Thomas Gresham

Sir Thomas Gresham (* 1519 in London, † November 21, 1579 ibid ) was co-owner of the UK's biggest trading house of his era and since 1551 financial agent of the British government and royal adviser.


He was born the son of a wealthy merchant Sir Richard Gresham, who has about important public offices, such as the board of the Worshipful Company of Mercers possessed (Society for cloth merchants ), and the title of Governor of the London Guild of Merchant Adventurers. A native of Norfolk Richard Gresham had been knighted the basis of merit by Henry VIII. After studying at the University of Cambridge and his father's death in 1548, Thomas was the co-owner of the determining trading house of the Elizabethan age.

Based on this experience, the British Government chose him as financial agents. In this capacity he negotiated primarily in Amsterdam and Antwerp with major German investors in Augsburg ( Fugger and Schetz ) and Nuremberg ( Lazarus Tucher ) to bonds. Because these loan payments were paid on time, contrary to expectations, strengthened its financial policy, the international credit rating of England. Already in 1559 he was knighted.

Therefore Gresham rose to the advisor to the King Edward VI. and finally the Queen Elizabeth I on. But not only his trading skills made ​​him indispensable at court. His personal charm, the friendship with the royal advisor William Cecil and his talent for placing personal gifts to the monarch and their environment strengthened its position.

Gresham founded in 1565 the Royal Exchange, the trading started operations six years later.

He formulated the first 300 years after his so called Gresham's Law, which determined the displacement of good money by the poor differently weighted in the presence of coinage metals with certain statutory exchange relation.

Gresham also appeared as a patron of the arts and sciences as well as a promoter of social institutions in appearance. Even as a 45 -year-old he in his will the establishment of the college named after him.

Due to some evidence sources, some historians consider him as one of the founders of the British secret service, the Secret Service because he used the one for the transmission of its messages of codes, and on the other face down in the Netherlands large quantity of gunpowder and ammunition acquired, which he did in correspondence as silk and satin " cloaking ".

Prematurely aged by the grueling negotiations and the early loss of the only son he retired in 1574 back to the paralysis of one leg out of the business of government.