WEST GERMANY: Rent Bargain

In the late 15th century, the financial empire of the Fugger Brothers blanketed Europe as Fugger linen left to bleach in the sun once covered the meadows around the fortress city of Augsburg, where the family fortune began. Brother Jakob was the genius of the Fuggers, buying silver mines in the Tyrol, exporting textiles, metal and salt to lands beyond the seas, bringing back rare spices, furs and fruit. Almost one-third of Augsburg's 34,000 people were employed by the Fuggers, and kings and emperors knocked on Jakob's door for funds to wage a war or buy support in an election.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!