The industrial revolution evolved through European organization and technology with American resources. The Columbian Exchange created an inextricable economic association between Europe and America that is not well understood or covered in history or economics. For Europe, America was a laboratory for unmonitored capitalistic exploitation, investment, and impetus for unprecedented technological improvement of transportation and production. Even more hidden was the experimentation of business organizations coupled with ideas of liberty to stimulate investment and profit sharing that ultimately led to many present corporate structures at global levels.
Some of these early companies were associated or supported by the early European colonies and subsequent independent states in the Americas. The most powerful European nations were Spain, France, England, Portugal and Holland who all fought over the resources in the Americas for the first 400 years of the Columbian exchange. There were other powers and independent players, but in terms of impact, both economic and cultural, those five nations dominated in their particular American spheres as well as throughout the world into the 19th century. Here is a sample of some of the companies involved with America and are progenitors of today's global corporate networks. Most of these companies formed in the mid 17th century and continued into the 19th century. Many were formed as part of colonial wars and were attempts to control trade and prices. Also, these companies were often interlinked by common investors in Europe and the American colonies, as well as by trade needs. As economic and political changes occurred these companies evolved and often changed names and centers of operation.
|Council of the Indies||gold, silver, slaves||RCC, Spain||Santo Domingo|
|British Co./ British East India Co.||gold, silver, spices, tea||England, Drake, Hawkins, ERI||London|
|Portuguese Coop.||indigo, sugar, slaves||Portugal||Sao Paulo, Lisbon|
|Royal African Company||slaves, gold||England, JRII||London|
|Charleston Mercantile Group||slaves, hides, tobacco||England||Charleston, SC|
|Virginia Co. of London||gold, tobacco||London Merchants||Jamestown, VA|
|Royal Fisheries Co.||fish/cod and herring||England||St. Johns, Newfoundland; Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|New France Co.||fur||France||Montreal, Canada|
|Northwest Co.||fur||Scotland||Montreal/Ft. William|
|Dutch West Indies Co.||guns, fur, spices||Holland||New Amsterdam (NY)|
|Hudson's Bay Co.||fur||England||Thunder Bay, Ontario|
|Massachusett's Bay Co.||fur, fish||England||Plymouth, MA|
|American Fur Co.||fur||J.J. Astor||New York, St. Louis|
The world system of trade benefited from forced labor (first Native American and later brought in) and the gold/silver of the Americas. New foods and cotton became catalysts for the development of industrialization in Europe. By the early 1800s the machine age had become the dominant part of life. Corporate development also fueled improvements in transportation to circulate goods around the world including the building of the Panama Canal. To further enhance trade the evolution of communication systems allowed for greater control of supply and demand. As industrialization developed it became clear that women were superior workers in regards to fine production and assembly. Eventually exploitation of women moved overseas to Asia and Latin America and the United States lost a great deal of its factories in the late 20th century. Made in America has had a resurgence and some production has returned to the United States. Global changes have seen the corporation supersede nations in most levels of power.