Medieval History: The Stock Market Has Always Been Confusing

I’m always scouring for clues about my ancestors and while doing so, come across some interesting tidbits. It’s especially intriguing to read about the medieval merchant elite, and imagine them in Amsterdam, while boats sailed peacefully through the canals and men stood about the exchange talking about the latest ship that did or didn’t make profits for its investors. Spoiled grain, piracy, storms, they all led to disaster. Companies in the form of co-operatives were pieced together, often for only a year and then disbanded, the company, intending to only invest together for the length of one ship’s voyage. It was probably quite similar to today’s investing in commodities. The first to write of the details of the exchange was Joseph de la Vega, a Dutchman of Sephardic Jewish origin. He titled his book, “Confucion de los Confucions.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors and Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:


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Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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