The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place during the 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. The Great Depression had devastating effects on both rich and poor countries, leading to widespread unemployment, poverty, and a significant decline in economic activity.

Key features of the Great Depression include:

1. **Stock Market Crash of 1929:** The Great Depression is often associated with the stock market crash of 1929, which occurred on October 29, 1929, also known as “Black Tuesday.” The crash marked the beginning of a prolonged economic downturn.

2. **Bank Failures:** As a result of the stock market crash, many banks faced financial difficulties. A wave of bank failures occurred as people rushed to withdraw their deposits, causing a collapse in the banking system.

3. **Global Economic Downturn:** While the Depression originated in the United States, its impact spread globally. Many countries experienced a sharp decline in industrial production, international trade, and economic growth.

4. **Unemployment:** Unemployment rates soared during the Great Depression. Millions of people lost their jobs, and those fortunate enough to remain employed often faced wage cuts and reduced working hours.

5. **Decline in Industrial Production:** Industrial production plummeted as factories faced decreased demand for goods and services. This decline in production further fueled unemployment and economic hardship.

6. **Agricultural Crisis:** The agricultural sector was hit hard by falling commodity prices and drought conditions in some regions. Many farmers faced foreclosure, and rural communities experienced significant economic distress.

7. **Government Responses:** Governments around the world implemented various policies to address the economic crisis. In the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs aimed to provide relief, recovery, and reform through a series of economic and social initiatives.

8. **Social Impact:** The Great Depression had profound social consequences. Many families lost their homes and were forced to migrate in search of work. Soup kitchens and shantytowns, known as “Hoovervilles,” became common sights.

9. **End of the Depression:** The global economy began to recover in the late 1930s and early 1940s, partly due to increased government spending associated with World War II. The war effort stimulated economic activity and employment, bringing an end to the Great Depression.

The Great Depression left a lasting impact on economic thought, policy, and institutions. Lessons learned from this period influenced the development of economic theories and the creation of social safety nets to mitigate the impact of economic downturns in subsequent decades.