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Financiers, Factors, And French Proprietary Companies In West Africa, 1673–1713

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Chapter Summary

In France, financiers close to the Court prized the tax-farming or customs-reducing rights that each company enjoyed, while in West Africa, pressure from local rulers and long-standing trade traditions forced company director-generals to adopt the kind of governance usually accorded to proprietary companies, including full autonomy in negotiating local treaties, raising armies, holding land titles, and legislating new social orders. Proprietary companies are historically enterprises owned by a private person or persons that receive the right of colonizing, including the right to create its own governance, alienation of overseas land, the power to wage war and engage in binding treaties with indigenous peoples or European competitors, and develop unique social institutions. Proprietary companies differed substantially from trading companies in several critical aspects of organization and action. According to K.G. Davies, trading companies have historically had many variants.

Keywords: financiers; France; K.G. Davies; proprietary companies; social institutions; wage war; West Africa

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