☰ World Stock Exchanges [1550-2010]


The first modern stock exchange was established in 1602 in Amsterdam to trade paper stock certificates of the Dutch East India Company. Stock exchanges have since transformed into to complex digital infrastructures spanning the globe. There are now nearly 300 exchanges. This project represents the history of stock exchange globalization as online interactive map using data obtained from Handbook of World Stock, Derivatives and Commodity Exchanges.


To produce this visualization we parsed textual data from several editions of the Handbook of World Stock, Derivatives and Commodity Exchanges in order to build a database of World Stock Exchanges. The data was manually validated by checking the context occurrences of dates and other variables. When possible, the data was compared to the history section of the stock exchange's website. We classified exchange infrastructure into two main categories: computerized and non-computerized. Computerized trading platforms were broken down into two sub-categorizes: computer assisted and automated. Computer assisted trading platforms use computer databases to represent securities ownership and may enable computer systems to integrate with the trading platform over the internet. The difference between computer assisted and automated exchanges is that computerized exchanges include human operators in the loop, whereas automated exchanges do not have require a human to match orders.


Preliminary statistical analysis in R reveals that the median date founded is as recent as 1986 despite there being over 400 years of exchange history. As the histogram confirms, the distribution is high skewed to the left. These results suggest that something happened in the latter half of the history of stock exchanges that explains rapid growth in the number of stock exchanges founded.

By comparing the time difference between date foundings the date exchanges were computerized or automated, our analysis also shows that one third of all stock exchanges from the dataset were founded as electronic trading platforms. One thing to note when reviewing these results is that our dataset is biased towards surviving exchanges. Because our source material is a handbook designed for financial professionals between 1996 and 2000 it does not include exchanges that have gone out of business before 1996. Further historical research must be completed before we can make proper conclusions. We plan on adapting our data processing methods to expand our data sources in the next iteration of this project.

We also plan on implementing more advanced spatial statistics to determine if exchanges are spatially autocorrelated. This analysis will quantify how spatially clustered exchanges are, or have been throughout history.

Future Plans

We plan on extending this visualization by extending the database of world stock exchanges to include dates regarding demutalization, long closure periods (such as during World War II), reopenings (such as after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe), and more detailed information about the trading systems employed.


  • Ulysses Pascal

    PhD student at UCLA's department of Information Studies
    Research Interests: The Political economy of information infrastructure, financial geography & STS.

  • Laura Jara

    MLIS Student at UCLA's department of Information Studies

Cited Materials

The Handbook of World Stock, Derivative & Commodity Exchanges. Datchworth: Mondo Visione, 2010.
The Handbook of World Stock, Derivative & Commodity Exchanges. Datchworth: Mondo Visione, 2003.
The Handbook of World Stock, Derivative & Commodity Exchanges. Datchworth: Mondo Visione, 1996.