The Rothschild family is a European family of German Jewish origin that established European banking and finance houses from the late eighteenth century.
The Rothschild family was founded by Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Wanting his sons to succeed on their own and to expand the family business across Europe, he had his eldest son remain in Frankfurt, while his four other sons were sent to different European cities with the mission of establishing a financial institution to invest in business and provide banking services. Endogamy within the family was an essential part of the Rothschild strategy in order to ensure control of their wealth remained in family hands. Through their collaborative efforts, the Rothschilds rose to prominence in a variety of banking endeavours including loans, government bonds and trading in bullion. Their financing afforded investment opportunities and during the 19th century they became major stakeholders in large-scale mining and rail transport ventures that were fundamental to the rapidly expanding industrial economies of Europe.
Five lines of the Austrian branch of the family were elevated into the Austrian nobility, being given hereditary baronies of the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Francis II in 1816. The British branch of the family was elevated into the British nobility by Queen Victoria.
This article shows the family tree of some of the prominent branches of the Rothschild family.
The founder and his children Mayer Amschel Rothschild was born in 1744 in the ghetto in Frankfurt. At the age of 13, he went to Hanover to serve an apprenticeship with the bank of Simon Wolf Oppenheimer. At the age of 19, he returned to Frankfurt. There he joined his brother Calmann's money-changing business. He became a dealer in rare coins and won the patronage of Wilhelm IX of Hesse, gaining the title of "court factor". Rothschild's coin business expanded through the provision of banking services to Wilhelm IX. His bank became one of the biggest in Frankfurt.
He married Guttle Schnapper in 1770. With her, he had 10 children.
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