The merchants seem to have existed for as long as human history. But when did they begin to "take over" the kings? By that I mean, by the time of the "tycoons" like the Oil and Train people of the 1800's / industrial revolution, it seems to me the kings were already overpowered by businessmen. The American revolution of 1776 also meant merchants (?) were overpowering kings. But what about by the time of the first businesses in the early 1600's like the East India Company and such. They were subsidiaries of the kingdoms it seems to me, but I don't know much.
But before that, like during the 800s CE to the 1500s CE, what was happening with the merchants and their relation to kings? Did the pirates and vikings and such gain as much power as the kings in some places? What was their relation to the kings? When did merchants officially equal or rise above in power to the kings in different places in the world? If I need to narrow the question down, I would wonder in Europe, but I am also interested in China and India.
Basically I am trying to paint a vivid mental picture of how the merchant class gained power equal to or above the kings in Europe, China, and India (or anywhere else). Who were the key merchants (what were their names or ethnicities), and what did they do to aid in this transition?
Also as a tangent, would be helpful to know which books dig deep into this.