You may be thinking of Amazon, Google or Apple but if you are talking about the most valuable company of all time, then you have to go much further back. In fact, the modern multi corporations of today do not even come close!
If you go back to the 16th century then you will undoubtedly of heard of the Tulip Mania, and the company that capitalized of it? The Dutch East India Company estimated to be worth more than 20 of the biggest modern companies of today. Of course, many of the calculations and figures are done by adjusting for inflation and using a few speculative figures, but there is no doubt in any ones mind that the Dutch East India Company was the richest company ever built.
During its peak, it was worth $7.9 trillion dollars, to put perspective on that in 1999 Microsoft was worth $0.9 trillion. So how did this company become so valuable? Well before the craze of the Dotcom companies or the housing prices than one of the biggest ways to make money was trading on the prospects of faraway newly discovered lands.
In fact, governments granted companies like Dutch East India Company the right to monopolies, going on daring voyages to mysterious places. They hoped to acquire exotic goods, establish colonies and maybe even create a war or two around the world. Because, someone does always profit from a conflict, especially when the conflict is on the other side of the world.
The company ended up sending over a million voyagers to Asia, which is more than the rest of Europe together. At one point it had over 70,000 employees and even though it is very hard to consider what these types of companies were worth, this was still a huge accomplishment.
At its height, the company was worth about the same amount as the GDP of modern-day Germany and Japan added together. So you can imagine the type of power and prestige this organization held at the time.