Imperial and world history have revealed how chartered companies led early modern European colonial and commercial expansion, and have demonstrated the critical role of go-betweens, permeable borders, and transnational networks in shaping these processes. Despite these insights, the scholarship largely continues to treat such companies as coherent, self-contained, and primarily national institutions. This special issue explores the ways in which these overseas companies were in fact constituted by people, ideas, capital, and goods that cut across both national and institutional boundaries. It examines both the ways more famous concerns, such as the Dutch and English East India Companies, as well as a range of lesser-studied European overseas companies were defined by such transnational networks. Applying the approaches of world history to the constitution of overseas European companies in turn reveals how early modern world history came to define “Europe” itself in the early modern period.