Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
, also known as the Ringling Bros. Circus
, was an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth
. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017. Known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P.T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows
. The Ringling brothers
had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey's death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.