The Rothschild Family is one of the wealthiest families on the planet, and is a name that frequently pops up in a multitude of conspiracy theories. The Rothschild Family as we know it is descended from Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who was born in what is now Frankfurt, Germany. The son of Jewish moneychanger and trader Amschel Moses Rothschild, Mayer Amschel Rothschild was the fourth of 8 children, and went on to establish a huge international banking empire.
Through his 5 sons, Mayer Amschel Rothschild expanded his banking business, which was founded in the 1760s, to international areas and, as such, managed to bequeath his huge wealth, unlike many rich members of the Jewish community at the time. Mayer Amschel’s 5 sons were each stationed at one of the major European financial centres, one in Frankfurt, London, Naples, Vienna, and Paris.
This passing on of Mayer Amschel’s wealth and business meant that his sons could continue to build on the foundations of their father’s success. In the 19th century the Rothschild Family were at the height of their powers, and were known all around the financial world. Their great fortune and ingenious business minds meant that they carried great power during this time. They utilised this power by affecting some very significant events in human history in order to profit greatly from it. This included backing the British forces with huge sums of money during the Napoleonic Wars (more on that later) and funding Brazil’s claim for independence from Portugal.
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.
5. The Rothschild Family Are the Wealthiest Family in Human History
This may come as a bit of a surprise, as you can browse through Forbes’ extensive rich list and not find a single mention of the name ‘Rothschild’ in their list of the 500 wealthiest people on Earth. This is because the Rothschild’s wealth has been distributed amongst hundreds of heirs throughout the years, and has therefore diluted each individual’s personal fortune.
Despite the dilution of the Rothschild Family’s wealth, there are still a number of extraordinarily wealthy individuals bearing the Rothschild surname. The largest of these fortunes belongs to the British financier Jacob Rothschild, who is worth around $5 billion USD, whilst another British financier, Sir Evelyn De Rothschild, has a fortune of $20 billion USD.
4. All 5 Sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild Were Noble
By ‘noble’ I don’t mean that they held high moral standards, although that may well could well have been, for all I know. What I mean by ‘noble’ is that each of Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s five sons were named as hereditary noble members of the Austrian aristocracy by Austrian Emperor Francis I. Strangely enough, for one reason or another, 4 of the 5 brothers were granted this hereditary noble status in 1816, with one of them being left out of this high status club until the year 1818. The 5 brothers, Amschel Mayer, Salomon Mayer, Nathan Mayer, Calmann Mayer, and Jakob Mayer, enjoyed this status together for 4 years until Emperor Francis I granted them all the title of Freiherr, the equivalent to a baron, in 1822. This is why some of the Rothschild Family use the prefix ‘de’ or ‘von’ Rothschild, as this prefix acknowledges the nobility of the name.
The 5 brothers are not the only members of the Rothschild Family to be granted hereditary nobility. Sir Anthony de Rothschild was named a baronet of the United Kingdom in 1847 and Nathan Mayer Rothschild II was awarded the title Baron Rothschild in 1885, also in the United Kingdom. A great family indeed!
3. Nathan Mayer Rothschild Won the Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars started in 1803 and raged throughout the continent for 12 years before coming to an end in 1815. Although the Rothschild Family already held a large fortune by the time the Napoleonic Wars begun, they didn’t step in to intervene until towards the end of the war, in 1813. It was at this time that Nathan Mayer Rothschild saw Napoleon’s war efforts as a threat to his business practices, and decided to step in to help defeat the French conqueror.
Nathan Mayer Rothschild stepped into the conflict (not literally, he was a businessman for goodness sake!) in 1813 and was the sole most important person in terms of financing the British war efforts. This started with the organisation of precious metal shipments to the armies the Duke of Wellington had stationed across Europe. To add onto this, Nathan Mayer ploughed a huge sum of money into financing the British allies, this included nearly $10 million USD in 1815 alone (equivalent of nearly $900 million USD today). This huge financing operation from Nathan Mayer and his brothers made them the single most influential family to play a part in Napoleon’s defeat, and the subsequent ending of the Napoleonic Wars. Obviously he didn’t do this out of the goodness of his heart, he used it to his full advantage, as we will see now.
2. Nathan Mayer Rothschild Bought Up the British Economy
A legend amongst the Rothschild Family legacy is one of Nathan Mayer Rothschild making an absolute fortune in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo. With the Rothschilds orchestrating the British war efforts in the Napoleonic Wars, the 5 brothers had set up a giant network of contacts, which included couriers, shippers, and, most importantly (in this instance anyway), agents.
The Battle of Waterloo, fought near Brussels, Belgium, had been raging and, with Napoleon appearing to be on the upside of this battle, news soon reached London that Waterloo would be lost. However, reinforcements arrived and eventually the British army came out of the great battle as victors. This is where one of the Rothschild Family’s agents comes into play. With his job to provide Nathan Mayer Rothschild with news before anyone else he set about making his way back to London. Paying handsomely to get a boat over the choppy waters from Ostend, Belgium, the agent reached London well before any other news bearer.
Here, the legend gets a bit muddled, with some claiming that his first port of call was the government offices, who didn’t believe him, and others claiming that he headed straight to the London Stock Exchanges. The legend states that Nathan Mayer ended up at the London Stock Exchange and, in a bid to cause prices to crash, sold all of his government bonds. Everyone else followed suit, believing that the Battle of Waterloo was lost. At the last minute, Nathan Mayer then bought all the government bonds he could at a record low price. When news broke of Britain’s victory at Waterloo, the prices of these bonds soared upwards, resulting in immense profit for the Rothschild dynasty.
1. The Rothschild Family Are Behind the Suez Canal and the Country of Brazil
They really did have their fingers in all the pies, didn’t they? During the 19th century, if anything in the world needed a huge sum of money, a member of the Rothschild Family was there, ready and waiting. One such example of this is their involvement in the construction and owning of the Suez Canal, a canal in Egypt that connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea that is instrumental in trade between Europe and Asia. The Rothschild Family were the main backers and massively influential in the decision for Britain to purchase shares in the canal. This actually led to controversy because then British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli did not consult the Parliament when he made the decision.
Another example of the Rothschild Family’s involvement in political and world affairs is their involvement in the Independence of Brazil in the 1820s. The Brazilian Empire was then seeking to gain independence from their parent state, Portugal. There were multiple battles during this time until the Portuguese agreed that Brazil should be declared independent if they paid a compensation fee to their government. This fee was £2 million sterling, and was funded by none other than Nathan Mayer Rothschild. There was also an agreement in place that Brazil must take on a debt that the Portuguese government had to Nathan Mayer’s company, N M Rothschild & Sons. Obviously, the Rothschild Family profited greatly from these endeavors due to the interest they charged on the loans.