Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history: catalogues of bank files

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

Business activities

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) laid the foundations on which his five sons and their descendants would build a Europe wide banking empire. From the family base in Frankfurt where the five Rothschild brothers were born, Rothschild business interests developed rapidly, in a diverse range of business sectors.

Banking, finance and other business

Mayer Amschel Rothschild was born in 1744 in the Judengasse, in Frankfurt. His father had a business in goods-trading and currency exchange. He was a personal supplier of collectable coins to the Prince of Hesse. By the early years of the 19th century, Rothschild had consolidated his position, and in 1810, renamed his firm M A Rothschild und Söhne, establishing a partnership with his four sons still in Frankfurt, (his son Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) having already established a business in Manchester and London).

Nathan Rothschild’s increasingly successful business provided a model for his brothers back in Frankfurt. In 1812, James Mayer Rothschild (1792-1868) established a banking house in Paris. Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1855) settled in Vienna in 1820. Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855) set up business in Naples in 1821, leaving Amschel Mayer (1773-1855), to head the Frankfurt bank. From these roots, the Rothschild banking business spread out across much of Europe becoming the most successful international bankers of the age.

Listed below are some of the most important areas of Rothschild business. Further information about these activities can be found on the Rothschild Business microsite. A Rothschild Research Forum account is required to access this site. Apply for membership of the Rothschild Research Forum »

Business activities

  • Banking: Merchant banking, Private banking
  • Finance: Asset management, Bills of exchange, Equity, Gobal financial advice, Mergers & acquisitions, Insurance (The Alliance Assurance Company), Venture capital (The Exploration Company), Pensions, Investments
  • Government finance: Bonds, loans & sovereign lending, Privatisation
  • Commodities: Cotton, Indigo, Sugar, Tea & coffee, Tobacco
  • Communications & technology
  • Civil engineeering: Bridges, Tunnels
  • Hotels, tourism & leisure
  • Manufacturing: Cars, Iron & steel (Witkowitz (Vítkovice) Mines, Steel and Ironworks Corporation), Textiles
  • Media & publishing
  • Natural resources (mining & trade): Coal, Copper, Nickel, Oil, Platinum, Diamonds, Rubies, Quicksilver, Salt, Silver
  • Gold: Gold mining and bullion, The Royal Mint Refinery, The Gold Fixing
  • Power & utilities: Electricity, Hydroelectricity (BRINCO), Gas, Water 
  • Transport: Aircraft, Canals, waterways & harbours (The Suez Canal shares purchase), Road transport, Shipping
  • Railways: Kaiser-Ferdinand's Nordbahn, The Chemin de fer du Nord, Brazilian railways, Indian railways, The London Underground, The New York Subway, Mass transit railways
  • Wine: Château Lafite, Château Mouton
Gold bars from the Royal Mint Refinery.

Gold bars from the Royal Mint Refinery.