Banks and stock exchanges: where first?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Which is the first country that establish stock exchange and bank?

Banks (or at least bankers) existed for as long as money did. There are actually books written about banking practices in ancient Mesopotamia (see, for example, “The Old Babylonian Loan Contract: Its History and Geography” by Aaron Skaist, 1994).

As to the stock exchange, the priority definitely goes to Rome, where public stock market has existed since the Republic.

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