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The Merchant Adventurers, the East India Company,

Most of the companies earned good profits, and enormous personal fortunes were created in India.[29] However, there was one major fiasco that caused heavy losses. The South Sea Bubble was a business enterprise that exploded in scandal. The South Sea Company was a private business corporation supposedly set up much like the other trading companies, with a focus on South America. Its actual purpose was to renegotiate previous high-interest government loans amounting to £31 million through market manipulation and speculation. It issued stock four times in 1720 that reached about 8,000 investors. Prices kept soaring every day, from £130 a share to £1,000, with insiders making huge paper profits. The Bubble collapsed overnight, ruining many speculators. Investigations showed bribes had reached into high places—even to the king. His chief minister Robert Walpolemanaged to wind it down with minimal political and economic damage, although some losers fled to exile or committed suicide