Pereire brothers

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Émile and Isaac Pereire

The Pereire brothers were prominent 19th-century financiers in Paris, France, who were rivals of the Rothschilds. Like the Rothschilds, they were Jews, but the Pereire brothers were Sephardi Jews of Portuguese origin.


Jacob Rodrigues Pereira, one of the inventors of manual language for the deaf, was their grandfather. He was born in Peniche, Portugal and established himself in France in 1741, where he became an interpreter for King Louis XV. Both brothers were followers of Saint-Simonism until their break with Enfantin in the early 1830s.[1]


Émile (3 December 1800 – 5 January 1875) and his brother Isaac (25 November 1806 – 12 July 1880) founded a business conglomerate that included creating the Crédit Mobilier bank. It became a powerful and dynamic funding agency for major projects in France, Europe and the world at large. It specialized in mining developments; it funded other banks including the Imperial Ottoman Bank or the Austrian Mortgage Bank; it funded railway construction[2] and insurance companies, as well as building contractors. Their bank had large investments in a transatlantic steamship lines, urban gas lighting, a newspaper and the Paris public transit system.

In 1866/7, the bank underwent a severe crisis, and the Pereires were forced to resign at the demand of the Banque de France; the bank never recovered.

Eugène Pereire[edit]

Eugène Pereire by Charles Louis Gratia (1884)

Eugène Pereire (1831–1908), son of Isaac, joined the enterprise and took over the running of the business empire on his father's death in 1875. He was the founder, in 1881, of the Banque Transatlantique, which still operates today and is one of the oldest private banks in France. In 1909, Eugène's granddaughter Noémie Halphen married banking competitor, Maurice de Rothschild.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karabell, Zachary (2003). Parting the desert: the creation of the Suez Canal. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 80. ISBN 0-375-40883-5.
  2. ^ Ralf Roth; Günter Dinhobl (2008). Across the Borders: Financing the World's Railways in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Ashgate. p. 19.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kurt Grunwald, "Europe's Railways and Jewish Enterprise: German Jews as Pioneers of Railway Promotion." Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 12.1 (1967): 163-209, on Rothschild and the Pereire brothers.

External links[edit]