Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Founded in 1783, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is the oldest Chamber in the English speaking world with continuous records.
The city of Glasgow prospered during the 18th century, largely due to trade with tobacco plantations in Virginia. By the 1770s, three-quarters of all tobacco consumed in Europe was dealt with by the Virginia merchants in Glasgow. American independence ended this and Glasgow's merchants decided to pool their resources and promote their interests.
Patrick Colquhoun, Glasgow's Lord Provost, drafted a constitution and rules and - at a meeting in The Town House on 1 January 1783 - the Chamber was established. Later that year a Royal Charter was granted by King George III - a document still displayed in the Chamber's Board Room.
The Chamber's early priorities were to raise the quality of goods produced and to lobby the Government to lower taxes, reduce tariffs and abolish smuggling. The Chamber also fiercely opposed the East India Company's trade monopoly with India and all territories beyond the Cape.