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  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Fugger, Jacob the Rich

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(14591525)

    early capitalist and banker

    Jacob Fugger laid the foundation for the international

    banking house of the Fuggers. His

    400 Fritsch, Werner von

    banking house financed emperors, popes, mining,

    and long-distance trade.

    Jacob was the second son of Johannes Fugger

    (d. 1409), a name that was first mentioned in the

    14th century. Johannes had become a prosperous

    merchant and patrician in the imperial city of

    AUGSBURG. Originally intended for a career in the

    church, Jacob entered the family business after

    the death in 1473 of his eldest brother, Peter.

    Jacob was sent to Venice to learn bookkeeping

    and in 1485 was placed in charge of the Fugger

    business in Innsbruck. From there he got the

    bank involved in the mining industry in the Tyrol

    and by 1502 had extended the familys mining

    interests into Hungary and Silesia. Eventually he

    secured for himself a monopoly in the European

    copper market. In 1502 he became head of the

    family business interests and laid the foundations

    for the enormous fortune of the House of Fugger

    and its international prominence. He continued

    to expand his interests into other areas of commerce,

    including the spice trade to India, which

    generated a great deal of wealth.

    The influence of the Fuggers was expanded as

    Jacob made generous loans to Archduke Sigismund

    of the Tyrol and Emperor MAXIMILIAN I.

    These and other loans were secured by the royal

    income from the salt mines. Other rewards for

    Jacobs services were the countships of Kirchberg

    and Weissenhorn, membership in the

    imperial nobility, and the title count of the

    Empire in 1514. In 1519 his loans were needed

    to secure the election of Charles, the grandson

    of Maximilian, as Holy Roman Emperor

    (CHARLES V) in 1519. Jacob lent more than half

    of the needed 850,000 gulden. He also got

    involved in church finance. Jacob loaned Albert

    of Brandenburg the necessary money to become

    archbishop of Mainz. This loan had unimaginable

    consequences, for it involved a sale of

    indulgences, which Luther protested and which

    led to the REFORMATION.

    Jacob was the model of the early capitalist

    entrepreneur and banker. His motto was truly

    capitalist: I shall gain while I am able. He had

    great business acumen and was a strategic

    thinker and diplomat. He was comparable to the

    princes of the Italian Renaissance even though

    he was a member of the upwardly mobile bourgeoisie.

    Jacob was also a philanthropist who

    endowed one of the earliest housing settlements

    for needy citizens in Augsburg, the Fuggerei.

    Virtually, no other family wielded as much

    power or exerted as much influence on the politics

    and economy of their time as did the Fuggers

    of Augsburg.

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