|James Mayer de Rothschild was born on 15 May 1792 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. the fifth son and youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812). In 1811 he moved to Paris and in 1817 he expanded the family banking empire to the city, opening Rothschild Frères. An advisor to two Kings of France, he became the most powerful banker in the country. In addition to funding loans to European governments, Rothschild played a major role in financing the construction of the railroads and the mining business, thus contributing to the transformation of France into an industrial power. In the process, he amassed a vast personal fortune, becoming one of the richest men in the world.
In 1822, James de Rothschild and his four brothers were created barons by Austria's Francis II, the Holy Roman Emperor.
On 11 July 1824 at Frankfurt-am-Main, Baron James de Rothschild married Betty Salomon de Rothschild (1805-1886), the daughter of his brother, Salomon Rothschild. The marriage produced five children.
In 1854, Rothschild commissioned the famous architect Joseph Paxton to build a grand château in the south-west of Paris. Named Ferrières, it was his and his descendants’ home until 1975, when it was donated by the family to the Sorbonne.
In 1868, just three months before his death, James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite, one of France's most outstanding vineyards. Located in the Bordeaux region, it is a business that remains in the family to this day. Baron James de Rothschild died on 15 November 1868. His sons Alphonse and Gustave took control of the French arm of his business empire.
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