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The Naples banking house

C M de Rothschild & figli, Naples

The fourth Rothschild brother, Carl (1788-1855), established the fifth Rothschild House in Naples in 1821 when he travelled to the city to negotiate a loan to the Government of Ferdinand II. The Naples business followed the pattern of the other firms, operating in the field of acceptance and exchange, and trading in commodities such as copper, silver, oil, corn and tobacco.

The Rothschilds' successful management of Neapolitan securities caused other Italian states to seek their services in raising credit, notably the Papal administration in Rome, on whose behalf five loans were issued between 1831 and 1850. Further loans were issued to Tuscany and to Piedmont, of which the fourth in 1859 financed Cavour's victorious Austrian campaign, heralding the formation of a united Italy. 

The last Rothschild House established in Europe was the first one to close, following the decline in the significance of Naples as a financial centre. In 1863, Carl's son Adolphe (1823-1900) was bought out of the partnership and the Naples business terminated. For further information, see The Naples house: history »  

Destruction of records of the Naples banking house

Upon closure, the entire archives of the Naples house were transferred to the Frankfurt business, Together, the papers of both the Frankfurt and Naples houses represented more than 140 tonnes. The archives of the Naples house followed exactly the same fate as those of the Frankfurt house; the records were held by the Frankfurt partners and were destroyed after the closure of the Frankfurt business in 1901. See The Frankfurt banking house for information about this destruction. A very few papers went to Brussels, and from there to the French bank in the rue Laffitte, Paris, where they were destroyed in 1940.

Records that survive

Very few papers of the Naples business survive. Some correspondence from Carl, Adolphe and C M de Rothschild & Figli to the London bank survives in the records of the London banking house. Some volumes of accounts of the Naples house were held with the records of de Rothschild Frères, including a complete series of balance sheets for the Naples house. These papers were subsequently deposited with the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail in Roubaix, France.