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Banská Bystrica - Jakob Fugger

 
 
 
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The early rise of the Fuggers was marked essentially by sharp business sense and fortuitous marriage alliances. The family successfully expanded the volume and range of their business and allied their interests with those of well-placed merchant and patrician families. Under Jakob the Rich, who played an ever more central role in the business after the end of the fifteenth century, the tactics changed. He established lasting business connections with the Habsburg dynasty by supplying credit to the profligate Sigismund (1427–1496), archduke of Tyrol. Offering similar services to Emperors Frederick III (1415–1493; ruled 1440–1493) and Maximilian I (1459–1519; ruled 1493–1519), he received interests in mining enterprises in Tyrol, Carinthia, Thuringia, and Hungary. Without abandoning their traditional trade in textiles and other commodities, the Fuggers now used political connections to enter the most speculative and profitable enterprises of the age. In addition to providing banking services to the Habsburg dynasty and the Roman Church, they joined syndicates to monopolize the production of copper, to organize voyages to the Indies, and to colonize the forests of Brazil. Their financial might enabled them to control political destinies, as when they provided funds to purchase the election of Charles V (1500–1558; ruled 1519–1556) as Holy Roman emperor. Most spectacularly the Fuggers managed financial transfers for the sale of indulgences that financed the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and, incidentally, unleashed the reforming spirit of Martin Luther (1483–1546).