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Business Booms, Busts, & Bubbles: A Resource Guide on Economic Manias & Crashes

Tulip Mania

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Tulip beds at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States. 2019. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Tulip Mania (Tulipomania) occurred in Holland during the Dutch Golden Age and has long been considered the first recorded speculative or asset bubble.

When the tulip was introduced, it immediately became a popular status symbol for the wealthy and the growing middle class. However, the flowers were fragile and it took years for flowers to grow from a seed. After it was discovered that the flower could be grown faster from a bulb, the bulbs became highly coveted. Speculation drove the value of tulip bulbs to extremes and in 1634, tulip mania swept through the country. After a few years the frenzy died down, and by February 1637, prices began to decline. By 1638 prices leveled off.

More recently some modern scholars have begun reevaluate long held assumptions including the idea that this was truly a bubble. There was a frantic tulip trade where people did pay incredibly high prices for some bulbs, and the price of bulbs did collapse. At the same time, there were many people who were not involved in the speculation and total national trade didn't collapse.

Print Resources

This is just a selection of resources for those interested in studying Tulip Mania. There are more resources in the General Resources section of this guide that also cover the events around the tulip trade.

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

External Websites