What we think of as a "circus"—a spectacle including human daring, acrobatics, and sometimes trained animals—first debuted in London in 1770, thanks to English military veteran Philip Astley. During his service, Astley developed horse-training skills, and in 1768, he opened a riding school in London and began putting on shows inspired by trick riders, or equestrians, who were popular in the city at the time. Like the other equestrian shows,...Continue Reading