The Pilgrims didn't found America. Some seventy years before the Mayflower sailed, a small group of English merchants formed the "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 turned East and dreamed of reaching Cathay-China, with its silks and other luxuries. Eventually, they turned West, and so began a whole new chapter in world history. The work of reaching the New World required the very latest in a navigational science as well as an extraordinary appetite for risk. As this absorbing work of history shows, innovation and risk-taking were at the heart of the settlement of America, as was the profit motive. Trade and business drove the founding of America, and determined what happened once English ships reached the New World. The result of extensive archival work and a bold new 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 new understanding of the earliest chapter in American history. In the tradition of the best works of history that make us reconsider the past, and better understand the present, New World Inc. examines the enterprising spirit that drove the settlement of America, and which helped to establish the American spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that continues to this day.