DJIA Closing Prices, October 29, 1929

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To understand what financial markets are doing today and where they may go in the future, you have to understand how financial markets have changed over the past 300 years.

During the 1600s, Europe began exploring the world and put its finances on a sounder footing. To do this, they established corporations whose stock traded in the world’s three financial centers. GFD has data from London (Bank of England, South Sea Company), Amsterdam (East Indies Company) and Paris (Mississippi Company) from the 1700s including the Great Bubble of 1720.

After the 1720 crash, stocks were quiescent for the next 100 years, but after the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815, the capital used to fund the wars was allocated to canals, railroads and to governments in Europe and South America. Meanwhile, the United States was funding the growth of its economy now that it had gained its independence.

GFD tracks the growth of the European, US and global economies in the 1800s and 1900s for both developing and emerging markets. Starting with canals in the 1810s, railroads in the 1840s, and the global economy in the 1870s, you can study how the bond market and stock markets grew, funding the development of the global economy.

GFD charts the changes in financial markets and the economy in the 1900s as the world went through two world wars, the Great Depression, recovery from World War II, stagflation, the emergence of Asian markets and the internet bubble in the 1990s. The past few years have shown that without a full understanding of the past, you cannot understand how markets behave.

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