24th February 1768
Jersey Chamber of Commerce is founded
It should be little surprise that, on an island, the driving force behind Jersey’s Chamber of Commerce would be its 18th century shipping magnates. Unhappy with the way the States was neglecting what they saw as their – and the island’s – vital interests, they formed a body that would have an interest in better representing their needs to those in power.
Although a Chamber of Commerce has no legislated power itself, the ability of its members to establish an agreed position – and stick to it – gives it enormous leverage, particularly as its membership grows. Thus, according to the Chamber’s own website, the Jersey body was able to lobby for better harbour facilities and to have a greater say in the fishing industry. Over its 250 years, the Jersey Chamber of Commerce has significantly widened its focus to encompass all parts of the island economy, including finance and tourism.
It remains the oldest Chamber in the Commonwealth, but is relatively sprightly when compared to the oldest in the world. That honour goes to the Chambre de Commerce, founded in Marseilles in 1599.
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