Rothschild family

Rothschild family
The House of Rothschild
Rothschild Wappen.jpg
Ethnicity Ashkenazi Jewish
Current region Monaco, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom, Cayman Islands
Place of origin Frankfurt am Main
Waddesdon Manor, donated to charity by the family in 1957.
One of the many estates built by the Austrian branch of the family, Schloss Hinterleiten.

The Rothschild family (German: [ˈʁoːt.ʃɪlt]), known as The House of Rothschild,[1] or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a European family of German Jewish origin that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century. Five lines of the Austrian branch of the family have been elevated to Austrian nobility being given hereditary baronies of the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Francis II in 1816. The British branch of the family was elevated to British nobility at the request of Queen Victoria.[2][3] It has been argued that during the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world as well as by far the largest fortune in modern world history.[3][4][5]


Historical records and overview

Historian Paul Johnson writes "[T]he Rothschilds are elusive. There is no book about them that is both revealing and accurate. Libraries of nonsense have been written about them. For this the family is largely to blame." A woman who planned to write a book entitled Lies about the Rothschilds abandoned it, saying: "It was relatively easy to spot the lies, but it proved impossible to find out the truth. The family is highly secretive... They kept no more documentation than was necessary. They systematically destroyed their papers." He also notes that this was understandable, since they were private bankers and had confidential relations with several governments and innumerable powerful individuals. They were Jews, and particularly concerned that details could be used to promote anti-Semitism. Their latest historian, Miriam Rothschild, believes another reason was that they kept no muniment room. The Rothschilds were not interested in their history, but were respectful towards their ancestors, as a matter of good form; they prudently thought about the future, but lived for the present.[6]

"All the same," Johnson writes, "the salient facts about the Rothschilds are clear enough. They were a product of the Napoleonic Wars, just as the first phase of large-scale Jewish finance was a product of the Thirty Years War, and for the same reason: in wartime, Jewish creativity comes to the fore and gentile prejudice goes to the rear. In all essentials, the family fortune was created by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in London." He notes that prior to the beginning of the revolutionary wars in France, in the mid-1790s, European merchant banking was dominated by non-Jews, including the "Barings of London, the Hopes of Amsterdam and the Gebrüder Bethmann of Frankfurt". The financial demands of war quickly expanded the money-raising market and so opened room for newcomers, including a German-Jewish group with the Oppenheims, Rothschilds, Heines, and Mendelssohns among them.[7]


The family's rise to European prominence began in 1744, with the birth of Mayer Amschel Rothschild in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He was the son of Amschel Moses Rothschild, (born circa 1710),[8] who was a money changer, who had traded with the Prince of Hesse. Born in the ghetto (called "Judengasse" or Jewish-alley) of Frankfurt, Mayer developed a finance house and spread his empire by installing each of his five sons in European cities to conduct business. He adopted the surname of Rothschild taking that name from a sign with a red shield that hung over the door to his business establishment (red shield in German is roth schild).

Paul Johnson notes that unlike the court Jews of earlier generations, who had helped finance and manage European noble houses, but often lost their winnings through violence or expropriation, the new kind of international firm created by the Rothschilds became impervious to local attacks. Despite newly acquired but largely illusionary Jewish rights, when anti-Semitic violence broke out in many parts of Germany, during the Hep-Hep riots in 1819 and again during the revolutions of 1848, the assaults on the Rothschild house in Frankfurt caused no real difference in their international operations. Their assets were no longer held there; they were held in financial instruments, circulating through the world as stocks, bonds and debts. Changes made by the Rothschilds completed a process that Jewish bankers and merchants had been working on for centuries, which was how to insulate their property from the ravages of local violence: "Henceforth their real wealth was beyond the reach of the mob, almost beyond the reach of greedy monarchs."[9]

Another essential part of Mayer Rothschild's strategy for future success was to keep control of their businesses in family hands, allowing them to maintain full discretion about the size of their wealth and their business achievements. About 1906, the Jewish Encyclopedia noted: "The practice initiated by the Rothschilds of having several brothers of a firm establish branches in the different financial centers was followed by other Jewish financiers, like the Bischoffsheims, Pereires, Seligmans, Lazards, and others, and these financiers by their integrity and financial skill obtained credit not alone with their Jewish confrères, but with the banking fraternity in general. By this means Jewish financiers obtained an increasing share of international finance during the middle and last quarter of the nineteenth century. The head of the whole group was the Rothschild family...". It also states: "Of more recent years, non-Jewish financiers have learned the same cosmopolitan method, and, on the whole, the control is now rather less than more in Jewish hands than formerly."[10]

Mayer Rothschild successfully kept the fortune in the family with carefully arranged marriages, often between first or second cousins (similar to Royal intermarriage). By the late 19th century almost all Rothschilds had started to marry outside the family, usually into the aristocracy or other financial dynasties.[11] His sons were:

The Rothschild coat of arms contains a clenched fist with five arrows symbolizing the five sons of Mayer Rothschild, a reference to Psalm 127: "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior". The family motto appears below the shield, in Latin, Concordia, Integritas, Industria, (Harmony, Integrity, Industry).[12] The German family name means "Red Shield". Today, it would be spelled "Rotschild", and is pronounced approximately ROT-shillt in German, not wroth(s)-child as it is in English. The surname "Rothschild" is not uncommon in Germany, and the vast majority of the bearers of the name are unrelated to this family. Moreover, the German surnames "Rothschild" and "Rothchild" are not related to the Protestant surname "Rothchilds" from the United Kingdom.

Families by country:

The Napoleonic Wars

The Rothschilds already possessed a very significant fortune before the start of Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), and the family had gained preeminence in the bullion trade by this time.[13] From London in 1813 to 1815, Nathan Mayer Rothschild was instrumental in almost single-handedly financing the British war effort, and the French war effort, financing the shipment of bullion to the Duke of Wellington's armies across Europe, as well as arranging the payment of British financial subsidies to their Continental allies. In 1815 alone, the Rothschilds provided £9.8 million (£694m in today's money) in subsidy loans to Britain's continental allies.[14]

One of the smaller city houses, Vienna. A collection of far larger Viennese palaces known as Palais Rothschild were torn down during the Second World War.

The brothers helped co-ordinate Rothschild activities across the continent, and the family developed a network of agents, shippers and couriers to transport gold across war-torn Europe. The family network was also to provide Nathan Rothschild time and again with political and financial information ahead of his peers, giving him an advantage in the markets and rendering the house of Rothschild still more invaluable to the British government. In one instance, the family network enabled Nathan to receive in London the news of Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo a full day ahead of the government's official messengers.[13]

Rothschild's first concern on this occasion was to the potential financial advantage on the market which the knowledge would have given him; he and his courier did not immediately take the news to the government.[13] See a partisan French pamphlet in 1846 by John Reeves in 1887 in The Rothschilds: the Financial Rulers of Nations. It was then repeated in later popular accounts, such as that of Morton.[15][16]

The basis for the Rothschild's most famously profitable move was made after the news of British victory had been made public. Nathan Rothschild calculated that the future reduction in government borrowing brought about by the peace would create a bounce in British government bonds after a two year stabilisation, which would finalise the post-war re-structuring of the domestic economy.[14][15][16] In what has been described as one of the most audacious moves in financial history, Nathan immediately bought up the government bond market, for what at the time seemed an excessively high price, before waiting two years, then selling the bonds on the crest of short bounce in the market in 1817 for a 40% profit. Given the sheer power of leverage the Rothschild family had at its disposal, this profit was an enormous sum.[14]

Nathan Mayer Rothschild initially started his business in Manchester England in 1806, and gradually moved it to London, where in 1809 he acquired the location at 2 New Court in St. Swithin's Lane, City of London,[13] where it operates today; he established N. M. Rothschild and Sons in 1811. In 1818, he arranged a £5 million loan to the Prussian government, and the issuing of bonds for government loans formed a mainstay of his bank’s business. He gained a position of such power in the City of London that by 1825–6 he was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a market liquidity crisis.

International high finance

"I have not the nerve for his operations. They are well-planned, with great cleverness and adroitness in execution – but he is in money and funds what Napoleon was in war." —Baron Baring on Nathan Rothschild[17]
Mentmore Towers, one of the many Rothschild estates built in Buckinghamshire

In 1816, four of the brothers were each elevated to the hereditary nobility by Austrian Emperor Francis I; moreover, a fifth brother, Nathan, was elevated in 1818. All of them were granted the Austrian title of baron or Freiherr on 29 September 1822. As such, some members of the family used "de" or "von" Rothschild to acknowledge the grant of nobility. In 1847, Sir Anthony de Rothschild, was made a hereditary baronet of the United Kingdom. In 1885, Nathan Mayer Rothschild II (1840–1915) of the London branch of the family, was granted the hereditary peerage title Baron Rothschild in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The Frankfurt terminus of the Taunus railroad, financed by the Rothschilds. Opened in 1840, it was one of Germany's first railroads.

Rothschild family banking businesses pioneered international high finance during the industrialisation of Europe and were instrumental in supporting railway systems across the world and in complex government financing for projects such as the Suez Canal. The family bought up a large proportion of the property in Mayfair, London. Major businesses directly founded by Rothschild family capital include Alliance Assurance (1824) (now Royal & SunAlliance); Chemin de Fer du Nord (1845); Rio Tinto Group (1873); Société Le Nickel (1880) (now Eramet); and Imétal (1962) (now Imerys). The Rothschilds financed the founding of De Beers, as well as Cecil Rhodes on his expeditions in Africa and the creation of the colony of Rhodesia. From the late 1880s onwards, the family controlled the Rio Tinto mining company.

The Japanese government approached the London and Paris families for funding during the Russo-Japanese War. The London consortium's issue of Japanese war bonds would total £11.5 million (at 1907 currency rates).[18]

The name of Rothschild became synonymous with extravagance and great wealth, and the family was renowned for its art collecting, for its palaces, as well as for its philanthropy. By the end of the century, the family owned, or had built, at the lowest estimates, over 41 palaces, of a scale and luxury perhaps unparalleled even by the richest royal families.[14] The soon to be British Prime Minister Lloyd George claimed, in 1909, that Lord Nathan Rothschild was the most powerful man in Britain.[3][19]

In 1901, with no male heir, the Frankfurt House closed its doors after more than a century in business. It was not until 1989 that the family returned, when N M Rothschild & Sons, the British investment arm, plus Bank Rothschild AG, the Swiss branch, set up a representative banking office in Frankfurt.

English branch

The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in 1798 by Nathan Mayer Rothschild.

French branches

Château de Ferrières, the largest Château of the 19th century, was built in 1854. It is set in a 30 km² estate. It was donated to charity by the family in 1975.

There are two branches of the family connected to France.

The first was son James Mayer de Rothschild (1792–1868), known as "James", who established de Rothschild Frères in Paris. Following the Napoleonic Wars, he played a major role in financing the construction of railroads and the mining business that helped make France an industrial power. James' sons Gustave de Rothschild and Alphonse James de Rothschild continued the banking tradition and was the guarantor of the 5 billion in reparations[20] demanded by the occupying Prussian army in the 1870s Franco-Prussian War.[citation needed] By 1980, the Paris business employed about 2,000 people and had an annual turnover of 26 billion francs ($5 billion in the currency rates of 1980).[21] But then the Paris business suffered a near death blow in 1982 when the Socialist government of François Mitterrand nationalized and renamed it Compagnie Européenne de Banque.[needs citation] Baron David de Rothschild, then 39, decided to stay and rebuild, creating a new entity Rothschild & Cie Banque with just three employees and $1 million in capital. Today, the Paris operation has 22 partners and accounts for a significant part of the global business. Ensuing generations of the Paris Rothschild family remained involved in the family business, becoming a major force in international investment banking. The Rothschilds have since led the Thomson Financial League Tables in Investment Banking Merger and Acquisition deals in the UK, France and Italy.

James Mayer de Rothschild's other son, Edmond James de Rothschild (1845–1934) was very much engaged in philanthropy and the arts, and was a leading proponent of Zionism. His grandson, Baron Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild, founded in 1953 the LCF Rothschild Group, a private bank. Since 1997, Baron Benjamin de Rothschild chairs the group. The group has €100bn of assets in 2008 and owns many wine properties in France (Château Clarke, Château des Laurets), in Australia or in South Africa.In 1961, the 35 year old Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild purchased the company Club Med, after he had visited a resort and enjoyed his stay.[22][23] His interest in Club Med was sold off by the 1990s. In 1973, he bought out the Bank of California, selling his interests in 1984 before it was sold to Mitsubishi Bank in 1985.

A Château of Baron Henri James de Rothschild's, Paris

The second French branch was founded by Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812–1870). Born in London he was the fourth child of the founder of the British branch of the family, Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836). In 1850, Nathaniel Rothschild moved to Paris, ostensibly to work with his uncle, James Mayer Rothschild. However, in 1853 Nathaniel acquired Château Brane Mouton, a vineyard in Pauillac in the Gironde département. Nathaniel Rothschild renamed the estate, Château Mouton Rothschild and it would become one of the best known labels in the world. In 1868, Nathaniel's uncle, James Mayer de Rothschild acquired the neighboring Chateau Lafite vineyard.

Austrian branch

Grüneburgschlößchen, Frankfurt, 1845, one of the Rothschilds' many German garden-mansions. This particular estate was destroyed in an allied bombing raid, 1944.

In Vienna, Salomon Mayer Rothschild established a bank in the 1820s and the Austrian family had vast wealth and position.[24] The crash of 1929 brought problems, and Baron Louis von Rothschild attempted to shore up the Creditanstalt, Austria's largest bank, to prevent its collapse. Nevertheless, during World War II they had to surrender their bank to the Nazis and flee the country. 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, statues (some of which were restituted to the Rothschilds by the Austrian government in 1999). All family members escaped the Holocaust, some of them moving to the United States, and only returning to Europe 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.

Naples branch

Villa Pignatelli, Naples, with views onto Mount Vesuvius

The C M de Rothschild & Figli bank arranged substantial loans to the Papal States and to various Kings of Naples plus the Duchy of Parma and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. However, in the 1830s, Naples followed Spain with a gradual shift away from conventional bond issues that began to affect the bank's growth and profitability. The Unification of Italy in 1861, with the ensuing decline of the Italian aristocracy who had been the Rothschild's primary clients, eventually brought about the closure of their Naples bank, due to declining forecasts for long-term business sustainability. However, in the early 19th century, the Rothschild family of Naples built up close relations with the Vatican Bank, and the association between the family and the Vatican continued into the 20th century. In 1832, when Pope Gregory XVI was seen meeting Carl von Rothschild, observers were shocked that Rothschild was not required to kiss the Pope's feet, as was then required for all other visitors to the Pope, including monarchs.[25]

"Rothschilds... are the guardians of the papal treasure."

-Encyclopedia Judaica, 1901–1906, Vol. 2, p.497

Jewish identity and positions on Zionism

Jewish solidarity in the family was not homogeneous. Some Rothschilds were supporters of Zionism, while other members of the family opposed the creation of the Jewish state. Some believed it would encourage anti-Semites to question the existing national identities of assimilated Jews around the rest of the world.[20] In 1917 Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild was the addressee of the Balfour Declaration to the Zionist Federation,[26] which committed the British government to the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Later, Lord Victor Rothschild was against granting asylum or even help to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.[20]

After the death of James Jacob de Rothschild in 1868, Alphonse Rothschild, his oldest son, who took over the management of the family bank, was the most active in support for Eretz Israel.[27] The Rothschild family archives show that during the 1870s the family contributed nearly 500,000 francs per year on behalf of Eastern Jewry to the Alliance Israélite Universelle.[28] Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, James Jacob de Rothschild's youngest son was a patron of the first settlement in Palestine at Rishon-LeZion, and bought from Ottoman landlords parts of the land which now makes up present-day Israel. In 1924, he established the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA), which acquired more than 125,000 acres (22,36 km²) of land and set up business ventures.[29] In Tel Aviv, he has a road, Rothschild Boulevard, named after him as well as various localities throughout Israel which he assisted in founding including Metulla, Zikhron Ya'akov, Rishon Lezion, and Rosh Pina. A park in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, the Parc Edmond de Rothschild (Edmond de Rothschild Park) is also named after its founder.[30] The Rothschilds also played a significant part in the funding of Israel's governmental infrastructure. James A. de Rothschild financed the Knesset building as a gift to the State of Israel[31] and the Supreme Court of Israel building was donated to Israel by Dorothy de Rothschild.[32] Outside the President's Chamber is displayed the letter Mrs. Rothschild wrote to the then current Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressing her intention to donate a new building for the Supreme Court.[33]

Interviewed by Haaretz in 2010, Baron Benjamin Rothschild, a Swiss-based member of the banking family, said that he supported the peace process: "I understand that it is a complicated business, mainly because of the fanatics and extremists – and I am talking about both sides. I think you have fanatics in Israel... In general I am not in contact with politicians. I spoke once with Netanyahu. I met once with an Israeli finance minister, but the less I mingle with politicians the better I feel." On the subject of religious identity, he stated that he held an open-minded attitude: "We do business with all kinds of countries, including Arab countries[...] My oldest daughter's boyfriend is a Saudi. He is a great guy and if she will want to marry him, she can."[34]

Modern business

Château Lafite Rothschild, Bordeaux. Alongside Château Mouton Rothschild, it is perhaps the most prestigious of the many Rothschild wine estates
The family owns a 99 year lease and has fully restored Spencer House, St. James's Park, London

Today, there are mainly three financial groups controlled by the Rothschild family. The first is "The Rothschild Group" including the activity of investment banking of N M Rothschild & Sons. The second is Edmond de Rothschild Group, Swiss private banking group. The third is RIT Capital Partners, English investment trust. The family also invests in other ventures, as well as in wine, art, and charities.

The Rothschild Group

Since 2003, Rothschild investment banks have been controlled by Rothschild Continuation Holdings, a Swiss-registered holding company (under the chairmanship of Baron David René de Rothschild). Rothschild Continuation Holdings is in turn controlled by Concordia BV, a Dutch-registered master holding company. Concordia BV is managed by Paris Orléans S.A., a French-registered holding company.[35] Paris Orléans S.A. is ultimately controlled by Rothschild Concordia SAS, a Rothschild's family holding company.[36] Rothschild & Cie Banque controls Rothschild banking businesses in France and continental Europe, while Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG controls a number of Rothschild banks elsewhere, including N M Rothschild & Sons in London. Twenty percent of Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG was sold in 2005 to Jardine Strategic, which is a subsidiary of Jardine, Matheson & Co. of Hong Kong. In November 2008, Rabobank Group, the leading investment and commercial bank in the Netherlands, acquired 7.5% of Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG, and Rabobank and Rothschild entered into a co-operation agreement in the fields of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) advisory and Equity Capital Markets advisory in the food and agribusiness sectors.[37] It was believed that the move was intended to help Rothschild Continuation Holdings AG gain access to a wider capital pool, enlarging its presence in East Asian markets.[38]

Paris Orléans S.A. is a financial holding company listed on Euronext Paris and controlled by the French and English branch of the Rothschild family. Paris Orléans is the flagship of the Rothschild banking Group and controls the Rothschild Group’s banking activities including N M Rothschild & Sons and Rothschild & Cie Banque. It has over 2000 employees. Directors of the company include Eric de Rothschild, Robert de Rothschild, and Count Philippe de Nicolay.[39]

N M Rothschild & Sons, English investment bank does most of its business as a mergers and acquisitions advisor. In 2004, the investment bank withdrew from the gold market, a commodity the Rothschild bankers had traded in for two centuries.[20] In 2006, it ranked second in UK M&A with deals totalling $104.9 billion.[40] In 2006, it publicly recorded a pre-tax annual profit of £83.2 million with assets of £5.5 billion.[41]

Today, the price of gold is still fixed, twice a day at 10.30 am and 3.00 pm at the premises of N M Rothschild by the world's main Bullion Houses - Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ScotiaMocatta and Societe Generale. Informally, the gold fixing provides a recognized rate that is used as a benchmark for pricing the majority of gold products and derivatives throughout the world's markets. Every day at 1030 and 1500 local time, five representatives of investment banks meet in a small room at Rothschild's London headquarters on St Swithin's Lane. In the centre is the chairperson, who is by tradition appointed by the Rothschild bank, although the bank itself has largely withdrawn from the trading. The chair ends the meeting with the phrase "There are no flags, and we're fixed".[42]

Edmond de Rothschild Group

In 1953, one member of the (non-winemaking) French branch of the family, Edmond Adolphe de Rothschild (1926–1997), founded the LCF Rothschild Group (now Edmond de Rothschild Group), based in Geneva, with €100 billion in assets, which today extends to 15 countries across the world. Although this Group is primarily a financial entity, specialising in asset management and private banking, its activities also cover mixed farming, luxury hotels, and yacht racing. Edmond de Rothschild Group's committee is currently being chaired by Benjamin de Rothschild, Baron Edmond's son.

In late 2010, Baron Benjamin Rothschild said that the family had been unaffected by the financial crisis of 2007–2010, due to their conservative business practices: "We came through it well, because our investment managers did not want to put money into crazy things." He added that the Rothschilds were still a small-scale, traditional family business, and took greater care over their clients' investments than American companies, adding: "The client knows we will not speculate with his money".[43][34]

Edmond de Rothschild group includes these companies.

  • Banque privée Edmond de Rothschild - Swiss private banking firm
  • Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild - French private bank
  • La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild - xxx
  • Cogifrance - Real estate
  • Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild - Wine making company

RIT Capital Partners

In 1980, Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild resigned from N M Rothschild & Sons and took independent control of Rothschild Investment Trust (now RIT Capital Partners, one of the UK's largest investment trusts), which has reported assets of $3.4 billion in 2008.[44] It is listed on London Stock Exchange. Lord Rothschild is also one of the major investors behind BullionVault, a gold trading platform.[45]

RIT Capital stores a significant proportion of its assets in the form of physical gold. Other assets include oil and energy-related investments.[46]


In 1991, Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild founded J. Rothschild Assurance Group (now St. James's Place) with Sir Mark Weinberg. It is also listed on London Stock Exchange.[47]

In December 2009, Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild invested $200 million of his own money in a North Sea Oil company.[48]

In January 2010, Nathaniel Philip Rothschild bought a substantial share of the Glencore mining and oil company's market capitalization. He is also buying a large share of the aluminium mining company United Company RUSAL.[49]

During the 19th century, the Rothschilds controlled the Rio Tinto mining corporation, and to this day, Rothschild and Rio Tinto maintain a close business relationship.

The family also owns some shares of the British weekly, The Economist.[50]


The name Rothschild has been associated with fine wines for almost a century and a half.[51] In 1853 Nathaniel de Rothschild purchased Château Brane Mouton and renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. In 1868 James Mayer de Rothschild secured the neighbouring Château Lafite and renamed it Château Lafite Rothschild.

Today Rothschild family owns many wine estates: their estates in France include Château Clarke, Château Clerc-Milon, Château d'Armailhac, Château Duhart-Milon, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château de Laversine, Château des Laurets, Château L'Évangile, Château Malmaison, Château de Montvillargenne, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château de la Muette, Château Rieussec, Château Rothschild d'Armainvilliers. They also own wine estates across North America, South America, South Africa and Australia.

Especially, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Lafite Rothschild are classified as Premier Grand Cru in First Growth, the status referring to a classification of wines primarily from the Bordeaux region of France.

Art and charity

Since the end of the 19th century, the family has taken a low-key public profile, donating many famous estates, as well as vast quantities of art, to charity, keeping full anonymity about the size of their fortunes, and generally eschewing conspicuous displays of wealth.[52][53] The family once had one of the largest private art collections in the world, and a significant proportion of the art in the world's public museums are Rothschild donations which were sometimes, in the family tradition of discretion, donated anonymously.[54]

Cultural references

Rothschildschloss, Waidhofen
Castle de Haar

In the words of the Daily Telegraph: "This multinational banking family is a byword for wealth, power – and discretion... The Rothschild name has become synonymous with money and power to a degree that no other family has ever matched."[55] While The Independent describes "an even older tradition - the ability of the family to sustain their secretive fortune, which industry insiders count not in billions but in trillions, and keep it within the family. Secrecy has been a hallmark of the Rothschilds from the outset."[56]

The story of the Rothschild family has been featured in a number of films. The 1934 Hollywood film titled The House of Rothschild, starring George Arliss and Loretta Young, recounted the life of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Excerpts from this film were incorporated into the National Socialist (Nazi) propaganda film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) and another German film Die Rothschilds (also called Aktien auf Waterloo) was directed by Erich Waschneck in 1940. A Broadway musical entitled The Rothschilds, covering the history of the family up to 1818, was nominated for a Tony Award in 1971. Nathaniel Mayer ("Natty") Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild appears as a minor character in the historical-mystery novel Stone's Fall, by Iain Pears. The Rothschild name is mentioned by Aldous Huxley in his novel Brave New World, among many names of historically affluent persons, scientific innovators, and others. The character, named Morgana Rothschild, played a relatively minor role in the story. The name Rothschild used as a synonym for extreme wealth inspired the song "If I Were a Rich Man", which is based on a song from the Tevye the Dairyman stories, written in the Yiddish as Ven ikh bin Rotshild, meaning "If I were a Rothschild".

In France, the word "Rothschild" was throughout the 19th and 20th centuries a synonym for seemingly endless wealth, neo-Gothic styles, Byzantine splendour, and epicurean glamour.[57] The family also has lent its name to "le goût Rothschild," a suffocatingly glamorous style of living whose decorative elements include neo-Renaissance palaces, extravagant use of velvet and gilding, vast collections of armour and sculpture, a sense of Victorian horror vacui, and the highest masterworks of art. Le goût Rothschild has much influenced interior designers such as Robert Denning, Vincent Fourcade, and others.

"Yes, my dear fellow, it all amounts to this: in order to do something first you must be something. We think Dante great, and he had a civilisation of centuries behind him; the House of Rothschild is rich and it has required much more than one generation to attain such wealth. Such things all lie much deeper than one thinks."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, October 1828[58]

Conspiracy theories

Over more than two centuries,[15][16] the Rothschild family has frequently been the target of conspiracy theories.[59][60][61] These theories take differing forms, such as claiming that the family belongs to the Illuminati,[62] controls the world's wealth and financial institutions,[63][64] or encouraged wars between governments. Discussing this and similar views, the historian Niall Ferguson wrote: "As we have seen, however, wars tended to hit the price of existing bonds by increasing the risk that a debtor state would fail to meet its interest payments in the event of defeat and losses of territory. By the middle of the 19th century, the Rothschilds had evolved from traders into fund managers, carefully tending to their own vast portfolio of government bonds. Now having made their money, they stood to lose more than they gained from conflict. The Rothschilds had decided the outcome of the Napoleonic Wars by putting their financial weight behind Britain. Now they would sit on the sidelines."[65]

Prominent descendants of Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Prominent lineal descendants of Mayer Amschel Rothschild include amongst many others:

Baron David René de Rothschild, current French chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons and formerly of De Beers
A Rothschild Villa, photographed in 1900, Königstein, Germany
Lord Ferdinand von Rothschild (1839–1898)
Sybil Cholmondeley, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (1894–1989), painted by John Singer Sargent
Halton House, a Rothschild family mansion in Buckinghamshire, England
Lionel de Rothschild, whose colt won the 1879 Epsom Derby
Palais Freiherr Albert von Rothschild, 1884
Vermeer's The Astronomer, donated to charity by the family in 1982
Beatrice de Rothschild's villa on the Côte d'Azur, France

Prominent marriages into the family include, amongst many others:

See also


  1. ^ The House of Rothschild: Money's prophets, 1798–1848, Volume 1, Niall Ferguson, 1999
  2. ^ The House of Rothschild: Money's prophets, 1798–1848, Volume 1, Niall Ferguson, 1999, introduction
  3. ^ a b c The House of Rothschild: Money's prophets, 1798–1848, Volume 1, Niall Ferguson, 1999, page 481-85
  4. ^ The Independent, UK: The Rothschild story: A golden era ends for a secretive dynasty
  5. ^ a b The secret life of the Jazz Baroness, From The Times 11 April 2009, Rosie Boycott
  6. ^ Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p.314.
  7. ^ Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p.314-315.
  8. ^ Pohl, Manfred: Rothschild, Mayer Amschel. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Band 22. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, p. 131–133. (German)
  9. ^ Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p.317.
  10. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia c.1906 Finance
  11. ^ Go Ahead, Kiss Your Cousin by Richard Conniff, From the August 2003 issue, published online 1 August 2003
  12. ^ "Concordia, Integritas, Industria – The Rothschilds – LCF Rothschild Group". Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d Victor Gray and Melanie Aspey, "Rothschild, Nathan Mayer (1777–1836)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edition, May 2006. Accessed 21 May 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, (London 2008), page 78.
  15. ^ a b c Victor Rothschild – "The Shadow of a Great Man" in Random Variables, Collins, 1984.
  16. ^ a b c *Ferguson, Niall. The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998, ISBN 0-297-81539-3
  17. ^ Philip Ziegler, The Sixth Great Power: Barings, 1726–1929, (London 1988), pp.94f
  18. ^ Richard Smethurst, "Takahasi Korekiyo, the Rothschilds and the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–1907". Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  19. ^ A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson (London 2004), page 319-20
  20. ^ a b c d Vallely, Paul (16 April 2004). "The Rothschild story: A golden era ends for a secretive dynasty". London: The Independent. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  21. ^ RPT-French banker Guy de Rothschild dies aged 98 Reuters, Thu 14 Jun 2007 12:26 pm EDT
  22. ^ Faith, Nicholas (4 November 1997). "Obituary: Baron Edmond de Rothschild". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  23. ^ Gilbert Trigano, a Developer of Club Med, Is Dead at 80 By JOHN TAGLIABUE Published: 6 February 2001
  24. ^ Thomas Trenkler. Der Fall Rothschild: Chronik einer Enteignung. Czernin Verlag, Vienna. 1999. ISBN 3-85485-026-3
  25. ^ The reign of the house of Rothschild, Egon Caesar Corti (Conte), 1928, page 46
  26. ^ Balfour Declaration. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 August 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  27. ^ Aharonson, Ran (2000). Rothschild and early Jewish colonization in Palestine. Israel: The Hebrew university Magnes Press, Jerusalem. p. 53. ISBN 0-7425-0914-1. 
  28. ^ Aharonson, Ran (2000). Rothschild and early Jewish colonization in Palestine. Israel: The Hebrew university Magnes Press, Jerusalem. p. 54. ISBN 0-7425-0914-1. 
  29. ^ Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel, vol. 2, "Rothschild, Baron Edmond-James de," p.966
  30. ^ Greenwood, Naftali. "The Redeemers of the Land". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  31. ^ "James Armand de Rothschild on the Knesset web site". Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  32. ^ "Dorothy de Rothschild, 93, Supporter of Israel" (obituary), The New York Times, 13 December 1988. Retrieved 19 June 2008.
  33. ^ The Presidents Chamber, Tour of Supreme Court, The Judicial Authority.
  34. ^ a b Family values, Haaretz, Magazine, 11:15 05.11.10, By Eytan Avriel and Guy Rolnik
  35. ^ "Banking activities organisation chart of Rothschild". 
  36. ^ "Paris Orléans Annual report 2007/2008". Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  37. ^ See:
  38. ^ "Rothschild sells 7.5% stake to Rabobank". FT Alphaville. 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  39. ^ a b c People: Paris Orleans S.A. (PROR.PA)Reuters Finance
  40. ^ "League tables". Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  41. ^ Annual Report of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited for the year ended 31 March 2006.
  42. ^, Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
  43. ^ A Very Intriguing Rothschild Interview
  44. ^ "RIT Capital Partners". 28 October 2003. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  45. ^ Lord Rothschild fund joins World Gold Council to put £12.5m into BullionVaultThe Telegraph, By Garry White, 11:26PM BST 20 Jun 2010
  46. ^ Rothschild's RIT Capital Boosts Gold Investments as Net Asset Value ClimbsBloomberg, November 17, 2010, 3:25 AM EST
  47. ^ Peippo, Kathleen (2000). "St. James's Place Capital, plc , International Directory of Company Histories , Find Articles at". Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  48. ^ Rothschild backs North Sea oil trio From The Sunday Times 6 December 2009
  49. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, Glencore May Expand to Rival BHP, Rothschild Says 6 January 2010, Simon Casey
  50. ^ The Economist Group ownership
  51. ^ Wine of Rothschild
  52. ^ The Rothschilds: Portrait of a Dynasty, By Frederic Morton, page 11
  53. ^ Million-pound bash for rising star of the super-rich
  54. ^ The Rothschilds: Portrait of a Dynasty, By Frederic Morton, page 11-13
  55. ^ Daily Telegraph,The Rothschilds: They prefer to let their money do the talking, William Langley, Published: 9:59 pm BST 25 Oct 2008
  56. ^ The Rothschild story: A golden era ends for a secretive dynasty, By Paul Vallely, Friday, 16 April 2004, The Independent
  57. ^ The Rothschilds: Portrait of a Dynasty, By Frederic Morton (1998), page 5
  58. ^ Ferguson, ch.1
  59. ^ The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories, James McConnachie, Robin Tudge Edition: 2 – 2008
  60. ^ Levy, Richard S. (2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice. ABC-CLIO. p. 624. ISBN 1851094393. 
  61. ^ Poliakov, Leon (2003). The History of Anti-semitism: From Voltaire to Wagner. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 343. ISBN 0812218655. 
  62. ^ Makow PhD, H: Illuminati: The Cult that Hijacked the World, BookSurge Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1-4392-1148-5
  63. ^ Brustein, William (2003). Roots of hate. Cambridge University Press. p. 147. ISBN 0521774780. 
  64. ^ Perry, Marvin (2002). Antisemitism: Myth and Hate from Antiquity to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 117. ISBN 0312165617. 
  65. ^ The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, (London 2008), page 91.
  66. ^ Morton, Fredreric (1962)The Rothschilds; A Family Portrait, Secker & Warburg;London, UK
  67. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage-96th Ed-1938
  68. ^ All in this together? Osborne is skiing, Zac Goldsmith is in £8k-a-week villa and Mr Speaker hosting a lavish party for MPs as Britain faces year of austerity By Simon Walters and Lara Gould, Daily Mail 2nd January 2011
  69. ^ a b c 1.[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 3, page 3416. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  70. ^ Francesco Rapazzini, Élisabeth de Gramont, Paris, Fayard, 2004.
  71. ^ Eco-warrior sets sail to save oceans from 'plastic death'The Observer, Sunday 12 April 2009, Robin McKie
  72. ^ Anne-Myriam Dutrieue, Le baron Léon Lambert, un banquier et financier belge d’envergure internationale du XXe siècle, 2010
  73. ^ The Rothschilds and their 200 years of political influence By Andy McSmith, Thursday, 23 October 2008, The Independent
  74. ^ Grand fortunes: dynasties of wealth in France, (Algora Publishing, 1998), By Michel Pinçon, Monique Pinçon-Charlot, Andrea Lyn Secara, page 124
  75. ^ Young love will cement marriage of Britain's top three dynasties Ingrid Mansell, The Times 21 April 2003
  76. ^ Carola W. Rothschild, Ex-Girl Scout Official NY Times, Published: Tuesday, 1 September 1987
  77. ^ Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt van de Haar and baroness Hélène de Rothschild
  78. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 3, page 3416. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

Further reading

Documentary film

  • Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World – The early history of the Rothschild's family business feature in the second of a four part series by Niall Ferguson, aired on Channel Four

External links




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