Huth, Frederick (1777-1864)

Leading London merchant banker, founder of Huth & Co. , was born in Hanover in 1777 . In 1791, he was admitted as an apprentice to a Basque merchant house in Hamburg, Brentano Urbieta & Co. Hamburg was at the time one of the primary ports in continental Europe, an important entrepot of global produce, in particular with regard to the British and Hispanic worlds.  After four years working for these Basque merchants, Frederick Huth was promoted to senior clerk. Two years later, Juan Antonio Urbieta (head of the house) decided that he was of better use in Corunna, where they had a branch house. The links between Hamburg and Corunna were important on account of the re-export trade of Spanish global produce, but also because of the re-export of Silesian linens from Hamburg to Corunna, and from Galicia into the rest of Spain and Spanish America. The Corunna house was headed by a brother of Juan Antonio, who increasingly left much of the running of the house in Huth’s hands. His arrival at Corunna roughly coincided with the end of the monopoly of Seville-Cadiz with Spanish America. This is important because it was in Galicia that Huth became familiar with Ibero-American trade. Indeed, he was sent to South America several times acting as supercargo. During these trips he landed in Rio de Janeiro, Callao, Valparaiso and Buenos Aires, gaining valuable experience for his future operations from London. Overall, Huth’s appointment in Galicia is crucial to understanding his later connections with Spain after moving to London in 1809.

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Sources (indicative):  Llorca-Jaña, Manuel, ‘Connections and networks in Spain of a London merchant-banker, 1800-1850’, Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, 31/3 (2013), 423-58; Jones, C., ‘Huth, (John) Frederick Andrew (1777-1864)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 1-3; Jones, C., International Business in the Nineteenth Century (Brighton: Wheatsheaf Books, 1987), 37; Murray, A., Home From the Hill. A Biography of Frederick Huth (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1970), introduction; Llorca-Jaña, Manuel, ‘The Economic activities of a global merchant-banker in Chile: Huth & Co. of London, 1820-1850s’, Historia, II/45 (2012), 399-432.

Posted by:  Manuel Llorca-Jaña

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