The Scottish East India Company of 1617: Patronage, Commercial Rivalry, and the Union of the Crowns

Joseph Wagner

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The history of the Scottish East India Company of 1617 is a history of partnerships and rivalries within and between Scotland and England. The company was opposed by the merchants of the royal burghs in Scotland and by the East India Company, Muscovy Company, and Privy Council in England. At the same time, it was supported by the Scottish Privy Council and was able to recruit Dutch, English, and Scottish investors. The interactions between these groups were largely shaped by the union of the crowns, which saw James VI accede to the thrones of England and Ireland and move his court to London. Scotland was thus left with an absentee monarch, decreasing the access of Scottish merchants to the king while increasing the importance of court connections in acquiring that access. Regal union also created opportunities for Scots to become part of the London business world, which, in turn, could lead to backlash from English interests. Having developed in this context, the Scottish East India Company speaks to how James VI and I approached patronage and policy in his multiple kingdoms, how commercial rivalries developed in England and Scotland, and how trading companies played a role in constitutional developments in Stuart Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-607
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of British Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2020


  • Scotland
  • East India Company
  • Whaling
  • James VI and I


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