A brief history of stock market crashes

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Specialist Michael Pistillo, left, works with traders Kevin Lodewick, center, and Timothy Nick on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. U.S. stocks closed sharply lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 588 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index now down more than 10 percent off its recent high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Michael Pistillo, left, works with traders Kevin Lodewick, center, and Timothy Nick on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. U.S. stocks closed sharply lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 588 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index now down more than 10 percent off its recent high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Specialist Michael Pistillo, left, works with traders Kevin Lodewick, center, and Timothy Nick on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

With a tweet and a dramatic cartoon, Chinese state media Xinhua dubbed yesterday’s staggering sale of Chinese shares “Black Monday.”

Headlines everywhere would take up the epithet as market fears around the world led to markets in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East closing with losses.

As noted by a number of media sites, it was “Twitter’s first Black Monday,” which inspired us to take a brief look back at the phrase’s 86-year history before it trended on Twitter.

Related reads: Five things to know about the stock market slide

The world’s first “Black Monday,” a day on which the market closed down 12.8 percent, was Oct. 28, 1929. The following day, on Oct. 28, 1929, “Black Tuesday,” more than 16 million shares were traded and the U.S. slipped into the longest-lasting economic downturn in its history, also known as the Great Depression.

Those who refer to 1929’s “Black Monday” instead as the “Great Crash” consider Oct. 19, 1987 to be the real “Black Monday.” On this fateful Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 508 points, its worst one-day drop yet.

Other notable crashes include Oct. 27, 1997 (another Monday), in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.2 percent, and two days in 2008 ahead of the Great Recession: Sept. 29 (yes, a Monday) and Oct. 15. (a Wednesday).

The market also experienced significant dips after reopening after World War I and 9/11, however the instance in 1914 after World War I was partly due to an apple-to-oranges recalculation of 1914 Dow Jones values after a list of 20 new stocks were adopted in 1916.

You can read more about how to contextualize yesterday’s market slide in the history of stock market crashes in Wall Street Journal’s Crash Comparison Chartbook and at CNNMoney’s guide to the financial crashes.

By the way, after a major selloff, yesterday’s “Black Monday” day closed with the Dow gaining more than a hundred points moments after the bell rang, closing down more than 588 points and today, the Dow is up after China’s central bank cut its key interest rate this morning.


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