On the last show I briefly mentioned that I had read about various banking families of Europe who profited from the Napoleonic Wars. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Rothschild Family:

The basis for the Rothschild fortune was laid during the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars. From 1813 to 1815, the Rothschild family was instrumental in the financing of the British war effort, handling the shipment of bullion to the Duke of Wellington’s army in Portugal and Spain, as well as arranging the payment of British financial subsidies to their Continental allies. Through the commissions earned on these transactions, the Rothschild fortune grew enormously.

In the early 19th century Rothschild set up a Europe-wide network of messengers and carrier pigeon stations, gathering information that could affect his investments. He soon garnered a reputation for being first with the news.

According to popular legend, when the Battle of Waterloo was being fought in June 1815, other speculators watched Rothschild’s stocks in an attempt to guess who would win. Shortly after the battle ended, and long before anyone else knew who was the victor, he began selling stocks. Everyone assumed this meant Napoleon had won and Europe was lost. Panic selling ensued. When prices crashed, Rothschild bought everything in sight and made a profit.