After the Great Fire of London

           In 1666, a fire burned down much of London, leaving tens of thousands homeless and destroying numerous public buildings. The property lost was worth millions of pounds. So, rebuilding was more than a feat in engineering. A financial challenge also needed to be overcome. In the end, the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire

Napoleonic Sanctions

           As wars are costly and cannot always be won by military means alone, wars are also economic struggles. Adversaries try to gain the upper hand by embargos and blockades, either in lieu of military action or in addition to it. Unable to defeat Britain by conventional means, Napoleonic France led a front of largely reluctant

Bicycle Boom

           Excitement is present in all speculative manias. Sometimes this excitement has only financial origins but widespread financial speculation can spring from enthusiasm for technical innovations or trendy fashions, especially those with the broadest popular appeal and relevance. In the late 19th century, the bicycle industry was benefiting from both changes in technology and fashion and

Creating the Consols

           For over a century, perhaps the most significant security in the world was the British consol. One consol was just like any other; for most of their history, they paid 3% interest perpetually. Yet, fifty years before their creation, government borrowing in Britain made use of a broad array of different instruments. Nevertheless, history ultimately

Tuscan Banking in the Middle Ages

             Medieval Italy was home to a burgeoning banking system, even a century before the start of the Medici banking operation. This system was concentrated in the Tuscan cities of Siena, Lucca, and Florence but its reach was international. Tuscan bankers financed merchants conducting international trade before extending their services to kings and popes. These relationships

Financing the Second French Indemnity

           After France’s defeat in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War, the country was billed five billion francs for peace. This ‘indemnity’ was intended to cripple the country, but it failed. The French government was able to pay the demanded reparations faster than expected by refinancing the indemnity with perpetual bonds, or rentes. It succeeded in conducting the

Financing the First French Indemnity

           After being defeated at Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to give up control of France. The treaty that finally ended the long Napoleonic Wars nonetheless imposed on the defeated country responsibility for paying a large indemnity, the first of two in 19th century France. The public finances were in shambles; so, meeting such payments would

Barter and Money in Post-War Germany

           When a currency is discredited, people usually turn to substitutes. These are often foreign currencies. Sometimes though the economy functions only by resorting to barter. This is hardly a solution since bartering is usually impractical. During the late 1940s in occupied Germany, people traded goods for products like cigarettes, coal, and potatoes which were in

Soviet Education in Finance and Economics

           In the Soviet Union, university programs in finance and economics did exist but they were nothing like their Western counterparts. To be sure, Western economies and financial systems were studied but providing a thorough understanding of a capitalist system was not the natural objective of these programs.            Rather, the courses distributed to students evidence of

Financial Crisis of AD 33

           In ancient Rome, lending was often secured by land, at least in the case of large loans to wealthy landowners. Naturally therefore, the credit and real estate markets were closely linked. These links could help propel large fortunes when times were good and could cause trouble when virtuous cycles gave way to spiraling losses, when

Recoinage Crisis of 1696

           In the late 17th century, a series of advances were made in finance. Though originating in England, this period of increasing sophistication became known as the ‘Financial Revolution’ even outside Britain. Long-term government borrowing, central banks, and stock exchanges were each either born or developed into more recognizable forms in this period. It was a

Spanish Stamp Scandal

           In 2006, authorities shut down the operations of two stamp dealing firms in Spain offering investment products that turned out to be fraudulent. The value of the products they sold to customers were overstated and the returns they offered could only be paid out of the investments made by new investors. This ponzi scheme was

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial