Wall Street is considered to be the financial hub of the United States. Situated in Lower Manhattan, the street runs Northwest to Southeast for around 8 blocks, and is the epicenter of finance and commerce for New York, and the USA as a whole. There have been many legends surrounding Wall Street, and it has become a huge part of American popular culture. These days it is one of the biggest trading and finance hubs in the planet.
You may not know a lot about the history of Wall Street and how it came about. But, it’s important to know this because of the crucial role it plays in the economy of the USA. Largely because of Wall Street, New York has become the most powerful city in the world and home to the two largest stock exchanges on the planet. Let’s look a little into the history of Wall Street and find out how it was conceived.
What’s in a name?
Many people have pondered where the actual name Wall Street comes from. It would be easy to think it was the name of the street in which it was first initiated, but things are a little more complicated than that. In fact, Dutch settlers erected a wall on the Southern tip of Manhattan in the 1700s, and this is the early derivative of the name. It was erected, first and foremost, as a defensive wall, but was never actually needed. So, once the wall was removed the legacy endured, and the Wall Street name was born.
Wall Street actually has quite a dark history, and was initially used as a place to sell slaves! It wasn’t until the 1800s when multiple businesses started setting up home here that the area changed. There was one of the earliest incarnations of the stock exchange that took place here. Traders would meet beneath a buttonwood tree, and discuss a more structured approach to the trading that was taking place; this was named the Buttonwood Agreement. In 1884, Wall Street began tracking and exchanging stocks, and, behind London, New York became the world’s financial capital.
Wall Street Crash
The Wall Street Crash happened in 1929 and remains the biggest financial crash in history, affecting the whole the Western world. After the wealth and excess of the Roaring Twenties, the Wall Street Crash plunged the United States and most of the developed world into the Great Depression. Eventually, as we know, Wall Street recovered and built itself back up, fluctuating over the years, before booming again under a Reagan government.
Wall Street is considered one of the most important parts of the United States and is one of the decisive factors behind the economic strength of the country. From a dark past, and a catastrophic crash, Wall Street has emerged and evolved as one of the leading centers of finance and economy in the world. Buoyed by the stock market, investment, and no small degree of tourism, Wall Street has become arguably the most relevant and important part of the American economy.