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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Elizabethan Courtier

Sir Thomas Gresham (1517/18–79) served as Elizabeth's chief financial adviser, negotiating loans on the Crown's behalf and advising Elizabeth on the necessity of recoinage.

A very successful businessman, Gresham paid for the establishment of an exchange in London, the precursor to the London Stock Exchange, which was completed in 1569. After Elizabeth visited 1571 it became known as the Royal Exchange.

The Exchange was very successful with merchants from England and Europe. It provided a valuable symbol of the nation's increasing wealth as well as of its changing status from an 'island nation' isolated from power to one that was a seat of power and commerce, independent of the problems in continental Europe.

Gresham died suddenly, apparently of apoplexy, on 21 November 1579. His only son had predeceased him.

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