The Umbrella Corporation is a fictional bioengineering pharmaceutical company in the Resident Evil universe. It is a major international player in a number of markets including pharmaceuticals, medical hardware, defense, and computers along with more clandestine operations utilizing genetic engineering and accused bio-weaponry. The company also has a more public face, producing cosmetics, consumer products and foods.
One of Umbrella's subsidiaries is a private military contractor with a highly-trained security force capable of rescue, reconnaissance, and para-military operations. The corporation uses the force to secure and protect its assets and high profile employees.
The Umbrella Corporation was founded in 1968 by Lord Ozwell E. Spencer, Sir Edward Ashford and Dr. James Marcus at the corporation's Raccoon City facilities while Spencer maintained control over the company for the next thirty years. Soon Umbrella had multiple research facilities and various research being done on various viruses - G-virus, T-virus, Nemesis parasite, etc. - but it was the Arklay Research Facility that became the most prominent together with nearby Arklayonnel and also contained a cutting-edge laboratory installation. However, it was noted by researcher Albert Wesker that the military potential of the T-virus would never make up for the cost of research and production, and that the Arklay facility seemed to be deliberately placed in an area where any leak would cause an uncontrollable outbreak.
Spencer eventually grew distrustful of Marcus, as he was worried that the scientist, who had recently started to make a comeback with his research project, might endanger his position as the Umbrella Corporation's key figure. Spencer arranged for his assassination by Wesker and William Birkin in 1988. Birkin took over Marcus' research soon after and was credited as the inventor of the T-virus.
Umbrella's fortunes failed to improve after the Raccoon City incident. The US government was forced to take extreme measures to ensure the spread of the T-virus was stopped. "Mission: Code XX" was approved, and Raccoon City was annihilated by a nuclear missile strike (or by multiple high explosive ballistic missiles or by aerial bombing, depending upon which game ending is viewed). Despite the apparent disastrous effects this would bring for Umbrella, Spencer used his immense wealth and assets in an attempt to cover up the catastrophe as the result of a government conspiracy. Because most of the evidence of Umbrella's involvement had been destroyed by the strike, Umbrella managed to drag out the legal proceedings. Witnesses like Yoko Suzuki were called to testify against the company, but Umbrella still managed to evade conviction and endure for another five years.
Shortly after the Raccoon City incident, the US government began a formal investigation of Umbrella's business practices. Several further disasters virtually ensured Umbrella's eventual collapse: On Sheena Island, an Umbrella senior executive, Vincent Goldman, unleashed the T-virus on its citizens in a bid to cover up his business on the island, that had not been accepted by Umbrella's executive board and emerge as the sole survivor of the incident, bringing vital research data regarding the new Tyrant project-- Hypnos T-Type --with him. However, an undercover investigator Ark Thompson, operating on behalf of Leon S. Kennedy, a survivor of the Raccoon City incident, succeeded in stopping Goldman's plans, resulting in his death and the loss of data regarding the new Tyrant type. Thompson emerged as a survivor of the incident along with two local children.
Shortly afterwords, Claire Redfield, sister of STARS Alpha team member Chris Redfield and also a survivor of the Raccoon City incident, broke into Umbrella's Paris facilities in search of her brother. She was captured and sent to Umbrella's facility on Rockfort Island. While there, she witnessed Wesker attack the island in search of the T-Veronica virus, another derivative of the T-virus. Escaping the island, she found herself trapped at the Antarctic Transport Terminal, another Umbrella Facility, where Edward Ashford's granddaughter, Alexia Ashford, awoke from a self-induced coma with a desire to establish a new world order. Alexia was eventually killed and the Facility destroyed by Chris and Claire Redfield.
In 2002, Morpheus D. Duvall, a former Umbrella researcher who Umbrella officially blamed for the incident at the Arklay Laboratory, stole vials of T-virus from Umbrella's Paris facility, then hijacked the Umbrella-owned cruise ship, Spencer Rain, upon which Umbrella had been trying to sell some of its latest BOWs to the highest bidder in a last ditch attempt to obtain financial resources for the company's continued survival. All passengers and crew on the ship were infected with the T-virus, and Morpheus also stole a sample of Umbrella's most powerful virus, the tG-virus, a blend of the T and G viruses. Morpheus planned to launch missiles containing the T-virus at American and Chinese cities unless the governments of both countries paid him excessive amounts of money. Due to the intervention of Anti-Umbrella agent Bruce McGivern, Morpheus was stopped and Umbrella lost the Spencer Rain and all research data and BOW specimens on it, as well as the remains of their waste disposal facility and secret underwater research laboratory on an unnamed island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Due to the series of disasters plaguing the company, and the ongoing legal proceedings against them, Umbrella's stock prices plummeted. By the early 21st century, the Umbrella Corporation's ruin was nearly absolute. Umbrella retained one last major stronghold located in southern Russia. Following Spencer's disappearance, this facility was placed under the leadership of Sergei Vladimir, and now housed the UMF-013, a supercomputer containing all of the company's data.
In 2003, Umbrella's stronghold came under attack by special forces troops led by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, along with an unrelated attack by Albert Wesker. While the special forces secured the facility and destroyed the T-ALOS project, Wesker infiltrated the facility and assassinated Vladimir, stealing all the data from the UMF-013. Wesker then turned incriminating data over to the prosecutors working against Umbrella, and testified, under the guise as a friend of Ozwell. Five years after Raccoon City's destruction, Umbrella was finally found guilty on all charges of its involvement in that massacre and an international manhunt by the FBI and the FSS had started to bring Spencer to justice.