Botanical World History: The Power of a Plant with Dr. Toby Musgrave

Botanical World History: The Power of a Plant with Dr. Toby Musgrave


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Join plants and gardens historian, Dr. Toby Musgrave, as he holds a botanical prism to world history and offers a fresh perspective. From your morning cup of tea to the spark of the Opium Wars, plants play a remarkable role in our daily lives and our politics. During our time together we will explore the role that cash crops such as corn, cotton, coffee, palm oil, tobacco, sugar cane, and others play in the global economy.

Together we will discover the eight ”Founder Crops” which facilitated the Neolithic Revolution and the start of civilization. Spices were the driving force for the Age of Discovery, the resultant post-Columbian colonization of the Americas, and the arrival in Europe of the potato, which played such a tragic role in the story of Ireland. And another Mesoamerican plant - tobacco - shaped the emergence of the United States.

Sugar and cotton gave rise to and supported the transatlantic Slave Trade and the resultant oppression, exploitation, and death of so many million Africans. Cotton stimulated both the British East India Company’s acquisition of India and the Industrial Revolution and was a causal factor of the American Civil War. 

Simple opium plants sparked the international Opium Wars –  sales to China made the British Government the biggest drug cartel the world has seen. Quinine enabled the colonization of Africa, while rubber was key to the advance of the automotive industry. Most of these plants continue to play a major role on the global stage and have been joined by others including corn and palm oil. When we pause to consider the impact, the wider worldwide scope of influence these plants have had is substantial. 

Led by an expert on plants and garden history, Dr. Toby Musgrave, this interactive seminar is designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels. Participants will come away with increased knowledge and understanding of the power of plants in shaping the landscape of human history books.

Dr. Toby Musgrave is a foremost authority on the subjects of garden and plant history and design, about which he has authored or co-authored 18 books. Most recently "The Garden: Elements and Styles" and "The Multifarious Mr. Banks." He is a part-time Faculty Lecturer at the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad in his adopted country, Denmark, where he teaches American study abroad students. Between semesters he works as a gardens tour leader and as a lecturer aboard small, expedition cruise ships. Additionally, he acts as a consultant to various garden restoration projects and has written numerous articles for a range of magazines and newspapers including The Garden, Gardens Illustrated, The English Garden, Country Life, The Times, The Telegraph, Haven, and Jyllands Posten. His own garden is one of the de Runde Haver. For more information about Toby and his work please visit www.TobyMusgrave.com.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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Anonymous (New Fairfield, US)
Best seminar I've taken!

This is a really great seminar. Dr. Musgrave has a wealth of knowledge and was really interesting to listen to. There was a lot of information and it was really fun

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
100%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
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A
Anonymous (New Fairfield, US)
Best seminar I've taken!

This is a really great seminar. Dr. Musgrave has a wealth of knowledge and was really interesting to listen to. There was a lot of information and it was really fun