How Did the Stock Market Start? Stock Market Before Computers

How the Stock Market Started: A Brief History of Stock Trading

Since their modest origins in London coffee shops, stock exchanges have evolved from actual locations where stock is traded to computerized stock and share exchanges powered by powerful computers. Businesses can raise funds by issuing shares on the stock market. Investors buy these shares to fund growth, R&D, and development. Explore the stock market's history and how the stock market was started.

Key Highlights

  • The Amsterdam Stock Exchange pioneered stock exchanges. 

  • Joint stock firms allowed investors to pool resources through share ownership, changing the investing game. This distributed the risk and allowed more market participants.

  • A bustling stock market connects eager buyers and sellers of company ownership.

How Did the Stock Market Start?

Let's start with the early origins of the stock market.

In ancient Rome, people invested in shares of businesses like shipbuilding and construction. These were the early ancestors of stock-like instruments. 

In medieval Europe, joint-stock businesses sparked the evolution of stocks, allowing people to engage in commerce and exciting expeditions. Enterprising traders and merchants crafted diverse financial instruments, including partnerships and the sale of shares.

Key Moments in the History of the Stock Market

Investors teamed up, pooled their funds, and became collaborators and co-owners, each with their stake, to create joint-stock corporations. 

1- First Stock Exchange: 1602

In 1602, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange became the first recognized stock exchange. The first public corporation traded just its shares: the Dutch East India Corporation. The Exchange added new businesses, regular trading hours, and listing fees. 

Future stock markets would stem from this. In 1602, the Dutch East India Co. made history by issuing the first paper shares, according to Cambridge University Press. Shareholders can readily purchase, sell, and swap shares utilizing this exchangeable medium.

2- The market Expands Worldwide

Portuguese, Spanish, and French maritime nations bought shares because the idea was warmly appreciated. The custom reached England. Trading with the New World was profitable, so it began. During the Industrial Revolution, other industries raised starting money using the idea. This wealth infusion enabled New World exploration and industrialization.

3- The Exchange's Humble Beginnings

As the number of shares grew, an official marketplace to trade these shares became essential. Consequently, stock traders gathered in a coffee shop in London, which they utilized as a market. They eventually took over the coffeehouse, and in 1773, it was renamed the "stock exchange." As a result, the London Stock Exchange—the first Exchange—was established. The concept spread across the American colonies through a conversation that began in Philadelphia in 1790.

4- The Birth of Wall Street

Most people think of Wall Street as a stock exchange. The Library of Congress says the Wall Street market started on Broadway and Wall Street on May 17, 1792. The Buttonwood Tree Agreement of 1792 founded the New York Stock Exchange.

The world's largest stock exchange, NYSE, was founded from daily asset trade. The organization established the New York Stock and Exchange Board on March 8, 1817, at 40 Wall Street. Under the new organization, national stock markets would manage the global economy.

5- London Stock Exchange: 1801

In 1571, the Royal Exchange promoted the luxury goods trade, but stockbrokers were outlawed. In Jonathon's Coffee House, these raucous men exchanged stocks. After the Great Fire of London, stockbrokers couldn't trade at the Royal Exchange until 1669. Trading began in 1773 at Sweeting's Alley—London Stock Exchange's official webpage by 1801.

6- Hong Kong Stock Exchange: 1891

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange began as the Association of Stockbrokers. Not until 1914 was it called the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Since then, the city has become a major maritime port and business centre, making it one of the world's largest. 

7- Wall Street Crash: 1929 

Several market panics happened throughout the first century of major markets, but the 1929 crash was the worst. Economy-wide stock market crashes are massive price drops. A decade of economic development drove prices to unsustainable levels, producing the 1929 crisis. It exacerbated the Depression until 1941.

NASDAQ: 1971

NASDAQ is the most active US exchange and the second largest in the world by market capitalization. It is based in New York City and is the first electronic Exchange. The NASDAQ's electronic trading cut bid-ask spreads, competing with the NYSE and encouraging other exchanges to go electronic. 

Black Monday: 1987

Major US stock indices fell 20% on Black Monday, another financial disaster. Black Monday is seen by economists as a price correction following an overheated market, like the 1929 crisis before the Roaring 20s. The Friday before triple witching and panic-induced bank run blew a price correction out of control. 

Shanghai Stock Exchange: 1990

Stock trading began in mainland China in the 1860s, and more exchanges followed. In 1949, China's new leadership closed all securities markets. The Shanghai Stock Exchange opened in December 1990 after stocks and bonds recovered in the 1980s.

Euronext Stock Exchange: 2000

Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris Bourse formed Euronext, which was founded to utilize European money. Its market capitalization makes it the fourth-largest stock market after the NYSE, NASDAQ, and Shanghai. A sophisticated, highly traded market, Euronext operates in several EU countries. 

Dot-Com Bubble: 1999–2000

The dot-com bubble erupted when significant growth in new technology investments failed to generate predicted profits. Online firms were the centre of the crash, hence the name.

Financial Crisis: 2008

The financial crisis was another major stock market crash, as speculative investors created subprime mortgages and high-risk loans to homebuyers that caused massive defaults. Borrower defaults sank the real estate market.

Crash of COVID-19: 2020

The coronavirus spread rapidly, shutting down industries and disrupting global trade. Selling was so intense that many markets ceased trading after plummeting more than 10% in a day.  

The Strong Stock Market Today

Many stock exchanges globally provide funding for industrial expansion. Without these subsidies, many groundbreaking ideas and product advancements would never happen. Private investment in the stock market provides wealth and financial security, allowing people to fund retirement and other initiatives.

What Was the First Stock Ever Traded?

The Dutch East India Company issued its first shares in 1602, marking the beginning of stock trading. The Dutch East India Co. made history by being the first to offer shares of its business to the public in the world's inaugural IPO. It was a significant factor in the first modern stock market crash.

The Netherlands States General founded Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie in 1602. It received sovereign powers in new territories and a 20-year East Indies trade monopoly. This firm is sometimes called VOC. Amsterdam Stock Market, founded in 1602, along with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), is the world's oldest continually operational stock market.

How Did the Stock Market Work Before Computers?

Technology has improved, but traders still experience microsecond latency situations depending on their distance from exchanges. Designing successful trading tactics can utilize this latency, which was significantly longer before contemporary connections.

Share buyers and sellers met at exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange. Participants used hand gestures and screaming to communicate their desires in an open outcry strategy.  

Every stock exchange had a trading floor where floor brokers or traders engaged with each other and professionals who helped trade stocks. Written orders were delivered to the trading pit to be compared to opposing orders. 

After deals were made, Exchange workers manually recorded them. This laborious trade relied on interpersonal touch. It was also more susceptible to human error and inefficiency than modern automated trading systems.

Brokers manually entered trades into papers and reconciled with counterparties. Although delays would still occur, they would be reduced because all the key brokers knew how to trade at the exchanges.

How Was the Stock Market Formed?

The stock market helps corporations generate cash, and investors build wealth in modern finance. Due to various historical occurrences, it has evolved throughout the ages. Let's time travel to the stock market's founding milestones.

Stock Trading Began (1600s)

The stock market began with early modern stock trading. The Dutch East India Company introduced formal stock trading by issuing shares to support its activities.

The Beginnings of Joint Stock Companies (1700s)

Joint stock corporations allowed investors to share risk in the 18th century. This expanded market participation and growth.

Industrial Revolution (1800s)

Industrialization transformed the 19th century. As industries grew, entrepreneurs sought capital. Company shares issued to investors anxious to profit from the booming economy were suitable for raising funds on the stock market.

Great Crash (1929)

The 1929 Wall Street Crash caused a severe economic downturn and devastated the stock market. This tragedy triggered improvements in transparency and investor protection regulation.

The 2000s Digital Revolution

Digital trading platforms let investors trade shares online in the 21st century. This has changed how we see stock trading and given investors worldwide new options.

How Old Is the Oldest Stock Market in the World?

Many people believe the Amsterdam Stock Market is the oldest in the world, having begun business in 1602. The Dutch East India Company founded what is commonly seen as the first organized stock market. 

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange inspired new stock exchanges and helped shape stock trading worldwide. Over the years, it has developed into what is currently known as Euronext Amsterdam, and it is still a significant stock exchange in Europe.

Final Words 

From humble beginnings in the 1600s, the stock market has blossomed into a global sensation in the 21st century. Technology, legislation, and history have affected its advancement. The stock market will undoubtedly continue to shape our economy. It lets people invest in various firms and sectors, which may boost their wealth through dividends and capital growth. It enables people to help grow the economy and profit from company successes.


When did the stock market originate?

Since stock trading began in the 1600s, the stock market has existed since the early modern era. Formal stock trading started because the Dutch East India Company issued shares to finance its endeavours.

How does stock trading work?

Trading goods and services fuels the stock market. Shareholders instantly become co-owners and benefit from the company's success. Sellers who can sell their shares for more than they paid will experience the opposite. Demand and supply are just two economic factors affecting stock value.

What are the important stock market events?

Several stock market events have influenced investors and the global economy. In addition, "the 1929 Wall Street crash," or "Black Tuesday," caused the global downturn. The early 2000s dot-com bubble meltdown hurt IT companies and investors. They demonstrate stock market risk and volatility.

How has technology impacted the stock market?

Technology transformed the stock market. Electronic trading platforms have replaced trade floors, speeding up transactions. Investors have more market liquidity and access. Data analysis and algorithmic trading have also changed investor decision-making and trading. Technology has transformed the stock market.

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31 Jan, 2024


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