Karl Marx was born in 1818 to a Jewish family, living in the Rhineland region of Prussia, with a distinguished rabbinical ancestry. His father was a lawyer whose conversion to Christianity had enabled him to continue his legal career. Marx studied at the universities of Bonn and Berlin, writing a doctoral thesis on the philosophies of nature of Democritus and Epicurus (containing much on the “swerve” of the atom). Marx’s subsequent life combined independent scholarship, radical political activity, and financial insecurity, in varying proportions. In order to associate and publish as he wished, given contemporary political conditions, Marx had to spend most of his adult life living outside of Germany. There were three successive periods of exile. Between late 1843 and early 1845, he lived in Paris, a cosmopolitan city full of émigrés and radical artisans (he was expelled by the government following Prussian pressure). Between early 1845 and early 1848 he lived in Brussels, the capital of a rapidly industrializing Belgium (he was expelled by Royal decree following demonstrations involving foreigners). Finally, from late 1849, he made his family home in London, which provided both a stable haven for political exiles and a superb vantage point from which to study the most advanced economy in the world. Marx devoted much of his time and energy to the latter task, although only the first volume of Capital-his epic examination of the capitalist mode of production-was published during his lifetime. Together with his close friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels (1820-95), Marx was politically active throughout his life. The most intense periods of activity centered on the revolutions of 1848 (when he returned to Paris and Cologne), and the International Working Men’s Association (the First International) between 1864 and 1874 (especially around the Paris Commune of 1871). His later years were marked by illness, the death of his wife Jenny (in 1881), and travel aimed at improving his health-with Algiers, the Isle of Wight, Jersey (in the Channel Islands), and Karlsbad, amongst the convalescent destinations. Marx died in March 1883, two months after the death of his eldest daughter, also called Jenny. His estate was valued at £250.