Meta Incognita: A Discourse of Discovery

Paper Abstracts


The Company of Cathay:
the Financing and Organization of the Frobisher Voyages

By James McDermott

The voyages to Baffin Island were financed by a disparate group that included the Queen, many of her Privy Councillors, courtiers and leading London merchants. This paper examines their role and relationship, particularly the effect of the Queen's direct participation and the failure to provide a formalized legal structure. It charts the implications of the monstrous expansion of expenditure over the course of the several expeditions. And it examines the anomalous, quasi-corporate structure which developed to perform the administrative funtions of the non-existent (in the eyes of the law) "Company of Cathay".


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