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Birth of a Dynasty

Birth of a Dynasty
By Jack Kinsella

“Let me issue and control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes its laws” – Meyer Rothschild (1743-1812)

The Europe of the late eighteenth century was a polyglot of various kingdoms of all sizes and shapes; duchies, kingdoms, states and empires. They were constantly squabbling among themselves. The citizenry were little more than serfs. In reality, they were just pawns in a bigger game in which their meager political rights could be extended or withdrawn at whim.

It was into this period of history that a young man appeared on the scene whose life would ultimately impact all the nations of the earth. Through his descendents, Meyer Amschel Bauer would progress from the role of advisor to kings to rulers of them all.

The Red Shield

Meyer Amschel Bauer was born in Frankfurt-On-The-Main in Germany in 1743, the son of an itinerant goldsmith. Meyer’s father, Moses, eventually set up a money-lending shop on the Judenrasse and settled down to a more permanent life for his family. On the door of his shop he proudly hung the red shield of the family crest.

Young Meyer showed a tremendous capacity for understanding the most complex aspects of his father’s business. He learned all he could, and when his father died he went to work as a clerk in the Oppenheimer Bank in Hanover. The bank’s management quickly recognized his talents and he advanced rapidly.

By 1750, he was a junior partner in the bank. He returned to Frankfurt where he purchased the House of the Red Shield and restored the family business. Meyer Amschel Bauer came home. In keeping with the custom of the time, he changed his name to match his business, becoming Meyer Amschel Rothschild. Thus one of the most powerful names in history was born, ROTHSCHILD, which is German for Red Shield.

Building A Power Base

During the 1760’s, the now successful banker Meyer Rothschild renewed an old acquaintance with General Von Estorff. As a lowly Oppenheimer clerk, he had often run errands for the general. Rothschild discovered the general had a weakness he was a hopeless numismatist, a collector or rare coins. He managed to find out what rare coins the general coveted most and then offered them to the general at a considerable discount.

Soon, Rothschild was a regular at the court of the general’s patron, Prince William of Hanau. He employed similar tactics to ingratiate himself with other members of the royal court, and eventually with Prince William himself. On September 21, 1769, he was appointed to the court of Prince William.

His business card proudly proclaimed in gold letters; M. A. Rothschild, by appointment court factor to his serene highness, Prince William of Hanau. Now that he had secured his professional position, it was time to begin building a dynasty. Meyer married Gutele Schnaper in 1770. She gave him five sons; Amschel, Saloman, Nathan, Karl and James.

Prince William was better known to history as William of Hesse. He amassed his fortune by hiring out his army of mercenaries to the highest bidder. One of his best customers was King George of Britain, who hired the Hessians to quell a colonial uprising [the American Revolution].

William, who was known as Europe’s most cold-blooded loan shark, amassed a considerable fortune renting out his army. At his death he possessed Europe’s largest fortune. His rental agent on commission, of course, was Meyer Rothschild and Sons. The Rothschild enterprises with Prince earned him more than three million dollars an immense fortune at the time!

With this huge accumulation of wealth, Meyer Rothschild established four of his five sons in branches of the family business located in Berlin, Vienna, Paris and Naples. But it was his son Nathan who really set up the stage for future history. He was sent to establish the first international bank with its headquarters in London.

It remains there in all its power until this day.

Original Article

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