Not so manic?


Wagon of Fools by Hendrik Gerritsz Pot, 1637. Followed by Haarlem weavers who have abandoned their looms, blown by the wind and flying a flag emblazoned with tulips, Flora, goddess of flowers, her arms laden with tulips, rides to their destruction in the sea along with tipplers, money changers and the two-faced goddess Fortuna. (Wikipedia)

Was the 17th-century Dutch tulip mania financial crisis real? Popular accounts of the craze made it seem that way…

Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and, one after the other, they rushed to the tulip marts, like flies around a honey-pot. Every one imagined that the passion for tulips would last forever and that the wealthy from every part of the world would send to Holland, and pay whatever prices were asked for them. The riches of Europe would be concentrated on the shores of the Zuyder Zee, and poverty banished from the favoured clime of Holland. Nobles, citizens, farmers, mechanics, seamen, footmen, maidservants, even chimney sweeps and old clothes women, dabbled in tulips.

(Mackay, Charles (1841), Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, London)

Read Tulip mania: the classic story of a Dutch financial bubble is mostly wrong to see the bubble burst.


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