In late September 1720 the South Sea bubble burst. The collapse of the South Sea Company's share price caused the first great British stock market crash, the repercussions of which were felt far beyond the City of London. Patrick Walsh's book traces for the first time the impact of the rise and fall of the South Sea bubble on the peripheries of the British state. Its primary focus is on Ireland, but Irish developments are placed within a comparative context, with special attention paid to Scotland. Drawing on an impressive array of evidence, including bank ledgers, private correspondence, pamphlets, newspapers, and contemporary literary sources, this book examines not only investment in London but also the impact of the bubble on the fate of non-metropolitan projects in the 'South Sea Year', notably the failed project for an Irish national bank. Central to the book is the lived experience of the bubble and the wider financial revolution. The stories of individual investors - their strategies, speculations, aspirations, gains, losses and misunderstandings - are employed to create a new, more personal narrative of the momentous events of 1720, showing how they impacted on the lives of the inhabitants of early eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland. Patrick Walsh is Irish Research Council CARA Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin. He is the author of The Making of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy: The Life of William Conolly, 1662-1729 (Boydell Press, 2010).
Subjects: History, Economics
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