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This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Bubble Year. In 1720, there were stock market bubbles in Paris and London followed by ripple effects elsewhere. This was the first international stock market crisis. The London event has become known as the South Sea Bubble after the South Sea Company. There are various popular myths surrounding the Bubble, including idea that a mysterious gambling mania gripped the public. The South Sea Company was a slaving company, although this side of its history has often been overlooked until comparatively recently. In this tercentenary year, is it time that the South Sea Bubble was reassessed?
Helen J. Paul is a lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on early modern economic history, the Financial Revolution, Atlantic history, the South Sea Bubble, and the Navy’s role within the economy. Aside from many contribution to learned journals and edited volumes, she is the author of The South Sea Bubble: an economic history of its origins and consequences (2011).