Significant Dates in Our Cooperative Legacy

  • 1752 – The first successful cooperative was organized in the United States when Benjamin Franklin formed the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire — the oldest continuing cooperative in the U.S.
  • 1844 – The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society was established in Rochdale, England. These pioneers wrote down a set of principles to operate their food cooperative which contributed to their success and spread to other cooperatives around the world. The successful establishment of the cooperative in Rochdale marks the beginning of the modern cooperative era.
  • 1865 – Michigan passed what is believed to be the first law recognizing the cooperative method of buying and selling.
  • 1895 – The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was established. Today over 200 national cooperative organizations representing 92 nations belong to ICA, the apex organization of all national cooperative movements. The ICA aims to promote cooperative development and trade worldwide and boasts an individual membership of more than 750 million people.
  • 1916 – The first national cooperative association was formed — now known as the National Cooperative Business Association.
  • 1922 – Congress passed the Capper-Volstead Act allowing farmers to act together to market their products without being in violation of antitrust laws.
  • 1920s & 1930s – Congress established governmental agencies — the Farm Credit Administration (1929), the National Credit Union Administration (1934) and the Rural Electrification Administration (1936) — to provide loans and assistance to cooperatives.
  • 1978 – Congress passed the National Consumer Cooperative Bank Act, establishing the National Cooperative Bank.
  • 2000 – In 2000, NCBA brought co-ops to the cutting edge of technology by successfully lobbying the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to create a new top-level Internet domain—.coop—exclusively for cooperatives. The .coop registry launched in January 2002.

Please click on the link below to read the “Mayflower Compact”, which some believe could have been the first cooperative.  It became apparent that if these passengers were to survive in an alien land, they needed to consent voluntarily to a cooperative form of government.

Mayflower Compact


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