Margaretha Geertruida Zella was a Dutch dancer who deserted her Dutch Army officer husband in pursuit of fame and fortune.
She fled to France where she became a courtesan and oriental dancer in Paris. To complete the transition into this new life, she adopted the intriguing oriental name Mata Hari which means Eye of the Day in Malay.
Born in Leeuwarden, Holland on 7 August 1876, Margaretha had grown into a very exotic looking woman and in her new position, soon became the confidante of men in high places. In 1907, she joined the German Secret Service and throughout World War One divulged many important military secrets told her by smitten high-ranking allied officers.
Mata Hari worked for both the French and the Germans but in 1917 she was arrested by the French. Charged and convicted of treason, the beautiful Mata Hari was executed by firing squad.