Trading goes back to Ancient Sumeria, but today's trading on the world's stock markets can probably be attributed to a particular place in London.
OK, as a Brit I would say that but, as I walk around London, I'm constantly amazed by the things you see.
For example, was this road sign the inspiration for the TV series?
And does anyone else notice the irony of having an artist called Banksy making a statement about banks?
But the real centre of my world is a place called Bank, the heart of the City.
This is the heart of the City, as it houses the Bank of England and was home to the Royal Exchange, where stocks were traded and deals were done dating back to 1565 and Sir Thomas Gresham, founding father of much of the world of modern finance.
I must walk around here at least one day per week and sometimes all week, and the more you walk around here, the more you notice signs, nooks and crevices.
For example, at the bottom of the outside of the old Midland Bank is this sign:
Who was Thomas Hood? Was he the father of Robin or someone else?*
Meanwhile, opposite the old Midland Bank building is Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London (not to be confused with Boris, the Mayor).
Having walked around here for years, it wasn't until yesterday that I noticed this little plaque on the side of Mansion House:
Blow me! The London stock market goes back to 1282 A.D.!
Now of course, the old Stocks Market wasn't an exchange for trading stocks and shares … but that's the origins of it. Y'see, this is the spot in London that was recognised as the official stocks exchange, a place where farmers would bring their stocks of oxen and cattle and trade them.
Nothing like a bit of history is there?
* Thomas Hood was a humourist in the company of Coleridge and Keats