Flower History: Tulip Mania

Tulips were introduced into Europe from Turkey in the mid sixteenth century, and thetulip.jpg delicate vividly coloured flowers became a popular if pricey item. The demand for differently coloured varieties soon overtook the supply, and prices for rare individual bulbs rose to incredible heights in northern Europe. By about 1610 a single bulb of a new variety was acceptable as dowry for a bride, and a flourishing brewery in France was exchanged for one bulb of a rare variety. The craze reached its height in Holland during 1633–37. Before 1633 Holland’s tulip trade had been restricted to professional growers and experts, but the steadily rising prices tempted many ordinary middle-class and poor families to speculate in the tulip market. Homes, estates, and industries were mortgaged so that bulbs could be bought for resale at higher prices. Sales and resales were made many times over without the bulbs ever leaving the ground, and rare varieties of bulbs sold for the equivalent of hundreds of pounds each. The crash came early in 1637, when confidence fell in whether prices would continue to increase. Almost overnight the price levels collapsed, sweeping away fortunes and leaving behind financial ruin for many ordinary Dutch families.

The history of this time is told at Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum

Flower History: Tulip Mania was last modified: May 13th, 2008 by admin
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