The Rothschilds is a celebrated family of financiers that descend from Moses Rothschild of the 16th century. Frankfurt-am-Main was their home town. The name is derived from the red shield painted on the family's door. Today the name is bantered back and forth as the sole cause of all the world's banking faults and is named in conspiracy films as such. "Blame the Jews" seems to be the call of anyone dodging the true causes of problems in the world. The Rothschild family had a talent for banking and thus making money, something others are very envious of, and that envy comes out in blaming them and Jews for their problems.
Many many years ago in the Middle Ages, Jews were not allowed to own property. They were denied the occupation of being farmers as well as any trading or even handicrafts. Just about the only occupation allowed to them was in dealing with money, as this was looked upon with great distain by Christians. The open and regulated lending of money in northern European countries hence fell to the Jews. Their possible profit was taken from them by exorbitant taxation and the profession became a government monopoly in actuality. Rates of interest were carefuly regulated. There were non Jews engaging in the profession who weren't as religious and they charged a great deal more. In those days, Jewish loans performed important functions. Kings came to depend on them for many transactions.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild b: 1743-d: 1812 was originally a dealer in antique coins. He became the financial agent to the landgrave of HesseCassel during the French Revolutioinary wars. He had 5 sons who followed their father's trade by moving to different European centers. James b: 1792-d: 1868 was the youngest and founded the Paris house in 1817. Though the government changed hands, he was able to stay afloat, even helping to promote the railroads. He was a huge philanthropist. He had 3 sons who followed in his footsteps. Edmond (Baron) was interested in intellectual and artistic things and had a great art collection. The first aliyah members, Jewish people who returned to Palestine in the late 1800's, asked him for financial help. He did. He also sent agricultural experts to them. He visited the country 5 times; in 1887, 1893, 1899, 1914 and 1925. He also bought 125,000 acres and helped settle the Galilee and Samaria. In his last years he worked with Chaim Weizmann and Sokolow. He was buried with his wife in Zikhron Yaacov in 1954.
Reference: Finding Our Fathers by Dan Rottenberg
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
1. The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait
2. The Rothschilds: A family of Fortune
3. "The Rise of the House of Rothschild," in JQR, Vol. 20, p. 385: Die familie Rothschild; Das Haus Rothschild in der Zeit seiner Blute, 1830-1871;
Les Rothschilds; Une famille de financiers juifs au 19 siecle;
The Cousinhood, by Chaim Bermant, which traces the family's link with other prominent British families