The richest family in the world: the trillion dollar Rothschild dynasty
It’s the mid-1800s, and a sense of war, terror and panic is spreading everywhere Europe. France and Germany are in permanent conflict, Hungary dies for independence and Italy aspires to freedom. A German grandmother sits safely in her attic as a young man stops to voice concerns for the future. He talks about war, famine and uncontrollable conflict, but she smiles and says not to worry, that war will not happen. When in doubt, she simply smiles and confirms that her sons will not allow this to happen. And as the year progresses, his prediction comes true. These sons were Nathan Mayer and James Mayer of Rothschild, and at one point, they controlled the world.
The Rothschilds were a banking family from Frankfurt, Germany. Their power and influence spread across the globe, and relatively quickly they became one of the richest and most powerful families in history. Their geopolitical influence changed the end of wars, countries created, and established connections and conflicts between nations that still resonate in culture today. They are alchemists who turned money into power and who at the same time maintained several generations. Their wealth acquisition techniques are still relevant today and date back to the late 1700s, when under the leadership of Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his German banking firm, greed turned good.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild: Germany’s golden child
Mayer Amschel Rothschild was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1744 and raised in Judengasse, a small Jewish community outside of the Holy Roman Empire. After several years of training at the Simon World Oppenheimer banking company, Amschel became a rare coins dealer, which attracted the patronage of Crown Prince William of Hesse, who became William IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Lassel. This connection would benefit Mayer Amschel, who would navigate through the French Revolution as british broker for the mercenaries of Hesse.
With the recognition of international merit, Rothschild expanded his business and began issuing loans using capital borrowed from the Landgrave. But as Napoleon invaded Hesse due to international conflicts in Prussia, the Landgrave was forced into exile while Rothschild acted as his secret banker, moving funds from Germany to London and profiting from smuggled goods through the Napoleonic blockades throughout the UK. As the business grew in Europe, Mayer Amschel sent his third son to England to expand the empire.
Nathan Mayer Rothschild: The Napoleonic Wars
NOTathan Mayer Rothschild became the richest member of the Rothschild family because of its international reputation and importance. At the age of 21, Nathan moved to England and established himself in the world of textile trade and finance. It was during this time that Nathan also become a freemason of the First Grand Lodge of England, through which he established links among the rich and the elite. In 1809 he was selling them gold bars, which led to a partnership with Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. Rothschild dealt with the payment of Wellington’s troops in Portugal and Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. After the French invasion of Russia, Rothschild also supported the British allies, which led to the first conspiracies surrounding the family.
It was reported that in the 1840s Nathan Rothschild knew the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo before the British cabinet, a strategic situation that would have allowed Nathan to invest in the London Stock Exchange, resulting in unprecedented wealth. His legacy in England continued as his son Lionel de Rothschild became a Member of Parliament.
Lionel de Rothschild: the Suez Canal
Fin the footsteps of his father, Lionel de Rothschild first established himself as baron of the Austrian Empire. He proved himself during the Crimean War, where he became responsible for large sums of funding for the French allies in the fight against Russia. It also became the first private relief provider during the Irish Great Famine. His philanthropic efforts led to his election to the British House of Commons, where he was one of four Members of the City of London constituency. His most famous contribution to parliament was funding the government’s purchase of the Suez Canal from Egypt, a Â£ 4million contract at the time. The purchase forever changed the course of politics and culture, allowing for faster shipping to India, which increased Britain’s strategic interests in the eastern Mediterranean. Connections to Asia and the lands of then Ottoman Palestine paved the way for Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild and his future investments in Israel.
Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild: Geneva connection
Baron Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild was a Swiss member of the Rothschild family who established themselves internationally very early on thanks to his studies in Geneva. He founded the LCF Rothschild Group, which has expanded into 15 separate countries. In 1961, he visited Club Med, a French travel and tourism operator known for its clientele and high-level relationships. Edmond was a significant shareholder of the company at the time, owning 34% of the company. He took advantage of his status with Club Med to acquire stakes in the Bank of California, Banca Tiburtina, and the first hedge fund, the âFund of Fundsâ.
In the late 1950s, Edmond chose to donate his grandfather’s land in Ottoman Palestine to the new state of Israel. He provided 7,500 acres from the city of Caesarea to the Caesarea Rothschild Foundation as well as to the State of Israel. The land and the donation that comes with it served as core funding for education throughout Israel. It was then that Edmond invested deeply in Tel Aviv and the General Bank of Israel, later becoming president of the financial institution. After funding the Six Day War, a battle that established Israel as a national power and formed the basis of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Edmond helped establish the Israel Corporation investment fund. His continued success across Israel ultimately led Edmond to establish the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem. After his death, his son Benjamin succeeded him at the head of Compagnie FinanciÃ¨re Edmond de Rothschild.
Jacob Rothschild: the 4th Baron Rothschild
Back in England, Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, worked to establish his relationship with the United States. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Rothschild Investment Trust, which consisted of large investments in the London Stock Exchange, culminating in a net worth of nearly Â£ 2 billion. In addition to venturing into oil and international politics, Jacob Rothschild forged relationships with several key figures in the United States, including Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank. His international ties led Jacob to become a member of the International Advisory Board of the Blackstone Group. Jacob’s firm, RIT Capital Partners, took advantage of this international reputation to purchase a stake in Rockefeller Financial Services. The ruling amalgamated the two richest families in human history, the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, for the very first time. His decisions and international influence have earned him several honors across countries, including a member of the Order of Merit in the United Kingdom, the J. Paul Getty Medal of the United States and the Weizmann Prize of Israel. At 85, he is the oldest living member of the Rothschild family.
Several new generations of Rothschilds are beginning to venture into the family business. 7th generation family member Alexandre de Rothschild announced he would take over as President of the bank at 37, and Emma Georgina Rothschild is administrator of the Rothschild archives. But other family members explored other avenues and interests. David Meyer de Rothschild has dedicated his life to environmental concerns and has published several books on climate change and global warming, while Charlotte Henriette de Rothschild is a soprano singer who has gained popularity across Japan. The family continues to maintain their international fame through diverse interests, but none can compare to the first generation of Rothschilds, which started in the slums of Frankfurt and ended in companies, governments and high-level organizations around the world.
READ NEXT: Net worth of the entire Hilton family (including James Rothschild)
Another costly divorce: Beck’s divorce will cost him a fortune
About the Author