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Abstract

This dissertation is a study of the early institutional development of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in a local, regional and global context. Despite its 130 years of history, no previous study has attempted to investigate the establishment and development of Africa’s oldest existing stock exchange as an integral aspect of 19th century financial capitalism. The manuscript provides a historical account and analysis of the origins, foundations and development of the JSE between its establishment in 1887 and its temporary closure at the outbreak of the South African War in 1899. The development of the JSE is woven interchangeably with the history of Johannesburg’s gold industry, and the growth of the city as a crucial supplier of gold to global monetary systems at the height of the classical gold standard. Following the early financial developments in Kimberley, Barberton, London, Paris and finally Johannesburg, this dissertation investigates the social, financial and economic connections between the rise of South Africa’s gold mining industry and its foremost financial institution during the first age of financial globalisation. The first twelve years of the JSE’s history not only coincide with the European colonisation of southern Africa, but more importantly, expose the active participation of certain members of the Exchange in the British imperial project. Using neglected original documentation from the Exchange and partner financial intermediaries, this dissertation demonstrates the close personal alliances, inter-institutional discrepancies and legislative framework of the JSE in a dynamic study of Africa’s oldest and largest financial capital market.

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