Here is a timeline of major events in the stock market’s history:
Late 1400s: Antwerp, or modern day Belgium, becomes the center of international trade. Merchants buy goods anticipating that prices will rise in order to net them a profit. Some bond trading also occurs.
1611: The first modern stock trading is created in Amsterdam. The Dutch East India Company is the first publicly traded company, and for many years, it is the only company with trading activity on the exchange.
Late 1700s: A small group of merchants made the Buttonwood Tree Agreement. The men meet daily to buy and sell stocks and bonds, a practice that eventually comes to form the New York Stock Exchange.
1790: The Philadelphia Stock Exchange is formed, helping spur the development of the U.S.’s financial sectors and the country’s expansion west.
1896: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is created. It initially has 12 components that were mainly industrial companies.
1923: The early version of the S&P 500 is created by Henry Barnum Poor’s company, Poor’s Publishing. It begins by tracking 90 stocks in 1926.
1929: The U.S. stock market crashes after the decade-long “Roaring 20s,” when speculators made leveraged bets on the stock market, inflating prices.
1941: Standard & Poor’s is founded when Poor’s Publishing merges with Standard Statistics.
1971: Trading begins on another U.S. stock exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, otherwise known as the NASDAQ.
1987: Corporate buyouts and portfolio insurance helped prices in the market run up until Oct. 19, what becomes known as “Black Monday.”
2008: The stock market crashes after the boom and bust of the housing market, along with the proliferation of mortgage-backed securities in the financial sector.