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Meet The 25 Richest People In Human History [#1 will Shock you]

I know what your thinking. “The richest people in history? Warren Buffet. Bill Gates. Or wait, no. Rockefeller! Carnegie!” And for the record, you’d be way off. At least with the first two. Surprisingly, Buffet and Gates are rather low on the list. Rockefeller and Carnegie aren’t though. But who’s number 1? Well, that answer might surprise some. Like most magnates and titans, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.

25. WARREN BUFFET: $64 BILLION

photo by Michael Prince

Warren Buffet is widely considered the greatest and most successful investor in history. And rightfully so. The man has managed to amass a $64 billion dollar fortune! While still in high school, he made his first big purchase: a pinball machine. Soon, they owned several machines and as they say, the rest is history.

24. SAM WALTON: $65 BILLION

Ah, the Waltons. In 1992, Sam Walton had a net worth of $66 billion, just a billion over Buffet. Ten years after his death that ballooned to over $100 billion. Staggering. But still not much compared to the others on this list..

23. MARSHALL FIELD: $66 BILLION

Mr Field was a real estate mogul and co-founder of a Chicago based department store chain. Adjusted for inflation, he would both worth about $66 billion big ones. A little known fact: he co-founded The University of Chicago with John D. Rockefeller.

22. STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER: $68 BILLION (TIED)

You may have never heard of Stephen Van Rensselaer before, but once you know what he had his wealth might make sense to you. He owned much of New York State, including Manhattan. He was also a politician (Lieutenant Governor) who was loved by the people for offering fair land leases and rates for farmers.

22. CARLOS SLIM: $68 BILLION (TIED)

Carlos Slim is the richest living person today with a net worth of over $68 billion. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of the largest telecommunications company in Latin America. This accounts for well over half of his wealth.

21. JAY GOULD: $71 BILLION

Jay Gould’s amassed a $71 billion fortune before he’s definitely 1800s. He was known as the “Robber Barron” who was said to have used questionable business practices to amass his wealth. He would pay workers poorly, buy out competitors who couldn’t keep up and then hike the market price up, pocketing the difference.

It’s even said that when gold began to rise, he hoped the cost of wheat would as well, which would then increase the amount of freight and transport required – fattening his pockets further. So he purchased huge sums of gold in an attempt to raise the price –and it worked.

20. FRIEDRICH WEYERHAUSER: $80 BILLION

Friedrich was a land owner who made his fortune in the timber and wood business. But he wasn’t just any land owner. More like the largest private land owner in America. When he died in the early 1900’s his estate was valued at $80 billion dollars when adjusted for inflation.

19. HENRY DUKE OF LANCASTER: $85.1 BILLION

Henry was a nobleman who lived in the 1300’s and was worth about $85 billion in modern money. His story to wealth isn’t too inspiring: an inheritance and a lucky marriage made him the wealthiest man in England.

18. ALEXANDER TURNEY STEWART: $90 BILLION

alexander-turney-stewart-1

Alexander was responsible for creating the world’s largest department store chain and pioneered the mail-order shopping business. Using no more then $10,000 his grandfather left him when he passed, he took that money and opened up dry-foods store in New York. By the late 1800’s he had built the largest retail shop in the world right on Broadway.

Soon, it began to branch out into other parts of the world. The first floor of the store involved fashion shows while the second floor had fine european imports. People from all parts of the country wanted to buy from his stores, and he was the first person to start mail-ordering.

17. STEPHEN GIRARD: $105 BILLION

Stephen was a banking and shipping magnate who saved America from financial collapse during the War of 1812. Wow. He purchased stock in failing banks and opened his own with great success. When he died in 1831 he was worth $105 billion.

16. JOHN OF GAUNT: $110 BILLION

Again, like Henry the Nobleman, John’s story ain’t too inspiring. He was the son of England’s King Edward III and was given some super huge land grants when he became of age.

15. HENRY DUKE OF LANCASTER: $118.6 BILLION

Richard too, like John of Gaunt and Henry the Nobleman, was an English land owner in the 1300’s. He just so happened to own more land then them, hence the fatter pockets.

14. JOHN JACOB ASTOR: $121 BILLION

Now here’s a true hustler: John would buy furs from Canada on the cheap and flip them to wealthy women in New York. Then he used this money to acquire real estate in the same area he sold furs in. Then he sold his American Fur Company and began to really buy up land.

He predicted rapid growth on the north side of Manhattan, so he purchased as much as he could. But instead of selling it, he rented it out at exorbitant rates. Cheers to you John. Cheers.

13. WILLIAM DE WARENNE: $146.3 BILLION

William was a nobleman like some of the other folks on this list, except his acquisition of wealth was rewarded due to his great military service. He was critical part of the Battle of Hastings, thus, he was awarded vast land grants. When he died in 1088 he was worth a staggering $146+ billion. Christ.

12. BILL GATES: $136 BILLION

© Rolling Stone

Although Gates is worth a little less than $65 billion now, during late 1999 he Microsoft stock was valued at a whopping $130+ billion. If you don’t know who Gates is, shame on you.

11. ALAN RUFUS: $178.65 BILLION

Like William De Warenne, Alan was a military man who happened to be the companion of William The Conqueror (the 7th richest person in human history). For all his help in William’s conquering, he was given 250,000 acres of land. That’s pretty.. huge.

10. CORNELIUS VANDERBILT: $185 BILLION

Ah, the great-great-great grandfather of CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Mr. Vanderbilt is the third richest American to ever live and amassed his fortune in the steamboat industry. But the steamboat industry isn’t what really catapulted him to such great heights of wealth. It was his investments in the railroad industry thereafter.

Side-note: his great-great granddaughter, Gloria Vanderbilt, is credited as one of the first early adopters of blue jeans.. and is Anderson Coopers momma! Listen to this SoundCloud interview Anderson had with Howard Stern where he details how and why he won’t receive an inheritance. 

9. HENRY FORD: $199 BILLION

Henry Ford founded the legendary Ford Motor Company and is credited as developing the assembly line form of mass production. He is also credited as developing and manufacturing the first affordable car. His family still controls Ford.

8. MUAMMAR GADDAFI: $200 BILLION

This one surprised me. According to sources Muammar Gaddafi was worth $200 billion. Following his capture and death, things didn’t seem that way at first – but authorities were able to trace $70 billion in cash and assets a few months after his death. Months after still, sources like BBC and Sunday Times traced other billion dollar assets like property, fleets of private planes and ownership stakes in everything from banks to football clubs.

7. WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR: $229 BILLION

In 1066, the guy invaded and took over all of England. Nuff’ said.

6. MIR OSMAN ALI KHAN: $236 BILLION

Mr Khan used a diamond worth $95 million dollars as.. a paperweight in his office. He ruled Hyderabad until the Indian invasion and was a fan of gold and jewelry (the city was a mecca for it). His collection alone was worth over $500 million.

5. TSAR NICHOLAS II OF RUSSA: $300 BILLION

Jeez these numbers are getting huge. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ruled the entire Russian Empire for many years (1894-1917) and he was worth $900 million then – which, when adjusted for inflation now, is closer to $300 billion. Him and his family were eventually murdered, thus, overthrown. Bummer.

4. ANDREW CARNEGIE: $310 BILLION

The steel tycoon made much of his fortune during the sale of Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan for $480 million, which today would be equal to $310 billion big ones. He was big one charity and gave away virtually all of his fortune to the less fortunate.

3. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER: $340 BILLION

When Rockefeller died in 1937 he was worth over $340 billion when adjusted for inflation and is one of the richest people in human history. And that’s no surprise when you remember he was the founder of Standard Oil, which help a monopoly over the entire U.S. market for some time.

He is also credited for helping eradicate everything from hookworm to yellow fever through his immense contributions to everything from medicine to education and research.

2. THE ROTHSCHILDS: $350 BILLION

Ah, the Rothschilds. The name alone conjures up images of crests and incalculable wealth. Mayer Amschel Rothschild, born 1744, is credited as establishing major banking and finance in Europe. Soon, his finance business spread and he appointed his sons as chairs of their own respective branches. Now, the Rothschild business encompasses everything from wine and farming to mining and banking.

1. MANSA MUSA: $400 BILLION

Mansa Musa, a West African King, is the richest person in human history. He was worth an absolutely staggering $400 billion dollars at his time of death in 1311. He ruled the entire West African empire, which encompassed everywhere from Ghana to Timbuktu and everything in between. At the time, West Africa was responsible for more than half of the world’s salt and gold production: two of the most valuable commodities of the time.

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I know what your thinking. “The richest people in history? Warren Buffet. Bill Gates. Or wait, no. Rockefeller! Carnegie!” And for the record, you’d be way off. At least with the first two. Surprisingly, Buffet and Gates are rather low on the list. Rockefeller and Carnegie aren’t though. But who’s number 1? Well, that answer might surprise some. Like most magnates and titans, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.

25. WARREN BUFFET: $64 BILLION

photo by Michael Prince

Warren Buffet is widely considered the greatest and most successful investor in history. And rightfully so. The man has managed to amass a $64 billion dollar fortune! While still in high school, he made his first big purchase: a pinball machine. Soon, they owned several machines and as they say, the rest is history.

24. SAM WALTON: $65 BILLION

Ah, the Waltons. In 1992, Sam Walton had a net worth of $66 billion, just a billion over Buffet. Ten years after his death that ballooned to over $100 billion. Staggering. But still not much compared to the others on this list..

23. MARSHALL FIELD: $66 BILLION

Mr Field was a real estate mogul and co-founder of a Chicago based department store chain. Adjusted for inflation, he would both worth about $66 billion big ones. A little known fact: he co-founded The University of Chicago with John D. Rockefeller.

22. STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER: $68 BILLION (TIED)

You may have never heard of Stephen Van Rensselaer before, but once you know what he had his wealth might make sense to you. He owned much of New York State, including Manhattan. He was also a politician (Lieutenant Governor) who was loved by the people for offering fair land leases and rates for farmers.

22. CARLOS SLIM: $68 BILLION (TIED)

Carlos Slim is the richest living person today with a net worth of over $68 billion. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of the largest telecommunications company in Latin America. This accounts for well over half of his wealth.

21. JAY GOULD: $71 BILLION

Jay Gould’s amassed a $71 billion fortune before he’s definitely 1800s. He was known as the “Robber Barron” who was said to have used questionable business practices to amass his wealth. He would pay workers poorly, buy out competitors who couldn’t keep up and then hike the market price up, pocketing the difference.

It’s even said that when gold began to rise, he hoped the cost of wheat would as well, which would then increase the amount of freight and transport required – fattening his pockets further. So he purchased huge sums of gold in an attempt to raise the price –and it worked.

20. FRIEDRICH WEYERHAUSER: $80 BILLION

Friedrich was a land owner who made his fortune in the timber and wood business. But he wasn’t just any land owner. More like the largest private land owner in America. When he died in the early 1900’s his estate was valued at $80 billion dollars when adjusted for inflation.

19. HENRY DUKE OF LANCASTER: $85.1 BILLION

Henry was a nobleman who lived in the 1300’s and was worth about $85 billion in modern money. His story to wealth isn’t too inspiring: an inheritance and a lucky marriage made him the wealthiest man in England.

18. ALEXANDER TURNEY STEWART: $90 BILLION

alexander-turney-stewart-1

Alexander was responsible for creating the world’s largest department store chain and pioneered the mail-order shopping business. Using no more then $10,000 his grandfather left him when he passed, he took that money and opened up dry-foods store in New York. By the late 1800’s he had built the largest retail shop in the world right on Broadway.

Soon, it began to branch out into other parts of the world. The first floor of the store involved fashion shows while the second floor had fine european imports. People from all parts of the country wanted to buy from his stores, and he was the first person to start mail-ordering.

17. STEPHEN GIRARD: $105 BILLION

Stephen was a banking and shipping magnate who saved America from financial collapse during the War of 1812. Wow. He purchased stock in failing banks and opened his own with great success. When he died in 1831 he was worth $105 billion.

16. JOHN OF GAUNT: $110 BILLION

Again, like Henry the Nobleman, John’s story ain’t too inspiring. He was the son of England’s King Edward III and was given some super huge land grants when he became of age.

15. HENRY DUKE OF LANCASTER: $118.6 BILLION

Richard too, like John of Gaunt and Henry the Nobleman, was an English land owner in the 1300’s. He just so happened to own more land then them, hence the fatter pockets.

14. JOHN JACOB ASTOR: $121 BILLION

Now here’s a true hustler: John would buy furs from Canada on the cheap and flip them to wealthy women in New York. Then he used this money to acquire real estate in the same area he sold furs in. Then he sold his American Fur Company and began to really buy up land.

He predicted rapid growth on the north side of Manhattan, so he purchased as much as he could. But instead of selling it, he rented it out at exorbitant rates. Cheers to you John. Cheers.

13. WILLIAM DE WARENNE: $146.3 BILLION

William was a nobleman like some of the other folks on this list, except his acquisition of wealth was rewarded due to his great military service. He was critical part of the Battle of Hastings, thus, he was awarded vast land grants. When he died in 1088 he was worth a staggering $146+ billion. Christ.

12. BILL GATES: $136 BILLION

© Rolling Stone

Although Gates is worth a little less than $65 billion now, during late 1999 he Microsoft stock was valued at a whopping $130+ billion. If you don’t know who Gates is, shame on you.

11. ALAN RUFUS: $178.65 BILLION

Like William De Warenne, Alan was a military man who happened to be the companion of William The Conqueror (the 7th richest person in human history). For all his help in William’s conquering, he was given 250,000 acres of land. That’s pretty.. huge.

10. CORNELIUS VANDERBILT: $185 BILLION

Ah, the great-great-great grandfather of CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Mr. Vanderbilt is the third richest American to ever live and amassed his fortune in the steamboat industry. But the steamboat industry isn’t what really catapulted him to such great heights of wealth. It was his investments in the railroad industry thereafter.

Side-note: his great-great granddaughter, Gloria Vanderbilt, is credited as one of the first early adopters of blue jeans.. and is Anderson Coopers momma! Listen to this SoundCloud interview Anderson had with Howard Stern where he details how and why he won’t receive an inheritance. 

9. HENRY FORD: $199 BILLION

Henry Ford founded the legendary Ford Motor Company and is credited as developing the assembly line form of mass production. He is also credited as developing and manufacturing the first affordable car. His family still controls Ford.

8. MUAMMAR GADDAFI: $200 BILLION

This one surprised me. According to sources Muammar Gaddafi was worth $200 billion. Following his capture and death, things didn’t seem that way at first – but authorities were able to trace $70 billion in cash and assets a few months after his death. Months after still, sources like BBC and Sunday Times traced other billion dollar assets like property, fleets of private planes and ownership stakes in everything from banks to football clubs.

7. WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR: $229 BILLION

In 1066, the guy invaded and took over all of England. Nuff’ said.

6. MIR OSMAN ALI KHAN: $236 BILLION

Mr Khan used a diamond worth $95 million dollars as.. a paperweight in his office. He ruled Hyderabad until the Indian invasion and was a fan of gold and jewelry (the city was a mecca for it). His collection alone was worth over $500 million.

5. TSAR NICHOLAS II OF RUSSA: $300 BILLION

Jeez these numbers are getting huge. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ruled the entire Russian Empire for many years (1894-1917) and he was worth $900 million then – which, when adjusted for inflation now, is closer to $300 billion. Him and his family were eventually murdered, thus, overthrown. Bummer.

4. ANDREW CARNEGIE: $310 BILLION

The steel tycoon made much of his fortune during the sale of Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan for $480 million, which today would be equal to $310 billion big ones. He was big one charity and gave away virtually all of his fortune to the less fortunate.

3. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER: $340 BILLION

When Rockefeller died in 1937 he was worth over $340 billion when adjusted for inflation and is one of the richest people in human history. And that’s no surprise when you remember he was the founder of Standard Oil, which help a monopoly over the entire U.S. market for some time.

He is also credited for helping eradicate everything from hookworm to yellow fever through his immense contributions to everything from medicine to education and research.

2. THE ROTHSCHILDS: $350 BILLION

Ah, the Rothschilds. The name alone conjures up images of crests and incalculable wealth. Mayer Amschel Rothschild, born 1744, is credited as establishing major banking and finance in Europe. Soon, his finance business spread and he appointed his sons as chairs of their own respective branches. Now, the Rothschild business encompasses everything from wine and farming to mining and banking.

1. MANSA MUSA: $400 BILLION

Mansa Musa, a West African King, is the richest person in human history. He was worth an absolutely staggering $400 billion dollars at his time of death in 1311. He ruled the entire West African empire, which encompassed everywhere from Ghana to Timbuktu and everything in between. At the time, West Africa was responsible for more than half of the world’s salt and gold production: two of the most valuable commodities of the time.

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