Tulipomania: How a flower became a financial asset

Could you imagine that the humble tulip, a flower we know in India thanks to Yash Chopra introducing it to us through that beautiful song in the 1981 movie Silsila, having shot the song in the Keukenhof gardens, Netherlands, would be the cause of one of the greatest financial upheavals in the world back in 16th Century Europe?

It is not a flower, native to Europe. In fact, it has Turkish origins, and it is even named from a Turkish word for turban because it was said to resemble the said headgear. Tulips were first grown in Central and East Asia in the 11th Century, from where they went on to Europe in the 16th Century when they caught the attention of the Western diplomats to the Ottoman empire.

According to reports, Conrad Gesner, a Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer, and philologist, brought this exotic flower to the attention of the world. He is said to have first seen the tulip, in the year 1559, in a garden at Augsburg, belonging to Counsellor Herwart, famous for his collection of rare exotics.

Read the complete article at mintgenie.livemint.com

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