Chapter 4 The Swedish Tar Company – Balancing between Privileges, Commerce and Foreign Politics

In: The Development of Commercial Law in Sweden and Finland (Early Modern Period–Nineteenth Century)
Katja Tikka
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In this chapter, I inspect the selling of tar in the novel and highly controlled system called tar company. The establishment of the company was part of the state developing of Sweden and reflected country’s need to sell tar as efficient as possible. This chapter wanders through the evolution of these different tar company models, which were improved by the local tradesman as well as Dutch merchants. In the focus are privileges that the Crown granted to the companies as a charter of foundation. These are the earliest attempts to create valid commercial norms concerning the incorporated companies. The main observation is the fact, that Sweden was not ready to build such functional corporation as the Dutch did in their East Indian companies at the same time. Lack of financial capital, Crown’s interference in the companies’ affairs combined with the interests of Dutch merchants created a demanding and challenging environment. However, the tar companies are an illustrative example of trial and error, which was necessary to the long-time progression of creating and modernizing early modern states legal and commercial institutions.

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