A Rat's Tale

The installation of a sewer system in French Hanoi, circa 1900, was a good idea in theory—a triumph of colonial know-how. The execution? Not so much.
 
Rats swarmed the vast underground system—built at the behest of Paul Doumer, a French bureaucrat and Governor General of French Indochina—where they bred with gusto and surfaced to eat.
 
In historian Michael Vann’s fascinating account, an eradication plan paid rat hunters to kill the rodents with the death toll mounting to 20,000+ a day. Still, the rats persisted. A 1906 bubonic plague outbreak killed 263 people.
 
As for Doumer? He became president of France in 1931.
 
Source: Atlas Obscura

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