South Sea Bubble

Shared by Lisa Marie Griffith

The South Sea company was an English company which, in 1720, was granted a monopoly to trade with South America. In return for the monopoly the company lent £7 million to the English government and underwrote the national debt (which then stood at £30 million) for an interest rate of 5 per cent per annum. Demand for stock in the company grew overnight and conditions all of a sudden became ripe for one of the most famous bubbles in English history. Clearly the English had learnt nothing from the Dutch and their fanaticism for Tulips!

I came across this Rory Bremner clip the other day while looking for some material relating to early modern financial bubbles to show a class and thought I would share it. Not that we need an explanation of what a bubble is these days but I thought this explained it very well in the context of the early eighteenth century.

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One Response to “South Sea Bubble”

  1. Tina Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa! This is fantastic!

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