The Plymouth Company was one of two companies, along with the London Company, chartered with such a purpose as part of the Virginia Company. In form it was similar to the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London. The territory of the company was the coast of North America from the 38th parallel to the 45th parallel, but being part of the Virginia Company and Colony, The Plymouth Company owned a large portion of Atlantic and Inland Canada. The portion of company's area south of the 41st parallel overlapped that of the London Company, with the stipulation being that neither company could found a settlement within 100 miles (160 km) of an existing settlement of the other company.
In 1607, the company established the Popham Colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River in present-day Maine. The settlement was founded in the same year that the London Company had established Jamestown, but unlike Jamestown, the Popham settlement was abandoned after only one year.
The company thus fell into disuse and in 1609, the Virginia Colony charter was reorganized to grant the London Company exclusive rights to most of the previously shared territory along the coast.
In 1620, after years of disuse, the company was revived and reorganized as the Plymouth Council for New England. The Plymouth Company had 40 patentees at that point, and established the Council for New England to oversee their efforts. The leading merchant-adventurer of the new company was Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Another patentee and member of the Council was Capt. Christopher Levett, an explorer, writer and naval captain who would attempt his own settlement at present-day Portland, Maine.
- John Patterson Davis (1905), Corporations: A Study of the Origin and Development of Great Business Combinations and of Their Relation to the Authority of the State, NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, OCLC 82100178
- "History of Virginia" Page 33, 1898
- Baptisms and Admission from the Records of First Church in Falmouth, now Portland, Maine, with Appendix of Historical Notes, Marquis F. King, Maine Genealogical Society, Portland, Maine, 1898