Derivatives trading is now the world's biggest business, with an estimated daily turnover of over US $ 2.5 trillion and an annual growth rate of around 14 percent. Despite the fact that derivatives markets have ancient origins, little has been written about their long and complex history of trading and regulation. This unique new work examines the history of derivative contracts, their assignability and the regulation of derivatives markets from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day. The author concludes with an analysis of future regulatory prospects and of the implications of the historical data for derivatives trade and regulation. Building the Global Market will be of great value to the legal profession, derivatives market regulators and all those with an interest in the history and regulation of financial services markets.