These maps shows the oldest company in almost every country in the world

We live in an age where some of the biggest companies around are those that have only existed for a few decades at most. Amazon, Apple, Google and the rest of the tech giants that dominate our lives are all relatively new in the grand scheme of things, while some of the household names we’ve grown up with have disappeared despite seeming like they’d be around forever.

The world of business is a ruthless, cutthroat one, so any company that manages to survive for over 100 years is one that has proven its ability to adapt, evolve and weather the storms of the marketplace. For Coca-Cola, that has meant getting past its early issue with, well, cocaine, plus the self-inflicted wounds of New Coke, and so it remains a dominant force around the world over 130 years later.

But that’s nothing compared to some of the companies out there, many of which predate the existence of the United States of America, never mind its favorite soft drink. There’s even companies that pre-date the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution and the Renaissance and are still going strong today. Here are the oldest companies still operating today from every country around the world:

Amazon, Google and Apple may be the biggest names in business right now, but they're only a few decades old, and haven't proven that they can stand the test of time. Some companies, however, have been around for over 1,000 years. This maps shows the oldest company in almost every country in the world (that is still in business). According to Fortune, the average lifespan of a company is around 20 years today. Yet, against all odds, some businesses have managed to thrive for centuries and even millennia. Kongō Gumi, a construction company in Japan, has been in operation since 578 AD. The 1,400-year-old company is the oldest in the world.

Asia

When Korean temple builder Shigemitsu Kongo moved to Japan to help them build Buddhist temples, he probably hoped that his new business Kongo Gumi would last the rest of his lifetime. Or maybe long enough to keep his children or grandchildren in jobs for their lives too. He couldn’t have possibly thought it would still be going in 2020. But it is, still involved in the construction industry, having been founded all those years ago, way back in 578.

The Oldest Company in Asia (That is Still in Business)

Elsewhere, while Kentucky Fried Chicken may have been around for nearly 90 years, that is chicken feed compared to Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House in China, which opened way back in 1153. That makes it one of the longest established food joints in the world and a great place to grab some historically-significant takeaway chicken in Kaifeng when you’re next over there.

Europe

Another place to eat if you are a fan of history is St. Peter Stifts Kulinarium in Salzburg, Austria. It’s been located within the walls of St Peter’s Abbey since 803 and has apparently served the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Faust and Christopher Columbus in its time. Who wouldn’t want to dine in the footsteps of Mozart himself?

The Oldest Company in Europe (That is Still in Business)

It’s not the only 9th century business still going in Europe either. In Germany you can find the Staffelter Hof Winery, which has been producing wines since 862, while the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom and Monnaie de Paris in France have both been responsible for creating their nation’s money since 886 and 864 respectively. Over in Ireland, they’ve had their priorities right, with Sean’s Bar in Athlone serving up drinks since 900.

North America

There certainly aren’t any bars in North America dating back over 1000 years. The oldest business here that is still running today is La Casa de Moneda de México was founded in 1534. There may have been mints for hundreds of years over in Europe, but this one turned out to be particularly influential, with the coins produced there forming the basis for currency in USA, Japan and China.

The Oldest Company in North America (That is Still in Business)

The oldest company still active in the USA is the Shirley Plantation, which was started by Edward Hill in 1638 in Virginia, and incredibly, his descendants still operate the business all these years later. It’s still a plantation but is also open to the public as a rare example of Queen Anne-style architecture.

South America

As with the UK, France, Mexico and many other countries, the need to create money led to the formation of the oldest companies in South America that are still around today. In Colombia, the Casa de Moneda de Colombia dates all the way back to 1621, while the Casa da Moneda do Brasil was created in Brazil 73 years later.

The Oldest Company in South America (That is Still in Business)

When there’s money, quite often there needs to be guns, unfortunately, and another of the oldest companies in South America has been responsible for making those ever since 1811. The FAMAE – Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército (“Factories and Workshops of the Army”) is a Chilean firearms manufacturer, making weapons for use by the armed forces and police.

Africa

In Africa, many of the oldest companies founded that are still operating today are postal services. The Mauritius Post dates back to when Mauritius was a French colony in 1772 and took the form of a service with just eight messengers. In 1814 Namibia became the second African country to get itself a postal service with NamPost, and both are still delivering the mail today.

The Oldest Company in Africa (That is Still in Business)

Amazingly, five out of the top 10 oldest companies in the list for Africa are all postal services, with other notable industries featuring including rail companies in Egypt, Djibouti and Senegal, banks in Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and others, including Mauritania, which only dates back as far as 1973. Even more recent is Guinea Ecuatorial Airlines, which was formed in 1996, over 200 years after the oldest company on the list for Africa.

Oceania

Another postal service that is the oldest in its country still running is the one set up in Australia. It’s also one with a colorful story, as Australia Post (AusPost as it’s known today) was founded by Isaac Nichols, a former convict when he was made Postmaster for New South Wales. His first post office was his own house before he was able to open a real post office soon after. In New Zealand, the oldest company is the Bank of New Zealand, which dates back to 1861 and was created by an act of Parliament. Today it’s still one of the biggest banks in the country.

The Oldest Company in Oceania (That is Still in Business)

Now you’ve seen the wide range of companies that have outlasted the rest around the world, why not check out the oldest company from your country and see if the answer surprises you?

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