After arriving in Hamburg on September 24, 1880—after almost a month coping with heavy seas in the North Atlantic since leaving Labrador—Johan Adrian Jacobsen directed Abraham Ulrikab and his seven Inuit companions on the journey depicted here. The group took an overnight train to Berlin on October 2, where they were visited by friends from among the Moravian Brothers and Sisters in Germany and by Germany’s foremost physician at the time, Dr. Rudolf Virchow, who tried to establish their exact “racial identity” between “Mongolians” and Greenlanders. The group then arrived in Prague, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on November 15. From November 30 until December 12, 1880, they traveled to Frankfurt am Main and nearby Darmstadt. Their stay there was tragically extended when Noggasak died on December 14. After her burial on the 16th, the exhibition traveled north to Krefeld, near the Dutch border, where they remained from December 17 to 28. Two more members of the group, Paingo and Sara, died shortly after Christmas. The survivors traveled by train to Paris. Between January 7 and 16, 1881, all the remaining Inuit died there of smallpox. Where their bodies were buried was unknown for many years. In 2014, it was confirmed that the skeletons of most of the Inuit were located in the biological anthropology collections of the Natural History Museum in Paris. The skullcap of Paingo, which had been given to Jacobsen during her autopsy in Krefeld, is also part of the museum’s collection. A documentary film, Trapped in a Human Zoo: Based on Abraham’s Diary, was produced by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Television and aired on its program, The Nature of Things. Efforts to repatriate the remains are ongoing.

Route Taken through Europe by Abraham Ulrikab and His Family in 1880–81


Source: Map by William Constable, Constable Enterprises Inc. © 2005. Reprinted in Hartmut Lutz, ed. and trans., The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2005, p. xxv.

© Constable Enterprises 2005