Gerd Ludwig Photography



The Fugger family was a group of European merchants and bankers, who gained prominence during the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Eventually, these international mercantile bankers became venture capitalists, similar to the Medici in Italy. Jakob Fugger, born in 1459 was to become the most famous member of the dynasty. Often referred to as Jakob the Rich, he is considered one of the wealthiest people to have ever lived. At the height of his wealth, Fugger was able to finance both the election of Emperor Maximilian I and Charles V. The Fuggers invested in nearly everything, from the mining of silver and copper in Tyrol and Hungary to the trade with Africa, India, and the Far East; from the minting of coins to the sale of indulgences-- making them, in some views, the founders of globalization. In a story published in National Geographic Germany's March 2009 issue, Gerd Ludwig's pictures trace the life of Jakob Fugger through locations in Southern Germany, Austria and Italy.

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