The Governor & Company of Merchants of England trading into the Levant Seas — usually referred to as the Levant Company, or increasingly in the eighteenth century as the Turkey Company — was founded by royal charter of 1581. Its powers in the eighteenth century were derived from fresh charters of 1606 and 1661, which gave to its members the sole right to trade between England and the Ottoman Empire. The Company was not itself a trading organisation; its members traded individually, as independent merchants, subjecting themselves to such restrictions as they might impose in their corporate capacity as the Levant Company. Other writers have examined in detail the anatomy and functioning of the Company’s constitution;1 here we are more concerned with the ways in which the existence of the Company affected the actual course of trade.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Provincial Official English Trade English Merchant Royal Charter
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- 1.A. C. Wood, History of the Levant Company (Oxford, 1935) especially chap. xi; E. Lipson, The Economic History of England, ii, 335–44.Google Scholar
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- 2.Ralph Radcliffe ‘desiring the freedom of the Company by purchase’ on 24 October 1706 was admitted on payment of a fine of £ 25 and a guinea to the poor.Google Scholar
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