For more than 250 years, circuses have performed in towns and cities around the world, dazzling audiences with their spectacularly talented artists. Much of this industry and its global boom can be attributed to Philip Astley. Astley was an English horseman who began to organize horse riding shows in London in 1768. After two years he roped up a number of other performers to be part of his number including acrobats, clowns, tightrope walkers. and jugglers. It became what we now know as a circus and over the following decades the performances increased in popularity and size.
The modern circus finally made its way to the United States during the 1800s, thanks to another English rider, John Bill Ricketts. Ricketts created the first American circus in Philadelphia in 1792, and in 1793 George Washington attended one of the first performances. In the 19th century, the American circus really took off, thanks to innovators such as PT Barnum who started the freakshow movement.
Today, contemporary circuses are still very popular around the world. Nowadays, circuses like Cirque du Soleil offer traditional circus performances with a central theme or story. Take a look at 75 of our favorite tattoos inspired by the past, present and future of circuses in the gallery below, then let us know your favorite circus act in the media comments section. social.