Back in 1900, the UK had the world's largest equity market, according to a research report from Credit Suisse (via Barry Ritholtz).
Soon after, the U.S. and barring a three-year period in the late 1980s, it has stayed that way.
One of the more interesting stock markets to look at is Japan's.
Japan's stock market capitalization (or market value) all but disappeared in the 1940s following WWII. At the time, stocks lost lost 96 percent of their real value. But, "from 1949 to 1959, Japan's 'economic miracle' began and equities gave a real return of 1,565%."
From the report:
"At its peak, Japan accounted for 45% of the total market capitalization of our 22 countries. Then the Japanese bubble burst and, by the end of 2012, Japan’s proportion had fallen to just 8%, while the USA still accounted for 51%."
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