The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Fugger

Edition of 1879. See also Fugger on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

FUGGER, the name of a German princely family, whose founder was Johannes, a weaver in Graben, near Augsburg, in the first half of the 14th century, who acquired a large property in lands by commerce in cloths. His son, of the same name, continued the occupation of weaver and cloth merchant, and obtained by marriage the right of citizenship in Augsburg. Andreas, eldest son of the latter, was known as “Fugger the Rich.” The nephews of the last, Ulrich, Georg, and Jakob, born about the middle of the 15th century, covered the Baltic with their commerce, which extended also to Hungary, Italy, and even to India, influenced the affairs of the empire by lending money to the princes, married into the most illustrious families, and were ennobled by the emperor Maximilian I. They built in Tyrol the splendid castle of Fuggerau, embellished the city of Augsburg, and found a new source of wealth by working the mines of the Inn valley. The only heirs of these three brothers were the two sons of Georg, Raimund (1489-1535) and Anton (1493-1560). The emperor Charles V. resorted to them both when pressed for money, yielded to them the privilege of coining, made them counts and princes of the empire, and was lodged in the splendid mansion of Anton when he attended the diet of Augsburg. They established at Augsburg a cabinet of antiquities, a gallery of paintings, and a botanical garden, built the church of Saint Maurice, paid 3,000 crowns to Titian for a few paintings, and collected the two largest libraries that had yet been seen in Germany. Their name was given to a street in Madrid, and “as rich as a Fugger” became a proverb. Upon the death of these two brothers the family divided into numerous lines, and its most important branches at present are the princely houses of Fugger-Kirchberg and Fugger-Babenhausen.