The subprime crisis of 2008 and the debt and banking crises 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. Historical approaches have also been used in reforms to prevent future financial meltdowns. This course presents some of the main issues that have 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. Emphasis will be given to the organizational structure of financial markets, to the role of international organizations and to financial actors (regulators, rating agencies and financial intermediaries), consistently considering the broad historical context.