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The European Association for Banking and Financial History (eabh) e.V.

eabh books

Handbook on the History of European Banks

The growth of banking has had a significant impact on the economic development of the European industrial economies since the nineteenth century. The Handbook on the History of European Banks combines a comprehensive overview with extensive and detailed empirical analysis on the development of European banking and the subsequent impact of banks on national economies. This important reference work presents a breadth of detailed information and major insights into the history of banking in Europe, including specially commissioned chapters on the banking history of all the countries of the European Community, as well as Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia.

Austria (Alice Teichova)

o  Banking in Austria

o  Oesterreichische Nationalbank

o   Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft (BAWAG)

o  Bank Austria AG

o  Creditanstalt-Bankverein

o  GiroCredit

o   Osterreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.)

o  Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG


Belgium (Helma Houtman-De Smedt)

o  The banking system in Belgium through the centuries

o  Banque Nationale de Belgique


o  Banque Bruxelles Lambert

o  Le Credit Communal

o  Generale de Banque/General Bank

o  Kredietbank


Denmark (Hans Christian Johansen)

o  Danish banking history

o  Danmarks Nationalbank

o  Den Danske Bank

o  Sbn Bank

o  Sparekassen Bikunen A/S

o  Sparekassen Sydjylland

o  Unibank


Finland (Antti Kuusterä)

o  The Finnish banking system in broad outlinefrom the 1860s to the mid-1980s

o  Bank of Finland

o  Kansallis-Osake-Pankki

o  Postipankki

o  Union Bank of Finland


France (Alain Plessis)

o  The history of banks in France

o  Banque de France

o  Banque de L’Indochine (1875-1975)

o  Banque Nationale de Paris (1848-1991)

o  Banque de Neuflize, Schlumberger, Mallet

o  Banque OBC – Odier Bungener Courvoisier

o  Banque Ottomane

o  Caisse des Depots et Consignations

o  Compagnie Financiere de Paribas

o  Credit Agricole

o  Credit Commercial de France

o  Credit Foncier de France

o  Creit Industriel d’Alsace et de Lorraine (CIAL)

o  Credit Lyonnais

o  Demachy

o  Societe Generale

o  Societe Generale Alsacienne de Banque


Germany (Richard Tilly)

o  A short history of the German banking system

o  Deutsche Bundesbank

o  Allgemeine Deutsche Credit-Anstalt

o  Baden-Württembergische Bank AG

o  Bankhaus Lampe

o   Bayerishce Hypotheken- und Wechsel Bank AG

o  Bayerische Landesbank

o  Bayerische Vereinsbank

o  Berenberg Bank

o  Berliner Bank AG

o   Berliner Handels- und Frankfurter Bank (BHF-Bank)

o  Bremer Landesbank

o  Commerzbank

o  Delbruck & Co, Privatbankiers

o  Deutsche Bank

o  Deutsche Centralbodenkredit-Aktiengesellschaft

o  Deutsche Girozentrale – Deutsche Kommunalbank-

o  Deutsche Hypothekenbank Frankfurt AG

o  Frankfurter Hypothekenbank AG

o  Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa)

o  Hamburgische Landesbank – Girozentrale

o  Georg Hauck and Sohn Bankiers

o  Hesse Newman & Co. (AG & Co.)

o  Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau

o  Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale

o  Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz Girozentrale

o  Landesbank Schleswig-Holstein Girozentrale

o  Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank

o  B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. KGaA

o  Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie

o  Rheinische Hypothekenbank AG (RHEINHYP)

o  SchmidtBank

o  Schrode Munchmeyer Hengst & Co

o   Sudwestdeutsche Genossenschafts-Zentralbank AG (SGZ-Bank)

o  Sudwestdeutsche Landesbank (SudwestLB)

o  Trinkaus & Burkhardt

o  Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

o   WGZ-Bank Westdeutsche Genossenschafts-Zentralbank eG


Greece (Margarita Dritsas)

o  The structure of the Greek commercialbanking system, 1840-1980

o   Bank of Greece

o   Credit Bank

o   National Bank of Greece


Iceland (Olafur Palmason)

o   Banks in Iceland



o   Central Bank of Ireland

o   AIB Group

o   Bank of Ireland


Italy (Peter Hertner)

o   Modern banking in Italy

o   Banca d’Italia

o   Banca d’America e d’Italia (BAI)

o   Banca Commerciale Italiana

o   Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura

o   Banca Nazionale del Lavoro

o   Banca Popolare di Novara

o   Banca Popolare di Verona

o   Banca Toscana

o   Banco di Napoli

o   Banco di Roma

o   Banco S. Geminiano e S.Prospero SpA

o   Banco di Santo Spirito

o  Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde (CARIPLO)

o   Credito Italiano

o  Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino

o   Mediobanca

o   Monte dei Paschi di Siena

o   Sicilcassa


Luxembourg (Jean-Paul Lehners)

o  The history of banks in Luxemburg

o   La Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, Luxembourg

o   Banque Generale du Luxembourg

o   Banque Internationale a Luxembourg

o   Banque de Luxembourg

o   Caisse Centrale Raiffeisen et Caisses Rurales Raiffeisen, Luxembourg

o   Institut Montaire Luxembourgeois


The Netherlands (Johan de Vries)

o   The Netherlands financial empire

o   De Nederlandsche Bank

o   ABN AMRO Bank

o  H. Albert de Bary & Co.

o   Bank Mees & Hope/MeesPierson

o   GWK/CDK-Bank

o   F. van Lanschot Bankiers

o   Rabobank


Norway (Even Lange)

o  The Norwegian system of banking institutions

o   Norges Bank

o   Landsbanken A/S


Portugal (Jaime Reis)

o   Portuguese banking

o   Banco de Portugal

o   Banco Borges & Irmao

o  Banco Espirito Santo e Comercial de Lisboa

o   Banco Fonsecas e Burnay

o   Banco Nacional Ultramarino, SA

o   Banco Pinto & Sottomayor

o   Banco Portugues do Atlantico

o   Banco Totta e Acores

o   Caixa Geral de Depositos


Spain (Gabriel Tortella)

o  Spanish banking history, 1782 to the present

o   Banco de Espana

o   Argentaria

o  Banco de Credito Agricola (BCA)

o  Banco de Credito Industrial (BCI)

o  Banco de Credito Local (BCL)

o  Banco Exterior de Espana (BEX)

o  Banco Hipotecario de Espana (BHE)

o   Caja Postal

o   Banco Bilbao Vizcaya

o   Banco Central

o   Banco Hispano Americano

o   Banco Popular Espanol

o   Banco Santander

o   Banco Zaragozano

o   Caixa de Catalunya

o   Caixa Galicia

o   Caja de Madrid

o   Unicaja


Sweden (Ulf Olsson)

o   Swedish commercial banking over 150 years

o   Sveriges Riksbank

o   Gota Bank

o   Nordbanken (former PKbanken)

o   Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken

o   Svenska Handelsbanken


Switzerland/Leichtenstein (Youssef Cassis)

o  Banks and banking in Switzerland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

o  Swiss  National Bank

o   Bank for International Settlements

o   Bank in Liechtenstein

o   Bank Julius Baer

o   Bank Leu

o   Bank Sarasin & Cie

o   Bank Vontobel

o   Banque Cantonale Bernoise

o   Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

o   Banque Populaire Suisse

o   BSI – Banca della Svlzzera Italiana

o   Credit Suisse

o   Darier, Hentsch & Cie

o   Liechtensteinische Landesbank

o   Lombard Odier & Cie

o   Pictet & Cie

o   Spar + Leihkasse in Bern

o   Swiss Bank Corporation

o   Union Bank of Switzerland

o   Verwaltungs- und Privat-Bank AG

o   Zurcher Kantonalbank


United Kingdom (Philip L. Cottrell)

o  The historical development of modern banking within the United Kingdom

o   Bank of England

o   Bank of Scotland

o   Barclays

o   Barings Plc

o   Coutts & Co.

o   Guinness Mahon & Co. Ltd

o   Hambros Plc

o   Lloyds Bank Plc

o   Midland Bank pIc

o   Morgan Grenfell Group

o   National Westminster Bank Plc

o   Northern Bank Ltd

o   NM Rothschild & Sons Limited

o   Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

o   Standard Chartered PLC

o   TSB Group plc

o   Union PLC

o   S.G. Warburg & Co. Ltd

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How to Write the History of a Bank

The history of a bank is more than a chronicle of money-making; it should be both a personal history of shareholders, manager and employees, and a history of the organizations at the centre of national and international growth and recession. This volume comprehensively demonstrates the significance of banking history and its relations with social, political and economic history. Leading banking historians provide comments and practical advice on technical problems of research and writing, and discuss critically a variety of approaches they and their peers have used in their work. They bring years of experience and unrivalled expertise to bear on the complete spectrum of banking organizations, from individual institutions to central banks, and the relations between banking systems across international boundaries.

  • From Latin Monetary Union to European Monetary Union (Wim F. Duisenberg)
  • The Wreszynski Case and the Limits to the Tolerance – ‘Not intended for publications’ (Johan de Vries)
  • The Historiography of Commercial Banking – Britain and Scandinavia (Forrest Capie)
  • On the Writing of Banking History – a Scandinavian Perspective (Ulf Olsson)
  • Comments on Writing the History of a Commercial Bank (Edwin Green)
  • How to Write the History of a Bank – Belgium, Holland, Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland (Richard Tilly)
  • How to Write the History of a Commercial Bank (Josefine Stevens)
  • Comment s’est Écrite l’Histoire Internationale de la Générale de Banque? (Isabelle Wybo-Wehrli)
  • How to Write the History of a commercial Bank – the French Case (Maurice Lévy-Leboyer)
  • Writing the History of Commercial Banks in Spain – Problems and Perspectives (Gabriel Tortella)
  • Commercial (Universal) Banking in Central Europe – from Cisleithania to the Successor States (Alice Teichova)
  • Central European Banking between 1850 and 1950 (Fritz Weber)
  • Hungarian Banking – Research and History (Agnes Pogány)
  • Comment Ecrire l’Histoire d’une Banque d’Epargne (Leen van Molle)

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International Banking in an Age of Transition

Sweeping changes have taken place in the financial sector during the twentieth century. Two of the most notable changes have been the growth of global markets and institutions, and the introduction of computerisation. This volume charts the course of concentration and internationalisation in banking and also examines the influence and implications of new technologies on the industry’s record-keeping practices. The exploration of concentration and internationalisation begins in the late nineteenth century and examines the effect of a wide range of factors. The role of individual banks and their policies is also brought into focus. Some of Europe’s most eminent bankers provide a contemporary dimension by discussing possible future developments in continental banking.

  • Bank of Archives of the Future (Sara Kinsey)
  • Archives in Perspective (Edwin Green)
  • Organisational Structure of Banking Information (Jürgen Reboullion)
  • Technology: Future Problems and Opportunities for the Archivist (Piers Cain)
  • English Banking Concentration and Internationalisation: Contemporary Debate, 1880-1920 (Lucy Newton)
  • Aspects of Commercial Banking in Northern and Central Europe, 1880-1931 (Philip L. Cottrell)
  • Concentration and Internationalisation in Banks after the second World War (Geoffrey Jones)
  • European Banking in the Past, Present and Future (Lionello Adler, Hilmar Kopper, Alexandre Lamfalussy, Pedro Martinez Mendez)
  • Banks in Northern and Central Europe, c. 1913 (Philip L. Cottrell)

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Modern Banking in the Balkans

First published in 1999, this book covers the period from 1860 to the end of the 20th th Century, charting the contribution of foreign, and, in particular, West-European capital to the modernization of Balkan banking systems. The contributions focus on national experiences and the specific ways in which each national banking system received foreign capital, as well as offering a wider synthesis that highlights the dynamics of West-European capital in forming Balkan realities. The volume aims to give national accounts of the penetration of West-European capital in Balkan states, as well as an understanding of the West-European conception of the importance of the Balkans in the wider context of European communities.

  • Foreign Capital in the Bulgarian Banking System, 1878-1944-1997 (Ljuben Berov)
  • Foreign Banks in Romania: A Historical Perspective (Christian Bichi)
  • The Imperial Ottoman Bank: Actor or Instrument of Ottoman Modernisation? (Edhem Eldem)
  • Western Capital and the Bulgarian Banking System. Late Nineteenth Century-Second World War (Alexandre Kostov)
  • Foreign Banks in Serbia, 1882-1914 (Andrej Mitrović)
  • The Greek Banking System and its Deregulation: History, Structure and Organization in a European Context (George Pagoulatos)
  • The History of Nova Ljublanska Banka (NLB) in the Framework of Slovene Experience with West-European Capital (Franjo Štiblar)
  • The Changing Nature of Internationalization of the Greek Financial Sector (Tassos Giannitsis)
  • Issues of Management Control and Sovereignty in Transnational Banking in the Eastern Mediterranean before the Frist World War (Christos Hadziiossif)
  • Banking and Politics in Austria-Hungary (Günther Kronenbitter)
  • Capital markets and Economic Integration in South-east Europe, 1919-89: Lessons from Western Banking in the Two Yugoslavias (John R. Lampe)
  • The Role of Jews in Serbian Banking until the first World War (Danica Milić)
  • The Position and Role of French Finance in the Balkans from the Late Nineteenth Century until the Second World War (Alain Plessis and Olivier Feiertag)

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Papal Banking in Renaissance Rome

Benvenuto Olivieri was a Florentine banker active in Rome during the first half of the sixteenthcentury. A self made man without any great family patrimony, he rose to prominence during the pontificate of Pope Paul III, becoming involved with a variety of papal enterprises which allowed him to get to the heart of the mechanisms governing the papal finances. Amassing a considerable fortune along the way, Olivieri soon built himself a role as co-ordinator of the appalti (revenue farms) and became one of the most powerful players in the complex network that connected bankers and the papal revenue. This book explores the indissoluble link that had developed between the papacy and bankers, illuminating how the Apostolic Chamber, increasingly in need of money, could not meet its debts, without farming out the rights to future income.

  • Florentines in Rome
    • Foreigners in Rome during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
    • The Florentine merchant-bankers and the papal court
  • The Ascent of the Olivieri Family
    • The origins of the family
    • The sons of Paolo di Benvenuto and their companies
    • Benvenuto di Paolo (1496-1549)
    • Benvenuto Olivieri in Rome and his companies
    • Benevento’s sons and legal disputes over his business affaires
    • The Depositary and Loans of the Pontiff
    • The Depositary of the Apostolic Chamber
    • Benvenuto Olivieri, depositary
    • Loans to the Pontiff
    • The Papal Public Debt: Venal Offices and Monti
    • Venal offices
    • Papal Monti
  • The customs of Rome
    • Rispa and Ripetta, Terra and Grascia
    • The contracts of 1530-1533 and of 1534-1537
    • The contracts of 1538-1542
    • The contracts of 1543-1549
    • The extension of 1550-1552
    • The contracts of 1553-1560
  • The Provincial Treasuries
    • The Treasuries and papal finances
    • The Treasury of Perugia and Umbria
    • The Treasury of the Romagna
    • The Treasury of Parma and Piacenza
    • Other Treasuries
  • Indirect and Direct Taxes
    • Salt Taxes
    • The gabella dello Studio
    • Other indirect taxes
    • Direct taxes
    • The Triennial Subsidy
    • Tithes
    • The overall picture
  • Other Activities
    • The alum mines of Tolfa
    • The importation of grain
    • The Mint of Rome
  • The Business Turnover

The balance sheet of 1543

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Rebuilding the Financial System in Central and Eastern Europe, 1918-1994

This collection of essays, written by former bankers, practising central bankers, government advisers and historians, celebrates the seventieth anniversary of the National Bank of Hungary. From a range of view points, the contributions consider the monetary and financial history of the past century and, in particular, explore possible parallelisms between experiences of the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1918 and of contemporary changes since 1989. The first part, comprising four essays, concentrates upon central banking, especially the development of the National Bank of Hungary since 1878 and the establishment of the Bank of Poland. Commercial banking is the theme of Part II, where continuities and discontinuities are considered with respect to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Slovenia and Yugoslavia.

  • Rebuilding the Financial System in Central and Eastern Europe (Péter Á. Bod)
  • Currency Reform and the Establishment of the National Bank of Hungary (Tamás Bácsakai)
  • The National Bank of Hungary: From Cradle to Adulthood while Striving for Independence (György Szapáry)
  • Norman, Strakosch and the Development of Central Banking: from Conception to Practice, 1919-1924 (P.L. Cottrell)
  • The Relationship between the Bank of Poland and the Government during the Interwar Period (Z. Landau)
  • Bank Industry Networks: The Austrian Experiences, 1895-1940 (Peter Eigner)
  • The Financial System following the Establishment of Czechoslovakia, 1918-1929 (Vlastislav Lacina)
  • The Financial Sector in Yugoslavia and Slovenia during the Interwar Period (Franjo Stiblar)
  • The Role of Finance in Romania´s Quest for Modernization: Insights from the Interwar Period (Daniel Daianu)

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Regulating Spanish Banking, 1939-1975

Banking regulation has been the subject of intense debate in recent years. This book contributes to that debate in its study of the impact of financial regulation on Spanish banking performance, especially profitability, from the end of the Spanish Civil War to the end of the Franco regime. Maria Pons discusses the Francoist authorities’ policy of forced industrialization based on heavy industry, and the huge interventionist apparatus that it set up to involve banks in its industrialistic programme. This included several items of banking legislation related to the fixing of interest rates, the expansion of the sector, mergers and so forth. Pons explains the emergence of this regulatory framework and its development to the mid-1970s, as well as examining in detail the response of the Spanish banks to these regulations, and their attempts to take advantage of the opportunities they offered to reduce competition and uncertainty.

  • The Development of the Spanish Economy, 1939-1975
    • Introduction: Spain at the end of the Civil War
    • The main options of the Franco economic programme
    • The transformations of the 1950s: the Stabilisation Plan
  • The Spanish Financial System. 1939-1975
    • The Spanish financial structure: size and diversification
    • The Spanish banking system
    • Saving banks
  • Main Regulatory Framework and Regulatory Bodies, 1939-1975
    • Banking regulations in Spain, 1939-1962
    • The Banking Law of 1962 and subsequent reforms
    • Main regulatory bodies
    • Traditional views about the role of the Spanish banking sector during the Franco regime
  • The Reasons for Regulating the Banking Sector in Spain, 1939-1975
    • The causes of banking regulation: some theoretical considerations
    • The objectives of financial regulation in Spain, 1940-1975
  • Banking Regulation Theory
    • A model of banking behaviour without regulation
    • The effects of regulatory constraints on banking behaviour
  • Spanish Banking Profitability and Regulation under Franco
    • Interest rate controls and Spanish banking behaviour
    • The main determinants of Spanish banking profitability and the influence of regulation
    • Banking regulation and risk

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State and Financial Systems in Europe and the USA

During the twentieth century the financial sector became possibly the most regulated area of the economy in many advanced and developing countries. The interwar years represented the defining moment for the escalation of governments’ intervention, turning the State into the core of financial systems in its capacity of regulator, supervisor or owner. The essays in this collection shed light on different aspects of the experience of financial regulation, ownership and deregulation in Europe and the USA from a secular historical perspective. The volume’s chapters explore how the political economy of finance changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and how such changes were related to shifting attitudes towards globalization. They also investigate how regulation responded to governance problems of financial intermediaries and markets, and how different legal frameworks and institutional architectures influenced such response.

  • The making of Financial Regulation and Deregulation: A long View (Stefano Battilossi and Jaime Reis)
  • ‘Conservative abroad, liberal at home’; British Banking Regulation during the Nineteenth Century (Philip L. Cottrell)
  • Lobbying, Institutional inertia, and the efficiency Issue in State Regulation: Evidence from the Evolution of Bankruptcy laws and Procedures in Italy, England and the US (c. 1870-1939) (Paolo di Martino)
  • Regulation and Governance: A Secular Perspective on the Development of the American Financial System (Eugene N. White)
  • The London Stock Exchange and the British Government in the Twentieth Century (Ranald C. Michie)
  • The State in the French Financial System during the Twentieth Century: A Specific Case? (Laure Quennouëlle-Corre and André Straus)
  • The Emergence of Central Banks and Banking Supervision in Comparative Perspective (Richard S. Grossman)
  • Regulation and Supervision in Comparative: The Rise of Central Banks Research Departments (Pablo Martín-Aceña and Teresa Tortella)
  • The Regulation of International Financial Markets from the 1950sto the 1990s (Catherine R. Schenk)
  • The Missing Link: International Banking Supervision in the Archives of the BIS (Piet Clement)
  • Banking Crises in the North: A Comparative (Peter Englund and Vesa Vihriälä)


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The Creators and the Creation of Banking Enterprises in Europe from the 18th to the 20th Century

When recounting their history, individual banks regularly refer to their founders and the time of their founding. As a historical issue, however, the creation and creators of banking enterprises have not yet been properly debated and investigated. This volume is breaking new ground by considering the creation of a banking enterprise as a significant object of study, and the creators of these banks as a highly meaningful group of businessmen.

  • Réorganisations et groupements bancaires en Italie dans l´entre-deux-guerres (Giuseppe Conti)
  • Founding a Multinational Financial Enterprise: Ionian Bank, 1833-1849 (Philip L. Cottrell)
  • Sailing with the Nationalist Wind. The Case of the Serbian Bank in Zagreb (1895-1918) (Damir Jelić)
  • From the Bank of J.F. Kostopoulos & Co. to the Hellenic Commercial Credit Bank (Kostas P. Kostis)
  • La Banque Bulgare de Commerce (1895-1947): les créaterus et leurs successeurs (Alexandre Kostov)
  • Créations etcréateurs de banques hypothécaires en France au XIX siècle (Michel Lescure)
  • Two Banks and Two Bankers in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Spain (Pablo Martín-Aceña)
  • Les créateurs de la Haute Banque Protestante en France (Alain Plessis)
  • Design or Default? Who does Housebanking and Why? Some Impressions from Banks’ Archives. France and Germany, 1800-1915 (Monika Pohle Fraser)

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The Emergence of Modern Central Banking from 1918 to the Present

In this volume, some of the world’s best known specialists examine the process whereby central banks emerged and asserted themselves within the economic and political spheres of their respective countries. Although the theory and the political economy that presided over their creation did not show great divergence across borders, a considerable institutional variety was nevertheless the result. Among the many factors responsible for this diversity, attention is drawn here not only to the idiosyncrasies of domestic financial systems and to the occurrence of political shocks with major monetary repercussions, such as wars, but also to the peculiarities of each economy and of the political and social climate reigning at the time when central banks were created or formalized.

  • Bank of England Autonomy: A Retrospective (Michael Collins and Mae Baker)
  • The Delayed Modernization of the Central Banks of France and Spain in the Twentieth Century (Olivier Feiertag and Pablo Martín-Aceña)
  • Post-war Central Banking Reform: A German-Japanese Comparison (Carl L. Holtfrerich and Toru Iwami)
  • Central Banking in Sweden and Finland in the Twentieth Century (Tarmo Haavisto and Lars Jonung)
  • The Bank of Portugal’s First Century: From 1846 to the Second World War (Jaime Reis)
  • The Bank of Italy from its Foundation to the 1950s: Institutional Aspects (Cosma Onorio Gelsomino)
  • The Emergence of National Central Banks in Central Europe after the Break-up of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (Aurel Schubert)
  • US and Canadian Central Banking: The Triumph of Personalities over Politics? (Pierre L. Siklos)
  • The Emergence of Central Banks in Latin America: Are Evolutionary Models Applicable? (Carlos Marichal and Daniel Díaz Fuentes)
  • The International Monetary Fund and Central Banking (Harold James)
  • Sixty-five Years of Central Bank Cooperation at the Bank for International Settlements (Gunter D. Baer)
  • Concluding Comments (Barry Eichengreen)

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