Adam Lebovitz


The South Sea bubble burst suddenly in September 1720, the second in a chain of panics that struck Paris, London, and Amsterdam in quick succession. The crash in London was by far the most severe; within weeks two-thirds of England's nominal wealth had evaporated, public credit had collapsed, and London's most distinguished banking houses tottered on the brink of ruin. Commerce ground to a halt, leaving a forest of half-built ships rotting in city harbors and a thicket of unfinished mansions in London's fashionable districts.