The makeup of the global economy has evolved dramatically in the past millennium.
The stock market has changed too.
From Credit Suisse’s Global Investment Returns Yearbook::
Figure 1 shows the relative market capitalizations of world equity markets at our base date of end-1899. Figure 2 shows how they had changed by end-2013. Markets that are not included in the Yearbook dataset are coloured black. As these pie charts show, the Yearbook covered 98% of the world equity market in 1900 and 91% at end-2013.
Being such a young economy with such a young stock market, it’s little surprise that the U.S. wasn’t the biggest market in the world in 1899.
One thing these two pie charts don’t capture is that the Japanese stock market was by far the world’s largest during the late 1980s.