Inseparable brothers, thanks to which the term “Siamese twins” appeared”
The term “Siamese twins” came from two brothers, Chang and Eng, who were born in Siam, but were known far beyond the borders of their homeland. Most of their lives were surprisingly quiet-the brothers got rich, got their own house, got married, and had quite a few offspring – the brothers had a total of 21 children.
Chang and Eng Bunker were born on may 11, 1811 in a fishing village near Bangkok in the Kingdom of Siam (today Thailand). Despite the fact that the boys were joined by their bodies in the chest area, they had a long and relatively normal life. Scottish entrepreneur Robert hunter discovered the brothers when they were 18 years old. He asked their parents to take the boys with them and give them a job in a circus that tours around the world.
When the contract with hunter came to an end, the Bankers brothers themselves organized a circus show, continuing to perform in front of the public. At some point, they got bored of traveling to different countries and wanted to settle down and live a more peaceful life. When they toured the United States, the Bankers bought a plot of land in North Carolina. At that time, slavery was rampant in the state, but the twins were considered white enough to become American citizens.
Moreover, the brothers themselves became slaveholders, they bought ten slaves who worked on their plantations. At some point, the twins met their future wives, Sarah Ann and Adelaide Aites. The girls ‘ father did not immediately agree to bless their daughters for this marriage, but in the end, on April 13, 1843, when the twins were 32 years old, a double wedding took place, and a Baptist pastor married both couples at the kates home. This wedding was truly controversial, many thought this marriage was “of the devil.”
Both couples slept in the same huge bed and somehow, this did not prevent them from leaving heirs. Chang had 10 children, and his brother eng had 11. It’s hard to tell how happy they were. Anyway, over time, the relationship between the brothers ‘ wives began to deteriorate and they tried to spend as little time with each other as possible. One of the wives even moved to another house, so Chang and eng began to spend time alternately with one or the other of the sisters. During the Civil war, the brothers sided with the Confederacy, and eventually lost almost all of their fortune, so they had to return to performing in the circus again. However, the popularity that they had before was no longer there.
When the brothers turned 57, they decided to move to Britain with their performances, but the trip was not only unprofitable (the British public was quite hostile to the “freak show”), but also tragic – Chang had a stroke, and he was paralyzed on the side from which he was connected to his brother. Chang could no longer move as before, and Eng had to constantly support and help him. Chang began to drink a lot, which caused constant arguments with his brother. The quarrels were so intense that they decided to undergo separation surgery.
The brothers returned to America and began looking for a doctor who would decide on such an operation. However, the medicine of the time did not allow such an operation to be performed without endangering the lives of both patients, and while one doctor after another refused the Bankers, the wives still managed to persuade their husbands to abandon this risky venture.
In January 1874, when the twins were 62 years old, Chang became ill with bronchitis, which developed into pneumonia. He died at night while both brothers were asleep. Ang awoke and realized in horror that his brother was dead. He began to call for help, asked to urgently call doctors to “disconnect” his dead brother. However, the doctors did not have time. Three hours after Chang’s death, eng also died. Eng was not affected by pneumonia, and doctors diagnosed a heart attack.
Today, Chang and eng have more than one and a half thousand descendants.