Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600 1900

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Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Limited, Dec 1, 2009 - History - 256 pages
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Commerce meets conquest in this swashbuckling story of the six merchant-adventurers who built the modern world, as told by “Canada’s Simon Winchester” (Globe and Mail).

Through the Age of Heroic Commerce, from the 17th to the 19th centuries, a rogue’s gallery of larger-than-life merchant kings ruled vast tracts of the globe and expanded their far-flung monopolies to generate revenue for their shareholders, feather their own nests and satisfy their vanity and curiosity. Their exploits changed the world during an age of unfettered globalization, mirroring a world we know today.

Merchant Kings looks at each ruling monopoly through its greatest merchant king and considers their stories together for the first time:

Jan Pieterszoon Coen of the Dutch East India Company
Pieter Stuyvesant of the Dutch West India Company
Robert Clive of the English East India Company
Alexandr Baranov of the Russian-American Company
George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company
Cecil John Rhodes of the British South Africa Company

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User Review  - housecarl - LibraryThing

Well written. Well chosen details in the lives of six company men who shaped the way Europe(especially England) changed the world. I knew some of some of the stories, but this put them all in a ... Read full review

MERCHANT KINGS: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600-1900

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A vivid popular history of the great commercial monopolies that helped shape the modern world.For three centuries, beginning in the early 1600s, European powers granted monopoly trading rights to ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Stephen R. Bown has been writing about adventurers, travellers and explorers for many years. His book Scurvy was an international critical success and was selected as one of the Globe & Mail's Top 100 books of 2004. His next book, A Most Damnable Invention, was shortlisted for the Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction and the Canadian Science Writers Association Science in Society Book Award. Madness, Betrayal and the Lash was shortlisted for the Lela Common Award for History and won the BC Booksellers Choice Award. Merchant Kings was shortlisted for last year's Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction and recently received a *starred* review in Publishers Weekly. He lives in the Canadian Rockies with his wife and two children.

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