It's a "Brexit" as the U.K. Votes to leave the E.U.
The U.K. has voted to leave the European Union in an unprecedented move. In a shock result the "leave" campaign garnered 51.9% of the votes, with a turnout of 72%.
Nigel Farage, a divisive figurehead of one of the two factions in the "leave" campaign, told campaigners in the early hours of the morning: "Let June 23 go down in history as independence day."
Just after the polls closed at 10 p.m. U.K. time (5 p.m. in New York), Farage himself had effectively conceded defeat.
The result came as surprise to the world and markets. Markets had been up for the week as a "remain" vote looked likely. The pound had also surged.
As the polls closed on Thursday night the pound surged to recent highs of $1.50 but has since fallen to 30-year lows. The pound was recently at $1.34, dropping more than 10%.
Markets in Asia tumbled on the result. The Nikkei 225 dropped as much as 8% in Tokyo. S&P mini futures were recently down almost 5%. FTSE 100 futures were 8% down.
Britons defied countless warnings from global policymakers, corporate leaders and market protagonists to vote in favor of a retreat from the European Union.
Billionaire George Soros this week predicted that the pound will fall 15% and possibly more than 20%.
"A vote to leave the E.U. would also have an immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, investment, prices and jobs," he wrote in the Guardian.
Analysts are almost unanimous that a "leave" vote will send markets down. UBS believes the FTSE 100 could fall as much as 21% to 4,900, dipping below 5,000 for the first time since 2011 if Britain votes to leave, though its optimistic target is 5,500.
Prime Minister David Cameron now has to go to parliament to seek permission to sign Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty, this will start the legal process for leaving the E.U. It could take two or more years to untangle the U.K. from E.U. structures.
However, the referendum Is not legally binding and a majority of House of Commons lawmakers support remaining in the E.U.