Corporation - History

History

The word "corporation" derives from corpus, the Latin word for body, or a "body of people." By the time of Justinian (reigned 527-565), Roman Law recognized a range of corporate entities under the names universitas, corpus or collegium. These included the state itself (the populus Romanus), municipalities, and such private associations as sponsors of a religious cult, burial clubs, political groups, and guilds of craftsmen or traders. Such bodies commonly had the right to own property and make contracts, to receive gifts and legacies, to sue and be sued, and, in general, to perform legal acts through representatives. Private associations were granted designated privileges and liberties by the emperor. Entities which carried on business and were the subjects of legal rights were found in ancient Rome, and the Maurya Empire in ancient India. In medieval Europe, churches became incorporated, as did local governments, such as the Pope and the City of London Corporation. The point was that the incorporation would survive longer than the lives of any particular member, existing in perpetuity. The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, Sweden, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347. Many European nations chartered corporations to lead colonial ventures, such as the Dutch East India Company or the Hudson's Bay Company, and these corporations came to play a large part in the history of corporate colonialism.

During the time of colonial expansion in the 17th century, the true progenitors of the modern corporation emerged as the "chartered company". Acting under a charter sanctioned by the Dutch government, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) defeated Portuguese forces and established itself in the Moluccan Islands in order to profit from the European demand for spices. Investors in the VOC were issued paper certificates as proof of share ownership, and were able to trade their shares on the original Amsterdam stock exchange. Shareholders are also explicitly granted limited liability in the company's royal charter. In the late 18th century, Stewart Kyd, the author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as,

a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence. —A Treatise on the Law of Corporations, Stewart Kyd (1793-1794)

Read more about this topic:  Corporation

Other articles related to "history":

Voltaire - Works - Historical
... History of Charles XII, King of Sweden (1731) The Age of Louis XIV (1751) The Age of Louis XV (1746–1752) Annals of the Empire – Charlemagne, A.D ... on the Manners of Nations (or 'Universal History') (1756) History of the Russian Empire Under Peter the Great (Vol ... II 1763) History of the Parliament of Paris (1769) ...
History of Computing
... The history of computing is longer than the history of computing hardware and modern computing technology and includes the history of methods intended for pen and paper or for chalk and slate, with or ...
Casino - History of Gambling Houses
... gambling in some form or another has been seen in almost every society in history ... France and Elizabethan England, much of history is filled with stories of entertainment based on games of chance ... In American history, early gambling establishments were known as saloons ...
Xia Dynasty - Modern Skepticism
... The Skeptical School of early Chinese history, started by Gu Jiegang in the 1920s, was the first group of scholars within China to seriously question the traditional story of its early ... early Chinese history is a tale told and retold for generations, during which new elements were added to the front end" ...
Spain - History - Fall of Muslim Rule and Unification
... The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing taifa kingdoms helped the long embattled Iberian Christian kingdoms gain the initiative ... The capture of the strategically central city of Toledo in 1085 marked a significant shift in the balance of power in favour of the Christian kingdoms ...

Famous quotes containing the word history:

    It’s nice to be a part of history but people should get it right. I may not be perfect, but I’m bloody close.
    John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten)

    Those who weep for the happy periods which they encounter in history acknowledge what they want; not the alleviation but the silencing of misery.
    Albert Camus (1913–1960)

    If you look at the 150 years of modern China’s history since the Opium Wars, then you can’t avoid the conclusion that the last 15 years are the best 15 years in China’s modern history.
    J. Stapleton Roy (b. 1935)