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XU Bin: The Early Modernization of English Banking
March 26, 2024  


From the mid-16th to the 17th century, English bankers emerged from the trades such as merchants, scriveners, goldsmiths and others. Although the origins of English banking lagged far behind those of the European continent, it began to be an up-and-coming trade by endowing bills of exchange with new functions and issuing credit papers based on customers’ deposits. Through financial network, the bankers utilized these innovative instruments in their investment activities. With the support of these innovations and parliamentary authority, the Bank of England monetized the government debit and provided a large scale of currency supply. During periods of currency scarcity, the early banking of England thus evolved the function of money creation, allowing the monetary system relatively well to adapt to economic changes. English banking, by virtue of these innovations and creations in currency, surpassed its European peers and took the lead in modernization.

Published on Economic and Social History Review, Issue 1, 2024.


Institute of European Civilazation