This chapter looks at the crisis that struck the Dutch East India Company’s shares during the seventeenth century. In the history of the Netherlands, 1672 is known as the Disaster Year. The Republic became embroiled in war with England, France, and the German bishoprics of Cologne and Münster. These developments brought the simmering tensions in the Republic to a head. The Company share price reached its lowest point—290—on July 20, 1672. The price had not been that low since 1637. This blow came as an even greater shock to share traders than it otherwise might have done because a year before, in 1671, the stock exchange had been in exultant mood. Many individuals incurred losses on the stock market that they could not sustain. Share trading had collapsed. For Coenraad van Beuningen, a director of the Company’s Amsterdam chamber since 1681, the consequences were overwhelming.
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