Chapter 12

French Corporate Finance, 1500–1900

L. Neal

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbus, OH, USA


The first recorded effort of a French ship to reach the Indies via the all-sea route initiated by the Portuguese was the Espoir in 1503 out of Honfleur, but it only reached Brazil. Two ships in 1529 out of Dieppe did reach the Indian Ocean, but when putting in at the island of Madagascar, they were massacred by the natives. The French crown expressed interest in promoting such trade but only by proclamations in the mid-sixteenth century. The first organized company was in 1600, self-organized by merchants of Saint Malo with a capital of 48 000 écus. This allowed them to equip and lade two ships that ...

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