I heard a lot about companies like the British East India Company, but never fully understood what they were. What exactly are companies and why are they important to history?
The British East India Company specifically was a joint stock company that obtained government monopoly over trade in India and acted as virtually independent government in regions it claimed.
Great question! The Companies which you’re referring to, like the BEIC and the VOC (Dutch), were mega-corporations (Joint Stock Companies as called) that operated under permission of their respective crowns and often acted as their representatives in those Colonial holdings. They often had private armies, were incredibly wealthy, and made their countries TONS of money. I hope that helps!