New World, Inc.

The Making of America by England's Merchant Adventurers


By Simon Targett

By John Butman

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Three generations of English merchant adventurers-not the Pilgrims, as we have so long believed-were the earliest founders of America. Profit-not piety-was their primary motive.

Some seventy years before the Mayflower sailed, a small group of English merchants formed “The Mysterie, Company, and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places Unknown,” the world’s first joint-stock company. Back then, in the mid-sixteenth century, England was a small and relatively insignificant kingdom on the periphery of Europe, and it had begun to face a daunting array of social, commercial, and political problems. Struggling with a single export-woolen cloth-the merchants were forced to seek new markets and trading partners, especially as political discord followed the straitened circumstances in which so many English people found themselves.

At first they headed east, and dreamed of Cathay-China, with its silks and exotic luxuries. Eventually, they turned west, and so began a new chapter in world history. The work of reaching the New World required the very latest in navigational science as well as an extraordinary appetite for risk. As this absorbing account shows, innovation and risk-taking were at the heart of the settlement of America, as was the profit motive. Trade and business drove English interest in America, and determined what happened once their ships reached the New World.

The result of extensive archival work and a bold interpretation of the historical record, New World, Inc. draws a portrait of life in London, on the Atlantic, and across the New World that offers a fresh analysis of the founding of American history. In the tradition of the best works of history that make us reconsider the past and better understand the present, Butman and Targett examine the enterprising spirit that inspired European settlement of America and established a national culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that continues to this day.


Cast of Characters:The Seventy-Five Men and Women Who Helped Make America

Clement Adams (c. 1519–1587) was a writer, engraver and tutor. One of William Cecil’s Cambridge-educated acolytes, Adams was hired to help Sebastian Cabot engrave an updated version of his 1544 map, featuring new details of the Northwest Passage. This map was reproduced widely and later hung on the wall of Whitehall Palace, and Adams was rewarded with the post of schoolmaster to the king’s henchmen—Edward VI’s young friends. He subsequently wrote the account of the first Mysterie voyage, after interviewing Richard Chancellor.

Matthew Baker (c. 1530–1613) was a royal shipwright who designed and built the Gabriel, Frobisher’s first vessel. He also designed Edward Fenton’s flagship for the aborted voyage to the Spice Islands in 1582. He compiled the first English treatise on ship design—Fragments of Ancient English Shipwrightry—which was later collected by Samuel Pepys, the naval administrator and diarist.

George Barne (c. 1500–1558) was one of the two “principal doers”—the real architects of the Mysterie. A member of the Haberdashers, he was Lord Mayor of London in 1552–1553. His son, also George Barne (d. 1593), became governor of the Muscovy Company, a leading investor in overseas ventures (although he withheld his support for Frobisher), and later followed in his father’s footsteps as Lord Mayor of London.

George Best (c. 1555–1584) was a writer and sea captain. The son of Robert Best, a translator for the Muscovy Company, Best was educated at Eton. He served as a captain in Frobisher’s second expedition. His chronicles of Frobisher’s three voyages provided the classic account of England’s first detailed exploration of the New World. He died in a duel with a peer of the realm.

William Bonde (d. 1576) was a merchant and civic administrator. A member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, he became Sheriff of London in 1567, and was wealthy enough to buy Crosby Hall, one of the city’s most prestigious mansions. There, the leading merchants behind the first Frobisher voyage to Cathay met to plan the expedition.

Stephen Borough (1525–1584) was a sea captain and naval administrator. He served as master on Richard Chancellor’s ship in the first Mysterie voyage to Cathay. In 1555, he became one of the youngest charter members of what later became known as the Muscovy Company. He made a pioneering voyage to the White Sea along the Northeast Passage to Cathay, but he was among those skeptical of Frobisher’s plans to search for the Northwest Passage. By contrast, his brother, William Borough (1536–1598), was actively involved in the organization of Frobisher’s voyages.

William Bradford (1590–1657) was one of the Pilgrim Fathers and a founder of the Plymouth Colony. His account of the separatists’ story, Of Plymouth Plantation, was lost after his death, and only came to light in the mid-nineteenth century, when its publication by Little, Brown rekindled interest in the founding myth of America.

John Brereton (c. 1571–1619) was a clergyman and writer. He accompanied Bartholomew Gosnold on his voyage to the New World. His account, A Brief and True Relation of the Discovery of the North Part of Virginia, was the first published account of a voyage to New England (other than Giovanni da Verrazzano’s account of his 1524 voyage, published in Italian in 1556).

Sebastian Cabot (c. 1482–1557) was an explorer, navigator, and naval administrator. He accompanied his father, John Cabot (c. 1451–1498), on the successful voyage to the New World in 1497. He later claimed to have discovered the entrance to the Northwest Passage during a voyage in 1508–1509. He served the Spanish as pilot major and later transferred allegiance to England, where he was made governor of the Mysterie (later the Muscovy Company) and oversaw the first voyages in search of a passage to Cathay.

William Cecil (1520–1598) was initially John Dudley’s right-hand man before becoming Elizabeth I’s long-serving adviser. He became Lord Burghley, and he was connected with many major overseas ventures, first as a leading investor in the Mysterie and later as a prominent courtier behind the Frobisher voyages. His son Robert Cecil (1563–1612) became the Earl of Salisbury, served as adviser to James I, and continued his father’s support of overseas ventures.

Richard Chancellor (d. 1556) was the pilot major on the first Mysterie voyage to Cathay in 1553. On this visit, he secured trading rights after reaching Moscow and meeting Ivan IV, the tsar later known as “The Terrible.” On a second visit, he strengthened commercial ties between England and Russia. But he drowned at sea on the homeward journey, when escorting the first Russian ambassador to England. One of his sons, Nicholas Chancellor, was purser on several voyages, including the Frobisher voyages.

Humfrey Cole (d. 1591) was a maker of navigational instruments. He designed the instruments used in the Frobisher voyages.

Thomas Dale (d. 1619) was a soldier and colonial leader. He arrived in Jamestown in 1611 and enforced strict military law, which was codified in the Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall. He oversaw an expansion of the colony beyond Jamestown, founding the city of Henrico, named after James I’s son Prince Henry. He also introduced measures that paved the way for the creation of private plantations in Virginia. In 1616, he returned to England, bringing Pocahontas to London. He later served the East India Company and died in India.

John Dee (1527–1609) was a mathematician, cosmographer, and astrologer. A Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge while still a teenager, he was hired to help Richard Chancellor and Martin Frobisher prepare for their voyages across uncharted waters to Cathay. As Elizabeth I’s favorite astrologer, he approved the date for her coronation. Also, he made the case for her title to lands in the New World, coining the phrase “British Empire.” Humphrey Gilbert gave him the right to all the land north of today’s US-Canada border. He never sought to claim these lands, however.

Francis Drake (1540–1596) was an explorer. The first English captain to complete a circumnavigation, he struck a trade deal with the king of Ternate in the Spice Islands; laid claim to the northwest coast of America, which he named Nova Albion; and captured a hoard of Spanish treasure that transformed him into one of the richest men in England. His remarkable success earned him the Spanish nickname “El Draque” and served as a catalyst for a new surge of interest in colonial activity.

Lionel Duckett (1511–1587) was a merchant. A member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, he was governor of the Muscovy Company and the Company of Mines Royal, and he became Lord Mayor of London in 1572. The business partner of Thomas Gresham, he was an early supporter of the Frobisher voyages to Cathay, going against the consensus held by other leaders of the Muscovy Company.

John Dudley (1504–1553) was a soldier and courtier. He became the Earl of Warwick (1547) and Duke of Northumberland (1551). As Lord President, he was de facto king from 1549 and gave London’s merchants the support they needed to embark on the search for new markets. Two of this sons, Ambrose Dudley (c. 1530–1590), who became Earl of Warwick, and Robert Dudley (c. 1533–1588), who became Earl of Leicester and Elizabeth I’s favorite, were prominent investors in overseas ventures. Ambrose’s wife, Anne, Countess of Warwick (c. 1548–1604), was a supporter of the Frobisher voyages and had an island and a sound named after her.

Richard Eden (c. 1520–1576) was a translator. Educated at Cambridge, where he studied under Thomas Smith, he became secretary to William Cecil, compiling the travel dossier for the first Mysterie voyage to Cathay in 1553. He followed this with an expanded dossier for the second voyage in 1555. In doing so, he introduced several new words into the English language, including “China” and “colony.”

Elizabeth I (1533–1603) was the longest-reigning queen until Victoria in the nineteenth century. She presided over a series of overseas ventures that led to the creation of the first British empire, and her nickname—the Virgin Queen—is remembered in the name of America’s oldest state: Virginia. Although reluctant to invest money in foreign enterprises, she encouraged colonial development, diverting state monopolies to leading adventurers such as Walter Ralegh.

Martin Frobisher (c. 1535–1594) was a pirate and privateer who became a pioneering navigator and led three epic voyages in search of the Northwest Passage in the 1570s. He left his mark on the landscape—Frobisher Bay is named after him. He later earned a knighthood after distinguishing himself in the defense of England during the battle against the Spanish Armada.

William Garrard (c. 1510–1571) was one of the two “principal doers” of the Mysterie (along with George Barne). A Haberdasher, he became Lord Mayor of London in 1555–56 and governor of the Muscovy Company. His daughter married George Barne’s son, George.

Thomas Gates (d. 1622) was a soldier and colonial leader. One of the eight people named in the Virginia Charter, he was among the settlers shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda. Later, he arrived in Jamestown, which had endured a miserable winter, and took the decision to abandon the colony—only to turn back after meeting a relief supply with new colonists coming the other way. He served as effective governor until 1614.

Humphrey Gilbert (1537–1583) was a courtier, colonist, and adventurer. He studied at Eton and Oxford, and served Elizabeth when she was still a princess before becoming a soldier in the army. He fought in the abortive campaign to win back Calais and tried to establish colonies in Ireland, where he won notoriety (and a knighthood) for the brutal way he put down a rebellion. He is best remembered as the author of the Discourse of a Discoverie for a New Passage to Cataia and the leader who claimed Newfoundland for Elizabeth I. His son, Raleigh Gilbert, was one of the leaders of the short-lived Popham Colony.

Ferdinando Gorges (1568–1647) was a soldier and colonial investor. Captain of the Plymouth Fort, succeeding Francis Drake in that post, Gorges became fascinated by the New World when he hosted some Indians captured by George Waymouth in 1605. He was one of the prime movers behind the Popham Colony and later led the Council for New England that gave the Pilgrims their letters patent. He was granted the province of Maine but never fulfilled his dream to visit the New World.

Bartholomew Gosnold (d. 1607) was a lawyer and colonial leader. A kinsman of Thomas Smythe, he led an expedition to Virginia in 1602, and gave Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard their names. He returned with an exotic tree—sassafras—which was believed to have magical medicinal properties. In 1606, he was one of the leaders of the first voyage of the London Company, which led to the founding of Jamestown. He died within a few months of his arrival in the New World.

Richard Grenville (1542–1591) was a naval commander and colonial investor. A kinsman of Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Ralegh, he worked with the first on colonial enterprises in Ireland and South America. When these came to nothing, he worked with Ralegh on the Roanoke Colony, commanding the fleet that escorted the settlers in 1585.

Thomas Gresham (1518–1579) was a leading cloth merchant and financial adviser to three monarchs. A founding member of the Muscovy Company, he was a prominent supporter of the Frobisher voyages. He built the Royal Exchange, England’s first bourse, which marked the beginning of London’s rise as a global financial center.

Richard Hakluyt (c. 1552–1616) was a clergyman and colonial publicist. As a schoolboy, he was introduced to the glories of cosmography by his cousin, also Richard Hakluyt (d. 1591). After Oxford, he wrote a series of works championing colonization in the New World—above all Principal Navigations and Voyages, which first appeared in 1589, and later reappeared in an expanded version in 1598–1600. He was one of eight people listed on the first Virginia charter that led to the founding of Jamestown.

Thomas Harriot (c. 1560–1621) was a mathematician, scientist, and colonist. Hired by Walter Ralegh, he learned the rudiments of Algonquian and traveled on the first English colonial voyage to Roanoke in 1585. There, he prepared notes on the food, commodities, and people, which he later published as Brief and True Report of the Newfound Land of Virginia. After returning to England in 1586, he settled on Ralegh’s Irish estates and subsequently won acclaim as a mathematician and stargazer, pioneering the use of telescopes.

Christopher Hatton (c. 1540–1591) was a courtier and one of Elizabeth I’s favorites. From the 1570s, when he was captain of the queen’s bodyguard and an industrious member of the privy council, he wielded great influence in overseas ventures. He supported George Best, Frobisher’s chronicler, John Dee, who dedicated his work on the British empire to Hatton, and Francis Drake, who changed the name of his flagship from the Pelican to the Golden Hind—the defining feature of Hatton’s coat-of-arms.

James I (1566–1625) was the son of Elizabeth I’s hated cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. He succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 and, guided by Robert Cecil, supported colonial efforts, with the first enduring English colony, and the river on which it was situated, named after him: Jamestown and the James River. His eldest son, Prince Henry (1594–1612), was an enthusiastic supporter of colonial activities in Virginia before his untimely death at the age of eighteen.

Robert Johnson (fl. 1586–1626) was a merchant, colonial investor and promoter. A member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, he was a loyal supporter of Thomas Smythe as deputy treasurer of the Virginia Company. He wrote some renowned pamphlets exhorting people to invest in the Jamestown Colony—notably Nova Britannia, published in 1609. He became an alderman of London in 1617 but lost out to Edwin Sandys in the race to succeed Smythe as treasurer of the Virginia Company.

Andrew Judde (c. 1492–1558) was Lord Mayor of London in 1551 when the cloth crisis hit England’s capital. Later, he was Mayor of the Staple in Calais, serving in the year that the port was recaptured by the French after more than two centuries in England’s possession. He was one of the senior merchants responsible for founding the Mysterie.

Michael Lok (1532–1620) was the son of Sir William Lok, the “king’s merchant” in Henry VIII’s day. He was the agent of the Muscovy Company and the leading merchant behind Frobisher’s voyages in the 1570s. He lost his family fortune, ending up in a debtor’s prison on several occasions. But he remained influential, producing a map of the world that was reprinted by Hakluyt in 1582. He later served as the Levant Company’s resident merchant in Aleppo.

Christopher Newport (1561–1617) was a sea captain and privateer. He came to prominence in the sea war with Spain in the 1590s, captaining the ship that seized the rich cargo of the Madre de Dios in 1592. He led the first voyage of the London Company to Virginia in 1606, and subsequently made several resupply voyages. Later, he served the East India Company, and he died on the Indonesian island of Java.

Philip II (1527–1598) was a Spanish king and, when he also held the title of king of Portugal, the most powerful man in the world, commanding two global empires. When he was a prince, the Philippines were named after him, and when he succeeded his father in 1556, he was already king of England, having married Mary I (1516–1558). When she died in 1558, he tried to remain king of England, offering to marry Elizabeth. But this never happened, and the two monarchs became enemies, with Elizabeth supporting efforts to establish bases in the New World from which raids could be launched on Spain’s prized treasure fleet. Philip launched his Armada in an effort to overthrow her. His death in 1598 signaled the end of a long sea war between England and Spain.

John Popham (c. 1531–1607) was a senior judge and colonial investor. As Lord Chief Justice, Popham presided over some of the most famous court cases—including the trials of Walter Ralegh and the men behind the Gunpowder Plot. He became interested in the New World after he hosted two Indians captured by George Waymouth. With Ferdinand Gorges, he led the Plymouth Company, sponsoring the voyage that led to the establishment of the Popham, or Sagadahoc, Colony in Maine by his nephew George Popham (1550–1608).

Walter Ralegh (1554–1618) was a courtier, colonial investor, and writer. He gave Virginia its name, and organized the first English colony in the New World: Roanoke. He later went in search of El Dorado and sent out several voyages in search of the so-called “Lost Colonists” of Roanoke. A great favorite of Elizabeth I, he was despised by James I, who had him incarcerated in the Tower of London, where he wrote his famous History of the World. He was executed in 1618.

John Rolfe (1585–1622) was a colonist and tobacco entrepreneur. He was among the colonists shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda. There, his wife and newborn child died, and he settled in Jamestown, marrying Pocahontas (c. 1596–1618), who was born Matoaka and took the name Rebecca Rolfe. The match marked the end of the first Anglo-Powhatan War. He successfully pioneered the growing of tobacco in Jamestown—an achievement that put the vulnerable colony on a secure economic footing.

Edwin Sandys (1561–1629) was a parliamentarian and colonial leader. Early on, he was close to Thomas Smythe, and was tasked with drafting the second Virginia charter in 1609. With Smythe, he was involved in the setting up of a legislative body in Jamestown, the House of Burgesses. But these firm friends became entrenched enemies, and in 1619 Sandys staged a corporate coup, seizing control of the Virginia Company and replacing Smythe as treasurer, its effective leader.

Jonas Schütz (1521–1592) was a metallurgist. Also known as Christopher, he was living in England in the 1560s, on temporary leave from his master, the Duke of Saxony. He became one of the two patentees of the newly formed Company of Mineral and Battery Works. In 1577, he was approached to conduct assays on the black stone brought back by Frobisher. In the second voyage, he was sent out to oversee the extraction of hundreds of tons of black ore—which proved worthless.

Henry Sidney (1529–1586) was a courtier and administrator. A close boyhood friend of Edward VI and son-in-law of John Dudley, having married Mary Dudley (c. 1530–1586), who shared her father’s and her husband’s interest in overseas ventures, Sidney was a founding investor in the Mysterie and became Elizabeth’s Deputy Lieutenant, or viceroy, in Ireland. Mary supported the Frobisher voyages, and her son Philip Sidney (1554–1586) was a leading supporter of Humphrey Gilbert’s colonial venture in 1583.

John Smith (1580–1631) was a soldier, colonist, and chronicler. After fighting in eastern Europe, he helped found Jamestown in 1607. He led exploratory trips into the hinterland and, after being captured by some Powhatans, was—he claimed—saved from a brutal death by a young Indian princess: Pocahontas. He rose to become president of Jamestown and later wrote several accounts of his time in Virginia. A brilliant publicist, he gave New England its name.

Thomas Smith (1513–1577) was a Cambridge University professor turned courtier. He became Secretary of State under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, as well as ambassador in Paris. With his son, he tried—but failed—to establish an English colony in Ireland’s Ards Peninsula. But he won lasting fame as the author of the greatest social and economic tract of the sixteenth century: Discourse of the Common Weal of This Realm of England.

Thomas Smythe (1558–1625) was a merchant, civic administrator, and ambassador. He served as the governor of several trading companies, including the Virginia Company, the Muscovy Company, and the East India Company. Also, he became Sheriff of London and, after being elevated to a knighthood by James I, ambassador to Russia. His father, also Thomas Smythe (1522–1591), was a leading investor in the Mysterie and commonly known as “Customer” Smythe because he was the top customs tax collector for the Port of London. Smythe’s grandfather was Sir Andrew Judde.

George Somers (1554–1610) was a privateer and colonial leader. Admiral of the expedition that was struck by a hurricane off the coast of Bermuda, he spotted land and guided the passengers of his stranded ship, the Sea Venture, to safety. After nine months, the settlers left for Jamestown, but Somers returned to Bermuda and died there. For many years, the Bermuda Islands were known as the Somers Islands, in his honor.

William Strachey (1572–1621) was a colonial administrator and writer. He traveled on the ill-fated voyage to Jamestown in 1609 when his ship, the Sea Venture, was wrecked off the coast of the Bermuda Islands. After reaching Jamestown in a makeshift vessel, he served as secretary of the colony and, drawing on his education at Cambridge and Gray’s Inn, helped Thomas Dale codify the colony’s rules. He also wrote an account of the Atlantic storm that is widely thought to have provided Shakespeare with the inspiration for his final play, The Tempest.

Francis Walsingham (c. 1532–1590) was an administrator and ambassador. Fervently Protestant, he left England during Mary I’s reign, only returning after Elizabeth I’s accession and later becoming ambassador in Paris and Secretary of State. An enthusiastic investor in the Muscovy Company, Frobisher’s voyages, and Drake’s circumnavigation of the world, he was among the most important patrons of New World ventures.

George Waymouth (fl. 1587–1611) was a sea captain. In 1602, he led a failed expedition in search of the Northwest Passage before setting out three years later on a voyage to explore Virginia. In advance, he presented James I with Jewell of Artes, a practical guide to setting up a settlement in the New World. He returned with five Indians, who were sent to live with Gorges and Popham. James Rosier (1573–1609), a young Cambridge graduate and one of the crew, wrote the account of the expedition.

Thomas West (1577–1618) was an aristocrat and colonial governor. The third baron De La Warr, he became Lord Governor and Captain General of Jamestown in 1610, after investing five hundred pounds in the venture. He arrived with a great fanfare, the first nobleman to lead an American colony. But he stayed barely ten months, most of which was spent on board his ship. In 1618, he set off for Jamestown once more but he died en route.

Thomas Weston (died c. 1647) was a merchant. A member of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, he was a struggling cloth merchant when he approached a group of Separatists who wanted to leave Holland and establish their own settlement in the New World. He found and supplied two ships, including the Mayflower, but he was a ruthless negotiator, forcing the worshippers who would later be known as the Pilgrims to make a punitive agreement. He backed out of the deal after one year. By 1628 he had moved to Virginia, where he acquired a plantation and became a member of the House of Burgesses. In the 1540s he returned to England, where he died.

John White (fl. 1577–1593) was a painter and colonist. He first came to prominence in 1577, when he painted Inuits brought back by Martin Frobisher. Then, in 1585, he was hired by Ralegh to paint pictures of Roanoke and its people, producing more than two hundred watercolors. In 1587, he was made governor of the second Roanoke Colony, where his daughter gave birth to Virginia, the first English baby born on American soil. But after he left Roanoke to get supplies, he never saw his granddaughter again, and she entered American legend as one of the “lost colonists.” White returned once more in 1590 but failed to make contact with them.

Hugh Willoughby (d. 1554) was a soldier. He led the first expedition in search of Cathay in 1553, even though he did not have any relevant sailing experience. He and his crew froze to death in the icy wastes of the Arctic, after getting lost in the North Sea and taking the risk of overwintering in a river inlet to the Barents Sea on Russia’s north coast.

Edward Maria Wingfield (1550–c. 1619) was a soldier and colonist. One of the eight people named on the original Virginia charter, he was the first leader of Jamestown, having been selected as president of the Council of Virginia.

William Winter (c. 1525–1589) was a naval administrator and colonial investor. A charter member of the Muscovy Company, he was involved in Gilbert’s colonial plans in Ireland and was a prominent member of the commission set up to provide oversight of the Frobisher voyages.

John Yorke (d. 1569) was a merchant whose family had a long connection with Calais. He became prominent at the Tower of London mint and later rose to become Sheriff of London and a close friend of John Dudley. He raised his wayward nephew, Martin Frobisher, and set him on his course for a life at sea.

The Prequel to the Pilgrims

On May 6, 1621, the Mayflower


  • "As John Butman and Simon Targett remind us in their deeply researched and well-written New World, Inc., the Pilgrim venture was the outcome of English attempts over seven decades to reach the fabled East and Cathay (China)... ...Butman and Targett unapologetically describe the mercantile foundations of the Atlantic colonies."—Financial Times
  • "John Butman and Simon Targett explain the origins of America's colonies by examining London's businesses--especially those that attracted investors eager to explore opportunities abroad...[They] parse the kind of financial details that get lost in many similar histories."—Peter C. Mancall, Wall Street Journal
  • "This engrossing history of adventure and innovation, disclosing the true motive for America's founding, will appeal to all readers."—Library Journal, Starred Review
  • "Brisk and fascinating"—Foreign Affairs
  • "This is a beautifully presented and constructed book, with an arresting collection of colour pictures. It is fluently and elegantly written, and the reader is drawn from page to page, onwards through this fascinating story. In many ways it reads at times like a novel, but this is a serious piece of historical writing. Human interest and drama sit at the heart of this story, but it is also one of science, innovation, navigational daring, bravery, chance, and resilience. It is a story as exciting as it is revealing."—Mark Fox, Reaction
  • "New World, Inc. makes a good case for changing the conversation from religious to economic migration come November"—Rob Cox, Reuters Breakingviews
  • "A highly readable book that will open most readers' eyes to a fascinating and little known page of history."—Thomas Urquhart, The Press Herald
  • "Butman and Targett argue persuasively that the myth of America's founding narrative, centered on the Pilgrims' quest for religious freedom, ignores the reality of England's relationship to the New World in the 16th century... A lively and illuminating revisionist history."—Kirkus
  • ""Butman and Targett are fluent storytellers with an eye for detail"—Publishers' Weekly
  • "This meticulously researched, well-written, and beautifully designed book tells the fascinating and largely untold story of the earliest days of globalization, of innovation and entrepreneurial risk-taking, and of the creation of some of the earliest venture-financed companies in the world."—Glenn Leibowitz, Write with Impact
  • "The fascinating story of the merchant adventurers, the 16th century equivalent of today's venture capitalists, who risked their capital for the prospects of enormous profits and were behind explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, who discovered and first settled the New World. Brilliantly researched and vividly told, New World Inc will give you a totally new perspective on the history of the founding of this country."—Liaquat Ahamed, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Lords of Finance
  • "Part business history, part swashbuckling adventurer's tale, New World Inc. shows us that America was founded, not as an idealistic city upon a hill, but as the result of intense competition between well-funded companies looking to capitalize on the Next Big Thing. Long before the Pilgrims set foot on our shores, entrepreneurs like Frobisher, Drake and Raleigh were scouting for investment opportunities every bit as ambitious as today's internet technologies, with the landed aristocracy playing the role of venture capitalists, and the English monarchs Elizabeth I and James I as the Chairs of the Board for these vast colonial enterprises. A fascinating read."—Larrie D. Ferreiro, author of Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It
  • "In New World Inc., John Butman and Simon Targett deliver an intelligent, thorough, and detailed examination of the financial stories powering the earliest voyages to America. Skillfully told, this compelling book elevates the overlooked economic motivations behind the first American settlements to their proper place in history."—Bhu Srinivasan, author of Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism
  • "Although every school child knows the story of America's discovery by Columbus, how the English came to North America has been surprisingly forgotten. The discovery of "New" England (and North America) by a group of daring seafarers backed by English merchants and ultimately Queen Elizabeth I herself was accidental - even unwanted. New World Inc paints a fascinating portrait of personal daring and bold risk taking, of deceit and court intrigue, of murder, greed, loss of life, cunning, disappointment and unexpected success. It is a captivating read."—Antoine Van Agtmael, author of The Smartest Places on Earth

On Sale
Mar 20, 2018
Page Count
432 pages

Simon Targett

About the Author

John Butman is an author, editor, and collaborative writer. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the Nation, and other publications and his work has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, and media venues around the world. His books include Trading Up: The New American Luxury, a BusinessWeek bestseller, and Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas. John divides his time between Portland and Bailey Island, Maine, not far from one of the earliest English settlement sites in America.

Dr. Simon Targett is a writer, historian and corporate communications advisor. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge and has written articles on British history for various publications. An award-winning journalist, he has served as a correspondent and senior editor on the Financial Times and as global editor-in-chief of The Boston Consulting Group. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Learn more about this author

John Butman

About the Author

John Butman is an author, editor, and collaborative writer. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the Nation, and other publications and his work has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, and media venues around the world. His books include Trading Up: The New American Luxury, a BusinessWeek bestseller, and Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas. John divides his time between Portland and Bailey Island, Maine, not far from one of the earliest English settlement sites in America.

Dr. Simon Targett is a writer, historian and corporate communications advisor. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge and has written articles on British history for various publications. An award-winning journalist, he has served as a correspondent and senior editor on the Financial Times and as global editor-in-chief of The Boston Consulting Group. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Learn more about this author