Forex trading, also known as foreign exchange trading or currency trading, is the act of buying and selling currencies of different countries. It is a global marketplace where currencies are traded 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. But when did forex trading start? In this article, we will explore the history of forex trading, its evolution over the years, and how it turned into a massive financial market that we know today.

The Early Days

Currency trading can be traced back to ancient times when people used to exchange goods and services for other goods and services. In the Middle Ages, money changers started to exchange currencies for a fee, providing a place where people could exchange different currencies without having to travel to different countries.

However, the modern forex trading market didn't exist until the 19th century when different countries started to issue their own currencies. With the advent of the steam engine and the telegraph, people could communicate and exchange currencies faster than ever before.

The Gold Standard

In the late 1800s, countries began to adopt the gold standard, a system where the value of a currency was pegged to a fixed amount of gold. This meant that the value of a currency was tied to the price of gold and that it was possible to exchange currencies for gold at a fixed rate.

The gold standard led to the creation of the first forex market, where people could speculate on the price of gold and different currencies. The market was located in London and was open to brokers and banks.

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The Bretton Woods Agreement

After World War II, the world's financial systems were in disarray. In 1944, representatives from 44 countries met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to create a new financial system. This system, known as the Bretton Woods Agreement, established the US dollar as the global reserve currency and pegged it to the price of gold.

Under this system, other currencies would be pegged to the US dollar, and central banks would buy and sell their currencies to maintain a stable exchange rate. However, in 1971, the US government ended the convertibility of the dollar into gold, leading to the collapse of the Bretton Woods system.

The Rise of Electronic Trading

With the advancement of technology in the 1980s, forex trading became more accessible to the public. The development of the computer and the Internet allowed traders to connect to the market from their home or office, facilitating the growth of retail forex trading.

In the 1990s, electronic trading platforms like EBS (Electronic Broking Services) and Reuters Dealing introduced online forex trading and helped make the market more accessible to traders around the globe. With this revolution in trading, the forex market grew to become the largest financial market in the world.

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The Present Day

Today, the forex market sees an average daily trading volume of around $6.6 trillion, with banks, brokers, and traders from around the world participating in the market. The introduction of mobile trading has made it even easier for traders to access the market anytime and anywhere, further fueling the growth of forex trading.

Despite its massive size, the forex market remains one of the most liquid and volatile financial markets, creating opportunities for traders to profit from fluctuations in currency prices.


The history of forex trading dates back centuries, with its roots in the ancient practice of currency exchange. However, the modern forex trading market has its origins in the 19th century and has evolved immensely over the years, with the introduction of technology making it more accessible to traders worldwide.

Today, the forex market is the largest financial market in the world, with trillions of dollars traded every day. Despite the risks associated with trading forex, the potential for profit has attracted many traders to participate in the market. If you are interested in forex trading, understanding its history and evolution can help you navigate the market with more confidence.