The subprime crisis of 2008 and the recent debt crisis in Europe have renewed the interest of policymakers in history. Past experiences of financial crises may provide useful tools to understand the challenges stemming from the fragilities in the financial sector. History has been also utilized to propose reforms that could be introduced to prevent future financial meltdowns. This course presents some of the main issues that has been analysed in the academic literature and that prevail in the public debate.We will look in detail at certain episodes of the history of financial crises, and look for potential lessons and parallels. Emphasis will be given to the organizational structure of financial markets and to the role of international organizations and financial actors (regulators, rating agencies and financial intermediaries).