Stock markets, places to buy and sell stocks and bonds, existed before this country was born.
A stock exchange in Paris, called the Bourse, grew out of a money-changer’s market that dates back to the 12th century. The first real stock exchange was founded in Holland in 1602, and there was a stock exchange in London before the American Revolution.
The first stock market in America began on May 17, 1792, when 24 brokers, men who buy and sell stocks and bonds as agents for other people, met in New York and agreed to charge a fixed rate for their services.
They first met in a coffee house, and occasionally under a tree on Wall Street. In 1817, these brokers organized the New York Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in this country. There are now about 140 stock exchanges around the world.