Economist: Dutch fleet

ANY good history of financial markets will have a section on Amsterdam. The Dutch city was the home of the world’s first stock exchange, kicked off in 1602 by the issuance of shares in the Dutch East India Company (the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC). Equity derivatives followed: forward contracts on VOC shares were being traded by 1607. By the 1630s the secondary market had taken off, helped along by Christoffel and Jan Raphoen, brothers who bought and sold VOC shares on demand and can claim to have been the world’s first market-makers.

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