Wall Street is a street that is located in lower Manhattan that goes in an easterly direction from Broadway to South Street. It is in the center of the Financial District and it has been synonymous with finances since the 17th century. Today it is one of the leading financial centers of the world and millions of dollars are traded there every single day.
Wall Street has seen many ups and downs through its long existence and its history is incredibly interesting to anyone who is interested in the topic of finances. So here is a brief history of Wall Street with some useful websites that will help you to learn more about this fantastic centre of finance.
Wall Street was first developed in the 17th century as it was a boundary of a settlement known as New Amsterdam. It was actually a wall that was built to protect the area from English colonial settlers. Within a few short years the planks and picket fences that had formed the wall had been replaced by a wall that was 12 feet tall and designed to keep out the Native American tribes.
By the 18th-century a buttonwood tree stood at the bottom of Wall Street and this was an area that traders would trade with each other on an informal basis. In 1792 traders that gathered here had decided to make a more formal association which was called the Buttonwood Agreement. It was this agreement that formed the origins of the New York Stock Exchange. In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as president on a balcony that overlooked Wall Street.
By 1889 the Customers' Afternoon Letter which was a stock report changed its name to the Wall Street Journal which is still in circulation today. It provided information on the stocks and shares that were trading on Wall Street as well as other financial information. Up until this time Wall Street was an area of high affluence and many successful financial trades took place continually, but this was not to be the case forever.
The Twentieth Century
The first major incident to occur on Wall Street was on September 16, 1920 when a bomb was detonated in front of the House of Morgan. 300 people were injured in the blast and a further 38 died. By 1940 after many years of investigation and research at the FBI declared the file on this bombing inactive and the culprits were never found, despite a warning note being found in a mailbox on the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street.
This however was the first of many incidents that were to change people's perception of Wall Street and the fortunes of those that worked and traded there.
Wall Street has so far seen three devastating crashes where the stock market slumped and the economy went into dramatic decline.
The first of stock market crash occurred in 1929 and was called the Wall Street Crash or the Great Crash. It was the worst crash that ever occurred in the American stock market and signaled the start of an economic slump that was to last 12 years and affect many of the industrialized countries in the West. This crash started what was known as the Great Depression where many Americans were plunged into financial crisis and will always be remembered in the history of Wall Street.
The next crash that occurred happened in 1987 and will also go down in history. Wall Street suffered on 19 October when worldwide stock markets crashed simultaneously, losing millions in an incredibly short space of time. Hong Kong was the first area to suffer a crash and is spread through Europe and finally the United States. Wall Street crash experts place part of the blame on program trading, which is conducted by computers for this crash and many believe that Black Monday, as this crash was known as was inevitable.
The third crash is so recent that most of us remember it well. From October 9, 2007 to March 9, 2009 the Dow Jones Average declined 53.9%. On Oct. 9 2007 the stock market was at 14,164 and by March 9 2009 it had reached 6507. On September 29, 2008, the DIJA dropped a record breaking 777.68. Many people lost money during this time, but a brave few made money when the DIJA recovered 60% of this loss by the end of 2009.
Wall Street was and still remains a center of the financial world and as long as stocks and shares are being traded it will still exist.