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Mata Hari Timeline

Aug. 7, 1876
Margaretha Geertruida Zelle is born in Leeuwarden, Holland to a Dutch shopkeeper and a woman of Javanese descent.
She meets Rudolph MacLeod, who has just returned from the Dutch East Indies where he served as a Colonel in the Dutch Army.
July 11, 1895
Marries Rudolph MacLeod.


Jan. 30, 1896
Gives birth to son Norman John.

May 2, 1898
Gives birth to daughter Jeanne-Louise on the island of Java.
June 25, 1899
Both of the children are poisoned, allegedly by a lover of the children's nurse. Norman dies and Jeanne-Louise survives.
Separates from MacLeod.
Moves to Paris, takes on the stage name Mata Hari, and becomes a nude dancer portraying herself as a Javanese princess. Margaretha made her debut as an oriental dancer at Mme. Kireevsky salon in Paris 1905.
She and MacLeod divorce.
She has an affair with Major Arnold Kalle, a German spymaster who sets her up to be discovered by the Allies as a spy, though she had not given up any sensitive information to the Germans.
Jan. 4, 1917
She returns to Paris.
Feb. 13, 1917
She is arrested at Elysees Palace Hotel in Paris by the French Secret Service on suspicion of spying for Germany against the French and British, though there is no evidence against her except for some secret ink found in her room. Under intense interrogation, she confesses to passing inconsequential information to the Germans and that she went by the pseudonym of H21.
She is put on trial in France and is accused of being a double agent for Germany and France.
Oct. 15, 1917
Mata Hari is bound to the stake to be executed by a 12-man firing squad. She refuses a blindfold and blows a kiss to the squad before they shoot her. Her ex husband says: "Whatever she’s done in life, she did not deserve that."
Greta Garbo stars in a film about her life, entitled Mata Hari.

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