Deriving its name from the sign of a red shield, Rothschild is a Jewish bloodline that spans over 250 years, widely recognized for the major contribution it has made to the economic, political and social history of many countries throughout the world. Their acumen as money changers and financier to the leaders of Europe over the past 200 years is unparalleled. No single corporation or business entity has survived with so much accumulated wealth intact.
How it began
Europe, in the 18th century, was a blunder of states, kingdoms and duchies of various sizes, which were busy fighting with each other. Most people were poor, hard working slaves of Feudalism. It was in that time that a man named Mayer Amschel Bauer (1743-1812) appeared. This man later became the Godfather of the Rothschild Banking Cartel of Europe.
Amschel Moses Bauer was a goldsmith in Frankfurt, Germany who opened a coin shop in 1743, and over the door, he placed a sign depicting a Roman eagle on a red shield. The shop became known as the Red Shield firm. When his son, Mayer Amschel Bauer, inherited the business, he decided to change his name to Rothschild, which is derived from 'roetes schilde' (German for "red shield"). Mayer Amschel Rothschild soon learned that lending money to governments and kings was more profitable than lending to private individuals. Not only were the loans bigger, but they were secured by the nation's taxes.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild married Guetele Schnapper and spawned 5 sons. Amschel Mayer, Solomon Mayer, Nathan Mayer, Karl Mayer, and James Mayer. The sons were inherited with the financy acumen of their father, and were made partners. The sons grew up and quickly moved away to major cities in Europe in order to promote the family business. In the major cities they opened branch offices of the family banking business. His will directed that one son in each generation was to rule the family business; women were excluded. Amschel Mayer remained in Frankfurt; Solomon Mayer went and settled in Vienna in 1816; Nathan Mayer, settled in England in 1797; Karl Mayer, traveled and settled in Naples in 1821; James Mayer, settled in Paris in 1812.
The London House, founded by Nathan Mayer Rothschild, known today as N.M. Rothschild and Sons, is undoubtedly the most influential, especially as it pertains to gold and currency trading. Twice daily a Rothschild agent sits in a cloistered room "fixing" the price of gold in the world's largest bullion trading market: the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Historically, N.M. Rothschild was owner and operator of England's Royal Mint Refinery and was the primary gold agent to the Bank of England.
Nathan helped finance Britain's conquest of Napoleon at Waterloo, and benefited in London's stock market from advanced knowledge (from his superb courier service using pigeons) of Napoleons defeat at Waterloo. Nathan helped finance the Duke of Wellington's army having bought 800,000 pounds of gold from the East Indian Company for $8 million then selling the gold to the Duke to help defeat Napoleon. Hence, Nathan became chief broker and pay master general to England's most important army; the Rothschilds were England's lifeline for getting paycheques to the English army. Nathan could single handily wipe out savings of many a competitor by dumping "consols" in London driving down their share prices, as he did with the advance news of Napoleon's defeat.
On a daily basis, Nathan was legendary in London's markets for jumping in and out of the market with tens of thousands of princely rounds, never too early and never too late. Eventually Nathan would become richer than Prince William, his father Mayer's German client. It is said that the Rothschilds were the inventors of the courier service using passenger pigeons to relay news amongst the family and to their client beneficiaries. Nathan's ability to depress stock prices, then buy them up after people paniced was legendary. He would use Rothschild agents to send false news which would be used by observers falsely leading the crowd astray, then he would buy up the same stock at ridiculous low prices.
The Rothschild French House, which was headed by the Baron Edmond de Rothschild, was the most powerful private merchanting banking arm and the richest of all the Rothschilds and ran the Compaigne Fincanciere, a world wide organization which builds villas, hotels, pipelines, and finances other banks. Rothschild Freres, run by cousing Baron Guy Eduoard, was the largest private bank in France. The French House also controlled mining companies (De Beers and gold mines in South Africa), metal plants (Rio Tinto), oil interests (Royal Dutch Shell), and chemical industries. The Baron was estimated to be the richest Rothschild and probably the most multiple millionaire/billionaire in Europe. Edmonds cousin Baron Guy Eduoard was director of the Bank of France.
The Rothschild helped to finance some of the Jewish settlements and Zionist land acquisitions in Israel. The best-known settlements sponsored by Rothschild are Metulla, Zikhron Ya'akov, Rishon Le-zion, and Rosh Pina. Metulla (est. 1896) is an example of a purchase that had the further advantages of controlling water sources and establishing the northern limit of Jewish settlement. Baron James de Rothschild donated six million Israeli Pounds towards the construction of the Knesset building (Israeli Parliament).
The family tree
(Note: I excluded the irrelevant parts, so this is not the complete genealogy of the family. For more information, see sources below.)
Amschel Moses Rothschild (+1755)