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Eva Ekeblad – Everything You Need To Know About The Swedish Agronomist


A Short Biography About Eva Ekeblad

EVA-EKEBLAD- biography

Born on 10th July 1724 in Stockholm City of the Stockholm Country, the legendary women Eva de la Gardie or Eva Ekeblad was a Swedish countess, agronomist, salon hostess, and scientist who invented alcohol from potato. She had given this breakthrough contribution when Eva Ekeblad was cultivating potatoes the Sweden lands and discovered some unique properties from the edible. 

Eva Ekeblad became a famous personality for her method of discovery in the year 1746. She made make flour, perfume, and alcohol from potato starch and this permitted to the greater usage of scarce grains for the production of food. This had significantly impacted the reduction of famine and other incidences of scarcity in Sweden.

Thus Eva Ekeblad is seen as a huge inspiration to many people and set her standards high as a trailblazer, and even today, after 294 years, Eva is one of the highly celebrated women. 

 

Education and Childhood Days

 

Eva De la Gardie (Eva Ekeblad) was born to ‘Magnus Julius De la Gardie’ (1668–1741) who was a statesman count and the amateur politician to the salonist ‘Hedvig Catharina Lilje’: the sister of ‘Captain Carl Julius De la Gardie’ and ‘Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie’ and the aunt of ‘Axel von Fersen the Younger’. Eva Ekeblad’s brother was married to ‘Catherine Charlotte De la Gardie’ and the brother-in-law of the royal family ‘Hedvig Taube’.

Eva Ekeblad at her young age of 16 got married to the riksråd count ‘Claes Claesson Ekeblad’ in the year 1740. She then became the mother for 7 children, where she had 6 daughters and 1 son. They all were namely:

  • Claes Julius 1742-1808 (66 years) 
  • Ebba Maria 1752-1839 (87 years) 
  • Eva Magdalena 1747-1824 (77 years) 
  • Agneta Sofia 1750-1824 (74 years)
  • Hedvig Catharina 1746-1812 (66 years) 
  • Fredrika Ulrika 1745-1771 (26) 
  • Beata Charlotta 1748-1771 (23 years) 
  • Brita Lovisa 1754-1755 (dead 2 months old)

All the spouses of the family were belonging to the elite class of the Swedish nobility. Upon her marriage, ‘Julius De la Gardie’, the father of Eva Ekeblad had given her the estates Mariedal Castle and Lindholmen Castle, of Västergötland.

 

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The Personal Life of Eva Ekeblad

 

Eva Ekeblad’s husband was mostly in the absence during business days and so she took the responsibility of managing all the 3 estates and also, the tasks like supervision of the bailiffs. Eva Ekeblad also presided in the county-assemblies which were the estate’s parish community’s belongings. Eva Ekeblad’s leading role was in the local aristocracy and Stola manor took fame for her good orders.

Eva Ekeblad was seen as a symbol of imposing a temperamental authority. She was observed as fair towards the communities of the peasantry, whom she had protected them all against the bailiffs’ abuse in return of obedience. Eva Ekeblad was someone who was not hesitant for rectifying and punishing any wrongdoings during the time of conflicts with the local dignitaries.

Eva Ekeblad’s husband had expired in the year 1771 and after his passing away she had retired to her countryside. Lindholmen and Mariedal estates were served as her dower estates while the latter became her personal residence. Her last 6 years in the Castle was continued with celebration by the local aristocracy till her decease. Thus she expired on 15th May 1786 at the Lidköping Assembly of the Skaraborg County at the age of 61.

Eva Ekeblad’s works on Science 

 

Potatoes are rich for its starch and therefore suitable to ferment alcohol, but it was a complicated procedure. Eva Ekeblad was world-famous for her invention of alcohol from potatoes when she was just 22 years old. This happened in the year 1746 when she produced the first alcohol ever based upon potato starch for perfumes. She then replaced this ingredient with other dangerous ingredients in the perfumery, as Eva Ekeblad did not want to get her skin spoiled with any harmful cosmetics.

The production of flour from potatoes made a helping revolution to the world and cured so many incidents of famine around the world. This paved the way for the production of other consumables like rue, wheat, barley, etc. for making loaves of bread. Potatoes then turned into a staple diet of Sweden and on the other hand, the consumption of alcohol and Vodka took a peak. Her works were not only confined to science and innovation. 

In addition, Eva Ekeblad also created a unique soap from potatoes in 1751 which can be bleached with cotton fabrics and yarn. The next year (1752) she also found a replacement for the toxic chemicals with new ones for using in wigs. 

For these inventions, in 1748, Eva Ekeblad was thus elected as the member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She was notably the first female scientist of the world to get such an honor, at her age of 24.

 

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Interesting Facts About Eva Ekeblad

 

  • For her scientific research efforts, Eva Ekeblad got elected as the first woman in the Swedish Academy of Sciences in the year 1748.

 

  • Eva Ekeblad’s husband also additionally had the Stola Manor estate along with the residence in the Stockholm’s capital. 

 

  • Till today it is an unknown fact about what got the interest of the secular lady for experimenting with potatoes. But thanks to Eva Ekeblad, since then the world began to concern this agricultural crop as some powerful product.

 

  • 3 years later after her son Claes Julius Ekeblad (1742–1808) marriage to Brita Horn, Stola manor was gifted as a dower to Eva Ekeblad’s daughter-in-law.

 

  • Before the potato experiments by Eva Ekeblad, Sweden cultures of that time used the vegetable as animal feed.

 

  • ‘Katarina Charlotte De La Guardi’, the wife of Eva Ekeblad’s brother was also known for her idea of improving Sweden’s life during the time of smallpox, where she suggested a vaccine to control and cure the disease. She was resisted in the beginning for her work but when she did the same for her family, the local farmers accepted her notion and thus cured smallpox slowly. 

 

  • “One of few aristocratic ladies whose honor was considered untainted“- this was the statement about Eva Ekeblad by the Spanish Ambassador’s wife ‘De marquis de Puentefuerte’, during a cultural salon at the Ekeblad’s residence. 

 

  • Eva Ekeblad took control of her son’s estate Stola, as he was also absent from the estates similar to his father for career reasons.

 

  • Eva Ekeblad also had a friendly relationship with the queen ‘Louisa Ulrika’.

 

  • Swedish Academy in 1751 already regarded her as an honorary member, but did not accept the membership of Eva Ekeblad, as only men were granted full membership.

 

  • Charlotte was also the female behind stopping witch-hunting and hysteria in Sweden. She was also awarded a gold medal in 1761 for her courageous works, which was a rare thing to women.

 

  • Google Doodle was dedicated for the 293rd birthday of Eva Ekeblad. 

 

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