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Katelyn Ferral
By Katelyn Ferral March 1, 2024

Rothschild conspiracy theory resurfaces, but family doesn’t control global financial system

If Your Time is short

  • Jacob Rothschild, an heir to the Rothschild banking fortune, died Feb. 26, prompting old conspiracy theories about the family to recirculate.

  • The Rothschild family neither controls global financial systems nor is "behind" the Federal Reserve. The antisemitic conspiracy theory has been repeatedly debunked over centuries. 

The Rothschild family has been at the center of conspiracy theories about its wealth and influence for centuries. The latest example followed Jacob Rothschild’s Feb. 26 death at age 87.

"The Rothschilds were behind the fed, and they now control the global financial system," said the caption on a Feb. 26 Instagram post that included a photo of Jacob Rothschild. The post was later edited to remove that language. 

This Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The Federal Reserve, in Washington, D.C., is controlled by a Board of Governors that the U.S. president nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms.

Conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family date to 1846 in Paris and have deep antisemitic roots. The family was targeted that year in an anonymously written pamphlet that falsely claimed that Nathan Rothschild, the family patriarch, Mayer Rothschild’s son, knew the Battle of Waterloo’s outcome in advance. The pamphlet was published 30 years after the battle and 10 years after Nathan Rothschild’s death, but its message has circulated ever since.  

"There is a massive industry of Rothschild conspiracy theories, some of which are just invented on the spot, and others utilize tropes like Jews being cheap, Jews being greedy, Jews being clannish, keeping their money to themselves," historian Mike Rothschild (no relation to the Rothschild banking family), who has written a book about the history of the theories, said in a 2023 interview with Time magazine. 

The Rothschilds have been wrongly blamed for everything from starting wars to sinking the Titanic and assassinating U.S. presidents. Various iterations of the conspiracy theory that the Rothschilds control global finances have been repeatedly debunked.

The Rothschild family started in banking in Frankfurt, Germany, and the family’s wealth exploded after it financed the British army in the Napoleonic Wars, from 1799 to 1815. The family later invested in railroads, mining and real estate.

Although the Rothschilds historically made money in finance and banking, the family’s fortune is now distributed across businesses in several industries.

Jacob Rothschild was born in Berkshire, England, and oversaw a series of business ventures beyond banking during his career, including a wealth management company, J. Rothschild Assurance Group, now known as St. James’s Place. 

The claim is not supported by evidence and is an antisemitic trope. 

We rate the claim that the Rothschilds were behind the Federal Reserve, and they now control the global financial system, Pants on Fire!

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Rothschild conspiracy theory resurfaces, but family doesn’t control global financial system

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