Remarkable Life of Chang and Eng: Pioneering Conjoined Twins

Conjoined Twins

Chang and Eng, iconic conjoined twins born in 1811 in what is now Thailand, defied the odds of their condition to lead an extraordinary life, leaving a legacy that transcends their physical connection.

An Unprecedented Legacy of Conjoined Twins

Their remarkable journey began in Siam, now Thailand, where they were born, inspiring the term ‘Siamese Twins,’ a label that has persisted in describing conjoined siblings. Despite challenges, the twins embarked on a global tour, captivating audiences across the US, Canada, Cuba, and Europe. They even had an audience with the King of Siam.

Upon reaching adulthood, Chang and Eng seized control of their business ventures, amassing considerable wealth. Eventually settling in Mount Airy, North Carolina, they purchased a farm and married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates, adopting the surname Bunker. Remarkably, they became fathers to a total of 21 children, a record for conjoined twins.

Their personal lives were as intriguing as their public personas. Despite their physical connection, they maintained separate households to afford privacy to their spouses. In a curious twist, their wives’ pregnancies often coincided, hinting at a coordinated intimacy between the twins.

Chang and Eng’s story is not without controversy, as historical records suggest they were sold into slavery. Additionally, they were slave owners themselves, reflecting the complex societal dynamics of their time.

Their journey concluded on January 17, 1874, as they passed away within hours of each other at the age of 63. Though physically inseparable, their enduring impact on medical science, culture, and the concept of identity continues to fascinate and inspire.