Muscovy Company

Also found in: Wikipedia.

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.
..... Click the link for more information.
 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Initially Scotland was not far behind the first organized attempt to procure the Arctic fishery by the Muscovy Company of London.
Trading was often a cover to keep Elizabeth and Walsingham's more serious intentions hidden from their enemies and from critics at home; yet these were significantly the years that saw the establishing of the Muscovy Company (pursued strategically to gain passage through Ivan the Terrible's kingdom to routes leading to Persia and the Sophy), the Barbary Company, the Turkey Company and the Venice Company (the latter two eventually being merged to form the Levant Company).
The book efficiently explains the causes behind Jenkinson's Odysseys (chiefly the desire of England's newly founded Muscovy Company to seek out new markets) and it's great fun to read about Jenkinson sailing down the Volga, traversing the Caspian Sea, and trudging through the Kara Kum desert all the way to Bukhara.
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.
Although he may have begun his seafaring life as a cabin boy, by 1607, Hudson was employed by England's Muscovy Company as captain of the Hopewell.
On the other hand, what is of interest in considering the politics of Tamburlaine, is that even before this crucial turning point, Englishmen had already made an advance towards Asia via a Russian route through the efforts of the Russia or Muscovy Company. The Russian land route towards the farthest Eastern states offered a possibility, albeit a dangerous one, of contacting rich nations such as those of the Shah of Persia and 'the Mogul' of India.
John Barnsley, an English Puritan, did not belong to the Muscovy Company and did not adhere to ethnic loyalties (meaning his fellow Englishmen).
Taking early modern English travels to Persia as a case study, it compares the accounts printed in the Principall Navigations of the Muscovy Company's multiple voyages down the Volga into Persia between 1558 and 1579 to the voyage taken by the Earl of Essex's man, Anthony Sherley (1565-1633), through Turkish territory into Persia in 1598.
The ship's return to England heralded the formation in London of the Muscovy Company, which sent annual cargoes of cloth, silks, tropical and Mediterranean goods in return for pelts, wax, tar and pitch.
The earliest of these was The Muscovy Company of Merchant Adventurers and it had several connections to what was to become Canada.
Narrator A: Captain Henry Hudson meets with directors of the Muscovy Company, an English firm that promotes trade with Russia.
The first company to issue shares which were bought and sold freely was the Muscovy Company back in 1553.