The Rothschilds or the Rothschild family is a wealthy Jewish family of German descent whose fortune stems from the banking business and dates back to the 18th century. The pioneers of international finance, the Rothschilds held the largest private fortune in the world during the 19th century. However, claims that the family now controls about $2 trillion of the world’s wealth has been confirmed as arrant exaggeration made up by conspiracy theory enthusiasts. The Rothschilds’ wealth has been passed on to numerous generations across 5 European countries, making it extremely difficult to trace their wealth as it is not centralized, thus the vast speculations surrounding the subject matter of their current assets.
However, in recent years, the Rothschild family’s businesses continue to thrive, though only a shadow of its glory days. Their multi-national investment banking company Rothschild Group as of 2015, operates a revenue of about $500 million with a net income of $50 million. Those figures further nullify the alleged $2 trillion financial income. Some sources have put the Rothchilds’ net worth at $400 billion but it remains only a mere estimate.
Here is a detailed look at how the Rothschild family rose to fame and fortune.
The Rothschild Made Their Fortune from the Banking Business
Two centuries have come and gone and the Rothschilds are still well involved in the financial business. The firm has almost 3,000 employees across 40 countries and continues to expand. It all began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild. After he had established himself in the financial sector of Frankfurt, Mayer decided to spread his business across the globe.
In a bid to keep his fortune within his family, and expand his dynasty, Rothschild redeployed four of his five sons to the key areas of Europe to establish the family business. However, his first son Amschel “Anselm” Mayer Rothschild remained with him and later took over the Frankfurt arm.
The second son Salomon Mayer Rothschild was sent to Austria and the third son Nathan Mayer Rothschild to England. His fourth son named Calmann Mayer Rothschild went to Naples and his fifth and youngest son, Jakob Mayer Rothschild, was sent to Paris. This move saw the Rothschilds become the first bank to trade beyond borders.
Each of the banks quickly became successful thanks to their involvement in lending governments to finance war operations. However, out of the 4 sons abroad, the third son Nathan who began in England by establishing a textile business with £20,000, became the most successful. He established N. M. Rothschild & Sons which would become the 7th oldest bank in continuous operation in the United Kingdom.
The Family Has Been a Part of the Winemaking Industry for Over a Century and a Half
A very business-minded family, the Rothschilds were always looking for ways to not only make money but to distinguish themselves among other families of the world. Given the prestige often associated with wine, and its financial possibilities, it is not difficult to see why the family has held a massive stake in the winemaking industry for multiple decades.
Anyone who cares to know would easily find that the family owns many wine estates across the globe. To the best of our knowledge, it began in 1853 when a member of the family named Nathaniel de Rothschild acquired Château Brane-Mouton in Pauillac, France, and changed its name to Château Mouton Rothschild.
In the years that followed, members of the family emulated Nathaniel and acquired wine estates across the globe; from South and North America to Australia and South Africa. France has always been the wine capital of the world. So, it is only natural that some of their most popular wine estates are located in the country.
They Have a Massive Investment in Real Estate
Ownership of land has always been counted as one of the easiest ways to facilitate the accumulation of wealth. The Rothschild family understands this and has been relentless in acquiring properties throughout history.
While It is known that they were major landowners in the counties of England that surround Greater London, the family has also owned significant properties across Europe and the rest of the world.
For instance, it was reported in 2019 that the family would sell its 7,000 hectares of forest in the Lower Austria region to Prinzhorn Holding GmbH, a packaging firm based in Vienna. From what we gathered, the massive property is only a part of the estate Baron Albert von Rothschild bought in 1875.
The Rothschild Family Has an Elaborate Investment Portfolio
Based on the foregoing, it is clear that in addition to banking, the family also has interests in diversified industries including real estate, energy, financial services, mixed farming, nonprofits, and winemaking and mining.
The Rothschilds live for business and are known to seize whatever opportunity that comes their way. This means they have built a massive investment portfolio, too many for anyone to bother counting.
Sometime in January 2010, a descendant of the family, Nathaniel Philip Rothschild, acquired a significant share of United Company RUSAL, an aluminum mining company famed as the second-largest in the world based on its production output. He also owns a huge share of Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss multinational mining company.
Members of the Family are Passionate Art Collectors and Very Public-Spirited
For many years, descendants of the Rothschild family have anonymously donated paintings, decorative arts, drawings, and things of that sort to museums across the world. One of its most prominent art connoisseurs is the late Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. She chaired Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA for many years and the family created the Philippine de Rothschild Corporate Foundation to foster her passion for arts.
Through the foundation, the family supports young artists and it is only one of the multiple foundations associated with the prestigious family. It’s no secret that the family operates various charity organizations with a variety of aims. There is the Eranda Foundation which promotes education, healthcare, and social welfare; the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation which focuses on promoting a collaborative society and social empowerment; and Sculpt the Future Foundation, among others.
In all, members of the family have continued to support foundations founded by their ancestors and targeted at promoting the welfare of humanity.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) Is the Founder of the Rothschild Banking Dynasty
The patriarch of the Rothschild dynasty, the one who is to thank for the family’s global prominence is Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744 – 1812). Born in Frankfurt to a father who made a living off trading coins, Amschel was at an early age exposed to the essentials of business. After he became orphaned at the age of 12, Mayer Amschel went against his parents’ wish of becoming a Jewish Rabbi, choosing instead to apprentice at Simon Wolf Oppenheimer banking firm in Hanover Germany.
Mayer Amschel returned to his hometown of Frankfurt at the age of 19 fully equipped with the nitty-gritty of foreign trade and banking. He immediately followed in the footsteps of his father and began trading rare coins. With one of his initial clients including Crown Prince Wilhelm, Wilhelm IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel who became Europe’s wealthiest man, Amschel’s portfolio quickly became awash with the names of the noblemen he rubbed shoulders with.
The French Revolution brought Rothschild his biggest breakthrough. Mayer Amschel was vested with the highly lucrative role of supplying the Austrian army with numerous items from horses to wheat. He also served as the mediator of financial transactions between Britain and the Hessian mercenaries. By the start of the 19th century, Rothschild became one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men.
Billionaires of the Rothschild Family in Recent Times
Regardless of the many speculations surrounding how much the Rothschilds are worth, the family would forever be counted among one of the world’s richest lineages. While no particular family member seems to be the face of the dynasty, it is an established truth that most Rothschilds are employees at Rothschild & Co. The financial holding company as controlled by the English and French branches of the Rothschild family has a revenue of around €1.5 billion.
Benjamin de Rothschild (Net Worth – $1.1 Billion)
Benjamin de Rothschild, chairman of Edmond de Rothschild Holding, died on Friday, the company said https://t.co/cTaMfdqow5
— Bloomberg (@business) January 16, 2021
Benjamin de Rothschild, a descendant of the France banking family was the majority owner of Switzerland’s Edmond de Rothschild finance empire. A billionaire estimated to be worth $1.1 billion, Benjamin passed on on the 15th of January 2021; he reportedly died of a heart attack.
Nathaniel Rothschild (Net Worth – $1 Billion)
A British-born financier, Nathaniel settled in Switzerland and has been operating his wide range of international business from the country. It was way back in 2012 that it was first reported that Nat is one of the billionaires of the world.
Forbes dropped him off its list the following year but according to reports from various quarters, this descendant of the famous family is worth at least $1 billion at the moment.
Jacob Rothschild (Net Worth – $5 Billion)
Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, is a British peer and investment banker. He is the oldest son of Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild, and his first wife, Barbara Judith Rothschild.
The British banker is probably the most prominent living member of the prestigious family. Alongside Sir Mark Weinberg, he founded St. James’ Place PLC previously known as J. Rothschild Assurance Group in 1991. It has been estimated that Jacob is worth $5 billion.