The Virginia Company's Significance to the Permanent Settlement in America

The Virginia Company's Significance to the Permanent Settlement in America

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The chartered companies in England, whose major precursor being medieval merchant-guilds, were a form of organization that had lawful trading monopolies over certain goods in specific geographical areas as stipulated in the state-granted royal charters . As many companies became engaged in overseas trading in the sixteenth century, an innovative form of chartered company, namely, the joint-stock company came into being as an evolution from the “regulated” chartered companies. First, their structure minimized commercial and political risks involved in the dynamic conditions overseas, which spread risks and provided incentives to investors in the companies. Second, “the issuance of a royal charter granted these entities quasi-governmental functions, such as recruiting settlers and building fortifications” that gave the companies more flexibility. Joint-stock companies played a linchpin role in the establishment of New England. This essay takes Virginia Company as an example in support of this statement by analyzing the principal evidences that demonstrate Virginia Company’s historical, political and philosophical significance to permanent settlement in America. Most people, during their conversion at the Thanksgiving Dinner table, would not associate Virginia Company with the founding of the United States; however, this is not the case. Virginia Company is equally important to the birth of the United States of America, if not less, than the Massachusetts Bay Company.
In 1606, King James I, a few years after acceding to his throne, granted charters to two companies that applied for the royal charter, the Virginia Company of London and the Plymouth Company. This move catered to the needs of England at that time as England was i...

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...l History (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1909), vol. III, 194
Braddick, M. J., State formation in early modern England, c. 1550-1700, (New York : Cambridge University Press, 2000), 399.
Rudolph Robert, Chartered Companies and their Role in the Development of Overseas Trade (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1969), 12.
Encyclopӕdia Britannica Online, s. v. "chartered company," accessed November 12, 2011,
L.H. Roper, The English Empire in America, 1602 – 1658: Beyond Jamestown (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009), 6.
L. Maren Wood, The Founding of Virginia, accessed November 13,
Rudolph Robert, Chartered Companies and their Role in the Development of Overseas Trade (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1969), 100.
. Ibid, 101.

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