Mayer Amschel Rothschild

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Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Death 19 Sep 1812 (aged 68)
Burial Frankfurt am Main, Stadtkreis Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Memorial ID 20830886 View Source
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Banker. Born Mayer Amschel Bauer in the Jewish ghetto of Frankurt, Germany, he founded the European banking dynasty known as the House of Rothschild after changing his surname to Rothschild (red shield), the building sign he dsigned for the his family business. Orphaned at age 12, his self-taught currency exchange, rare coin trading and antique dealings brought him into contact with Prince Wilhelm I of Hessen who appointed him royal purveyor for finances in 1801. As a result, he managed the prince's foreign exchange and investments; then, during Napoleon's occupation of Hessen (Germany), he confidentially protected the secret state archives of the princes of Hessen and managed their fortunes during their exile in England. He introduced modern banking concepts like diversification, rapid communication, confidentiality and high volume giving his private banking operations significant competitive advantages. An extremely discreet foreign-exchange banker, he also diversified early by selling antiques and procuring loans. Unusual for the times, he was willing to cut into his own profits in order to secure future business. A forerunner in understanding that time and information meant money, he pulled out all the stops to remain in constant contact with associates across Europe which proved valuable in financing England's war effort during the Napoleonic Wars. His last will and testament institutionalized his bank with a number of far-sighted principles that ensured the continuation of the family business. Considered a founding father of international finance, his banking empire, thanks to his five sons, had expanded to London, Paris, Vienna and Naples by the time of his death.

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