Tiptoeing through the tulips in 1637 might very well have gotten you arrested. And heaven forbid you'd stepped on one! That likely would have put you in debtors jail.
Sounds a bit farfetched, eh? It really could have happened. In 1554 The Ottoman Empire sent the first tulip seeds to Vienna. The seeds were quickly spread to other countries. But it wasn't until 1593 when a Flemish botanist discovered that the tulips could tolerate much harsher conditions that the became popular.
Tulips were much a much different flower than any other flower in Europe and with their vibrant color soon became a favorite. The East Indies Trade Co. were making as much as 400% profits on one shipment. The Dutch merchants were making excellent money and soon developed what was called the merchant class. They displayed their success and wealth by making fabulous gardens where the tulip was the star flowers. Tulips soon became a coveted flower driving the prices up.
As in all things coveted, one starts seeing specialists who learn all the ins and outs of anything profitable. Tulips were no exception. The tulips were put into groups and from there they were priced according to their rarity. There was one group called the Bizarden. These flowers were so unique with there lines and streaks and multi colors on the petals that they looked exotic thus making them in high demand. (Later it was discovered that the Bizrden tulips actually had a virus that caused these beautiful flames of color on the petals.)
Tulips were the 4th leading export of the Netherlands behind gin, herring and cheese. With tulips in
such high demand . One tulip could sell for 10 times the income of a skilled craftsman. As more and more people became rich from the high cost of tulip bulbs, virtually all of Holland's people began dabbling in tulips, from the rich to the very poor causing poverty in Holland to become extinct.
However, the only way for this to continue was for the demand of tulips to continue. They believed that wealthy people all over the world would continue to want these much sought after flowers and they could continue to ask whatever price they desired.
|A Satire of Tulip Mania by Jan Brueghel the Younger (ca. 1640) depicts speculators as brainless monkeys in contemporary upper-class dress.|
From November of 1636 to March 1937 the tulips had reached their peak and it is said that bulbs were changing hands 10 times in one day. But the bubble collapse was inevitable and the beginning of the end started in Haarlem when first time buyers refused to show up for a bulb auction. The bubonic plague may have been the reason for both the rise and fall of the tulip bubble. During the plague people began to be more risk takers but as time continued it is believed that the wide spread outbreak may also have been the bubble's demise. According to Scottish journalist Charles Mackey, the panicked tulip speculators attempted to get help from the Netherlands government. Their answer was that anyone who had bought contracts to purchase bulbs in the future could end their contract by paying a 10% fee. To keep from utter chaos, attempts were made to resolve the contract problem so that all involved would be satisfied. But that was not to be. In the end, people were stuck with bulbs and the courts would not enforce the payments due to the fact they believed the debts as contracted through gambling and so were not enforceable by law.
|Wagon of Fools by Hendrik Gerritsz Pot, 1637.|
The Charleston earthquake has left destruction like nothing Doctor Andrew Warwick has ever seen. On a desperate mission to find the lady who owns his heart, he frantically searches through the rubble, where he finds her injured and lifeless. After she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are quickly dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. Things only get worse when he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.
Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old.
She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, She and her husband enjoy camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Visit Debbie Lynne at www.debbielynnecostello.com, www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/debbielynnecostello , https://plus.google.com/+DebbieLynneCostello/posts, and https://twitter.com/DebiLynCostello