Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812)

Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Founder of the Rothschild Bank & Dynasty

He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, into a house that was just 11-feet wide but contained 30-members of his extended family. His natural business acumen was recognized at an early age and in 1757 family and friends clubbed together to pay for his apprenticeship with the Oppenheimer Bank in Hanover where he learned about foreign trade and currency exchange. His father supplied coins to Crown Prince Wilhelm of Hesse and when he returned to Frankfurt in 1763 he began dealing in rare coins which won him the Prince's patronage. In 1769, the Prince appointed him a Court Factor (ie., one of his personal bankers) and as a dealer in rare coins Rothschild came to the attention of several other German princes too. His business took off after the French Revolution (1789) when he handled payments from Britain for the services of Hessian mercenaries for their armies. By the early 1800s, Rothschild was Wilhelm's go-to international banker and taking advantage of the Napoleonic Wars he began issuing his own international loans by borrowing the Prince's capital. When Napoleon invaded Hesse, Rothschild invested their funds in London and made further money importing goods to circumnavigate the Continental Blockade. The Rothschild Bank became the most powerful money-lenders in Europe which was further strengthened by his 5-sons opening branches in London, Paris, Naples, Vienna, and Rome. Mayer is remembered as the Father of International Banking. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 11/08/2020 and last updated on 04/06/2021.