Forsaken Somali Shilling

           Fiat currencies supposedly receive their value from the dictates of the issuing government. Citizens must pay their taxes in official currency and even the acceptance of a certain money in private transactions may be mandated by the state. Accordingly, the exact value of fiat currencies is usually linked to the health of the issuer. If

The Original Bourse at Bruges

           According to the most common accounts, the first stock exchange was established in Amsterdam following the initial public offering of the Dutch East India Company in 1602. However, Amsterdam was not the first city to earn the distinction of being a financial center. It was, after all, hardly the first time traders gathered in a

The Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund

         Colonial America was not awash in corporate entities of any kind; no country was. However, one of the oldest corporations in America, one even older than the Unites States itself, was also among the first life insurance firms in the world. The establishment of the Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund is a significant event in the history

The Great Kuwaiti Crash

           In 1982, the third largest stock market in the world crashed, losing 60% of its value over three months. This occurred not in America or Japan, but in Kuwait. The tiny Persian Gulf state of a million and a half people had become enriched by oil money which flooded into its financial sector from investors

The Financiers of Medieval Florence

           Banking as we know it today was hardly in existence before the 17th century. However, there was something of a financial revolution in late medieval Italy and it saw a new type of firm offer financial services, and indeed banking services, taking deposits and lending money, even across national borders. These firms were principally interested

The York Buildings Company

           In 1720, Britain was gripped by the South Sea Bubble. At its center, the South Sea Company, established to consolidate government debt and trade with South America, saw its stock price multiply several times over before crashing to end the year close to where it started. However, several firms saw speculative mania drive their stock

Bismarck’s Banker

           In the history of Germany, few men are as significant as Otto von Bismarck, who unified the country in the mid-19th century. It is perhaps not because of Bismarck that Germany unified, but Bismarck more than anyone else elected the manner in which it would be done. Through the entire saga, he had a financier

South Africa’s Industrial Gold Rush

           The extraction of commodities can be the fuel for financial booms and busts. Whether it be cotton in 19th century Egypt or oil in 20th century Venezuela, commodities have enriched people, firms, and nations, often temporarily. Perhaps some of the most historically memorable commodity booms were the gold rushes of the 19th century, which snapped

The South Sea Bubble in Writing

           Perhaps one of history’s best-known financial bubbles was also among the first. The South Sea Bubble, which inflated and popped in 1720, was the product of the “Financial Revolution” which began in Britain in the late 17th century. The crash is at least familiar to many interested in the history of financial crises. For this,

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