A crisis timeline
Napoleonic wars. Austria, France, Russia, the German states all default under the cost of financing armies.
Greece defaults for the first of five times. Its first king, Otto, spends his rule fruitlessly trying to stabilize finances.
Germany, devastated by hyperinflation, war reparations, and Depression, repudiates debt owed U.S. investors.
Sixteen Latin American countries default on tens of billions of dollars, owed mostly to U.S. banks. Citibank almost goes under.
Mexico suddenly devalues the peso, which had been under mounting pressure. The peso's crash triggers a crisis that requires intervention form the U.S. Treasury.
Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea prove unable to repay dollar-denominated debt as their currencies collapse. IMF boss Michel Camdessus imposes draconian budget cuts in return for aid.
Argentina, beset by budget woes, partly defaults on its foreign debt and abandons the peg to the dollar. Bondholders have still not settled.
Greece, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary all face a sovereign debt crisis.