Jacob Fugger (6 March 1459 – 30 December 1525), sometimes known as Jacob Fugger the Rich, was a German banker and a member of the Fugger family.
Fugger was born in the Swabian town of Augsburg in the Holy Roman Empire, the son of a weaver who settled there in the late 15th century. A trader like his brothers, he learned double-entry bookkeeping in Venice.
See more portraits of Jacob Fugger, free from paradoxplace.com. Inheriting his father's business of trading, Fugger expanded the family enterprise to the Adriatic Sea via the port of Venice. When asked if he wanted to retire, Fugger replied that he intended to keep making money until he dropped dead. Shortly before he died in December 1525, he appointed his nephew, Anton Fugger, as his successor. He was well-known throughout Europe, and used his eventual fortune to lend money to its rulers. Fugger often provided mercenary armies with monetary resources so they could wage war against one another.
At their peak the Fugger family had amassed a fortune of 5,100,000 guilders – a greater sum than the combined value of all 30 companies listed on today’s DAX, the German Stock Exchange index.
Election of Charles V
Fugger provided Charles V with the money needed to bribe the seven electors to make him Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. Charles ennobled the family and granted them sovereign rights over their lands, including that of coining their own money. Jacob also secured the right to sell papal indulgences, which increased his already vast fortune tenfold.