Jeanne, where Jeanne became a good botanist. After a journey to Madagascar without Jeanne, Philibert fell sick. Jeanne cared for him, but Philibert died in 1773.
Jeanne returned to France in 1774. She was complimented by King Louis XV for her courage and her botanical labours and granted a pension. She died in 1807.
Jeanne was the first woman to circumnavigate round the world. Philibert dedicated to her the plant genus Baretia (plants with ambiguous sexual characteristics !)
What a GREAT pair and a GREAT story!
Thanks Regis and CONGRATULATIONS!