Circus: A Short History

We have all been there; tuning giddy at the site of the circus entrance as a kid, clutching on to our parents. We were marvelled by the best of acts that took our breaths away. There is something nostalgic about circuses; they seem to transport us to a different time and place. A time that is void of technology and stress and a place that is magical to say the very least. Here in this article, we look at a short and brief history of the Circus.

Circus has had a chequered past and the form of entertainment surfaced in the Roman Empire. To many people’s surprise, the first show was actually put up in the 1st century BC. It had a mix of events but the main attraction was the chariot race that used to have more than 150,000 people in attendance. But the circus also involved other acts that are seen today, such as the acrobatics and juggling.



The Circus really gained momentum in the year 1782; the year marks the inception of the royal circus. The royal circus was thought of Charles Hughes. The royal circus brought many forms of entertainment under the umbrella term called circus acts. A lot of people benefited due to creation of the royal circus. Before the royal circus was set up, people used to go to different venues to see acrobats and animal-trainers. But the foresight of Charles Hughes, completely transformed the entertainment industry of that time and he is also credited for creating an impact that still resonates to this day. He not only provided quality entertainment to people but also created a whole new line of entertainment for people to enjoy. His efforts cannot be understated in the grand scheme of things. The royal circus breathed life into a number of acts that would have otherwise been only seen in history books. The fact that kids today can still be enthralled by a juggler is because of Charles Hughes.

Charles Hughes is in many ways the pioneer but the world-wide popularity of Circus was as a result of the permanent circus being setup in Las Vegas in the year 1968. Circus was seen as a mainstream form of entertainment and it reached record heights since then. The truth of the matter is that the Circus as a whole had a bad decade with the advent of technology but with more and more people wanting to be swept off their feet with nostalgia, the Circus form of entertainment is making a strong comeback.

About the author: Virginia J. Waller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.