Monday, June 3, 2002

Tulips and Turbans
Though most closely associated now with the Netherlands, tulips hail from modern-day Turkey. Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, the Holy Roman Empire's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1500s, noticed the striking flowers while on a trip to Istanbul. The Turks called them lalÉ, but Busbecq's interpreter mistakenly gave him the term dulban or tÜlbend (turban), which was further corrupted to tulip. The ambassador sent some bulbs back to a gardener friend in Vienna, where they generated a stir that eventually blossomed into "tulipomania."

(From Christian History magazine)

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