What is a Chartered Company?

Introduction

A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholders that is incorporated and granted rights (often exclusive rights) by royal charter (or similar instrument of government) for the purpose of trade, exploration, and/or colonisation.

Notable Chartered Companies

  • Austrian:
    • 1719 Imperial Privileged Oriental Company.
    • 1722 Ostend Company.
    • 1775 Austrian East India Company.
  • British:
    • 1711 South Sea Company.
    • 1752 African Company of Merchants (abolished 1821).
    • 1792 Sierra Leone Company.
    • 1824 Van Diemen’s Land Company.
    • 1825 Canada Company.
    • 1825 New Zealand Company.
    • 1835 South Australian Company.
    • 1840 Fiji Company.
    • 1847 Eastern Archipelago Company.
    • 1853 Standard Chartered.
    • 1881 British North Borneo Company.
    • 1886 Royal Niger Company.
    • 1888 Imperial British East Africa Company.
    • 1889 British South Africa Company.
  • Dutch:
    • 1599-1602 Brabantsche Compagnie.
    • 1602–1799 Dutch East India Company (VOC).
    • 1614 New Netherland Company.
    • 1614 Australische Compagnie.
    • 1614-1642 Noordsche Compagnie (Nordic Company).
    • 1621-1792 Dutch West India Company.
    • 1683-1795 Sociëteit van Suriname.
    • 1720 Society of Berbice.
    • 1841 Compagnie belge de colonisation.
  • English:
    • 1407 Company of Merchant Adventurers of London.
    • 1552 Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers.
    • 1553 Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands.
    • 1555 Muscovy Company.
    • 1577 Spanish Company.
    • 1579 Eastland Company.
    • 1581 Turkey Company.
    • 1583 Venice Company.
    • 1585 Barbary Company.
    • 1592 Levant Company (Merger of the Turkey Company and the Venice Company).
    • 1600 East India Company (Became the largest colonial empire in the 19th century).
    • 1606 Virginia Company.
    • 1606 Plymouth Company.
    • 1609 French Company.
    • 1610 London and Bristol Company.
    • 1616 Somers Isles Company.
    • 1618 Guinea Company.
    • 1619 New River Company.
    • 1629 Massachusetts Bay Company.
    • 1629 Providence Island Company.
    • 1635 Courteen association.
    • 1664-1674 Royal West Indian Company.
    • 1670 Hudson’s Bay Company.
    • 1672 Royal African Company.
    • 1691 Hollow Sword Blade Company.
    • 1693 Greenland Company.
    • 1694 Bank of England.
  • French:
    • 1625 Compagnie de Saint-Christophe.
    • 1627 Company of One Hundred Associates.
    • 1664 Compagnie de l’Occident.
    • 1717 Mississippi Company (Compagnie du Mississippi).
    • 1635 Compagnie des Îles de l’Amérique.
    • 1660 Compagnie de Chine.
    • 1664 French East India Company (Compagnie des Indes orientales).
    • 1664 French West India Company (Compagnie des Indes occidentales).
  • German:
    • 1528-1546 Welser charter of Venezuela Province as Klein-Venedig.
    • 1682 Brandenburg African Company.
    • 1752 Emden Company.
    • 1882 German New Guinea Company.
    • 1884 German East Africa Company.
    • 1885 German West African Company.
    • 1891 Astrolabe Company.
  • Polish-Lithuanian:
    • 1783-1793 Trade Company Poland (Black Sea Trade Company).
  • Portuguese:
    • 1482 Companhia da Guiné.
    • 1628 Portuguese East India Company.
    • 1888 Companhia de Moçambique.
    • 1891 Companhia do Niassa.
  • Russian:
    • 1799-1867 Russian-American Company.
  • Scandinavian:
    • 1347 or earlier Stora Enso.
    • 1616 Danish East India Company (Governed Danish India from Trankebar).
    • 1626-1680 Swedish South Company, also called New Sweden Company (Created in connection with the Swedish colony New Sweden (Nya Sverige); absorbed by the Dutch; presently in Delaware).
    • 1649-1667 Swedish Africa Company (On the short-lived Swedish Gold Coast).
    • 1671 Danish West India Company.
    • 1721 Bergen Greenland Company.
    • 1731-1813 Swedish East India Company.
    • 1749 General Trade Company.
    • 1774 Royal Greenland Trading Department.
    • 1786-1805 Swedish West India Company (Created in connection with the colonisation of Saint Barthélemy).
    • 1738 Swedish Levant Company (A failed attempt to organise Swedish trade in the eastern Mediterranean region).
  • Scottish:
    • 1634 Guinea Company of Scotland.
    • 1698 Company of Scotland.
  • Spanish
    • 1728-1785 Guipuzcoan Company of Caracas.
    • 1755-1785 Barcelona Trading Company.
    • 1785-1814 Royal Company of the Philippines.
    • Honduras Company.
    • Seville Company.
    • Havana Company.
  • Italian:
    • From 03 August 1889 to 15 May 1893 Filonardi was the first Governor of Italian Somaliland and was in charge of an Italian company responsible for the administration of the Benadir territory, called Societa’ Filonardi.
    • 1889-1893 Filonardi Company.
  • Zionist Aspiration:
    • Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, aspired to create a “Jewish Charter Company”, modelled on the above European precedents, which would lease Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and exercise there a de facto sovereign power – a plan described in great detail in Herzl’s books Der Judenstaat and Altneuland.
    • In practice Herzl and his successors never managed to mobilise the political and financial backing needed for setting up such a company, and the Zionist Movement eventually established the State of Israel by different means.
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