[[File:B078682b5485b042587f5ca1fd08662c.jpg|thumb|left|Figure 1. The Dutch East India Company was the first company to be publicly traded in the first stock market established in Amsterdam in 1602. ]]
Stock markets developed over the last few centuries into companies issuing shares and investment opportunities to shareholders. Stock markets very much drive modern economies but the ideas behind them are a few centuries old. Nevertheless, the concept of investing in firms or organizations that reap rewards for shareholders engaged in trading is an ancient one and goes back millennia.