The New International Encyclopædia/Welser

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WELSER, vĕl'zẽr. The name of a famous burgher family of Augsburg, Germany. Its history can he traced back to the thirteenth century. Later its members became widely known as prominent merchants. Bartholomäus Welser lent the Emperor Charles V. a great sum of money for which in 1528 he received as security the Province of Venezuela, but in consequence of their rapacious acts the Welsers were deprived of their rule before the Emperor's reign was over. Bartholomäus's niece, Philippine (1527-80), daughter of Franz Welser, renowned for her learning and beauty, secretly married the Archduke Ferdinand, second son of the Emperor Ferdinand I. Her children were debarred from inheriting their father's rank, but one of them became a cardinal and the other distinguished himself as a soldier and was created Margrave of Burgau. Another member of the Welser family, Markus (1558-1614), became famous for his learning. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries branches of the family settled at Nuremberg and in Austria, respectively.