Fugger Family

   Mercantile and banking family of Augsburg, noted for their role in financing European governments but also as patrons of art and scholarship. Their rise began in the 14th century with Hans Fugger, a cloth merchant. The true founder of their greatness was Jacob Fugger (1459-1525), who transformed the family from important local businessmen into a major force in European economic and political life. The secret of Jacob's rise to fame was his lending large sums of money to the Habsburg dynasty, especially the Emperor Maximilian I and his grandson Charles V, in order to finance the wars, dynastic marriages, and other political schemes that made the Habsburgs the most powerful rulers in 16th-century Europe. As security for these loans, Fugger received control of valuable mining properties in central Europe, establishing a stranglehold on the mining and processing of silver and copper ore. He also became financial agent for the popes, a responsibility that involved the bank in the financial administration of the infamous St. Peter's indulgence of 1517 which evoked criticism of indulgences by Martin Luther and thus precipitated the Protestant Reformation. As the Habsburgs' dynastic expansion brought the Netherlands, Spain, and southern Italy, as well as Spain's rapidly growing empire in the Americas, under their political control, the Fugger bank, together with some other Augsburg firms, provided loans that made it all possible.
   The bank was still rich and powerful under the direction of Jacob's nephew Anton Fugger (1493-1560), but the insatiable demands of the Habsburgs for money and their inability to pay the costs of their empire led to a series of governmental bankruptcies (the first in 1557) that eventually undermined the power of the bank, though members of the family, which had been granted noble status, remained personally wealthy.
   The Fugger family were also important patrons of the arts, employing major painters like Hans Burgkmaier, Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer, and Giulio Romano. They built chapels for churches, urban and country palaces for the family, and they created the Fuggerei, a community of more than 50 houses designed to provide decent housing for Augsburg workers. Members of the family also became major collectors of ancient coins, bronzes, and marbles, accumulated a major library, and patronized musicians and composers, of whom the most famous was Orlando di Lasso (Roland de Lassus).

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fugger family — German mercantile and banking dynasty that dominated European business in the 15th–16th centuries. The family business traces its origins to Hans (Johannes) Fugger (1348–1409), a weaver in Augsburg. Under his grandsons Ulrich (1441–1510), Georg… …   Universalium

  • Fugger — Infobox Former Country native name = Grafschaft Kirchberg und Weißenhorn conventional long name = County of Kirchberg and Weissenhorn common name = Fugger continent = Europe region = Central Europe country = Germany era = Middle Ages status =… …   Wikipedia

  • family — /fam euh lee, fam lee/, n., pl. families, adj. n. 1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not. 2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family. 3. the spouse and children …   Universalium

  • Fugger — /foog euhrdd/, n. Jakob II /yah kawp/, ( the Rich ), 1459 1525, German financier, a member of a German family of bankers and merchants of the 14th to 17th centuries. * * * …   Universalium

  • FUGGER —    the name of a family of Augsburg who rose from the loom by way of commerce to great wealth and eminence in Germany, particularly under the Emperors Maximilian and Charles V., the real founder of the wealth being Jacob, who died 1409 …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Fugger — /ˈfʊgə/ (say fooguh) noun a German family of bankers and merchants of the 14th to 17th centuries …   Australian English dictionary

  • Fugger — /foog euhrdd/, n. Jakob II /yah kawp/, ( the Rich ), 1459 1525, German financier, a member of a German family of bankers and merchants of the 14th to 17th centuries …   Useful english dictionary

  • Markus Fugger — d.Ä., 1529–1597. Copperplate in Custos, Atrium heroicum (1601). Markus Fugger (Marx Fugger) von der Lilie (14 February 1529 18 June 1597) was a German politician and businessman of the Fugger family. He was the eldest son of Anton Fugger. He… …   Wikipedia

  • Otto Heinrich Fugger, Count of Kirchberg — (1592–1644) was promoted to be a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1628. He was the son of Christoffe Fugger, deceased 1615, the grandson of Johann Fugger, deceased 1598, the great grandson of very wealthy Augsburg city International… …   Wikipedia

  • Jacob Fugger — ( de. Jakob Fugger; 6 March 1459 ndash; 30 December 1525), sometimes known as Jacob Fugger the Rich, was a German banker and a member of the Fugger family. Biography Fugger was born on 6 March 1459 in the Swabian town of Augsburg in the Holy… …   Wikipedia

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