the name of a British family of businessmen and politicians, originally from Germany. Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) opened the bank of N M Rothschild and Sons in London in 1798, and became a British citizen in 1804. His son Lionel Nathan Rothschild (1808-79) became the first Jewish Member of Parliament in 1858 and worked to achieve new legal freedoms for British Jews. Lionel's son Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild (1840-1915) became the first Jew to be made a life peer, in 1885. Miriam Rothschild (1908-2005), the granddaughter of Nathaniel, was a famous scientist.