Detail from the coat of arms granted to Nathan Mayer Rothschild by the English College of Heralds, 1818 (The Rothschild Archive).
The Rothschild story begins with Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 'The Founder'.
In the 1760s, the young Mayer Amschel established his business in Frankfurt, dealing in coins and bills. By 1769 he was Court Agent to William of Hanau and in 1784, he moved into the Green Shield House with his wife, Gutle, and children. Here his five sons learned the skills that would enable them to establish the Rothschild banking business across Europe. In 1798, at the age of 21, Nathan Mayer Rothschild left home to set up in England, at first in Manchester, where he established himself as a textile and general merchant with a reputation for aggressive selling and competitive pricing. In 1809 Nathan moved his base to the City of London. He took premises at New Court in St Swithin's Lane – to this day the home of the bank which bears his name. Here he developed banking activities, dealing in bills of exchange and arranging foreign loans. His 'best business' came in 1814 when he and his brothers were commissioned by the British government to raise the funding to help Britain and her allies defeat Napoleon. Nathan's increasingly successful business as a banker in London provided a model for his brothers back in Frankfurt. In 1812, James, the youngest, established a banking house in Paris. Salomon left next, in 1820, to settle in Vienna, where the family were already active in Imperial finance. Finally, with the strengthening of Austrian Imperial interests in Italy, Carl set up business in Naples, leaving Amschel, the eldest of the five sons of Mayer Amschel, to head the Frankfurt bank which was continuing to grow in influence.
© 2011 Rothschild