Mayer Amschel Rothschild (23 February 1744 – 19 September 1812) was the founder of the Rothschild family international banking dynasty that became one of the most successful business families in history. In 2005, he was ranked 7th on the Forbes magazine list of "The Twenty Most Influential Businessmen Of All Time". The business magazine referred to him as a "founding father of international finance".
Meyer Amschel Rothschild was born in 1744 in the ghetto (called "Judengasse" or Jew Alley) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, one of eight children of Amschel Moses Rothschild (d. 1755) and his wife Schönche Rothschild née Lechnich (d. 1756).
The ancestry of the Rothschilds can be traced back to 1577 to Izaak Elchanan Rothschild, whose name derived from the house he occupied in the Judengasse — zum roten Schild ("at the sign of the red shield"). His grandchildren and descendents took this name as the family name and kept it when they relocated in 1664 another house in the Judengasse — Hinterpfann (literally "house in the back of the saucepan") — which became the family's home and business location through to the early 19th century.