The History of Stock Exchange. When Did the Stock Market Start?

The stock market, also known as the stock exchange, is an organized marketplace where buyers and sellers trade securities, such as shares of stock and bonds. The stock market provides a way for companies to raise capital and for investors to buy and sell shares of ownership in those companies.

Stock markets have a rich history that, as far as we can tell, is almost more than 1,000 years old. It started as a way in Western Europe to exchange currencies and debts, and evolved 500 years ago into the earliest forms of stock exchanges as we know them today.

The stock market history can be traced to the late 1100s, when “courretiers de change” (currency carriers) used to manage the agricultural debts throughout the country on behalf of the then banks. They also traded in these debts, making them the first known stockbrokers. In the years afterward, the merchants of Venice were credited with trading government-related debt. The modern-day stock exchanges arrived in the late 1500s in Belgium.

First Stock Market in the World

The first stock market was established in the city of Antwerp, Belgium in 1531, which was the hometown of the influential Van de Beurze family. The family was known as the first financial advisors and brokers. It was called the Bourse, which is French for “purse.” The first stock market traders were merchants who needed a way to raise capital for dangerous and expensive trading voyages to the East Indies. They would sell shares of their business to investors, who would then share in the profits or losses of the voyage. It was mainly a marketplace for trading shares of the Dutch East India Company, which was the first publicly traded company in the world.

The first stock market was a very simple affair. Traders would meet under a tree or in a coffeehouse to buy and sell shares. There were no rules or regulations, and prices were determined by negotiation. These days, the main Belgium Stock Exchange is based in Brussels.

The stock market developed due to several factors, including the expansion of international trade and commerce, the emergence of the merchant class, the rise of companies where investors could buy and sell shares of ownership in businesses that needed to raise money to finance new ventures, and the creation of new financial instruments such as corporate shares, government bonds, and other securities. During this time, governments started issuing debt securities to raise money for wars and other initiatives. This established a market where investors could buy and sell government bonds.

First Publicly Traded Company

The first publicly traded company was the Dutch East India Company, which was the biggest company in the world. The company was involved in all manner of trading such as rice trading, transport, and slave trading. It was the first stock to trade at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, which is now known as Euronext Amsterdam.

It was founded in 1602 and was granted a monopoly on trade with Asia by the Dutch government. The company raised capital by selling shares to investors, and its stock was traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. It was a very successful company, and its stock was highly sought-after by investors. However, the company’s monopoly power led to corruption and mismanagement. In the late 18th century, the company began to decline, and its stock price crashed. The company was eventually liquidated in 1800.

The first publicly traded company was the Dutch East India Company, which, historically, still is the biggest company in the world that ever existed.

Early Stock Exchanges

After the birth of the first stock market in Belgium in 1531, others emerged around the world. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is considered the oldest stock exchange in the world, having been founded in 1602. It was established to trade shares of the Dutch East India Company. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange played a key role in the development of the Dutch economy and was a major center of global trade in the 17th and 18th centuries.

In 1801, the London Stock Exchange was officially founded, but it was not until 1825 that companies were allowed to issue shares, which limited its growth. The ban on companies issuing shares prevented London from becoming a global financial superpower. In 1817, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was created and began trading shares immediately. However, the NYSE was not the first stock exchange in the United States. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange was the first, but the NYSE ended up dominating the market due to a lack of domestic competition. This made New York the center of global trade and economics.

During this time, the London Stock Exchange became the main stock market in Europe, while the New York Stock Exchange became the main stock market in America.

During the 19th century, stock exchanges continued to emerge around the world. In 1894, the Tokyo Stock Exchange was founded, and in 1911, the Shanghai Stock Exchange was established. These exchanges played a key role in the development of the Japanese and Chinese economies, respectively.

In the 20th century, stock markets became increasingly globalized. In 1973, the London Stock Exchange became the first stock exchange to offer electronic trading. This made it easier for investors from all over the world to trade on the exchange. In the 1980s and 1990s, stock markets experienced a period of rapid growth. This was due in part to the rise of institutional investors, such as pension funds and mutual funds. Institutional investors have more capital to invest than individual investors, and they are more sophisticated in their investment strategies.

first stock exchanges in the world
After Antwerp, London and Rotterdam, Amsterdam saw its first exchange completed in 1611 on arches over the Rokin water. In 1622, a Spanish general managed to moor a ship filled with gunpowder under the building. An orphan boy discovered the boat and saved the exchange in the Netherlands from being destroyed.

How the LSE and the NYSE Became the World’s Leading Stock Markets

The London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange became the world’s leading stock markets for a number of reasons. First, they were both located in major financial centers. London was the financial center of the British Empire, and New York was the financial center of the United States. This gave them access to a large pool of capital and investors.

Second, the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange were both well-regulated and efficient. They had clear rules and regulations in place to protect investors and ensure fair trading. They also had efficient trading systems that allowed investors to buy and sell shares quickly and easily.

Third, the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange were both global in scope. They listed shares of companies from all over the world, making them attractive to investors from all over the globe.

Main Figures Behind the Birth of the Stock Market

Some of the key figures behind the birth of the stock market include:

  • Van der Beurze: A Flemish merchant who established the first stock exchange in Antwerp, Belgium in 1531.
  • Gérard van de Velde: A Belgian merchant and banker who is credited with developing the first modern stock market in Amsterdam in 1602.
  • Thomas Gresham: An English financier and merchant who is credited with establishing the first stock exchange in London in 1571.
  • Charles Dow: An American journalist and financial analyst who co-founded the Dow Jones & Company and developed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the most widely followed stock market indices in the world.
  • Edward Misselden: Misselden was an English economist who wrote the first book on the stock market in 1621. His book, “Free Trade, or the Means to Make Trade Flourish,” helped to popularize the stock market and encourage investment.
  • Charles Mackay: Mackay was a Scottish journalist and poet who wrote the book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” in 1841. This book is a classic account of financial bubbles and manias, and it is still widely read today.
  • Willem Usselincx: A Dutch merchant who is credited with founding the Dutch East India Company in 1602, which was the first publicly traded company.

Interesting Facts About the Origin of the Stock Market

Here are some interesting facts about the origin of the stock market:

  • The first stock exchanges were open-air markets where merchants and brokers would gather to trade shares and bonds.
  • The first stock market transaction was recorded on November 18, 1531. It was a trade of 300 shares of the Dutch East India Company for 100 guilders.
  • Stockbrokers would use hand signals to communicate with each other across the trading floor.
  • The first stock exchange ticker was invented in 1867. It was a machine that used a telegraph to transmit stock prices to different locations.
  • The first stock market crash occurred in 1720, and it was known as the South Sea Bubble.
  • The first stock exchanges were dominated by men. Women were not allowed to trade on the stock exchange until the late 19th century.
  • The word “stockbroker” comes from the fact that early stock traders used to stand under a sycamore tree in London to trade shares.

The Untold Future History of Stock Exchange

The stock market has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Antwerp in 1531. Over the centuries, it has evolved from a small gathering of merchants under a tree to a global marketplace where trillions of dollars are traded every day.

The future of the stock exchange is uncertain, but it is likely to continue to evolve and adapt to new technologies and changing market conditions. One of the most significant trends is the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is already being used in the stock market to develop trading algorithms, to analyze large amounts of data, automate tasks, analyze data, and make predictions. Another important trend is the globalization of the stock exchange. Today, investors can buy and sell stocks from all over the world with the click of a button. The future of the stock exchange is also being shaped by the emergence of new asset classes. For example, the rise of bitcoin and digital assets has created new opportunities for investors.

While many like to criticize the stock market, the reality is that it has been a force for good. Without it, companies like Microsoft, Boeing, Google, and Facebook would not be what they are today. By understanding how the stock market has evolved, you will be in a better position to make money and live a successful life investing in the stock market.

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Crispus (BSc and MBA) is a finance professional with more than a decade experience as a financial analyst, writer, researcher, and trader. Crispus has written in-depth articles on leading platforms like CCN, Marketwatch, Investing Cube and Seeking Alpha. He also runs a forex education firm. Follow him on Twitter: @crispusnyaga and read more about us.