Economy & Politics

Equities: The world’s first security

Today they are a click away on their computer or a call to the bank: stocks. And above all: every major company is now listed and issues securities. When the first real share was issued in 1602 it was of course a novelty. And it should turn the economy upside down. Above all, however, it made undertakings possible that until then hardly anyone – not even kings – could afford.

The company that issued these papers was the “Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie” (VOC). And the business at issue here was the spice trade. A booming business in the early 17th century. The VOC was an amalgamation of six smaller spice dealers who compete with each other


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