Tulip Bulb Mania

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In the mid-16th century, Europe was first introduced to the tulip flower by the Ottoman Empire. This flower became increasingly popular in Holland and was eventually seen as a sign of luxury and a status symbol. Somehow along the way many of the tulips managed to contract a disease that changed the petal colors, giving them the look of “flames” which in turn made them even more coveted. Once the novelty rose for the flower, the price for the tulips began to rise as well. By 1636 the tulip was traded on many stock exchanges. At the beginning of the tulip craze, only a select few who could afford it were buying up the bulbs. Eventually as the price began to rise, many others felt the need to get in on the profit making. Almost everyone in Holland was purchasing and selling tulips, from the upper class all the way to the lower class. Most of the people that were buying the bulbs were hoping to resale the bulbs in order to make a profit, not to actually plant the flowers! While the average income for a person in those days was only 150 florins, many people were buying the tulips at 1,000 florins and up. Some people were even beginning to liquidate their assets, selling their land and their home. While this may seem crazy, many people at the time believed that buying up tulips was a fantastic investment. While the buying was good, many people made an excellent profit off of selling the flowers. However, by 1637, the people were beginning to realize how foolish they had been by investing so much money into a flower. When everyone tried to sell all of the flowers that they had, this majorly decreased the selling price of the tulips. Eventually many of the people were selling them at whatever cost they could, most suffering major losses. The government was not able to help because they felt that the losses were more along the lines of gambling debts. The result from this tulip mania was a long recession.
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