Historical Returns | Financial Bubbles

Historical Gallery

All of the images in this gallery come from the historical collections of Baker Library at Harvard Business School. They are some of the many artifacts in the library that bring the historic events of the South Sea Bubble to life.

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The South Sea House in Threadneedle Street

The South Sea House

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The South Sea House in Threadneedle Street, [England?: s.n., 17--?]. Bleichroeder Collection CD gb14 x.

The South Sea Company was established in 1711, promoted by London financiers John Blunt and George Caswall, and backed by Robert Harley, Lord Treasurer, who saw the South Sea Company as a Tory competitor for the Whig-supported Bank of England. The company was promised a monopoly of all trade to the Spanish colonies in South America in exchange for taking over and consolidating the national debt raised by the War of Spanish Succession. The company was never successful in the South Sea trade but profited by convincing the government to convert successive portions of the national debt into South Sea Company shares.