Discover the list of the wealthiest men in history, their countries and their net worth.
Possession is nine-tenth of the law. I never really understood that statement, but it’s famous for a reason.
We humans are a greedy and selfish species, at least when you compare us to other animals on this planet.
We spend our lives working and never stop wanting things
Today we’re going to take a look at the lives of the wealthiest men ever in history, their countries, and source of wealth.
Who knows, you might just find a secret link somewhere, a secret to your own immense wealth.
Top 10 Wealthiest Men In History To Ever Live
1. King Solomon
King Solomon tops the list of the wealthiest men to ever live in history. He is the biblical brainiac and financial heavyweight, surpassing the riches of his royal predecessors.
He held the reins in Israel for a respectable 40-year stint, overseeing an era that reeked of opulence and prosperity.
Consider this spectacle: an annual delivery of 25 tons of gold gracing King Solomon’s palace. Translated to contemporary currency, we’re talking a cool $64 million, basing the math on gold’s current dance at $2000 per ounce.
This, however, merely scratches the surface, omitting the riches accrued from trade and tribute bestowed by the dignitaries of Arabia.
Now, shifting our gaze to the palace, envision a throne that transcends opulence. Six steps leading to a seat flanked by twelve regal lion statues, all bathed in gold and adorned with ivory accents.
Even the dining utensils – or in this case, “goldware” – eschewed the mundane silver, embracing the glittering touch of gold.
Not a solitary goblet in the palace dared to entertain the notion of silver; gold reigned supreme.
The inquiry on everyone’s mind: the man’s net worth. Brace yourself for the grand revelation.
King Solomon’s wealth, subject to estimations and conjecture, is purported to scale the astronomical heights of $2.1 trillion.
A figure that echoes with the resonance of ‘trillion’ – a testament to his financial zenith.
This luminary wasn’t merely a sagacious ruler; he epitomized the zenith of affluence in a gilded epoch.
2. John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller is another of the wealthiest men to ever live in history.
A hero to some, villain to many, John D. Rockefeller was a businessman, and a philanthropist.
He founded Standard Oil Company in 1870, which dominated the oil industry at a time when petroleum was relatively new.
And he dominated the market with his aggressive business style for many years until he retired in 1897.
John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839 in Richford New York, his family moved to Cleveland where he attended high school but dropped out to start his first job as an assistant book keeper, where he earned $50cents per day.
John saved up money, and with some loan from his snake oil salesman father, he started his first business – a commodity brokerage, but then the perfect opportunity showed itself.
Around the same time, Seneca Oil company in Titusville, Pennsylvania completed their first drilled oil well.
John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil Company alongside his brother and four other partners, and they majored in oil refining, which had a more stable pricing than sales.
But as kerosene and gasoline became a daily consumer product, his wealth grew immensely, making him American’s first billionaire.
It is worth acknowledging that though oil made John rich, it was his shrewdness, fixation on cost saving and waste reduction that made him wealthy.
John D. Rockefeller’s net-worth is currently placed at $663.4Billion
3. Mansa Musa
The kingdom of Mali began in 1240 and lasted until 1645, with its golden age occurring during the rule of Mansa Musa from 1312 to 1327 AD.
While some may question attributing a kingdom’s wealth to a king, exceptions are warranted when the ruler’s influence significantly contributes to the kingdom’s prosperity.
Mansa Musa amassed wealth primarily through gold and copper mining, along with extensive trade across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Despite the region’s gold abundance, it was Mansa Musa’s management and entrepreneurial skills that generated Mali’s immense wealth.
Niani served as the capital of Mali, but Timbuktu, situated along the Niger River, was the key trading hub connecting sub-Saharan Africa with East and North Africa.
Mansa Musa’s wealth gained widespread attention in 1324 AD during his pilgrimage to Mecca.
His stopover in Cairo, Egypt, became legendary.
While the exact measure of his wealth is unknown, estimates can be derived from the lavishness of his pilgrimage.
Upon arrival in Cairo, the Sultan was astonished by the wealth brought by the West African King.
Each of the 100 camels carried 135kg of gold dust, and 500 servants bore a 2.7-kilo gold staff.
Additionally, numerous camels transported foodstuffs and textiles, accompanied by a human entourage numbering in the tens of thousands.
Mansa Musa’s extravagant spending caused the value of gold in Egypt to drop by over 20%, taking 12 years to recover from the influx.
Arguably one of the wealthiest men in history, Mansa Musa’s wealth derived from gold and trade, and today, his net worth is estimated at about $400 billion.
4. Andrew Carnegie:
Andrew Carnegie was quite unique among billionaires.
Unlike most, who are often known for their greed or strategic philanthropy aimed at circumventing laws unfavorable to their businesses, Carnegie genuinely embraced philanthropy for noble reasons.
Born in Scotland, Carnegie migrated to America with his parents as a child. Starting as a telegrapher, by the late 1860s, he had investments in railroads, bridges, and oil derricks.
His journey into wealth continued as a bond salesman, raising money for American enterprises in Europe.
Carnegie had a knack for spotting opportunities.
Leveraging his home, he and Margaret Carnegie were on the verge of purchasing $500 worth of shares in the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Additionally, Theodore Woodruff proposed the idea of sleeping cars on the railroad, an investment Carnegie not only made but eventually bought, establishing the first successful sleeping car company in the US.
His pinnacle achievement was the creation of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel company, sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for a staggering $480 million, marking the birth of the U.S. Steel Corporation.
Utilizing the wealth amassed from various business ventures, Carnegie became a benefactor to numerous philanthropic organizations.
He constructed Carnegie Hall, founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and more.
His net worth stood at an impressive $310 billion, a testament to the impactful legacy of his successful business ventures and unwavering commitment to philanthropy.
5. Nikolai Alexandrovich (Tsar Nicholas II) :
Tsar Nicholas II is another of the wealthiest men to ever lived in history.
Tsar Nicholas II, born in 1868 into the Romanov family, ruled over Russia from 1894 until the tumultuous February Revolution of 1917.
By the time he hit around 48 in 1916, folks were estimating his wealth at a mind-boggling US$881 million, which in today’s lingo would be a jaw-dropping US$290 billion.
People call him the granddaddy of wealthy rulers, and even the Russian Orthodox Church took it a step further, declaring him, his wife, and his kids as martyrs after they got bumped off in 1918 by the Bolsheviks.
Let’s dive into his reign a bit.
Russia had a tough time in the Russo-Japanese War under Nicholas’s watch, with the Russian Baltic Fleet practically wiped out at the Battle of Tsushima.
The Anglo-Russian Entente, cooked up to counter German moves in the Middle East, put an end to the Great Game between Russia and the UK.
And when World War I kicked off in 1914, Nicholas gave the nod for Russia to jump in, leading to 3.3 million Russians meeting their end.
When Nicholas II kicked the bucket, his net worth was sitting at a cool $900 million, which, if we adjust for inflation, translates to a whopping $310 billion today.
That’s some serious cash, making him one of the big shots in the rich folks’ hall of fame.
6. Henry Ford:
Henry Ford, the brain behind the Ford Motor Company and the genius behind the assembly line method of mass production. He wasn’t the inventor of cars, but he sure made the first one that regular middle-class folks in America could actually afford.
The Model T, thanks to Ford, shook up how people got around and how things were made in the good old days of USA.
His genius moves with this car made him one of the richest people on the planet.
And they even came up with a term for it – “Fordism” – making lots of stuff for cheap while making sure the folks putting it together got a decent payday.
In terms of business, Ford aimed for economic independence for the United States.
His River Rouge Plant became the world’s largest industrial complex, practicing vertical integration to the extent of producing its own steel.
Ford’s vision was to create a vehicle from scratch without reliance on foreign trade.
He believed in the global expansion of his company, viewing international trade and cooperation as pathways to international peace.
Ford utilized the assembly line process and the production of the Model T to demonstrate this philosophy.
By the time of his death, Ford’s net worth was $900 million, equivalent to $305 billion in today’s dollars, making him one of the wealthiest men in human history.
7. Jacob Fugger
So rich and successful that 17 generations later were still living large off income generated from his businesses.
Meet Jakob Fugger, also known as Jakob the Rich or Jakob II.
He was like a big shot in Europe from around 1495 to 1525, doing major deals as a merchant, miner, and banker.
Born and raised in the fancy-sounding Free Imperial City of Augsburg, he came from the famous Fugger merchant family.
The Fugger family got rich by trading fancy textiles with Italy.
But the real game-changer happened when Jakob and his brothers – Ulrich and Georg – teamed up with the House of Habsburg and the Roman Curia for some serious banking.
They also got their hands dirty in mining in Tyrol. They dug up silver and copper in what’s now the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
By 1525, they even had the rights to mine quicksilver and cinnabar in Almadén.
Jakob’s climb to becoming the Grand Burgher of Augsburg just boosted the family’s success.
What started as a small textile gig quickly blew up into a business that covered all of Europe.
Jakob’s education started at 14 in Venice, and that became his main hangout until 1487.
Even though he was a bit of a scholar and held some fancy titles, he never lived in a monastery.
When Jakob Fugger passed away on December 30, 1525, he left his nephew Anton Fugger a huge amount of money – 2,032,652 guilders.
To be exact today, that translates to about $221 Billion, but some argue it could be up to $400 Billion, effectively making him as rich as Mansa Musa
8. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is another of the richest men in the world.
They call him the modern wizard of innovation, and for a good reason. Musk is not just a businessman; he’s a mad scientist mixed with a dash of Tony Stark.
So, let’s rewind a bit. Elon wasn’t born with a silver spoon, but he sure knew how to spin straw into gold.
He started with Zip2, a tech company he co-founded in the ’90s. But hold on, the real magic began when he went all-in on the online payment scene and co-founded X.com, which later turned into PayPal.
Yep, that PayPal – the reason your online shopping doesn’t involve sending carrier pigeons with cash.
He took the money he made from PayPal and didn’t just hit the beach for a lifelong vacation.
No, he launched SpaceX, betting big on space exploration like a cosmic high roller.
Oh, and Tesla – the game-changer in electric cars – yeah, that’s him too.
But Musk doesn’t stop there; he dives headfirst into SolarCity, making solar power cool before it was cool.
And don’t get me started on the Neuralink and the Boring Company.
And let’s not forget Cybertruck, which looks like it’s straight out of a futuristic video game.
Now, let’s talk work ethic. The man sleeps in his factories, tweets like he’s on a mission to break the internet, and still finds time to dream up the next big thing.
But here’s the kicker – Musk isn’t afraid of risk; he practically lives for it.
Fast forward to today, and Elon Musk isn’t just rolling in the dough; he’s swimming in it.
He is currently sitting on a whopping $240 Billion fortune.
9. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is another of the wealthiest men in history.
The genius who turned codes into cash and shaped the digital era. First off, you’ve got Microsoft, the powerhouse he co-founded.
It’s not just a company; it’s the reason your computer isn’t just a glorified paperweight.
Gates and his partner Paul Allen kicked off this tech journey in the ’70s, and they changed the game.
Microsoft didn’t just knock on the door of success; it kicked it down, inviting itself to the party of global domination.
And let’s not forget Windows. If you’ve clicked a mouse or tapped a keyboard, chances are you’ve danced with one of its versions.
Gates wasn’t just putting a window on your screen; he was opening a portal to a digital universe.
Now, to the money part, Gates didn’t just make money; he made a tech empire that practically prints cash. He’s not just in the billionaires’ club; he’s practically the club president.
And work ethic? Let me tell you, Gates is the human embodiment of hustle.
He’s not just burning the midnight oil; he’s practically the guardian of the tech galaxy.
The man codes, dreams, and changes the world – all before breakfast.
So, here’s to Bill Gates – the tech maestro, the philanthropy wizard, and the guy who turned a dorm-room dream into a digital empire.
He didn’t just revolutionize tech; he became the maestro of zeros and ones, the architect of our digital reality, and ushered in a new possibility in computing.
Bill Gates is currently sitting on $117 Billion fortune.
10. Warren Buffet:
Enter the realm of finance, Warren Buffett – the Oracle of Omaha.
Buffett’s narrative is one woven with sagacity, prudent decisions, and an astute understanding of the financial landscape.
His journey commences with Berkshire Hathaway, a textile company he transformed into an investment conglomerate.
This wasn’t merely a shift in business; it was a strategic maneuver that set the stage for one of the most successful investment stories in modern history.
Buffett’s forte lies in the intricacies of value investing.
He doesn’t chase trends or succumb to market whims; rather, he meticulously evaluates the intrinsic value of a company.
The philosophy is simple but profound – invest in businesses with enduring fundamentals and let time work its magic.
The Oracle’s investment decisions have become legendary.
From Coca-Cola to American Express, his portfolio reads like a roster of enduring giants.
He embraces the long game, holding onto investments for the long haul, a practice that has become synonymous with the Buffett brand.
As for work ethic, Buffett doesn’t sprint; he steadily marches. He dedicates hours to reading, absorbing information like a sponge.
The man isn’t swayed by the market noise; he remains steadfast in his principles.
Warren Buffett, with his unassuming demeanor, stands as a testament to the power of calculated risk, patience, and an unwavering commitment to sound investment principles.
In the labyrinth of finance, his footsteps echo with the resonance of enduring success.
He currently sits on a $121 Billion fortune.
FAQs on Wealthiest Men In History
How do people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos accumulate their wealth?
Wealth accumulation for individuals like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos primarily stems from their ownership stakes in successful companies.
Is Bill Gates still one of the richest people?
Yes, Bill Gates still remains one of the wealthiest individuals globally. His wealth largely comes from co-founding Microsoft and subsequent investments.
What industries contribute most to the wealth of the world’s billionaires?
Technology, finance, and retail are major contributors to the wealth of the world’s billionaires. Tech moguls like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, finance tycoons like Warren Buffett, and retail giants have accumulated substantial fortunes.
How accurate are estimates of the net worth of the wealthiest men in history?
Estimates of net worth for the world’s richest individuals are approximations based on publicly available information about their assets, investments, and holdings.
Do the world’s richest individuals engage in philanthropy?
Yes, many of the world’s richest individuals, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are notable for their significant philanthropic efforts. They have pledged to give away a substantial portion of their wealth to various charitable causes.