As John Maynard Keynes has observed, the proceeds of the booty brought back by Drake in the Golden Hind (estimated at £600,000) enabled Elizabeth to pay off the whole of her foreign debt and in addition to invest about £42,000 in the Levant Company. Largely out of the profits of the Levant Company came the initial capital of the East India
Company, athe profits of which during the seventeenth and eighteenth century were the main foundation of England’s foreign connections”
(Keynes 1930: II, 156-7, A treatise on Money). Assuming an annual rate of return of 6.5%
and a 50% rate of reinvestment of these returns, notes Keynes, the £42,000 of 1580 were sufficient to generate the entire value of the capital of the East India Company, Royal African Company, and
Hudson Bay Company in 1700, and something close to £4,000 million that constituted the entire stock of British foreign investments in 1913.
From The Long Twentieth Century by Giovanni Arrighi, 2010,Verso.