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The John Company - The History of Tea
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The John Company was granted the unbelievably wide monopoly of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape Horn. Its powers were almost without limit and included among others the right to:

  • Legally acquire territory and govern it.
  • Coin money.
  • Raise arms and build forts.
  • Form foreign alliances.
  • Declare war.
  • Conclude peace.
  • Pass laws.
  • Try and punish law breakers.

It was the single largest, most powerful monopoly to ever exist in the world. And its power was based on the importation of tea.

At the same time, the newer East India Company floundered against such competition. Appealing to Parliament for relief, the decision was made to merge the John Company and the East India Company (1773). Their re-drafted charts gave the new East India Company a complete and total trade monopoly on all commerce in China and India. As a result, the price of tea was kept artificially high, leading to later global difficulties for the British crown.

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