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Chang and Eng conjoined twins, 1837

Chang and Eng conjoined twins, 1837

C037/4877

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Credit

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Chang and Eng (1811-1874) were conjoined twin brothers born in Siam (now Thailand), giving rise to the term Siamese twins. They were joined at the sternum (breast bone), and their livers were fused but functioned independently. After being discovered by a British merchant in 1829, they were exhibited around the world as a curiosity. They later settled in North Carolina, USA, and became naturalized US citizens. They bought a plantation and slaves, adopted the last name Bunker, and raised families. The twins died on the same day in January 1874. Chang, who had pneumonia, died in his sleep. Eng refused to be separated from his dead brother, and died a few hours later. This 1837 lithograph is by John T. Bowen.

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