This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book. The book analyses the role that individuals played in the development of overseas business during the seventeenth century, particularly in the Nordic kingdoms. During the seventeenth century, the Nordic kingdoms became increasingly intertwined with the continental states commercially and politically, and this had both direct and indirect repercussions on prospects for Nordic overseas business. The book discusses the ways in which individuals, information, knowledge, trade, and social relationships cut across institutional, organisational, national, and imperial boundaries. It focuses on a seldom noticed aspect of overseas entrepreneurship, i.e. the use of violence and argues that violence played a crucial role in seventeenth-century overseas entrepreneurship. Even though individuals were not actively seeking out violent disputes, they at least had to be prepared to use violence in order to achieve their goals.