South Sea Company, 18th-century satire

South Sea Company, 18th-century satire

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: South Sea Company. 18th-century satirical illustration on the failure of the South Sea Company, Mississippi Company, and bubble schemes of John Law and others. The Dutch title translates as 'The eclipse of the southern sun puts many a place in darkness, as occasioned by the unpolitic moon'. The verses below are in both Dutch and French. The South Sea Company was founded in 1711 to consolidate British national debt. Its share price peaked in 1720 before collapsing and ruining many people. The Mississippi Company was founded in 1716 by Scottish-French economist John Law, and also collapsed in 1720. This engraving was published in 1720.

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