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A History of the Rothschild Family: The richest family in the world

 IMPORTANT:An earlier version of this article cited an estimate of the combined net worth of the Rothschilds at $350 billion. That estimate came from a source that does not meet Investopedia’s standards, and we have consequently retracted it. Similarly, an estimate that the Rothschilds controlled more than $2 trillion worth in assets was also inadequately sourced and retracted.

The Rothschild Family

The Rothschilds, a prominent family originating from Germany, established banking and finance houses in Europe beginning in the 18th century.1 Pioneers in providing capital for business and financing infrastructure projects, such as railways and the Suez Canal, the Rothschilds molded the way the international world of high finance works today.

The Rothschild empire had its genesis during the 1760s when Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812) founded a banking business in his native Frankfurt, in the German duchy of Hesse. Over time, and with the help of his five sons, the family business expanded throughout several European countries.

FACTS ABOUT THE FAMILY:


The Rothschild Family Is The Wealthiest Family In History

If you look through the Forbes rich list, you won't find a single mention of the Rothschilds. That's because their incredible wealth has been distributed amongst hundreds of heirs through the last two centuries. However, a rough estimate of the family's wealth is $350 billion to $1 trillion. A number of Rothschild family members have great personal wealth. British financiers Jacob Rothschild and Sir Evelyn De Rothschild are worth $5 billion and $20 billion respectively.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild's Five Sons Were All Noble

The five sons of Mayer Rothschild were named as hereditary noble members of the Austrian aristocracy by Austrian Emperor Francis I. Four of the brothers were granted this status in 1816, with the fifth gaining it in 1818. Amschel Mayer, Solomon Mayer, Nathan Mayer, Calmann Mayer, and Jakob Mayer were granted the Austrian equivalent of the title of baron in 1822. This is why some members of the family use de Rothschild or von Rothschild as their name. The prefix indicates nobility.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild Won The Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars began in 1803 and went on across the continent of Europe for 12 years before finally ending in 1815. The Rothschilds stepped in to intervene in 1813 when Nathan Rothschild realized Napoleon's war was a threat to the family's business practices, so he stepped in to help defeat the French emperor. He didn't suit up and join the battle, but he was the most important person in terms of financing the war efforts of England. It is said that he spent $10 million in 1815 alone to end the war—that is equivalent to nearly $1 billion today!

Nathan Mayer Rothschild Used A Trick To Gain Control Of The British Economy

Nathan was in a position to either make a ton or lose a ton on the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo. There is a centuries old urban legend that says he was the first to hear the news of the British army's victory. It is said that he was stone faced upon hearing this GOOD news, as he had financed England's army. What did he do? Nathan Rothschild went out and sold stock to trick others into thinking that Britain had lost the battle. When things settled down, he then had his agents go out and re-purchase that stock, plus some at a discount, resulting in a hugely profitable day for the family.

The Rothschild Family Is Behind The Suez Canal and Brazil's Independence From Portugal

Considering how many things the Rothschild Family was involved in, you can see how the conspiracy theories have been circulating for the past 100 plus years. During the 19th century, if someone, something, or some cause needed a huge sum of money, the Rothschilds were the family to go to. An example of this is the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and is instrumental in trade between Asia and Europe. The Rothschild family was the main backer of the canal and England's decision to buy shares in it.

The Rothschilds were also involved in the Brazil's bid for independence in 1820. Brazil wanted to break free of Portugal's control and after many battles over this, Portugal agreed that Brazil could be an independent country if they paid a fee to the Portuguese government. The fee was $2 million sterling and was funded by Nathan Rothschild. Brazil was also required to take on a debt that the Portuguese government owed to Nathan's company. The Rothschilds collected the interest on both of these loans, increasing their fortunes from Brazil's independence.

Nowadays, the Rothschild Family keep a very low public profile, which has led to many conspiracy theorists to believe that they basically control the world from behind the scenes. Indeed, despite being less prevalent than they were 200 years ago, the Rothschild Family still have business operations in a number of sectors, including finance, energy, charity, mining, winemaking, and farming. Here are some interesting and lesser known facts about the great Rothschild Family..

Their Rothschild palaces, a collection of vast palaces in Vienna built and owned by the family, were confiscated, plundered and destroyed by the Nazis. The palaces were famous for their sheer size and for their huge collections of paintings, armour, tapestries and statues (some of which were restored to the Rothschilds by the Austrian government in 1999). All family members escaped the Holocaust, some of them moving to the United States, and returning to Europe only after the war. In 1999, the government of Austria agreed to return to the Rothschild family some 250 art treasures looted by the Nazis and absorbed into state museums after the war

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