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Rothschild Banks


The first Rothschild son to leave his Frankfurt home, was the third son, 21-year-old Nathan Mayer Rothschild. He was sent by his father, with some capital in his pocket, to England, where the Industrial Revolution was exploding. He arrived in Manchester in 1799 and set up as a textile and general merchant but swiftly moved into finance, dealing in bills of exchange and arranging foreign loans. Amschel, the eldest, stayed in Frankfurt. Solomon moved to Vienna and established a bank there, while Carl in Naples opened a bank and James, in Paris, started Rothschild & Cie Banque. The Rothschild patriarch requested that his sons help and include each other in their successes. This they did, to the extent that they set up a communication network using pigeons and codes to share the information valuable to financiers and to arrange international banking transactions.

Nathan, working in the free and relatively tolerant social climate of Britain, created the bulk of the Rothschild wealth with his bank, N. M. Rothschild, and with his investments. His English descendants, and James' French dynasty, became the most influential branches of the family. The five Rothschilds acted as one firm with Nathan as the chief executive. With sharing of assets they became the first international banking firm.

Nathan possessed boundless energy, imagination, self-confidence, and luck, as well as high ethical standards. At the core of Nathan's being was a passionate love for business and an adamant will to succeed at it. By 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he had accumulated a nice nest egg of £90,000 . Within three more years he had turned that sum into £500,000. When he died in 1836, Nathan was one of the richest men in the world.

The company moved into a building at New Court at St. Swithin's Lane in 1809. In 1814 his bank assembled the bullion and coin from accross Europe to pay Wellington's Army. Then in 1815 after Waterloo he gathered the funds to pay the English, Dutch, and Prussian armies. By 1825 he had enough funds to support the banking system in England when 145 banks failed, preventing a total collapse.

The Rothschilds have splintered into many directions over the years, but the jewel in their crown remains N. M. Rothschild & Sons in London, the family's single largest asset. Also very important, and still allied to the London bank, is Rothschild & Cie Banque in Paris.


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