The History of Stock Exchanges and the trading of notes, bonds and debt firmly belong to Europe.
The Merchants of Venice and the moneylenders of Europe traded paper hundreds of years ago. Moneylenders traded debts between each other; a lender looking to off-load a high-risk, high-interest loan might exchange it for a different loan with another lender. These lenders also bought government debt issues. As the natural evolution of their business continued, the lenders began to sell debt issues to customers - the first individual investors were as far back as the 1300s. The Venetians were the leaders in the field and the first to start trading the securities from other governments. They would carry slates with information on the various issues for sale and meet with clients, like a broker does today.
The First Stock Exchange. Belgium boasted a stock exchange as far back as 1531, in Antwerp. Brokers and moneylenders would meet there to deal in business, government and even individual debt issues. It was a stock exchange that dealt exclusively in promissory notes and bonds, but in the 1500s there were no real stocks. There were structures of business-financier partnerships that produced income like stocks do, but there was no official share that could be traded.
The East India Companies entered the game In the 1600s, the Dutch, British, and French governments all gave charters to companies with East India in their names. On the cusp of imperialism's high point, it seems like everyone had a stake in the profits from the East Indies and Asia except the people living there. Sea voyages that brought back goods from the East were extremely risky - on top of pirates, there were the more common risks of weather and poor navigation. In order to reduce the risk of a lost ship, owners would seek investors who would put up money for the voyage - outfitting the ship and crew in return for a percentage of the proceeds if the voyage was successful. These investors played the odds and traded the paper much like a stock today.
The First Official Stock Exchange was formed in London in 1773, 19 years before the New York Stock Exchange. Whereas the London Stock Exchange was a more cautious and restricted exchange, the New York Stock Exchange has dealt in the trading of stocks, for better or worse, since its inception and therefore became more powerful.
We want it back. Europe has the energy and the depth to grow a new exchange. As global markets are run from the ups and downs of equities, ESE believes a new structure needs to lay a foundation stone now to fit the global financial needs of growth companies throughout the world. ESE is that answer. Join us in the foundation by simply expressing interest in our goal as we figure out regulation, trading platforms and rules to correctly govern a new leader in global equity markets.
IN THE NEWS
The founder of ESE is an avid collector of historical documents. Many great and powerful things today stem from past vibrations in our DNA. Not much really changes. Take twitter for example, its precursor was a section in a women’s newspaper over one hundred years ago called The Tiolet. Sign up for our newsletter for more history and this story.
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