I: Introduction.- 1. Companies and Trade: Some Reflections on a Workshop and a Concept.- II: Companies as Instruments of Trade and Expansion.- 2. The Origins of Trading Companies.- 3. The English East India Company in the 17th and 18th Centuries: A Pre-modern Multinational Organization.- 4. The Shifting Balance of Trade of the Dutch East India Company.- 5. The West India Company, 1621-1791: Dutch or Atlantic?.- 6. French Mercantilism, Commercial Companies and Colonial Profitability.- 7. Two Lusitanian Variations on a Dutch Theme: Portuguese Companies in Times of Crisis, 1628-1662.- 8. The Organization and Structure of the Danish East India, West India and Guinea Companies in the 17th and 18th Centuries.- 9. The Brandenburg Overseas Trading Companies in the 17th Century.- III: Companies in the Trading World of Asia.- 10. Questions on the Contact between European Companies and Asian Societies.- 11. European Trade and South Asian Economies: Some Regional Contrasts, 1600-1800.- 12. Unification and Adaptation, the Early Shogunate and Dutch Trade Policies.- 13. The Organization of Western European Trade in the Levant, 1500-1800.- IV: Epilogue.- 14. The Companies as a Specific Institution in the History of European Expansion.- Notes on the Contributors.