Mayer Amschel Rothschild (February 23, 1744 – September 19, 1812) was the founder of the Rothschild family banking empire that would become one of the most successful business families in history. In 2005, he was ranked 7th on the Forbes magazine list of the The Twenty Most Influential Businessmen Of All Time. The business magazine referred to him as a "founding father of international finance".
He was born Mayer Amschel Bauer on February 23, 1744 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany to Moses Amschel Bauer. He changed his name to Rothschild (German for "Red Shield") from Bauer, the previous family name, in reference to the red shield that was the official house sign and thus logotype of the family business, a bank and pawnshop founded by his father Moses.
Much of the early Rothschild fortune and rise to prominence was built on business dealings with Wilhelm IX
, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
(or Hesse-Cassel). Wilhelm had inherited what was purported to be among the largest fortunes in Europe and eventually came to depend substantially on Mayer for managing this fortune, particularly during and after the invasion and conquest of the area by Napoleon
(Wilhelm went into exile for several years, leaving his fortune in Mayer's hands).
On August 29
Mayer married Gutlé Schnapper (1753-1849). They had the following children:
- Schönche Jeannette Rothschild (born August 20, 1771 - died in 1859) - married Benedikt Moses Worms (1772- 1824)
- Amschel Mayer (born June 12, 1773 - died December 6, 1855)
- Salomon Mayer (born September 9, 1774 - died July 28, 1855) - founder of the Rothschild banking family of Austria
- Nathan Mayer (born September 16, 1777 - died on July 18, 1836) - founder of the Rothschild banking family of England
- Isabella Rothschild (born July 2, 1781 - died in 1861)
- Babette Rothschild (born August 29, 1784 - died March 16, 1869)
- Calmann (Carl) Mayer (born April 24, 1788 - died March 10, 1855) - founder of the Rothschild banking family of Naples
- Julie Rothschild (born May 1, 1790 - died June 19, 1815)
- Henriette ("Jette") (1791-1866) married Abraham Montefiore (1788-1824)
- James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868) - founder of the Rothschild banking family of France
Mayer Amschel Rothschild died at Frankfurt-am-Main
on September 19
, and was buried in the Battonnstrasse
cemetery in Frankfurt