Margaretha Zelle was born in 1876 in the Netherlands.
She was the oldest kid of Adam Zelle a hatter and Antje Van Meuden.
When she was 18, she got married to a 38 year old militar and they moved to Indonesia.
He was an alcoholic and he abused her.
While she lived in Indonesia she got really into the local culture.
She got divorced , and she moved to the Netherlands. Her ex-husband took her daughter away from her.
She moved to Paris and she impresionated a Java princess called MATA HARI that meant "eye of the dawn". She worked as an exotic dancer and did strip-teases, but never took her bra off because she said her ex-husband had ripped one of her nipples off. Paris was crazy for her shows and she travelled all around Europe performing and telling her story.
This gave her access to political and war secrets.
She had numerous affairs with militars and high level politicians.