Benjamin Disraeli was a British politician and novelist who was twice the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was also a man with many interests, but he became famous for initiating a wide range of legislations within his country that would improve the lives of working people while also helping both the educational and health sectors.
Continue reading if you would like to know more about Benjamin Disraeli.
Benjamin Disraeli Facts
1. Benjamin Disraeli was known to have several names
Some of Benjamin Disraeli’s alternative names or titles were: Viscount Hughenden of Hughenden, Earl of Beaconsfield, Disraeli, and even Dizzy (which was his personal nickname).
Whenever he was introduced to a new person, he would either be presented or present himself as Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, Viscount Hughenden of Hughenden.
2. Disraeli’s family had a multicultural background
Benjamin Disraeli was born on December 21, 1804, in the city of London. He was the only son of Isaac and Maria. His dad was a Sephardic Jew who was born in Italy and his mother came from a Sephardic family from Spain, an interesting fact about Benjamin Disraeli.
Eventually, both Isaac and Maria found themselves in London where Benjamin’s paternal grandfather even held some important roles within the Jewish community of that time.
3. Benjamin Disraeli’s father was a visionary
Even though both of Disraeli’s parents were Jewish, his father Isaac had a quarrel in the synagogue they used to attend, the synagogue of Bevis Marks. This had a profound impact on Benjamin’s life as his father then decided to have both of his children baptized as Christians.
In the United Kingdom, those who followed the Jewish faith were excluded from the Parliament up until 1858, so the decision Isaac had on his son greatly worked on their favour.
History would have been very different if Benjamin Disraeli wouldn’t have been baptized as a Christian and things would have probably taken another direction.
4. Benjamin Disraeli had a lot of problems when trying to discover his life’s path
Even though he received a top-notch education at some small private schools, Benjamin had a lot of problems whenever he tried something new in his life.
For example, in 1824 he lost everything he ever owned when he decided to speculate in South American mining shares. Even though many individuals would do this and got away with it, Benjamin’s case was completely the opposite.
In fact, he had such a big debt that he didn’t even fully recover until almost 20 years after that when he reached his middle age.
He then tried to launch a sensational and daily newspaper which was called the Representative and it wasn’t successful either. It was a disaster, and the worst part was that he wasn’t able to pay off his part of the shares, a not very known fact about Benjamin Disraeli.
5. Disraeli was an avid reader and a published writer
He wrote his first story when he was only 15 years old. He continued to write and publish many more novels during his lifetime, even though he received a lot of hard and negative criticism in regards to his views.
When he was around 20 years old he wrote a satirical novel that was anonymously published. Its name was Vivian Grey and in there he spoke about a former business partner in a very satirical and egotistical way.
This book was really successful at first, but when the readers found out that Disraeli was the writer then all of the sudden people stopped buying the book. This, in turn, drove Benjamin Disraeli insane and he even had a nervous attack afterwards.
6. Disraeli’s political career was good from the beginning
Even though Benjamin was a disaster in most -if not all – his business adventures, he had a really good political career from the first day. In fact, he decided to pursue a political career 4 years after his nervous breakdown.
Although it was all so smooth at first (it did take him 4 attempts to win a seat) in 1837 he was finally elected as a Tory candidate for Maidstone.
He was a really good, clear and concise speaker and people from all over the United Kingdom started to notice him, thus he political career took off, becoming a Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1852 (which was an irony, considering all of his businesses would be bankrupt within a couple of months), a crazy fact about Benjamin Disraeli.
And even though Disraeli had told the Prime Minister that he didn’t know much about finance, he continued his duties as the Chancellor for 3 more governments, and he decided to retire in 1868, after serving for more than 16 years.
7. Benjamin Disraeli finally became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
When Lord Derby, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom offered Disraeli a place in his government, Disraeli couldn’t believe his luck, even if it meant that he didn’t know much about the position he would take on.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the economy would crumble and it caused the government’s downfall, which, in turn, meant that Lord Derby would resign from his position as a Prime Minister in 1868.
Soon after, Queen Victoria asked Disraeli to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but his position as the Conservative leader was always at risk, especially after Disraeli’s health deteriorated and the death of his wife.
8. Disraeli was the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister in two occasions
Even though Disraeli had some very difficult years, in 1874 became the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister again, once the Conservatives won the election. He was 70 years old and his health – although had improved from the previous years – was fragile.
He had an international presence as well, as his government acquired some shares of the Suez Canal, which turn out to be a great success.
During his time as a Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli led the United Kingdom through some interesting and rewarding challenges. For example, he concentrated on public health and he promised to prevent forced labour from occurring. He even recognised trade unions, something that was almost seen as a taboo back then.
I hope that this article on Benjamin Disraeli facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Page!