The course explores the history of finance from its earliest beginnings to the modern era. Each class will focus on a different topic in financial history and its implications for understanding current events. Students will learn about the roots of financial crises, the origins and purpose of corporations, the legal framework for financial contracts, investment banking, sovereign debt, initial public offerings, financing of international trade, collateralized lending, central banking, options, mutual funds, the time value of money, property rights, methods of risk mitigation, valuation with uncertainty, the efficient market theory, the equity premium, securitization and mortgages, international diversification and the political implications of capitalism and international financial institutions.