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History

The word "corporation" derives from corpus, the Latin word for body, or a "body of people." By the time of Justinian (reigned 527-565), Roman Law recognized a range of corporate entities under the names universitas, corpus or collegium. These included the state itself (the populus Romanus), municipalities, and such private associations as sponsors of a religious cult, burial clubs, political groups, and guilds of craftsmen or traders. Such bodies commonly had the right to own property and make contracts, to receive gifts and legacies, to sue and be sued, and, in general, to perform legal acts through representatives. Private associations were granted designated privileges and liberties by the emperor.[10] Entities which carried on business and were the subjects of legal rights were found in ancient Rome, and the Maurya Empire in ancient India.[11] In medieval Europe, churches became incorporated, as did local governments, such as the Pope and the City of London Corporation. The point was that the incorporation would survive longer than the lives of any particular member, existing in perpetuity. The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, Sweden, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347. Many European nations chartered corporations to lead colonial ventures, such as the Dutch East India Company or the Hudson's Bay Company, and these corporations came to play a large part in the history of corporate colonialism. During the time of colonial expansion in the 17th century, the true progenitors of the modern corporation emerged as the "chartered company". Acting under a charter sanctioned by the Dutch government, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) defeated Portuguese forces and established itself in the Moluccan Islands in order to profit from the European demand for spices. Investors in the VOC were issued paper certificates as proof of share ownership, and were able to trade their shares on the original Amsterdam stock exchange. Shareholders are also explicitly granted limited liability in the company's royal charter.[12] In the late 18th century, Stewart Kyd, the author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as Great Copper Mountain (Swedish: Stora Kopparberg) was a mine in Falun, Sweden, that operated for a millennium from the 10th century to 1992. It produced as much as two thirds of Europe's copper needs[1] and helped fund many of Sweden's wars in the 17th century. Technological developments at the mine had a profound influence on mining globally for two centuries.[2] Since 2001 it has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a museum. There are no written accounts establishing exactly when mining operations at the Great Copper Mountain began. Archaeological and geological studies indicate, with considerable uncertainty, that mining operations started sometime around the year 1000. The mine was definitely operating by 1080, but no significant activities had begun before 850. Objects from the 10th century have been found containing copper from the mine. In the beginning, operations were of a small scale, with local farmers gathering ore, smelting it, and using the metal for household needs.[3] Around the time of Magnus III of Sweden, King of Sweden from 1275 to 1290, a more professional operation began to take place. Nobles and foreign merchants from Lubeck had taken over from farmers. The merchants transported and sold the copper in Europe, but also influenced the operations and developed the methods and technology used for mining. The first written document about the mine is from 1288. It records that, in exchange for an estate, the Bishop of Vasteras acquired a 12.5% interest in the mine.[4] By the mid 14th century, the mine had grown into a vital national resource and a large part of the revenues for the Swedish state in the coming centuries would be from the mine. The then King, Magnus IV of Sweden, visited the area personally and drafted a charter for mining operations, ensuring the financial interest of the sovereign The principal method for extracting copper was heating the rock via large fires, known as fire-setting. When the rock cooled down, it would become brittle and crack, allowing manual tools such as wedges and sledge hammers to be brought to bear. After the ore had been transported out of the mine it was roasted to reduce sulfur content in open hearths. The thick, poisonous smoke produced would be a distinguishing feature of the Falun area for centuries. After the roasting, the ore was smelted; the output of which was a copper rich material. The cycle of roasting and smelting was repeated several times until crude copper was produced. This was the final output from the mine; further refinement took place at copper refineries elsewhere. This process was used without any major change for seven centuries, until the end of the 19th century.[6] It is likely that the methods and technology for fire setting and drainage were imported from German mines, such as in the Harz Mountains

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