hidden europe 61

Untold Riches

by hidden europe


Jakob Fugger the Rich was indeed very rich. But his approach to business presciently anticipated many practices which are now commonplace. We look at the life of a man who challenged business cartels and had a canny appreciation of the importance of market intelligence.

Even in his lifetime Jakob Fugger, who founded the Fuggerei settlement in Augsburg, acquired the suffix ‘der Reiche’ to his name. That appendage means ‘the Rich’. So what was the source of the wealth of Jakob Fugger the Rich?

When Jakob took over the family business in 1487, the Fuggers were certainly well established as part of the financial and social elite of Augsburg. They were notably wealthy, but no more so than hundreds of other mercantile families around Europe. Within 25 years, though, Jakob Fugger had become by far the richest individual in Europe, accumulating a level of personal wealth which has probably never since been matched by anyone in the world.

Fugger was a bold investor, a man who was willing to take risks, and by and large his investments paid off.

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