Rise of the House of Rothschild Discussion

Rothschild family descended from a man who established a banking business in the 1760s, so they have been a name associated with international banking since the beginning (Corti, 2001). Their ancestor was Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who was a court Jew (Corti, 2001). Unlike many in that position before him, he was able to bequeath the wealth he had to his family. Through his five sons, he established a dynasty in the international banking world (Wilson, 1988). That dynasty was strong enough to surpass the Berenbergs and Barings, who were among the strongest and wealthiest banking families of the day (Ferguson, 2000). Many lines of the family have been elevated to nobility in Austria and been given titles such as Baron (Ferguson, 2000). The British side of the family also became nobility, becoming Barons and Baronets (Corti, 2001).

The Rothschild family was at its height during the 19th Century, when it was believed to have been the wealthiest family in the world (Wilson, 1988). It had at that time the largest private fortune in the world and the largest fortune in the modern history of the world (Ferguson, 2000; Wilson, 1988). There were hundreds of descendants who all received some of this wealth, and the overall amount of it has declined. However, the Rothschild name is still a significant one and there are many industries in which Rothschild descendents operate. These include mining, finance, energy, wine, farming, and charity work (Wilson, 1988). During the late 19th Century the Rothschild family started to become more low-key in nature, and they have continued to do so over time (Corti, 2001). While their name might not be a household one anymore, it is still well-recognized in the international banking world.

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The conspicuous displays of wealth that used to mark a person as a Rothschild are not seen as often today, and a number of estates and works of arts that have been owned by the family for a very long time have been sold or donated to charity (Corti, 2001; Wilson, 1988). A group of Rothschild banks still exists, controlled by Rothschild Continuation Holdings, which is a Swiss-registered company (Corti, 2001). Other financial holding companies and banks are also part of the Rothschild empire, and the Rothschild name has been synonymous with power and money (Corti, 2001). As a multinational banking family, the Rothschilds have not been able to escape their fame, although many of them today live low-key lives that would not show their substantial wealth to others (Ferguson, 2000).

In addition to being very wealthy and dedicated to a number of causes, the Rothschild give generously to charities throughout the world (Corti, 2001; Ferguson, 2000). Art often imitates life, and a number of films have told the Rothschild family story, with some getting it more accurate than others (Wilson, 1988). Their wealth and power have also inspired songs, stories, and poetry, as well as a Broadway musical (Corti, 2001). Conspiracy theories about the family are common, including one that states the family actually controls the entire world’s wealth and all the financial institutions (Ferguson, 2000). Some also believe that the Rothschilds have enough power to control whether countries go to war, but none of these theories have ever provided any proof that they are accurate (Ferguson, 2000).

With great wealth generally comes great responsibility, and few families have had the wealth and responsibility that has been bestowed upon the Rothschilds (Corti, 2001). However, the family has kept their wealth for centuries, and has taken what they have been given seriously. That is much more than many families who have amassed wealth have done, making the Rothschilds popular and appreciated in their own circles and by those who do not have wealth but who have been helped by the family’s generous gifts to charity (Corti, 2001). With the value of their contributions, they have made a difference in many lives.


Corti, E.C.C. (2001). Rise of the House of Rothschild, B. Lunn (translator), NY: Books for Business.

Ferguson, N. (2000). The House of Rothschild: The World’s Banker, 1849 — 1998. NY: Penguin Books.

Wilson, D.A. (1988). Rothschild: A Story of Wealth and Power. NY: Andre Deutsch Ltd.

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