When were stock markets invented?Even if they weren't called stock markets, when was a similar idea invented?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A “stock” is a partial ownership of a company, and the “market” where these partial ownerships were bought and sold had to come into being after enough partial ownership had been created to make a market for them. That time was in the 17th-18th century, (earliest, Muscovy Company in 1555) as economic speculation in colonization and natural resources exploitation, as well as a desire to establish a trade route to the spice and silk-rich East, drove investors into buying partial stakes in exploration expeditions to non-European countries. When single-patronage was not available, charter companies were established, in which each charter member received a share of the profit proportionate with his percent of the investment. The first location for exchanging, buying, and selling such shares was Jonathan's coffee house, in London.


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