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Misunderstood and Unappreciated

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The Russia Company in the Eighteenth Century

image of Russian History

Although there has been a revival of historiographical interest in eighteenth-century British trading companies, the Russia Company continues to be misunderstood and unappreciated. Far from being a relic of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Russia Company was one of the outstanding success stories of eighteenth-century British commerce. By the middle of the century, the imports of the Russia Company into Britain rivalled those of the East India Company. Furthermore, the Russia Company worked closely with the British government to further Britain’s strategic interests in the volatile Baltic region. Part of the reason for the lack of appreciation of the eighteenth-century Russia Company is that the organization of the company and the political influence of its key managers are not well understood. This article describes the organization of the Russia Company, discusses its overall economic and political significance in the eighteenth century, and illuminates its operations using the experience of some leading company members.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Scholar, mike.wagner@talk21.com

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/content/journals/10.1163/18763316-04103006
2014-07-21
2017-03-28

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