The Swedish West India Company ( Swede. Svenska Västindiska kompaniet ) is a trading company established in Sweden in 1786 to trade with the West Indies .
During the 18th century, the Swedish government from time to time thought about opening direct trade with the West Indies, but since the colonial powers did not allow foreign ships to enter the ports of their colonies, these plans remained only on paper.
In December 1745, the trading house "Abraham and Jacob Arvedson and Company" won the privilege to carry out such trade, but the Spanish envoy in Stockholm made such a strong protest that the company was forced to abandon it. The Commercial Board intended to transfer the privilege to other merchants, but they did not show any desire for this.
During the American independence war, it was allowed to trade in four West Indian ports, and the king bestowed on all Swedish ships that came with some customs relief from the goods.
After Sweden acquired the island of Saint Barthélemy in France in 1784, a hope arose for the revival of West Indian trade. On August 30, 1784, the Secretary of State Liljencrantz proposed that the Rixrod create a company to conduct trade with a new colony, and on October 31, 1786, the newly formed West India Company received a privilege of 15 years, starting January 1, 1787. This company was allowed to trade with St. Barthelemy, as well as with other islands of the West Indies and North America .
According to the privileges of the director of the company appointed by the king. The required capital was to be collected by subscription to shares. The company received the right to charter the number of ships that it needed. Sailing ships had to leave either from Gothenburg , or from Stockholm, where the main office of the company was located. In the same place the unloaded cargo was unloaded from them.
The directors were given the right to issue instructions regarding trade, as well as appoint and dismiss senior and lower employees. Goods transported within the state to be sent abroad were exempt from all land duties, the same ones that were imported from abroad for the same purpose - from the sea. The goods brought from the West Indies were to be sold at public auctions.
The company received the right to collect taxes, as well as customs, port and other duties on St. Bartheleme Island. At the same time, the company was obliged to improve the port and pay salaries to officials and employees. However, the state left the maintenance of the governor and the garrison, and therefore withdrew a quarter of the company's revenues from these sources.
The king exercised his right to appoint directors of the company only partially, and on January 25, 1787, he appointed State Secretary Kuta as one of them. The remaining members of the directorate were elected by the shareholders, including the crown prince .
The share capital of the company reached 80,420 riksdalerov spec. However, its trade was not as successful as expected. The success of the first expedition was prevented by the Russian-Swedish war that began in 1788. In the future, the company was prevented by the ban on the import into the country of certain types of goods, including coffee. In addition, part of the promised privileges, for example, the right to collect taxes from salt mines, were not granted to the company.
All this together led to the fact that in seven years (1794) the net profit of the company amounted to only 6527 riksdalers spec. This led the company to the need to contact the state for help. The committee created in connection with this proposed to lower customs duties for it, but this did not lead to the desired result. The so-called council of the island of St. Barthelemy in 1801 reported that the company for this year received a profit of 180 915 piastres from the island.
During the French Revolution, the waters of the Caribbean became highly unsafe, and several of the company's ships became prey to privateers . In 1801, the British seized Saint Barthelemy, but in 1802 they returned it to the Swedes.
In 1801, when the privilege expired, the company nevertheless achieved its extension, but after a few years it was canceled, as announced on May 22, 1805.
- Nordisk familjebok. B. 33. Stockholm, 1922.