Jeanne Baret

French explorer, naturalist, botanist (1740-1807)

Jeanne Baret ([ʒan ba.ʁɛ]; 27 July 1740 – 5 August 1807, also spelled Barré or Barret) was a French explorer.[1] She was the first woman to travel around the world.[2][3] She was a botanist. Her trip was from 1766-1769.[1]

Jeanne Baret
Allegorical portrait of Jeanne Baret dressed as a sailor, dating from 1817, after her death.
Born27 July 1740
Died5 August 1807(1807-08-05) (aged 67)
Other namesJean Baret, Jeanne de Bonnefoi, Jeanne Barré
Occupation(s)housekeeper, valet, botanist, tavern-keeper
SpouseJean Dubernat (1774–1807)
PartnerPhilibert Commerson (1760s–1773)

Early life and career


Jeanne Baret was born on July 27,1740.[3][4]She was born in France.[4] Her family wasn’t wealthy.[4] She learned a lot about botany from a young age.[4] She knew a lot about plants.[4]

She worked for Philibert Commerson.[1] Commerson was a botanist. He studied medicine, natural history and botany.[1][3]

Baret and Commerson also had a relationship.[2] They never married.[2] They had a son.[2] He was adopted by another family.[2]



Commerson agreed to join a voyage around the world.[2] The expedition was led by Louis de Bougainville. [1] Commerson was the botanist.[2] Baret went with him.[4][1] Women were not allowed to be on ships at that time.[4] She disguised herself as a man.[1] She took a job as his cabin boy.[2] She called herself "Jean" Baret.[4]

Reason for Voyage


France was looking for territory and trade at that time.[2] The king funded the around the world trip.[2] The two ships were the Boudeuse and the Etoile.[2] Commerson and Baret were on the Etoile.[1]

Aboard the Etoile


Commerson was often sick.[2] Jeanne tended to him.[2] She helped him with his work.[1][2][4] The trip set off from Nates, France and stopped at Montevideo, Uruguay.[3] They went from Uruguay to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[3] They went to Tahiti after Brazil.[3] Bougainville named the island of Tahiti New Cythera.[3] Baret revealed her true identity at Tahiti. She revealed that she was a woman.[3] Bougainville let her stay on board for the rest of the trip. They sailed to New Ireland in Papua New Guinea after Tahiti.[3] They went to Mauritius after New Ireland.[3] Commerson and Jeanne stayed in Mauritius.

Botanist Work


Commerson and Baret made many accomplishments in botany. They collected and observed many plants.[4] Baret discovered a new kind of vine with pink and purple flowers. She named that plant Bougainvillea.[3] She named the plant after the commander of the voyage.[3]

Later Years


Commerson and Jeanne stayed in Mauritius.[2][3] Commerson died in 1773.[3][2] Baret met a man called Jean Dubernet.[3] They married in May of 1774.[3] They moved back to France to Saint-Aulaye around 1774 or 1775.[3] She completed her journey around the world. Baret died in Saint-Aulaye. She died on August 5, 1807.[3]



Jeanne Baret accomplished a lot of things in her life. She was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. She and Commerson collected and recorded over 6000 plant species. A type of plant was named in her honor (solanum baretiae) in 2012.[3] It was 245 years after her voyage.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Forster, Honore (January 2000). "Voyaging Through Strange Seas: Four Women Travellers in the Pacific" National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 "The extraordinary circumnavigation of Jeanne Baret". Australian National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 "Jeanne Baret". The Mariners Museum and Park. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 Kiernan, Elizabeth (2014-03-12). "The Amazing Feat of Jeanne Baret". New York Botanical Garden Blog. Retrieved 2021-12-11.