The Rothschild name comes from the house their 16th century forefathers, ‘zum roten Schild’ (at the sign of the red shield), in Frankfurt’s Jewish ghetto. 

The Rothschilds became one of the richest and most powerful European families of the 19th century - they acted as bankers to monarchs and governments, built palaces and castles and collected fine and decorative art.

The five sons of Mayer Amschel (1744-1812) settled in the financial capitals of Europe: Frankfurt, Vienna, Naples, Paris and London.  The branches of the family are descended from the brothers and often intermarried.