Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Rothschild family

1769 Mayer Amschel Rothschild becomes Court Agent

In 1769, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a dealer in coins, was appointed Crown Agent to the Principality of Hesse-Hanau.
From this hard won position, he launched himself into the world of banking. By 1785 Mayer Amschel had made sufficient money to buy the Green Shield house, one of the largest houses in the cramped streets in which his family lived. Later, with the help of his five sons, he began to expand further his business, emphasising to them the strength that lay in family unity.
1798 Nathan Mayer Rothschild leaves Frankfurt for England

Nathan Mayer Rothschild was 21 years old when, in 1798, he left Frankfurt for Manchester to set up a textile business.
With the help of his father and brothers, Nathan exported English textiles to Europe. However, by 1809, with the Channel blockade making export difficult, Nathan turned to the London financial markets, settling in New Court as a banker. He was so successful that within a decade his four brothers had established interdependent banking houses in Paris, Vienna, Naples and Frankfurt, upholding the family unity advocated by their father.
1806 The Elector of Hesse Cassel goes into exile

The Elector of Hesse Cassel, fleeing Napoleon in 1806, entrusted part of his fortune to Mayer Amschel Rothschild.
Mayer turned to his son, Nathan, in London. Nathan invested £550,000 of the Elector's funds in British government securities and bullion. These investments proved extremely lucrative and, by the time the Elector returned from exile, had accrued considerable interest. The Rothschilds' reputation for trustworthiness and astute financial management was firmly established.
1815 The Rothschilds supply gold to Wellington

In the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars, the five Rothschild brothers worked to supply gold to Wellington's army.
Spread out across Europe, they developed an unrivalled network of secret routes and fast couriers. It was this same information network that brought Nathan Rothschild in London first news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo, news which he received more than 24 hours before the British government who, famously, failed to believe him.
1822 The Rothschild brothers are made Barons

In 1822, the Austrian Emperor made the five brothers Barons. Nathan, in London, asked to remain "plain Mr Rothschild".
A coat of arms was adopted that is still used by the family today, featuring the famous five arrows emblem, symbolic of the brothers' unity, along with the red shield, from which the family derives its name. The arms were complemented by the motto 'Concordia, Integritas, Industria'.
1835 Rothschilds begin their involvement with Almadén

In 1835, Rothschilds acquired the rights in the Almadén quicksilver mines in Spain.
Quicksilver (or mercury) was a vital component in the refining of gold and silver and was thus in great demand. For a time the Almadén concession - the biggest in the world - gave the Rothschilds a virtual world monopoly. When, in 1852, N M Rothschild & Sons began refining silver and gold for the Royal Mint and the Bank of England, their own supply of quicksilver was invaluable.
1845 De Rothschild Frères finances the Nord line

In 1845, the French government awarded the contract for the first major railway line to be built in the country.
The winning bidder was Baron James de Rothschild, who envisaged his Chemin de Fer du Nord, running initially between Paris and Valenciennes, joining with the Austrian lines built by his brother, Salomon, and developing into a pan-European rail system. The Nord's monumental Paris terminus was testament to this vision. James became a true pioneer of the European railways, constructing a complex rail network across 10 countries.
1847 Lionel de Rothschild is elected to Parliament

Lionel de Rothschild was elected to the parliamentary seat for the City of London in 1847.
Despite his election, Lionel was required, before entering the House of Commons, to take an oath, "in the true faith of a Christian". As a Jew, he refused. For eleven years his seat remained empty, until 1858 when it was agreed that new oaths could be accepted. Lionel was able at last to take his place as the first Jewish Member of Parliament.
1872 The first Channel Tunnel project begins

The Channel Tunnel Society was formed in England in 1872. Tunnelling began from near Dover to a point near Calais.
Capital was raised by a share issue entrusted to N M Rothschild & Sons. A French tunnel society was founded in 1875, with half of its capital subscribed by the Rothschild-owned Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord. 6,000 feet of tunnel had been excavated by 1883 when the British government, convinced of the tunnel's threat to Britain's defence, stopped the project.
1873 The Rothschilds become shareholders in Rio Tinto

In 1873, the loss making Rio Tinto copper mines were acquired by foreign financiers, including the Rothschilds.
The mines, Europe's largest source of copper, had belonged to the Spanish government since ore had first been discovered in the area. Investing heavily in new facilities for the transport of ore, the new owners began to realise a profit and, by 1905, Rothschilds' London and Paris houses held over 30 percent of Rio Tinto shares.
1875 N M Rothschild & Sons funds the Suez purchase

N M Rothschild & Sons raised the funding for the British Government to acquire a major interest in the Suez Canal.
The 1875 deal, one of the bank's most celebrated transactions, was achieved at speed and in great secrecy by Lionel de Rothschild. It was vital to British interests in the area and allowed Prime Minister Disraeli to declare, famously, to Queen Victoria, "You have it, Madam".
1886 De Rothschild Frères develops interests in Russian oil

In 1886, the French Rothschild bank, de Rothschild Frères, began to develop substantial interests in the Russian oil fields.
The bank formed the Caspian and Black Sea Petroleum Company, which rapidly became the region's second largest oil producer. By 1906, increasing competition from the American giant, Standard Oil, and growing instability in the region persuaded Rothschilds to sell their interests to Royal Dutch and Shell.
1887 The Rothschilds finance the establishment of De Beers

De Beers Consolidated was formed by the amalgamation of the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.
In July 1887, after a meeting with Lord Rothschild, a loan of £750,000 was secured to assist with one of the critical mergers. The Rothschild London and Paris houses became the largest shareholders in this new diamond mining company. Rothschild continues to advise De Beers over 100 years later.

1919 The first Gold Fix takes place at New Court

12 September 1919 saw the first Gold Fixing take place at New Court, the offices of N M Rothschild & Sons.
Until 2004 this daily event to fix the world price of gold took place every day at 11.00 a.m. in the same room at New Court. Normally, the fixing took just a few minutes. The longest on record, in the turbulence following the London Stock Market collapse in 1987, lasted two hours and fifteen minutes. In 2004, when N M Rothschild & Sons refocused their business and left the gold market, the ritual finally came to an end.
1926 N M Rothschild & Sons finances London's Tube

In 1926, N M Rothschild & Sons helped rearrange the share capital of London's key underground rail company.
The Underground Electric Railways Company of London Ltd had controlling interests in several underground lines and began a number of projects for their expansion. The most notable of these projects was the extension and improvement of the Piccadilly Line from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters in the north and from Hammersmith to Northfields in the west.
1938 Rothschilds' Vienna banking house closes

Rothschilds' Vienna house, S. M. von Rothschild und Söhne, closed in March 1938, following the Nazi invasion of Austria.
The Rothschild houses in Naples, C. M. de Rothschild e figli, and Frankfurt, M. A. von Rothschild und Söhne, had closed in 1863 and 1901 respectively. Of the original five houses, founded by the five brothers, this now left just N M Rothschild & Sons in London and de Rothschild Frères in Paris.
1953 Rothschilds finance development in Canada

In 1953, N M Rothschild & Sons led a syndicate to develop 60,000 square miles of land in Newfoundland, Canada.
The syndicate formed the British Newfoundland Corporation Limited. The key to the development project was a power station to harness the Hamilton (later renamed Churchill) Falls, capable of feeding 5,225,000 kilowatts of electricity into the Canadian grid. At the time, this undertaking was the largest construction project ever tackled by a private company. It was completed in 1973.
1962 Banque Rothschild establishes Imétal

Rothschilds' long involvement with mineral mining received a new boost with the creation of Imétal in 1962.
Mining was just one of the French Rothschilds' considerable raw material interests. This umbrella company for their mineral concerns followed the sale of 50 percent of Le Nickel mining company to a French government corporation. Imétal grew rapidly, acquiring interests in the United States and Britain. The French house lost its stake in the company when the bank was nationalised in 1981, but Rothschild expertise was missed and family members were soon invited to join the board.
1963 Edmond de Rothschild forms LCF

1963 saw the birth of La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild (LCF).
Founded by Edmond de Rothschild, the Swiss-based firm began as a venture capital house. Today, run by Edmond's son, Benjamin, Groupe LCF is a fully fledged investment bank and asset management company, with a range of affiliates.
1965 The London and Paris banks occupy new offices

In 1965, the staff of N M Rothschild & Sons moved into their new building at New Court, St Swithin's Lane.
This move was symbolic of the resurgence of the Rothschild businesses and was echoed in France when, two years later, de Rothschild Frères was renamed Banque Rothschild and relocated to new, modern offices in rue Laffitte, some 150 years after James de Rothschild had established the bank. As the only remaining Rothschild houses, the two banks began increasingly to undertake joint ventures.
1966 The Knesset ceremony of dedication takes place

In 1966, a ceremony of dedication for the Knesset took place, in the presence of Dorothy de Rothschild.
Upon his death, in 1957, James de Rothschild had bequeathed a sum of money to fund the building of a Jewish Parliament House, the Knesset. In a letter to the then Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, James had written, "Let the Knesset building become a symbol in the eyes of all men of the permanence of the State of Israel." His wife, Dorothy, saw that his wishes were carried out.
1981 Banque Rothschild is nationalised

In 1981, the Rothschilds' highly successful Paris bank was one of 39 to be nationalised by the French government.
The bank founded by James de Rothschild became Compagnie Européenne de Banque. But Rothschild banking was not at an end in France. A new business was soon established. Today, Rothschild & Cie Banque (RCB), the successor, is restored to its position as a leading French investment house.
1985 Rothschilds advises on British Gas privatisation

1985 saw N M Rothschild & Sons win the 'beauty contest' to advise the British government on the sale of British Gas.
This was the most significant piece of privatisation work to be undertaken by N M Rothschild & Sons, pioneers in such business from 1971. Further advisory roles were taken with regard to the privatisation of British Steel and British Coal as well as the regional electricity and water boards. It would lead to business in over 40 countries worldwide.
1989 Rothschild banking returns to Frankfurt

In 1989 the London and Paris Rothschilds announced the opening of a Frankfurt subsidiary.
Rothschild GmbH marked the return of a Rothschild bank to the city from where the family business had originated. It was just part of the development of a series of new worldwide operations, which had begun with the establishment of Rothschild Intercontinental Bank (later Rothschild Inc.) in the United States. Today, Rothschilds have a business presence in over 40 countries around the world.
2000 Rothschilds develop 3G licence auctions

The British government appointed N M Rothschild & Sons as financial advisers for 3G mobile phone licensing.
The bank adopted an innovative and highly successful auction process whereby telephone companies bid for the available licences, and was subsequently approached by other governments worldwide to undertake similar projects.

The spirit of innovation is evident in the family's winemaking, from the grands crus of Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Lafite, to the cru bourgeois vineyard of Château Clarke and groundbreaking ventures in the USA, South America and South Africa.
Rothschild wines embody all that is wonderful about the fruit of the vine.

The London-based N M Rothschild Group has banking and financial services in over 30 countries. Rothschild & Cie Banque, Paris, has a distinguished record in investment banking. Geneva-based La Compagnie Financière (LCF) provides financial services worldwide.
These companies share the Rothschild ambition to stand at the apex of quality, integrity and reliability.

From magnificent country estates with flamboyant gardens to elegant townhouses and exotic villas, the Rothschilds stamped a distinctive style on their residences. Their homes also provided wonderful settings for their many and varied collections, themselves testament to the family's drive for perfection in all they set out to achieve.
From modest beginnings, the five brothers founded banking houses, in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Naples. They achieved renown as the most important - and most successful - bankers in the world.
Rothschild ventures have become the stuff of legend: the funding of Wellington's armies, the Gold Rush, the Suez Canal, the arrival of the railways and the quest for oil.

Miriam Rothschild and John Foster Human Rights Trust
The Trust sponsors an annual lecture, and its work is unique in that there is no similar lecture promoted in this way in the human rights field.
Fondation Edmond de Rothschild and more
This site gives a comprehensive list of the many charitable foundations established by Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) and his descendants
Fondation Rothschild Ophtalmologique
The Fondation Rothschild Ophtalmologique develops and applies medicine and other sciences relating to human health, notably in the field of ophthalmology
Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique
Baron Edmond de Rothschild established a foundation for scientific research, which by 1927 had created an Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique for pure and applied research
National Nature Reserves
National Nature Reserves, many identified by Charles Rothschild as important wildlife habitats, geological formations or places for scientific research, are now owned or controlled by English Nature or held by bodies such as Wildlife Trusts
Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation
The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation was established to develop Caesarea as a settlement of high environmental and living conditions, as well as a regional industrial and tourism centre
The Knesset
James de Rothschild (1878-1957) donated six million Israeli Pounds towards the construction of the Knesset building, in the hope that it would become "a symbol, in the eyes of all men, of the permanence of the State of Israel"
The Louvre
The beautiful collection of Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934), offered to the Louvre in 1935, fills an exhibition room. It contains more than 40,000 engravings, nearly 3,000 drawings and 500 illustrated books
The Waddesdon Bequest
On his death in 1898, Ferdinand de Rothschild left a dazzling collection of objets d'arts, known as the Waddesdon Bequest, to the British Museum. Details about the Museum can be found here
Yad Hanadiv Fellowship
In an effort to enhance the quality of courses, instruction and research in Jewish Studies in universities throughout the world, a Visiting Fellowship programme has been established by Yad Hanadiv and the Beracha Foundation
Ramat Hanadiv
The archaeological excavation at Ramat Hanadiv is one of many digs in Israel supported by Yad Hanadiv

Who Are The Rothschilds? - For more funny videos, click here

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