Muscovy Company

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Muscovy Company

(mŭs`kəvē) or

Russia Company,

first major English joint-stock trading company. It began in 1553 as a group supporting exploration of a possible northeast passage to Asia. An expedition under Richard ChancellorChancellor, Richard,
d. 1556, English navigator. When, largely under the inspiration of Sebastian Cabot, a group of men in England undertook to finance a search for the Northeast Passage to Asia, Chancellor was chosen as second in command under Sir Hugh Willoughby.
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 reached the White Sea, and Chancellor himself continued overland to Moscow. The company was chartered in 1555, with a monopoly on the newly opened Russian trade, and between 1562 and 1579 it financed expeditions to establish overland trade routes to Persia. In 1646, English merchants were excluded from Russia, but trade reopened on the restoration (1660) of Charles II, and the company was reorganized as a regulated company. It lost its monopoly, long a subject of political opposition, in 1698 but continued in existence until 1917.


See T. S. Willan, The Early History of the Russia Company (1956, repr. 1968).

Muscovy Company


(Russian Company), an English trading company that was granted a charter by the English government in 1554 permitting it to monopolize trade with the Russian state. The Russian tsar Ivan IV, seeking to expand political ties with England and other Western European countries, exempted the Muscovy Company from the payment of duties on its trade with the Russian state. Later, in 1569, he granted the company the right to transport goods along the Volga trade route to the Orient. In 1570, Ivan IV temporarily revoked all the privileges of the Muscovy Company after the English queen Elizabeth I refused to enter into political negotiations with the Russian ambassadors. The Muscovy Company attempted to monopolize the Russian market, having eliminated all competitors, especially the Dutch. During the Polish-Swedish intervention in Russia, agents of the Muscovy Company devised a plan for the seizure of northern Russia and of the Volga trade route; the failure of the intervention, however, foiled the plan. After its agents were expelled from Russia in 1649, the Muscovy Company virtually ceased activity.

References in periodicals archive ?
He promised trading privileges to the English and in 1555, shortly after Chancellor's return to London, the Muscovy Company was officially incorporated by royal charter.
The following century saw much profitable understanding--and not a little misunderstanding--between the English and Russian courts, as the Muscovy Company sought with varying success to safeguard and extend its commercial options in the region.
There are roughly sixteen separate entries in the Principall Navigations depicting the six voyages taken by Muscovy Company factors into Persia between the years 1558 and 1579.
Crucial as this information might have been to the Muscovy Company merchants, travel log passages make remarkably poor reading for all those not planning a voyage through early modern Asia:
The earliest of these was The Muscovy Company of Merchant Adventurers and it had several connections to what was to become Canada.
The Muscovy Company introduced a new idea: the shareholder could sell his or her share to someone else.
Narrator A: Captain Henry Hudson meets with directors of the Muscovy Company, an English firm that promotes trade with Russia.
In September 1607, Hudson visits the Muscovy Company again.
Western capitalists--working with scattered iron factories in Russia, and trading with merchants through the Muscovy Company and other venues--brought nascent market industries to Russia before the Petrine reforms.
On the Muscovy Company see Rudolph Robert, Chartered Companies: and their Role in the Development of Overseas Trade (London: Macmillan, 1969), pp.
The first company to issue shares which were bought and sold freely was the Muscovy Company back in 1553.
Abundantly provocative is Richard Wilson's exploration of Tamburlaine, Ivan the Terrible and the policies of the English Muscovy Company.