Sophie Blanchard, French balloonist

Sophie Blanchard, French balloonist

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Caption: Marie Madeleine-Sophie Blanchard (1778-1819, nee Armant), French balloonist, standing in the decorated basket of her balloon during her flight in Milan, Italy, in 1811, in the presence of the Emperor Napoleon. Sophie married the balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard in 1804. Together they made many ascents in balloon to entertain crowds and earn money. Her husband died in 1809 after he fell from his balloon following a heart attack. Sophie carried on with her ascents, making many pioneering trips including a crossing of the Alps. On 6 July 1819, while ascending over the Tivoli Gardens in Paris, France, her hydrogen balloon caught fire and she fell to her death in the streets below.

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