Adolph von Hansemann
Adolph von Hansemann was an Imperial German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 businessman and banker.


Born in Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 in 1826 to German banker and railroad entrepreneur David Hansemann
David Hansemann
David Justus Ludwig Hansemann was a Prussian politician and banker, serving as the Prussian Minister of Finance in 1848.- Life :...

, Adolph Hansemann developed an early interest in business administration. He left home for Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 in 1841. He was a partner in his brother Gustav's textile factory in Eupen
Eupen is a municipality in the Belgian province of Liège, from the German border , from the Dutch border and from the "High Fens" nature reserve...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, until leaving to help manage his father's Disconto Society (Disconto-Gesellschaft) in 1857.

After his father's death in 1864, Adolph Hansemann continued to develop it by himself, expanding it into the largest private bank in the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and one of the most famous in Europe. Along with Gerson von Bleichroeder, he arranged the financing for the Royal Prussian Army during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

; for his services, he was elevated to the peerage by Kaiser Wilhelm I and appended the von to his name.

As a board member at Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

 and chairman of the Gelsenkirchen Mining Company (Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG), he participated in the growth of coal and steel industries in the Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

 valley. Like his father, he was also involved with the German railroads
History of rail transport in Germany
German Railway history began with the opening of the steam-hauled Bavarian Ludwig Railway between Nuremberg and Fürth on 7 December 1835. This had been preceded by the opening of the horse-hauled Prince William Railway on 20 September 1831...

, including the Lehrte line, as well as lines in Venezuela and Romania
Caile Ferate Române
Căile Ferate Române is the official designation of the state railway carrier of Romania. Romania has a railway network of of which are electrified and the total track length is . The network is significantly interconnected with other European railway networks, providing pan-European passenger...

. Taking advantage of Bethel Strousberg
Bethel Henry Strousberg
Bethel Henry Strousberg was a Jewish industrialist and railway entrepreneur in Germany during its rapid industrial expansion in the 19th century...

's exposure there, Hansemann's greatest coup was working with Bleichroeder to purchase Strousberg's railways throughout Germany at a fraction of their real value.

He was an advocate of Germany's imperial expansion
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

. He funded Johann Cesar VI. Godeffroy
Johann Cesar VI. Godeffroy
Johann Cesar VI. Godeffroy was a German trader and Hanseat.He was the founder of Museum Godeffroy.-Family history and the trading company J.C. Godeffroy & Sohn:...

's Sea Trade Society (Seehandels-Gesellschaft) plantations and with Wilhelm Solf
Wilhelm Solf
Wilhelm Heinrich Solf was a German scholar, diplomat, jurist and statesman.-Early life:Wilhelm Solf was born into a wealthy and liberal family in Berlin. He attended secondary schools in Anklam in western Pomerania and in Mannheim...

 worked towards the establishment of German Samoa
German Samoa
German Samoa was a German protectorate from 1900 to 1914, consisting of the islands of Upolu, Savai'i, Apolima and Manono, now wholly within the independent state Samoa, formerly Western Samoa...

. His New Guinea Consortium
German New Guinea Company
The German New Guinea Company was a German Chartered Company which exploited insular territory in and near present Papua New Guinea.- History :...

 (Neuguinea-Konsortium, later Neuguinea-Kompanie) and Astrolabe Company
Astrolabe Company
The Astrolabe Company was a German "colonial society" in Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, which existed from 1891 to 1896. On 27 October 1891 it was founded with a capital of 2.4 million marks...

 (Astrolabe-Compagnie) led to the establishment of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland was part of the German New Guinea, the South Pacific protectorate of the German Empire. Named in honor of Wilhelm II, who was the German Emperor and King of Prussia, it included the north-eastern part of the present day Papua New Guinea. From 1884 until 1918, the territory...

 and German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

 in the South Pacific. His Disconto Society funded the Central Line
Central Line (Tanzania)
The Central Line is the most important railway line in Tanzania apart from TAZARA. It runs west from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika via Dodoma...

 in German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

 and the Shantung Railroad in the German concession
Concessions in China
Concessions in China were a group of concession territories within China that were governed and occupied by foreign powers. They are frequently associated with colonialism. Most had extraterritoriality and were enclaves inside key cities that were treaty ports. Other than other minor...

 of Kiaochau
Jiaozhou Bay concession
The Kiautschou Bay concession was a German colonial concession in Imperial China which existed from 1898 to 1914. It had an area of 552 km², it was located around Jiaozhou Bay on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula, which lay in the imperial province of Shandong in northern China.Jiaozhou...

, China. Construction of his Otavi Railroad
Otavi Mining and Railway Company
The Otavi Mining and Railway Company was a railway and mining company in German South-West Africa...

 in German South-West Africa
German South-West Africa
German South West Africa was a colony of Germany from 1884 until 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa and administered as South West Africa, finally becoming Namibia in 1990...

 coincided with the Herero genocide
Herero and Namaqua Genocide
The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa , during the scramble for Africa...


By this time Adolph von Hansemann was one of the richest men in the German Empire. Between 1887 and 1896, he modernized the Rügen
Rügen is Germany's largest island. Located in the Baltic Sea, it is part of the Vorpommern-Rügen district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.- Geography :Rügen is located off the north-eastern coast of Germany in the Baltic Sea...

 resort of Sassnitz
Sassnitz is a town on the Jasmund peninsula, Rügen Island, in the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The population as of 2007 was 10,747....

, the site of his castle Dwasieden, at his own expense. He also maintained a villa in Berlin and another at Lissa
Leszno is a town in central Poland with 63,955 inhabitants . Situated in the southern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously the capital of the Leszno Voivodeship . The town has county status.-History:...

 and purchased extensive tracts of land for his heirs.

He married Ottilie von Kusserow, daughter of the Prussian
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 Lt. Gen.
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Ferdinand von Kusserow, early advocate of women's rights, and sister of Heinrich von Kusserow, who became the first head of colonial affairs for the German Foreign Office
Foreign Office (Germany)
The Foreign Office is the foreign ministry of Germany, a federal agency responsible for both the country's foreign politics and its relationship with the European Union. From 1871 to 1919, it was led by a Foreign Secretary, and since 1919, it has been led by the Foreign Minister of Germany...

. Adolph's children were Ferdinand
Ferdinand von Hansemann
Ferdinand von Hansemann was a Prussian landlord and politician, co-founder of the German Eastern Marches Society.Hansemann was born to Adolf von Hansemann, a notable Prussian industrialist and manager of the Disconto Society , a large financial holding. Since early youth Hansemann was a member of...

 and Davide Eveline von Hansemann. In October 1903, he died at work at his desk; according to his secretary, his last words were, "Well, tomorrow we work on."


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