Rothschild banking family of England

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The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in (1798) by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild (1777–1836) who first settled in Manchester but then moved to London (at the time in the Kingdom of Great Britain). Nathan was sent there from his home in Frankfurt by his father, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812). Wanting his sons to succeed on their own and to expand the family business across Europe, Mayer Amschel Rothschild had his eldest son remain in Frankfurt, while his four other sons were sent to different European cities to establish a financial institution to invest in business and provide banking services. Nathan Mayer von Rothschild, the third son, first established a textile jobbing business in Manchester and from there went on to establish N M Rothschild & Sons bank in London.

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From the home base in Frankfurt, Rothschild sons not only established themselves in the UK but also in Paris, Vienna and Naples in the Two Sicilies. Through their collaborative efforts, the Rothschilds rose to prominence in a variety of banking endeavours including loans, government bonds and trading in bullion. Their financing afforded investment opportunities and during the 19th century they became major stakeholders in large-scale mining and rail transport ventures that were fundamental to the rapidly expanding industrial economies of Europe.

Changes in the heads of government, war, and other such events affected the family's fortunes both for their benefit and to their detriment at various times. Despite such changes, the UK branch of the Rothschild family is arguably the most prominent of all the Rothschild branches due its elevation to the British peerage, and its continued high-profile philanthropic activities.

Involvement in finance and industry

During the early part of the 19th century, the Rothschild's London bank took a leading part in managing and financing the subsidies that the British government transferred to its allies during the Napoleonic Wars. Through the creation of a network of agents, couriers and shippers, the bank was able to provide funds to the armies of the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain, therefore funding war. In 1818 the Rothschild bank arranged a £5 million loan to the Prussian government and the issuing of bonds for government loans. The providing of other innovative and complex financing for government projects formed a mainstay of the bank's business for the better part of the century. N M Rothschild & Sons financial strength in the City of London became such that by 1825–26, the bank was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a liquidity crisis.

Nathan Mayer's eldest son, Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879) succeeded him as head of the London branch. Under Lionel the bank financed the British government's 1875 purchase of Egypt's interest in the Suez Canal. Lionel also began to invest in railways as his uncle James had been doing in France. In 1869, Lionel's son, Alfred de Rothschild (1842–1918), became a director of the Bank of England, a post he held for 20 years. Alfred was one of those who represented the British Government at the 1892 International Monetary Conference in Brussels.

The Rothschild bank funded Cecil Rhodes in the development of the British South Africa Company and Leopold de Rothschild (1845–1917) administered Rhodes's estate after his death in 1902 and helped to set up the Rhodes Scholarship scheme at Oxford University. In 1873, de Rothschild Frères in France and N M Rothschild & Sons of London joined with other investors to acquire the Spanish government's money-losing Rio Tinto copper mines. The new owners restructured the company and turned it into a profitable business. By 1905, the Rothschild interest in Rio Tinto amounted to more than 30 percent. In 1887, the French and UK Rothschild banking houses loaned money to, and invested in, the De Beers diamond mines in South Africa, becoming its largest shareholders.

The London banking house continued under the management of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882–1942) and his brother Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887–1961) and then to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (b. 1931). In 2003, following Sir Evelyn's retirement as head of N M Rothschild & Sons of London, the UK and French financial firms merged under the leadership of David René de Rothschild.

Other activities

Beyond banking and finance, members of the Rothschild family in the UK became academics, scientists and horticulturalists with worldwide reputations.

Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812–1870) was born in London, the fourth child of the founder of the British branch of the family. In 1842, he married cousin Charlotte de Rothschild (1825–1899) of Paris, France. She was the daughter of James Mayer de Rothschild and in 1850 they moved to Paris where he was to work for his father-in-law's bank. However, in 1853, Nathaniel acquired Château Brane Mouton, a vineyard in Pauillac in the Gironde département of France.

Elevation to British peerage

In 1822, the five Rothschild brothers at the head of the family's banks in various parts of Europe were each granted the title of baron or Freiherr by Austria's Francis I, formerly Francis II the last Holy Roman Emperor. As such, some members of the family used "de" or "von" Rothschild to acknowledge the grant of nobility.

In 1847, Anthony Nathan de Rothschild (1810–1876) was created 1st Baronet de Rothschild, of Tring Park . On his death, the title went to his nephew Nathan Mayer Rothschild II who was subsequently elevated to the House of Lords and created Baron Rothschild in 1885 with which title the baronetcy remains merged.

In 1850 Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879) became the first practising Jewish member of the British Parliament.

Philanthropy

The English Rothschilds and members of the other branches in Europe were all major contributors to causes in aid of the Jewish people. However, many of their philanthropic efforts extended far beyond Jewish ethnic or religious communities. They built hospitals and shelters for the needy[ citation needed ], supported cultural institutions and were patrons of individual artists. Their donation of works of art to various galleries has been the largest of any family in history. At present, a research project is underway by The Rothschild Archive in London to document the family's philanthropic involvements.

Family members

Members of the Rothschild family of the UK include:

Rothschild properties

Among the Rothschild properties in the UK are:

See also

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