The Rothschild Family is a European dynasty, of German-Jewish origin, that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century. Five lines of the Austrian branch of the family have been elevated to Austrian nobility, being given hereditary baronies of the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Francis II in 1816. Another line, of the British branch of the family, was elevated to British nobility at the request of Queen Victoria. During the 1800s, when it was at its height, the family is believed to have possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world as well as by far the largest fortune in modern world history. The family's wealth subsequently declined, and was divided amongst hundreds of descendants. Today, Rothschild businesses are on a significantly smaller scale than they were throughout the 19th century, although they encompass a diverse range of fields, including: private asset management, mixed farming, wine, and charities.
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