The establishment of the Rothschilds as bankers*

Some of the best-known names in the history of the City of London financial and commodity markets came from Jewish backgrounds, and of course Rothschilds, Hambros, Warburgs, Seligmans, Raphaels and others are still prominent there. But while the origins of the eighteenth-century Sephardic settlers who shifted the focus of their activities from Spain and Portugal to Bordeaux, Amsterdam and London have been written up with admirable clarity by Dr Yogev,((G. Yogev, Diamonds and Coral Anglo Dutch Jews and Eighteenth Century Trade (Leices? ter 1978).)) the Ashkenazi settlers who migrated in the Napoleonic War period still await their historian. As the surviving firms and their gentile competitors open up their records, it becomes possible to trace the course of this new (or renewed) diaspora in Europe. As we shall see, the rise of the Rothschilds should properly be set in the context of Jewish history in the turbulent years of the

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