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Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused

Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused

In the 1630s, visitors to the prosperous trading cities of the Netherlands couldn't help but notice that thousands of normally sober, hardworking Dutch citizens from every walk of life were caught up in an extraordinary frenzy of buying and selling. The object of this unprecedented speculation was the tulip, a delicate and exotic Eastern import that had bewitched horticulturists, noblemen, and tavern owners alike. For almost a year rare bulbs changed hands for incredible and ever-increasing sums, until single flowers were being sold for more than the cost of a house.

Historians would come to call it tulipomania. It was the first futures market in history, and like so many of the ones that would follow, it crashed spectacularly, plunging speculators and investors into economic ruin and despair.

This is the history of the tulip, from its origins on the barren, windswept steppes of central Asia to its place of honor in the lush imperial gardens of Constantinople, to its starring moment as the most coveted-and beautiful-commodity in Europe. Historian Mike Dash vividly narrates the story of this amazing flower and the colorful cast of characters-Turkish sultans, Yugoslav soldiers, French botanists, and Dutch tavern keepers--who were centuries apart historically and worlds apart culturally, but who all had one thing in common: tulipomania.

MAP OF THE UNITED PROVINCES OF THE NETHERLANDS

Chapter 1. A Mania for Tulips

Chapter 2. The Valleys of Tien Shan

Chapter 3. Within the Abode of Bliss

Chapter 4. Stranger from the East

Chapter 5. Clusius

Chapter 6. Leiden

Chapter 7. An Adornment to the Cleavage

Chapter 8. The Tulip in the Mirror

Chapter 9. Florists

Chapter 10. Boom

Chapter 11. At the Sign of The Golden Grape

Chapter 12. The Orphans of Wouter Winkel

Chapter 13. Bust

Chapter 14. Goddess of Whores

Chapter 15. At the Court of the Tulip King

Chapter 16. Late Flowering

NOTES

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