For 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus dazzled audiences with its traveling display of death-defying performances, humorous antics, and exotic wildlife.
But the entertainment came at a cost: Animal rights advocates accused the circus of mistreating elephants, prompting the company to stop using the animals in 2016.
On May 21, 2017, the "greatest show on Earth" closed its doors for good following declining ticket sales and rising production costs.
Here's a look back at how the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus transformed itself across a century of American history.
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