At first glance, this street could be just another 0.7-mile long stretch of road in the middle of a bustling city. But it’s so much more than that. Some consider it the heart of New York and, without a doubt, the city’s financial center (and some might say the world’s).

Wall Street and finance are inexorably linked, due in large part to the presence of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, which is by far the biggest stock exchange in the world. Over time, the presence of the NYSE on this particular street ended up attracting other notable financial organizations until Wall Street became the financial juggernaut it is today.

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Bombs, Fat Cats And Charlie Chaplin: Here’s What Wall Street Looked Like In The Early 20th Century
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Of course, this wasn’t always the case. Wall Street has a long history with many significant events taking place, both good and bad. In the 17th century, the actual wall on Wall Street was used as fortifications against Native American tribes. In the early 18th century, Wall Street was the home of the first official slave market in New York City. In that same century, Wall Street served as the background for the inauguration of George Washington, the first presidential inauguration in U.S. history. It wasn’t really until the beginning of the 20th century that Wall Street started thriving as a financial center.

Want to see New York City in its chaotic early days (re: 1928)? Check out this video:

Radu Alexander
Radu is a freelance writer who specializes in historical, scientific and offbeat topics.
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