Is York In Britan The Old York To New York Red Rose History

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Red Rose History

Evidence suggests that the red rose is nearly 35 million years old. The most commonly available roses belong to two broad categories: the Oriental species and their hybrids, and the European or Mediterranean species and their hybrids. It is possible to grow a red rose anywhere in the world, if the species to which it belongs is selected according to climatic conditions.

Not surprisingly, therefore, ancient civilizations such as those of the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans seemed to have given the red rose a place of pride. Rose fossils have been found near ancient Egyptian tombs. Greek mythology is replete with references to the red rose being sacred to Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, and Venus, the Greek goddess of love. Cupid, of course, is inextricably linked to the red rose.

The Romans seem to have been rather preoccupied with the red rose. Their preoccupation was not just the result of their appreciation for its beauty and fragrance. They had discovered the medicinal properties of the red rose, and also found ways of capturing its fragrance in perfumes. In fact, there is evidence which suggests that they experimented with cultivation techniques and found ways to make red roses blossom beyond their natural peripheries.

The beauty of the red rose has always driven rose lovers to find ways and means of collecting them, displaying them and growing them. French Empress Josephine, particularly after her divorce with Emperor Napoleon, took to roses and dedicated a large space and resources to the cultivation and hybridization of roses. The palace of Malmaison became home to rose gardens with old and new species. Among these, the red rose received plenty of attention.

The red rose also has an interesting place in the history of England. Opposing factions in York and Lancaster fought for control over England in the 15th century. York was synonymous with the white rose and Lancaster with the red rose. In fact, the friction between these warring factions led to the coining of the term ‘War of the Roses’. Lancaster emerged victorious, but this victory did not spell defeat for York. Tudor Henry VII and his bride from York facilitated the symbolic union of red rose and the white rose, and gave England ‘the Rose of England’.

Whether it’s red roses in England, or in any other part of the world, botanists credit China with the ‘ever-blooming’ variety. In the late 18th century, botanists succeeded in bringing these to Europe, and then the rest of the world. Today, including hybrids, there are over 150 species of roses. Several of these are red. There are different shades of red roses available today, and they are of different sizes.

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