money·2 min read

The History of the Stock Market

Aug 29, 2019

The Story

Investing started a long time ago. Before America was even a thing.

When exactly are we talking?

In the 1600s. Countries like Britain and Holland needed a way to bulk up their bank accounts. So they found companies that were doing well. And gave them some cash money in exchange for a small slice of their profits.

Then what happened?

Regular people wanted in. As the idea caught on, companies began issuing shares on pieces of paper they called stocks. People met in person to swap their paper stocks. Over time, these meetings became known as stock exchanges.

And now?

There are a few (way more formal) US stock exchanges. Like these two popular ones:

  • The New York Stock Exchange: dates back to 1792. And the largest marketplace to buy and sell securities (fancy word for stocks and bonds) in the world.

  • NASDAQ: a totally digital stock exchange. Where you can trade a lot of big tech companies, like Apple and Facebook.


The stock market’s been around for 400+ years. Some things have changed since then...but a lot’s the same. Getting back to basics can make it easier to understand. And help you make smart investing decisions today.

Subscribe to Skimm Money

Your source for the biggest financial headlines and trends, and how they affect your wallet.