Social History

The World’s Oldest Companies

In June of 2020 Business did some serious research and came up with a world map that shows where the oldest companies that are still in business in most of the countries of the world are located with dates of when they set up shop.

The map is color coded to show what type of business was set up.  There are quite a few blow up balloons to show very small countries’ info in detail which is shown on the map legend. 

For example, the United States is orange which represents a Primary sector as a source of natural resources and Brazil is a Secondary sector which is in red and represents manufacturing and processing. 

Oldest Companies in the USA

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Oldest companies in North America. Credit:

Oldest Companies in Asia

Blue represents Tertiary sector which is mainly devices and distribution and green stands for the Quaternary sector which distributes knowledge and information.

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The earliest date is 578AD when Kongo Gumi Co.,LTD, a Japanese construction firm in Osaka began operations. The company deals exclusively with temples, shrines, and cultural heritage sites according to They do complete construction or repair and restoration.  Some of their work includes Seiganto Temple a three story pagoda in Nachi Mountain and the Honen Temple a five story pagoda.

Oldest Companies in Europe

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Another interesting date is 1328 when the Kremnica Mint was commissioned in Slovakia by King Charles Robert I of Hungary.  They deal in coinage, medals, and other precious and non-ferrous metal items.

The mint is located in an area with rich gold deposits and the business turned the small settlement into a thriving metropolitan center. According to, the first coins produced in 1328 were just over twenty three karats and called ducats, the same as what they are called today.

The British Isles lay claim to the oldest Pub.

The Vintage News tell us: Ye Olde Fighting Birds is located in St. Albans, England, and the first brick is said to have been laid as early as 793 AD, near the ruins of an ancient Roman city. The building itself dates back to the 11th century and was originally used as a pigeon house. Over the centuries, it survived civil wars and plagues, and Oliver Cromwell is reported to have slept at the inn during the English Civil War.

St. Peter Stifts Kulinarium in St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, Austria was built in 803. Johann Faust and Mozart are rumored to have frequented the establishment.

About sixty years later Staffelter Hof Winery, made its debut in Germany.  Originally owned by King Lothar II it was donated to the monastery of Stavelot. According to, there is a tavern in Ireland, Sean’s Bar, opened in the year 900.

Halfway between Dublin and Galway, the bar is located in Athlone, Co. Westmeath near the River Shannon. Sean’s holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pub in the world.  They have even created their own signature whiskey!

Scroll Down for the Rest of the Maps

The oldest running business in France is Monnaie de Paris, established in 864. The mint was established by the edict of Pistres issued by Charles II, son of Charlemagne. At first it was housed on the Ile de la Cité.  Currently, the mint is located in the 6th arrondissement on the Quai de Conti since 1775, per

The Drohobych Salt Plant has been operating in the Ukraine since 1250.  They still use the same technique that was used eight hundred years ago to harvest salt. 

The pit is just over one hundred and sixty four feet deep and is filled with brine hourly. The only difference is that pumps are now used rather than buckets.  The brine is heated, producing about one thousand one hundred and two pounds of salt per day.

The Apatin Brewery has been serving up drinks in Serbia since 1756 and the Urses Brewery has been serving Romania since 1178. 

Sarajevska Brewery has been in business in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1864 and Luxembourg has been running the Mousel brewery since 1511.

In North America, Canada still runs the Hudson’s Bay Company established in 1670 and in the United States the Shirley Plantation, the first plantation in Virginia. 

The Great House was completed in 1738 and the Plantation is still in the hands of the descendants of the original owners.  Africans were brought in as lifetime indentured servants until the 1661 law that allowed for slavery. 

For over two hundred years slavery kept the Plantation going.  After the Civil War, the slaves residing at Shirley became paid workers.

Oldest Companies in South America


Oldest Companies in Africa


Oldest Companies in Oceania


Australia’s oldest business has an interesting history as one would expect. It starts with a former convict, Isaac Nichols. Isaac was appointed the Postmaster for New South Wales.

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Isaac Nichols was born on 29 July 1770 at Calne, Wiltshire, England. At the age of 21 he was found guilty of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation. Nichols arrived in Port Jackson on 16 October 1791.

Nichols was hardworking and possessed the rarest of convict qualities, sobriety. His honesty and diligence impressed Governor Hunter, who appointed Nichols as the Chief Overseer of convict gangs in Sydney.

In 1797 Nichols completed his sentence and Governor Hunter granted him 50 acres (20 hectares) of land in the Concord district.

The rise of Isaac Nichols was meteoric. In 10 years, he increased his land holdings to 1400 acres (566 hectares), opened an inn on George Street, established a shipyard and built the Governor Hunter, a 33-ton trading schooner.

By 1806 Nichols was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the colony.

National Museum Australia

The postal service eventually merged to become Australia Post, now also known as AusPost.