Some think that carrots are orange because of the Dutch revolution. This may hold some water as Dutch merchants were the ones who propagated the sale of orange carrots all over the world, however, there is evidence that the carrot may have come before the Dutch independence. Keep reading to find out more.
According to the tales, Dutch farmers started growing orange carrots as a nod towards their founder, William of House Orange. William, Prince of Orange, a territory in what is now called the south of France, was one of the main leaders during the Dutch revolution.
The revolt started in 1566 and led to the admittance of a self-governed Dutch Republic almost a century later. William was killed before independence from Spain was announced officially however many credited him as the country’s founding father and his descendants rose to the throne after a home-grown monarchy which still reigns today was developed.
The carrots the Dutch farmers allegedly grew became more popular as time passed and later spread around the world after which it became the standard color associated with carrots. It is a great tale however many disagree.
John Stolarczyk, curator of the World Carrot Museum had this to say:
"Though the development and stabilization of the orange carrot root does appear to date from around that period in the Netherlands, it is unlikely that honoring William of Orange had anything to do with it. There is no documentary evidence that the Dutch invented orange carrots to honor their royal family."
According to reports, wild carrots were initially white or pale yellow however this changed to purple and yellow after people domesticated the vegetable nearly 5000 years ago in the Persian Plateau area.
The domesticated carrots were later split into two main classes: the Asiatic group cultivated around the Himalayas, and the Western group grown around the Middle East and Turkey. It is reported that yellow carrots from the Western group mutated into more orange hues that farmers selectively cultivated.
According to Stolarczyk, orange carrot seeds entered Europe for the first time thanks to Islamic traders who moved between the Ottoman Empire’s North African territories and the Iberian Peninsula 200 years before William of Orange started up the revolt in the Netherlands.
Stolarczyk also stated that there are documents that trace the cultivation of orange and purple carrots back to the medieval period in the 14th century. Centuries later, the Dutch had become a big agricultural force in the world and they were armed with the knowledge that allowed them to propagate the cultivation of orange carrots in large quantities.
It also helped that the orange carrots thrived in the Netherlands’ mild, wet weather. Dutch merchants would later spread the orange carrots across the continent where they became a norm in many places including Europe.
Stolarczyk also added that the rumored connection of William of Orange to the orange carrot comes from the fact that these carrots were used by the Dutch to reinforce their national color. Aside from this, the fact that there is a link between the Dutch crown and orange carrots may be overly exaggerated.