In the 1600s. the Dutch East India Company employed hundreds of ships to trade gold, porcelain, spices, and silks around the globe. But running this massive operation wasn’t cheap. In order to fund their expensive voyages,. the company turned to private citizens– individuals who could invest money

to support the trip in exchange for a share of the ship’s profits.

This practice allowed the company to afford even grander voyages,. increasing profits for both themselves and their savvy investors. Selling these shares in coffee houses and shipping ports across the continent, the Dutch East India Company unknowingly invented the world’s first stock market.

Since then, companies have been collecting funds from willing investors to support all kinds of businesses. And today,. the stock market has schools, careers, and even whole television websites dedicated to understanding it. But the modern stock market is significantly more complicated. than its original incarnation.