1.3 The history of stocks

  • The first company that issued shares was the United East India Company (VOC) in 1606.
  • The shares were registered for more than 6 million guilders, a huge amount for that time.
  • These shares were issued to provide finance to equip the first ships that sailed to the East.
  • The founders did not have the ability to raise enough capital to undertake that first voyage, as the entire fleet of merchant ships had to be constructed and equipped.
  • Furthermore, the Dutch were at war with the Portuguese who, regularly hijacked or sunk ships. The initial investors in shares did not make a profit because the VOC suffered considerable losses.
  • The first profits only came in 1610.

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