The Hudson’s Bay Company is founded on May 2, 1670 making it the oldest commercial enterprise in North America.
Incorporated by English Royal Charter as The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading onto Hudson’s Bay. Founded as a fur trading business, HBC was once the largest landowner in the world with control of 15% of the total acreage in North America. As such, it served as the de facto government until European states and the US laid claim.
As the fur trade dwindled in the early 1800s, HBC reinvented itself as a mercantile business establishing stores across Canada. HBC continues as a retailer today operating Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor (the oldest luxury department store in North America), Saks Fifth Avenue, Home Outfitters, Gilt and Galeria Kaufhof.