Rothschild family  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Rothschild family (known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds) is a European dynasty of German Jewish origin that established European banking and finance houses from the late 1700s. Five brothers of the Austrian branch of the family were given hereditary baronies of the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Francis II in 1816. The British branch of the family was elevated into the nobility by Queen Victoria. During the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world, and by far the largest fortune in modern history. Although family financial records have not been preserved, at its height in the mid-19th century, the total family worth spread across Europe would have been, in today's terms, at the lowest estimates in the many hundreds of billions ($US), if not in the trillions.

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