On January 11, 2011, the Marshall Islands Postal Service issues six new stamps featuring beautiful tulips.
This graceful garden flower, which we traditionally associate with the Netherlands, is actually an exotic native of Asia Minor. The first bulbs found in Europe came to Vienna, Austria, from Constantinople in Turkey. A passionate interest in the flower resulted, and by the 17th century the tulip reigned as the most popular flower in many European countries. Hardest hit by "tulipomania" was Holland, where Dutch citizens invested in tulips much like modern speculators invest in stocks or real estate. Many lost their entire fortunes during this horticultural craze, and the Dutch government eventually passed legislation to regulate bulb trade. Tulip cultivation remains a vital industry in the Netherlands, where hundreds of thousands of cup-shaped flowers herald the advent of spring and the opening of the season's bulb markets.