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(France – Sovereigns)
Edit Du Roy Donné à Paris, le 28 May 1664. Portant Establissement d’une Compagnie des Indes Occidentales, pour faire tout le Commerce dans les Isles & terres fermes de l’Amerique, & autres Païs; aux Concessions, Pouvoirs, Facultez, Droits, Exemmptions & Privileges y contenus.

Paris: Chez la Veuve Saugrain, a l’entrée du Quay de Gevres, du cote du Pont au Change, au Paradis, [1664], quarto, 18, [2] pp., light red smudge to upper blank margin of first page, otherwise a fine clean copy.

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This decree establishes the French West India Company.  The company was formed by this Edit to control all of the French American colonies, already settled or to be settled in South America, the West Indies, and Canada.  This well-known company was established for the purpose of opening up trade with America principally along the Amazon, and in Canada, Acadia, Newfoundland, Florida and the islands of the Antilles. The company was granted a monopoly on trade with America, which was to last for forty years. It was supposed to populate Canada, using the profits of the sugar economy that began in Guadeloupe. Its capital was six million pounds and its headquarters was in Le Havre.

The stock of the Company was so considerable that in less than six months, 45 vessels were equipped, with which they took possession of all the places in their grant, and established commerce. Despite its special privileges it soon got into difficulties. It was badly hit by the war of 1666 and could not face that of 1672. Colbert would not take over the risks and the Company was dissolved by Royal command in 1674. The King paid its debts amounting to 3,025,000 livres and took its capital of 1,287,185 livres as reimbursement, and the Colonies were reunited to the State.

Variant issue of Wroth and Annan, numbers 60 and 61. This edition not in Sabin, or European Americana. See JCB III, p. 111, for its description of a variant issue in that library. Maggs did not have a copy in their 1936 catalog The French Colonisation of America. Not in Staton & Tremaine, not in Lande, not in Beinecke Lesser Antilles. Henry Stevens had a copy of the 1675 revocation of the Company in their 1926 catalog of Rare Americana, which, coincidentally, was also printed by Veuve Saugrain. (It was priced at £ 31 10s, and was the first copy that the firm had met with).