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May 17, 1792. A group of 24 stock brokers create what would become the New York Stock Exchange. They signed the Buttonwood Agreement under a buttonwood (American Sycamore) tree outside 68 Wall Street, New York (see picture). Under the two terms of the deal, the brokers agree to trade only with each other and for a commission of 0.25 percent. The first offices were a room rented for $200 per month at 40 Wall Street and the first listed company was the Bank of New York. Today, the NYSE is the world’s largest stock exchange thanks to a market capitalisation worth more than 13 trillion dollars.

Also on May 17: Norway’s first constitution is signed (1814); Jacques Chirac becomes French president (1995); the World Health Organisation removes homosexuality from its list of psychiatric diseases (1990).

Born on May 17: Edward Jenner (1749), Dennis Hopper (1936), Sugar Ray Leonard (1956)

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