More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
16th and 17th Century Merchant Trading Companies
Notes taken on December 2, 2013 by Edward Tanguay
the rising pools of wealth and capital in Europe spawned a set of important institutional changes
had a profound effect on the organization of global market places
gave birth to merchant trading companies
The Muscovy Company (1555-1917)
first major chartered joint stock company
monopoly on trade between England and Muscovy (principality centered around Moscow) until 1698
since 1917 the company has operated as a charity, now working within Russia
The Levant Company (1581-)
formed in 1581
regulated trade with Turkey and the Levant
several London merchants petitioned Queen Elizabeth I in 1580 for a charter to guarantee exclusivity when trading in that region
had no colonial aspirations
established "factories" (trading centers) in already-established commercial centers
set up to enjoy a monopoly trading position
Francis Levett (1700-1764)
head of company
posed in pictures as "going native", wearing the Turkish dress
merchants brokered between cultures and knew various cultures well
played with the idea that they belonged to multiple worlds
felt they were bringing the world together
The Massachusetts Bay Company (1629-)
chartered by the English crown to colonize a vast area in New England
quickly taken over by a group of Puritans, under the leadership of John Winthrop
center at Boston
The Royal African Company (1660-)
granted a monopoly over English trade with West Africa
original purpose was to exploit the gold fields up the Gambia River
but it was soon engaged in the slave trade as well as with other commodities
The South Sea Company (1711-)
also granted a monopoly to trade with South America
created as a public–private partnership to consolidate and reduce the cost of national debt
Britain was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession and Spain controlled South America, there was no realistic prospect that trade would take place and the company never realized any significant profit from its monopoly
merchant trading companies
significant was: these were no longer just individuals
English firms
also analogues for France, Portugal, Dutch and Spanish
origins of these companies
charters granted by monarchs giving them trade monopolies in certain geographical areas
relationship between companies and monarchs
there was a deal being struck
institutional foundation for an intensification of a global division of labor
governments and merchants going to the next level in six easy steps
1. fiscal military state
merchants acquire from governments monopoly rights to trade
protects their earnings
merchants reciprocate a certain share of their profits to the state in the form of revenue
as trade increases, pool of activity grows, creates more capital
capital can go to the purchase of government bonds
government uses bonds to buy weapons, expands their military capacity that depends the monopoly rights of their trading companies
this will have a profound implication for global power
companies get involved in colonization schemes
companies get rights not just to trade but to create colonies, which will produce commodities for other people's consumption
wealth becomes increasingly privatized
described by economists in 18th century
mercantilism: underpinning philosophy and practice for the new model of an empire that was already very different than the predator systems of the early 16th century